I stormed angrily back to my room. How dare Nykyl be so rude! If only she knew what I could do with my throwing stars, and now I knew I could get access to the armoury, I was bound to be fully ready. However, I couldn't quite push away the feeling that Nykyl had much more experience than me. If she'd been trained for as long as she'd been neglecting her royal duties... well, I wasn't sure if I'd stand a chance in combat. At least I had the brains to defend against her brawn.
And then there was the book.
Maybe Nykyl was right. She had been so insistent that it was fake; I could only presume that one of the maids had said something to her too. It seemed suspicious at the very least. What if there was a plot, somewhere, somehow, to get us killed on our quest? Was there really someone trying to overthrow the Kingdom? The thought made me shudder.
"Princess," one of the maids called. "Is all well with you? You appear troubled."
I found myself staring at the book still in my arms and forced a smile. "I am thoughful, nothing more."
The maid nodded and walked away. I noticed that she glanced back before she rounded the corner, leaving me alone. My free hand reached for the door handle, and suddenly, I was concerned about what might be waiting on the other side of the heavy oak. After a push, I stepped in and laid eyes upon my room - as empty as ever. I exhaled sharply. This quest was making me paranoid.
"Right, Evangelique," I said as I gazed upon my reflection in the mirror. "Now is the time to practise."
Unknown to Nykyl, I had managed to sneak a small selection of weapons from the armoury. It would attract too much attention if I was to carry a sword back through the castle, but small blades were easily hidden within the folds of my skirts. I lifted my gown, letting the two sais clatter to the floor.
"Nykyl was right," I continued to myself, raising one in my hand. "These weapons are superior to my own."
As much as I loved my mother's throwing stars, I needed more if I was to go up against dragons. That was when I remembered Nykyl's words: these dragons don't breathe fire.
How did she know that the dragons wouldn't be the fire-breathing kind? She'd clearly been given more clues than I first thought. Despite her warnings, I tore through the book that I'd discarded onto my desk, looking through the approximate mating seasons of each dragon. When I reached the dragons native to Aydrol, I noticed that the wording had become blurred. Someone had scrawled the word 'autumn' over the top of the original.
So the book had been tampered with.
It was currently mid-spring, and I had a funny feeling that Aydrol dragons weren't fertile during autumn at all. I studied the map, showing predicted locations of the dragons. I ran my fingers over the pages, looking for any sign that it had been altered. I found myself reassured that the locations were genuine. I considered showing Nykyl, but I'd already tried to help her. Now it was the time to help myself.
"Good luck, sister," I said to the mirror, almost as if it was her face reflected there. "Please don't get yourself hurt."