“Waah!” cried the brat prince, Hollin. “Where is my best shirt!”
“I do not know,” Celaena backed away from Dorian’s little brother. She didn’t know why the most feared assassin in Adarlan was assigned to look after the spoilt, annoying brat. It was only so long before her temper would snap.
“Your Highness,” corrected Hollin, his face going red from the barely contained tantrum held within.
“I don’t know, Your Highness.” Celaena’as voice was frosty. “Have you looked for it?”
“Look for it!?!? That’s your job, you’re the nurse!” Hollin started throwing things, including an expensive vase that nearly hit Celaena. “Clean that up!” He pointed a chubby finger at the thousands of pieces.
“You threw it, you clean it up!”
“How impertinent. I am the prince and I demand you clean it up.”
“Do you know what?” Celaena crossed her arms. “No. It’s about time you did something yourself.”
Hollin screamed in rage, infuriated by his new nurse’s incompetence. He grabbed the edge of the table and tipped it over, smashing crockery and scattering cutlery. He picked up the only unbroken glass and hurled it at his terrible nurse.
Celaena watched the glass flying towards her, and laughed as she easily dodged his badly aimed attack.
“Why are you such an awful nurse? Were you raised by slaves?”
This comment made Celaena’s temper finally snap. Blinded by her fury, she reached into the folds of her dress and pulled out a wickedly curved blade.
“Some of the best people in Erilea are slaves,” she raised the dagger and pointed it threateningly at the prince. “It is time for you to learn some manners, little prince.”
“Why are you attacking me, you stupid nurse?” He picked up a silver knife off the floor. “It’s time for you to learn some manners!” He threw the knife. However, his aim was so awful that it went flying up and severed the chandelier rope. Celaena dived away from the falling chandelier just in time. She moved back to inspect the damage and saw that the prince was not so lucky. His blood was seeping across the highly polished marble, and his face was forever frozen in a tantrum. She swore. The king would have her head for letting the prince die under her watch. She had to think fast… an idea popped into her head.
Celaena ran through the streets of Rifthold, swiftly as a horse. She stopped outside a derelict looking building in the slums. She looked at the sign. ‘Rifthold Orphanage’ was written in fading letters. She pushed open the rotting door and as she passed over the threshold she was assaulted by the smell of unwashed bodies and rotten food. She stalked across the small antechamber and rang the iron bell that sat on the clipped desk. A red faced wide woman shuffled into the rooming. She was wearing a green dress that was trimmed with gold and red. The dress, while expensive, was ugly.
The redfaced woman spoke, her voice low and full of misplaced authority. “Who are you? And what do you want?”
“Who I am is not important,” said Celaena, dropping a silver coin into the woman’s large hand. “I want to see the orphans.”
The fat woman flung open a door with unnesscary force to reveal a room full of children. Celaena spotted the child who could have been Hollin’s twin right away.
“I want this one,” said Celaena.
Celaena cleaned up the debris from the chandelier and Hollin’s splattered remains off the floor while Philippa, her maid, cleaned up the orphan. Celaena returned to her rooms to see how the new Hollin was coming along. Dressed in Hollin’s clothes, the child looked so similar to the obnoxious prince that Celaena wondered if the king secretly had a third child.
“What is your name?” asked Celaena. Her voice was soft and gentle. She was sympathetic towards orphans because she herself was an orphan.
“Ben,” replied the orphan.
Celaena had once known a brave assassin called Ben, but he, like so many other people she cared about, was dead.
“You have to pretend to be Hollin. Have you heard of Prince Hollin?”
“Of course. I heard all about how he trampled the nice gardens a couple of years ago.”
“You have to act like him. Wear his clothes, and pretend to be brat. It’s ok, we know that you aren’t really a brat. Don’t let on about who you really are.”
The boy nodded.
“Hollin has changed so much lately. I think school really changed him,” said Queen Georgina of Adarlan to her friends, rich court ladies from all over Adarlan.
Celaena was concealed in the shadows at the court gathering, trying to keep her expression neutral as she overheard the queen. No one must ever know her latest dark secret…