Sisters of String and Glass, Part 86

Chapter Nineteen – continued

Adrian pulled his fingers into fists for a moment. Abigail would never marry him if he were to become king. James would never forgive him for telling all assembled he had likely run away with the handmaiden.

Andalissa’s hand fell on his shoulder. Startled, he turned to her. She didn’t say anything, just stared at him, her eyes open and clear.

“I have to,” he whispered. “Look at them. They’ll go to war over this.”

“They’ll go to war regardless,” she pointed out. “They’ve only been looking for a reason.”

“If James hadn’t gone,” Adrian started.

“It would have been something else,” Andalissa firmly finished. “You know the peace was tenuous at best.” She cocked her head. “Why did King Alon agree to Lawrence’s terms so quickly?”

Adrian turned back to the table. His father was holding peace between the kings as best he could, but he wasn’t quite the negotiator the Count Olidan was. Where was the man? Surely Camille had made it back to the manor by now and told someone to send her father over.

“Abigail will never marry me if I am king,” he whispered.

“That’s Abigail’s choice. It always will be.” Andalissa’s hand tightened. “You know her, Adrian.”

“To war we go, then,” he said quietly, his eyes on the maps spread across the table.

He saw Andalissa’s head turn out of the corner of his eye. “Unless the Count Olidan can broker peace.”

The Count’s approach was swift and silent. He spared a nod for Adrian and Andalissa, but nothing else. Andalissa smiled up at him and, with a small tug, pulled both of them closer.

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