“Tanith, we’ve got four days to figure this out.”
“Four days?” she said in surprise. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, your father is amassing an army of knights from all over and they’re going to storm this castle in four days.”
“They can’t!” Eva gasped, covering her mouth with her hands.
“You can’t let that happen, Shane,” Tanith said. “You have to put the swords together now!”
“I don’t know! Just stick them together.”
Frustrated, I pushed the two swords together. We all saw a spark, but that was it. I twisted the swords around each other, pressing them together any way I could, but there was no Gray Sword to be had.
“Here,” I said, thrusting the two swords at Tanith. “You do it.”
She took a step back. “I can’t. I’m a princess. Princesses don’t touch swords.”
Now she wanted to act like a prim and proper princess? Now? “Then someone else has got to do this,” I said, exasperated and frustrated with Tanith and this whole situation. “I can’t figure it out.”
I threw down the swords and marched off, clunking all the way up to my room. If they wanted the Gray Sword, then they could make it themselves.
Once I got into my room, I pulled off my armor and stretched out on my bed. I was just about to drop off to sleep, with Euclid’s screaming echoing in my ears since he was just down the hall from me, when a knock came at my door.
“Come in!” I called out, too tired and lazy to get up and open the door.
The door opened slowly and Tanith poked her head in. I sighed and sat up. She walked over to me, the swords in her hands and an apologetic look on her face. She sat on the edge of my bed and gingerly set the swords down between us.
“I’m sorry, Shane,” she said quietly. “I know I’ve been pushing you a lot lately. But, the truth is, you’re the only one who can put the swords together. You’re a protector. Only a protector can make the Gray Sword. And I realize you’re still loyal to my father and still a little afraid of the creatures. Your loyalties are pulled in opposite directions and that’s why you can’t make the Gray Sword.”
“So what do you propose I do now?” I asked wearily.
“In four days, you will meet my father on the bridge and tell him the creatures have agreed to discuss and sign a treaty.”
I sighed. “Okay. But if this isn’t over by then, that’s it. I’m through. No more. Agreed?”
“Agreed,” she said with a firm nod.