Chapter 13

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"Actually, I am glad you came by. There is something I wish to discuss with you. Please, have a seat."

"I rather not, thank you."

"As you wish. Mharkhel, we have known each other a long time and of the Royal Guard you are my most trusted knight. I wish to be frank with you." Mharkhel inclined his head. "What are your feelings regarding my sister?" the Prince asked.

Mharkhel answered immediately. "Princess Ellycyn is the light of the realm, no offense to either your father the King or yourself. I am her champion and pledge my undying loyalty to her. I love the Princess completely and without any aforethought as I am sure all her subjects do."

"How very nice," Rhenycyn mumbled under his breath. "Forget her being a princess. What do you feel for Ellycyn herself?"

Mharkhel was red with embarrassment. He lowered his head and said, "My feelings are irrelevant. I am not worthy of her."

"Mharkhel, look at me." The knight raised his head and the Prince continued. "You could not be further from the truth. I do not know of anyone with more courage, more heart than you. Your loyalty and virtue are beyond question. I would trust you not only with my life, but with those of my father and sister as well. There is no one I place above you Mharkhel, no one. What in the name of the gods makes you think you are not worthy of her?"

Mharkhel looked at the Prince, pain clearly reflected in the dark eyes. His jaw was set tight as the knight fought back long-hidden memories that tore his emotions. He did not respond.

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