Chapter 19

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After the Princess left, the two knights were left standing in disbelief. Mharkhel's anger had returned and he had only a glare to offer his friend. Setryv shook his head while trying to conceal his pleasure at his good fortune. Rhenycyn struggled at being casual. "I, uh, believe we are, uh, finished gentlemen. You may leave." Then as an afterthought, "Oh, Setryv would you mind staying behind a moment? There is something we need to discuss."

Mharkhel tore his eyes from Setryv, gave the Prince a bow and left quietly, following Vhyqyrd out the door. The blonde knight stared at the closed door and exhaled loudly. Then he turned to Rhenycyn. "Your Majesty?" he asked.

"It is nothing Setryv. I just did not want you and Mharkhel leaving together and getting into it."

"I appreciate the concern, Your Highness, but I am most capable of handling myself. As well as Mharkhel."

The Prince's voice lost a little of its warmth. "See that it is not necessary. I am not in any position to lose two such as yourselves. And Setryv, do not become overly endeared with the Princess. I have a strong suspicion that she is using you to provoke Mharkhel."

Though the words caused Setryv's jaw to tighten, he responded with a smile. "Do not be so certain, Your Highness." Then he bowed and left the Prince's room.

The knight was moving down the corridor easily when he neared a corner and a hand suddenly reached out and grabbed him by the throat, pinning him to the wall in the process. "Traitor!" Mharkhel spat. "You were like a brother to me. How could you do this? You know how I feel about her."

Setryv worked at easing Mharkhel's hand off his throat with only partial success. "What would you have me do, Mharkhel? Refuse the Princess?"

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