Chapter 23

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Jhyrenne was a good friend to both the Prince and Princess. She was easy to talk to and had great common sense, considering the early part of her life was spent in the streets. The Princesses' attendant was expert in giving favorable impressions and became very sly once entrenched in a situation. Like Dhonlaa, Jhyrenne always had everything in the proper place, wore just the right clothes, said the right things and used it to her advantage. Tonight, she made it a point to stay in Rhenycyn's view, teasing him with a glance of her playful brown eyes, running her hands through her long brown hair or giving him an eyeful by bending over to adjust a fold in Ellycyn's gown. She was just biding her time, relatively confident that the Prince would have need of her before the night ended.

Dhonlaa had been circulating amongst the members of the Ministry, speaking in low tones, clasping hands, nodding and giving reassuring smiles. The black gown she wore was not as much for mourning as it was to show off her body. Politics wasn't the only game being played. Rhenycyn supposed that whatever she was up to, she would spring it tonight. If only he didn't have Fhyndhella with him, he might have been able to discover in some way what she was plotting.

As the overall leader in the trevhette, Vhalkhette was in the company of the Prince for the evening. Most of the Ministry refused to converse with her. Not because she was a female or thought to be a mercenary, but because she was both. Those few that ventured to engage her in conversation found that she parried inquiries of her past and present with the same grace she displayed in battle. Even to the Prince she remained an enigma.

Ellycyn was in good spirits, having been temporarily spared the heartache of having to choose between Mharkhel and Setryv. Though only pleasantries had been exchanged, Sir Mharkhel was at least partially back in the good graces of the Princess. Ellycyn knew that actions spoke louder than words where the dark knight was concerned. By exerting himself in the competition, Mharkhel was expressing in his own way his feelings for Ellycyn. Meanwhile, Setryv, while he still issued smiles and laughter, was obviously discontented at having his friend back in the picture.

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