Chapter 23

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As the night wore on, things got progressively worse. Since Fhyndhella remained perched on the Prince's arm, Rhenycyn, who had entered the early stages of intoxication, began openly groping her. Fhyndhella was able to avert the Prince's forward attempts with propriety, but their polite struggles did not go unnoticed by either Jhyrenne or Dhonlaa. The Prince pressed Fhyndhella, suggesting that they steal away and consummate their languishing relationship in some nearby bushes. When Fhyndhella refused, Rhenycyn, angered and frustrated, disengaged himself from her. Fhyndhella, on the brink of tears, quickly excused herself and left the tent.

Dhonlaa thought it a most opportune time to make her announcement. She called the gathering to attention and addressed them all. "I would like to begin by publicly thanking all of you for your concern, consideration and support since my father's," here she looked at Rhenycyn, "heinous and vile murder. As senior member in the King's Ministry you all had the opportunity to work with him and become familiar with his love of Khaballe, commitment to the proper dispensation of justice and dedication to the smooth operation of this government. My father and I were very close, even more so after my mother's passing, and I became his sounding board. We spent a great many evenings arguing points of philosophy concerning the laws and statutes of Khaballe," she reminisced aloud.

How very touching, the Prince thought sarcastically. I just wonder where she is going with this.

"There was a great deal I learned from him," Dhonlaa continued. "He shared with me his dreams and his visions. And that is why I have decided to dedicate my life to fulfilling them." There were murmurs from members of the Ministry. Rhenycyn inclined his head and squinted as if he questioned his hearing. After waiting long enough for effect, Dhonlaa dropped her bomb. "I am assuming my father's position in the King's Ministry. With the consent and approval from the members of the Ministry, of course."

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