“York was the nicer of the Nigiri twins.” Hermanus sighed. “Sometimes I think that he truly believed what he was doing would unite the kingdoms.”
“Perhaps he did,” Allmarah pondered his statement. “Perhaps that is why he seemed so sincere when he spoke to us. He knew who I was, he never tried to hide that fact, though he never called me Princess out right. He explained this plan of how we could set up a kidnapping and then you could rescue me, thus making it possible for the first marriage between Vervell and Azure.”
“That’s exactly how I thought it should be done!” Hermanus exclaimed.
“Yes, well that’s not what really happened.”
“No,” Hermanus sighed, “HE had other plans. HE never wanted me to rescue you. I think HE had plans to kill me and blame it on your father.”
“Thankfully that never happened,” Allmarah sighed.
“No,” Hermanus grinned, “Your father sent Scouts up to kidnap me to do an exchange.”
“Which would never have happened,” Allmarah stated.
“I know, but at least he listened to me and believed me about what was going on.”
“He did,” Allmarah smiled, “and in the end you rescued me.”
“Me?” Hermanus shook his head, “No I only rode in the boat, stayed away from all the fighting. She,” he nodded to Sarah, “was the one who did all the rescuing.” He looked to Allmarah, “she’s the one they sent to infiltrate his camp by becoming camp cook. She even convinced him to send me to help her in the kitchen.”
“How did you escape?”
“She drugged them, fed us an antidote. I think there was a weather mage who brought in the fog. And Scout Troop Wolf was howling about the camp something fierce. I was scared, but she wasn’t she just walked out and told me I could follow her if I wanted. I suspected she was with Vervell, but I had no idea it would be Phoenix Troop that would take me to Verdas.”
“So she is part of Phoenix troop?”
“No, at least I don’t think so. Once we were in Vervell she went someplace else and I was sworn to secrecy about her. But then your bother ended up shouting so many questions at me I told,” Hermanus looked down at his hands.
“My brother could be a brute at times. He was probably upset he hadn’t put a stop to my forays into Verdas, though he’d been threatening to for months.” Allmarah patted Hermanus’ knee again. “I imagine he took the information to my father, who probably wasn’t pleased.”
“I don’t think so. I know that when your brother went out to see her at Griffon’s they said she was recovering from a Nigiri assassination.”
“That must have been when York was killed.” Allmarah sighed. “They were in love you know; Tralee and York. I wonder why he assassinated Sarah, or tried to at least.” Allmarah looked to where Sarah was. “Did she really sustain a Nigiri injury and live?”
“Twice, I think,” Hermanus nodded, “Your father had her take the First Year Trials, your brother as well, during which time General Wholawski attacked. Sarah took a Nigiri dagger from, well it would have been, Chester after tackling him to keep him from killing your brother.”
They sat in companionable silence, watching Sarah move between the houses. They did not move until she called out for dinner to be served.
“Hermanus,” Allmarah detained the Prince with a light touch. He turned back to her. “You do not judge me for listening to York and ending up in General Wholawski’s fortress?”
“Of course not,” Hermanus assured her, “York could convince a mother that her infant child had killed the cow. After all,” he face flushed slightly, “I fell for the same ruse, and I knew the sorts of devious plots HE made.”
Allmarah stood and gave Hermanus a peck on the cheek. “Thank you,” she said and they joined the others for food.