I shook my head to clear it. My imagination was running away with me. There was no revolution. The Citrinites knew they didn't stand a chance against Mystic Fire Topaz, and besides, they had no legitimate reason to want to revolt. All of Lafrindyx's talk of equality and grown children was starting to mess with my mind, that was all. More likely these wretched marauders were looking to get rich; Mystic Fire Topazian poison was the most valuable in the Mine.
"Look," I said, since Lafrindyx clearly wasn't going to say anything, "we just need to get through to exit the Mine."
"What reason could such important people have for wanting to exit the Mine?" asked the woman with the short hair. "Off to conquer more land, perhaps? To extort more capital from other peaceful peoples?"
"We're running a personal errand," I said. I was about to explain further, or at least to make something up, when I noticed a look dawning on the long-haired woman's face that made my heart sink.
"A personal errand?" she asked with a smirk, stepping closer to Lafrindyx. "And what kind of personal errand would the princess of Mystic Fire Topaz possibly need to run herself?"
Now we were in some serious trouble.
"The princess?" I asked, trying to keep my voice from shaking. "What do you mean?"
"Don't try to lie to me," the long-haired woman spat. "I'd know her face anywhere. She's all over the books."
Curses! I should have known that Lafrindyx would be recognized. We should have disguised her, or I should have followed my instinct and left her at the palace. It was time for some very quick thinking.
"We're transporting the Love Jewel," I announced sternly. Did I mention that I'm not particularly good at quick thinking? In the moment—the hasty, sweat-drenched moment—my feeble brain had somehow cobbled together the logical process that if the Citrinites knew we had such an important artifact, perhaps they'd leave us alone.