Prince Alexander entered the library, which was kept under lock and key with guards posted outside the door. Sighing, he ran his fingers along the spines of the books, absently reading the titles and wishing he had time to read the books themselves.
No, a prince rarely had time of his own when his father was away at battle, his mother was ill, and his two younger sisters needed his attention as constantly as humanly possible.
Aha, there it was. The Book of Sacred Remnants. Alexander honestly could not have cared less about the trespassing of the young woman, but -
Alexander stopped short when he realized he hadn't even asked the prisoner what her name was! How absent-minded could he be?
Deciding there were more important things to do than try to remember if the girl had said her name or not, Alexander pulled the book he'd been searching for from the shelf and set it down on a table. Seating himself, he scanned the contents until he found what he was looking for: the sacred grounds.
Long ago, the nation of Avana had believed in many gods. Those who didn't believe in Avana's religion had been killed or tortured. Now, Avana practiced the freedom to believe according to one's personal convictions, but one thing remained: the sacred grounds, where the traditional theists of Avana believed the gods dwelled. Granted, Alexander didn't believe in Avana's gods of old, but it was important to the kingdom that its sacred grounds remain untainted.
"The intentional shedding of blood upon sacred grounds must be punished by a lifetime in prison; however, if the bloodshed ends in death - whether it be the death of an animal or a human - it must be punished by the offender's death."
For some inexplicable reason, Alexander felt great disturbance at the idea that the mysterious criminal would have to be put to death. Trembling, though he couldn't fathom why, Alexander continued to read. What he saw next put his heart at ease.
"The offender may be pardoned by the king; however, the one who pardons the offender may expect no small measure of consequences from the gods themselves."
"'The offender may be pardoned by the king,'" Alexander murmured to himself. "So I cannot pardon her, but my father can..." But no, there was a problem. Alexander's father was a highly religious man. He took the sacred grounds very seriously...so the chance of the young woman being pardoned was very slim.
Leaning back, troubled by what he'd read, Alexander drummed his fingers on the table's surface. "Father expected to be away for at least three months at war," Alexander muttered absently, "so I hold the right to keep the prisoner until he returns."
Of course, Alexander doubted the prisoner would be thrilled by the idea of being kept inside the palace, but it was the best the prince could do. He could help the young woman escape, but...
But as much as Alexander didn't want to admit it to himself, he found the woman intriguing. Maybe she would consent to being his mistress. Tia had left Alexander, after all, as soon as she'd found out that he hadn't had any intention of promoting her from mistress to wife.
Sighing, Alexander stood. He would present the matter to Adrian. Adrian always knew what to do.