Chapter LXXXV

‘Beatrix.’

Everything was ready and set. Her dresses had been exchanged for practical breeches, a white blouse pulled in at the waist by a belt through which was slung a beautiful, slender sword. Her boots were light and quiet, her hair pulled back into a long plait down her back to get it out of her eyes. A small dagger was hidden in one of her boots, but she knew she’d never get to it quickly enough, even if the moment did call.

‘Beatrix. I want you to think about what you’re doing.’

She turned quickly from patting Kiara’s back to see Lockspate.

‘Be serious, Beatrix. This could be more dangerous than you bargained for.’

‘I know,’ she said, turning back to Kiara. ‘I know about the danger, and I’m ready. I can’t just leave Keiran there, Lockspate. Surely you can see that?’

He sighed, a tired smile flickering on his face. ‘You’ve got more guts than ever I gave you credit for, Beatrix. If we ever get out of this... you’ll have won my respect ten times over.’

She blushed at the unexpected praise. ‘Th-thanks. Um...’

‘Don’t worry. I’m not going to stop you leaving. You’re a very determined young woman. And loyal, too. But think - would he do the same for you?’

‘Yes,’ she said without hesitation. ‘I’m sure of it.’

‘Even though you’re a Countess?’

She faltered, and he shook his head. ‘I’m sorry, Beatrix. I don’t want to upset you. But look... If you do happen to rescue him, send someone up to the battlements. Burn the flag. We’ll see that. And the rebels will fight again.’

‘Thank you,’ she said quietly as he left.

Would Keiran do this for her?

The End

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