Page 21 of Pretty Little Thief

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“Good to know where your loyalty lies,” I huff.

“Our loyalties lie with the crown, Your Majesty. Your father, the king, gave us an order, and we are fulfilling it. No matter how much you fight us on it,” Tristan says.

Greyson walks over, putting himself between Dominic and me. He places a hand under my chin, tilting my head up so that I’m looking him directly in the eyes. Such beautiful blue eyes.

“You have a fight coming your way, Princess. You can either prepare for it the way your father wants you to or lay down and die. Because that’s what will happen if you aren’t prepared when the time comes.”

Grey releases his hand, and my head bows as my eyes shut. His hands move to my shoulders, rubbing gently, and sending a shiver down my spine. My father’s words embedded in my brain, play on repeat. The burden is mine, and even though I haven’t shared the prophecy with them, something inside me tells me I can trust them with it. I’m just not ready yet.

My gaze falls to my feet, thinking about my brother. I love Rami with all my heart and soul. I just wish things were different.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be prepared to fight my brother for the throne.” I shake my head anxiously.

Greyson leans forward, whispering in my ear, “You will take the throne with us by your side.”

Another shiver.

Dominic pulls Grey away from me as two of my father’s guards rush through the clearing. Callum runs behind them to catch up. The three of us take off to meet them halfway. “Your Majesty, it’s the king. He’s requesting your presence at court immediately.”

I’m stunned. My father is out of bed and at court for the first time since he’s returned. My gaze lands on Callum, who’s looking behind me at the guys with sorrow filling his features.

I spin on my heels to find the three of them looking at one another with worry written all over their faces.

Before I can say anything, Dominic protectively places himself between me and the guards.

I’m waiting for Callum to look at me, but he doesn’t. He silently falls in line at my side.

Dominic stares down the guards in front of us before speaking.

“She needs to dress, then we will meet the king in court,” Dominic responds.

“There’s no time, sir. The king demands you come at once.”

My eyes widen in shock.

Something’s not right.

A lady is to never attend court without proper attire. It looks bad on the crown.

My feet move on their own accord with my guards following close behind. We enter Windemere as a united front.

The moment we walk through the doors, I’m hit with an eerie feeling.

My stomach knots as I take in my surroundings. There are people huddled together throughout each room, talking in hushed voices, women consoling one another while crying.

My heart sinks into the pit of my stomach. It’s hard to breathe.

Did my father’s condition worsen? If so, then why is he attending court being so ill?

A thousand questions cross my mind as we slowly make our way to the throne room.

Stepping into the throne room, I’m stunned. My mouth falls open and shut.

My eyes can’t believe what I am seeing.

At the top of the room, my brother is sitting upon the throne with my father’s crown placed upon his head.