The entire world crashed around my ears. I skidded to a complete stop, not even noticing the gauntleted hands grabbing me, the thick cords wrapping around my wrists nor the gag over my mouth.

My mother? They had. . .my mother? I dimly registered the marble floors dragging beneath my feet, and possibly the Guards shoving me and some other man I couldn’t remember forward. Nothing mattered anymore. My brain couldn’t even open to the fact that it might’ve been a lie, a clever ploy that worked all too well.

Because what if it was the truth? I couldn’t leave here knowing that she might’ve been inside. I let the Guards take me to wherever they wanted to take me. It seemed as though I would find out in a minute or two, anyway.

Suddenly, the walls changed from stone to marble, then finally solid gold. I realized we were very high up. That meant. . .we were going to see the Sovereign Marshall himself!

Sure enough, the Guards pulled open two magnificent doors.

“Hello, Dali,” the Marshall said.

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