A sword clattered to the ground followed by an overzealous whop.
“You did it, Keegan!”
Looking over his shoulder, Micah calmly surveyed the pair of exuberant Igni students.
Keegan stood victoriously across from Aiden, the latter not appearing crestfallen over his defeat. Instead, his grin nearly cracked his face into two. True pride. Micah found himself mirroring the sentiment, appraising Keegan fondly.
The boy finally did it.
Granted, Keegan was drenched with sweat and appeared as if he’d just overexerted himself, but that was a familiar sight these past few weeks.
Keegan was determined. His determination paid off, it seemed. Micah’s earlier uncertainties about his overenthusiastic claim that he’d improve his swordsmanship abilities had since quelled.
Evidently, he shouldn’t have been concerned. Everything had worked out in the end.
“You’ll be good enough to beat Mi
Deserts and canyons made up the majority of the south’s landscape. In the north, where Concordia’s capital was located, distant mountains and lakes were the primary topography. For the first time in his life, Micah witnessed the endless, grassy meadows and trees of the west.There was also an abundance of hills. Many hills. Enormous mounds encased the train tracks on either side, dwarfing them as they passed. They also passed through several tunnels, reminding Micah the Terra people lived underground, just like the Igni Empire of old.He’d never seen so much green.So muchwildlife.Nature in such abundance was remarkable and wholly impressive. Micah sat stiffly on the bench, fully outfitted and equipped as he studied the passing scenery with rapt attention. The rest of his team sat with him, quiet and not quite enjoying the scenery like Micah.They were nervous.Fidgety.“For being desert rats, y
“They call them funnel cakes, Micah!”Micah offered Viktor an unimpressed look as he reluctantly brought the piece of cake up to his mouth. As he tasted the deep-fried pastry, his taste buds instantly swelled as the powdered sugar and the plump, lightly crisp dough hit his tongue. It was sweet, he noted. Almosttoosweet. No. Not almost. It was definitelytoosweet.“You can dip it in this.” Aiden held up the small container of amber liquid and shook it tauntingly. “Syrup.”“Syrup,” Micah repeated dimly. “That is all sugar.”“Well, that’s the point, isn’t it?” Viktor inquired, ripping off a large piece of the twisted pastry with his teeth. “Sugar.Fat. Deliciousness.” He soaked an entire piece of pastry with syrup and somehow managed to stuff it in his mouth without any dripping down his chin.Kai and M
Keegan shifted under the azure gaze, unable to gauge what the king was thinking. Then again, he didn’t dare examine the man’s expression. His observation would be both blatant and disrespectful.Guards dressed entirely in blue stood along the walls of the throne room, their expressions all impassively similar. Their eyes, Keegan noted, stared straight ahead—like dutiful dogs ready to act on their master’s call.Keegan hurriedly moved his gaze back over to King Calder. The king sat upon his throne, his cheek and jaw resting against a propped-up hand, the epitome of sophisticated boredom and contemplation.Keegan dropped his attention to the gleaming floors.Everything was polished, blindingly lavish, and intricate. He was afraid to breathe and dirty the place.Though he’d always wanted to step inside the palace, he hadn’t imagined it would be under these circumstances.Like his meeting with Lord Josiah, thi
Waking up was inevitable.The greedy and consuming hands of unconsciousness loosened their hold from his subconscious and tossed him carelessly back into reality. A heavy weight of doom held him down, reminding him of the events that transpired.Gradually, he opened his eyes and submerged readily in the melancholy. The anger and the loss.Micah braced his hands at his sides and slowly eased himself into a sitting position. He was in a bedroom and he knew immediately it belonged to Josiah.His hands curled at his sides and he breathed in deep.Keegan was gone.Micah forced away the suffocating sorrow and embraced his anger instead. Said anger centered on a specificman,seeing him as the direct reason for tonight’s events. Whether his anger was justified or not, whether Josiah deserved the brunt of the blame or not, Micah found it the easiest to hold the man responsible.Unfortunately, before he could get