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Chapter 22

"You're not going back are you?" Kayden asked me when we were eating breakfast.

"Should I? I'm not sure would be the best idea…I've learned what I hope to."

"Which was?"

"Where Tristan was of course. But how are we going to get him?" I asked.

"I'm working on that….He seems to think he's perfectly safe which I don't understand. There must be something we're not seeming."

"Did you return the address book?"

"Of course, that's the first thing I did. Then I went back to the Duke's hoping to see Tristan. I suspected he was there but he never came out of his rooms and I had no reason to wondering around the mansion."

"Could he be sick?"

"Doubt it,"

"He must be hiding then, from us do you think?"

"He doesn't fear me, Deirdre. And he thinks you are dead. There has to be someone else. Who else would be looking for him?"

"The King?"

"No…I don't think he believes I have spoken with the King. He probably still believes the King trusts him."

"I don't care about all that- lets just sneak in, drug him, bring him here. You can turn him over to the King who can get all the information he needs then kill him for treason and BAM! We're done with all this." I said banging my fist down on the table.

"We could I guess…" He said but he didn't sound convinced at all.

"Or we could just shank him!"

"Shank? Really, Deirdre?" Kayden laughed.

"Well, it would be over, quick and easy, and then we could go do something fun for a change." I said, only half joking.

We were both laughing when there was a deafening explosion and the whole house shook, I screamed and dropped to the floor as Kayden did the opposite and jumped up dashing toward the sound. I heard a three gunshots.

"Kayden!" I screamed and dashed to the door way, crashing into Kayden.

"Run! We need to get out of here now!" He yelled, pushing my towards the kitchen and our escape. I knocked over one the lamps as I rushed by, causing the carpet behind us burst into flames.

We ran out the back door and into the alley, I followed Kayden. He led us through the maze of busy streets and dirty back alleys until I thought I might die.

"Wait!" I gasped as I collapsed, trying to get some air back into my starved lungs. Kayden turned and helped me up, looking around for any sign of our pursuers. But there was nothing.

"Who were they?" I asked as my breathe became more normal.

"Tristan's people probably…or the duke's." He shrugged.

"Tristan's people? He has people?" I asked, confused.

"He has quite a few- you should be surprised. Money can buy pretty much anything."

"What now?" I asked looking around, I had not the slightest clue where we were. Kayden looked down for a few moments, deep in thought. I looked around feeling awkward and exposed but it seemed we were safe…for the moment.

"We're going to have to go back to the king." Kayden said quietly.

"WHAT! The king?" I exclaimed, "Why would we go to the king? What will he do?"

"Deirdre, he's the one we're really working for. We need to go get protection from him until things calm down. I think we might have stumbled on something much bigger than a few traitors and the address book."

"We're going to die aren't we?" I whispered.

"No, don't be silly, love." He kissed me lightly on the lips, "We just might not to go do fun things quite yet." I nodded, not completely convinced.

"Come on, lets get a carriage." KAyden took my hand and we started walking towards the main street.

"But Kayden, we have no money!" I exclaimed, remembering out hurried exit from our house. He smiled and shook his head,

"I would think you would know me enough by now to know that I'm always prepared!" He laughed pulling out a bulging purse.

"Yeah, except when you're not…" I muttered and lightly punched him.

"No respect! Ahhh women!" He laughed and bumped me with his shoulder. We laughed as we went looking for a carriage, how can we be laughing together at a time like this? I thought but I wasn't going to worry about it because I definitely didn't mind.

It took less than I thought to get to the palace, the palace! I laughed to myself, who would have thought I would be at the palace. I shook my head and concentrated on keeping pace with Kayden without tripping and falling on my face in front of the king. Kayden smiled at me and kissed my hand,

"Excited?" he asked.

"Excited? More like terrified!" I said with a nervous laugh.

"Don't worry, he'll love you."

"That's not the reaction I'm hoping to cause," I said.

"That's not what I meant silly girl!" He laughed and squeezed my hand. I glared at him but I wasn't really angry. How could I be when we was holding my hand and looking so beautiful? Not possible.

Before I knew it, there I was kneeling before the king. Then Kayden was explaining our situation and the king was praising our cleverness and bravery in getting the address book and promising his protection. We were each given luxurious rooms and given new clothes and delicious food to eat. Then after a short nap we were summoned to the King's private study.

Kayden when through, in detail, everything that had happened since they had first "acquired" me. The king was surprised when we told him all about my disguise as Darcie Swann, apparently he had heard of her or me however you want to say it. Then the King and Kayden fell to discussing Tristan and what they were going to do to him.

"He needs to be caught, and quickly. Then we can learn all he knows and end him." Kayden said passionately.

"No! That's out of the question! I know he hurt Miss Deirdre here but he's valuable. Too valuable to be left completely alone though."

"What are you suggesting? You can't send me or Deirdre back to him, he knows about us and I doubt he'll trust anyone new at this rate." Kayden asked, looking slightly irritated.

"You're partly right. You and a new agent definitely will not do. But Deirdre-"

"NO! You're not sending her back to him!" Yelled Kayden, leaping to his feet. The guards at the door started towards Kayden.

"Stop!" The king barked to the guards, they froze. The king turned his glare to Kayden, "Sit yourself down." Kayden did.

"We will see about Tristan, but we are not bring him in. He's too valuable." The king said. After that we left for the night, I had trouble getting to sleep- if the king really wanted to send me back to Tristan to keep an eye on him I would have to do it. But why would they do that? I don't know why Tristan would trust me, I mean he would be stupid to after what he did to me.

"I have an assigment for you," The boomed as Kayden and I entered the throne room the next day.

"For me?" Asked Kayden, looking excited.

"No, for the beautiful Miss Deirdre." He said bringing his piercing glaze to me. I looked him in the eye and tried not to look intimidated.

"Yes, your majesty."

"Do you love your country, Miss Deirdre?" he asked, I heard Kayden inhale quickly.

"Of course, your majesty." I answered, getting a bad feeling about what this assigment was.

"There is a Duke, a very powerful man who is practically untouchable because of all his connections. I believe he is plotting to take my throne. I want you to report all his actions and meetings to me."

"I would be glad to, your highness," I smiled, didn't sound to bad.

"Its settled then," The king said cheerfully, "You will marry him next month then!"

"What?" Kayden and I exclaimed at once, my face turning pale.

"Oh course!" The King smiled and I cursed him a thousand times in my mind, "it's the best cover, besides I don't plan on letting him live too long so you'll be free in no time." I just stared.

"What is his name?" I asked after a few minutes of awkward silence.

"Armond, The Duke of Chander." The King said with his hateful smile.

"YOU BASTARD!" Shouted Kayden, charging the king. I screamed and tried to stop him but he pushed passed me toward the King but was stopped almost immediately by at least seven guards. I cried and tried to stop the guards from killing him but one of them smacked me with the butt of his spear. As everything got hazy I heard the king roaring orders.

I woke up in my room, I struggled dizzily to my feet and rushed to the door. I yanked on the handle but it was locked, I dropped to the floor and sobbed. My poor, stupid Kayden… How would I survive without him? I didn't even notice when I stopped crying and started dreaming- it was a sunny day and there were flowers everywhere. I was in a white dress- my wedding day but when the groom turned to face me his face was smashed and dripping blood. I woke up on the floor in the pitch black screaming.

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