Chapter 3



By the time they were ready to go, they couldn’t leave their room. Kinrou opened the door to find Shinjaloye, Mienna, and Sahiren on the other side.
“Would you mind if I had a word with you?” the Empress asked.

“Not at all. We were just about to come and find you,” Kinrou said, gesturing for them to come in.

“I understand that you wish to leave Karath,” she said, getting straight to the point. Her face looked troubled. “Not only that, but I believe Zalityu to be your intended destination.”

“That’s true.”

“You need to understand that I cannot sanction this. The skirmish with them was too recent, and there is much lingering resentment on both sides of the border. Sholaiya will not be happy if she learns of this. It may well start more fighting. Neither of our countries can bear that so soon.” She sighed. “On the other hand, I cannot ignore a direct command from the Fire Lord. You can see my dilemma.”

“I can,” Kinrou replied. “Rikkala said she’d talk to someone in Zalityu about this.”

“It’s possible that she was referring to Sholaiya herself, though it’s far more likely that she meant Kal Atlien’s Sage,” Sahiren mused. “I forget what her name is.”

“Good,” Mienna said, folding her arms. “The two of us aren’t supposed to know who Rikkala is. That knowledge is reserved for the current rulers of the five countries, the other Sages, and the Sky Lords.”

Shinjaloye frowned. “If arrangements have been made, that’s all well and good. Officially, I have to tell you that you may not under any circumstances leave the country.”

“What my mother is saying is that if you go, you must do so without telling her so that she can pretend she isn’t aware of your activities,” Sahiren explained.

“I got that, thanks,” Kinrou said.

“I’m glad we have an understanding.” Shinjaloye relaxed. “Well, then, I’ll leave the two of you to… whatever it was you were doing.”

“Clearly, Kishandren was sorting clothes with Kinrou’s help,” Sahiren explained. “He’s more familiar with Telvan’s weather. You wouldn’t dress for winter here the way you would in Shanshiire.”

“Yes, precisely,” Kishandren said, nodding.

“We’ll leave you to it, then.” Satisfied, Shinjaloye left with Sahiren and Mienna following along.

The door slid shut behind them. Kinrou turned to Kishandren. “We should get out of here. Are you ready?”

“I am.”

He picked up his pack, noting that it was a third smaller than Kishandren’s. “Let’s go.”