GENRE: YA Fantasy
Aryli has returned to her kingdom to find that her throne has been usurped. Having already failed miserably in her first attempt to reclaim it, she happens upon the deceitful usurper giving a speech in a crowded town square and decides to take another shot.
Every self-preservation instinct that I had was screaming at me to run and hide--to say, "Just kidding," to do anything but what I was doing, which was walking confidently toward the platform with my head held high. I saw Gabrien out of the corner of my eye as I passed through the crowd. He looked pale with panic and flush with anger all at once. 'Please, don't do anything stupid...like me,' I thought at him and Miqqal and Hynton.
Whispers and excited murmurs ushered me to the platform, and I found myself ascending the steps before I even knew I had reached them. Close enough to see Arybin properly, I noticed (with a blossom of rage in the pit of my stomach) that she was wearing the crowns Paxia and Strios had given me.
"It's time to stop pretending, Arybin," I called in that not-mine, regal voice I'd used earlier that morning. I pulled my hood back and shook my newly auburn hair out, hoping that one or two people in the crowd had seen my mother before she died and would recognize me for who I was.
Undeterred, Arybin gave me a private, shark-like smile that bared all her pearly whites before turning to address the crowd--once again a picture of everything sublime.
Apparently, it was game on.