TITLE: A Trace of Madness
GENRE: YA Fantasy
Don’t be sorry. Don’t be sorry. Don’t be sorry.
Zéphyrine repeated the sentence in her head until it became her mantra, the only truth she could rely on. When it came to conquering countries, preparation was as essential as brute force, and she had done that, to painfully precise lengths. Zéph had spent the last six months preparing for this task, playing maid to a noble family and the girl whose mantle she was to take. To achieve a flawless impersonation, knowing the original person from inside out was not recommended, it was mandatory.
By now, Zéph knew María better than she knew herself. All she needed to see this through was the lesson her mother had taught her long ago. You are a mind witch, and people are your playground.
She touched the small stone table in the middle of the Sidonia manor’s circular foyer, where a crystal vase of colorful dahlias brightened up the otherwise dull room. It shouldn’t be long until the guard found María’s aunt and gave her the good news regarding María’s survival.
Her chest turned to stone as she remembered the warmth with which María had spoken about her family—a family Zéph was about to trick into believing she was their niece, the sole survivor of the attack on the border city of Alaterra four days ago. Never mind María was actually quite dead, burned to a crisp by Zéph’s brother right as she tried to flee the fire that wound up consuming the city.