CHAPTER 47 - Of a Summer Lord

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"I think I know where he could be!" I said.

Knowing I had everyone's full attention, a drop of sweat trickled down my forehead. They were all Luesha hunters and giving them such vital information would be a treason against my own mother.

"As you all know," I started, "how I got out of the d-dungeon. Well, the Eclipses live and walk amongst us, and they rescue people like me and train them so that they can better control their powers. If Una," I wiped my sweaty palms on my dress, "if she hadn't trained me, my powers would've been out of control more than they already are."

Choosing my next words with extreme caution I continued, "They have protective wards, stronger than usual. And now that we know that Prince Neo is enslaving Eclipses, then there's a pretty good chance that he is hiding in one such ward."

"That's...that's brilliant, Eleni. We might after all save Nova. " Ralph said with an impressed smile, eyes wide.

"But how do we find him?" Lord Orlon asked.

"I...well," I turned to Doran. My eyes locked with his and I knew it was time to do some damage control. I leaned in to him and whispered only for his ears, "One of your soldiers' is an Eclipse. He might help us."

He jerked away from me, and deadpanned. A look of conundrum flashed on his face, as he stared into my eyes. Doran understood that I had fed him the most sensitive of information. The Eclipses prized their secret identity, more than anything.

"Eleni?" Ralph called.

I looked at him apologetic, but I had to save the Eclipse's identity. Dylan's identity. The Sagittarian soldier had paid his Debt of Life to me, when he rescued me from the dungeon and he was also close to my mother. As I looked at Ralph, I realized that some part of me did want to protect her - from Ralph! But more than that, I had to protect Ralph from my mother. The next time they met, I was dead sure, she was going to blurt the truth out for him -

His mother killed your father!

"If it is something about the Eclipses, you know, I want to hear it. More than anyone else." His jaw clenched.

"It's not about... about what you think it is, I swear," I tried not to let my voice shake. It's not about my mother.

Ralph's nostrils flared and for the first time, the red of his eyes seemed scary, as he trained them on me. I wanted to move my gaze away from his, but I couldn't, wanting him to trust me. Again. I saw him nodding, tight-lipped and without another word, he walked out of the room.

"Ralph..." I whispered, shutting my eyes closed.

"He'll come around," Doran said.

It was a mess. The thing between Ralph and me - our father's two families were finally catching up. It was only a matter of time, when it was all going to blow up in our faces. I was a horrible sister, to the kindest brother. But him not knowing the truth before the Final Round of the Conquest was for the best, I assured myself. He didn't need a distraction as big as this.

I shook my head. One problem at a time.

"We need to go talk to this soldier, he paid me his Debt of Life by rescuing me from the dungeon. We can find Prince Nova with his help," I whispered to Doran, our faces hairsbreadth away.

Doran's lips twitched up a bit, "Why are we still whispering?"

I looked around and found that Lord Orlon had left after Ralph and I hastily leaned back from him, tucking a strand of my hair behind my ear.

"So, this soldier of my House, how can he help us?" He asked, tapping his fingers on the table, looking a little conflicted.

"He might know how to work these wards or how to find the magic of these wards. But...I...don't want anyone else getting this information. It could be a danger to the Eclipses, who...who are really harmless. They saved me. You are a Luesha hunter, I know, but...they are victims like me... and there's this..."

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