|| UNA ||

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Author's note 1: So, hear me out - You all remember High Queen Brianna of Summer Realm, right? If you don't remember then do check chapter 28 - it's explained - but in short: she was the only female to have ever won the Throne, and she was assassinated by the Autumn Realm - hence the feud.

And now, we have some long overdue #SERUNA!

***

Serena came with me

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Serena came with me. The security was tighter in the Summer Palace, but since I had opened the outdoor courtroom in the Autumn embassy's guardhouse, and my whole palace, she'd be fine here as well.

"Una," she called, not looking up from the stack of books she was surrounded with, in my mother's ginormous library, "Will you look at this story about... the Throne?"

I dropped my parchment, and rose up from the desk - Nigel had given me a rough draft for our military positioning - since the Summer convoys would either not reach the Winter Realm on time, or just not reach at all - it was mostly up to the Autumn soldiers' shoulders to defend everyone from the Sorcery. A nasty storm in the waters of the Spring Realm, was wreaking havoc rendering the only route for the Summer ships, shut off.

It didn't need much deliberation to comprehend who might've started the ill-timed storm - Neo and Orella! Ralph and I had forged a new treaty to enable Summer convoys to pass through Autumn's Realm's waters - something that had never happened in centuries - but it was too late. They'd never make it!

Neo had successfully used the feud against us. Bloody mastermind.

I kneeled beside Serena on the cold floor, where she was sitting with her back rested to a bookshelf. Coaxing myself to not look at her, to not inhale her coffee-fresh smell - I wiped my sweaty palms on my thighs, peering into the book she was holding open. I looked at the cover of the book she was engrossed in, it was a children's story book! The one common in all Realms alike.

Had fireboy asked her to read bed-time stories?

"It says," Serena dragged a slender finger over a sentence, "The Throne only gave what one was ready to give it back." She raised her head, "But you don't give it anything, right? Every Conquest has different set of tasks. This time you are indeed sacrificing the objects Eleni and Doran gave you. But it's not always the same, or is it? This line is such a never-ending topic of debates for the scholars and the Ancient Sorcerers."

I scratched my head like a dimwit that I was, when it came to books, "This is a children's story, patched up to resemble the Conquest. Why don't you check some other good book? I think I might have another lying around somewhere eating dust."

She looked up at me. Her eyes twinkling, face shadowed by the haze from the pink morning slithering from the window behind her. "No. Only this line in the whole story doesn't sit well, don't you think? Even my teacher back at school used to say this. This is something about - balance."

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