My Ranking Points
W&W Chapter 10: Best Boi Devyn Sanders
I’ll edit out the ok boomer later. It’s too good to get rid of now.
The green-eyed girl whirls her head to face me. “What?” she snaps.
Whoa. I execute a half bow, a sign of respect from a knight to a lesser noble, trying to conceal my trepidation. “I’d like to speak with you, if that’s alright.”
Again, her answer is curt, but more promising. “Fine.”
“Great. Thank you.” I glance behind me, and her skeptical expression deepens. “I’m worried about Reina,” I confess. “Are you two… I don’t want to make any assumptions.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You do know she likes you, right?” I tell her. “Like, a lot.”
She sniffs. “Perhaps.”
“Okay. So then… you do know?”
“Get to the point, Sanders.”
“I’m worried about Reina,” I repeat, “and I’d like to be absolutely certain that she’s in good hands. I heard you yelling last night, and… Reina seems happy, but based on what she’s said, I’m concerned.”
“Concerned,” she snorts.
“I’m serious, Lady Sadianna. Reina has a crush on you. That might not mean a lot to you, but for her, it’s huge. Either stop stringing her along, or show her the respect she deserves!”
“Ok boomer,” Sadie mutters.
It’s true. I really am a boomer.
“Consult your moral compass. I know you’re capable of doing the right thing.” I tell her. “Trust me. If you break Reina’s heart, you don’t want to be caught in the crossfire.”
With that, I turn on my heel and leave. I need to talk to Alina.
I run all around the castle before finally finding Arden standing stoically outside the council chamber. Under normal circumstances, I would stop to catch up with her, but I’m in too much of a hurry. “Is the queen inside?” I ask.
“Yes, but Her Majesty is meeting with the council,” she says. I try to push past her, but she stands in my way, one hand on her sword. “I’m sorry, Devyn. You can wait out here if you want.”
“I practically must meet with her,” I say through gritted teeth, and Arden must hear the urgency in my voice, because she nods quickly and opens the door.
“Your Majesty?” Arden says as we enter the council chamber, all eyes on me. “Sir Devyn needs to speak with you. It’s a matter of great urgency.”
A few minutes later, Alina and I are in an empty office, with Mikah standing behind Alina’s chair and Arden stationed alone outside the door. Rory still has to represent Fensid in the council, although I get the feeling he’s the one most likely to be able to make something of this. Taking a lesson from Alina, I roll up the tablecloth and stuff it in the crack between the door and the floor. Of course Arden is trustworthy, but I don’t want a word of what I’m about to say to reach anyone who may be passing by.
Alina’s eyes narrow. “What’s going on, Devyn?”
I finish soundproofing the room, then take my seat across from Alina. I have reason to believe that Lady Sadianna is a knave,” I tell her.
“You can’t be serious,” Mikah says.
“Does she pose a threat?” Alina asks.
“I don’t know, but something’s definitely going on. Sadie claims to be a second-tier Xenon noble, and the castle records confirm it. So either she’s far better at deception than I imagined, or…”
“…we’re dealing with something completely new,” Alina finishes for me.
I nod. “Truthfully, I’m not sure which option I like less.”
“How can you be sure she’s a knave?” Mikah asks.
“Well, I’m not sure, not yet. But everything she said mirrored the tricks we learned about in Strategic Phrasing class. Asking questions, one-word answers. She covers it up well with her curt personality, but even the most reticent of knights has to use simple sentences every so often.” I feel like smacking myself. “I’m so sorry. I should have seen this earlier.”
“It’s not entirely your fault,” Alina says. “She tricked all of us.”
I explain, “We should have some way to tell for certain whether or not Sadie is a knave. Ideally, I’d conduct a formal test, but I don’t think we should alert her to our suspicions just yet.”
Alina agrees. “Then we devise a plan. We force her hand.”
“Should I do it in public?” I ask.
“The idea makes me uneasy,” Mikah says. “If we turn out to be wrong, and we reveal her in public, it’ll make us out to be fools. If we turn out to be right… we can plan as much as we want, but nothing can prepare us fully for what will happen then. Whereas, if we keep the results temporarily to ourselves, we can better plan for how to use them.”
“Good thinking,” Alina says. “Then the next issue on our agenda is how to conduct this test. How do we do it without Sadie getting suspicious?”
“Why don’t we use Reina?” I suggest. “When she’s after something, nothing can stop her. So if she doesn’t let it go, Sadie might not notice anything different. And I hate to exploit this, but Sadie does know that Reina has a crush on her. If she starts spending more time with her, it’ll fall right in line with what Sadie already knows.”
Mikah is already shaking his head. “I like the idea, but can we really trust Reina with a secret like that? She isn’t exactly the most covert of us. She’s likely to slip up sooner rather than later.”
“Then we don’t tell her.” It’s Alina. “We bring Sadie’s inconsistencies to her attention. We make her suspicious. Then, we can let her curiosity do the rest of the work.”
“It would be cruel,” I say. “Reina would be heartbroken.”
“Her heart will be broken either way. This is to make sure none of us are killed in a war we aren’t prepared for. Devyn, can you plant the idea in her head?”
“I won’t let you down,” I say.
“Good. I’ll investigate the Xenons, see if I can discover something about their plan.” Alina sighs. “If there really is a war coming, we need more troops, but we can’t afford to graduate any more knights early. The oldest students are third-years as it is. I had hoped we would have some more time to find a way to recall troops from Lazur, but… Rory’s plan is looking better by the day.”
Mikah shoots me a look, and I quickly cut in. “With all due respect, Your Majesty, I think you have enough on your plate. I can deal with Xenon. Aveline has the occasional tea with Lady Constance, so she might be able to gather information. I can ask Lady Maline to help us, too.”
“Thank you, Devyn,” Mikah says pointedly. “That’s a great plan.”
Alina glares at him, but doesn’t object. “Thank you, Devyn,” she echoes. “Talk to Aveline and Maline, and start planting suspicion in Reina. Veritaria is in your debt.”
“Is there anything I should do?” Mikah asks.
“Start stockpiling food and supplies in the storage rooms. Organize a full inspection of the city and castle defenses, and reinforce them where necessary. Make sure our knights are trained and ready to operate the drawbridges, trebuchets, anything we might need in the upcoming months. I want Medias ready for a siege.”
It’s coming, folks.