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Princess of Draga
Nadyah made her way through the city streets. She stopped and glanced over her shoulder,
pulling her hood up further. She quickened her step and kept close to the buildings. Each circle
of Stella di Draga eased into the next. The houses of the nobility, the upscale businesses, to the
merchant class houses, and then the markets all transitioned smoothly like a painting.
She loved the capitol but she did not enjoy having to cross it on foot.
It was the only way she could make the trip to the House unnoticed from the palace. No one
could know of this trip, not even Adelina. Nadyah crossed the street with her head down as a
hov-carriage passed. Only one more city circle and she would reach the edge of the House’s
property. Then she would have to make her way to the secret entrance all the spiderlings used.
Nadyah had to be back at the palace in a few hours and she was already exhausted after
spending most of the day working with Adelina. They had run the length of the palace grounds
twice, and then did some ai-kuda sparring. Nadyah even taught her a few moves in the
courtesan’s fighting style. They still had a lot to cover, but she was convinced the princess could
handle herself well enough to keep an attacker at bay until help could arrive.
Nadyah skipped over a puddle that shone with the green of the moon Vekaza. Mala’s large
form hung to the west and was not yet full. The purple moon wouldn’t be full until the night of
Adelina’s party and the anniversary of her birth.
Earlier that night Nadyah sat at the royal table with Elara and ate with the royal family. The
honor they bestowed on her still dazzled. She had never anticipated such a rise in station even if
only by association. Prince Nash had been there as well, but she suspected it had more to do with
the king wanting to keep an eye on him than to embrace him with open arms into the family.
There was a definite spark between her princess and the lost prince. That Giselle would give
Adelina the assignment said a lot. There was so much to learn yet, and Nadyah knew she had to
tread a fine line between gathering information and betraying Adelina’s trust in her. The news of
Prince Nash was reason enough to report back to the Spider and Nadyah still hadn’t decided
what she would do with what she had found on the private shreve Princess Adelina kept locked
Adelina was a master at dissembling. The princess made herself into what she thought those
around her wanted or needed. Masks came and went until even Nadyah was unsure of who the
female truly was underneath them all. The skill required to confuse a courtesan astounded her.
Adelina was truly submissive, but she played with that nature so well she made herself invisible
to those around her, to those who only saw what they wanted to see.
Nadyah had seen the princess move through those masks like a fish through water, so
seamless the deception was beautiful in its simplicity.
She shook her head; Princess Adelina was a mystery she could not wait to solve.
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