“Is it strange seeing your cousin as the Crown?” Renee asked Sasha, while wrestling into her dress uniform. “Like watching an unbroken colt saddled.” Sasha settled a magistrate’s burgundy shawl on her own shoulders. “You can’t tell whether the horse will give or the rider will break his neck.” She shook her head. “The first thing Lys did was arrest three Viper lords, Renee. I’m holding my breath to see what comes of it.” “Besides three less violent criminals in Tildor?” Sasha snorted. “Gods help me, you’re just like him. If it was that straightforward, the Crown would have done it years back.” She dropped her voice. “The evidence was broth-weak and now the Vipers’ Madam is pouring underlings into Atham to put the new Crown in his place. A new king’s position is tenuous enough without goading enemies into confrontation.” Renee winced. Vipers had emerged as the Family’s top rival about ten years ago, dragging violence wherever they stepped. They’d be an unwelcome addition to the capital. Still, taking decisive action against criminals was a strong opening move, and a good message to send to the Vipers and Family both. Renee liked Lysian as king already.
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