Liam holds Eleanor as she collapses in his arms. Their father's death has become real as their world continues to fall apart. Liam watched Cyrus take the ring from his father's finger before his body was even cold to the touch.
From their conversations, both he and his sister know there is treachery everywhere. The castle walls can no longer protect them when the source of treachery is housed within them. Their grief is consuming their spirits. Liam looks over Eleanor's shoulder at Jasper their only allies are strange bedfellows indeed. He also knows that they need every friend that they can find. They must find a way to stop Cyrus and avenge their father.
Mr. Pryce prepares to make the call that the King asked him to make in the event that something unexpected happened to him. He stares down at the card and the phone number. As the head of security, he had always known about her. This person was so precious to the King and the King trusted him to protect this secret.
How could he just tell her that he is gone? What words are the right words to choose? He knows that his time for this task is short as he begins to dial the number. He delivers the news with as much grace and kindness that he can muster for this conversation. Her words in return are kind and quiet. Mr. Pryce knows that she will come to the palace; it is her duty and was her promise to King Simon. He must be prepared for her arrival but there are other matters pressing at this time. He will deal with it when the time comes.
She holds the phone staring at the screen. She knew this was a possibility when he was stabbed. She feared this very outcome. It rocks her to the core of her being. She never wanted this yet it is being thrusted upon her. She will have to move quickly to prepare for the days ahead.
Her thoughts take her back to Robert's death and the conversation with the King that followed. She saw the pain when he came to talk to her. As they sat on the fence in the back hedgerow, the pain was palatable as it poured out from the center of King Simon's soul. At that moment, he made her promise to never abdicate her claim. If something were to happen… She thinks back to how remote that possibility sounded just a short time ago yet she sits here with the knowledge that it has come to this… if something were to happen she would protect them. She would stand up and protect them no matter what. It is what family does. Family protects family and given what their mother has been up to lately… she may be all that they have left and the twins are now all she has left.
She has listened to the endless stream of BS currently coming out of the Palace since the attack. She has heard the lies spewed from the lips of those who were to be trusted. She knows that King Simon's instincts were right. No one is to be trusted. Everything he had suspected came true.
She walks into her study and opens her safe. She never thought she would have to do this yet here she is turning the dial to retrieve her legacy and the proof of her existence. She pulls the file with the royal seal from the depths of the vault and places it on the desk.
She pulls her birth certificate from the file. It bears a name that is so unfamiliar. It is a name that she has never been called. Victoria Elizabeth Abigail Sophia Henstridge. She runs her fingers over the writing and the seal remembering her father with fondness. He was a good man. He was a just man… and that is what led him to be a dead man.
Her arrival will have to be both unfortunate and perfectly timed. She has no choice. She has to challenge Cyrus. She is the only one with an unshakable claim to the crown with enough shock and awe to be the stuff that Cyrus' nightmares are made of and that alone buys a precious commodity… time.
She sits back in the leather chair in her study as she pulls out two weathered old leather photo albums. She turns the pages with reverence and love. She has always known about them and she is about to spring her existence upon her siblings. She knew Robert. She flips through childhood photos of her and Robert. The King made sure that they had a place in each other's lives. Over time the Queen had grown suspicious of his trips to the country with Robert. There became a need for more distance between her and the twins. Her father kept her in pictures. He told her stories. He loved his children… all of his children.
She heads to see the one person that she needs to see before she reaps havoc on the House of Henstridge. She walks into the salon where her grandmother sits in her chair staring out the window in mourning. Her grandmother is mourning the loss of her beloved again. She does not mourn Simon. She mourns her husband again.
She no longer remembers Abby as her grandchild, Abby has assumed the identity of a long lost friend in her grandmother's mind… Her grandmother remembers her as her own mother, Gwen. She listens and consoles for a long while for the simple purpose of basking in her grandmother's presence. Abby knows that after she challenges Cyrus, everything will change. Her world will never have the simplicity that it has had to this point in time. She will no longer have the bliss of the world's ignorance.
The silver lining to her grandmother's mind slipping away is that Abby has learned a great deal about her parent's relationship and why it ended the way that it ended. Simon had always been in her life. She did not know that Simon was her father until she was a teenager. He never denied her but circumstance kept her existence a secret from the world… until now.