It's SNIPPET time! Book FOUR is right around the corner (with an official date of 10/23) and I am so excited! So much is going on in Arryn's world right now, but we shall see how she figures it out and what's in store!
This continues to be a fun and amazing journey. I am in love with anything and everything the KGU is and has to offer. This continues to be an amazing experience, and your reviews have been epic. Thank you!!! Book 3 is already over 50 reviews already! Wow!!! That's just crazy.
Now, as I've said before on my website and fan page (www.facebook.com/candycrumbooks), there are a lot of things going on in the next few months--but in AND out of the KGU (for those of you who didn't come to me by way of KGU, but by past work I've done), so keep an eye out for any of that!
Along with Arryn, my own life has been eventful lately, and I've been so happy to have writing. It's a constant! It's SUCH an easy escape, and it is so easy to come visit the characters and create their world or just get online and talk with all of you. So thank you for sticking with me! There are a LOT of us now, so it makes me excited to have you still here for the ride. ;) You're the best!
Now... Without further waiting... For those who read the last book, you'll know EXACTLY what is happening in this opening snippet. For all of you... I say "Let's send this bitch off right... Shall we?"
For anyone else who HASN'T yet read the last book... SHOO!!! GO!!! Go read! There are SPOILERS HERE!!! *Shakes finger at you* <3 <3 <3
The Deceiver: Prologue
PrologueThe sun had been bright earlier in the day, the entire sky free of any clouds to hide it. But the closer it had come to mid-day, the more the sky had begun to darken, and the temperature had fallen several degrees as well. It was almost as though the gods knew what was to take place, as if Hell itself were welcoming its newest occupant.
Scarlett watched out the window of the Capitol building as the citizens of Arcadia gathered out front with candles in hand, not that they could be lit now that it was starting to rain. It was turning out to be quite the sendoff.
While she had hated the bitch, Scarlett was painfully aware that some kind of show for the fallen Dean was necessary.
It was important that the city feel Talia had been wrongfully taken from them. It was important that they feel they had lost someone who was vital to their existence. As long as Scarlett played the part well, the city would become angry over the loss, and it would make them more vulnerable to her mystics’ influence.
Arcadia's newest Chancellor and her mystic friends had decided that a proper funeral was in order. It would ensure the people would be open to a replacement, and accept the story the group would be handing out.
Straightening her clothes, Scarlett turned from the window and headed toward the door. She took a moment to smile at the bloodstain they had been unable to get out of the floor— the very one that had been left when Talia's head had hit the wood.
A casket had been carefully crafted, the wood expertly carved and stained to a rich, dark color. It had been set up at the top of the Capitol steps, several feet above everyone on the ground below. The symbolism had seemed appropriate to Scarlett.
What no one knew was that Talia's body was nowhere near that casket. Shortly after Scarlett had seen the decapitated corpse in the office, she’d had it carried away and dumped in the tunnels. She found that to be a much more fitting burial for someone as hideous as Talia.
"Are you ready for this?" Nikolai, one of her mystic friends, asked. Scarlett nodded, a dark smile spreading across her face. "Oh, yes. I've been ready for this for quite some time. Make sure no one gets close to the casket."
Nikolai laughed. "It's been bolted shut. No one is getting in there. I figured the last thing we wanted was anyone popping it open and realizing the bitch wasn't in there."
"Indeed. She's right where she belongs—in the sewers with the rest of the shit. I'm a wonderful actress, but I'm not so sure I'll be able to summon a single tear for her loss. I might even have to use a few tricks." It amused her to talk about Talia in such a way, especially on the day of her funeral.
This was more like a party for Scarlett. An official announcement of her victory. Still, no one else could know that.
Scarlett felt Nikolai brush against her mind, and she could sense his intention. She did not block him, but instead allowed him entrance so he could assist her. Nikolai pushed against her mind, thoughts suddenly overwhelming her and her senses.
She was trapped inside a dark room, her ankles and wrists bound as many of something that felt like needles pressed into her back. The straps were cranked tighter, pulling her harder against the spikes. It felt as though they had pierced the skin and she wanted to scream, but instead her eyes burned as tears began to form.
Scarlett gritted her teeth as the straps were pulled even tighter, and more tears fell down her face. Suddenly, the image was lifted, but the pain still lingered in the back of her mind. Her tears were still flowing, and she realized Nikolai hadn't yet let go of her.
"Very nice," Scarlett said, wiping the tears just enough that they didn't look obvious, but still produced the illusion that she gave a damn. "You had me all tied up, and I thought that was going somewhere fun. Well, it was fun, but next time we play, no spikes."
Nikolai shook his head and smiled. "You're relentless, but I like that about you. I'll keep the pain lingering in the back. You only need to call on it when it's needed."
She nodded and grabbed the doorknob, opening it and stepping outside into what was now a rainy day. She focused hard on the pain rooted in the back of her mind to keep her from smiling while she watched the drops fall on Talia's casket. Even without her in it, the sentiment was still there.
Making a good show of things, Scarlett crossed the landing to stand behind the casket, allowing her brows to furrow for the crowd as she laid her hands on the wood. After what she felt had been an acceptable moment of silence, she turned her gaze toward the masses.
"Thank you for joining us today," Scarlett said, allowing the fake tears to permeate her voice. She shook her head. "I'm not even sure where to start."
The faces in the crowd expressed sadness as they watched her put on a show. She could feel the power in the minds of her friends, who were standing with her, as they pushed their influence toward the first few rows of people—the ones who could see her best.
They truly wanted Scarlett to be perceived as a sympathetic, loving leader. Someone who was strong enough to admit her fears, but destroy their enemies.
"As many of you know, Talia and I were very close. We were best friends, even though we had met only recently through the Academy. Getting hired on and being given the chance to help her fulfill her dreams for the school was the best opportunity I have ever received. She was kind and considerate, and she put the needs of others before herself."
The words nearly made her choke, and she felt Nikolai pushing against her a little harder, and the pain his push produced made her squint as she gripped the casket, but the crowd no doubt thought the look on her face was emotional pain.
She took a deep breath and relaxed a bit as Nikolai pulled back. "We all know what happened, but no one has admitted it to you. No one has proclaimed what truly happened here. I will not be that person. I will not stand by silently when something needs to be done. There have been rumors swirling around the city in the last couple days since it happened, but none have been worse than the truth."
Scarlett took a moment to gaze at the crowd as everyone turned to one another, whispering amongst themselves.
"Talia did not die peacefully. There is a reason this casket is closed. Talia was murdered. Without a doubt, it was Arryn. She snuck into the city and took the life of the one person who challenged her. Talia knew what she was, as did Amelia, but Amelia had let the power go to her head. She helped Arryn escape the jail, knowing that the fear the girl had caused would keep the city relying on the Chancellor for answers. But Talia knew. Talia discovered what had been happening, and she tried to stop it."
Scarlett stepped out from behind the casket and walked to the edge of the top step. The rain had begun to pour now, and she had to shout louder over the sound of it beating on the cobblestones, the roofs, and the casket behind her.
"Talia had Amelia arrested for murder—the murder of a guard that she herself had employed to protect her. Talia locked her up, but Arryn helped her escape, just as Amelia had helped Arryn not long before. Together, they beheaded our dearly beloved Talia, the woman who stood up for the city when the Chancellor wouldn't, and took on her job. The woman who would have soon led us back to where we need to be. They took her from us, but I won't let that go. I will stand up for the city. I will stand for what is right. I will stop at nothing to get revenge, not only for our city, but for Talia."
Cheers erupted then, the people in front screaming louder and making a bigger show of it than the rest. Slowly but surely, it spread to the rest of the crowd like wildfire. Just as Scarlett and her friends had hoped, the moving speech with the magical push had been enough to secure their loyalty. Scarlett said her farewells to Talia loudly enough for everyone to hear before leaning over and kissing the casket in front of their expectant eyes. As her mouth hovered just over the wood, she said, "And that's how you take a city. Goodbye, you fucking bitch. May you rot in hell."