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The Solune Prince
Novella 2

Chapter 47: Is a House a Home?

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“—Wake up! Ah, please?”

“Fine, fine…uhhgg” Blood gurgled out of the girl’s mouth, down her light face. Her soft skin glowed in the moonlight behind the red. She blinked herself awake. In front of her crouched Chloe. Her back was very cold. “Is this a wall? Where are we?”

“It’s not far,” Chloe said, taking a handkerchief from under her coat and wiping Ammelia’s face. “We need to get moving. You look…bloodied, your wound might not have even clotted yet. How do you feel?”

“I feel great. I feel like fighting again.”

Chloe nodded. She had expected an answer like this. When the moon covered over again, Chloe peeked around the corner and down the long street. They were still retrieving the wounded. She didn’t want to risk crossing, but she also couldn’t move the injured women in her care far enough to go around the street. She also didn’t want to get lost.

It was an interesting scene. They looked no larger than a grain of wheat, but she could see that there were only a few wounded left, being watched by two sentries. She saw the reinforcements return—their hideout must be nearby—and then she saw them raise some of the people Chloe had thought dead. Nearly all were strong enough to walk back, with help. The resilience of man, both physical and emotional, is a thing I will never cease being impressed by. Or was it, that Alexandre cut to wound, but not to kill? Likely both are true.

Ammelia stood and noticed Alexandre was propped next to her against the wall. “Is she okay? She looks…paler than usual, and she’s pretty pale.”

Chloe pulled her head back around the corner. “I do not know. Maybe she will sleep and be fine. Maybe there will be long term damage. It remains to be seen.” Chloe then pulled the girl’s shirt up over her chest. It wasn’t bare, Chloe had bound the wound. There was, however, a large brass-alloy key attached to twine around her neck.


“You can walk?”

“Yes, I think. Sorry I passed out, I am not accustomed to being stabbed.” For some reason, Ammelia had deployed a confident tone and an aristocratic register.

Chloe laughed at this, a sound that was sweet to the ears. But she thought a moment later that this change in speech might have been a stress response. She also had a feeling that the young noblewoman was more than simply Lussa, and more than whatever southern folk she had in her blood which gave her those horns. But now was not the time for contemplation. Chloe moved Alexandre, pulling her over the shoulder so that her feet pointed forward. The woman was heavy. After a couple of minutes waiting for the street to clear, they made a large loop around and eventually reached Lilllich’s mansion. If someone was tracking them, the effort might not have mattered, but Chloe figured if they had that degree of dedication, they likely knew where she was staying already anyway.

“Tell me why you were fighting them,” Chloe said.

“Oh, ah, I was actually…running”


Chloe’s voice tasted sweet in Ammelia’s ears.

She replied, “No…no, they stole from me.”

“It must have been something big, that you would fight so many.”

“Yes…it was my father’s house. They took it.”

“…House?” Chloe asked.

They turned a corner, and were now on the same street as the mansion.

“I returned home and…there they were, a window broken and the door hanging open. And I was infuriated, this is my father’s house.” Again, she emphasized the word father. “Who are these people robbing it? So I stepped inside and took from the wall the sword of my father, my father’s sword.”

That’s an oratory technique; repetition. She really did study rhetoric…

“And I saw them, taking my father’s things with sinful hands, saw them reaching with red fingers, and I cut them down.”

“How many?”

“Three. And I ran to the basement. It was still barred, locked away. I took the key”

“I saw.”

“Well, then the group you saw me fighting came in. I took out two more, but was pushed further and further away. The leader guy, he said that they needed to control all of the houses, so they were taking mine. Chloe…I, I am lost That’s my home, the place of my father. I have to keep it safe! They broke the window!” She cried, shaking. “What will they do to my home?”

With her free hand, Chloe covered Ammelia’s head. She exhaled deeply. “Woah, what’s this? And another?” Something had was buried in Ammelia’s hair.

The Lussa’s eyes widened. “Oh!” She pulled away. “That’s—that’s…”

They were at the door. Chloe reached forward; locked. Another aggravation after a long night. Chloe knocked, feeling self conscious about making such noise in the dark.

The door opened immediately.

“Why are you so late?” Lilllich looked down. “Take her inside. Both of them, hurry now!” Her entire manner shifted upon understanding what stood before her.

Bodies moved in the dead of the night. Hands crossed over, removing soppy blood-saturated fabric, and reopening wounds to clean sediment, bacteria, and rot out.

Ammelia was set on a knee-height cot in the lounge, Alexandre next to her in another.

The cots, Chloe noticed, seemed to have appeared from nowhere. It was not the time to ask, though she was curious.

“Annissette, enough play, move on and get my surgeon’s kit.”

Annissette, for a moment, looked genuinely hurt, but like Chloe, she was mature enough to know it wasn’t the time and so she hopped up and exited in haste. Lilllich pulled items out of the first ait kit. Chloe could tell it didn’t have what she wanted in it, but she would make do for now. She found a small bottle filled with a black liquid.

“But first, water!” Lilllich called out, but the one who heeded such calls was fetching her surgical kit. “Col!”

The young boy had helped set up the cots, and, still panting, he exited and returned with a wooden pitcher. It was nearly empty.

“Col, I need you to draw fresh water—from the well, not the pipes.”

“In the dark?”

“He will go with you.” Lilllich pointed to Siren, who was leaning outside the room in the hallway, looking inside through the doorway.


Anselm was surprised, but obliged and followed the boy through the back door outside.

Lilllich pulled Ammelia’s arm out of its sleeve. She was careful, but the noblewoman still cried out. “I apologize, child, but it must be done.” She did the same with her underclothes, bit stopped, looking around the room. “Chloe, shut the door.”

Chloe did not move, but for some reason smiled politely instead.

“Please…your highness.”

Chloe nodded, and obliged. “Tell me, Condor, that you have at least lived long enough to understand the necessity of knowing medicine.” Lilllich said, removing completely Ammelia’s smock, and then turning her on her side.

“Me?” Chloe said, shocked. No one had ever called her a Condor. She was a little shaken, remembering now that she was more Condor than she was Solune.

Lilllich began cleaning the wound with what little water she had, pouring it slowly and cleanly down above the wound, and watching it wash away the pain. She didn’t respond, still waiting for Chloe to reply.

“Oh, ah, yes, I have served as a frontline medic during some of my mother’s conquests.”

“Perfect. Come, do what you know how.”

As she spoke, Lilllich opened the glass bottle she had taken out before. Chloe looked at the black liquid, mystified. Lilllich poured it into a bright white cloth and started working on the wound with it. Ammelia winced, but it did not sting like she had anticipated. It was just cold.

“I do not know what that is,” Chloe said.


“What? Not elemental!” She took the bottle from Lilllich’s hand and searched, hoping for a chemical formula. “What in the world…” She found a string of letters and numbers, but it seemed off, lacking the symbols that had become universal between the N’Tariel and Solune, and recently also the East Metch. Assuming this was the formula, and that it indeed was comprised of base elements—a fact she recognized she could not assume—the Lussa must have developed different names for the atoms. If there is an octavic table around here I could translate—no wait, I helped develop that table, they should have had no access to Solune knowledge before now. Have they organized the elements, or perhaps they—

“Chloe! Annissette!”

Chloe came back to reality, whirled around and caught a large square flying object on pure instinct.

“Good catch.” Lilllich took it and laid it on the table beside Ammelia’s bed.

Chloe saw that Annissette hadn’t planned to throw the kit; she had tripped on the way in, likely overexcited. Chloe averted her eyes as the girl stood, to avoid seeing her embarrassment, and took a look at what Lilllich was doing.

Now fully equipped, the older woman took her time and flushed the stab wound again. She pushed the needle into the edge of the wound and watched in bewilderment as it bent. “That doesn’t usually happen…”

“What?!” Ammelia, who had been nodding off, was suddenly wide awake.

“I wouldn’t worry too much, nothing fell in.”


Lilllich took out another needle and tried again. “Another one? What is this? Are you made of stone, woman?” She prodded around a less damaged part of the girl’s body, feeling out the nature of her skin. “I can do it with a normal needle if I’m careful, but if I had known, I would have gotten something harder.”

“Oh,” Chloe said, “ah, I, ah, I have a strange sort of theory as to why that happened.”

“You had better tell me, she’s open.”

“I think she’s part Plainkind. Look, see?” Chloe unceremoniously poked the girl’s face. For some reason, Annissette, who was watching, blushed a little, and her mouth fell open in surprise. “She has these tendons running from her cheeks to her nose. We do not have these.”

“Chloe do not bleed on the patient!”

“Oh!” She knew the etiquette of medical procedure and felt extremely embarrassed by her ill behaviour.

Annissette knelt down and took Chloe’s left hand. “I’ll fix it.” She said, her voice small but steadfast.

It was around this time that Anselm and Col returned with the water, and Lilllich was able to properly flush the wound. Then, both Annissette and Lilllich started to work.

“What is a Plainkind?” Lilllich said this more as a statement than a question. She managed to get the needle in without damaging it. Ammelia winced, but did not squirm.


“What the, you have a cut on your arm too? Report your wounds when you get in! Uhh! You should be on a cot with the other two!”

“I cannot. Ah, so,” Chloe turned her head to face Lilllich as Annissette moved to clean her arm. “The Plainkind are a nation on our side of the world. They are neither Metch, Riley, nor Sollussa in origin; in fact we do not know how they came to be. They have thick skin, tanned on the desert plains, and long sharp teeth, and also eyes that look like a cat or lizard’s, but are red.”

“Annise, check her teeth.” Lilllich said. Annissette, who was now finished with Chloe, did as she was commanded. Ammelia did not protest.

“They seem normal, except for this one in the back, which are more yellow.”

“When did it grow in?” Chloe asked.

“Phaw cophl…” Annissette removed her fingers from her mouth. “A couple months ago. I thought it was odd because that was an adult tooth it replaced.”

“Yes. Likely, all of your teeth will be replaced in the next two years. They will be larger, stronger, and sharper. And will grow back if they are ever knocked out.” Chloe turned to Lilllich, who was almost done, but had gone through two more needles, because the point kept wearing away. “I am certain of it, she has some Plainkind blood in her.”

“I will have to order some needles of a different alloy.”

 They finished and everyone except Ammelia, who was encouraged to sleep, stood and exeunted.

Outside the room, Chloe and Lilllich spoke, considering what to do with the little dissident. Ammelia had most notably been occupied with attacking members of the group and failing miserably in her attempts up to this point. However recently her heart had seemed to turnaround.

What should they do with her? Was she their prisoner now? Would they have to present her to the prince? All of these questions floated through Chloe’s mind, and she asked Lilllich most of them and received generally unhelpful answers for her trouble.

“You think hard tonight, captain, and we will see in the morning. You really must speak to Alexandre about the matter, it seems she found a way to get much closer to the girl than any of us.”

This meant that Lilllich had, for now, put the matter wholly in Chloe’s hands. She nodded and returned to her room, not willing to waken Alexandre to talk to her just yet.

Alexandre, alone, rose from her bed. She had accumulated small cuts here and there, all of which had been bandaged over during her unconsciousness. After speaking to Chloe, Lilllich had returned to the drawing room and she and Annissette finished working on Alexandre. She examined her mostly nude body, and saw that she truly was bandaged all over. She felt around and confirmed that she was alright and that there were no foreign weapons lodged in her—it had happened before—and then stood up and took a step, immediately falling to her knees.

For whatever reason, she said a short prayer, asking for blood, and stood again. She hadn’t quite healed from the fight outside the prison. She needed blood, and the only way she knew to get that was to wait…and also drink fluids and sleep, so prayer felt like a good fourth option. She looked around innocently and then lurked out into the hall.

Alexandre found where they had left Ammelia and peered inside the door, which had remained ajar. She heard the voices of young women speaking softly in the night, sometimes laughing, sometimes speaking over each other, voices mingling sonorously, but quietly. A vague sense arose in Alex of the sort of awe a man must feel upon hearing the voices of maidens late in the night through a doorway or window, like angels in the dark, enchanting the air like something from an ancient myth. And who was that with Ammelia? She moved her head to find out, and saw that this second girl looked very similar. The long black hair and fair skin, this was Annissette.

I never got a chance to say hello again…Alexandre Dirge sighed. Surely, she will be there tomorrow…she wouldn’t sneak away again in that state. The Riley stood and returned to her room, but very slowly, since she was extremely dizzy. Behind her, many paces back in the dark, the drawing room door creaked open. Alexandre froze and heard little steps pad away down the carpeted hall. She stayed frozen there for a while, and the dizziness finally subsided. Just as she thought she was safe, she heard the door creak open again. She felt self-conscious, suddenly realizing she was wearing someone else’s white shorts and only bandages to cover her chest.

“Alex!” A voice whispered.

She turned around and saw Ammelia. “Yes?”

“Let me…umm.” They returned to Alexandre’s room, and the Riley put on a shirt that wasn’t too bloodied.

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