Today's Reading

Kitt saunters farther into the muddy ring, all but rolling his eyes. "Yes, I'm well aware of how much you love to beat down on me with a sword."

I rotate my wrist, swinging my blade as we begin circling each other.

"It does happen to be one of my favorite hobbies, yes." I advance suddenly, swinging my sword down hard against his and sending a jolt up my arm. "See, isn't this fun?"

Kitt grits his teeth against my strike. "Riveting."

I fall into a familiar trance, letting my feet dance around the ring as we spar, getting lost in the rhythm. My mind clears. My body hums with energy. I've always felt most alive when I fight. It's what I was made to do, what has kept me sane over the years of training and tutoring.

'"A dimwitted king is a dead king."'

Father's words ring through my mind, having been drilled through my skull after every complaint about my tedious lessons as a boy. Though, I won't have to worry about being a dead or dimwitted king, seeing that I won't be a king at all. And after arguing just that to Father, he kindly created a new saying for me to live by.

'"A dimwitted Enforcer is a defeated empire."'


A sharp pain sears up my forearm, dragging me from my thoughts with a jolt. "Better get your head in the game, Kai, or I might actually beat you." Kitt has a look of triumph on his face that I intend to wipe off. "I wouldn't want my future Enforcer slacking on the jo—"

Before he can even finish his remark, I'm pushing his sword to the ground and pinning it under my own before swiveling behind him. In one swift motion, I kick my boot up, sliding a dagger from it to settle the sharp tip against his back.

"I'm sorry, what was that, Your Majesty?" I release my hold on him, and he turns as I sweep into a mocking bow while tucking the dagger back into my boot. That earns me a solid shove that nearly has me staggering, one I return in kind while Kitt chuckles.

His dirty blond hair is far more dirty than blond at the moment, splattered with chunks of mud from rolling around in the ring. Our shirts have long been abandoned in the summer heat and, like me, sweat slicks his tanned chest.

It's almost comical how obvious it is that we're only half brothers. Other than our physical differences, I lack Kitt's caring like he lacks my callousness. He's patient, personable, and fit for the throne like I'm fit for the battlefield.

A king where I am a killer.

"Kai, are you even listening to me?" Kitt looks equally concerned and amused as he snaps his fingers in front of my face. "Plagues, how much blood did you lose?"

I follow his gaze to see rivulets of red trailing from the wound on my arm, blood weaving between my knuckles and dripping from my fingertips. "Well, looks like Eli won't be getting the day off after all, thanks to you." I glance up at Kitt, expecting a remark only to find his gaze fixed on something across the grounds. "Now look who's not paying attention."

My eyes stray to the figure strutting toward us, training leathers clinging to her every curve and lilac hair whipping in the wind. "Oh, look. Bitchy Blair," I breathe under my breath before she reaches us, causing Kitt to choke on a laugh.

"Hello, boys." Her voice is like ice, cold and smooth. "How's the training coming?" Her gaze sweeps lazily over the both of us before returning to our faces with a slight smirk twisting her lips. "Getting ready for the Trials, Kai?" "Not that I need to prepare."

A slow smile creeps onto her face at that. "I would think the future Enforcer would want to make a good impression on the kingdom by winning." She's suddenly very interested in her nails, feigning nonchalance.

I run a hand through my hair with a bored sigh. "And I plan on doing just that."

She gives me a smile that's anything but sweet. "I would hope so, seeing that you're the best Elite in decades. Or so they say."

'Plagues, here we go.'

Kitt takes a step forward and puts a hand to his chest like he's been wounded. "Ouch, Blair. I'll remember that comment when I'm king."

"Aw, did I wound your pride, Kitt?" She offers him a fake pout before turning her attention back on me. "Besides, I personally think I'll be winning the Trials."

I huff out a humorless laugh before peering down at her small form. "And what makes you so sure you'll even be competing?" I say this knowing full well that she will, in fact, be in the Trials.

With a flick of her wrist, a dagger flies from the weapons rack in response to my comment. Before I can blink, it's suddenly suspended in the air and digging into my jugular.

"As the daughter of the general," she steps toward me until there are mere inches between us and whispers, "I think I have a pretty good shot of getting into the games. Don't you?" She giggles even while pressing the floating knife to my throat, further proving her point.
This excerpt is from the ebook edition.

Monday we begin the book MAYBE IT'S A SIGN by E.L. Shen.


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