Part of the serial story The Queen’s Triumph
Your patience has been rewarded! At long last, The Queen’s Triumph serial has begun. :) Chapters will be posted weekly, barring any disasters.
As a reminder, the serial is a rough draft, which means it has typos and grammatical errors. I’m still writing it (yes, still), so it’s also subject to change (sometimes drastically!) during edits. If the serial format isn’t your jam, you can preorder the edited novella (out Dec 8)!
If you haven’t read The Queen’s Gambit and The Queen’s Advantage, you are going to be a little lost because this series follows Samara and Valentin across books, so go binge the previous novellas and then come back. :)
The trick to meeting an enemy at a time and location set by a traitor was this: don’t. I stalked through Arx trying to find a way around such a universal truth, but the plain white halls of the Rogue Coalition’s capital did not offer up any suggestions.
The meeting would be a trap, and skipping it entirely was the only way to guarantee safety. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option. Commander Tony Adams—formerly of the Quint Confederacy but disavowed, supposedly, by the current Chairwoman—had attacked my people, destroyed my ship, and threatened the tentative peace treaty in the works between the universe’s two superpowers.
He needed to die—slowly.
I just had to figure out how to go to the meeting and survive. And, ideally, how to go alone.
I mulled over the problem as I moved through the familiar halls. Moving helped me think, and being out and about also gave people a chance to air their grievances before they became problems. My frequent availability was one of the reasons I was still queen after five years, despite ruling a group of people who took grave exception to rules.
I stopped in the market, and Zita shouted from her bakery, “Samara! If you don’t kill Eddie, I’m going to do it for you.”
She poked her head out of the building and scowled at me. She was in her forties, with pale skin and curly red hair. I was happy to see that her cheeks were returning to their usual cherubic fullness thanks to the new food supply.
Zita was Arx’s main baker, and Eddie was our main chef. They’d been locked in a fierce competition to produce the best pastry, and Zita was kicking his ass. She had years of experience on him, so it didn’t surprise me that he’d tried a new tactic.
“What has he done now?” I asked.
“He’s been in my supplies! As if I wouldn’t notice that salt and sugar aren’t the same thing.”
“Did you catch it before you used them?”
She looked mortally offended. “Of course!”
I laughed and raised a placating hand. “Okay, I’ll talk to him. Don’t start a murder spree just yet.”
She harrumphed at me, but finally inclined her head and went back to work. I stayed and chatted with a few other people before moving on, but as soon as I was alone again, my mind returned to the problem of the meeting.
No matter how far I walked, I couldn’t figure out a solution because Arietta Mueller, my best friend and head of security, would never allow me to track Adams solo, no matter how well suited to the task I was.
I’d tried to leave my past behind, but it kept coming back. But I’d take every skill I’d ever learned if it meant keeping those close to me safe.
And keeping them safe sometimes meant keeping them in the dark.
Continue reading “The Queen’s Triumph: Chapter 1”