Blood Crown
By Violet Day
Date: November 9, 2020
Ch. 66

Senna blinked. She realized just how rare it was to have a connection like this; to meet someone and spend effortless hours with them. She didn’t want to leave. She wanted to spend every moment up until she absolutely had to go with him, listening to his soft voice and sneaking glimpses of the sun bringing out the red in his wavy auburn hair.

“Okay,” she said, standing. “I… Well…”

Was there any way she could stay? Any reason…?

No. She really had to go eat some lunch or else she wouldn’t be able to perform in the least when it came time to sit in front of a written examination and focus.

“Bye,” she said finally.

“Lovely to meet you, Senna,” he said. He was already sifting through the books they had piled on the side table, probably trying to find the book he had been reading again. “If you ever need anything –any help with the competition –or support –I’ll be here. If I’m not, just wait around for a bit and I’ll show up.”

Senna felt her smile grow wider. “Thanks so much. I’ll definitely see you around.”

She no longer had any doubts about being a part of this competition. She would give it her all.

Grinning, she took the steps back into the main halls two at a time.


She managed, with the help of a page, to find the dining hall. It was later in the day and there weren’t many girls there. Lowelle’s black tresses were nowhere in sight. Senna ate a quick lunch of filling shaped noodles and some kind of fancy seafood sauce, before returning to her and Lowelle’s room.

She had taken one book from the prince’s personal library –Dorn had assured her the prince wouldn’t notice the lack of its presence –and she took it out now, flopping down onto the bed.

It was a book of Dornesian queens. She had to choose one of them, one that inspired her…

It took her an hour or two of somewhat listless reading, but she eventually came upon a queen that grabbed her attention right away.

Isanova III, direct descendent of Gor, sorcerer of the Dark Mountains: earned the throne using her considerable magical powers and great beauty. Often called the “Queen of Kings,” as she went on to be queen of another realm when her husband, King Jeren died. She was well-known as the true ruler of both kingdoms, using her kings as her means to power.

Senna kept reading, enthralled. Isanova seemed like a strong woman who used her powers –both physical and visual –for good for the common people.

Maybe it wasn’t the smartest choice, as this contest really was aimed at finding someone to marry the prince so he could be king, but none of the other queens she read about inspired her half as much as Isanova.

Just as she was composing her essay in her head, the queen’s voice echoed through the halls and dorm rooms.

“Hello girls. I hope you are ready for your exam. Address your nearest page for directions to the examination room. Paper and pencils will be provided. Queenly intellect will not. Best of luck. I’ll see you in the morning, when the top 300 scoring girls will be revealed.”

Swallowing hard, Senna put down the book and went into the hall, joining a group of a few girls who were asking the page for directions.


The test honestly didn’t go as poorly as Senna thought it would. As she lay in bed that night, listening to Lowelle tell her all about her day meeting people and socializing, Senna thought about her morning with Dorn.

She honestly wouldn’t have performed nearly as well without his guidance. He had reviewed ten years of math, science, grammar, and history lessons in a few hours and made them stick.

There had been something dreamy about the experience. It was just so improbable to meet someone like that and…

Senna put a hand to her chest. Her heart was beating a bit faster than usual.


She was feeling that feeling.

She wanted to see his face again, she wanted to hear his voice… She wanted the next challenge to involve something that she needed to use a library to help her study for.

Senna hadn’t felt this way for anyone in a good while –and the castle, among the Elevated and the super-rich, was probably the last place she had expected to find someone like that.

Had Dorn been Elevated? She didn’t know. Since he lived in the castle, there were very high chances that he was, but… she hadn’t seen him use any magic.

She would ask him if –no, when –she saw him again.

It took her a long time to fall asleep, but once she did she had pleasant dreams about a great glass dome where sky and gardens shimmered just outside it. Inside the dome she felt warm and safe, but suddenly a giant silver crown came crashing through the glass. As Senna pulled shards of glass from her skin –the pricks of pain achingly real –she stepped through the dome into the gardens outside.

“Senna! Senna, wake up!”

Senna rolled toward the wall, ignoring the voice.

“I can’t believe you wore my clothes to bed. That’s what pajamas are for. Where did you grow up, a barn?”

That inspired her to sit up. “Come on, Lowelle, no one wants to wake up like that.”

“Whatever. A page just came by and said to get ready. The queen’s going to announce the numbers of the three hundred girls who passed the second trial. Get your card and get ready.”

Senna got ready in about five minutes. It was easy for her to forgo looking put together. She had never had to dress up nicely a day in her life before this.

She put on a pair of Lowelle’s black jeans a black v-neck long sleeve shirt.

“All in black?” Lowelle asked with derision as they made their way to the great hall, the throne room, where the girls had gathered the first night.

“Most of your clothes are too flashy for me,” Senna said.

“All black is flashy in its own way.”

They found a spot near the side and back of the throne room, though it was harder to blend in and stay unnoticed now that the size of the crowd of girls was cut by a two thirds.

“Hi Lowelle,” a few girls said as more of them gathered in the room, but no one stayed to talk.

Senna wondered if Lowelle’s stories of making so many close friends the day before had been a tad exaggerated.

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