This is a preview to the chapter Chapter 9 from the book The Weeping Empress by Sadie S Forsythe.
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Senka and Muhjah reached Capital City in good time. They had little trouble entering the city itself. Commerce regularly occurred within its walls, and swordsmen were often brought along as extra muscle, protection, and persuasion. Once there, they were again at a loss about what to do next. They needed a way into the palace, but neither of them had spent much time in the capital, nor knew a secret way past the guards or walls. They were sure that they were going to have to fight their way in and then out again with brute force, which was no small feat. But first they had to know where Chiyo was and then how to get to her. The situation was practically hopeless.
They were sitting at a table outside of a small café, looking up at the citadel. Senka tapped Muhjah with his foot and gestured subtly across the street. A lone Sacerdotisa stood there, odd in her individuality. They almost never traveled alone. The community of the order was one of their best-known attributes.
Muhjah easily made eye contact with her because she was staring directly at them. She then turned and looked at the distant spire of the temple before calmly strolling away. The two men finished their beverages, sat for a bit longer, rose, and headed down the alley in the opposite direction. They made sure that no one stalked them before following the priestess’ invitation.
Eventually arriving at the abbey’s rear entrance, they were quickly escorted to the office of the head priestess.
The three of them looked at each other tensely for a few moments. The head of the Order of the Sacerdotisa sighed and introduced herself.
“Muhjah, Senka,” Muhjah said, thumping himself and then Senka on the chest.
“Welcome to Capital City.”
“Not really a visit we were planning on.”
“I understand,” she said. “Well, let’s get right to the point. She’s here. She’s being held in the dungeons. I’m told she was treated well at the beginning, but something has changed because she hasn’t been fed in two days.” She paused, examining the two men, and then continued in a forced matter-of-fact tone. “It’s common practice to starve a prisoner before interrogation. It makes them weak and more forthcoming. We’re told that Chiyo’s questioning is to start in earnest tomorrow. The emperor wishes to force her into a statement of support. He wants her to say that she is the Arm of the Goddess, come to free the people by guiding them under the protective wing of the true ruler, the Emperor and Lord of the Land.”
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