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"He was going to kill you," I said, my chin quivering. "I had to do something."

Damn propriety. Forgive me, St. Clare.

I stepped forward and took him in my arms. He was exactly my height, which surprised me; my awe of him had made him seem taller. He emitted a whimper of protest, or maybe surprise, but wrapped his arms around me and buried his face in my hair, half weeping, half scolding me.

"Life is so short," I said, not sure why I was saying it, not even sure if that was really true for someone like me.

We were still standing there, clinging to each other, our feet ice-cold in the snow, when Orma landed on the next hilltop, followed closely by Basind. Kiggs lifted his head and stared at them, big-eyed. My heart fell.

I'd told him I had no devices. I'd lied right to the prince's face, and here was the proof: the dragon I'd called, and his dimwitted sidekick.