Tej slipped silently through square, disappearing into moonshadows as she neared the park. Even the guards at the entrance didn’t see her, despite their torches.
Once inside, she moved swiftly, heading for the column of moonlight over the plinth. As she neared, she saw the familiar glow of the blade magnifying all the light that struck it.
She took a moment to observe the churned mud surrounding the plinth. So many tried to free the sword and earn the Xendran crown. Who wouldn’t be tempted by that much power?
Certain she was alone, Tej slipped into the moonlight and laid a hand on the pommel. The blade began to brighten and she leapt away. “Shit.”
Tej threw her cloak over the blade, leaving the hilt uncovered. After a deep breath, she pulled it free and set it on the ground. She could see the blue and gold glow pressing against her cloak, so she worked quickly. It had taken weeks to convince people it had been struck by divine lightning after the first time.
She poured both her flasks into the plinth and stirred the liquid with a stick until it began to stiffen. Careful not to toss aside the stick, she grabbed the sword from the ground and plunged it back into the plinth. The light beneath sputtered and disappeared as she tore free her cloak’s hem to wipe the adhesive from the plinth and wrap up the stick.
As she snuck away, she checked the sky. By the time the sun rose, the sword would be sealed in the stone again. This recipe should buy her enough time to finish negotiating with the Aluskan Empire. Better to sell the crown and disappear with the money than be assassinated like the last four fools to pull the sword free.