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 "They accepted," I grinned. The terms of our visit were simple; if they tried to attack us, we'd kill them. And it would be easy. They didn't have a Rider on their side, and I was one of the most powerful anyway, after Eragon and Adrian, the Rider of a purple dragon named Syloen. I had the pleasure of meeting and duelling both of these incredible Riders.

"So, when do we leave?" Sorin queried. "Now," I responded. "We can eat on the way. Come on, Nishinkin!" The magnificent orange beasts words filled our thoughts. 'Sorin, you wanted to come, did you not? Well then, get on my back. To Pulk!'

I laughed along with him as we did lunged out of the cave. Sorin held on to me for dear life, as he had never been one for flying. I rested one hand on his arms around my waist and one on Drakha's gleaming hilt. Pulk came into our vision after only half an hour... the Servians had no idea how close we had been to the capital the entire time. We landed by the gate.

A trembling guard stood by the entrance, pointing his long spear at us. "S-state your business at Pulk, Rider!" He stuttered. 

"We have a meeting with the King. My name's Ashira, and this is Nishinkin and Sorin. Please keep in mind," I added, dropping my voice to a murmur, "that I could kill you if I wanted. I could kill anyone if I wanted. So, it would only benefit you to let me in right now."

"Right this way!" He cried. I sensed fear in him. He was either going to bend even easier to my will or risk death and disobey me. Good.

The king met us in the hall. "Rider. It is a pleasure to finally have one among us. Please, what are your names?" He dismissed the guard with a flick of his wrist.

"I'm pleased to meet you, your highness. However, I will not bow, as Riders are superior to everyone in the land... including you. My name is Ashira, and this is the partner of my soul, Nishinkin. This is Sorin, my love and my partner in crime. By that, I mean..."

The king looked at me, intrigued. I slipped into his mind. How dare she have the audacity to question my superiority, he thought. But, I'm interested... what could she mean by 'partner in crime?' 

"It has come to my attention that a few days ago you had a worker stolen by a Rider. That Rider was me, and that worker was Sorin. I would like it if you'd please give our belongings back; you took them from us many years ago."

"Right, Argetlam. If I like your proposition, then you and all of your Riders may have all that was taken from them back."

I nodded, satisfied. He took us to his study where I told him about my plan to invade Eastmark. He mentioned a few alterations to the plan, as well as some information I didn't know about our own nation of Alagaësia. We sat together for a while after that, and we laughed and had tea and biscuits. 

"Ashira, I have taken a liking to you. How would you and Sorin like to become part of the Royal Court?"

I pondered this. 'It would benefit the Riders greatly,' Nishinkin said. 'If we had an inside member. Also, wouldn't that mean you'd have a say in how the people are treated?'

'Yes,' I responded. 'But we have duties with the Riders, don't we?'

'In offering us this, he is pretty much accepting our plan. Wouldn't our duties as messengers be finished if he accepts?'

He was right. So, so right. "Okay, your highness. We will become part of your court. Does that mean you are accepting our plan?"

He grinned coyly. "Indeed it does, Lady Ashira. So, call in your Riders; we will have one mission first, to claim a single city in Eastmark. It is the biggest continent after all."

I nod. "But your highness, you do realise that it will take a while to reach Eragon and the other Riders? They are living in Curseling in the time being, do I invite some to come with us?"

He laughed. "Yes. But also invite those who don't come to join us in battle. Oh, and Ashira?" He called as we began to leave the room. "Actually, this goes for all of you. You can call me Kirin, that's my real name. Seeing as you are superior to me as a Rider."

I bowed and we left, taking to the air and headed for Curseling.

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