• Katelyn was suffocating. Not like someone was holding a pillow over her face. She had forgotten how to breathe.

    Fish don't drown, she told herself.

    But yet, Katelyn was a drowning fish. Born and raised, trained and tamed, to be the perfect assassin. She had drugged the guards, snuck into King Ponfur's room, put the poison in his wine glass, hid behind a curtain and watched him drain the entire cup… but the king was not dead. They had warned her about this- the king might be cautious enough to have built up a resistance to Darkwood powder.

    Now was the time, she knew. If the poison were going to do its work it would have done so many hours ago. The knife felt cold in her hand.

    Fish don't drown, she reminded herself. Young girls don't train to be assassins and wimp out at the last moment.

    She walked forward. Quietly, on the balls of her feet, just as Kennan had taught her. She raised the knife… and brought it down. The king eyes opened at the last minute, so she was not spared the look of wild fear in the eyes that reflected her image. That look died as she pulled the bejewel dagger out of his chest. He had not even made a sound, but to Katelyn his silence screamed the truth. She was a master assassin .

    As Katelyn escaped though the window and out into the night she thought abut the guards she had drugged.

    One of them might wake and find a dead king. The thought gave her little satisfaction. At least now I can breathe again. I can go back to Kennan and tell him I succeeded. He'll no doubt be pleased with me, although he won't show it.

    Katelyn could just see Kennan's face -grim as ever- as he told her; ''Well, of course you succeeded. After all-'' and she would finish for him; ''fish don't drown.''