The Richman and the Alchemist's Niece (Part Two)
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The Emperor sat down at his desk. He picked up a quill and cut a new point with a sharp silver-hilted knife. Then he scrutinised each document Thorfinn placed before him and added his signature.

     His hand poised over the final document. It set out the transmission to exile of a death sentence.

    "Leave this one with me," the Emperor said.

    The rebel leader's execution had been set for that morning. He made a pretence of shuffling through the documents once more.

    "Where is it?" he said at last.

    "My Lord?"

    The Emperor's voice was hard-edged. "You will not dissuade me. The Queen will be stripped of her titles. She is a traitor. She has been aiding and abetting my...

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