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“Lacie?” says Leroy. “That’s your real name?”

The masked man shrugs. “I only tell it to people up here, your majesty.”

“If we’re telling secrets, I slept with my sister.”

Lacie might be smiling. “Feel better?”

“A little.”


Leroy tries not to shiver–just the cold, he thinks. He’s ready. In the crowd, even the babies aren’t breathing.

“There’s a reason we have kings, your majesty,” murmurs Lacie, and gently pushes Leroy’s head down to the block. “It’s so, when we turn, we have someone to turn on.”

Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Lacie padded the basket.