Another Release snippet

This is from the POV of the bad guy, the Duke of Risciter:

Risciter had learned a long time ago that it wasn’t what he actually did that mattered. It only mattered what it appeared that he did. He’d become quite good at appearing to be the model duke. He knew that his reputation was his best defense against anyone discovering what he really was. People were quite easily duped. They believed what was in front of them. The right attitude, the right dinner conversation, a smile and a wink, and they thought him charming and harmless. They were like pawns in a game of chess. He moved them where he liked, used them to distract from what his real moves were.

The darkness and the remote setting reminded Risciter of his home planet. His family had an estate in the country. It was where he’d perfected his real moves. He’d started small, he remembered. His younger sister Ritra was in possession of a little dog. The dog yapped a lot, and the servants thought it was annoying, but Risciter hadn’t had emotions towards the dog one way or another. It was perhaps the fact that he once heard the butler muttering something to himself about drowning it that gave him the idea. But perhaps the idea had simply bloomed in his mind of its own accord. Risciter wasn’t sure. He was young then, couldn’t have been more than seven or eight. Once the idea occurred to him, he couldn’t get it out of his head.

He didn’t want to capture the dog and have it make a lot of noise, because his yaps were so piercing it would likely bring people running. So his first step was to make friends with the dog. That had been easy. Dogs and people were very much the same in that regard. They were eager to believe you were friendly. They wanted to trust you. He brought the dog scraps of food. He learned where to scratch behind its ears to make its tongue hang out of its mouth and make it grin stupidly.

And then one day, he and the dog simply strolled out of the mansion and into the woods surrounding it. The dog had been so confused when he’d slit its throat. He remembered the betrayed look in its eyes, the last whimper it had let out. It had been Risciter’s first triumph.

Dogs got boring pretty quickly, though.