A Court of Mist and Fury Page 141

The king merely waved a hand at him. “You are free to go, Rhysand. Your friend’s poison is gone. The wings on the other, I’m afraid, are a bit of a mess.”

Don’t fight it—don’t say anything, I begged him as Rhys reached his brothers. Take my sisters. The wards are down.

Silence.

So I looked—just once—at Rhysand, and Cassian, and Mor, and Azriel.

They were already looking at me. Faces bloody and cold and enraged. But beneath them … I knew it was love beneath them. They understood the tears that rolled down my face as I silently said good-bye.

Then Mor, swift as an adder, winnowed to Lucien. To my sisters. To show Rhys, I realized, what I’d done, the hole I’d blasted for them to escape—

She slammed Lucien away with a palm to the chest, and his roar shook the halls as Mor grabbed my sisters by the arm and vanished.

Lucien’s bellow was still sounding as Rhys lunged, gripping Azriel and Cassian, and did not even turn toward me as they winnowed out.

The king shot to his feet, spewing his wrath at his guards, at Jurian, for not grabbing my sisters. Demanding to know what had happened to the castle wards—

I barely heard him. There was only silence in my head. Such silence where there had once been dark laughter and wicked amusement. A wind-blasted wasteland.

Lucien was shaking his head, panting, and whirled to us. “Get her back,” he snarled at Tamlin over the ranting of the king. A mate—a mate already going wild to defend what was his.

Tamlin ignored him. So I did, too. I could barely stand, but I faced the king as he slumped into his throne, gripping the arms so tightly the whites of his knuckles showed. “Thank you,” I breathed, a hand on my chest—the skin so pale, so white. “Thank you.”

He merely said to the gathered queens, now a healthy distance away, “Begin.”

The queens looked at each other, then their wide-eyed guards, and snaked toward the Cauldron, their smiles growing. Wolves circling prey. One of them sniped at another for pushing her—the king murmured something to them all that I didn’t bother to hear.

Jurian stalked over to Lucien amid the rising squabble, laughing under his breath. “Do you know what Illyrian bastards do to pretty females? You won’t have a mate left—at least not one that’s useful to you in any way.”

Lucien’s answering growl was nothing short of feral.

I spat at Jurian’s feet. “You can go to hell, you hideous prick.”

Tamlin’s hands tightened on my shoulders. Lucien spun toward me, and that metal eye whirred and narrowed. Centuries of cultivated reason clicked into place.

I was not panicking at my sisters being taken.

I said quietly, “We will get her back.”

But Lucien was watching me warily. Too warily.

I said to Tamlin, “Take me home.”

But the king cut in over the bickering of the queens, “Where is it.”

I preferred the amused, arrogant voice to the flat, brutal one that sliced through the hall.

“You—you were to wield the Book of Breathings,” the king said. “I could feel it in here, with …”

The entire castle shuddered as he realized I had not been holding it in my jacket.

I just said to him, “Your mistake.”

His nostrils flared. Even the sea far below seemed to recoil in terror at the wrath that whitened his ruddy face. But he blinked and it was gone. He said tightly to Tamlin, “When the Book is retrieved, I expect your presence here.”

Power, smelling of lilac and cedar and the first bits of green, swirled around me. Readying us to winnow away—through the wards they had no inkling I’d smashed apart.

So I said to the king, and Jurian, and the queens assembled, already at the lip of the Cauldron and hissing over who would go in first, “I will light your pyres myself for what you did to my sisters.”

Then we were gone.

CHAPTER

68

Rhysand

I slammed into the floor of the town house, and Amren was instantly there, hands on Cassian’s wings, swearing at the damage. Then at the hole in Azriel’s chest.

Even her healing couldn’t fix both. No, we’d need a real healer for each of them, and fast, because if Cassian lost those wings … I knew he’d prefer death. Any Illyrian would.

“Where is she?” Amren demanded.

Where is she where is she where is she

“Get the Book out of here,” I said, dumping the pieces onto the ground. I hated the touch of them, their madness and despair and joy. Amren ignored the order.

Mor hadn’t appeared—dropping off or hiding Nesta and Elain wherever she deemed safest.

“Where is she?” Amren said again, pressing a hand to Cassian’s ravaged back. I knew she didn’t mean Mor.

As if my thoughts had summoned her, my cousin appeared—panting, haggard. She dropped to the floor before Azriel, her blood-caked hands shaking as she ripped the arrow free of his chest, blood showering the carpet. She shoved her fingers over the wound, light flaring as her power knit bone and flesh and vein together.

“Where is she?” Amren snapped one more time.

I couldn’t bring myself to say the words.

So Mor said them for me as she knelt over Azriel, both of my brothers mercifully unconscious. “Tamlin offered passage through his lands and our heads on platters to the king in exchange for trapping Feyre, breaking her bond, and getting to bring her back to the Spring Court. But Ianthe betrayed Tamlin—told the king where to find Feyre’s sisters. So the king had Feyre’s sisters brought with the queens—to prove he could make them immortal. He put them in the Cauldron. We could do nothing as they were turned. He had us by the balls.”

Those quicksilver eyes shot to me. “Rhysand.”

I managed to say, “We were out of options, and Feyre knew it. So she pretended to free herself from the control Tamlin thought I’d kept on her mind. Pretended that she … hated us. And told him she’d go home—but only if the killing stopped. If we went free.”

“And the bond,” Amren breathed, Cassian’s blood shining on her hands as she slowed its dribbling.

Mor said, “She asked the king to break the bond. He obliged.”

I thought I might be dying—thought my chest might actually be cleaved in two.

“That’s impossible,” Amren said. “That sort of bond cannot be broken.”

“The king said he could do it.”

“The king is a fool,” Amren barked. “That sort of bond cannot be broken.”

“No, it can’t,” I said.

They both looked at me.

I cleared my head, my shattering heart—breaking for what my mate had done, sacrificed for me and my family. For her sisters. Because she hadn’t thought … hadn’t thought she was essential. Even after all she had done. “The king broke the bargain between us. Hard to do, but he couldn’t tell that it wasn’t the mating bond.”

Mor started. “Does—does Feyre know—”

“Yes,” I breathed. “And now my mate is in our enemy’s hands.”

“Go get her,” Amren hissed. “Right now.”

“No,” I said, and hated the word.

They gaped at me, and I wanted to roar at the sight of the blood coating them, at my unconscious and suffering brothers on the carpet before them.

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