فصل 12

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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متن انگلیسی فصل

CHAPTER

12

During that first week back, I wasn’t allowed out of sight of the house.

Some nameless threat had broken onto the lands, and Tamlin and Lucien were called away to deal with it. I asked my friend to tell me what it was, yet … Lucien had that look he always did when he wanted to, but his loyalty to Tamlin got in the way. So I didn’t ask again.

While they were gone, Ianthe returned—to keep me company, protect me, I don’t know.

She was the only one allowed in. The semi-permanent gaggle of Spring Court lords and ladies at the manor had been dismissed, along with their personal servants. I was grateful for it, that I no longer would run into them while walking the halls of the manor, or the gardens, and have to dredge up a memory of their names, personal histories, no longer have to endure them trying not to stare at the tattoo, but … I knew Tamlin had liked having them around. Knew some of them were indeed old friends, knew he liked the manor being full of sound and laughter and chatter. Yet I’d found they all talked to each other like they were sparring partners. Pretty words masking sharp-edged insults.

I was glad for the silence—even as it became a weight on me, even as it filled my head until there was nothing inside of it beyond … emptiness.

Eternity. Was this to be my eternity?

I was burning through books every day—stories about people and places I’d never heard of. They were perhaps the only thing that kept me from teetering into utter despair.

Tamlin returned eight days later, brushing a kiss over my brow and looking me over, and then headed into the study. Where Ianthe had news for him.

That I was also not to hear.

Alone in the hall, watching as the hooded priestess led him toward the double doors at its other end, a glimmer of red—

My body tensed, instinct roaring through me as I whirled—

Not Amarantha.

Lucien.

The red hair was his, not hers. I was here, not in that dungeon—

My friend’s eyes—both metal and flesh—were fixed on my hands.

Where my nails were growing, curving. Not into talons of shadow, but claws that had shredded through my undergarments time and again—

Stop stop stop stop stop—

It did.

Like blowing out a candle, the claws vanished into a wisp of shadow.

Lucien’s gaze slid to Tamlin and Ianthe, unaware of what had happened, and then he silently inclined his head, motioning for me to follow.

We took the sweeping stairs to the second level, the halls deserted. I didn’t look at the paintings flanking either side. Didn’t look beyond the towering windows to the bright gardens.

We passed my bedroom door, passed his own—until we entered a small study on the second level, mostly left unused.

He shut the door after I’d entered the room, and leaned against the wood panel.

“How long have the claws been appearing?” he said softly.

“That was the first time.” My voice rang hollow and dull in my ears.

Lucien surveyed me—the vibrant fuchsia gown Ianthe had selected that morning, the face I didn’t bother to set into a pleasant expression …

“There’s only so much I can do,” he said hoarsely. “But I’ll ask him tonight. About the training. The powers will manifest whether we train you or not, no matter who is around. I’ll ask him tonight,” he repeated.

I already knew what the answer would be, though.

Lucien didn’t stop me as I opened the door he’d been leaning against and left without another word. I slept until dinner, roused myself enough to eat—and when I went downstairs, the raised voices of Tamlin, Lucien, and Ianthe sent me right back to the steps.

They will hunt her, and kill her, Ianthe had hissed at Lucien.

Lucien had growled back, They’ll do it anyway, so what’s the difference?

The difference, Ianthe had seethed, lies in us having the advantage of this knowledge—it won’t be Feyre alone who is targeted for the gifts stolen from those High Lords. Your children, she then said to Tamlin, will also have such power. Other High Lords will know that. And if they do not kill Feyre outright, then they might realize what they stand to gain if gifted with offspring from her, too.

My stomach had turned over at the implication. That I might be stolen—and kept—for … breeding. Surely … surely no High Lord would go so far.

If they were to do that, Lucien had countered, none of the other High Lords would stand with them. They would face the wrath of six courts bearing down on them. No one is that stupid.

Rhysand is that stupid, Ianthe had spat. And with that power of his, he could potentially withstand it. Imagine, she said, voice softening as she had no doubt turned to Tamlin, a day might come when he does not return her. You hear the poisoned lies he whispers in her ear. There are other ways around it, she had added with such quiet venom. We might not be able to deal with him, but there are some friends that I made across the sea …

We are not assassins, Lucien had cut in. Rhys is what he is, but who would take his place—

My blood went cold, and I could have sworn ice frosted my fingertips.

Lucien had gone on, his tone pleading, Tamlin. Tam. Just let her train, let her master this—if the other High Lords do come for her, let her stand a chance …

Silence fell as they let Tamlin consider.

My feet began moving the moment I heard the first word out of his mouth, barely more than a growl. No.

With each step up the stairs, I heard the rest.

We give them no reason to suspect she might have any abilities, which training will surely do. Don’t give me that look, Lucien.

Silence again.

Then a vicious snarl, and a shudder of magic rocked the house.

Tamlin’s voice had been low, deadly. Do not push me on this.

I didn’t want to know what was happening in that room, what he’d done to Lucien, what Lucien had even looked like to cause that pulse of power.

I locked the door to my bedroom and did not bother to eat dinner at all.

Tamlin didn’t seek me out that night. I wondered if he, Ianthe, and Lucien were still debating my future and the threats against me.

There were sentries outside of my bedroom the following afternoon—when I finally dragged myself from bed.

According to them, Tamlin and Lucien were already holed up in his study. Without Tamlin’s courtiers poking around, the manor was again silent as I, without anything else to do, headed to walk the garden paths I’d followed so many times I was surprised the pale dirt wasn’t permanently etched with my footprints.

Only my steps sounded in the shining halls as I passed guard after guard, armed to the teeth and trying their best not to gawk at me. Not one spoke to me. Even the servants had taken to keeping to their quarters unless absolutely necessary.

Maybe I’d become too slothful; maybe my lazing about made me more prone to these outbursts. Anyone might have seen me yesterday.

And though we’d never spoken of it … Ianthe knew. About the powers. How long had she been aware? The thought of Tamlin telling her …

My silk slippers scuffed on the marble stairs, the chiffon trail of my green gown slithering behind me.

Such silence. Too much silence.

I needed to get out of this house. Needed to do something. If the villagers didn’t want my help, then fine. I could do other things. Whatever they were.

I was about to turn down the hall that led to the study, determined to ask Tamlin if there was any task that I might perform, ready to beg him, when the study doors flung open and Tamlin and Lucien emerged, both heavily armed. No sign of Ianthe.

“You’re going so soon?” I said, waiting for them to reach the foyer.

Tamlin’s face was a grim mask as they approached. “There’s activity on the western sea border. I have to go.” The one closest to Hybern.

“Can I come with you?” I’d never asked it outright, but—

Tamlin paused. Lucien continued past, through the open front doors of the house, barely able to hide his wince. “I’m sorry,” Tamlin said, reaching for me. I stepped out of his grip. “It’s too dangerous.”

“I know how to remain hidden. Just—take me with you.”

“I won’t risk our enemies getting their hands on you.” What enemies? Tell me—tell me something.

I stared over his shoulder, toward where Lucien lingered in the gravel beyond the house entrance. No horses. I supposed they weren’t necessary this time, when they were faster without them. But maybe I could keep up. Maybe I’d wait until they left and—

“Don’t even think about it,” Tamlin warned.

My attention snapped to his face.

He growled, “Don’t even try to come after us.”

“I can fight,” I tried again. A half-truth. A knack for survival wasn’t the same as trained skill. “Please.”

I’d never hated a word more.

He shook his head, crossing the foyer to the front doors.

I followed him, blurting, “There will always be some threat. There will always be some conflict or enemy or something that keeps me in here.”

He slowed to a stop just inside the towering oak doors, so lovingly restored after Amarantha’s cronies had trashed them. “You can barely sleep through the night,” he said carefully.

I retorted, “Neither can you.”

But he just plowed ahead, “You can barely handle being around other people—”

“You promised.” My voice cracked. And I didn’t care that I was begging. “I need to get out of this house.”

“Have Bron take you and Ianthe on a ride—”

“I don’t want to go for a ride!” I splayed my arms. “I don’t want to go for a ride, or a picnic, or pick wildflowers. I want to do something. So take me with you.”

That girl who had needed to be protected, who had craved stability and comfort … she had died Under the Mountain. I had died, and there had been no one to protect me from those horrors before my neck snapped. So I had done it myself. And I would not, could not, yield that part of me that had awoken and transformed Under the Mountain. Tamlin had gotten his powers back, had become whole again—become that protector and provider he wished to be.

I was not the human girl who needed coddling and pampering, who wanted luxury and easiness. I didn’t know how to go back to craving those things. To being docile.

Tamlin’s claws punched out. “Even if I risked it, your untrained abilities render your presence more of a liability than anything.”

It was like being hit with stones—so hard I could feel myself cracking. But I lifted my chin and said, “I’m coming along whether you want me to or not.”

“No, you aren’t.” He strode right through the door, his claws slashing the air at his sides, and was halfway down the steps before I reached the threshold.

Where I slammed into an invisible wall.

I staggered back, trying to reorder my mind around the impossibility of it. It was identical to the one I’d built that day in the study, and I searched inside the shards of my soul, my heart, for a tether to that shield, wondering if I’d blocked myself, but—there was no power emanating from me.

I reached a hand to the open air of the doorway. And met solid resistance.

“Tamlin,” I rasped.

But he was already down the front drive, walking toward the looming iron gates. Lucien remained at the foot of the stairs, his face so, so pale.

“Tamlin,” I said again, pushing against the wall.

He didn’t turn.

I slammed my hand into the invisible barrier. No movement—nothing but hardened air. And I had not learned about my own powers enough to try to push through, to shatter it … I had let him convince me not to learn those things for his sake—

“Don’t bother trying,” Lucien said softly, as Tamlin cleared the gates and vanished—winnowed. “He shielded the entire house around you. Others can go in and out, but you can’t. Not until he lifts the shield.”

He’d locked me in here.

I hit the shield again. Again.

Nothing.

“Just—be patient, Feyre,” Lucien tried, wincing as he followed after Tamlin. “Please. I’ll see what I can do. I’ll try again.”

I barely heard him over the roar in my ears. Didn’t wait to see him pass the gates and winnow, too.

He’d locked me in. He’d sealed me inside this house.

I hurtled for the nearest window in the foyer and shoved it open. A cool spring breeze rushed in—and I shoved my hand through it—only for my fingers to bounce off an invisible wall. Smooth, hard air pushed against my skin.

Breathing became difficult.

I was trapped.

I was trapped inside this house. I might as well have been Under the Mountain; I might as well have been inside that cell again—

I backed away, my steps too light, too fast, and slammed into the oak table in the center of the foyer. None of the nearby sentries came to investigate.

He’d trapped me in here; he’d locked me up.

I stopped seeing the marble floor, or the paintings on the walls, or the sweeping staircase looming behind me. I stopped hearing the chirping of the spring birds, or the sighing of the breeze through the curtains.

And then crushing black pounded down and rose up from beneath, devouring and roaring and shredding.

It was all I could do to keep from screaming, to keep from shattering into ten thousand pieces as I sank onto the marble floor, bowing over my knees, and wrapped my arms around myself.

He’d trapped me; he’d trapped me; he’d trapped me—

I had to get out, because I’d barely escaped from another prison once before, and this time, this time—

Winnowing. I could vanish into nothing but air and appear somewhere else, somewhere open and free. I fumbled for my power, for anything, something that might show me the way to do it, the way out. Nothing. There was nothing and I had become nothing, and I couldn’t ever get out—

Someone was shouting my name from far away.

Alis—Alis.

But I was ensconced in a cocoon of darkness and fire and ice and wind, a cocoon that melted the ring off my finger until the golden ore dripped away into the void, the emerald tumbling after it. I wrapped that raging force around myself as if it could keep the walls from crushing me entirely, and maybe, maybe buy me the tiniest sip of air—

I couldn’t get out; I couldn’t get out; I couldn’t get out—

Slender, strong hands gripped me under the shoulders.

I didn’t have the strength to fight them off.

One of those hands moved to my knees, the other to my back, and then I was being lifted, held against what was unmistakably a female body.

I couldn’t see her, didn’t want to see her.

Amarantha.

Come to take me away again; come to kill me at last.

There were words being spoken around me. Two women.

Neither of them … neither of them was Amarantha.

“Please—please take care of her.” Alis.

From right by my ear, the other replied, “Consider yourselves very, very lucky that your High Lord was not here when we arrived. Your guards will have one hell of a headache when they wake up, but they’re alive. Be grateful.” Mor.

Mor held me—carried me.

The darkness guttered long enough that I could draw breath, that I could see the garden door she walked toward. I opened my mouth, but she peered down at me and said, “Did you think his shield would keep us from you? Rhys shattered it with half a thought.”

But I didn’t spy Rhys anywhere—not as the darkness swirled back in. I clung to her, trying to breathe, to think.

“You’re free,” Mor said tightly. “You’re free.”

Not safe. Not protected.

Free.

She carried me beyond the garden, into the fields, up a hill, down it, and into—into a cave—

I must have started bucking and thrashing in her arms, because she said, “You’re out; you’re free,” again and again and again as true darkness swallowed us.

Half a heartbeat later, she emerged into sunlight—bright, strawberry-and-grass-scented sunlight. I had a thought that this might be Summer, then—

Then a low, vicious growl split the air before us, cleaving even my darkness.

“I did everything by the book,” Mor said to the owner of that growl.

I was passed from her arms to someone else’s, and I struggled to breathe, fought for any trickle of air down my lungs. Until Rhysand said, “Then we’re done here.”

Wind tore at me, along with ancient darkness.

But a sweeter, softer shade of night caressed me, stroking my nerves, my lungs, until I could at last get air inside, until it seduced me into sleep.

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