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Pearson Mary E, “The kiss of deception”, public translation into English from English More about this translation.

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CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

THE ASSASSIN

I peered through the window. I couldn’t wait much longer. In a few days, my comrades would be here, ready to return to Venda. They’d howl like a pack of dogs if the deed still wasn’t done, eager to be on their way and scornful that I had taken so long over a single small task. One girl’s throat. Even Eben could have managed that.

But it wouldn’t be one girl. I’d have to kill them both.

I watched them sleeping. I had the eyes of a cat, the Komizar claimed, seeing in darkness what no one else could. Maybe that was what destined me for this purpose. Griz was a stomping bull and more suited to the loud work of an ax on a bridge or a bloody daylight raid.

Not for this kind of work. Not for the silent steps of a night animal. Not for becoming a shadow that pounced with swift precision. But they slept in the same bed, their hands touching. Even I couldn’t be that silent. Death made noises of its own.

I looked at Lia’s throat. Open. Exposed. Easy. But this time it wouldn’t be easy.

After the festival. I could wait until then.

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

THE PRINCE

Only their feet were visible beneath the curtain of dripping sheets that hung from the line, but I could hear them well enough. I had come to pay Berdi for my week’s lodging before I left for Luisiveque. It was the nearest town where messages could be sent and the couriers were discreet for a sufficient price.

I paused, looking at Lia’s boots as she went about her work. Dammit, if everything about her doesn’t fascinate me. The leather was worn and dirty, and they were the only shoes I had ever seen her wear. She didn’t seem to care. Maybe growing up with three older brothers gave her different sensibilities from the girls of noble breeding I had known. Either she had never acted like a princess, or she rejected every aspect of being one when she arrived here. She’d have made a miserable fit for the court of Dalbreck, where the protocol of dress was elevated to laborious and religious proportions.

I fumbled for the Morrighan notes in my pocket to give to Berdi. Lia’s hands reached down below the bottom edge of the sheet, and she pulled another piece of wet laundry from the basket. “Were you ever in love, Berdi?” she asked.

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