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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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Fresh fish! Thresher! Bluefin! Cod!

Journey’s end, through the vale,

Pull the anchor! Set the sail!

Morrighan blessed,

Forevermore.

I turned down a quiet lane back toward the main road, the layers of songs floating behind me. “Evermore,” I whispered, feeling the remembrances in a new way, my voice feeling like it was part of something new, maybe something I could understand.

I have you, I have you now.

I looked over my shoulder, the strange gravelly words out of place among the others, but the bay was far behind me now, the sea carrying away the tunes.

“Ho there, lass! A pretty crown for the festival?”

I spun. A wrinkled gap-toothed man sat on a stool outside the chandlery, squinting in the midday sun. He held up an arm draped with cheerful garlands of dried flowers to adorn the head. I stopped to admire them, but was cautious about spending any more money. The bundles I carried had already used up most of the coin I’d earned at the tavern in a month. There were still the gems, of course, and one day I would travel to Luiseveque to exchange them, but that money would be set aside for Pauline. She would need it more than I would, so I had to be careful with what little I had. Still, as I held a garland in my hand, I imagined it on my head at the festival and Rafe leaning closer to admire a flower or catch its faint scent. I sighed. I knew that wasn’t likely to happen.

I shook my head and smiled. “They’re beautiful,” I said, “but not today.”

“Only a copper,” he offered.

Back in Civica, I’d have thrown a copper into the fountain just for the fun of seeing where it landed, and indeed a copper was little enough to pay for something so cheery—and the festival did come only once a year. I bought two, one with pink flowers for Pauline’s hair, and one with lavender flowers for mine.

With my hands now full, I made my way back to the inn, smiling, picturing something more cheerful on Pauline’s head than the somber white mourning scarf, though I wasn’t sure I could convince her to wear the garland instead. I took the upper road back to the inn, no more than a wide dirt trail, taking advantage of the shade and the quiet. The wind whispered a soothing hush through the pines, while a complaining jay sometimes jarred the peace and a scolding squirrel chirped back. I had a little something extra in my bundle for Walther and Greta. Something sweet and lacy and small. I couldn’t wait to give it to him. Walther’s hands would be so large and clumsy holding it. It made me smile. When did he say he would stop by again?

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