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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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“You’re sure there was only one bandit?” Berdi asked. “Sometimes they rove in bands.”

I knew she spoke in code, wanting to know if the person who attacked me could have a whole royal army marching down on the inn by the end of the day.

“He was a lone bandit. I’m certain. There are no others.”

She breathed out a long wordless grumble, which I took to be her version of relief.

“There,” she said, pressing a small bandage to my neck. “Done.” She stirred some powder into a cup of water and held it out to me. “Drink this. It will help settle your stomach.” I drank dutifully, hoping to appease her. “Now, off to your bed to rest,” she said. “I’ll bring some bread and broth along shortly.”

I was about to protest, but Kaden grabbed my elbow to help me up, and as I stood, I felt the effects of the violent struggle just now settling in. Every part of me ached, my shoulder, my elbow that had jabbed his ribs, my ankle and heel that had stomped down with incredible force, my neck that had twisted back farther than it could naturally go.

“Just for a little while,” I said. “I’ll be able to work in the dining room tonight.”

Berdi mumbled something under her breath, and Kaden led me out the kitchen door. As we climbed up the hillside steps, I thanked him for his timely appearance, saying I would surely be dead if he hadn’t come along and asking how he came to be there.

“I heard a scream, grabbed my bow, and ran toward the forest. I thought it was Pauline returning from the Sacrista and she had encountered an animal. A bear or panther. I didn’t expect to see you with a knife at your throat.”

It was the last thing I expected too. “I’m thankful your aim was sure. And the body … will that—”

“It will disappear,” he said confidently.

“It’s just that I’m new here myself,” I explained, “and I don’t want to cause problems for Berdi. I’m already on the bad side of some soldiers.”

“I understand. No one will know. The man deserves no better.”

He seemed as eager as I was to have any trace of the encounter gone. He’d killed the man only to save me—no one could blame him for that—but perhaps he couldn’t afford questions from a constable right now any more than I could.

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