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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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I tried to concentrate on the story, but when he said the word fear, it triggered my own. I saw again the deathly blank stare of a bloody-jointed puppet, the one that had haunted my dreams last night telling me, Don’t utter another word. Even in my dreams, I had disobeyed and called out. Silence wasn’t my strong point.

I’d always known the Chancellor and Scholar disliked me, but I never thought they’d send someone to murder me. A bounty hunter was required to bring the accused back to face justice for acts of treason. This was no bounty hunter. He could have taken me back alive to face execution. Was it possible that Father was part of their plan, eager to be quietly done with me once and for all? Not your own father, Pauline had said. I wasn’t so sure anymore.

I shook my head, recalling that night I had slinked into the Scholar’s study. Why had I left the note? I knew it would only fuel his fury, but I hadn’t cared. It didn’t bring me joy yesterday to see it clenched in the hand of my attacker, but the gods save me, I had laughed out loud when I wrote it using the Scholar’s own stationery. He’d have known who did it, even if I hadn’t left a note. I was the only possible thief in the citadelle, but I wanted him to realize it was my plan that he should know.

I could just imagine the Chancellor’s face when the Scholar showed the note to him. Even if the books were of no value, by leaving the note, I had raised the ante. Besides fleeing their carefully arranged marriage, I had taunted them. Unthinkable. They were the most powerful people in my father’s cabinet, alongside the Viceregent, but I had showed them both I had little regard for their power or position. Leaving the note gave me some power back. I held something over them. Their secrets weren’t so well hidden now, even if this secret was something as small as an old book they had failed to properly enter into the royal archive.

Last night after Pauline had fallen asleep, I pulled the chair to the wardrobe. Standing on it, I reached over the raised scrolling at the top and felt for the box I had wrapped in cloth. Why I had stored it up there, I wasn’t sure. Maybe because the Scholar had hidden it away, I thought I should do the same. These books were not for everyone’s eyes. I took the fragile volumes out and laid them on the table. The lantern cast the already yellowed pages in a warm golden glow.

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