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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 keep suspicion from my voice, but as she related each detail, I felt my wariness grow. “And how would you know all this, Gwyneth? Surely the usual patrons at the tavern haven’t spilled such rumors.”

“How I came by it isn’t important.”

“It is to me.”

She looked down at her hands resting on the towel, smoothed a wrinkle, then met my gaze again. “Let’s just say that my methods loom large among my regrettable mistakes. But occasionally I can make them useful.”

I stared at her. Just when I thought I had Gwyneth figured out, another side of her came to light. I shook my head, sorting out my thoughts. “Berdi didn’t tell you who I was just because you lived in town, did she?”

“No. But I promise you how I know is no concern of yours.”

“It is my concern,” I said, folding my arms across my chest.

She looked away, exasperated, her eyes flashing with anger, and then back again. She breathed out a long huff of air, shaking her head. She seemed to be battling her regrettable mistakes right before me. “There are spies everywhere, Lia,” she finally blurted out. “In every sizable town and hamlet. It might be the butcher. It might be the fishmonger. One palm crosses another in return for watchful eyes. I was one of them.”

“You’re a spy?”

“Was. We all do what we have to do to survive.” Her manner jumped from defensive to earnest. “I’m not part of that world anymore. I haven’t been for years, not since I came to work for Berdi. Terravin is a sleepy town, and no one cares much about what happens here, but I still hear things. I still have acquaintances who sometimes pass through.”

“Connections.”

“That’s right. The Eyes of the Realm they call it.”

“And it all filters back to Civica?”

“Where else?”

I nodded, taking a deep breath. The Eyes of the Realm? Suddenly I was far less concerned with a grunting barbarian assassin combing the wilderness for me than with Gwyneth, who seemed to lead multiple lives.

“I’m on your side, Lia,” she said, as if she could read my mind. “Remember that. I’m only telling you this so you’ll be careful. Be aware.”

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