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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 looked at Kaden opposite me, his hair a warm honey gold in the firelight. I had made a terrible mistake kissing him. I still wasn’t sure why I’d done it. I yearned for something. Maybe just to be held, to be comforted, to feel less alone. Maybe to pretend for a moment. Pretend what? That all was well? It wasn’t.

Maybe I just wondered. I needed to know.

The glow of the fire accentuated the hard edge of his jaw and the raised vein at his temple. He was frustrated. His gaze met mine, angry, searching. I looked away.

“It’s time for rest, my little angel,” one of the young mothers said to her son, a boy named Tevio. Many of the others had already gone bed. Tevio protested that he wasn’t tired, and Selena, just a dash older, joined in as if anticipating that she’d be the next one dragged away. I smiled. They reminded me of myself at that age. I was never ready to go to my bedchamber, maybe because I was sent there so often.

“If I tell you a story,” I said, “will you be ready for bed then?”

They both nodded enthusiastically, and I noticed Natiya nestled closer to them, waiting for a story too.

“Once upon a time,” I said, “long, long ago, in a land of giants, and gods, and dragons, there were a little prince and a little princess, who looked very much like the two of you.” I altered the story, the way my brothers had done for me, the way my aunts and mother had, and told them the story of Morrighan, a brave young girl specially chosen by the gods to drive her purple carvachi across the wilderness and lead the holy Remnant to a place of safety. I leaned more toward my brother’s version, telling of the dragons she tamed, the giants she tricked, the gods she visited, and the storms she talked down from the sky into her palm and then blew them away with a whisper. As I told the story, I noticed even the adults listened, but especially Eben. He had forgotten to act like the hardened ruffian he was and became a child as wide-eyed as the rest. Had no one ever told him a story before?

I added a few more adventures that even my brothers had never conjured to draw the story out, so that by the time Morrighan reached the land of rebirth, a team of ogres pulled her carvachi and she had sung the fallen stars of destruction back into the sky.

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