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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 bit my lip and nodded. She sat me down in the lone chair in the carvachi and pulled a short stool up for herself. She dipped my hands in the water and wiped them gently with a soft cloth.

“I’m sorry if I frightened the children,” I said.

“You’ve lost someone close to you.”

“Two people,” I whispered, because I wasn’t sure I’d ever get the Walther I knew back again. Out here I couldn’t do anything for him. For anyone. How little the worth of my own fleeting happiness seemed now. Even the barbarians would have had the good sense to back down from the combined force of two armies. The prospect had frightened them enough to want to dispose of me. Was that how Kaden had planned to eliminate me, an arrow through my throat like Greta’s? Was that what he had regretted so deeply that night we danced? The prospect of killing me? His words, we can’t dwell on the maybes, came back to me, bitter and biting.

Dihara pulled away a piece of hanging nail, and I winced. She placed my hands back in the pail washing away the blood. “The broken fingers will need bandaging too,” she said. “But they’ll heal quickly. Soon enough for you to do whatever you need to do.”

I watched the herbs floating in the water. “I don’t know what that is anymore.”

“You will.”

She took my hands from the pail and carefully wiped them dry, then applied a thick sticky balm to the raw skin of the ripped nails. It immediately eased the pain with numbing coolness. She wrapped the three fingertips in strips of cloth.

“Take a deep breath,” she said and pulled on the two blue fingers, making me cry out. “You’ll want them to heal straight.” She wound them together with more cloth until they were stiff and unbendable. I looked at them, trying to imagine saddling a horse or holding reins now.

“How long will it take?” I asked.

“Nature is dependable in such things. Usually a few weeks. But sometimes the magic will come, greater than nature itself.”

Kaden had warned me to be wary of her, and now I wondered if any of what she told me was true—or had I simply been grasping at false hope when I had nothing else to hold?

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