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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 stopped, surveying the line of trees in the south that stood like a forbidding wall. I was chilled, thinking of her riding through it. We had lost her tracks a mile back, and I could only guess where she had entered the dark forest. We split up, agreeing to meet back on the savanna at dusk. I prayed it wouldn’t be Malich who found her. I wasn’t sure who she’d fare better with—him or the beasts of the forest.


It was a strange forest. Gray moss hung down in curly strands from black trees with trunks as wide as a wagon. The horse balked at first, refusing to go in, but I goaded him forward. Shrill calls echoed around me, shivering into what sounded like laughter. I searched the treetops, looking for the birds that made the sounds, but saw only shadows.

I didn’t have time to think about being afraid, only about what I had to do next. Food and fire. I wouldn’t die in the wilderness as Kaden predicted. I stopped the horse between a circle of five massive trees, then swung down and untied my saddlebag. I dumped out the contents. All I had were the books, a vial of balm, chiga weed, some scraps of cloth for bandages, a brush, a string of leather to tie back my hair, a bobbin of silk for my teeth, one threadbare change of underclothes, and my tinderbox. Not a morsel of food. Kaden had packed my hoarded stash on his horse, maybe to discourage any thoughts of escape. I looked at the flint and contemplated lighting a fire. I didn’t want to be in this ghoulish forest in the dark, but in the wilderness, a fire would shine like a beacon. I surveyed the hollow. The thickness of the trunks and forest beyond would hide a small fire.

My stomach rumbled at the thought of no food. I couldn’t allow myself to lose the strength I had gained at the vagabond camp, but with no weapon for hunting even the smallest of game, I would have to forage. I knew what lived in the rot of a forest floor, and only the thought of being too weak to flee made me search for it. My jaws instantly throbbed, and my saliva was sour on my tongue. I found a fallen decaying log and rolled it over. It wriggled with creamy, fat grubs.

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