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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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The king was a distant man, more monarch than father, but surely his blood wasn’t ice, nor his heart stone. Lia needed help. She’d been gone for weeks now, with no word from Rafe. Though I was sure he cared about her, Rafe and his secretive band of men didn’t inspire my confidence, and with each passing day, my suspicions of them grew. I couldn’t wait any longer. The Viceregent had been sympathetic toward Lia. He was our only hope. Surely he had the king’s ear and could bend it toward forgiveness and then help.

Berdi wouldn’t let me travel alone, and Gwyneth eagerly joined me in my quest. How Berdi would manage the tavern with only Enzo for help I didn’t know, but right now we all agreed that Lia’s safety was most important. Barbarians had her. I feared what they may have done to her already.

And there were the dreams too. For a week now, they had plagued me, fleeting glimpses of Lia riding on a galloping horse, and with each stride, she faded away until she wasn’t there at all. Gone, a misty eidolon, except for her voice, a high, keening cry that cut through the wind.

I knew I risked arrest myself by going back, since I had helped Lia escape, but I had to take the chance. Though I feared the possibility of prison, I was just as afraid of walking the streets of Civica again and seeing the last places where Mikael and I had been together, the place where we had conceived our child together—the child he would never know. It was already dredging up my feelings of loss. His ghost would be present on every street I passed.

The trek on the donkeys was taking far longer than the one Lia and I had made to Terravin on our Ravians, but in my condition, riding fast and hard wasn’t an option anyway. “It’s not much farther,” I told Gwyneth when we stopped to water the donkeys. “Just another two days.”

Gwyneth brushed her thick red locks from her face, and her eyes narrowed, looking down the road still ahead of us. “Yes, I know,” she said absently.

“How would you know? You’ve been to Civica?”

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