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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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“Good-bye, sweet prince,” I finally whispered against his skin.

And then I stood and began to dig.

CHAPTER SIXTY-EIGHT

KADEN

The whole camp fell silent watching her. Unlike me, none of them had ever seen nobility before, much less a princess. She wasn’t the delicate fleshy royal of their imaginations. One by one, as the hours went by, even the most hardened were drawn to sit and watch, first because of her chilling chants that had saturated the whole valley and then because of her dogged concentration, shovelful after shovelful.

It took her three hours to dig the first grave. Her brother’s grave. She wrestled his bedroll from his dead horse, tied it around him, and rolled him into the hole. I heard Finch’s throat rattle and Eben sucking on his lip. Though none of us had any sympathy for the fallen, it was hard to watch her kiss her dead brother and then struggle with the weight of his corpse.

Griz, who arrived later with Malich, had to walk away, unable to watch. But I couldn’t go. Most of us couldn’t. After her brother, she went on to the next dead soldier, knelt to bless him, and then dug his grave, chipping away at the hard soil another shovelful at a time. This soldier had lost an arm, and I watched her search for it and pull it from beneath a fallen horse. She placed it on his chest before she wrapped him in a blanket.

How long could she go on? I watched her stumble and fall, and when I thought she couldn’t get up again, she did. Restlessness grew in the soldiers around me, strained whispers passing between them. They squinted their eyes and rubbed their knuckles. The chievdar stood firm, his arms folded across his chest.

She finished the third grave. Seven hours had passed. Her hands bled from holding the shaft of the shovel. She went on to the fourth soldier and knelt.

I stood and walked over to the supply wagon and grabbed another shovel. “I’m going to go dig some holes. If she should roll a body into one, so be it.” The soldiers standing near the wagon looked at me astonished, but made no move to stop me. It wasn’t exactly treason.

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