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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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We used the jewels to trade for coin at Luiseveque, a large town about two hours’ ride out of our way—three blue sapphires thrown in for the merchant if he forgot where they came from. It felt deliciously evil and exciting to trade in such a way, and as soon as we were down the road, we burst into laughter at our audacity. The merchant had looked at us as if we were thieves, but since the transaction was in his favor, he said nothing.

From there we backtracked, and a few more miles down the road, we traveled east again. On the outskirts of a small village we stopped at a farmhouse and traded the surprised farmer our valuable Ravians for three donkeys. We also slipped him a good amount of coin for more silence.

Two girls arriving in Terravin on grand steeds with the distinctive brand of the Morrighan stables were sure to draw attention, and that was one thing we couldn’t afford. We didn’t need three donkeys, but the farmer insisted the third would be lost without the other two, and by all accounts, he was right, as it trailed close behind without even a tug from the rope. Otto, Nove, and Dieci the farmer had called them. I rode Otto, the largest of the three, a big brown fellow with a white muzzle and long mop of fur between his ears. By now, our riding clothes were so filthy from the hundreds of miles we had covered and our soft leather boots so caked in mud, we were easy to ignore. No one would want to look upon us for long, and that was just the way I wanted it. I wouldn’t have anything interfere with the dream of Terravin.

I knew we were close now. It was something about the air, something about the light, something I couldn’t name, but it streamed through me like a warm voice. Home. Home. Foolishness, I knew. Terravin had never been my home, but maybe it could be.

On this last stretch, my gut suddenly jumped with fear that I’d hear something else—the thunder of hooves behind us. What Father’s trackers would do to me was one thing, but what they might do to Pauline was another. If we were caught, I already planned that I’d tell them I had forced Pauline to help me against her will. I just had to convince Pauline to stick to that story too, because she was nothing if not true to the core.

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