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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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She told me more stories of Mikael, and the longing within me grew. I wanted what Pauline had, an enduring love that could overcome the miles and weeks that separated her from Mikael. When she said again that he would find her, I believed it. Somehow his commitment radiated in her eyes, but there was no doubt that Pauline was worthy of such devotion. Was I?

“Is he the first boy you ever kissed?” I asked.

“Who says I’ve kissed him?” Pauline replied mischievously. We both laughed. Girls of the royal staff were not supposed to indulge in such unrestrained behaviors.

“Well, if you were to kiss him, what do you think it would be like?”

“Oh, I think it would taste sweeter than honey.…” She fanned herself as if a memory was making her light-headed. “Yes, I think it would be very, very good, that is, if I were to kiss him.”

I sighed.

“What’s the sigh for? You know all about a kiss, Lia. You’ve kissed half the boys in the village.”

I rolled my eyes. “When I was thirteen, Pauline. That hardly counts. And it was only part of a game. As soon as they realized the danger of kissing the king’s daughter, no boy would come near me again. I’ve had a very long dry period.”

“What about Charles? Just last summer, his head was constantly turned your direction. He couldn’t keep his eyes off you.”

I shook my head. “Only moon eyes. When I cornered him at the last harvest celebration, he scampered away like a frightened rabbit. Apparently he’d received the warning from his parents as well.”

“Well, you are a dangerous person, you know?” she teased.

“I very well could be,” I answered and patted the dagger hidden beneath my jerkin.

She chuckled. “Charles was probably just as afraid of you leading him into another revolt as he was of a stolen kiss.”

I had almost forgotten my short-lived rebellion—it had been so quickly quashed. When the Chancellor and Royal Scholar decided all students of Civica would engage in an extra hour each day studying selections from the Holy Text, I led a rebellion. We already spent an hour twice a week memorizing endless disconnected passages that meant nothing to us. An additional hour every day, by my way of thinking, was out of the question. At fourteen, I had better things to do, and as it turned out, many others afflicted with this new dictum agreed with me. I had followers! I led a revolt, charging with all of them in tow behind me into the Grand Hall, interrupting a cabinet meeting that was in progress that included all the lords of the counties. I demanded that the decision be reversed or we’d quit our studies altogether, or, I threatened, perhaps we would do something even worse.

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