A Court of Mist and Fury Page 106

I could have sworn I felt a trickle of amusement on the other side of my mental shield, too. I hissed and made a vulgar gesture over my shoulder, even as I let my shield drop, just a bit.

That amusement turned into full delight—and then a lick of pleasure that went straight down my spine. Lower.

My face heated, and a twig cracked under my boot, as loud as lightning. I gritted my teeth. The ground sloped toward a gray, gushing stream, fast enough that it had to be fed by the towering snow-blasted mountains in the distance.

Good—this spot was good. An extra supply of water to drown any flames that might escape, plenty of open space. The wind blew away from me, tugging my scent southward, deeper into the forest as I opened my mouth to tell Rhys to stay back.

With that wind, and the roaring stream, it was no surprise that I didn’t hear them until they had surrounded me.

“Feyre.”

I whirled, arrow nocked and aimed at the source of the voice—

Four Spring Court sentinels stalked from the trees behind me like wraiths, armed to the teeth and wide-eyed. Two, I knew: Bron and Hart.

And between them stood Lucien.

CHAPTER

47

If I wanted to escape, I could either face the stream or face them. But Lucien …

His red hair was tied back, and there wasn’t a hint of finery on him: just armored leather, swords, knives … His metal eye roamed over me, his golden skin pale. “We’ve been hunting for you for over two months,” he breathed, now scanning the woods, the stream, the sky.

Rhys. Cauldron save me. Rhys was too far back, and—

“How did you find me?” My steady, cold voice wasn’t one I recognized. But—hunting for me. As if I were indeed prey.

If Tamlin was here … My blood went icier than the freezing rain now sluicing down my face, into my clothes.

“Someone tipped us off you’d been out here, but it was luck that we caught your scent on the wind, and—” Lucien took a step toward me.

I stepped back. Only three feet between me and the stream.

Lucien’s eye widened slightly. “We need to get out of here. Tamlin’s been—he hasn’t been himself. I’ll take you right to—”

“No,” I breathed.

The word rasped through the rain, the stream, the pine forest.

The four sentinels glanced between each other, then to the arrow I kept aimed.

Lucien took me in again.

And I could see what he was now gleaning: the Illyrian fighting leathers. The color and fullness that had returned to my face, my body.

And the silent steel of my eyes.

“Feyre,” he said, holding out a hand. “Let’s go home.”

I didn’t move. “That stopped being my home the day you let him lock me up inside of it.”

Lucien’s mouth tightened. “It was a mistake. We all made mistakes. He’s sorry—more sorry than you realize. So am I.” He stepped toward me, and I backed up another few inches.

Not much space remained between me and the gushing waters below.

Cassian’s training crashed into me, as if all the lessons he’d been drilling into me each morning were a net that caught me as I free-fell into my rising panic. Once Lucien touched me, he’d winnow us out. Not far—he wasn’t that powerful—but he was fast. He’d jump miles away, then farther, and farther, until Rhys couldn’t reach me. He knew Rhys was here.

“Feyre,” Lucien pleaded, and dared another step, his hand outraised.

My arrow angled toward him, my bowstring groaning.

I’d never realized that while Lucien had been trained as a warrior, Cassian, Azriel, Mor, and Rhys were Warriors. Cassian could wipe Lucien off the face of the earth in a single blow.

“Put the arrow down,” Lucien murmured, like he was soothing a wild animal.

Behind him, the four sentinels closed in. Herding me.

The High Lord’s pet and possession.

“Don’t,” I breathed. “Touch. Me.”

“You don’t understand the mess we’re in, Feyre. We—I need you home. Now.”

I didn’t want to hear it. Peering at the stream below, I calculated my odds.

The look cost me. Lucien lunged, hand out. One touch, that was all it’d take—

I was not the High Lord’s pet any longer.

And maybe the world should learn that I did indeed have fangs.

Lucien’s finger grazed the sleeve of my leather jacket.

And I became smoke and ash and night.

The world stilled and bent, and there was Lucien, lunging so slowly for what was now blank space as I stepped around him, as I hurtled for the trees behind the sentinels.

I stopped, and time resumed its natural flow. Lucien staggered, catching himself before he went over the cliff—and whirled, eye wide to discover me now standing behind his sentinels. Bron and Hart flinched and backed away. From me.

And from Rhysand at my side.

Lucien froze. I made my face a mirror of ice; the unfeeling twin to the cruel amusement on Rhysand’s features as he picked at a fleck of lint on his dark tunic.

Dark, elegant clothes—no wings, no fighting leathers.

The unruffled, fine clothes … Another weapon. To hide just how skilled and powerful he was; to hide where he came from and what he loved. A weapon worth the cost of the magic he’d used to hide it—even if it put us at risk of being tracked.

“Little Lucien,” Rhys purred. “Didn’t the Lady of the Autumn Court ever tell you that when a woman says no, she means it?”

“Prick,” Lucien snarled, storming past his sentinels, but not daring to touch his weapons. “You filthy, whoring prick.”

I loosed a growl.

Lucien’s eyes sliced to me and he said with quiet horror, “What have you done, Feyre?”

“Don’t come looking for me again,” I said with equal softness.

“He’ll never stop looking for you; never stop waiting for you to come home.”

The words hit me in the gut—like they were meant to. It must have shown in my face because Lucien pressed, “What did he do to you? Did he take your mind and—”

“Enough,” Rhys said, angling his head with that casual grace. “Feyre and I are busy. Go back to your lands before I send your heads as a reminder to my old friend about what happens when Spring Court flunkies set foot in my territory.”

The freezing rain slid down the neck of my clothes, down my back. Lucien’s face was deathly pale. “You made your point, Feyre—now come home.”

“I’m not a child playing games,” I said through my teeth. That’s how they’d seen me: in need of coddling, explaining, defending …

“Careful, Lucien,” Rhysand drawled. “Or Feyre darling will send you back in pieces, too.”

“We are not your enemies, Feyre,” Lucien pleaded. “Things got bad, Ianthe got out of hand, but it doesn’t mean you give up—”

“You gave up,” I breathed.

I felt even Rhys go still.

“You gave up on me,” I said a bit more loudly. “You were my friend. And you picked him—picked obeying him, even when you saw what his orders and his rules did to me. Even when you saw me wasting away day by day.”

“You have no idea how volatile those first few months were,” Lucien snapped. “We needed to present a unified, obedient front, and I was supposed to be the example to which all others in our court were held.”

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