A Court of Mist and Fury Page 115

My face burned. They knew—they— “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“You were in love with him; you were going to marry him. And then you … you were enduring everything and it didn’t feel right to tell you.”

“I deserved to know.”

“The other night you told me you wanted a distraction, you wanted fun. Not a mating bond. And not to someone like me—a mess.” So the words I’d spat after the Court of Nightmares had haunted him.

“You promised—you promised no secrets, no games. You promised.”

Something in my chest was caving in on itself. Some part of me I’d thought long gone.

“I know I did,” Rhys said, the glow returning to his face. “You think I didn’t want to tell you? You think I liked hearing you wanted me only for amusement and release? You think it didn’t drive me out of my mind so completely that those bastards shot me out of the sky because I was too busy wondering if I should just tell you, or wait—or maybe take whatever pieces that you offered me and be happy with it? Or that maybe I should let you go so you don’t have a lifetime of assassins and High Lords hunting you down for being with me?”

“I don’t want to hear this. I don’t want to hear you explain how you assumed that you knew best, that I couldn’t handle it—”

“I didn’t do that—”

“I don’t want to hear you tell me that you decided I was to be kept in the dark while your friends knew, while you all decided what was right for me—”

“Feyre—”

“Take me back to the Illyrian camp. Now.”

He was panting in great, rattling gulps. “Please.”

But I stormed to him and grabbed his hand. “Take me back now.”

And I saw the pain and sorrow in his eyes. Saw it and didn’t care, not as that thing in my chest was twisting and breaking. Not as my heart—my heart—ached, so viciously that I realized it’d somehow been repaired in these past few months. Repaired by him.

And now it hurt.

Rhys saw all that and more on my face, and I saw nothing but agony in his as he rallied his strength and, grunting in pain, winnowed us into the Illyrian camp.

CHAPTER

51

We slammed into freezing mud right outside the little stone house.

I think he’d meant to winnow us into it, but his powers had given out. Across the yard, I spied Cassian—and Mor—at the window of the house, eating breakfast. Their eyes went wide, and then they were rushing for the door.

“Feyre,” Rhys groaned, bare arms buckling as he tried to rise.

I left him lying in the mud and stormed toward the house.

The door flung open, and Cassian and Mor were sprinting for us, scanning every inch of our bodies. Cassian realized I was in one piece and hurtled for Rhys, who was struggling to rise, mud covering his bare skin, but Mor—Mor saw my face.

I went up to her, cold and hollow. “I want you to take me somewhere far away,” I said. “Right now.” I needed to get away—needed to think, to have space and quiet and calm.

Mor looked between us, biting her lip.

“Please,” I said, and my voice broke on the word.

Behind me, Rhys moaned my name again.

Mor scanned my face once more, and gripped my hand.

We vanished into wind and night.

Brightness assaulted me, and I gobbled up my surroundings: mountains and snow all around, fresh and gleaming in the midday light, so clean against the dirt on me.

We were high up on the peaks, and about a hundred yards away, a log cabin stood tucked between two upper fangs of the mountains, shielding it from the wind. The house was dark—there was nothing around it for as far as I could see.

“The house is warded, so no one can winnow in. No one can get beyond this point, actually, without our family’s permission.” Mor stepped ahead, snow crunching under her boots. Without the wind, the day was mild enough to remind me that spring had dawned in the world, though I’d bet it would be freezing once the sun vanished. I trailed after her, something zinging against my skin. “You’re—allowed in,” Mor said.

“Because I’m his mate?”

She kept wading through the knee-high snow. “Did you guess, or did he tell you?”

“The Suriel told me. After I went to hunt it for information on how to heal him.”

She swore. “Is he—is he all right?”

“He’ll live,” I said. She didn’t ask any other questions. And I wasn’t feeling generous enough to supply further information. We reached the door to the cabin, which she unlocked with a wave of her hand.

A main, wood-paneled room consisting of a kitchen to the right, a living area with a leather sofa covered in furs to the left; a small hall in the back that led to two bedrooms and a shared bathing room, and nothing else.

“We got sent up here for ‘reflection’ when we were younger,” Mor said. “Rhys used to smuggle in books and booze for me.”

I cringed at the sound of his name. “It’s perfect,” I said tightly. Mor waved a hand, and a fire sprang to life in the hearth, heat flooding the room. Food landed on the counters of the kitchen, and something in the pipes groaned. “No need for firewood,” she said. “It’ll burn until you leave.” She lifted a brow as if to ask when that would be.

I looked away. “Please don’t tell him where I am.”

“He’ll try to find you.”

“Tell him I don’t want to be found. Not for a while.”

Mor bit her lip. “It’s not my business—”

“Then don’t say anything.”

She did, anyway. “He wanted to tell you. And it killed him not to. But … I’ve never seen him so happy as he is when he’s with you. And I don’t think that has anything to do with you being his mate.”

“I don’t care.” She fell silent, and I could feel the words she wanted to say building up. So I said, “Thank you for bringing me here.” A polite dismissal.

Mor bowed her head. “I’ll check back in three days. There are clothes in the bedrooms, and all the hot water you want. The house is spelled to take care of you—merely wish or speak for things, and it’ll be done.”

I only wanted solitude and quiet, but … a hot bath sounded like a nice way to start.

She left the cottage before I could say anything else.

Alone, no one around for miles, I stood in the silent cabin and stared at nothing.

PART THREE

THE HOUSE OF MIST

CHAPTER

52

There was a deep, sunken tub in the floor of the mountain cabin—large enough to accommodate Illyrian wings. I filled it with water near-scalding, not caring how the magic of this house operated, only that it worked. Hissing and wincing, I climbed in.

Three days without a bath and I could have wept at the warmth and cleanliness of it.

No matter that I’d once gone weeks without one—not when drawing hot water for it in my family’s cottage had been more trouble than it was worth. Not when we didn’t even have a bathtub and it required buckets and buckets to get clean.

I washed with dark soap that smelled of smoke and pine, and when I was done, I sat there, watching the steam slither amongst the few candles.

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