A Court of Mist and Fury Page 133

Cassian nodded grimly. Even Mor smiled a bit.

“Are you asking me,” Rhys finally said, far too calmly, “to stay outside while my mate goes into his stronghold?”

“Yes,” Azriel said with equal calm, Cassian shifting himself slightly between them. “If Feyre can’t nullify the Cauldron easily or quickly, we steal it—send the pieces back to the bastard when we’re done breaking it apart. Either way, Feyre calls you through the bond when we’re done—you and Mor winnow us out. They won’t be able to track you fast enough if you only come to retrieve us.”

Rhysand dropped onto the couch beside me at last, loosing a breath. His eyes slid to me. “If you want to go, then you go, Feyre.”

If I hadn’t been already in love with him, I might have loved him for that—for not insisting I stay, even if it drove his instincts mad, for not locking me away in the aftermath of what had happened yesterday.

And I realized—I realized how badly I’d been treated before, if my standards had become so low. If the freedom I’d been granted felt like a privilege and not an inherent right.

Rhys’s eyes darkened, and I knew he read what I thought, felt. “You might be my mate,” he said, “but you remain your own person. You decide your fate—your choices. Not me. You chose yesterday. You choose every day. Forever.”

And maybe he only understood because he, too, had been helpless and without choices, had been forced to do such horrible things, and locked up. I threaded my fingers through his and squeezed. Together—together we’d find our peace, our future. Together we’d fight for it.

“Let’s go to Hybern,” I said.

I was halfway up the stairs an hour later when I realized that I still had no idea what room to go to. I’d gone to my bedroom since we’d returned from the cabin, but … what of his?

With Tamlin, he’d kept his own rooms and slept in mine. And I supposed—I supposed it’d be the same.

I was almost to my bedroom door when Rhysand drawled from behind me, “We can use your room if you like, but … ” He was leaning against his open bedroom door. “Either your room or mine—but we’re sharing one from now on. Just tell me whether I should move my clothes or yours. If that’s all right with you.”

“Don’t you—you don’t want your own space?”

“No,” he said baldly. “Unless you do. I need you protecting me from our enemies with your water-wolves.”

I snorted. He’d made me tell him that part of my tale over and over. I jerked my chin toward his bedroom. “Your bed is bigger.”

And that was that.

I walked in to find my clothes already there, a second armoire now beside his. I stared at the massive bed, then at all the open space around us.

Rhys shut the door and went to a small box on the desk—then silently handed it to me.

My heart thundered as I opened the lid. The star sapphire gleamed in the candlelight, as if it were one of the Starfall spirits trapped in stone. “Your mother’s ring?”

“My mother gave me that ring to remind me she was always with me, even during the worst of my training. And when I reached my majority, she took it away. It was an heirloom of her family—had been handed down from female to female over many, many years. My sister wasn’t yet born, so she wouldn’t have known to give it to her, but … My mother gave it to the Weaver. And then she told me that if I were to marry or mate, then the female would either have to be smart or strong enough to get it back. And if the female wasn’t either of those things, then she wouldn’t survive the marriage. I promised my mother that any potential bride or mate would have the test … And so it sat there for centuries.”

My face heated. “You said this was something of value—”

“It is. To me, and my family.”

“So my trip to the Weaver—”

“It was vital that we learn if you could detect those objects. But … I picked the object out of pure selfishness.”

“So I won my wedding ring without even being asked if I wanted to marry you.”

“Perhaps.”

I cocked my head. “Do—do you want me to wear it?”

“Only if you want to.”

“When we go to Hybern … Let’s say things go badly. Will anyone be able to tell that we’re mated? Could they use that against you?”

Rage flickered in his eyes. “If they see us together and can scent us both, they’ll know.”

“And if I show up alone, wearing a Night Court wedding ring—”

He snarled softly.

I closed the box, leaving the ring inside. “After we nullify the Cauldron, I want to do it all. Get the bond declared, get married, throw a stupid party and invite everyone in Velaris—all of it.”

Rhys took the box from my hands and set it down on the nightstand before herding me toward the bed. “And if I wanted to go one step beyond that?”

“I’m listening,” I purred as he laid me on the sheets.

CHAPTER

61

I’d never worn so much steel. Blades had been strapped all over me, hidden in my boots, my inside pockets. And then there was the Illyrian blade down my back.

Just a few hours ago, I’d known such overwhelming happiness after such horror and sorrow. Just a few hours ago, I’d been in his arms while he made love to me.

And now Rhysand, my mate and High Lord and partner, stood beside me in the foyer, Mor and Azriel and Cassian armed and ready in their scale-like armor, all of us too quiet.

Amren said, “The King of Hybern is old, Rhys—very old. Do not linger.”

A voice near my chest whispered, Hello lovely, wicked liar.

The two halves of the Book of Breathings, each part tucked into a different pocket. In one of them, the spell I was to say had been written out clearly. I hadn’t dared speak it, though I had read it a dozen times.

“We’ll be in and out before you miss us,” Rhysand said. “Guard Velaris well.”

Amren studied my gloved hands and weapons. “That Cauldron,” she said, “makes the Book seem harmless. If the spell fails, or if you cannot move it, then leave.” I nodded. She surveyed us all again. “Fly well.” I supposed that was as much concern as she’d show.

We turned to Mor—whose arms were out, waiting for me. Cassian and Rhys would winnow with Azriel, my mate dropped off a few miles from the coast before the Illyrians found Mor and me seconds later.

I moved toward her, but Rhys stepped in front of me, his face tense. I rose up on my toes and kissed him. “I’ll be fine—we’ll all be fine.” His eyes held mine through the kiss, and when I broke away, his gaze went right to Cassian.

Cassain bowed. “With my life, High Lord. I’ll protect her with my life.”

Rhys looked to Azriel. He nodded, bowing, and said, “With both of our lives.”

It was satisfactory enough to my mate—who at last looked at Mor.

She nodded once, but said, “I know my orders.”

I wondered what those might be—why I hadn’t been told—but she gripped my hand.

Before I could say good-bye to Amren, we were gone.

Gone—and plunging through open air, toward a night-dark sea—

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