A Court of Mist and Fury Page 14

“Am I?”

“I’ll take that as a no.” He popped a piece of melon into his mouth. “Have you tested yourself against anyone?”

“Why would I?” I was enough of a wreck as it was.

“Because you were resurrected and reborn by the combined powers of the seven High Lords. If I were you, I’d be curious to see if anything else transferred to me during that process.”

My blood chilled. “Nothing else transferred to me.”

“It’d just be rather … interesting,” he smirked at the word, “if it did.”

“It didn’t, and I’m not going to learn to read or shield with you.”

“Why? From spite? I thought you and I got past that Under the Mountain.”

“Don’t get me started on what you did to me Under the Mountain.”

Rhys went still.

As still as I’d ever seen him, as still as the death now beckoning in those eyes. Then his chest began to move, faster and faster.

Across the pillars towering behind him, I could have sworn the shadow of great wings spread.

He opened his mouth, leaning forward, and then stopped. Instantly, the shadows, the ragged breathing, the intensity were gone, the lazy grin returning. “We have company. We’ll discuss this later.”

“No, we won’t.” But quick, light footsteps sounded down the hall, and then she appeared.

If Rhysand was the most beautiful male I’d ever seen, she was his female equivalent.

Her bright, golden hair was tied back in a casual braid, and the turquoise of her clothes—fashioned like my own—offset her sun-kissed skin, making her practically glow in the morning light.

“Hello, hello,” she chirped, her full lips parting in a dazzling smile as her rich brown eyes fixed on me.

“Feyre,” Rhys said smoothly, “meet my cousin, Morrigan. Mor, meet the lovely, charming, and open-minded Feyre.”

I debated splashing my tea in his face, but Mor strode toward me. Each step was assured and steady, graceful, and … grounded. Merry but alert. Someone who didn’t need weapons—or at least bother to sheath them at her side. “I’ve heard so much about you,” she said, and I got to my feet, awkwardly jutting out my hand.

She ignored it and grabbed me into a bone-crushing hug. She smelled like citrus and cinnamon. I tried to relax my taut muscles as she pulled away and grinned rather fiendishly. “You look like you were getting under Rhys’s skin,” she said, strutting to her seat between us. “Good thing I came along. Though I’d enjoy seeing Rhys’s balls nailed to the wall.”

Rhys slid incredulous eyes at her, his brows lifting.

I hid the smile that tugged on my lips. “It’s—nice to meet you.”

“Liar,” Mor said, pouring herself some tea and loading her plate. “You want nothing to do with us, do you? And wicked Rhys is making you sit here.”

“You’re … perky today, Mor,” Rhys said.

Mor’s stunning eyes lifted to her cousin’s face. “Forgive me for being excited about having company for once.”

“You could be attending your own duties,” he said testily. I clamped my lips tighter together. I’d never seen Rhys … irked.

“I needed a break, and you told me to come here whenever I liked, so what better time than now, when you brought my new friend to finally meet me?”

I blinked, realizing two things at once: one, she actually meant what she said; two, hers was the female voice I’d heard speak last night, mocking Rhys for our squabble. So, that went well, she’d teased. As if there were any other alternative, any chance of pleasantness, where he and I were concerned.

A new fork had appeared beside my plate, and I picked it up, only to spear a piece of melon. “You two look nothing alike,” I said at last.

“Mor is my cousin in the loosest definition,” he said. She grinned at him, devouring slices of tomato and pale cheese. “But we were raised together. She’s my only surviving family.”

I didn’t have the nerve to ask what happened to everyone else. Or remind myself whose father was responsible for the lack of family at my own court.

“And as my only remaining relative,” Rhys went on, “Mor believes she is entitled to breeze in and out of my life as she sees fit.”

“So grumpy this morning,” Mor said, plopping two muffins onto her plate.

“I didn’t see you Under the Mountain,” I found myself saying, hating those last three words more than anything.

“Oh, I wasn’t there,” she said. “I was in—”

“Enough, Mor,” he said, his voice laced with quiet thunder.

It was a trial in itself not to sit up at the interruption, not to study them too closely.

Rhysand set his napkin on the table and rose. “Mor will be here for the rest of the week, but by all means, do not feel that you have to oblige her with your presence.” Mor stuck out her tongue at him. He rolled his eyes, the most human gesture I’d ever seen him make. He examined my plate. “Did you eat enough?” I nodded. “Good. Then let’s go.” He inclined his head toward the pillars and swaying curtains behind him. “Your first lesson awaits.”

Mor sliced one of the muffins in two in a steady sweep of her knife. The angle of her fingers, her wrist, indeed confirmed my suspicions that weapons weren’t at all foreign to her. “If he pisses you off, Feyre, feel free to shove him over the rail of the nearest balcony.”

Rhys gave her a smooth, filthy gesture as he strode down the hall.

I eased to my feet when he was a good distance ahead. “Enjoy your breakfast.”

“Whenever you want company,” she said as I edged around the table, “give a shout.” She probably meant that literally.

I merely nodded and trailed after the High Lord.

I agreed to sit at the long, wooden table in a curtained-off alcove only because he had a point. Not being able to read had almost cost me my life Under the Mountain. I’d be damned if I let it become a weakness again, his personal agenda or no. And as for shielding … I’d be a damned fool not to take up the offer to learn from him. The thought of anyone, especially Rhys, sifting through the mess in my mind, taking information about the Spring Court, about the people I loved … I’d never allow it. Not willingly.

But it didn’t make it any easier to endure Rhysand’s presence at the wooden table. Or the stack of books piled atop it.

“I know my alphabet,” I said sharply as he laid a piece of paper in front of me. “I’m not that stupid.” I twisted my fingers in my lap, then pinned my restless hands under my thighs.

“I didn’t say you were stupid,” he said. “I’m just trying to determine where we should begin.” I leaned back in the cushioned seat. “Since you’ve refused to tell me a thing about how much you know.”

My face warmed. “Can’t you hire a tutor?”

He lifted a brow. “Is it that hard for you to even try in front of me?”

“You’re a High Lord—don’t you have better things to do?”

“Of course. But none as enjoyable as seeing you squirm.”

“You’re a real bastard, you know that?”

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