A Court of Mist and Fury Page 20

“And left me alone.”

Tamlin pulled back, growling. “Probably to get you to drop your guard. You have no idea what games he plays, what he’s capable of doing—”

“I know,” I said, even as it tasted like ash on my tongue. “And the next time, I’ll be careful—”

“There won’t be a next time.”

I blinked. “You found a way out?” Or perhaps Ianthe had.

“I’m not letting you go.”

“He said there were consequences for breaking a magical bargain.”

“Damn the consequences.” But I heard it for the empty threat it was—and how much it destroyed him. That was who he was, what he was: protector, defender. I couldn’t ask him to stop being that way—to stop worrying about me.

I rose onto my toes and kissed him. There was so much I wanted to ask him, but—later. “Let’s go upstairs,” I said onto his lips, and he slid his arms around me.

“I missed you,” he said between kisses. “I went out of my mind.”

That was all I needed to hear. Until—

“I need to ask you some questions.”

I let out a low sound of affirmation, but angled my head further. “Later.” His body was so warm, so hard against mine, his scent so familiar—

Tamlin gripped my waist, pressing his brow to my own. “No—now,” he said, but groaned softly as I slid my tongue against his teeth. “While … ” He pulled back, ripping his mouth from mine. “While it’s all fresh in your mind.”

I froze, one hand tangled in his hair, the other gripping the back of his tunic. “What?”

Tamlin stepped back, shaking his head as if to clear the desire addling his senses. We hadn’t been apart for so long since Amarantha, and he wanted to press me for information about the Night Court? “Tamlin.”

But he held up a hand, his eyes locked on mine as he called for Lucien.

In the moments that it took for his emissary to appear, I straightened my clothes—the top that had ridden up my torso—and finger-combed my hair. Tamlin just strode to his desk and plopped down, motioning for me to take a seat in front of it. “I’m sorry,” he said quietly, as Lucien’s strolling footsteps neared again. “This is for our own good. Our safety.”

I took in the shredded walls, the scuffed and chipped furniture. What nightmares had he suffered, waking and asleep, while I was away? What had it been like, to imagine me in his enemy’s hands, after seeing what Amarantha had done to me?

“I know,” I murmured at last. “I know, Tamlin.” Or I was trying to know.

I’d just slid into the low-backed chair when Lucien strode in, shutting the door behind him. “Glad to see you in one piece, Feyre,” he said, claiming the seat beside me. “I could do without the Night Court attire, though.”

Tamlin gave a low growl of agreement. I said nothing. Yet I understood—I really did—why it’d be an affront to them.

Tamlin and Lucien exchanged glances, speaking without uttering a word in that way only people who had been partners for centuries could do. Lucien gave a slight nod and leaned back in his chair—to listen, to observe.

“We need you to tell us everything,” Tamlin said. “The layout of the Night Court, who you saw, what weapons and powers they bore, what Rhys did, who he spoke to, any and every detail you can recall.”

“I didn’t realize I was a spy.”

Lucien shifted in his seat, but Tamlin said, “As much as I hate your bargain, you’ve been granted access into the Night Court. Outsiders rarely get to go in—and if they do, they rarely come out in one piece. And if they can function, their memories are usually … scrambled. Whatever Rhysand is hiding in there, he doesn’t want us knowing about it.”

A chill slithered down my spine. “Why do you want to know? What are you going to do?”

“Knowing my enemy’s plans, his lifestyle, is vital. As for what we’re going to do … That’s neither here nor there.” His green eyes pinned me. “Start with the layout of the court. Is it true it’s under a mountain?”

“This feels an awful lot like an interrogation.”

Lucien sucked in a breath, but remained silent.

Tamlin spread his hands on the desk. “We need to know these things, Feyre. Or—or can you not remember?” Claws glinted at his knuckles.

“I can remember everything,” I said. “He didn’t damage my mind.” And before he could question me further, I began to speak of all that I had seen.

Because I trust you, Rhysand had said. And maybe—maybe he had scrambled my mind, even with the lessons in shielding, because describing the layout of his home, his court, the mountains around them, felt like bathing in oil and mud. He was my enemy, he was holding me to a bargain I’d made from pure desperation—

I kept talking, describing that tower room. Tamlin grilled me on the figures on the maps, making me turn over every word Rhysand had uttered, until I mentioned what had weighed on me the most this past week: the powers Rhys believed I now possessed … and Hybern’s plans. I told him about that conversation with Mor—about that temple being sacked (Cesere, Tamlin explained, was a northern outpost in the Night Court, and one of the few known towns), and Rhysand mentioning two people named Cassian and Azriel. Both of their faces had tightened at that, but they didn’t mention if they knew them, or of them. So I told him about whatever the Illyrians were—and how Rhys had hunted down and killed the traitors amongst them. When I finished, Tamlin was silent, Lucien practically buzzing with whatever repressed words he was dying to spew.

“Do you think I might have those abilities?” I said, willing myself to hold his gaze.

“It’s possible,” Tamlin said with equal quiet. “And if it’s true … ”

Lucien said at last, “It’s a power other High Lords might kill for.” It was an effort not to fidget while his metal eye whirred, as if detecting whatever power ran through my blood. “My father, for one, would not be pleased to learn a drop of his power is missing—or that Tamlin’s bride now has it. He’d do anything to make sure you don’t possess it—including kill you. There are other High Lords who would agree.”

That thing beneath my skin began roiling. “I’d never use it against anyone—”

“It’s not about using it against them; it’s about having an edge when you shouldn’t,” Tamlin said. “And the moment word gets out about it, you will have a target on your back.”

“Did you know?” I demanded. Lucien wouldn’t meet my eyes. “Did you suspect?”

“I’d hoped it wasn’t true,” Tamlin said carefully. “And now that Rhys suspects, there’s no telling what he’ll do with the information—”

“He wants me to train.” I wasn’t stupid enough to mention the mental shield training—not right now.

“Training would draw too much attention,” Tamlin said. “You don’t need to train. I can guard you from whatever comes our way.”

For there had been a time when he could not. When he had been vulnerable, and when he had watched me be tortured to death. And could do nothing to stop Amarantha from—

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