A Court of Mist and Fury Page 28

Then a vicious snarl, and a shudder of magic rocked the house.

Tamlin’s voice had been low, deadly. Do not push me on this.

I didn’t want to know what was happening in that room, what he’d done to Lucien, what Lucien had even looked like to cause that pulse of power.

I locked the door to my bedroom and did not bother to eat dinner at all.

Tamlin didn’t seek me out that night. I wondered if he, Ianthe, and Lucien were still debating my future and the threats against me.

There were sentries outside of my bedroom the following afternoon—when I finally dragged myself from bed.

According to them, Tamlin and Lucien were already holed up in his study. Without Tamlin’s courtiers poking around, the manor was again silent as I, without anything else to do, headed to walk the garden paths I’d followed so many times I was surprised the pale dirt wasn’t permanently etched with my footprints.

Only my steps sounded in the shining halls as I passed guard after guard, armed to the teeth and trying their best not to gawk at me. Not one spoke to me. Even the servants had taken to keeping to their quarters unless absolutely necessary.

Maybe I’d become too slothful; maybe my lazing about made me more prone to these outbursts. Anyone might have seen me yesterday.

And though we’d never spoken of it … Ianthe knew. About the powers. How long had she been aware? The thought of Tamlin telling her …

My silk slippers scuffed on the marble stairs, the chiffon trail of my green gown slithering behind me.

Such silence. Too much silence.

I needed to get out of this house. Needed to do something. If the villagers didn’t want my help, then fine. I could do other things. Whatever they were.

I was about to turn down the hall that led to the study, determined to ask Tamlin if there was any task that I might perform, ready to beg him, when the study doors flung open and Tamlin and Lucien emerged, both heavily armed. No sign of Ianthe.

“You’re going so soon?” I said, waiting for them to reach the foyer.

Tamlin’s face was a grim mask as they approached. “There’s activity on the western sea border. I have to go.” The one closest to Hybern.

“Can I come with you?” I’d never asked it outright, but—

Tamlin paused. Lucien continued past, through the open front doors of the house, barely able to hide his wince. “I’m sorry,” Tamlin said, reaching for me. I stepped out of his grip. “It’s too dangerous.”

“I know how to remain hidden. Just—take me with you.”

“I won’t risk our enemies getting their hands on you.” What enemies? Tell me—tell me something.

I stared over his shoulder, toward where Lucien lingered in the gravel beyond the house entrance. No horses. I supposed they weren’t necessary this time, when they were faster without them. But maybe I could keep up. Maybe I’d wait until they left and—

“Don’t even think about it,” Tamlin warned.

My attention snapped to his face.

He growled, “Don’t even try to come after us.”

“I can fight,” I tried again. A half-truth. A knack for survival wasn’t the same as trained skill. “Please.”

I’d never hated a word more.

He shook his head, crossing the foyer to the front doors.

I followed him, blurting, “There will always be some threat. There will always be some conflict or enemy or something that keeps me in here.”

He slowed to a stop just inside the towering oak doors, so lovingly restored after Amarantha’s cronies had trashed them. “You can barely sleep through the night,” he said carefully.

I retorted, “Neither can you.”

But he just plowed ahead, “You can barely handle being around other people—”

“You promised.” My voice cracked. And I didn’t care that I was begging. “I need to get out of this house.”

“Have Bron take you and Ianthe on a ride—”

“I don’t want to go for a ride!” I splayed my arms. “I don’t want to go for a ride, or a picnic, or pick wildflowers. I want to do something. So take me with you.”

That girl who had needed to be protected, who had craved stability and comfort … she had died Under the Mountain. I had died, and there had been no one to protect me from those horrors before my neck snapped. So I had done it myself. And I would not, could not, yield that part of me that had awoken and transformed Under the Mountain. Tamlin had gotten his powers back, had become whole again—become that protector and provider he wished to be.

I was not the human girl who needed coddling and pampering, who wanted luxury and easiness. I didn’t know how to go back to craving those things. To being docile.

Tamlin’s claws punched out. “Even if I risked it, your untrained abilities render your presence more of a liability than anything.”

It was like being hit with stones—so hard I could feel myself cracking. But I lifted my chin and said, “I’m coming along whether you want me to or not.”

“No, you aren’t.” He strode right through the door, his claws slashing the air at his sides, and was halfway down the steps before I reached the threshold.

Where I slammed into an invisible wall.

I staggered back, trying to reorder my mind around the impossibility of it. It was identical to the one I’d built that day in the study, and I searched inside the shards of my soul, my heart, for a tether to that shield, wondering if I’d blocked myself, but—there was no power emanating from me.

I reached a hand to the open air of the doorway. And met solid resistance.

“Tamlin,” I rasped.

But he was already down the front drive, walking toward the looming iron gates. Lucien remained at the foot of the stairs, his face so, so pale.

“Tamlin,” I said again, pushing against the wall.

He didn’t turn.

I slammed my hand into the invisible barrier. No movement—nothing but hardened air. And I had not learned about my own powers enough to try to push through, to shatter it … I had let him convince me not to learn those things for his sake—

“Don’t bother trying,” Lucien said softly, as Tamlin cleared the gates and vanished—winnowed. “He shielded the entire house around you. Others can go in and out, but you can’t. Not until he lifts the shield.”

He’d locked me in here.

I hit the shield again. Again.

Nothing.

“Just—be patient, Feyre,” Lucien tried, wincing as he followed after Tamlin. “Please. I’ll see what I can do. I’ll try again.”

I barely heard him over the roar in my ears. Didn’t wait to see him pass the gates and winnow, too.

He’d locked me in. He’d sealed me inside this house.

I hurtled for the nearest window in the foyer and shoved it open. A cool spring breeze rushed in—and I shoved my hand through it—only for my fingers to bounce off an invisible wall. Smooth, hard air pushed against my skin.

Breathing became difficult.

I was trapped.

I was trapped inside this house. I might as well have been Under the Mountain; I might as well have been inside that cell again—

I backed away, my steps too light, too fast, and slammed into the oak table in the center of the foyer. None of the nearby sentries came to investigate.

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