A Court of Mist and Fury Page 37

I tried not to shudder and faced Rhys, hoping for an explanation about his spymaster’s dark gifts.

Rhys’s face was blank, but his eyes were wary. Assessing. I almost demanded what the hell he was looking at, until Mor breezed onto the balcony with, “If Cassian’s howling, I hope it means Feyre told him to shut his fat mouth.”

Both Illyrians turned toward her, Cassian bracing his feet slightly farther apart on the floor in a fighting stance I knew all too well.

It was almost enough to distract me from noticing Azriel as those shadows lightened, and his gaze slid over Mor’s body: a red, flowing gown of chiffon accented with gold cuffs, and combs fashioned like gilded leaves swept back the waves of her unbound hair.

A wisp of shadow curled around Azriel’s ear, and his eyes snapped to mine. I schooled my face into bland innocence.

“I don’t know why I ever forget you two are related,” Cassian told Mor, jerking his chin at Rhys, who rolled his eyes. “You two and your clothes.”

Mor sketched a bow to Cassian. Indeed, I tried not to slump with relief at the sight of the fine clothes. At least I wouldn’t look overdressed now. “I wanted to impress Feyre. You could have at least bothered to comb your hair.”

“Unlike some people,” Cassian said, proving my suspicions correct about that fighting stance, “I have better things to do with my time than sit in front of the mirror for hours.”

“Yes,” Mor said, tossing her long hair over a shoulder, “since swaggering around Velaris—”

“We have company,” was Azriel’s soft warning, wings again spreading a bit as he herded them through the open balcony doors to the dining room. I could have sworn tendrils of darkness swirled in their wake.

Mor patted Azriel on the shoulder as she dodged his outstretched wing. “Relax, Az—no fighting tonight. We promised Rhys.”

The lurking shadows vanished entirely as Azriel’s head dipped a bit—his night-dark hair sliding over his handsome face as if to shield him from that mercilessly beautiful grin.

Mor gave no indication that she noticed and curved her fingers toward me. “Come sit with me while they drink.” I had enough dignity remaining not to look to Rhys for confirmation it was safe. So I obeyed, falling into step beside her as the two Illyrians drifted back to walk the few steps with their High Lord. “Unless you’d rather drink,” Mor offered as we entered the warmth and red stone of the dining room. “But I want you to myself before Amren hogs you—”

The interior dining room doors opened on a whispering wind, revealing the shadowed, crimson halls of the mountain beyond.

And maybe part of me remained mortal, because even though the short, delicate woman looked like High Fae … as Rhys had warned me, every instinct was roaring to run. To hide.

She was several inches shorter than me, her chin-length black hair glossy and straight, her skin tan and smooth, and her face—pretty, bordering on plain—was bored, if not mildly irritated. But Amren’s eyes …

Her silver eyes were unlike anything I’d ever seen; a glimpse into the creature that I knew in my bones wasn’t High Fae. Or hadn’t been born that way.

The silver in Amren’s eyes seemed to swirl like smoke under glass.

She wore pants and a top like those I’d worn at the other mountain-palace, both in shades of pewter and storm cloud, and pearls—white and gray and black—adorned her ears, fingers, and wrists. Even the High Lord at my side felt like a wisp of shadow compared to the power thrumming from her.

Mor groaned, slumping into a chair near the end of the table, and poured herself a glass of wine. Cassian took a seat across from her, wiggling his fingers for the wine bottle. But Rhysand and Azriel just stood there, watching—maybe monitoring—as the female approached me, then halted three feet away.

“Your taste remains excellent, High Lord. Thank you.” Her voice was soft—but honed sharper than any blade I’d encountered. Her slim, small fingers grazed a delicate silver-and-pearl brooch pinned above her right breast.

So that’s who he’d bought the jewelry for. The jewelry I was to never, under any circumstances, try to steal.

I studied Rhys and Amren, as if I might be able to read what further bond lay between them, but Rhysand waved a hand and bowed his head. “It suits you, Amren.”

“Everything suits me,” she said, and those horrible, enchanting eyes again met my own. Like leashed lightning.

She took a step closer, sniffing delicately, and though I stood half a foot taller, I’d never felt meeker. But I held my chin up. I didn’t know why, but I did.

Amren said, “So there are two of us now.”

My brows nudged toward each other.

Amren’s lips were a slash of red. “We who were born something else—and found ourselves trapped in new, strange bodies.”

I decided I really didn’t want to know what she’d been before.

Amren jerked her chin at me to sit in the empty chair beside Mor, her hair shifting like molten night. She claimed the seat across from me, Azriel on her other side as Rhys took the one across from him—on my right.

No one at the head of the table.

“Though there is a third,” Amren said, now looking at Rhysand. “I don’t think you’ve heard from Miryam in … centuries. Interesting.”

Cassian rolled his eyes. “Please just get to the point, Amren. I’m hungry.”

Mor choked on her wine. Amren slid her attention to the warrior to her right. Azriel, on her other side, monitored the two of them very, very carefully. “No one warming your bed right now, Cassian? It must be so hard to be an Illyrian and have no thoughts in your head save for those about your favorite part.”

“You know I’m always happy to tangle in the sheets with you, Amren,” Cassian said, utterly unfazed by the silver eyes, the power radiating from her every pore. “I know how much you enjoy Illyrian—”

“Miryam,” Rhysand said, as Amren’s smile became serpentine, “and Drakon are doing well, as far as I’ve heard. And what, exactly, is interesting?”

Amren’s head tilted to the side as she studied me. I tried not to shrink from it. “Only once before was a human Made into an immortal. Interesting that it should happen again right as all the ancient players have returned. But Miryam was gifted long life—not a new body. And you, girl …” She sniffed again, and I’d never felt so laid bare. Surprise lit Amren’s eyes. Rhys just nodded. Whatever that meant. I was tired already. Tired of being assessed and evaluated. “Your very blood, your veins, your bones were Made. A mortal soul in an immortal body.”

“I’m hungry,” Mor said nudging me with a thigh. She snapped a finger, and plates piled high with roast chicken, greens, and bread appeared. Simple, but … elegant. Not formal at all. Perhaps the sweater and pants wouldn’t have been out of place for such a meal. “Amren and Rhys can talk all night and bore us to tears, so don’t bother waiting for them to dig in.” She picked up her fork, clicking her tongue. “I asked Rhys if I could take you to dinner, just the two of us, and he said you wouldn’t want to. But honestly—would you rather spend time with those two ancient bores, or me?”

“For someone who is the same age as me,” Rhys drawled, “you seem to forget—”

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