A Court of Mist and Fury Page 48

“But?” Cassian demanded, bracing his arms on his knees, wings tucked in tight.

“But,” Rhys said, “he can also be helpful, when he chooses. And it seems we need to start doing what we do best.”

I flexed my numbed fingers, content to let them discuss, needing a moment to reel myself back in, to shut out what I’d revealed to the Bone Carver.

And what the Bone Carver suggested I might actually be asked to do with that book. The abilities I might have.

So Rhys told them of the Cauldron, and the reason behind the temple pillagings, to no shortage of swearing and questions—and revealed nothing of what I had admitted in exchange for the information. Azriel emerged from his wreathing shadows to ask the most questions; his face and voice remained unreadable. Cassian, surprisingly, kept quiet—as if the general understood that the shadowsinger would know what information was necessary, and was busy assessing it for his own forces.

When Rhys was done, his spymaster said, “I’ll contact my sources in the Summer Court about where the half of the Book of Breathings is hidden. I can fly into the human world myself to figure out where they’re keeping their part of the Book before we ask them for it.”

“No need,” Rhys said. “And I don’t trust this information, even with your sources, with anyone outside of this room. Save for Amren.”

“They can be trusted,” Azriel said with quiet steel, his scarred hands clenching at his leather-clad sides.

“We’re not taking risks where this is concerned,” Rhys merely said. He held Azriel’s stare, and I could almost hear the silent words Rhys added, It is no judgment or reflection on you, Az. Not at all.

But Azriel yielded no tinge of emotion as he nodded, his hands unfurling.

“So what do you have planned?” Mor cut in—perhaps for Az’s sake.

Rhys picked an invisible piece of dirt off his fighting leathers. When he lifted his head, those violet eyes were glacial. “The King of Hybern sacked one of our temples to get a missing piece of the Cauldron. As far as I’m concerned, it’s an act of war—an indication that His Majesty has no interest in wooing me.”

“He likely remembers our allegiance to the humans in the War, anyway,” Cassian said. “He wouldn’t jeopardize revealing his plans while trying to sway you, and I bet some of Amarantha’s cronies reported to him about Under the Mountain. About how it all ended, I mean.” Cassian’s throat bobbed.

When Rhys had tried to kill her. I lowered my hands from the fire.

Rhys said, “Indeed. But this means Hybern’s forces have already successfully infiltrated our lands—without detection. I plan to return the favor.”

Mother above. Cassian and Mor just grinned with feral delight. “How?” Mor asked.

Rhys crossed his arms. “It will require careful planning. But if the Cauldron is in Hybern, then to Hybern we must go. Either to take it back … or use the Book to nullify it.”

Some cowardly, pathetic part of me was already trembling.

“Hybern likely has as many wards and shields around it as we have here,” Azriel countered. “We’d need to find a way to get through them undetected first.”

A slight nod. “Which is why we start now. While we hunt for the Book. So when we get both halves, we can move swiftly—before word can spread that we even possess it.”

Cassian nodded, but asked, “How are you going to retrieve the Book, then?”

I braced myself as Rhys said, “Since these objects are spelled to the individual High Lords, and can only be found by them—through their power … Then, in addition to her uses regarding the handling of the Book of Breathings itself, it seems we possibly have our own detector.”

Now they all looked at me.

I cringed. “Perhaps was what the Bone Carver said in regard to me being able to track things. You don’t know … ” My words faded as Rhys smirked.

“You have a kernel of all our power—like having seven thumbprints. If we’ve hidden something, if we’ve made or protected it with our power, no matter where it has been concealed, you will be able to track it through that very magic.”

“You can’t know that for sure,” I tried again.

“No—but there is a way to test it.” Rhys was still smiling.

“Here we go,” Cassian grumbled. Mor gave Azriel a warning glare to tell him not to volunteer this time. The spymaster just gave her an incredulous look in return.

I might have lounged in my chair to watch their battle of wills had Rhys not said, “With your abilities, Feyre, you might be able to find the half of the Book at the Summer Court—and break the wards around it. But I’m not going to take the carver’s word for it, or bring you there without testing you first. To make sure that when it counts, when we need to get that book, you—we do not fail. So we’re going on another little trip. To see if you can find a valuable object of mine that I’ve been missing for a considerably long time.”

“Shit,” Mor said, plunging her hands into the thick folds of her sweater.

“Where?” I managed to say.

It was Azriel who answered. “To the Weaver.”

Rhys held up a hand as Cassian opened his mouth. “The test,” he said, “will be to see if Feyre can identify the object of mine in the Weaver’s trove. When we get to the Summer Court, Tarquin might have spelled his half of the Book to look different, feel different.”

“By the Cauldron, Rhys,” Mor snapped, setting both feet on the carpet. “Are you out of your—”

“Who is the Weaver?” I pushed.

“An ancient, wicked creature,” Azriel said, and I surveyed the faint scars on his wings, his neck, and wondered how many such things he’d encountered in his immortal life. If they were any worse than the people who shared blood ties with him. “Who should remain unbothered,” he added in Rhys’s direction. “Find another way to test her abilities.”

Rhys merely shrugged and looked to me. To let me choose. Always—it was always my choice with him these days. Yet he hadn’t let me go back to the Spring Court during those two visits—because he knew how badly I needed to get away from it?

I gnawed on my lower lip, weighing the risks, waiting to feel any kernel of fear, of emotion. But this afternoon had drained any reserve of such things. “The Bone Carver, the Weaver … Can’t you ever just call someone by a given name?”

Cassian chuckled, and Mor settled back in the sofa cushions.

Only Rhys, it seemed, understood that it hadn’t entirely been a joke. His face was tight. Like he knew precisely how tired I was—how I knew I should be quaking at the thought of this Weaver, but after the Bone Carver, what I’d revealed to it … I could feel nothing at all.

Rhys said to me, “What about adding one more name to that list?”

I didn’t particularly like the sound of that. Mor said as much.

“Emissary,” Rhysand said, ignoring his cousin. “Emissary to the Night Court—for the human realm.”

Azriel said, “There hasn’t been one for five hundred years, Rhys.”

“There also hasn’t been a human-turned-immortal since then, either.” Rhys met my gaze. “The human world must be as prepared as we are—especially if the King of Hybern plans to shatter the wall and unleash his forces upon them. We need the other half of the Book from those mortal queens—and if we can’t use magic to influence them, then they’re going to have to bring it to us.”

Prev Next