Chapter no 74

House of Earth and Blood

Bryce tried not to dwell on the fact that Hunt and the world knew what and who she really was. At least the press hadn’t caught wind of it, for whatever small mercy that was.

As if being a bastard princess meant anything. As if it said anything about her as a person. The shock on Hunt’s face was precisely why she hadn’t told him.

She’d torn up Jesiba’s check, and with it the centuries of debts. None of it mattered now anyway. Hunt was gone.

She knew he was alive. She’d seen the news footage of the Summit’s opening procession. Hunt had looked just as he had before everything went to shit. Another small mercy.

She’d barely noticed the others arriving: Jesiba, Tharion, her sire, her brother … No, she’d just kept her eyes on that spot in the crowd, those gray wings that had now regrown.

Pathetic. She was utterly pathetic.

She would have done it. Would have gladly traded places with Hunt, even knowing what Sandriel would do to her. What Pollux would do to her.

Maybe it made her an idiot, as Ruhn said. Naïve.

Maybe she was lucky to have walked out of the Comitium lobby still breathing.

Maybe being attacked by that kristallos was payment for her fuckups.

She’d spent the past few days looking through the laws to see if there was anything to be done for Hunt. There wasn’t. She’d done the only two things that might have granted him his freedom: offered to buy him, and offered herself in his stead.

She didn’t believe Hunt’s bullshit last words to her. She would have said the same had she been in his place. Would have been as nasty as she could, if it would have gotten him to safety.

Bryce sat at the front desk in the showroom, staring at the blank computer screen. The city had been quiet these past two days. As if everyone’s attention was on the Summit, even though only a few of Crescent City’s leaders and citizens had gone.

She’d watched the news recaps only to catch another glimpse of Hunt—without any luck.

She slept in his room every night. Had put on one of his T-shirts and crawled between the sheets that smelled of him and pretended he was lying in the dark beside her.

An envelope with the Comitium listed as its return address had arrived at the gallery three days ago. Her heart had thundered as she’d ripped it open, wondering if he’d been able to get a message out—

The white opal had fallen to the desk. Isaiah had written a reserved note, as if aware that every piece of mail was read:

Naomi found this on the barge. Thought you might want it back. Then he’d added, as if on second thought, He’s sorry.

She’d slid the stone into her desk drawer.

Sighing, Bryce opened it now, peering at the milky gem. She ran her finger over its cool surface.

“Athie looks miserable,” Lehabah observed, floating by Bryce’s head. She pointed to the tablet, where Bryce had paused her third replay of the opening procession on Hunt’s face. “So do you, BB.”

“Thank you.”

At her feet, Syrinx stretched out, yawning. His curved claws glinted. “So what do we do now?”

Bryce’s brow furrowed. “What do you mean?”

Lehabah wrapped her arms around herself, floating in midair. “We just go back to normal?”


Her flickering eyes met Bryce’s. “What is normal, anyway?” “Seems boring to me.”

Lehabah smiled slightly, turning a soft rose color.

Bryce offered one in return. “You’re a good friend, Lele. A really good friend.” She sighed again, setting the sprite’s flame guttering. “I’m sorry if I haven’t been such a good one to you at times.”

Lehabah waved a hand, going scarlet. “We’ll get through this, BB.” She perched on Bryce’s shoulder, her warmth seeping into skin Bryce

hadn’t realized was so cold. “You, me, and Syrie. Together, we’ll get through this.”

Bryce held up a finger, letting Lehabah take it in both of her tiny, shimmering hands. “Deal.”

You'll Also Like