Chapter no 4

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, 4)

Aedion Ashryver knew he was going to die—and soon.

He didn’t bother trying to bargain with the gods. They’d never answered his pleas, anyway.

In the years he’d been a warrior and a general, he’d always known that he would die some way or another—preferably on a battlefield, in a way that would be worthy of a song or a tale around a fire.

This would not be that sort of death.

He would either be executed at whatever grand event the king had planned to make the most of his demise¸ or he would die down here in this rotting, damp cell, from the infection that was slowly and surely destroying his body.

It had started off as a small wound in his side, courtesy of the fight he’d put up three weeks ago when that butchering monster had murdered Sorscha. He’d hidden the slice along his ribs from the guards who looked him over, hoping that he’d either bleed out or that it’d fester and kill him before the king could use him against Aelin.

Aelin. His execution was to be a trap for her, a way to lure her into risking an attempt to save him. He’d die before he would allow it.

He just hadn’t expected it to hurt so damn much.

He concealed the fever from the sneering guards who fed and watered him twice a day, pretending to slowly fall into sullen silence, feigning that the prowling, cursing animal had broken. The cowards wouldn’t get close enough for him to reach, and they hadn’t noticed that he’d given up trying to snap the chains that allowed him to stand and walk a few paces, but not much else. They hadn’t noticed that he was no longer standing very much at all, except to see to his body’s needs. The degradation of that was nothing new.

At least he hadn’t been forced into one of those collars, though he’d seen one beside the king’s throne that night everything went to shit. He would bet good money that the Wyrdstone collar was for the king’s own son—and he prayed that the prince had died before he’d allowed his father to leash him like a dog.

Aedion shifted on his pallet of moldy hay and bit back his bark of agony at the pain exploding along his ribs. Worse—worse by the day. His diluted Fae blood was the only thing that had kept him alive this long, trying desperately to heal him, but soon even the immortal grace in his veins would bow to the infection.

It would be such a relief—such a blessed relief to know he couldn’t be used against her, and that he would soon see those he had secretly harbored in his shredded heart all these years.

So he bore down on every spike of fever, every roiling fit of nausea and pain. Soon—soon Death would come to greet him.

Aedion just hoped Death arrived before Aelin did.

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