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Chapter no 62

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, 4)

Manon didn’t bother looking pleasant as she sent Abraxos slamming into the ground in front of the king’s party. The horses whinnied and bucked while the Thirteen circled above the clearing in which they’d spotted the party.

“Wing Leader,” the king said from astride his warhorse, not at all perturbed. Beside him, his son—Dorian—cringed.

Cringed the way that blond thing in Morath had when it attacked them.

“Was there something you wanted?” the king asked coolly. “Or a reason you look halfway to Hellas’s realm?”

Manon dismounted Abraxos and walked toward the king and his son. The prince focused on his saddle, careful not to meet her eyes. “There are rebels in your woods,” she said. “They took your little prisoner out of the wagon, and then tried to attack me and my Thirteen. I slaughtered them all. I hope you don’t mind. They left three of your men dead in the wagon—though it seems their loss wasn’t noticed.”

The king merely said, “You came all this way to tell me that?”

“I came all this way to tell you that when I face your rebels, your enemies, I shall have no interest in prisoners. And the Thirteen are not a caravan to transport them as you will.”

She stepped closer to the prince’s horse. “Dorian,” she said. A command and a challenge.

Sapphire eyes snapped to hers. No trace of otherworldly darkness. Just a man trapped inside.

She faced the king. “You should send your son to Morath. It’d be his sort of place.” Before the king could reply, Manon walked back to Abraxos.

She’d planned on telling the king about Aelin. About the rebels who called themselves Aedion and Rowan and Chaol.

But … they were human and could not travel swiftly—not if they were injured.

She owed her enemy a life debt.

Manon climbed into Abraxos’s saddle. “My grandmother might be High Witch,” she said to the king, “but I ride at the head of the armies.”

The king chuckled. “Ruthless. I think I rather like you, Wing Leader.” “That weapon my grandmother made—the mirrors. You truly plan to

use shadowfire with it?”

The king’s ruddy face tightened with warning. The replica inside the wagon had been a fraction of the size of what was depicted in the plans nailed to the wall: giant, transportable battle towers, a hundred feet high, their insides lined with the sacred mirrors of the Ancients. Mirrors that were once used to build and break and mend. Now they would be amplifiers, reflecting and multiplying any power the king chose to unleash, until it became a weapon that could be aimed at any target. If the power were Kaltain’s shadowfire …

“You ask too many questions, Wing Leader,” the king said.

“I don’t like surprises,” was her only reply. Except this—this had been a surprise.

The weapon wasn’t for winning glory or triumph or the love of battle. It was for extermination. A full-scale slaughter that would involve little fighting at all. Any opposing army—even Aelin and her warriors— would be defenseless.

The king’s face was turning purple with impatience.

But Manon was already taking to the skies, Abraxos beating his wings hard. She watched the prince until he was a speck of black hair.

And wondered what it was like to be trapped within that body.

 

 

Elide Lochan waited for the supply wagon. It didn’t come.

A day late; two days late. She hardly slept for fear it would arrive when she was dozing. When she awoke on the third day, her mouth dry, it was already habit to hurry down to help in the kitchen. She worked until her leg nearly gave out.

Then, just before sunset, the whinny of horses and the clatter of wheels and the shouts of men bounced off the dark stones of the long Keep bridge.

Elide slipped from the kitchen before they could notice her, before the cook could conscript her into performing some new task. She hurried up the steps as best she could with her chain, her heart in her throat. She should have kept her things downstairs, should have found some hiding spot.

Up and up, into Manon’s tower. She’d refilled the water skein each morning, and had amassed a little supply of food in a pouch. Elide threw open the door to Manon’s room, surging for the pallet where she kept her supplies.

But Vernon was inside.

He sat on the edge of Manon’s bed as if it were his own. “Going somewhere, Elide?”

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