And I, Safi muttered, careful to keep her face perfectly still, do not accept this attempt at an apology.
We’ll go with the prince. To Lejna, so I can fulfill his contract.With the prince, Iseult echoed. Though her face stayed smooth, there was the slightest tic in her nose. And after Lejna?
Safi drummed her fingers on her knee. What could she say that would make Iseult smile? Where would her Threadsister possibly feel safe again?How about Saldonica? She offered her goofiest grin. We’d make great pirates.Iseult didn’t even ghost a smile back. Instead, her nose twitched more obviously and she glanced at her hands. My mother is there. I-I … don’t want to see her.
Gods thrice-dammit. Of course Safi would pick a place where Gretchya would be. Before she could suggest other options—ones that were guaranteed to make Iseult smile—the cabin door banged open.Evrane staggered in, with two sailors prodding her from behind. The monk slammed the door in their faces before stumbling for the girls—and Safi didn’t miss how Iseult’s spine erected. How her shoulders rolled properly back.
Let me examine you, Evrane croaked, sinking onto the floor beside Safi. You’re bruised, Domna.
It’s nothing. Safi tucked in her legs.After you play the role of the dancing, drinking domna, he began, and you do it for all of the empires to see … Well, after that, you’ll be entirely free to go.
Free to go. The words reverberated through the air like the final note in an explosive symphony.Safi swayed back. This was more than her mind could swallow—more than her witchery could swallow. Eron’s words quavered and burned with truth.
Why, Safi began carefully, afraid the wrong word would erase everything her uncle had said, would you let me leave? I’m supposed to be domna of the Hasstrel lands.Not quite. He raised a single arm over his head and leaned against the glass. Everything about his posture was strangely indulgent, and his necklace, now removed, hung between his fingers. Titles won’t matter soon, Safiya, and, let’s face it, neither you nor I ever expected you to actually lead the estate. You aren’t exactly cut out for leadership.