Home > A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses #4)(7)

A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses #4)(7)
Author: Sarah J. Maas

She’d been the only one Nesta had truly spoken to after the war.

It didn’t seem like a coincidence that in the past month, since they’d argued on that boat, Nesta’s behavior had deteriorated further. That she now looked like … this.

“One,” Amren said, raising a slender finger, “you can move up to the House of Wind, train with Cassian in the mornings, and work in the library in the afternoons. You will not be a prisoner. But there will be no one to fly or winnow you down to the city. If you want to venture into the city proper, by all means, go ahead. That is, if you can brave the ten thousand steps down from the House.” Amren’s eyes glittered with the challenge. “And if you can somehow find two coppers to rub together to buy yourself a drink. But if you follow this plan, we will reevaluate where and how you live in a few months.”

“And my other option?” Nesta spat.

Mother above, this woman—female. She was no longer human. Cassian could think of very, very few people who would defy Amren and Rhys. Certainly not in the same room. Certainly not with such venom.

“You go back to the human lands.”

Amren had suggested a few days in a dungeon in the Hewn City, but Feyre had simply said that the human world would be more than enough of a prison for someone like Nesta.

Someone like Feyre, too. And Elain.

All three sisters were now High Fae with considerable powers, though only Feyre’s were let loose. Even Amren had no idea whether Elain’s and Nesta’s powers remained. The Cauldron had granted them unique powers, different from other High Fae: the gift of sight to the former, and the gift of … Cassian didn’t know what to call Nesta’s gift. Didn’t know whether it was a gift at all—or something she had taken. The silver fire, that sense of death looming, the raw power he’d witnessed as it blasted into the King of Hybern. Whatever it was, it existed beyond the usual array of High Fae gifts.

The human world was behind them. They could never return. Even though all three of them were war heroes, each in their own right, the humans wouldn’t care. Would stay far, far away, if they weren’t provoked to violence. So, yes: Nesta might technically be able to return to the human lands, but she would find no companionship there, no warm welcome or town that would accept her. Wherever she was able to find a place to live, she would be essentially housebound, confined to the grounds of her home for fear of human prejudices.

Nesta turned to Feyre, lips pulling back from her teeth. “And these are my only options?”

“I—” Feyre caught herself before she could say the rest—I’m sorry—and squared her shoulders. Became the High Lady of the Night Court, even without her black crown, even in Rhys’s old sweater. “Yes.”

“You have no right.”

“I—”

Nesta erupted. “You dragged me into this mess, this horrible place. You are why I am like this, why I am stuck here—”

Feyre flinched. Rhys’s rage became palpable, a pulse of night-kissed power that tightened Cassian’s gut, every warrior’s instinct beaten into him coming to attention.

“That’s enough,” Feyre breathed.

Nesta blinked.

Feyre swallowed, but didn’t balk. “That is enough. You’re moving up to the House, you’re going to train and work, and I don’t care what vitriol you spew my way. You’re doing it.”

“Elain needs to be able to see me—”

“Elain agreed to this hours ago. She’s currently packing your things. They’ll be waiting for you when you arrive.”

Nesta recoiled.

Feyre didn’t relent. “Elain knows how to contact you. If she wishes to visit you at the House of Wind, she is free to do so. One of us will gladly take her up there.”

The words hung between them, so heavy and awkward that Cassian said, “I promise not to bite.”

Nesta’s upper lip curled back as she faced him. “I suppose this was your idea—”

“It was,” he lied with a grin. “We’re going to have a wonderful time together.”

They’d likely kill each other.

“I want to speak to my sister. Alone,” Nesta ordered.

Cassian glanced at Rhys, who leveled an assessing stare at Nesta. Cassian had been on the receiving end of that same stare a few times over the centuries and did not envy Nesta one bit. But the High Lord of the Night Court nodded. “We’ll be in the hall.”

Cassian’s fist tightened at the implied insult that they didn’t trust her enough to go farther than that, despite the shield on Feyre. Even if the rational, warrior-minded part of him agreed. Nesta’s eyes flared, and he knew she’d understood it, too.

From the way Feyre’s jaw tightened, he suspected she wasn’t pleased at the subtle jab—it wouldn’t help convince Nesta that they were doing this to help her. Rhys would be getting the verbal beating he deserved later.

Cassian waited until Rhys and Amren rose before following them out. True to his word, Rhys walked three steps down the hall, away from the wood doors spelled against eavesdroppers, and leaned against the wall.

Doing the same, Cassian said to Amren, “I didn’t even know we had laws like that about court membership.”

“We don’t.” Amren picked at her red-painted nails.

He swore under his breath.

Rhys smiled wryly. But Cassian frowned toward the shut double doors and prayed Nesta didn’t do anything stupid.

 

Nesta held her spine ramrod straight, back aching with the effort. She had never hated anyone so much as she hated all of them now. Save for the King of Hybern, she supposed.

They’d all been discussing her, deeming her unfit and unchecked, and—

“You didn’t care before,” Nesta said. “Why now?”

Feyre toyed with her silver-and-star-sapphire wedding ring. “I told you: it wasn’t that I didn’t care. We—everyone, I mean—had multiple conversations about this. About you. We— I decided that giving you time and space would be best.”

“And what did Elain have to say about it?” Part of her didn’t want to know.

Feyre’s mouth tightened. “This isn’t about Elain. And last I checked, you barely saw her, either.”

Nesta hadn’t realized they were paying such close attention.

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