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.”“Exchanges? You mean conversations?”“Of course.”“You don’t spend much time with people do you? Apart from Malaq.”“Malaq is good company.And extremely funny.”“He certainly thinks so.”“Still, I find it easier to be alone.I don’t like most people.I don’t trust them.”“That must drive Malaq crazy.”“Not at all.Malaq is very understanding of my shortcomings.Is he not yours?”“Oh, yeah.Malaq loves it when I’m rude.” I finished the bottle and tossed it.“Did he send you? Are you here to teach me how to make a door?”“No.”I waited, but she offered nothing else.Her fingers fidgeted with the folds of her cloak.Stiffness invaded her jaw.One minute of silence became two, then three.I didn’t want to lose my patience, but whatever the girl wanted couldn’t be as pressing as the situation I’d created for myself in the past.In trying to bring the crown’s power back with me, I’d locked it away inside myself.So deep, I couldn’t feel it.There wasn’t so much as an echo, or a residue of a vibration to grasp hold of.If I can’t channel it, I thought worriedly, how the hell am I going to get it out?“It’s good to formally meet you, Lirih,” I said, “but I’m a little busy.Can we get back to why you’re here?”“I believe it’s better to start with who I am.”“I know who you are,” I said, irritation slipping in.“You’re a door-maker for the resistance.You’re also Malaq’s—”“I won’t be anyone’s mistress,” she blurted boldly.I smiled.I liked her spunk.“Good for you.I guess his marriage came as a blow.”“It was unexpected and unfortunate.Equally unfortunate was that he lacked the courage to tell me until it was done.”“One thing Malaq doesn’t lack is courage.He just didn’t want to hurt you.And sometimes, saying a thing out loud makes it more real than you’re ready for.”“Is that a personal reference?”“I suppose.”“Well, it’s very wise.”I rubbed a hand over my face.“We have to take this up later.I’ve got enough magic rolling around in me right now to sink this entire swamp, so…”Her sightless eyes widened.“You found it? Queen Jillyan was correct in its whereabouts? Is that where you were just now, in the past?”I looked at her sideways.“You knew about Jillyan’s plan to restore the crown?”“I may no longer have Malaq’s heart but I still have his confidence.” Lirih’s enthusiasm waning, a frown came over her pretty face.“I don’t sense any magic in the room, or any stress on your body.How can you channel so much and be so calm?”“I have no idea.” Standing, I put a hand on her elbow.“But I need to get it out before my skin ends up looking like something that flew off a potter’s wheel.”“I’m sorry, but this can’t wait.You need to hear what I have to say.”“And you need to leave.”“I can’t.Not yet.”I barked at her.“Leave, Lirih.”“It’s not Lirih.” Her back straightened.She tossed the heavy bangs out of her face.“It’s Lirih’nee.Lirih’nee Reth.And I’m not just a door-maker, Ian.I’m your daughter.”I pressed a cup of tea in her hand.Her little nose scrunched as she sniffed at the steam.Taking a careful sip, Lirih’s brows went up as she swallowed.“This is good.” She sounded surprised at my ability to brew a decent tea.“It has an unusual flavor.”“It’s a special blend.” Pulling over a cushion, I sat across from her on the ground.“I stole the ingredients from Malaq’s kitchen when I was in Kabri.Don’t tell him.”“Promise.” She smiled slightly.“You blend your own tea?”“It’s been a while.A long while in fact.My mother wasn’t much for cooking, but she loved her tea.As a kid I tried to impress her by finding the perfect combination of flavors.”“And did you?”“No.The woman was impossible so I stopped wasting my time.”“Oh.” She got quiet then, like I’d upset her.I wasn’t exactly composed either as I watched her drink; trying to decide if I could see myself in her.The prominent bones in her face were familiar, but not the shape of it.She didn’t have my height or my hair.There were subtle nuances of color to the thick, shaggy strands that marked her as only half Shinree.She can’t be mine, I thought firmly.She can’t be.Can she?“What makes you think that I’m your… That you’re my…”“I don’t think I’m your daughter, Ian.I know.I saw it.I saw all of it.I was King Raynan Arcana’s oracle.I showed him the future through his eyes.I told him what I saw when I looked through yours.”I strived not to sound as skeptical as I felt.“The breeders say erudite beget erudite.If you’re mine, that’s what you are.So why the door-maker act?”“Malaq needed one.”“And King Raynan? Did he need an oracle?”“He had one in my mother.But her skills were weak.”“So he made a better one?”“I trained from the moment I was old enough to speak.My magic came early and the spells came easy.At five I was casting for him two or three times a day [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]