A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)(15)

by Sarah J. Maas

“I’ve another hour before I need to sleep,” I said. Ianthe was in her usual pale robe, hood up and that circlet of silver with its blue stone atop it.

High Fae males eyed her as they meandered past where we stood by the wood-paneled wall near the main doors, either from awe or lust or perhaps both, their gazes occasionally snagging on me. I knew the wide eyes had nothing to do with my bright green gown or pretty face (fairly bland compared to Ianthe’s). I tried to ignore them.

“Are you ready for tomorrow? Is there anything I can do for you?” Ianthe sipped from her glass of sparkling wine. The gown I wore tonight was a gift from her, actually—Spring Court green, she’d called it. Alis had merely lingered while I dressed, unnervingly silent, letting Ianthe claim her usual duties.

“I’m fine.” I’d already contemplated how pathetic it would be if I asked her to permanently stay after the wedding. If I revealed that I dreaded her leaving me to this court, these people, until Nynsar—a minor spring holiday to celebrate the end of seeding the fields and to pass out the first flower clippings of the season. Months and months from now. Even having her live at her own temple felt too removed.

Two males that had circled past twice already finally worked up the courage to approach us—her.

I leaned against the wall, the wood digging into my back, as they flanked Ianthe. Handsome, in the way that most of them were handsome, armed with weapons that marked them as two of the High Fae who guarded Tamlin’s lands. Perhaps they even worked under Ianthe’s father. “Priestess,” one said, bowing deep.

By now, I’d become accustomed to people kissing her silver rings and beseeching her for prayers for themselves, their families, or their lovers. Ianthe received it all without that beautiful face shifting in the slightest.

“Bron,” she said to the one on her left, brown-haired and tall. “And Hart,” she said to the one on her right, black-haired and built a bit more powerfully than his friend. She gave a coy, pretty tilt of her lips that I’d learned meant she was now on the hunt for nighttime companionship. “I haven’t seen you two troublemakers in a while.”

They parried with flirtatious comments, until the two males began glancing my way.

“Oh,” Ianthe said, hood shifting as she turned. “Allow me to introduce Lady Feyre.” She lowered her eyes, angling her head in a deep nod. “Savior of Prythian.”

“We know,” Hart said quietly, bowing with his friend at the waist. “We were Under the Mountain with you.”

I managed to incline my head a bit as they straightened. “Congratulations on tomorrow,” Bron said, grinning. “A fitting end, eh?”

A fitting end would have been me in a grave, burning in hell.

“The Cauldron,” Ianthe said, “has blessed all of us with such a union.” The males murmured their agreement, bowing their heads again. I ignored it.

“I have to say,” Bron went on, “that trial—with the Middengard Wyrm? Brilliant. One of the most brilliant things I ever saw.”

It was an effort not to push myself wholly flat against the wall, not to think about the reek of that mud, the gnashing of those flesh-shredding teeth bearing down upon me. “Thank you.”

“Oh, it sounded terrible,” Ianthe said, stepping closer as she noted I was no longer wearing that bland smile. She put a hand on my arm. “Such bravery is awe-inspiring.”

I was grateful, so pathetically grateful, for the steadying touch. For the squeeze. I knew then that she’d inspire hordes of young Fae females to join her order—not for worshipping their Mother and Cauldron, but to learn how she lived, how she could shine so brightly and love herself, move from male to male as if they were dishes at a banquet.