Home > A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses #4)(8)

A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses #4)(8)
Author: Sarah J. Maas

She’d never explained to Feyre—had never found the words to explain—why she’d put such distance between them all. Elain had been stolen by the Cauldron and saved by Azriel and Feyre. Yet the terror still gripped Nesta, waking and asleep: the memory of how it had felt in those moments after hearing the Cauldron’s seductive call and realizing it had been for Elain, not for her or Feyre. How it had felt to find Elain’s tent empty, to see that blue cloak discarded.

Things had only gotten worse from there.

You have your lives, and I have mine, she’d said to Elain last Winter Solstice. She’d known how deeply it would wound her sister. But she couldn’t bear it—the bone-deep horror that lingered. The flashes of that discarded cloak or the Cauldron’s chill waters or Cassian crawling toward her or her father’s neck snapping—

Feyre said carefully, “For what it’s worth, I was hoping you’d turn yourself around. I wanted to give you space to do it, since you seem to lash out at everyone who comes close enough, but you didn’t even try.”

Perhaps you can find it in yourself to try a little harder this year. Cassian’s words from nine months ago still rang fresh in Nesta’s mind, uttered on an ice-slick street blocks from here.

Try? It was all she could think to say.

I know that’s a foreign word to you.

Then her rage had ruptured from her. Why should I have to try to do anything? I was dragged into this world of yours, this court.

Then go somewhere else.

She’d swallowed her own response: I have nowhere to go.

It was the truth. She had no desire to return to the human realm. Had never felt at home there, not really. And this strange, new Fae world … She might have accepted her different, altered body, that she was now permanently changed and her humanity gone, but she didn’t know where she belonged in this world, either. The thought was one she tried to drown in liquor and music and cards, as often as she used those things to quell that writhing power deep inside.

Feyre continued, “All you have done is help yourself to our money.”

“Your mate’s money.” Another flash of hurt. Nesta’s blood sang at the direct blow. “Thank you so much for taking time out of your homemaking and shopping to remember me.”

“I built a room in this house for you. I asked you to help me decorate it. You told me to piss off.”

“Why would I ever want to stay in this house?” Where she could see precisely how happy they were, where none of them seemed remotely as decimated as she’d been by the war. She’d come so close to being a part of it—of that circle. Had held their hands as they’d stood together on the morning of the final battle and believed they might all make it.

Then she’d learned precisely how mercilessly it might be ripped away. What the cost of hope and joy and love truly was. She never wanted to face it again. Never wanted to endure what she’d felt in that forest clearing, with the King of Hybern chuckling, blood everywhere. Her power hadn’t been enough to save them that day. She supposed she’d been punishing it for failing her ever since, keeping it locked up tight inside her.

Feyre said, “Because you’re my sister.”

“Yes, and you’re always sacrificing for us, your sad little human family—”

“You spent five hundred gold marks last night!” Feyre exploded, shooting to her feet to pace in front of the hearth. “Do you know how much money that is? Do you know how embarrassed I was when we got the bill this morning and my friends—my family—had to hear all about it?”

Nesta hated that word. The term Feyre used to describe her court. As if things had been so miserable with the Archeron family that Feyre had needed to find another one. Had chosen her own. Nesta’s nails bit into her palms, the pain overriding that of her tightening chest.

Feyre went on, “And to hear not just the amount of the bill, but what you spent it on—”

“Oh, so it’s about you saving face—”

“It is about how it reflects upon me, upon Rhys, and upon my court when my damned sister spends our money on wine and gambling and does nothing to contribute to this city! If my sister cannot be controlled, then why should we have the right to rule over anyone else?”

“I am not a thing to be controlled by you,” Nesta said icily. Everything in her life, from the moment she was born, had been controlled by other people. Things happened to her; anytime she tried to exert control, she’d been thwarted at every turn—and she hated that even more than the King of Hybern.

“That’s why you’re going to train at Windhaven. You will learn to control yourself.”

“I won’t go.”

“You’re going, even if you have to be tied up and hauled there. You will follow Cassian’s lessons, and you will do whatever work Clotho requires in the library.” Nesta blocked out the memory—of the dark depths of that library, the ancient monster that had dwelled there. It had saved them from Hybern’s cronies, yes, but … She refused to think of it. “You will respect her, and the other priestesses in the library,” Feyre said, “and you will never give them a moment’s trouble. Any free time is yours to spend as you wish. In the House.”

Hot rage pumped through her, so loud Nesta could barely hear the real fire before which her sister paced. Was glad of the roaring in her head when the sound of wood cracking as it burned was so much like her father’s breaking neck that she couldn’t stand to light a fire in her own home.

“You had no right to close up my apartment, to take my things—”

“What things? A few clothes and some rotten food.” Nesta didn’t have the chance to wonder how Feyre knew that. Not as her sister said, “I’m having that entire building condemned.”

“You wouldn’t dare.”

“It’s done. Rhys already visited the landlord. It will be torn down and rebuilt as a shelter for families still displaced by the war.”

Nesta tried to master her uneven breathing. One of the few choices she’d made for herself, stripped away. Feyre didn’t seem to care. Feyre had always been her own master. Always got whatever she wished. And now, it seemed, Feyre would be granted this wish, too. Nesta seethed, “I never want to speak to you again.”

“That’s fine. You can talk to Cassian and the priestesses instead.”

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