“She bent most of the rules. She broke the rest.”
“Oh yes, your relationship with Miss Bard is positively ordinary."
"Crossing worlds, killing royals, saving cities. The marks of every good courtship.”
“Everyone thinks I have a death wish, you know? But I don't want to die - dying is easy. No, I want to live, but getting close to death is the only way to feel alive. And once you do, it makes you realize that everything you were actually doing before wasn't actually living. It was just making do. Call me crazy, but I think we do the best living when the stakes are high.”
“Kell would say it was impossible. What a useless word, in a world with magic.”
“They danced in silence for several long moments, spinning together and apart, a slower version of their cadence in the ring. And then, out of nowhere, Lila asked, “Why?”
“Why did you ask me to dance?”
He almost smiled. A ghost. A trick of the light. “So you couldn’t run away again before I said hello.”
“Hello,” said Lila.
“Hello,” said Kell. “Where have you been?”
“How do you know when the Sarows is coming?
(Is coming is coming is coming aboard)
When the wind dies away but still sings in your ears,
(In your ears in your head in your blood in your bones.)
When the current goes still but the ship, it drifts along,
(Drifts on drifts away drifts alone.)
When the moon and the stars all hide from the dark,
(For the dark is not empty at all at all.)
(For the dark is not empty at all.)
How do you know when the Sarows is coming?
(Is coming is coming is coming aboard)
Why you don't and you don't and you won't see it coming,
(You won't see it coming at all.)”
“Standing there on display was painful enough.
Now came the truly unfortunate task of socializing.”
“Look, everyone talks about the unknown like it's some big scary thing, but it's the familiar that's always bothered me. It's heavy, builds up around you like rocks, until it's walls and a ceiling and a cell.”
“I know where you sleep, Bard." She smirked. "Then you know I sleep with knives.”
“They crashed into each other as if propelled by gravity, and he didn't know which one of them was the object and which the earth, only that they were colliding. The kiss was Lila pressed into a single gesture. Her brazen pride and her stubborn resolve, her recklessness and her daring and her hunger for freedom. It was all those things, and it took Kell's breath away.”
“Kell has only two faces. The one he wears for the world at large, and the one he wears for those he loves.” He sipped his wine.
“For us.” Lila’s expression hardened. “Whatever he feels for me, it isn’t love.”
“Because it isn’t soft and sweet and doting?” Rhy rocked back, stretching against the pillar. “Do you know how many times he’s nearly beat me senseless out of love? How many times I’ve done the same? I’ve seen the way he looks at those he hates …” He shook his head. “There are very few things my brother cares about, and even fewer people.”
“My father was a vulture. My mother was a magpie. My oldest brother is a crow. My sister, a sparrow. I have never really been a bird."
Lila resisted the urge to say he might have been a peacock. It didn't seem the time.”
“I am Delilah Bard, she thought, as the ropes cut into her skin. I am a thief and a pirate and a traveler. I have set foot in three different worlds, and lived. I have shed the blood of royals and held magic in my hands.”
“Please tell me this is easier to take off than it was to put on.”
Calla raised a brow. “You do not think Master Kell knows how?”
“The prince shrugged. “Who needs magic when you look this good?”
“After all, if you run far enough, no one can catch you.”
“I gave him my life, but you cannot ask me to stop living.”
“No,” he muttered, running a hand through his copper hair. “No. No. There are dozens.”
“Kell?” she asked, moving to touch his arm.
He shook her off. “Dozens of ships, Lila! And you had to climb aboard his.”
“I’m sorry,” she shot back, bristling, “I was under the impression that I was free to do as I pleased.”
“To be fair,” added Alucard, “I think she was planning to steal it and slit my throat.”
“Then why didn’t you?” snarled Kell, spinning on her. “You’re always so eager to slash and stab, why couldn’t you have stabbed him?”
“Don't you see?" said Calla. "He wasn't coming to pay your debt. He was coming to see if you'd returned to pay it yourself." Lila felt her face go hot. "I do not know why you two are circling each other like stars. It is not my cosmic dance. But I do know that you come asking after one another, when only a few strides and a handful of stars divide you.”
“What brings you to my room?” he asked, relief bleeding into annoyance.
“Adventure. Intrigue. Brotherly concern. Or,” continued the prince lazily, “perhaps I’m just giving your mirror something to look at besides your constant pout.”
Kell frowned, and Rhy smiled. “Ah, there it is! That famous scowl.”
“Magic is tangled, so you must be smooth.
Magic is wild, so you must be tame.
Magic is chaos, so you must be calm.
Are you calm, Kell?”
“She straightened. “You tried to seduce me, for information.”
“You can’t hold that against me forever.”
“It was last night.”
“Well I was running out of options, and I figured it was worth a shot.”
Lila rolled her eyes. “You really know how to make a girl feel special.”
“Fix your crown, my prince," he called back as he reached the door. "It's crooked.”
“I'm sorry." He sounded so...earnest, which made Lila instantly suspicious. Alucard was many things, but genuine wasn't usually one of them.
"For growing on me?" she asked.
He shook his head. "For whatever happened to you. For whoever hurt you so deeply that you see things like friends and fondness as weapons instead of shields.”
“Politics is a dance until the moment it becomes a war. And we control the music.”
“Whatever I am, let it be enough”
“Strength and weakness are tangled things,” the Aven Essen had said. “They look so much alike, we often confuse them, the way we confuse magic and power.”
“I know it’s mad, but for a second I thought it was …” “Saints, you’re seeing her in everyone and everything now, Kell? There’s a word for that.” “Hallucination?” “Infatuation.”
“Rhy held Kell's pain in his hands, while Kell held Rhy's life in his.”
“Bir ana bir ömür kadar çok hayat doldurduğunu bilerek yaşamak...”
“You're my invisible sun, aren't you?
“I could shove this swizzle stick through his heart, Min thought. She wouldn’t do it, of course. The stick was plastic and not nearly pointed enough on the end. Also people didn’t do things like that in Southern Ohio. A sawed-off shotgun, that was the ticket.”
“Watch and wait, boy. Watch and wait.”
The syringe fills with blood.
You're a beautiful boy and that's all that matters.
Wonder if he's for sale.
People are afraid to merge. To merge.”
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