“To stand in front of a person who is your whole world and be told you are not enough. You are not the choice. You are a shadow to the person who is your sun.”
“Those who know what it's like in the dark will do anything to stay in the light.”
“You aren’t alone.” The hope in his eyes cuts deeply. “You have your crown.”
“I've been broken too many times to break again.”
“Now I'm in a king's cage. But so is he. My chains are Silent Stone. His is the crown.”
“I thought I knew what heartbreak was. I thought that was what Maven did to me. When he stood and left me kneeling. When he told me everything I ever thought him to be was a lie. But then, I believed I loved him.
I know now, I didn't know what love was. Or what even the echo of heartbreak felt like.
To stand in front of a person who is your whole world and be told you are not enough. You are not the choice. You are a shadow to the person who is your sun.”
“There are pieces of me, small pieces, still in love with a fiction. A ghost living inside a living boy I cannot begin to fathom. The ghost who sat by my bed while I dreamed in pain. The ghost who kept Samson from my mind as long as he could, I know, delaying an inevitable torture.
The ghost who loves me, in what poisoned way he can.
And I feel that poison working in me.”
“The person she loved is dead, stolen by someone else. Mine chose to walk away. Chose everything I hate over everything I am. I wonder which hurts more. Before”
“Not a god’s chosen, but a god’s cursed. That’s what we all are.”
“Through it all, I stare at the boy on the throne. He maintains his mask. Jaw clenched, lips pressed into a thin, unforgiving line. Still fingers, straight back. But his gaze wavers. Something in his eyes has gone far away. And at his collar, the slightest gray flush rises, painting his neck and the tips of his ears.
For a second, it makes me happy. Then I remember―monsters are most dangerous when they're afraid.”
“My heart breaks for him; my heart hardens against him.”
“There are pieces of me, small pieces, still in love with a fiction.”
“You are only a shadow, and who looks at shadows when they have flame?”
“As you enter, you pray to leave. As you leave, you pray to never return.”
“Never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams. —HRC”
“Cameron, my heart is quite literally in this," he hisses through gritted teeth.
Swooning words. A romantic declaration. I can barely stop my eyes from rolling.
"Save it for when we get her back," I grumble.”
“In the palace, during my imprisonment, I learned that Maven had been made by his mother, formed into the monster he became. There is nothing on earth that can change him or what she did. But Cal was made too. All of us were made by someone else, and all of us have some thread of steel that nothing and no one can cut.”
“In what life can I trust anything out of your mouth ever again?”
“Maven Calore is not his own self. He told me as much. He is a construct, a creation of his mother's additions and subtractions. A mechanical, a machine, soulless and lost. What a horror, to know that someone like this holds our fates in the palm of his quivering hand.”
“Mare,” he whispers. “Choose me.”
Choose a crown. Choose another king’s cage. Choose a betrayal to everything you’ve bled for.
I find my thread of steel too. Thin but unbreakable.
“I am in love with you, and I want you more than anything else in the world.” His words sound hollow coming from me. “Anything else in this world.”
Slowly, my eyelids flutter open. He finds the spine to match my gaze.
“Think what we could do together,” he murmurs, trying to pull me closer. My feet hold firm. “You know what you are to me. Without you, I have no one. I am alone. I have nothing left. Don’t leave me alone.”
My breathing turns ragged.
I kiss him for what could be, what might be, what will be—the last time. His lips feel strangely cold as we both turn to ice.
“You aren’t alone.” The hope in his eyes cuts deeply. “You have your crown.”
“The words were only words. He could never part with her. So it was easy to push her into his path ― and push him off course. The equivalent of waving a red flag in front of a bull. She was his hurricane, and every nudge pulled him deeper into the eye of the storm.”
“The crushing weight of silence hangs heavy as always. For a moment it's too difficult to breathe, and I wonder if this is how I die. Drowned in this bed of silk, burned by a king's obsession, smothered by open air.”
“The smell made it really hard to be friends with you."
"Probably why we stuck together. No one else could handle my stink or your attitude.”
“Cal stares at the floor, silent for a long, stoic moment. "I never thought Maven would do that to her," he mutters finally. "She probably didn't either."
Then you're both stupid, my brain screams. How many times doe one wicked boy have to betray you people before you learn?”
“Maven is a talented liar, and I don't trust a single word he speaks. Even if he was telling the truth. Even if he is a product of his mother's meddling, a thorned flower forced to grow a certain way. That doesn't change things. I can't forget everything he's done to me and so many others. When I first met him, I was seduced by his pain. He was the boy in shadow, a forgotten son. I saw myself in him. Second always to Gisa, the bright star in my parents' world. I know now that was by design. He caught me back then, ensnaring me in a prince's trap. Now I'm in a king's cage. But so is he. My chains are Silent Stone. His is the crown.”
“The lightning girl is easier to read than the pages of a children's book.”
“I have no illusions where Maven is concerned. I know his twisted heart, and that it feels something for me. Something he wants to get rid of, but can never part with.”
“Cal's touch has not erased Maven's. My memories are still there, still just as painful as they were yesterday. And as much as I try, I have not forgotten the canyon that will always stretch between us. No kind of love can erase his faults, just like none can erase mine.”
“And his eyes are worst of all. Her eyes, Elara's eyes. Once I thought them cold, made of living ice. Now I know better. The hottest fires burn blue, and his eyes are no exception.”
“Come forward, Mare."
That is Maven's voice. Not Maven, but Maven. The boy I thought I knew. Gentle, tender. He keeps that voice stored away, ready to be used against me like a sword. It strikes me to my core, as he knows it will. In spite of myself, I feel the familiar longing for a boy who does not exist.”
“I have other time frames to worry about besides yours!”
“Karina and Tho-orn, sitting in a tree-ee. Kay-eye-ess-ess-eye-en-gee.”
“لقد سلبني نصف قلبَك .. بيننا الآن ظل ..”
“Little treasures have a sign that says, Here I am.
Bigger treasures have a sign that says, Do you remember.
But the most precious treasures of all will have a sign saying, I was there.”
“To rush into explanations is always a sign of weakness.”
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