Heir Of Fire Chapter 26 Read Online Free

Full Read the Online Chapter 26 of Heir Of Fire PDF Book for free by Sarah J. Maas.

Chapter 26 OF Heir Of Fire Book Free: Chaol hadn’t seen or heard from the general or the prince since that night in the tomb. According to his men, the prince was spending his time in the healers’ catacombs, courting one of the young women down there. He hated himself, but some part of him was relieved to hear it; at least Dorian was talking to someone.

The rift with Dorian was worth it. For Dorian, even if his friend never forgave him; for Celaena, even if she never came back; even if he wished she were still Celaena and not Aelin … it was worth it.

It was a week before he had time to meet with Aedion again—to get the information that he hadn’t received thanks to Dorian interrupting them. If Dorian had snuck up on them so easily, then the tomb wasn’t the best place to meet. There was one place, however, where they could gather with minimal risk. Celaena had left it to him in her will, along with the address.

The secret apartment above the warehouse was untouched, though someone had taken the time to cover the ornate furniture. Pulling the sheets off one by one was like uncovering a bit more of who Celaena had been before Endovier— proof that her lavish tastes ran deep. She’d bought this place, she’d once told him, to have somewhere to call her own, a place outside the Assassins’ Keep where she’d been raised. She’d dropped almost every copper she had into it— but it had been necessary, she said, for the bit of freedom it had granted her. He could have left the sheets on, probably should have, but … he was curious.

The apartment consisted of two bedrooms with their own bathing rooms, a kitchen, and a great room in which a deep-cushioned couch sprawled before a carved marble fireplace, accented by two oversized velvet armchairs. The other half of the room was occupied by an oak dining table capable of seating eight, its place settings still laid out: plates of porcelain and silver, flatware that had long since gone dull. It was the only evidence that this apartment had been untouched since whoever—Arobynn Hamel, probably—had ordered the place sealed up.

Arobynn Hamel, the King of the Assassins. Chaol gritted his teeth as he finished stuffing the last of the white sheets into the hallway closet. He’d been thinking a good deal about Celaena’s old master in the past few days. Arobynn was smart enough to have put things together when he found a washed-up orphan right after the Princess of Terrasen went missing, her body vanished into the half-frozen Florine River.

If Arobynn had known, and done those things to her … The scar on Celaena’s wrist flashed before him. He’d made her break her own hand. There must have been countless other brutalities that Celaena didn’t even tell him about. And the worst of them, the absolute worst …

He’d never asked Celaena why, when she was appointed Champion, her first priority wasn’t hunting down her master and cutting him into pieces for what he’d done to her lover, Sam Cortland. Arobynn had ordered Sam tortured and killed, and then devised a trap for Celaena that got her hauled off to Endovier. Arobynn must have expected to retrieve her someday, if he’d left this apartment untouched. He must have wanted to let her rot in Endovier—until he decided to free her and she crawled back to him, his eternally loyal servant.

It was her right, Chaol told himself. Her right to decide when and how to kill Arobynn. It was Aedion’s right, too. Even the two lords of Terrasen had more of a claim on Arobynn’s head than he did. But if Chaol ever saw him, he wasn’t sure he would be able to restrain himself.

The rickety wooden staircase beyond the front door groaned, and Chaol had his sword drawn in a heartbeat. Then there was a low, two-note whistle and he relaxed, just slightly, and whistled back. He kept his sword drawn until Aedion strode through the door, sword out.

“I was wondering whether you’d be here alone, or with a gaggle of men waiting in the shadows,” Aedion said by way of greeting, sheathing his sword.

Chaol glared at him. “Likewise.”

Aedion moved farther into the apartment, the fierceness on his face shifting among wariness, wonder, and sorrow. And it occurred to Chaol that this apartment was the first time Aedion was seeing a piece of his lost cousin. These were her things. She had selected everything, from the figurines atop the mantel to the green napkins to the old farm table in the kitchen, flecked and marred by what seemed like countless knives.

Aedion paused in the center of the room, scanning everything. Perhaps to see if there were indeed any hidden forces lying in wait, but … Chaol muttered something about using the bathing room and gave Aedion the privacy he needed.

This was her apartment. Whether she accepted or hated her past, she’d decorated the dining table in Terrasen’s royal colors—green and silver. The table and the stag figurine atop the mantel were the only shreds of proof that she might remember. Might care.

Everything else was comfortable, tasteful, as if the apartment were for lounging and nights by the fire. And there were so many books—on shelves, on the tables by the couch, stacked beside the large armchair before the curtained floor-to-ceiling window spanning the entire length of the great room.

Smart. Educated. Cultured, if the knickknacks were any indication. There were things from across the kingdoms, as if she’d picked up something everywhere she went. The room was a map of her adventures, a map of a whole different person. Aelin had lived. She’d lived, and seen and done things.

The kitchen was small but cozy—and … Gods. She had a cooling box. The captain had mentioned her being notorious as an assassin, but he hadn’t mentioned that she was rich. All that blood money—all these things just proof of what she’d lost. What he’d failed to protect.

She’d become a killer. A damn good one, if this apartment was any indication. Her bedroom was even more outrageous. It had a massive four-poster bed with a mattress that looked like a cloud, and an attached marble-tiled bathing room that possessed its own plumbing system.

Well, her closet hadn’t changed. His cousin had always loved pretty clothes. Aedion pulled out a deep blue tunic, gold embroidery around the lapels and buttons glimmering in the light from the sconces. These were clothes for a woman’s body. And the scent still clinging to the entire apartment belonged to a woman—so similar to what he remembered from childhood, but wrapped in mystery and secret smiles. It was impossible for his Fae senses not to notice, to react.

Aedion leaned against the wall of the dressing room, staring at the gowns and the displays of jewelry, now coated in dust. He didn’t let himself care about what had been done to him in the past, the people he’d ruined, the battlefields he’d walked off covered in blood and gore that wasn’t his own. As far as he was concerned, he’d lost everything the day Aelin died. He had deserved the punishment for how badly he’d failed. But Aelin …

Aedion ran his hands through his hair before stepping into the great room. Aelin would come back from Wendlyn, no matter what the captain believed. Aelin would come back, and when she did … With every breath, Aedion felt that lingering scent wrapping tighter around his heart and soul. When she came back, he was never letting her go.

Aedion sank onto one of the armchairs before the fire as Chaol said, “Well, I

think I’ve waited long enough to hear what you have to say about magic. I hope it’s worthwhile.”

“Regardless of what I know, magic shouldn’t be your main plan of defense— or action.”

“I saw your queen cleave the earth in two with her power,” Chaol said. “Tell me that wouldn’t turn the tide on a battlefield—tell me that you wouldn’t need that, and others like her.”

“She won’t be anywhere near those battlefields,” Aedion snarled softly.

Chaol highly doubted that was true, but wished it was. Aedion would probably have to bind Celaena to her throne to keep her from fighting on the front lines with her people. “Just tell me.”

Aedion sighed and gazed at the fire, as if beholding a distant horizon. “The burnings and executions had already started by the time magic disappeared, so the day it happened, I thought the birds were just fleeing the soldiers, or looking for carrion. I was locked in one of the tower rooms by the king’s orders. Most days I didn’t dare look out the window because I didn’t want to see what was happening in the city below, but there was such noise from the birds that day that I looked. And …” Aedion shook his head. “Something sent them all flying up in one direction, then another. And then the screaming started. I heard some people just died right on the spot, as if an artery had been cut.”

Aedion spread out a map on the low table between them and put a callused finger on Orynth. “There were two waves of birds. The first went north- northwest.” He traced a vague line. “From the tower, I could see far enough that I knew many of them had come from the south—most of the birds near us didn’t move much. But then the second wave shoved all of them to the north and east, like something from the center of the land threw them that way.”

Chaol pointed to Perranth, the second-largest city in Terrasen. “From here?” “Farther south.” Aedion knocked Chaol’s hand out of the way.

“Endovier or even lower.”

“You couldn’t have seen that far.”

“No, but the warrior-lords of my court made me memorize the birds in Oakwald and all their calls for hunting—and fighting. And there were birds flying up toward us that were only found in your country. I was counting them to distract myself while—” Another pause, as if Aedion hadn’t meant to say that. “I don’t remember hearing any birds from the three southern kingdoms.”

Chaol made a rough line, starting in Rifthold and going out toward the mountains, toward the Ferian Gap. “Like something shot out in this direction.”

“It wasn’t until the second wave that magic stopped.” Aedion raised a brow. “Don’t you remember that day?”

“I was here; if anyone felt pain, they hid it. Magic’s been illegal in Adarlan for decades. So where does all this get us, Aedion?”

“Well, Murtaugh and Ren had similar experiences.” So then the general launched into another tale: like Aedion, Ren and Murtaugh had experienced a frenzy of local animals and twin waves of something the day magic had disappeared. But they’d been in the southern part of their continent, having just arrived in Skull’s Bay.

It wasn’t until six months ago, when they’d been lured into the city by Archer Finn’s lies about Aelin’s reemergence, that they’d started considering magic— contemplating ways to break the king’s power for their queen. After comparing notes with the other rebels in Rifthold, they realized that others had experienced similar phenomena. Wanting to get a full account, they’d found a merchant from the Deserted Peninsula who was willing to talk—a man from Xandria who was surprisingly honest, despite the business he’d built on contraband items.

I stole an Asterion mare from the Lord of Xandria.

Of course Celaena had been to the Deserted Peninsula. And sought out trouble. Despite the ache in his chest, Chaol smiled at the memory as Aedion recalled Murtaugh’s report of the merchant’s account.

Not two waves when magic vanished in the desert, but three.

The first swept down from the north. The merchant had been with the Lord of Xandria in his fortress high above the city and had seen a faint tremor that made the red sand dance. The second came from the southwest, barreling right toward them like a sandstorm. The final pulse came from the same inland source Aedion remembered. Seconds later, magic was gone, and people were screaming in the streets, and the Lord of Xandria got the order, a week later, to put down all the known or registered magic-wielders in his city. Then the screaming had become different.

Aedion gave him a sly grin as he finished. “But Murtaugh figured out more.

We’re meeting in three days. He can tell you his theories then.”

Chaol started from his chair. “That’s it? That’s all you know—what you’ve been lording over me these past few weeks?”

“There’s still more for you to tell me, so why should I tell you everything?” “I’ve told you vital, world-changing information,” Chaol said through his

teeth. “You’ve just told me stories.”

Aedion’s eyes took on a lethal glint. “You’ll want to hear what Ren and Murtaugh have to say.” Chaol didn’t feel like waiting so long to hear it, but there

were two state lunches and one formal dinner before then, and he was expected to attend all of them. And present the king with his defense plans for all the events as well.

After a moment, Aedion said, “How do you stand working for him? How do you pretend you don’t know what that bastard is doing, what he’s done to innocent people, to the woman you claim to love?”

“I’m doing what I have to do.” He didn’t think Aedion would understand, anyway.

“Tell me why the Captain of the Guard, a Lord of Adarlan, is helping his enemy. That’s all the information I want from you today.”

Chaol wanted to say that, given how much he’d already told him, he didn’t have to offer a damn thing. Instead he said, “I grew up being told we were bringing peace and civilization to the continent. What I’ve seen recently has made me realize how much of it is a lie.”

“You knew about the labor camps, though. About the massacres.”

“It is easy to be lied to when you do not know any of those people firsthand.” But Celaena with her scars, and Nehemia with her people butchered … “It’s easy to believe when your king tells you that the people in Endovier deserve to be there because they’re criminals or rebels who tried to slaughter innocent Adarlanian families.”

“And how many of your countrymen would stand against your king if they, too, learned the truth? If they stopped to consider what it would be like if it were their family, their village, being enslaved or murdered? How many would stand if they knew what power their prince possessed—if their prince rose up to fight with us?”

Chaol didn’t know, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to. As for Dorian … he could not ask that of his friend. Could not expect it. His goal was keeping Dorian safe. Even if it would cost him their friendship, he didn’t want Dorian involved. Ever.

The past week had been terrifying and wonderful for Dorian.

Terrifying because two more people knew his secret, and because he walked such a fine line when it came to controlling his magic, which seemed more volatile with each passing day.

Wonderful because  every  afternoon,  he  visited  the  forgotten workroom

Sorscha had discovered tucked in a lower level of the catacombs where no one would find them. She brought books from the gods knew where, herbs and plants and salts and powders, and every day, they researched and trained and pondered.

There weren’t many books about dampening a power like his—many had been burned, she’d told him. But she looked at the magic like a disease: if she could find the right channels to block, she could keep it contained. And if not, she always said, they could resort to drugging him, just enough to even out his moods. She didn’t like the idea of it, and neither did he, though it was a comfort to know the option was there.

An hour each day was all they could manage together. For that hour, regardless of the laws they were breaking, Dorian felt like himself again. Not twisted and reeling and stumbling through the dark, but grounded. Calm. No matter what he told Sorscha, she never judged or betrayed him. Chaol had been that person once. Yet now, when it came to his magic, he could still see fear and a hint of disgust in Chaol’s eyes.

“Did you know,” Sorscha said from her spot across the worktable, “that before magic vanished, they had to find special ways of subduing gifted prisoners?”

Dorian looked up from his book, a useless tome on garden remedies. Before magic vanished … at the hand of his father and his Wyrdkeys. His stomach turned. “Because they’d use their magic to break out of prison?”

Sorscha studied the book again. “That’s why a lot of the old prisons use solid iron—it’s immune to magic.”

“I know,” he said, and she raised a brow. She was slowly starting to come alive around him—though he’d also learned to read her subtle expressions better. “Back when my power first appeared, I tried using it on an iron door, and … it didn’t go well.”

“Hmm.” Sorscha chewed on her lip. It was surprisingly distracting. “But iron’s in your blood, so how does that work?”

“I think it was the gods’ way of keeping us from growing too powerful: if we keep contact with the magic, if it’s flowing through us for too long, we faint. Or worse.”

“I wonder what would happen if we increased the iron in your diet, perhaps adding a large amount of treacle to your food. We give it to anemic patients, but if we gave you a highly concentrated dose … it would taste awful, and could be dangerous, but—”

“But perhaps if it’s in my body, then when the magic rises up …” He

grimaced. He might have balked at the memory of the agony when he’d tried to seal that iron door, but … He couldn’t bring himself to say no to her. “Do you have any here? Just something to add to a drink?”

She didn’t, but she got some. And within a quarter of an hour, Dorian said a prayer to Silba and swallowed it, cringing at the obscene sweetness. Nothing.

Sorscha’s eyes darted from his own to the pocket watch in her hand. Counting. Waiting to see if there was an adverse reaction. A minute passed. And then ten. Dorian had to go soon, and so did she, but after a while, Sorscha quietly said, “Try it. Try summoning it. The iron should be in your blood now.” He shut his eyes, and she added, “It reacts when you’re upset—angry or scared or sad. Think about something that makes you feel that way.”

She was risking her position, her life, everything for this. For him, the son of the man who had ordered his army to destroy her village, then slaughter her family with the other unwanted immigrants squatting in Rifthold. He didn’t deserve it.

He breathed in. Out. She also didn’t deserve the world of trouble he was bringing down upon her—or would continue to bring to her door every time he came here. He knew when women liked him, and he’d known from the first moment he’d seen her that she found him attractive. He’d hoped that opinion hadn’t changed for the worse, but now … Think of what upsets you.

Everything upset him. It upset him that she was risking her life, that he had no choice but to endanger her. Even if he took that final step toward her, even if he took her into his bed like he so badly wanted to, he was still … the Crown Prince. You will always be my enemy, Celaena had once said.

There was no escaping his crown. Or his father, who would behead Sorscha, burn her, and scatter her ashes to the wind if he found out she’d helped him. His father, whom his friends were now working to destroy. They had lied to him and ignored him for that cause. Because he was a danger, to them, to Sorscha, and—

Roaring pain surged from his core and up his throat, and he gagged. There was another wave, and a cool breeze tried to kiss his face, but it vanished like mist under the sun as the pain trembled through him. He leaned forward, squeezing his eyes shut as the agony and then the nausea went through him again. And again.

But then it was quiet. Dorian opened his eyes to find Sorscha, clever, steady, wonderful Sorscha, standing there, biting her lip. She took one step—toward him, not away, for once. “Did it—”

Dorian was on his feet so fast the chair rocked behind him, and had her face between his hands a heartbeat after that. “Yes,” he breathed, and kissed her. It

was fast—but her face was flushed, and her eyes wide as he pulled back. His own eyes were wide, gods be damned, and he was still rubbing his thumb against her soft cheek. Still contemplating going back for more, because that hadn’t been nearly enough.

But she pulled away, returning to her work. As if—as if it hadn’t been anything, other than an embarrassment. “Tomorrow?” she murmured. She wouldn’t look at him.

He could hardly muster the words to tell her yes as he staggered out. She’d looked so surprised, and if he didn’t get out, he was likely to kiss her again.

But maybe she didn’t want to be kissed.

Next Chapter: Heir Of Fire Chapter 27

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