Queen of Shadows Chapter 18 Read Online

Full Read the Online Chapter 18 of Queen of Shadows novel PDF by Sarah J. Maas for free.

Chapter 18 Part 1 Lady of Shadows of Queen of Shadows: It wasn’t just the glass flowers that had been rigged with a reactive powder, quietly purchased by Aelin at the Shadow Market. Every bit of sparkling dust the dancers had tossed about had been full of it. And it was worth every damned silver she’d spent as smoke erupted through the room, igniting the powder they’d been scattering everywhere.

The smoke was so thick she could barely see more than a foot ahead, and blended perfectly with the gray cloak that had doubled as the skirt of her costume. Just as Arobynn had suggested.

Screaming halted the music. Aelin was already moving for the nearby stage as the clock tower—that clock tower that would save or damn them all—struck noon.

There was no black collar around Aedion’s neck, and that was all she needed to see, even as relief threatened to wobble her knees. Before the clock’s first strike finished, she had drawn the daggers built into the bodice of her costume—all the silver thread and beading masking the steel on her

—and slashed one across the throat of the nearest guard.

Aelin spun and shoved him into the man closest to him as she plunged her other blade deep into the gut of a third.

Florine’s voice rose above the crowd, ushering her dancers out-out-out.

The second strike of the clock tower sounded, and Aelin yanked her dagger from the belly of the groaning guard, another surging at her from the smoke.

The rest would go to Aedion on instinct, but they’d be slowed by the crowds, and she was already close enough.

The guard—one of those black-uniformed nightmares—stabbed with his sword, a direct attack to her chest. Aelin parried the thrust aside with one dagger, spinning into his exposed torso. Hot, reeking blood shot onto her hand as she shoved her other blade into his eye.

He was still falling as she ran the last few feet to the wooden platform and hurled herself onto it, rolling, keeping low until she was right up under two other guards who were still trying to wave away the veils of smoke. They screamed as she disemboweled them both in two swipes.

The fourth strike of the clock sounded, and there was Aedion, the three guards around him impaled by shards of his stool.

He was huge—even bigger up close. A guard charged for them out of the smoke, and Aelin shouted “Duck!” before throwing her dagger at the man’s approaching face. Aedion barely moved fast enough to avoid the blow, and the guard’s blood splattered on the shoulder of her cousin’s tunic.

She lunged for the chains around Aedion’s ankles, sheathing her remaining blade at her side.

A jolt shocked through her, and blue light seared her vision as the Eye flared. She didn’t dare pause, not even for a heartbeat. Whatever spell the king had put on Aedion’s chains burned like blue fire as she sliced open her forearm with her dagger and used her blood to draw the symbols she’d memorized on the chains: Unlock.

The chains thudded to the ground. Seventh strike of the clock.

The screaming shifted into something louder, wilder, and the king’s voice boomed over the panicking crowd.

A guard rushed at them, his sword out. Another benefit of the smoke: too risky to start firing arrows. But she’d only give Arobynn credit if she got out of this alive.

She unsheathed another blade, hidden in the lining of her gray cloak. The guard went down clutching at his throat, now split ear to ear. Then she whirled to Aedion, pulled the long chain of the Eye from around her neck, and threw it over his head. She opened her mouth, but he gasped out, “The sword.”

And that’s when she noticed the blade displayed behind his stool. The Sword of Orynth.

Her father’s blade.

She’d been too focused on Aedion, on the guards and the dancers, to realize what blade it was.

Stayclose,” was all she said as she grabbed the sword from the stand and shoved it into his hands. She didn’t let herself think too much about the weight of that blade, or about how it had even gotten there. She just grasped Aedion by the wrist and raced across the platform toward the patio windows, where the crowd was shrieking and guards were trying to establish a line.

The clock issued its ninth strike. She’d unlock Aedion’s hands as soon as they got to the garden; they didn’t have another second to spend in the suffocating smoke.

Aedion staggered but kept upright, close behind as she leaped off the platform into the smoke, right where Brullo claimed two guards would hold their position. One died with a dagger to the spine, the other a blow to the side of the neck. She squeezed the hilts of her daggers against the slippery blood now coating them—and every inch of her.

His sword gripped in both hands, Aedion jumped down beside her, and his knees buckled.

He was injured, but not from any wound she could see. She’d discerned as much in the moments she’d weaved through the crowd, altering her demeanor as Lysandra had instructed. The paleness of Aedion’s face had nothing to do with fear, nor did his shallow breaths. They’d hurt him.

It made killing these men very, very easy.

The crowd was bottlenecking by the patio doors, just as she had calculated. All it took was her shouting “Fire! Fire!” and the screaming turned frantic.

The crowd began shattering the windows and the glass doors, trampling one another and the guards. People grabbed buckets to douse the flames, water spraying everywhere and splashing away the Wyrdmarks on the thresholds.

The smoke billowed out ahead, leading the way into the garden. Aelin pushed Aedion’s head down as she shoved him into the mass of fleeing

courtiers and servants. Thrashing, squeezing, shouting, ripping at her clothes, until—until the noontime sun blinded her.

Aedion hissed. Weeks in the dungeons had probably wrecked his eyes. “Just hold on to me,” she said, putting his massive hand on her shoulder. He gripped her hard, his chains knocking against her as she waded through the crowd and into open, clear air beyond.

The clock tower bellowed its twelfth and final strike as Aelin and Aedion skidded to a halt before a line of six guards blocking the entrance to the garden hedges.

Aelin stepped out of Aedion’s grip, and her cousin swore as his eyes adjusted enough to see what now lay between them and escape. “Don’t get in my way,” she said to him, then launched herself at the guards.

Rowan had taught her a few new tricks.

She was a whirling cloud of death, a queen of shadows, and these men were already carrion.

Slashing and ducking and twirling, Aelin gave herself completely to that killing calm, until the blood was a mist around her and the gravel was slick with it. Four of Chaol’s men came racing up—then ran the other way. Allies or just smart, she didn’t care.

And when the last of those black-uniformed guards had slumped to the bloody ground, she surged for Aedion. He’d been gaping—but he let out a low, dark laugh as he stumbled into a sprint beside her, into the hedges.

Archers—they had to clear the archers who were sure to begin firing as soon as the smoke vanished.

They dashed around and between the hedges she’d traversed dozens of times during her stay here, when she’d run every morning with Chaol. “Faster, Aedion,” she breathed, but he was already lagging. She paused and sliced into her blood-soaked wrist with a dagger before sketching the unlocking Wyrdmarks on each of his manacles. Again, light flared and burned. But then the cuffs sprang open silently.

“Nice trick,” he panted, and she yanked the chains off him. She was about to chuck the metal aside when the gravel crunched behind them.

Not the guards, and not the king.

It was with no small amount of horror that she found Dorian strolling toward them.

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