Queen of Shadows Chapter 19 Read Online

Full Read the Online Chapter 19 of Queen of Shadows novel PDF by Sarah J. Maas for free.

Chapter 19 Part 1 Lady of Shadows of Queen of Shadows: “Going somewhere?” Dorian said, his hands in the pockets of his black pants.

The man who spoke those words was not her friend—she knew that before he’d even opened his mouth. The collar of his ebony tunic was unbuttoned, revealing the glimmering Wyrdstone torque at the base of his throat.

“Unfortunately, Your Highness, we have another party to get to.” She marked the slender red maple to the right, the hedges, the glass palace towering beyond them. They were too deep in the garden to be shot at, but every wasted second was as good as signing her own death sentence. And Aedion’s.

“Pity,” said the Valg prince inside Dorian. “It was just getting exciting.” He struck.

A wave of black lashed for her, and Aedion shouted in warning. Blue flared before her, deflecting the assault from Aedion, but she was shoved back a step, as if by a hard, dark wind.

When the black cleared, the prince stared. Then he gave a lazy, cruel smile. “You warded yourself. Clever, lovely human thing.”

She’d spent all morning painting every inch of her body with Wyrdmarks in her own blood, mixed with ink to hide the color.

“Aedion, run for the wall,” she breathed, not daring to take her eyes off the prince.

Aedion did no such thing. “He’s not the prince—not anymore.” “I know. Which is why you need to—”

“Such heroics,” said the thing squatting in her friend. “Such foolish hope, to think you can get away.”

Like an asp, he struck again with a wall of black-tainted power. It knocked her clean into Aedion, who grunted in pain but set her upright. Her skin began tickling beneath her costume, as if the blood-wards were flaking off with each assault. Useful, but short-lived. Precisely why she hadn’t wasted them on getting into the castle.

They had to get out of here—now.

She shoved the chains into Aedion’s hands, took the Sword of Orynth from him, and stepped toward the prince.

Slowly, she unsheathed the blade. Its weight was flawless, and the steel shone as brightly as it had the last time she’d seen it. In her father’s hands.

The Valg prince snapped another whip of power at her, and she stumbled but kept walking, even as the blood-wards beneath her costume crumbled away.

“One sign, Dorian,” she said. “Just give me one sign that you’re in there.”

The Valg prince laughed low and harsh, that beautiful face twisted with ancient brutality. His sapphire eyes were empty as he said, “I am going to destroy everything you love.”

She raised her father’s sword in both hands, advancing still. “You’d never do it,” the thing said.

“Dorian,” she repeated, her voice breaking. “You are Dorian.” Seconds— she had seconds left to give him. Her blood dripped onto the gravel, and she let it pool there, her eyes fixed on the prince as she began tracing a symbol with her foot.

The demon chuckled again. “Not anymore.”

She gazed into those eyes, at the mouth she’d once kissed, at the friend she’d once cared for so deeply, and begged, “Just one sign, Dorian.”

But there was nothing of her friend in that face, no hesitation or twinge of muscle against the attack as the prince lunged.

Lunged, and then froze as he passed over the Wyrdmark she’d drawn on the ground with her foot—a quick and dirty mark to hold him. It wouldn’t last for more than a few moments, but that was all she needed as he was

forced to his knees, thrashing and pushing against the power. Aedion quietly swore.

Aelin raised the Sword of Orynth over Dorian’s head. One strike. Just one to cleave through flesh and bone, to spare him.

The thing was roaring with a voice that didn’t belong to Dorian, in a language that did not belong in this world. The mark on the ground flared, but held.

Dorian looked up at her, such hatred on his beautiful face, such malice and rage.

For Terrasen, for their future, she could do this. She could end this threat here and now. End him, on his birthday—not a day past twenty. She would suffer for it later, grieve later.

Not one more name would she etch into her flesh, she’d promised herself. But for her kingdom … The blade dipped as she decided, and—

Impact slammed into her father’s sword, knocking her off balance as Aedion shouted.

The arrow ricocheted into the garden, hissing against the gravel as it landed.

Nesryn was already approaching, another arrow drawn, pointed at Aedion. “Strike the prince, and I’ll shoot the general.”

Dorian let out a lover’s laugh.

“You’re a shit spy,” Aelin snapped at her. “You didn’t even try to remain hidden when you watched me inside.”

“Arobynn Hamel told the captain you were going to try to kill the prince today,” Nesryn said. “Put your sword down.”

Aelin ignored the command. Nesryn’s father makes the best pear tarts inthe capital. She supposed Arobynn had tried to warn her—and she’d been too distracted by everything else to contemplate the veiled message. Stupid. So profoundly stupidof her.

Only seconds left before the wards failed.

“You lied to us,” Nesryn said. The arrow remained pointed at Aedion, who was sizing up Nesryn, his hands curling as if he were imagining his fingers wrapped around her throat.

“You and Chaol are fools,” Aelin said, even as a part of her heaved in relief, even as she wanted to admit that what she’d been about to do made her a fool as well. Aelin lowered the sword to her side.

The thing inside Dorian hissed at her, “You will regret this moment, girl.” Aelin just whispered, “I know.”

Aelin didn’t give a shit what happened to Nesryn. She sheathed the sword, grabbed Aedion, and ran.

Aedion’s breath was like shards of glass in his lungs, but the blood-covered woman—Aelin—was tugging him along, cursing at him for being so slow. The garden was enormous, and shouts rose over the hedges behind them, closing in.

Then they were at a stone wall already Wyrdmarked in blood, and there were strong hands reaching down to help him up and over. He tried to tell her to go first, but she was shoving at his back and then his legs, pushing him up as the two men atop the wall grunted with his weight. The wound in his ribs stretched and burned in agony. The world grew bright and spun as the hooded men eased him down to the quiet city street on the other side. He had to brace a hand against the wall to keep from slipping in the pooled blood of the downed royal guards beneath. He recognized none of their faces, some still set in silent screams.

There was the hiss of a body on stone, and then his cousin swung down beside him, wrapping her gray cloak around her bloody costume, slinging the hood over her blood-spattered face. She had another cloak in her hands, courtesy of the wall patrol. He could hardly stand upright as she wrapped it around him and shoved the hood over his head.

Run,” she said. The two men atop the wall remained there, bows groaning as they were drawn. No sign of the young archer from the garden.

Aedion stumbled, and Aelin swore, darting back to wrap an arm around his middle. And damn his strength for failing him now, he put his arm around her shoulders, leaning on her as they hurried down the too-quiet residential street.

Shouts were now erupting behind, accented by the whiz and thud of arrows and the bleating of dying men.

“Four blocks,” she panted. “Just four blocks.”

That didn’t seem nearly far enough away to be safe, but he had no breath to tell her. Keeping upright was task enough. The stitches in his side had

split, but—holy gods, they’d cleared the palace grounds. A miracle, a miracle, a mir—

Hurry,youhulkingass!” she barked.

Aedion forced himself to focus and willed strength to his legs, to his spine.

They reached a street corner bedecked in streamers and flowers, and Aelin glanced in either direction before rushing through the intersection. The clash of steel on steel and the screams of wounded men shattered through the city, setting the throngs of merry-faced revelers around them to murmuring.

But Aelin continued down the street, and then down another. At the third, she slowed her steps and rocked into him, beginning to sing a bawdy tune in a very off-key, drunken voice. And thus they became two ordinary citizens out to celebrate the prince’s birthday, staggering from one tavern to the next. No one paid them any heed—not when all eyes were fixed on the glass castle towering behind them.

The swaying made his head spin. If he fainted … “One more block,” she promised.

This was all some hallucination. It had to be. No one would actually have been stupid enough to try to rescue him—and especially not his own queen. Even if he’d seen her cut down half a dozen men like so many stalks of wheat.

“Come on, come on,” she panted, scanning the decorated street, and he knew she wasn’t talking to him. People were milling about, pausing to ask what the palace commotion was about. Aelin led them through the crowd, mere cloaked and stumbling drunks, right up to the black carriage-for-hire that pulled along the curb as though it had been waiting. The door sprang open.

His cousin shoved him inside, right onto the floor, and shut the door behind her.

“They’re already stopping every carriage at the major intersections,” Lysandra said as Aelin pried open the hidden luggage compartment beneath

one of the benches. It was big enough to fit a very tightly curled person, but Aedion was absolutely massive, and—

“In. Get in, now,” she ordered, and didn’t wait for Aedion to move before she heaved him into the compartment. He groaned. Blood had started seeping from his side, but—he’d live.

That is, if any of them lived through the next few minutes. Aelin shut the panel beneath the cushion, wincing at the thud of wood on flesh, and grabbed the wet rag Lysandra had pulled from an old hatbox.

“Are you hurt?” Lysandra asked as the carriage started into a leisurely pace through the reveler-clogged streets.

Aelin’s heart was pounding so wildly that she thought she would vomit, but she shook her head as she wiped her face. So much blood—then the remnants of her makeup, then more blood.

Lysandra handed her a second rag to wipe down her chest, neck, and hands, and then held out the loose, long-sleeved green dress she’d brought. “Now, now, now,” Lysandra breathed.

Aelin ripped her bloodied cloak away and tossed it to Lysandra, who rose to shove it into the compartment beneath her own seat as Aelin shimmied into the dress. Lysandra’s fingers were surprisingly steady as she buttoned up the back, then made quick work of Aelin’s hair, handed her a pair of gloves, and slung a jeweled necklace around her throat. A fan was pressed into her hands the moment the gloves were on, concealing any trace of blood.

The carriage halted at the sound of harsh male voices. Lysandra had just rolled up the curtains when stomping steps approached, followed by four of the king’s guard peering into the carriage with sharp, merciless eyes.

Lysandra thrust open the window. “Why are we being stopped?”

The guard yanked open the door and stuck his head in. Aelin noticed a smudge of blood on the floor a moment before he did and flinched back, covering it with her skirts.

“Sir!” Lysandra cried. “An explanation is necessary atonce!”

Aelin waved her fan with a lady’s horror, praying that her cousin kept quiet in his little compartment. On the street beyond, some revelers had paused to watch the inspection—wide-eyed, curious, and not at all inclined to help the two women inside the carriage.

The guard looked them over with a sneer, the expression deepening as his eyes alighted on Lysandra’s tattooed wrist. “I owe you nothing, whore.” He spat out another filthy word at both of them, and then shouted, “Search the compartment in the back.”

“We are on our way to an appointment,” Lysandra hissed, but he slammed the door in her face. The carriage jostled as the men leaped onto the back and opened the rear compartment. After a moment, someone slammed a hand onto the side of the carriage and shouted, “Move on!”

They didn’t dare stop looking offended, didn’t dare stop fanning themselves for the next two blocks, or the two after that, until the driver thumped the top of the carriage twice. All clear.

Aelin jumped off the bench and flung open the compartment. Aedion had vomited, but he was awake and looking more than a bit put out as she beckoned him to emerge. “One more stop, and then we’re there.”

“Quick,” said Lysandra, peering casually out the window. “The others are almost here.”

The alley was barely wide enough to fit both of the carriages that ambled toward each other, no more than two large vehicles slowing to avoid colliding as they passed. Lysandra flung open the door just as they were aligned with the other carriage, and Chaol’s tight face appeared across the way as he did the same.

“Go, go, go,” she said to Aedion, shoving him over the small gap between the coaches. He stumbled, grunting as he landed against the captain. Lysandra said behind her, “I’ll be there soon. Good luck.”

Aelin leaped into the other carriage, shutting the door behind her, and they continued on down the street.

She was breathing so hard that she thought she’d never get enough air.

Aedion slumped onto the floor, keeping low.

Chaol said, “Everything all right?”

She could only manage a nod, grateful he didn’t push for any other answers. But it wasn’t all right. Not at all.

The carriage, driven by one of Chaol’s men, took them another few blocks, right to the border of the slums, where they got out on a deserted, decrepit street. She trusted Chaol’s men—but only so far. Taking Aedion right to her apartment seemed like asking for trouble.

With Aedion sagging between them, she and Chaol hurried down the next several blocks, taking the long way back to the warehouse to dodge any tail, listening so hard they barely breathed. But then they were at the warehouse, and Aedion managed to stand long enough for Chaol to slide the door open before they rushed inside, into the dark and safety at last.

Chaol took Aelin’s place at Aedion’s side as she lingered by the door. Grunting at the weight, he managed to get her cousin up the stairs. “He’s got an injury along his ribs,” she said as she forced herself to wait—to monitor the warehouse door for any signs of pursuers. “It’s bleeding.” Chaol gave her a confirming nod over his shoulder.

When her cousin and the captain were almost to the top of the stairs, when it became clear no one was about to burst in, she followed them. But pausing had cost her; pausing had let the razor-sharp focus slip, let every thought she’d kept at bay come sweeping in. Every step she took was heavier than the last.

One foot up, then the next, then the next.

By the time she made it to the second floor, Chaol had taken Aedion into the guest bedroom. The sound of running water gurgled out to greet her.

Aelin left the front door unlocked for Lysandra, and for a moment, she just stood in her apartment, bracing a hand on the back of the couch, staring at nothing.

When she was certain she could move again, she strode into her bedroom. She was naked before she reached the bathing chamber, and she sat herself right in the cold, dry tub before she turned on the water.

Once she emerged, clean and wearing one of Sam’s old white shirts and a pair of his undershorts, Chaol was waiting for her on the couch. She didn’t dare look at his face—not yet.

Lysandra popped her head in from the guest room. “I’m just finishing cleaning him up. He should be fine, if he doesn’t burst the stitches again. No infection, thank the gods.”

Aelin lifted a limp hand in thanks, also not daring to look into the room behind Lysandra to see the massive figure lying on the bed, a towel around

his waist. If Chaol and the courtesan had been introduced, she didn’t particularly care.

There was no good place to have this talk with Chaol, so she just stood in the center of the room and watched as the captain rose from his seat, his shoulders tight.

“What happened?” he demanded.

She swallowed once. “I killed a lot of people today. I’m not in the mood to analyze it.”

“That’s never bothered you before.”

She couldn’t dredge up the energy to even feel the sting of the words. “The next time you decide you don’t trust me, try not to prove it at a time when my life or Aedion’s is on the line.”

A flash of his bronze eyes told her he’d somehow already seen Nesryn. Chaol’s voice was hard and cold as ice as he said, “You tried to kill him. You said you’d try to get him out, to help him, and you tried to kill him.”

The bedroom where Lysandra was working had gone silent.

Aelin let out a low snarl. “You want to know what I did? I gave him one minute. I gave up one minute of my escape to him. Do you understand what can happen in one minute? Because I gave one to Dorian when he attacked Aedion and me today—to capture us. I gave him a minute, in which the fate of my entire kingdom could have changed forever. I chose the son of my enemy.”

He gripped the back of the sofa as though physically restraining himself. “You’re a liar. You’ve always beena liar. And today was no exception. You had a sword over his head.”

“I did,” she spat. “And before Faliq arrived to wreck everything, I was going to do it. I should have done it, as anyone with common sense would have, because Dorian is gone.”

And there was her breaking heart, fracturing at the monster she’d seen living in Dorian’s eyes, the demon that would hunt her and Aedion down, that would stalk her dreams.

“I do not owe you an apology,” she said to Chaol.

“Don’t talk down to me like you’re my queen,” he snapped.

“No, I’m not your queen. But you are going to have to decide soon whom you serve, because the Dorian you knew is gone forever. Adarlan’s future does not depend on him anymore.”

The agony in Chaol’s eyes hit her like a physical blow. And she wished she had mastered herself better when explaining it, but … she needed him to understand the risk she’d taken, and the danger he’d let Arobynn manipulate him into putting her in. He had to know that there was a hard line that she must draw, and that she would hold, to protect her own people.

So she said, “Go to the roof and take the first watch.” Chaol blinked.

“I’m not your queen, but I’m going to attend to my cousin right now. And since I hope Nesryn is lying low, someone needs to take the watch. Unless you’d like for us all to be caught unawares by the king’s men.”

Chaol didn’t bother replying as he turned on his heel and strode out. She listened to him storming up the stairs and onto the roof, and it was only then that she loosed a breath and scrubbed at her face.

When she lowered her hands, Lysandra was standing in the guest bedroom doorway, her eyes wide. “What do you mean, queen?”

Aelin winced, swearing under her breath.

“That’s exactly the word I’d use,” Lysandra said, her face pale. Aelin said, “My name—”

“Oh, I know what your real name is, Aelin.”

Shit. “You understand why I had to keep it a secret.”

“Of course I do,” Lysandra said, pursing her lips. “You don’t know me, and more lives than yours are at stake.”

“No—I do know you.” Gods, why were the words so damn hard to get out? The longer the hurt flickered in Lysandra’s eyes, the wider the gap across the room felt. Aelin swallowed. “Until I had Aedion back, I wasn’t going to take any chances. I knew I would have to tell you the moment you saw us in a room together.”

“And Arobynn knows.” Those green eyes were hard as chips of ice. “He’s always known. This—this changes nothing between us, you know.


Lysandra glanced behind her, to the bedroom where Aedion now lay unconscious, and loosed a long breath. “The resemblance is uncanny. Gods, the fact that you went undiscovered for so many years boggles the mind.” She studied Aedion again. “Even though he’s a handsome bastard, it’d be like kissing you.” Her eyes were still hard, but—a flicker of amusement gleamed there.

Aelin grimaced. “I could have lived without knowing that.” She shook her head. “I don’t know why I was ever nervous you would start bowing and scraping.”

Light and understanding danced in Lysandra’s eyes. “Where would the fun be in that?”

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