Queen of Shadows Chapter 5 Read Online

Full Read the Online Chapter 5 of Queen of Shadows novel PDF by Sarah J. Maas for free.

Chapter 5 Part 1 Lady of Shadows of Queen of Shadows: The night might very well end in herblood being shed, Aelin realized as she hurtled down the crooked streets of the slums, sheathing her bloodied fighting knives to keep from dripping a trail behind her.

Thanks to months of running through the Cambrian Mountains with Rowan, her breathing remained steady, her head clear. She supposed that after facing skinwalkers, after escaping ancient creatures the size of small cottages, and after incinerating four demon princes, twenty men in pursuit wasn’t all that horrific.

But still a giant, raging pain in her ass. And one that would not likely end pleasantly for her. No sign of Chaol—no whisper of his name on the lips of the men who had surged into the Vaults. She hadn’t recognized any of them, but she’d felt the offness that marked most of those who had been in contact with Wyrdstone, or been corrupted by it. They wore no collars or rings, but something inside these men had rotted nonetheless.

At least Arobynn hadn’t betrayed her—though how convenient that he’d left only minutes before the king’s new guards had finally found the winding trail she’d left from the docks. Perhaps it was a test, to see whether her abilities remained up to Arobynn’s standards, should she accept their little bargain. As she’d hacked her way through body after body, she wondered if he’d even realized that this entire evening had been a test for himas well, and that she’d brought those men right to the Vaults. She

wondered how furious he would be when he discovered what was left of the pleasure hall that had brought him so much money.

It had also filled the coffers of the people who had slaughtered Sam—and who had enjoyed every moment of it. What a shame that the current owner of the Vaults, a former underling of Rourke Farran and a dealer of flesh and opiates, had accidentally run into her knives. Repeatedly.

She’d left the Vaults in bloody splinters, which she supposed was merciful. If she’d had her magic, she probably would have burned it to ash. But she didn’t have magic, and her mortal body, despite months of hard training, was starting to feel heavy and cumbersome as she continued her sprint down the alley. The broad street at its other end was too bright, too open.

She veered toward a stack of broken crates and rubbish heaped against the wall of a brick building, high enough that if she timed it right, she could jump for the windowsill a few feet above.

Behind her, closer now, rushing footsteps and shouts sounded. They had to be fast as hell to have kept up with her all this way.

Well, damn.

She leaped onto the crates, the pile shaking and swaying as she scaled it, each movement concise, swift, balanced. One wrong step and she would go shooting through the rotten wood, or topple the whole thing to the ground. The crates groaned, but she kept moving up and up and up, until she reached the pinnacle and jumped for the overhanging windowsill.

Her fingers barked in pain, digging into the brick so hard that her nails broke inside her gloves. She gritted her teeth and pulled, hauling herself onto the ledge and then through the open window.

She allowed herself two heartbeats to take in the cramped kitchen: dark and clean, a candle burning from the narrow hall beyond. Palming her knives, the shouting coming closer from the alley below, she raced for the hall.

Someone’s home—this was someone’s home, and she was leading those men through it. She charged down the hall, the wooden floors shuddering under her boots, scanning. There were two bedrooms, both occupied. Shit. Shit.

Three adults were sprawled on dirty mattresses in the first room. And two more adults slept in the other bedroom, one of them shooting upright as she

thundered past. “Stay down,” she hissed, the only warning she could give before reaching the remaining door in the hall, barricaded with a chair wedged beneath the knob. It was about as much protection as they could find in the slums.

She hurled the chair aside, sending it clattering against the walls of the narrow hallway, where it would slow her pursuers for a few seconds at least. She yanked the apartment door open, the feeble lock splintering with a snap. Half a movement had her hurling a silver coin behind her to pay for the damage—and a better lock.

A communal stairwell lay beyond, the wooden steps stained and rotted.

Completely dark.

Male voices echoed too close behind, and banging began at the bottom of the stairwell.

Aelin raced for the ascending stairs. Around and around, her breath now shards of glass in her lungs, until she passed the third level—until the stairs narrowed, and—

Aelin didn’t bother being quiet as she slammed into the roof door. The men already knew where she was. Balmy night air smothered her, and she gulped it down as she scanned the roof and the streets below. The alley behind was too wide; the broad street to her left wasn’t an option, but— there. Down the alley. That sewer grate.

Perhaps pay a visit to the southeastern section of the tunnels tonight. Youmightfindtheperson you’relookingfor.

She knew who he meant. Another little present of his, then—a piece in their game.

With feline ease, she shimmied down the drainpipe anchored to the side of the building. Far above, the shouts grew. They’d reached the roof. She dropped into a puddle of what smelled undoubtedly like piss, and was running before the impact had fully shuddered through her bones.

She hurtled toward the grate, dropping onto her knees and sliding the last few feet until her fingers latched onto the lid, and she hauled it open. Silent, swift, efficient.

The sewers below were mercifully empty. She bit back a gag against the reek already rising up to meet her.

By the time the guards peered over the roof edge, she was gone.

Aelin loathed the sewers.

Not because they were filthy, reeking, and full of vermin. They were actually a convenient way to get around Rifthold unseen and undisturbed, if you knew the way.

She’d hated them ever since she’d been bound up and left to die, courtesy of a bodyguard who hadn’t taken so well to her plans to kill his master. The sewers had flooded, and after freeing herself from her bonds, she had swum

—actually swum—through the festering water. But the exit had been sealed. Sam, by pure luck, had saved her, but not before she’d nearly drowned, swallowing half the sewer along the way.

It had taken her days and countless baths to feel clean. And endless vomiting.

So climbing into that sewer, then sealing the grate above her … For the first time that night, her hands shook. But she forced herself past the echo of fear and began creeping through the dim, moonlit tunnels.


Heading southeast, she took a large, ancient tunnel, one of the main arteries of the system. It had probably been here from the moment Gavin Havilliard decided to establish his capital along the Avery. She paused every so often to listen, but there were no signs of her pursuers behind her.

An intersection of four different tunnels loomed ahead, and she slowed her steps, palming her fighting knives. The first two were clear; the third— the one that would take her right into the path of the captain if he was headed to the castle—darker, but wide. And the fourth … Southeast.

She didn’t need her Fae senses to know that the darkness leaking from the southeastern tunnel wasn’t of the usual sort. The moonlight from the grates above didn’t pierce it. No noise issued, not even the scampering of rats.

Another trick of Arobynn’s—or a gift? The faint sounds she’d been following had come from this direction. But any trail died here.

She paced with feline quiet in front of the line where the murky light faded into impenetrable blackness. Silently, she plucked up a bit of fallen stone and chucked it into the gloom ahead.

There was no answering sound when it should have landed.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

Aelin turned toward the cool female voice, casually angling her knives.

The hooded guard from the Vaults was leaning against the tunnel wall not twenty paces behind her.

Well, at least one of them was here. As for Chaol …

Aelin held up a knife as she stalked toward the guard, gobbling down every detail. “Sneaking up on strangers in the sewers is also something I’d advise against.”

When Aelin got within a few feet, the woman lifted her hands—delicate but scarred, her skin tan even in the pale glow from the streetlights in the avenue above. If she’d managed to sneak up this close, she had to be trained

—in combat or stealth or both. Of course she was skilled, if Chaol had her watching his back at the Vaults. But where had he gone now?

“Disreputable pleasure halls and sewers,” Aelin said, keeping her knives out. “You certainly live the good life, don’t you?”

The young woman pushed off the wall, her curtain of inky hair swaying in the shadows of her hood. “Not all of us are blessed enough to be on the king’s payroll, Champion.”

She recognized her, then. The real question was whether she’d told Chaol

—and where he now was. “Dare I ask why I shouldn’t throw stones down that tunnel?”

The guard pointed toward the tunnel closest behind her—bright, open air. “Come with me.”

Aelin chuckled. “You’ll have to do better than that.”

The slender woman stepped nearer, the moonlight illuminating her hooded face. Pretty, if grave, and perhaps two or three years older.

The stranger said a bit flatly, “You’ve got twenty guards on your ass, and they’re cunning enough to start looking down here very soon. I’d suggest you come along.”

Aelin was half tempted to suggest she go to hell, but smiled instead. “How’d you find me?” She didn’t care; she just needed to feel her out a bit more.

“Luck. I’m on scouting duty, and popped onto the street to discover that you’d made new friends. Usually, we have a strike-first, ask-questions-later policy about people wandering the sewers.”

“And who is this ‘we’?” Aelin said sweetly.

The woman just began walking down the bright tunnel, completely unconcerned with the knives Aelin still held. Arrogant and stupid, then. “You can come with me, Champion, and learn some things you probably want to know, or you can stay here and wait to see what answers that rock you threw.”

Aelin weighed the words—and what she’d heard and seen so far that night. Despite the shiver down her spine, she fell into step beside the guard, sheathing her knives at her thighs.

With each block they trudged through the sewer muck, Aelin used the quiet to gather her strength.

The woman strode swiftly but smoothly down another tunnel, and then another. Aelin marked each turn, each unique feature, each grate, forming a mental map as they moved.

“How did you recognize me?” Aelin said at last.

“I’ve seen you around the city—months ago. The red hair was why I didn’t immediately identify you at the Vaults.”

Aelin watched her from the corner of her eye. The stranger might not know who Chaol really was. He could have used a different name, despite what the woman claimed to know about whatever it was she thought Aelin was seeking.

The woman said in that cool, calm voice, “Are the guards chasing you because they recognized you, or because you picked the fight you were so desperate to have at the Vaults?”

Point for the stranger. “Why don’t you tell me? Do the guards work for Captain Westfall?”

The woman laughed under her breath. “No—those guards don’t answer to him.” Aelin bit back her sigh of relief, even as a thousand more questions rattled in her skull.

Her boots squished something too soft for comfort, and she repressed a shudder as the woman stopped before the entrance to another long tunnel, the first half illuminated by moonlight streaming in through the scattered grates. Unnatural darkness drifted out from the far end. A predatory stillness crept over Aelin as she peered into the gloom. Silence. Utter silence.

“Here,” the stranger said, approaching an elevated stone walkway built into the side of the tunnel. Fool—fool for exposing her back like that. She

didn’t even see Aelin slide free a knife.

They’d gone far enough.

The woman stepped onto the small, slick staircase leading to the walkway, her movements long-limbed and graceful. Aelin calculated the distance to the nearest exits, the depth of the little stream of filth running through the tunnel’s center. Deep enough to dump a body, if need be.

Aelin angled her knife and slipped up behind the woman, as close as a lover, and pressed the blade against her throat.

Share Post To:

Leave a Comment