Queen of Shadows Chapter 56 Read Online

Full Read the Online Chapter 56 of Queen of Shadows novel by Sarah J. Maas for free.

Chapter 56 Part 2 (Queen Of Light) of Queen of Shadows: A few hours later, seated on the floor of a ramshackle inn on the opposite side of Rifthold, Aelin peered at a map they’d marked with the meeting’s location spot—about half a mile from the temple of Temis. The tiny temple was just inside the cover of Oakwald, perched atop a towering slice of rock in the middle of a deep ravine. It was accessible only via two dangling footbridges attached to either side of the ravine, which had spared it from invading armies over the years. The surrounding forest would likely be empty, and if wyverns were flying in, they would no doubt arrive under cover of darkness the night before. Tonight.

Aelin, Rowan, Aedion, Nesryn, and Chaol sat around the map, sharpening and polishing their blades as they talked over their plan. They’d given Evangeline to Nesryn’s father, along with more letters for Terrasen and the Bane—and the baker hadn’t asked any questions. He’d only kissed his youngest daughter on the cheek and announced that he and Evangeline would bake special pies for their return.

If they returned.

“What if she has a collar or a ring on?” Chaol asked from across their little circle.

“Then she loses a head or a finger,” Aedion said baldly.

Aelin shot him a look. “You don’t make that call without me.” “And Dorian?” Aedion asked.

Chaol was staring at the map as if he would burn a hole through it. “Not my call,” Aelin said tightly.

Chaol’s eyes flashed to hers. “You don’t touch him.”

It was a terrible risk, to bring them all within range of a Valg prince, but

… “We paint ourselves in Wyrdmarks,” Aelin said. “All of us. To ward against the prince.”

In the ten minutes it had taken them to grab their weapons, clothes, and supplies from the warehouse apartment, she’d remembered to get her books on Wyrdmarks, which now sat on the little table before the sole window in the room. They’d rented three for the night: one for Aelin and Rowan, one for Aedion, and the other for Chaol and Nesryn. The gold coin she’d slapped onto the innkeeper’s counter had been enough to pay for at least a month. And his silence.

“Do we take out the king?” Aedion said.

“We don’t engage,” Rowan replied, “until we know for sure we can kill the king and neutralize the prince with minimal risk. Getting Lysandra out of that wagon comes first.”

“Agreed,” Aelin said.

Aedion’s gaze settled on Rowan. “When do we leave?” Aelin wondered at his yielding to the Fae Prince.

“I don’t want those wyverns or witches sniffing us out,” Rowan said, the commander bracing for the battlefield. “We arrive just before the meeting takes place—long enough to find advantageous spots and to locate their scouts and sentries. The witches’ sense of smell is too keen to risk discovery. We move in fast.”

She couldn’t decide whether or not she was relieved.

The clock chimed noon. Nesryn rose to her feet. “I’ll order lunch.”

Chaol got up, stretching. “I’ll help you bring it up.” Indeed, in a place like this, they would get no kitchen-to-room service. Though in a place like this, Aelin supposed, Chaol might very well be going to keep an eye on Faliq’s back. Good.

Once they left, Aelin picked up one of Nesryn’s blades and began polishing it: a decent dagger, but not great. If they lived past tomorrow, maybe she would buy her a better one as a thank-you.

“Too bad Lorcan’s a psychotic bastard,” she said. “We could use him tomorrow.” Rowan’s mouth tightened. “What will he do when he finds out

about Aedion’s heritage?”

Aedion set down the dagger he’d been honing. “Will he even care?”

Halfway through polishing a short sword, Rowan paused. “Lorcan might not give a shit—or he might find Aedion intriguing. But he would more likely be interested in how Aedion’s existence can be used against Gavriel.” She eyed her cousin, his golden hair now seeming more proof of his ties to Gavriel than to her. “Do you want to meet him?” Perhaps she’d brought

this up only to keep from thinking about tomorrow.

A shrug. “I’d be curious, but I’m not in any rush. Not unless he’s going to drag his cadre over here to help with the fighting.”

“Such a pragmatist.” She faced Rowan, who was back at work on the sword. “Would they ever be convinced to help, despite what Lorcan said?” They had provided aid once—during the attack on Mistward.

“Unlikely,” Rowan said, not looking up from the blade. “Unless Maeve decides that sending you succor is the next move in whatever game she’s playing. Maybe she’ll want to ally with you to kill Lorcan for his betrayal.” He mused, “Some of the Fae who used to dwell here might still be alive and in hiding. Perhaps they could be trained—or already have training.”

“I wouldn’t count on it,” Aedion said. “The Little Folk I’ve seen and felt in Oakwald. But the Fae … Not a whisper of them there.” He didn’t meet Rowan’s eyes, and instead started cleaning Chaol’s final unsharpened blade. “The king wiped them out too thoroughly. I would bet any survivors are stuck in their animal forms.”

Aelin’s body became heavy with a familiar grief. “We’ll figure all that out later.”

If they lived long enough to do so.

For the rest of the day and well into the evening, Rowan planned their course of action with the same efficiency she’d come to expect and cherish. But it didn’t feel comforting now—not when the danger was so great, and everything could change in a matter of minutes. Not when Lysandra might already be beyond saving.

“You should be sleeping,” Rowan said, his deep voice rumbling across the bed and along her skin.

“The bed’s lumpy,” Aelin said. “I hate cheap inns.”

His low laugh echoed in the near-dark of the room. She’d rigged the door and window to alert them to any intruder, but with the ruckus coming from the seedy tavern downstairs, they would have a hard time hearing anyone in the hall. Especially when some of the rooms were rented by the hour.

“We’ll get her back, Aelin.”

The bed was much smaller than hers—small enough that her shoulder brushed his as she turned over. She found him already facing her, his eyes gleaming in the dark. “I can’t bury another friend.”

“You won’t.”

“If anything ever happened to you, Rowan—”

“Don’t,” he breathed. “Don’t even say it. We dealt with that enough the other night.”

He lifted a hand—hesitated, and then brushed back a strand of hair that had fallen across her face. His callused fingers scraped against her cheekbone, then caressed the shell of her ear.

It was foolish to even start down this road, when every other man she’d let in had left some wound, in one way or another, accidentally or not.

There was nothing soft or tender on his face. Only a predator’s glittering gaze. “When we get back,” he said, “remind me to prove you wrong about every thought that just went through your head.”

She lifted an eyebrow. “Oh?”

He gave her a sly smile that made thinking impossible. Exactly what he wanted—to distract her from the horrors of tomorrow. “I’ll even let you decide how I tell you: with words”—his eyes flicked once to her mouth

—“or with my teeth and tongue.”

A thrill went through her blood, pooling in her core. Not fair—not fair at all to tease her like that. “This miserable inn is rather loud,” she said, daring to slide a hand over his bare pectoral, then up to his shoulder. She marveled at the strength beneath her palm. He shuddered, but his hands remained at his sides, clenched and white knuckled. “It’s too bad Aedion could still probably hear through the wall.”

She gently scraped her nails across his collarbone, marking him, claiming him, before leaning in to press her mouth to the hollow of his throat. His skin was so smooth, so invitingly warm.

“Aelin,” he groaned.

Her toes curled at the roughness in his voice. “Too bad,” she murmured against his neck. He growled, and she chuckled quietly as she rolled back over and closed her eyes, her breathing easier than it had been moments before. She’d get through tomorrow, regardless of what happened. She wasn’t alone—not with him, and not with Aedion also beside her.

She was smiling when the mattress shifted, steady footsteps padded toward the dresser, and the sounds of splashing filled the room as Rowan dunked the pitcher of cold water over himself.

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