The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air Book 1) by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air Book 1) by Holly Black

Author:Holly Black [Black, Holly]
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: 2018-01-02T08:00:00+00:00

I wake up groggy. I cried myself to sleep, and now my eyes are swollen and red, my head pounding. The whole previous night feels like a feverish, terrible nightmare. It doesn’t seem possible that I snuck into Balekin’s house and stole one of his servants. It seems even less possible that she preferred to drown than to live with the memories of Faerie. As I drink fennel tea and shrug on a doublet, Gnarbone comes to my door.

“Your pardon,” he says with a short bow. “Jude must come immediately—”

Tatterfell waves him off. “She’s not fit to see anyone right at the moment. I’ll send her down when she’s dressed.”

“Prince Dain awaits her downstairs in General Madoc’s parlor. He commanded me to fetch her and not to mind whatever state of dishabille she was in. He said to carry her if I had to.” Gnarbone seems repentant at having to say that, but it’s clear that none of us can refuse the Crown Prince.

Cold dread coils in my stomach. How did I not think that he of all people, with his spies, would find out what I’d done? I wipe my hands against my velvet top. Despite his order, I pull on pants and boots before I go. No one stops me. I am vulnerable enough; I will keep what dignity I can.

Prince Dain is standing near the window, behind Madoc’s desk. His back is to me, and my gaze goes automatically to the sword hanging from his belt, visible beneath his heavy wool cloak. He does not turn when I come in.

“I have done wrong,” I say. I am glad he stays where he is. It’s easier to speak when he’s not looking at me. “And I will repent in whatever way—”

He turns, his face full of a wild rage that makes me suddenly see his resemblance to Cardan. His hand comes down hard on Madoc’s desk, rocking everything atop it. “Have I not taken you into my service and given you a great boon? Did I not promise you a place in my Court? And yet—and yet, you use what I have taught you to endanger my plans.”

My gaze goes to the floor. He has the power to do anything to me. Anything. Not even Madoc could stop him—nor do I think he would try. And not only have I disobeyed him, I have declared my loyalty to something completely separate from him. I have helped a mortal girl. I have acted like a mortal.

I bite my bottom lip to keep from begging for his forgiveness. I cannot allow myself to speak.

“The boy wasn’t as badly hurt as he might have been, but with the right knife—a longer knife—the strike would have been lethal. Do not think I don’t know you were going for that worse strike.”

I look up, suddenly, too surprised to hide it. We look at each other for several uncomfortable moments. I stare into the silvered gray of his eyes, taking note of the way his brows furrow, forming deep, displeased lines.


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