The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

Author:Holly Black
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: 2020-01-06T16:00:00+00:00

Cardan is wearing a high jeweled collar of jet on a stiff black doublet. Over the tops of his pointed ears are knifelike caps of gold, matching the gold along his cheekbones. His expression is remote.

“Walk with me,” he says, leaving little room for refusal.

“Of course.” My heart speeds, despite myself. I hate that he saw me when I was at my most vulnerable, that he let me bleed all over his spider-silk sheets.

Vivi catches my hand. “You’re not well enough.”

Cardan raises his black brows. “The Living Council is eager to speak with her.”

“No doubt,” I say, then look at my sisters, Heather and Oak behind them. “And Vivi should be happy, because the only danger anyone has ever been in at a Council meeting is of being bored to death.”

I let go of my sister. The guards fall in behind us. Cardan gives me his arm, causing me to walk at his side, instead of behind him the way I would have as his seneschal. We make our way through the halls, and when we pass courtiers, they bow. It’s extremely unnerving.

“Is the Roach okay?” I ask, low enough not to be overheard.

“The Bomb has not yet discovered how to wake him,” Cardan says. “But there is hope that she yet will.”

At least he’s not dead, I remind myself. But if he sleeps for a hundred years, I will be in my grave before he opens his eyes again.

“Your father sent a message,” Cardan says, glancing at me sideways. “It was very unfriendly. He seems to blame me for the death of his daughter.”

“Ah,” I say.

“And he has sent soldiers to the low Courts with promises of a new regime. He urges them to not hesitate, but to come to Elfhame and hear his challenge to the crown.” Cardan says all this neutrally. “The Living Council waits to hear all you know about the sword and his maps. They found my descriptions of the camp to be sadly inadequate.”

“They can wait a little longer,” I say, forcing out the words. “I need to talk to you.”

He looks surprised and a little uncertain.

“It won’t take long.” The last thing I want is to have this conversation, but the longer I put it off, the larger it will loom in my mind. He ended my exile—and while I extracted a promise from him to do that, he had no reason to declare me queen. “Whatever your scheme is, whatever you are planning to hold over me, you might as well tell me now, before we’re in front of the whole Council. Make your threats. Do your worst.”

“Yes,” he says, turning down a corridor in the palace that led outside. “We do need to talk.”

It is not long before we come to the royal rose garden. The guards stop at the gate, letting us go on alone. As we make our way down a path of shimmering quartz steps, everything is hushed. The wind carries floral scents through the air, a wild perfume that doesn’t exist outside of Faerie and reminds me at once of home and of menace.


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