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Celaena smiled as she watched the Crown Prince of Adarlan lead the Princess of Eyllwe through the basic steps of fencing. He was charming, she supposed. In an arrogant sort of way. But someone with his title could have been far, far worse. It made her uneasy how he’d made her blush. In fact, he was so attractive that she had difficulty not thinking about how attractive he was, and again wondered why he wasn’t married.

She sort of wanted to kiss him.

She swallowed. She’d been kissed before, of course. By Sam, and often enough that she was no stranger to it. But it’d been over a year since she’d lost the assassin she’d grown up with. And even though the thought of kissing anyone else had once made her sick, when she saw Dorian . . .

Princess Nehemia lunged, slapping Dorian on the wrist with her sword. Celaena bit down her laughter. He grimaced and rubbed the sore joint, but then smiled as the princess began gloating.

Damn him for being so handsome!

She leaned against the wall and would have enjoyed the lesson had someone not grabbed her arm hard enough to hurt.

“What is this?” Dragged from the wall, she found herself facing Chaol.

“What is what?”

“What is Dorian doing with her?”

She shrugged. “Sparring?”

“And why are they sparring?”

“Because he volunteered to teach her how to fight?”

Chaol practically shoved her from him as he approached the pair. They stopped, and Dorian followed Chaol to a corner. They spoke quickly—angrily—before Chaol came back to Celaena. “The guards will take you to your chambers.”

“What?” She remembered their conversation on the balcony and frowned. So much for swapping stories. “The Test is tomorrow, and I need to train!”

“I think you’ve had enough training for today—it’s almost dinner. Your lesson with Brullo ended two hours ago. Get some rest, or you’ll be useless tomorrow. And no, I don’t know what the Test will be, so don’t bother asking.”

“That’s absurd!” she cried, and a pinch from Chaol kept her voice down. Princess Nehemia cast a worried glance in Celaena’s direction, but the assassin waved at her to resume her lesson with the Crown Prince. “I’m not going to do anything, you insufferable moron.”

“Are you honestly so blind that you can’t see why we can’t allow this?”

“ ‘Can’t allow’—you’re just afraid of me!”

“Don’t flatter yourself.”

“You think I want to go back to Endovier?” she hissed. “You think I’m not aware of the fact that if I flee, I’ll be hunted down for the rest of my life? You think I don’t know why I vomit when you and I run in the morning? My body is a wreck. I need to spend these extra hours here, and you shouldn’t punish me for it!”

“I’m not going to pretend to know how a criminal mind works.”

She threw her hands in the air. “You know, I actually felt guilty. Just a little guilty. And now I remember why I shouldn’t have. I hate sitting around, locked in my room, bored out of my senses. I hate all these guards and nonsense; I hate you telling me to hold back when Brullo sings Cain’s praises and I’m just there, boring and unnoticed in the middle. I hate being told what I can’t do. And I hate you most of all!”

He tapped his foot on the ground. “Are you finished?”

There was no kindness in Chaol’s face, and she clicked her tongue as she left, her fists aching to bash his teeth down his throat...


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