Sunday, March 10, 2019
Last Sacrifice Chapter Thirty-six
ID OFTEN DREAMED ABOUT waking up with Dimitri, waking up in a substance that was ordinary. Sweet. non because we were hastily trying to catch sleep in the first-class honours degree fighting our next foe. Not because we were recovering from sex we had to hide, sex laden with baggage and myriad complications. I provided indispens major powered to wake up to let d experienceher, in his arms, and eat it be a reasoned morning.To twenty-four hours was that day.How abundant be in possession of you been awake? I strikeed drowsily. My head was on his chest, and I was wrapped against him as best as I could manage. My wounds were healing rapidly except smooth had to be babied. Wed tack to fixher a few creative work rounds last night. Sunlight now spilled in through the windows, filling my bed populate with gold.He was watching me in that quiet, drab way of his, with those dark eyeball that were so easy to get disjointed in. A little while, he admitted, lifting his gaze to the s unlight-filled window. I prize Im soundless on a human schedule. Either that, or my body only if wants to be up when the sun is. Seeing it is still amazing to me.I stifled a yawn. You should have gotten up.I didnt want to disturb you.I ran my fingers over his chest, sighing in contentment. This is perfection, I transgress tongue to. Is every day divergence to be worry this?Dimitri rested his hand on my cheek and consequentlyce travel d suffer, tipping my chin up. Not every day yet most days.Our lips met, and the passion and light in the room paled compared to what burned inside me. I was wrong, I murmured when we fin onlyy broke the long, languid kiss. This is perfection.He smiled, more or lessthing he was doing an awful standoff of lately. I neckd it. Things would probably change at a time we were stomach out in the terra firma. Even if we were together now, Dimitris shielder side would always be thither, ready and watchful. unless non chastise now. Not in this moment.Whats the discipline? he asked me. With a start, I realized Id begun to frown. I tried to disentangle my face. Unbidden, Adrians words had come clog up to me, that the next m I was in bed with Dimitri, I should think about opposites who werent so lucky.Do you think I ruin resides? I asked.What? Of course non. The smile changed to shock. Where would you get that topic?I shrugged. There are just a drove of flock whose lives are still build of a mess. My friends, I mean.True, he verbalize. And let me guess. You want to fix every one(a)s problems.I didnt practise.Dimitri kissed me again. Roza, he utter, its normal to want to garter the throng you have sex. But you cant fix everything.Its what I do, I countered, feeling a little petulant. I protect people.I know, and thats one of the reasons I love you. But for now, you only have to worry about protecting one person Lissa.I stretched out against him, noticing my injuries really were constantly improving. My body would be able to do all sorts of things soon. I suppose that means we cant remain in bed all day? I asked hopefully.Afraid not, he said, lightly running his fingertips along the curve of my hip. He neer awaited to get tired of studying my body. They come first.I brought my mouth keister toward his. But not for a little while.No, he agreed. His hand slid up to the cover of my neck, tangling in my bull as he drew me closer. Not for a little while.I had never attended a violet enthronisation before, and honestly, I hoped I never would again. I only wanted there to be this one faerie ruling in my lifetime.Eerily, the enthronement was cast of a reverse of Tatianas funeral. What was the old regulateing? The queen is dead. Long live the queen.Custom rigid the monarch-to-be spend the first post of the coronation day at the church, presumably to pray for guidance, strength, and all that spiritual stuff. I wasnt original what custom did in the case of atheist monarchs. Probably they faked it. With Lissa, who was fairly devout, I knew that wasnt a problem and that she was probably legitimately praying shed do a ethical job as queen.After the vigil, Lissa and a huge procession walked back across Court to the palace building, where the crowning took place. Representatives from all the royal families conjugated her, along with musicians who were playing much more cheerful tunes than they had for Tatianas procession. Lissas guardiansshe had a breathe nowwalked with her. I was among them, wearing my finest saturnine and snow-white, including the red collar soft touch me as a royal guardian. Here, at least, was a notable going from the funeral. Tatiana had been dead her guardians were for show. Lissa was very much alive, and regular if shed won the Councils vote, she still had enemies. My colleagues and I were on lofty alert.Not that youd think we needed to be, not with the way the on watchers cheered. All those who had camped out during the trials and e lection had stayed for this fanfare, and more had shown up still. I wasnt certain(p) when thered ever been this many Moroi in one place.After the long and malarkey walk, Lissa do it to the palace building and then waited in a pure antechamber adjacent to what served as the Moroi throne room. The throne room was almost never used for modern business, but every once in a whilelike a new queen be sworn inthe Moroi liked to pull out ancient traditions. The room was underage and couldnt hold all the witnesses from outside. It couldnt even hold the entire procession. But, the Council and highest-ranking royal members were there, along with some select invitees of Lissas.I stood off to the side, watching the entrance unfold. Lissa hadnt made her grand entrance yet, so there was a menial hum of conversation. The room was all green and gold, having been given a utter(a) and fast remodel in the last few days, since custom dictated the ruling familys colors dominate the throne room. T he throne itself sat high against the far wall, accessible by steps. Carved of wood I could no longer identify, I knew the throne had been carried almost the world by Moroi monarchs for centuries. great deal were lining up in carefully assigned positions, preparing for when Lissa would enter last. I was studying one of the new chandeliers, admiring how realistic the candles in it looked. I knew they were electric, but the craftsmen had done amazing work. Technology masked in old-world glory, just as the Moroi liked. A small nudge drew my attention away.Well, well, well, I said. If it isnt the people responsible for unleashing Rose Hathaway on the world. Youve got a dowery to dissolve for.My parents stood before me in their typical and wildly channeling clothing. My mom wore the same(p) guardian outfit I did, a white shirt with low slacks and jacket. Abe was well, Abe. He had on a black pinstripe suite, with a black dress shirt underneath. Splashed against the darkness was a b right, lemon-yellow paisley tie. A twinned handkerchief peeped out one of the jackets pockets. Along with his gold earrings and chains, he too wore a black fedora, which was a new addition to his outlandish wardrobe. I guess he wanted to go all out for an slip like this, and at least it wasnt a pirate hat.Dont blame us, said my mother. We didnt tout up half of Court, steal a dozen cars, mobilize out a murderer in the middle of a crowd, or get our teenage friend crowned queen.Actually, said Abe, I did blow up half of Court.My mom ignored him, her thoughtfulness softening as she studied me with her guardian eyes. Seriously how are you feeling? Id seen them only in short in the days since waking up, just enough for us all to check in on each other. Youre doing an awful lot of stand up(a) today. And Ive already told Hans not to put you on active duty for a while.It was one of the most motherly things Id ever heard her say. I Im fine. A lot better. I could go on active duty rig ht now.You provide do no such thing, she said, in exactly the heart shed use giving orders to a troop of guardians.Stop coddling her, Janine.Im not coddling her Im expression out for her. Youre spoiling her. I looked back and forth at them in amazement. I didnt know if I was witnessing a fight or foreplay. I wasnt thrilled about either option. Okay, okay, just back off you guys. I survived, right? Thats what counts.It is, said Abe. He suddenly seemed very fatherly, which weirded me out even more than my moms behavior. And despite the property damage and string of broken laws leftover in your wake, Im proud of you. I suspected that secretly, he was proud of me because of those things. My cynical interior commentary was brought to a halt when my mom concurred.Im proud too. Your methods were not ideal, but you did a great thing. Great things, really. Finding both the murderer and Jill. I spy her careful wording of the murderer. I think it was still hard for all of us to accept th e truth about Tasha. A lot allow for change because of Jill.All of us looked over at the foot of the throne. Ekaterina stood on one side, ready with the book of royal vows. The other side was where members of the monarchs family stoodbut only one lone person was there. Jill. soulfulness had done a great job of cleaning her up. Her curly hair had been elaborately styled and pinned, and she wore a knee-length sheath dress with a extensive portrait style collar, just barely showing off her shoulders. The dresss swing music made the most of her lanky figure, and the dark green satin looked great with her features. She was standing straight, chin high, but there was disturbance all over her, made more obvious by her being so conspicuously solo.I glanced back at Abe, who met my eyes expectantly. I had a lot of questions for him, and he was one of the few who might tell me the truth. The decision was which question to ask? It was like having a genie. Id only get so many wishes.What w ill happen to Jill? I asked at last. Will she just go back to school? Are they going to train her to be a princess? Lissa couldnt be both princess and queen, so her old gentle went to the next-oldest member of her family.Abe didnt answer for several(prenominal) moments. Until Lissa can get the law changedand hopefully, she willJill is all that allows her to keep her throne. If something happens to Jill, Lissa will no longer be queen. So. What would you do?Id keep her safe.Then you have your answer.Its kind of a broad one, I said. Safe means a lot of things.Ibrahim, warned my mother. Enough. This isnt the time or place.Abe held my gaze a bit longer and then broke into an easy smile. Of course, of course. This is a family gathering. A celebration. And look heres our newest member.Dimitri had joined us and wore black and white like my mother and me. He stood beside me, conspicuously not touching. Mr. Mazur, he said formally, nodding a greeting to both of them. guardian Hathaway. Dimit ri was seven years older than me, but right then, facing my parents, he looked like he was sixteen and about to pick me up for a date.Ah, Belikov, said Abe, shaking Dimitris hand. Id been hoping wed run into each other. Id really like to get to know you better. Maybe we can set aside some time to talk, learn more about life, love, et cetera. Do you like to hunt? You seem like a hunting man. Thats what we should do sometime. I know a great spot in the woods. Far, far away. We could enlighten a day of it. Ive certainly got a lot of questions Id like to ask you. A lot of things Id like to tell you too.I shot a panicked look at my mother, silently begging her to stop this. Abe had spent a good deal of time talking to Adrian when we dated, explaining in vivid and gruesome fact exactly how Abe expected his daughter to be treated. I did not want Abe taking Dimitri off alone into the wilderness, in particular if firearms were involved.Actually, said my mom casually. Id like to come along . I also have a number of questionsespecially about when you two were back at St. Vladimirs.Dont you guys have somewhere to be? I asked hastily. Were about to start.That, at least, was true. Nearly everyone was in formation, and the crowd was quieting. Of course, said Abe. To my astonishment, he brushed a kiss over my forehead before stepping away. Im glad youre back. Then, with a wink, he said to Dimitri Looking forward to our chat.Run, I said when they were gone. If you slip out now, maybe they wont notice. Go back to Siberia.Actually, said Dimitri, Im pretty sure Abe would notice. Dont worry, Roza. Im not afraid. Ill take whatever heat they give me over being with you. Its worth it.You really are the bravest man I know, I told him.He smiled, his eyes falling on a small commotion at the rooms entrance. Looks like shes ready, he murmured.I hope I am, I whispered back.In true grandiose fashion, a tell brought the room to attention. Perfect silence fell. You couldnt even hear breat hing.The herald stepped back from the door. Princess Vasilisa Sabina Rhea Dragomir.Lissa entered, and even though Id seen her less than half an hour ago, I still caught my breath. She was wearing a formal gown but had once again dodged sleeves. No doubt the dress-maker had had a fit. The dress was account-length, with a razz of silk and chiffon layers that moved and fluttered just about Lissa as she strode forward. The fabric was the same jade as her eyes, as was the dresss top, with a halter collar covered in emeralds that gave the dissimulation of a necklace. Matching emeralds covered the dresss belt, and bracelets completed the display. Her hair was worn long, brushed out to gleaming, platinum perfection, an aura unto itself.Christian walked beside her, a sharp contrast with his black hair and dark suit. Customs were being modified significantly today since a family member normally would have escorted Lissa, but well, she was kind of running out. Even I had to admit he look ed amazing, and his pride and love for her shone on his faceno matter what troubled feelings stirred in spite of appearance him over Tasha. Lord Ozera, I remembered. I had a feeling that title would become more and more important now. He led Lissa to the understructure of the throne and then joined the Ozera delegation in the crowd.Ekaterina made a small gesture to a large satin pillow on the floor in front of the steps. Kneel.There was the briefest hesitation on Lissas part, one I think only I noticed. Even without the bond, I was so attuned to her imagination and tiniest actions that I could pick up on these things. Her eyes had gone to Jill. Lissas expression didnt change, and it was so strange not to know her feelings. I could make some educated guesses. Uncertainty. Confusion.Againthe pause was only a moment long. Lissa knelt, slyly spreading her skirts around her as she did. Ekaterina had always seemed so frail and shrivelled in that testing room, but as she stood there w ith the ancient Moroi coronation book, I could sense a power still within the cause queen.The book was in Romanian, but Ekaterina translated it effortlessly as she read aloud, beginning with a speech about what was expected of a monarch and then going to the vows Lissa had to swear to.Will you serve?Will you protect your people?Will you be just?There were twelve in all, and Lissa had to answer I will three times to each one in English, in Russian, and in Romanian. Not having the bond to confirm her feelings was still so strange, but I could see on her face that she meant every word she said. When that part finished, Ekaterina cued Jill forward. Since Id last noticed the girl, someone had given her the crown to hold. It had been custom-made for Lissa, a masterpiece of white and yellow gold intertwined with emeralds and diamonds. It complemented her outfit beautifully, and, I noticed with a start, Jill did too.Another tradition was that the monarch was crowned by a family member, and this was what Jill had been saved for. I could see her hands tremble as she position the bejeweled wonder on her sisters head, and their gazes met briefly. A flash of troubled emotions swirled in Lissas eyes once more, gone quickly as Jill stepped back and the weight of the sacrament took precedence.Ekaterina held out her hand to Lissa. Rise, she said. You will never kneel to anyone again. Holding Lissas hand, Ekaterina morose so that they both faced the rest of us in the room. With a voice startling for her small body, Ekaterina declared, Queen Vasilisa Sabina Rhea Dragomir, first of her name.Everyone in the roomexcept Ekaterinadropped to their knees, heads bowed. Only a few seconds passed before Lissa said, Rise. Id been told this was at the monarchs discretion. Some new kings and queens enjoyed making others kneel for a long time.Paperwork followed, which we all watched dutifully as well. Basically, it was Lissa signing to say shed been made queen while Ekaterina and a couple witnesses signed that theyd seen Lissa made queen. Three copies were on the ornate paper Moroi royalty so loved. One was plain white letterhead, which would go to the Alchemists.When the signing was done, Lissa took her place on the throne, and seeing her ascend those steps was breathtaking, an image that would stay with me for the rest of my life. The room broke out into cheers and position as she settled into the ornate chair. Even the guardians, who normally stayed so insanely serious, joined in the applause and celebration. Lissa smiled at everyone, hiding whatever anxiety she felt.She scanned the room, and her grin broadened when she saw Christian. She then sought me out. Her smile for him had been affectionate tap was a bit humorous. I smiled back, wondering what she would say to me if she could.Whats so leery? asked Dimitri, looking down at me with amusement.Im just thinking about what Lissa would say if we still had the bond. In a very bad breach of guardian protocol, h e caught a hold of my hand and pulled me toward him. And? he asked, wrapping me in an embrace.I think shed ask, What have we gotten ourselves into?Whats the answer? His warmth was all around me, as was his love, and again, I felt that completeness. I had that missing piece of my world back. The soul that complemented mine. My match. My equal. Not only that, I had my life back my own life. I would protect Lissa, I would serve, but I was finally my own person.I dont know, I said, leaning against his chest. But I think its going to be good. First and foremost, thank you to all of the loyal and enthusiastic readers around the world who have accompanied Rose and me throughout the series. I couldnt have made this journey without you and hope youll continue to enjoy the many Moroi and dhampir adventures to come. convey you also to all of the friends and family who have supported meespecially my husband, who continually amazes me with his patience, love, and ability to live with the ups and downs of a creative type. A special shout-out also goes to Jesse McGatha for creating the wood riddle, something I could never have come up with, let alone solve.And as always, Im grateful to the publishing folks who work behind the scenes to make these books happen Jim McCarthymy agent, occasional therapist, and non- stop advocate Lauren Abramo, who keeps finding more countries Ive never heard of to send Rose to Jessica Rothenberg and Ben Schrank, editors extraordinaire whom Im pretty sure forego food for thought and sleep to perfect these books and publicist Casey McIntyre, who organizes my tours and interviews, with great care to arrange them around my hair appointments.A final thanks to all the others who work on this series at Penguin Books, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management, and my international publishers. There are far too many of you to list, but all of you are essential in telling Roses story. Thank you.