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Chaper 1 of City of Bastards (Royal Bastards #2) by Andrew Shvarts EPUB
I’D LIKE TO SAY I GOT USED TO LIGHTSPIRE PRETTY QUICK.
It took me only a week to get used to the food. Sure, some of it was so spicy it made my mouth burn and sent me gagging for a glass of milk. But so long as you knew what to order, it could be so incredibly good. I quickly discovered I liked any food whose name ended with rellia, which as far as I could tell meant baked in a perfect flaky crust. There was chen rellia, which was a chicken pastry, and marr rellia, which was a beef pastry, and porro rellia, which I couldn’t really explain, but it involved cherries and yogurt and just a tiny hint of cinnamon, and it tasted like heaven and sunshine.
It took a little longer, maybe a month, before I got used to the clothes. Oh, they were gorgeous, sure; that I knew before I even wore them. Even as a little girl, I’d dreamed of wearing Lightspire dresses, with their glossy swishing trails and their intricate floral patterns and their slim elegant sleeves that tied together with a ribbon between your fingers. But it was one thing to dream of wearing their clothes and another to actually wear them, not just to some fancy masquerade but out on the street. Lyriana had a crack team of seamstresses fit me up, personally commissioning a full wardrobe of gowns, and while I smiled and nodded and gaped, for the longest time I felt like an impostor wearing them, like a little girl who’d snuck into her stepmother’s closet.
Getting used to the noise was harder. Back at Castle Waverly, unless there was a feast or a fight in the courtyard, the nights were still and quiet. If you leaned your head out your window, you’d hear the chirping of crickets, the whistling of the wind, maybe the mournful cry of an owl. But Lightspire was loud, deafeningly loud. My first two nights there, I couldn’t sleep because the sounds outside my window were too overpowering: the shouts of hagglers in the night-bazaars, the neighing of horses, the grinding of carriages, the whistle of the Whispers and the caws of the Sentinels, the distant rushing of the Adelphus River, and above it all that constant hum of magic that was part noise in your ears and part rumble in your bones.
You know what I never got used to, even after being in Lightspire for six months?
Stupid, terrible, demon-spawn alarm clocks.
I awoke with a grunt to that awful buzzing, flailing my arm ineffectually at the noise. But of course, the Artificed monstrosity that was my alarm clock wouldn’t be deterred by simple swatting. It was an expensive little gadget, handcrafted by the Gazala Guild, a big glass jar attached to a tiny mechanical clock. When the hands on the clock struck seven in the morning, a little lump of charmed stone at the bottom of the jar let out a spark of magical energy, a translucent blue orb that hovered around the inside of the jar, bouncing off the glass surface over and over again with an infuriating buzz. Lyriana bought it for me after I slept through our morning classes for the fourth day in a row.
With a grumble, I rolled out of bed and padded my bare feet across the cold stone floor of my dormitory room toward my dresser. Barely bothering to brush the tangled auburn hair out of my eyes, I reached out and jammed my hand onto the glass jar, feeling that burning tingle as the blue orb stuck to the underside of the glass, flickering and dissipating. “Shut up,” I groaned. “Just. Shut. Up.”
“Tillandra, my dear, you truly are such a delight in the mornings,” a husky accented voice said.
I turned around to see my roommate, Markiska San Der Vlain IV, sitting in front of her vanity, a makeup brush in one hand and a stem of grapes in the other. I looked like, well, like a person who’d just staggered out of bed, messy and unwashed and disoriented. Markiska’s lustrous blond hair circled her forehead in a neat crown-like plait and hung down her back in three elegant braids, each one ending in a silver ring that hung just above her waist. She was wearing a traditional Sparran outfit today, which meant a tight knee-length skirt, a loose silk shirt, and a half dozen necklaces. Her skin was pale, paler even than mine, but adorned with dozens of purple and pink tattoos: dancing fish on her wrists, bands of ivy around her calves, a sparkling horned eel along her collarbone. One night she’d drunkenly told me she had another, a blossoming sea-rose, but only her lovers got to see that.
“How in the frozen hell do you manage to look so good at seven in the morning?” I grumbled.
“By waking up at five.” She smiled, her white teeth framed by painted purple lips.
“Lies.” I poured myself a glass of water from a crystalline carafe and spilled a good third of it. “There is no five in the morning. That’s just something the priests made up to scare children.”
Markiska laughed loudly, though to be fair, she did everything loudly. “Some of us still have boys to impress. We don’t all have a gorgeous Zitochi warrior to ravage us every night.”
“It’s not…He’s not…I mean, not every night….” I blushed and stared at my feet. I don’t know why talking about sleeping with Zell still made me so self-conscious. It’s not like it was a secret to anyone, and certainly not to Markiska, who’d taught me to tie a purple ribbon around the door handle when I needed a night to myself. Zell and I were together, and everyone knew it. And still here I was, blushing.
Detailts about City of Bastards (Royal Bastards #2) by Andrew Shvarts EPUB
- Name: City of Bastards (Royal Bastards #2)
- Author: Andrew Shvarts
- Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
- Publish Year: 2018
- Format: EPUB
- Price: Free
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