The Captive Kingdom (Ascendance 4) - Page 106


I smiled warmly at him. “Yes, Mott. Stay for as long as you are needed here. But I hope you will return to Carthya soon, for you are needed there as well.” To Trea, I added, “And you are wanted there. I know Darius will have every hope of bringing you with him.”

“We’d better be leaving soon ourselves,” Roden said as he walked up to join us. “We don’t want the Bellanders to get the idea that we’re taking the Prozarians’ place, and the pirates are beginning to take the Bellanders’ things.”

“How much have they stolen so far?”

“Plenty.”

“Tell them to give it all back. These people have lost far too much already.”

“I will tell them,” Roden said. “I am their king.” He eyed me. “Yes?”

“Don’t be absurd. I only lost as a favor to you.”

“You think you did me a favor? That was my plan to save your life.”

“Or your plan to get a kiss from Wilta. Saving my life was only an extra benefit.”

Roden sighed. “I really did like her. Just my luck that she turned out to be the monarch of our enemy.”

“And a soulless villain.”

“Yeah, that too. Do you think maybe one day —”

“No, I don’t.”

“Well … maybe.”

“How long until the repairs are completed on the Shadow Tide?”

He shrugged. “The pirates will finish them today, if they hurry. You left quite a mark on that ship.”

“He leaves his mark everywhere.” Tobias arrived with his medical bag in hand. “Where do you feel the worst?”

“Everywhere. I’m cold, but I’ll be all right.”

“You’re still shivering. I’ll stop complaining about spending a night in the crow’s nest. This is much worse.”

“Do you think so?”

Imogen gave me a cloak, which Tobias wrapped around my shoulders, then he looked down at my leg. “I heard it’s infected.”

I smiled over at him. “My leg is fine. If Wilta expected less of me because she thought it was infected, that was just an unfortunate misunderstanding.”

Tobias still reached for another bandage. While he worked, I looked down at my thigh and said, “This was not my plan, though.”

“Nor mine. I truly am sorry.” Roden quickly added, “Though you gave me no other choice.”

“Maybe not, but I am cutting your pay as captain, if you will be captain again. I’ll make things easier on you this time.”

A corner of his mouth turned up. “Then there are things you’re sorry for too?”

“There must be.”

Roden groaned. “Can’t you tell me you’re sorry? Just two little words: ‘I’m sorry.’” I only grinned back at him, so he said, “Perhaps your apology will come in the form of a reward.”

I arched a brow. “Such as?”

“The greatest of all treasures? Between the few of us here, is it true what you told the pirates? The lens is gone?”


Tags: Jennifer A. Nielsen Ascendance Fantasy
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