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Chapter 1

    Celaena finally arrives at the keep, soaked and muddy from her travels.  While trailing mud behind her, she heads to Arobynn's office door, where Wesley, his bodyguard, blocks her way.  She walks in anyway.  She drops the letter on his desk, but Arobynn ignores is and continues reading a document.  He silently waves at her to take a seat, making it clear she has to wait until he is ready.  He reads three documents before he gets to the letter.  As he reads it, she stares at the red carpet, and thinks to herself that whoever had to clean her blood out of the carpet did an amazing job, and wonders if Sam's blood was there as well.

  Arobynn looks up at her, immediately noticing the scar on her throat, before commenting that she isn't as tanned as he thought she would be.  She explains she had to wear clothing head to toe to protect herself from the sun, and she hates that her voice isn't as strong as she wants it to be.  

    Just as Celaena works up the courage to tell Arobynn she is paying her debt and moving out, Arobynn surprises her by saying "I'm sorry."  That he regrets what he did to her that night, and sending her away to the Red Desert.  When he can tell that she doesn't believe him, he gets down on his knee and gives her a gift.  An emerald and gold brooch.  He knew she would love it because he knew her wardrobe tastes, and tells her it's the first of many gifts.

    He trails his fingers from her temple, down the arc of her cheekbone.  Celaena is left confused about her feelings for Arobynn.  One of the reasons why is because he has never declared his intentions with her.  Father.  Brother.  Lover.   She knows it will never be lover.  Perhaps if she was a softer girl, and wasn't raised the way he raised her, than maybe.  He loved her like family, but willingly put her in danger.  He nurtured and educated her, but destroyed her innocence when she was forced to kill the first time.  He gave her everything, but took everything away. 

    When she turns her face away, he offers another gift.  A job.  He tells Celaena that a convoy  from Melisande is coming to Rifthold under the pretense of showing the people what Melisande has to offer.  It is being led my a powerful and influential businessman named Benzo Doneval.  While the public reason for the convoy is to show the people of Rifthold Melisande's culture, goods and wealth, the real reason is the good friend of the former Queen of Melisande - Leighfer Bardingale - was asked to convince the King of Adarlan to grant them permission to build a road to Adarlan and Fenharrow, in an effort to make them more rich and influential through better trade.  Arobynn tells her the convoy will be in Rifthold in a week, and will host parties and markets, including a gala to celebrate the Harvest Moon.  

    Celaena's interest is peaked, and she asked what Doneval's involvement is, if Leighfer is the one in discussions with the king.  Arobynn explains that Doneval and Leighfer were previously married.  Doneval liked having a beautiful, young wife, and she wanted power.  He is in town to do business - specifically business that will undermine Leighfer's personal interests.  Leighfer want's him killed because of it.  Not only would her job he to kill him, but also retrieve some sensitive documents Doneval has.  When Celaena asks for more details, he further explains that Doneval wants to be the first to profit from the use of the new road by entering the slave trade, along with someone in Rifthold.  The document is a list of those opposed to the slave trade, and he is to use it to blackmail them to change their stance and invest to build the slave trade in Melisande.  If they refuse, Leighfer believes that he will give the list to the King of Adarlan.

    Celaena wonders if this means that Arobynn has changed his own stance on the slave trade, and forgives her for her actions in Skull's Bay.  

    She asks Arobynn what Leighfer's stakes are in this, and Arobynn tells her that Leighfer is against the slave trade, and wants to protect the people on the list, as they are planning to soften the blow to slavery in Melisande, and maybe smuggle slaves to safety.  

    They further discuss the mysterious partner Doneval has in Rifthold, and when their meeting will take place (which is in six days).  She asks if she is meant to kill his partner as well, and Arobynn tells her that since he is unknown, there is no official hit out on him, but Leighfer hinted that a generous bonus would be given if the partner is killed as well.  The job already pays extraordinarily well, and Arobynn's gift is not only the job, but that he won't take a cut of the money.  This convinces Celaena that he must be truly sorry, and that he is giving the job to her because he understands her actions in Skull's Bay.  

    While Celaena thinks about the pro's and con's of taking the job, Arobynn gets up and brushes her hair behind her ear.  He tells her he missed her.  He holds out his arms, and waits for her to come to him for a hug.  Celaena thinks back to what the Mute Master said about how people deal with pain.  She wonders if Arobynn's reaction to what she did in Skull's Bay is how he dealt with the pain.  She decides that while there is no excuse for what Arobynn did, and that their past was dark, twisted, and full of secrets, he was all she had.  She still doesn't hug him, though, and tells him she will think about the job.  He apologizes again, and she leaves.  

     Celaena is exhausted from her travels, the training, and her heartbreak over Ansel.  She hopes Ansel's need for revenge doesn't stop her from dealing with what haunts her.  She feels dirty, despite stopping at a tavern before coming to the keep to bathe, wash her clothes, and put on cosmetics.

    As she walks by one of the drawing rooms, she hears laughter and the pianoforte, and is confused as to why Arobynn is in his office when he has guests.  She realizes now that Arobynn was pretending to be busy when she entered his office as some sort of power play.  She is about to downstairs and tells him she was done and moving out when Sam steps out of the drawing room.

    Sam looks shocked to see Celaena there.  He walks towards her, while she takes him in.  He stops a few feet away.  Celaena see's that he isn't injured as she has been picturing him so the last few months, and  he looks good.  He breaks the silence by asking how the desert was.  She tells him it was hot.  While she feel's relieved that he is okay, she feels hesitant to trust him after what Ansel did to her.  

     Sam notices the scar on her throat, and asks what happened.  She tells him someone held a sword to her throat, but doesn't go further, not wanting to talk about Ansel, or the night Arobynn beat her.  He asks if she was hurt, and she tells him not the way he was thinking.  He takes in the scar on her cheek, and asks how she was hurt.  Not fully understanding their relationship to one another after what they did in Skulls Bay, she reverts back to the attitude she used before, and tells him it's none of his business.  When Sam responds by saying that he should tell him because the last time he saw her she was beaten so bad he couldn't see her face through the blood, it hits her that Sam isn't Ansel.

    During the beating, the bond between Sam and her didn't break.

    Sam switched loyalties.  He stood by her.  He fought for her. 

    He didn't betray her, despite being able to many times over.  

    Celaena finally smiles at him, and he gives her a bewildered grin back.  Just as she is about to tell Sam that she missed him, the drawing room door opens.  Lysandra - a beautiful courtesan-in-training - steps out looking for Sam.  Celaena stops smiling, as she loathes Lysandra.  Lysandra smirks at Celaena before moving to stand close to Sam, while Sam eyes both girls warily.  

Chapter 2

    Celaena fights all fou


Chapter 3

    Celaena dresses


Chapter 4

    Celaena gets


Chapter 5

    Celaena is annoy


Chapter 6

    Celaena follows Ansel

Chapter 7

    When Celaena and Ansel get

Chapter 8

    It's Midsummer's E

Chapter 9

    Celaena is distracte

Chapter 10

    Celaena wakes up i

Chapter 11

    Celaena takes the shortcut across the Cleaver, only stopping to give Kasida a short rest and some water.  

    She see's the smo

Chapter 12

    Celaena rips off a p

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