Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen (The Abhorsen Trilogy Book 4)

Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen (The Abhorsen Trilogy Book 4) by Garth Nix

Book: Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen (The Abhorsen Trilogy Book 4) by Garth Nix Read Free Book Online
Authors: Garth Nix
up with a whole troop of men and made a speech about not attacking Goldsmiths, which seemed to be the whole aim of the stupidity.”
    “We shouldn’t be talking about this sort of thing,” said Yaneem stuffily. “Dyrell could come back, or Mistress Ader might come in.”
    Everyone else ignored her. Aronzo shrugged at Clariel.
    “That was the point of it. Father wanted an excuse to warn some of the weavers and tailors who’ve been talking trouble. I merely volunteered to help out, and you happened to be a convenient target. Besides, I wanted to take a look at you.”
    “Why?” asked Yaneem, with a sniff that suggested no one would want to look at Clariel at any time. Particularly not if they had her to look at instead.
    “Sometimes one wants to . . . see something new,” said Aronzo, with a sigh. Yaneem colored and pursed her lips while Denima and Belatiel exchanged a swift glance. Clariel noted all this and inwardly sighed, though she was careful to show no outward emotion. Back home in Estwael she had avoided becoming involved or even necessarily knowing about all the complicated romantic entanglements of her former school-fellows, simply by not being around.
    Clariel’s own sexual experimentation with a twenty-two-year-old Borderer the previous year had happened out of curiosity, not love, or even very much desire. She had liked Ramis well enough and he had certainly desired her , but though she had slept with him three times to be sure of what she was feeling—or not—she had not particularly cared when he was posted away, and neither had she sought out a new lover. Though her aunt Lemmin had suggested her feelings might change as she grew older, Clariel wasn’t so sure. She simply felt she had better things to do. Or she did have, when the Forest lay close by.
    But though Clariel was not a captive to such feelings, it seemed to her that Yaneem was in the grip of just such emotion. Clearly Aronzo and Yaneem had some history as bedfellows, and Yaneem considered the relationship to be more important than Aronzo did.
    “I trust your curiosity has been entirely satisfied,” said Clariel coldly. “You were lucky I didn’t kill you.”
    “Oh, I don’t think you could have done that,” drawled Aronzo, displaying massive—and to Clariel, deluded—self-confidence. “I was a little surprised to find you so suddenly beclawed.”
    “I would have liked to have seen this combat,” said Belatiel. “My money would be on my cousin if it happens again.”
    “Oh, I’m sure we could find better things to do together than fight,” said Aronzo, looking at Clariel and smiling. He was very handsome, and his teeth were very white, so white that Clariel found herself wanting to smack him in the mouth with her teacup, for his assumption that she would swoon and lie back when he paid attention to her.
    “I doubt it,” she replied, through gritted teeth. “I doubt I shall see you at all outside of this ridiculous Academy.”
    “Of course you will,” soothed Aronzo. “We are both Goldsmiths, and your mother and my father are working so closely together, we’re practically family already.”
    “What do you mean ‘practically family already’?” asked Clariel. Her fingers were tightening on the teacup, knuckles almost white. She could feel the anger growing as she thought about what he was implying. Her mother and his father . . . it was an insult that could not be borne. She half rose out of her chair, the teacup shattering in her hand. She held a jagged segment of china, and then Denima was calling out—
    “Clariel! Don’t react! Aronzo likes to tease and cause trouble, he likes people . . . women in particular . . . to get upset.”
    Aronzo chuckled and deliberately leaned past to say something to Yaneem, who laughed in turn. Clariel, standing above, for a brief, white-hot moment of anger considered punching down with the sharp ceramic shard, straight into his neck, but the moment passed as quickly as

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