Last time, the banquet. This time, banquet’s over, folks, go home. (Not you, Mare.)
Maven whispers the houses’ names to Mare as they go by to help her remember, which is nice of him even if she’s not really going to be able to retain all this. Lord Samos, whose first name is apparently Volo (…okey-dokey), is last to go and it’s reiterated that he’s kinda a big deal. Maven also adds that he’s the owner and operator of the iron mines, hence the weapons supplier of the war.
“So he’s not just a noble. His importance comes from more than just titles.”
Italic Abuse: 144
Volo toasts Evangeline. Everyone else does, too, though some tables are a bit resentful and Mare herself nearly forgets to rise. Then banquet’s actually over, folks, go home. Cal and Evangeline walk off, as hand in hand, as do Mare and Maven. Maven’s hands are cold.
Silvers stare at Mare, curious, “and behind every false smile is a reminder; they are watching.”
Italic Abuse: 145
Mare, though, knows that she can’t slip up because “I’m an accident. I’m a lie. And my life depends on maintaining the illusion.”
Italic Abuse: 146
Maven encourages her, and it’s nice, though Mare has more important things to worry about: she can sense the cameras now. She wonders if it’s a side effect of her superpower or if “maybe [she’s] just a freak.”
Italic Abuse: 147
There are Sentinels waiting for the royal party, prompting Mare to wonder what the royals could possibly have to fear. Then she thinks about Farley, and wonders if she (Mare herself, that is) would be a target if Farley knew what she was. Similar paranoid thoughts pop up, making Mare think that “This place is making me insane after just one day.”
Elara and the king need marriage counseling, Elara says it’s bedtime, and the brothers simultaneously offer to escort their betrothed to their rooms. This idea is frowned upon, so they switch brides: Cal will escort Mare, Maven — whom Cal calls “Mavey,” which wow no wonder Maven’s bitter — will take Evangeline. Whom he’s afraid of because she’s THE BITCHIEST BITCH TO EVER BITCH THROUGH THE BITCH-O-SPHERE or whatever.
There’s an instance of Italic Abuse that is too nasty to retype.
Italic Abuse: 148
Mare snarks about THE BITCHIEST BITCH TO EVER BITCH THROUGH THE BITCH-O-SPHERE and Cal is unamused. They have a discussion on the whole betrothal thing, with Mare being unpitying because even if Cal technically has no choice, he still has tons of power so he hasn’t anything to whine about. Cal is so creepy good god can he please go away : “His eyes darken, and he takes a step forward, surveying me from head to toe. Instead of being judgmental, he seems sad. Deeply sad in the red-gold pools of his eyes, a little boy lost, looking for someone to save him.”
- I, personally, ship Mare with escaping from this palace so this guy can stop staring at her all the damn time! Why is this so hard for you, Cal? Why do you love giving her once-overs so much I DON’T GET IT
- “[L]ooking for someone to save him” what the hell is this even supposed to mean. Yes, I understand that it’s to make him more ~*vulnerable*~ and hence love interest-worthy but also: what the hell is this supposed to mean. Also why are you infantilizing your love interest, Mare, that’s creepy too.
Predictably, Cal’s creepiness doesn’t creep Mare out, only “makes [her] heart race”. WHATEVER, BOOK. Or let’s be generous: maybe her heart is racing because he’s freaking her out, maybe this is bucking the trend! Fingers crossed!
He tells her she’s a lot like Maven, and Mare tries to assuage me with sarcasm: “‘You mean engaged to a stranger? We do have that in common.’”
Cal’s all, no, I meant you’re both smart, good at understanding and seeing through people. Mare’s low self-esteem flares up again, poor girl. She retorts that she’s not good at reading people — she didn’t know that Cal was a prince yesterday, after all. “What a difference a day makes.”
Italic Abuse: 149
Cal is still sadface and I don’t give a bother, tbh, but his sadness makes Mare sad so now I do give a bother. Mare suddenly stops liking the palace, especially the cameras that keep humming in her thoughts. She tells the cameras to stop, and some kind of electric thing goes on with her, but it has no effect on them.
Earth to Mare, Cal says, and when Mare says she’s fine, just thinking, Cal asks if she’s thinking about her family. Guilt envelops Mare because she wasn’t thinking about them, hasn’t been for a little while. “A few hours of silk and royalty have already changed me.”
Italic Abuse: 150
Cal tells her about her family’s status: the conscription release form has been sent, her parents have been told where she is, but they don’t know about the whole “Mare is a lightnin’-shootin’ princess” thing. Mare is commendably empathetic: “‘Can I write to them at least?’ Shade’s letters were always a bright spot in our dark days. Maybe mine will be the same.”
Nopety-nope, says Cal.
Thought not, says Mare.
So they go to her room, Cal explaining further that if anyone were to find her letters it wouldn’t be a stellar situation for anyone, that it’s for her own protection. Mare freaks out about the cameras, asking if they’re for her own protection too.
Wait what cameras, says Cal
Mare is all, the cameras? In my room? Watching us as we speak? For someone who loves to stare you sure don’t seem to recognize the feeling of being watched? Just how unobservant are you, can’t you feel them?
Cal is super-duper confused, and Mare asks if it’s not normal to feel cameras’ electric circuits humming. “Something flickers in his eyes as he hesitates, trying to find the words to tell me I’m different. Even among the Silvers, I’m something else.”
Mare, the Super Rare: 14
Cal says that no, it’s not normal, and Mare feels worse than ever. The chapter ends on the line: “In the fairy tales, the poor girl smiles when she becomes a princess. Right now, I don’t know if I’ll ever smile again.”
ITALIC ABUSE: 150
MARE, THE SUPER RARE: 14