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Cursor's Fury, Page 57

Jim Butcher

  “Perhaps,” Kitai said. “But you would not require the whole of the clan. A herd or two of riders would be adequate for your needs. That much strength could be spared, if needed to ensure the stability of your mad Realm, Aleran. The order of Alera means as much to the Marat as our stability means to you.”

  “True enough.”

  “And cooperation between your folk and mine, even on a small scale, could be an important step in solidifying our friendship.”

  “It could,” he agreed. “Let me think about it. And I’ll have to speak to the First Lord.”

  “And it will save lives you would otherwise be forced to sacrifice.”

  It would do that, Tavi thought. But then a notion struck him, and he arched a brow and tilted his head at Kitai, grinning. “You’re just doing this so you get to ride around on horses more often.”

  Kitai gave him a haughty glance. “I wanted a horse. But I got you, Aleran. I must make the best of it.”

  Tavi went to her, pushed her against a wall with a certain amount of careless strength, then pinned her there with his body and kissed her. The Marat girl’s breath sped up, and she melted into the kiss, hands lifting to touch, body moving in slow, sinuous tension against his.

  Tavi let out a low growl as the kiss made him burn for her. He lifted the hem of the tunic and slid his hands over the soft, feverish skin of her waist and lower back. “Shall we try the bath?”

  She broke the kiss long enough to say, “Here. Now. Bath later.” Then she took the front of his tunic in both hands, her canted green eyes intense and feral, and started pulling him to the bedroom.

  Tavi paused in the doorway and let out a groan. “Wait.”

  The look in Kitai’s eyes made Tavi think of a hungry lioness about to pounce, and her hips swayed toward his, but she stopped, waiting.

  “The furylamp,” Tavi sighed. “As long as it’s on, the sentries know I’m available and receiving visitors.”

  Kitai’s eyes narrowed. “And?”

  “And there’s not a lot I can do about it. I’m going to have to go find Max or someone.”


  “Because it’s not as if I can just tell the light to go out.”

  Blackness fell on the room.

  Tavi fell to the floor on his rump in pure shock.

  He sat there feeling an odd, fluttery sensation in his belly, and his scalp felt as if something with many sharp little legs was running over it. He felt the hairs on his arms stand on end.

  “Aleran?” Kitai whispered, her voice low, even awed.

  “I . . .” Tavi said. “I just said . . . I wanted it to go out. And . . .”

  The enormity of that fact hit him, hard and all at once. He found himself wheezing, unable to get a full breath.

  He’d told the furylamp to go out.

  And it had.

  He had made it go out.

  He had crafted it out.

  He had furycrafted.

  “Light,” he managed to whisper a moment later. “I need it to turn on.”

  And it did.

  Tavi stared at Kitai with wide eyes, and she returned the same incredulous look.

  “Kitai. I did that. Me!”

  She only stared at him.

  “Light, off!” Tavi said. It flickered out, and he immediately said, “Light, on!” And it was so. “Bloody crows!” Tavi swore, laughter bubbling through his voice. “Off! On! Off! On! Off! Did you see it, Kitai?”

  “Yes, Aleran,” she said, her tone that of one who has been abruptly and deeply offended. “I saw.”

  Tavi laughed again and drummed his heels on the stone floor. “On!”

  The light came on again, to reveal Kitai standing over him, hands on her hips, scowling.

  “What?” Tavi asked her.

  “All this time,” she said. “You moping around. Sad about it. Sure it was so awful. For this?”

  “Well. Yes. Off!”

  Kitai sighed. “Typical.” Cloth rustled.

  “What do you mean?” Tavi asked. “On!”

  When the lamp came up again, she stood before him, naked and beautiful, and Tavi nearly exploded with wanting her as a surge of lust and joy and love and triumph blazed through him.

  “What I mean, Aleran,” she said quietly, “is that all this time you were acting as if it was some kind of monumental task. When it is so simple.” She turned her head enough to regard the furylamp and said, firmly, “Off.”

  The lamp went out.

  And before Tavi’s utter shock could really register, Kitai pressed him down to the floor and stopped his mouth with a kiss.

  Tavi decided the crowbegotten lamp could wait.

  There were more important things.