In the twelfth chapter of Trickster’s Queen, this is it. Mark Reads will be all downhill from here. Just expect it. If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to be completely and systematically destroyed by Trickster’s Queen.
Chapter Twelve: Meddlers
No, wait, I need to quote that:
The chapter title is teasing me. THIS IS THE TRUE NATURE OF EVIL.
“At least he helps,” retorted Sarai. “At least he’s doing something for people, instead of living off them and ignoring them when they need him.”
Right there. It was right there. IT WAS RIGHT THERE.
Sarai tossed her head. “Well, I’m not one to get worked up over a man who finds some Honeypot kennel more attractive than me.”
YOU STOP IT. YOU DID THIS ON PURPOSE. OH MY GOD.
Her friends laughed. Aly didn’t. She knew that trick. Sarai was hurt that Zaimid had been absent two days in a row, and was going to show she didn’t care. She flirted outrageously with all her young men, leaving even her female friends tapping their toes.
Look, I’m going to be completely honest with you, now that I’ve spent over thirty chapters embarrassing myself for the entire Internet to see: The only comfort I find in this chapter is the fact that Aly, of all people, fell hook, line, and sinker for Sarai’s manipulation. Which makes me want to go back and re-read this book because EVERYONE HAS BEEN DISMISSING SARAI’S ABILITY TO BE CUNNING AND SECRETIVE AND SUBTLE AND EVERY ONE OF US WAS WRONG. Aly was wrong though. She’s way smarter and more clever than I, so I don’t feel so bad.
I’m lying. I FEEL TERRIBLE.
“And it’s sad when people who are related to the royal family aren’t allowed to express opinions! In Tortall the monarchs must listen to the Councils of Lords and of Commoners. In Carthak the emperor has created an assembly of nobles. Landholders matter there, but not here. We are just going to rot from within.”
SHE WAS BASICALLY TELLING THEM ALREADY THAT SHE WAS GOING TO RUNAWAY TO SOMEPLACE ELSE WHERE SHE MATTERED. Which is striking because Sarai’s decision is rooted in pessimism for the Isles. She does not believe that revolution is possible here, and she is convinced that the luarin rulers will oppress the raka forever. You know, I think it’s not impossible to suggest that if the conspirators had actually trusted Sarai a bit more than they did, she might not have been so certain that revolution couldn’t happen. The conspirators had made a ton of progress in the last week alone, but Sarai knew none of it. To her, Rajmuat and the Isles were sinking into chaos.
“Because I’m not blind and complacent?” demanded Sarai bitterly. “Because I get angry when common people are treated badly and no one of our class tries to help? Or because I resent being pushed around by a bully in armor? A girl wanted to give me a flower on our way back, and a soldier shoved her away. He knocked her down! Zaimid cared for her – while Ferdy and the others looked on – but still, Winna, how can we stay in such a place? No one can live a decent life here anymore. Look what happened to Topabaw. He gave a lifetime of service, and they made an Example of him.”
SHE ESSENTIALLY TOLD ME WHAT SHE WAS GOING TO DO, OH MY GOD. And it sheds so much more light on her reasoning for this. Part of it is fear, and (again) that fear is of the unknown. There’s no certainty in Rajmuat that’s positive. It’s all negative. Sarai cannot fathom staying in a place that is this toxic and deadly, and despite that I am REALLY SAD and TERRIFIED about the implications of this, I can’t deny Sarai’s right to get the fuck out of this place. And you know, these people were building a rebellion around her and no one thought to ask her if she wanted to be the face of it? I mean… no one asked her, right? No one clued her in, did they? Would she have felt this hopeless if someone had let her in on the big secret?
“You might want to put watchers on all the tunnels out of the grounds,” she suggested.
“I shall,” Ulasim answered, but Lady Dove is too wise to try it. Lady Sarai I would have to shackle to a post.”
S H R I E K I N G OH MY GOD, IT WAS ALL RIGHT THERE.
Obligatory mention of Nawat being too adorable for words: help.
OKAY, NOW I CAN GET BACK TO THIS. Y’all, there was a time when I thought that the regents’ offer was the biggest plot twist in this chapter. Oh my god, I was so innocent in those days, which was like AN HOUR AGO.
She looked at the duchess. “You must see that I can’t possibly answer, not right away. Who would have imagined they’d make such an offer? I’ll tell you by the end of the week.”
Technically, she didn’t break her promise. She told them by the end of the week. HELP ME, I FELL FOR THIS SO HARD.
“Things could change,” Dove and Aly said over and over. “Things are changing already.”
YOU HAVE NO IDEA. NO IDEA.
“She gets fussier every day,” Boulaj confided, packing nearly everything Sarai owned. “And when she doesn’t keep changing her mind about what to bring, she broods.”
I can’t believe how IN YOUR FACE all of these clues are in hindsight. I’VE BEEN BROKEN.
“She doesn’t seem to realize that it’s not real until the vows have been made. I keep telling her, there’s no reason why she can’t say yes and hold them off until something happens, but she’s not listening to me.” She smiled wryly. “Not a very good omen of my influence with her as a counselor when the time comes.”
YOU ARE SO EVIL, TAMORA PIERCE. YOU WERE TEASING ME WITH THE TRUTH RIGHT TO MY FACE.
All three of them knew what “the time” was.
“She’ll calm down,” Aly murmured. “She’s not a fool.”
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU ARE ALL SO UNPREPARED I CAN’T DO THIS.
…. and Zaimid Hetnim, who charmed her out of her gloom.
right there it was right there.
“If he’ll wait till I’m older, I’ll marry him,” Dove told Aly as she brushed her hair before bedtime. “We could use allies in Carthak, especially the emperor’s personal physician.”
Aly frowned. “Do you know, I think you’re right,” she said, considering it. “It won’t do for Sarai – her husband should be from the Isles, and the queen can’t live in another country. But I wouldn’t sneeze at a Carthaki alliance.”
YOU DID THIS TO ME, THIS IS WHAT YOU’VE WROUGHT. NEVER MORE WRONG IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE.
The Balitang ladies were the most self-sufficient noblewomen Aly had ever met.
Laughing to keep from crying: my new personal motto. Because it’s all I have anymore. Y’all, I should have known that the Graveyard Hag would show up again. I should have seen the signs, and even once the Hag started talking about fulfilling a desire from one of her followers, I should have known that there was only one Carthaki in this whole story. But this is about Aly’s flaws as a spy as much as it is about Sarai’s growth as a character, isn’t it? Because Aly’s arrogance and certainty got in the way of her seeing the truth with Sarai.
I don’t even know what to do, y’all. Oh my god, how many times have I said that Dove would have made a good ruler? That is a thing I did. ALL THE TIME. Christ, she’s going to have to step up, but how are the raka conspirators going to react to this?
I can’t. I’m done forever.
The original text/videos contain uses of the words “mad,” “stupid,” and “insane.”
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