Midnight Jewel (The Glittering Court #2)

Midnight Jewel (The Glittering Court #2)

Richelle Mead



I froze where I was, halfway up the great stone stairs that led to the cathedral of Kyriel.

The thump-thump of boots sounded behind me, and moments later, a young watchman rushed over to block my way. He stood almost a foot taller than me, his dark hair shaved close to the scalp as so many of the watch did. What many of the watch did not do, however, was wield a dagger with such confidence. Most kept the city’s peace with heavy clubs.

I met his eyes calmly. “I beg your pardon, sir, but I’m on my way to prayer.”

“Don’t give me that.” His face twisted into a scowl. “Everyone knows you Sims are Alanzan heathens. And I know who you are. I remember you and your murderous brother.”

A spark of anger kindled inside me, but I kept it hidden. I had a lot of practice ignoring comments like his. “I was actually going to pray for his soul. I’m a faithful devotee of Uros. Do you think the angels would let a heretic step on this holy ground?”

I gestured up to the imposing double doors above us. A great arch, carved into the cathedral’s stone, surrounded them and made the entry look even more majestic. A monk of Vaiel, hooded in deep green robes, stepped outside just then, reaffirming the sanctity of where we stood.

The watchman hesitated a moment and then grew stern again. He kept the dagger pointed at me. “Maybe you aren’t one of the Alanzans, but I know you’re as much of a criminal as everyone else in your family. You just haven’t been caught yet. Now tell me where your brother is.”

I spread my hands out in helpless confusion, ignoring the impulse to reach for my own knife, which was hidden in a skirt pocket. “I wish I knew. I haven’t seen him in over a year.”

He pressed the dagger’s point to my breastbone. “You’re lying.”

The heartbreaking part was that I’d actually spoken the truth. Lonzo had sent me one letter when he’d arrived in that land across the sea. And then there’d been silence.

“What’s all this?” a new voice asked. A familiar voice.

Another watchman joined us, moving much more casually than his colleague. This man was older, portly, and red-faced. He’d left his thinning hair as it was, probably because there was too little to shave. I kept my eyes fixed serenely ahead, giving no indication that I knew him.

The younger watchman lowered the blade. “Carey, this is the Viana girl. The one whose brother killed Sir Wilhelm last year. That bastard was never brought to justice!”

Watchman Carey stifled a yawn. “Well, I don’t see him here. I only see his sister. And no one ever actually proved he did it.”

“But you know he did!” spat the other watchman. “We all know it. And she knows where he is! We should be tracking her every move!”

“Into a church? You think her brother is hiding here? Should I go ask that monk if we can conduct a search?”


“There’s nothing here.” Watchman Carey managed to sound both bored and irritated. “Only a girl on her way to pray and better her soul—a girl who’s done nothing wrong.”

The other man’s eyes narrowed at me. “She’s a Sirminican. They’ve all done something.”

Watchman Carey gestured him away. “Go make yourself useful. Stop a real crime, not one that went cold long ago. And damn it, put that dagger away. You’re embarrassing us all.”

The young watchman sheathed the blade but held a finger up to my face. I didn’t flinch. “Don’t think I’ll forget this, girl. I’ll find your bloody brother, wherever he’s hiding.”

Once the man had stormed away, Watchman Carey’s features sharpened. “Tell me he’s not still in the city.”

“No,” I said, exhaling in relief. “But I really don’t know where he is. Just that he’s far away.”

“You should join him.”

A dull ache filled my chest. “I’m trying, sir.”

“Try harder. Things like this are going to keep happening. Sir Wilhelm had a lot of friends, and they haven’t forgotten.” Watchman Carey suddenly looked very weary. “Look, I like you. I really do. You’re smart. You know our language. But I’m not a fool. I hear about the girl who stops thieves in the Sirminican district. And that’s not a bad thing—but it is something that could get out of hand one day. Just like with your brother.”


“Not another word. Sir Wilhelm was as vile as they come, gentry or not. And maybe he deserved what he got, but the less I know, the better.”

Watchman Carey’s forehead wrinkled up with a frown as a memory held him. He’d been the one to find Isabel, the Sirminican girl Sir Wilhelm had used for his own sick pleasures and then discarded in a river. True, Lonzo had intended to beat him to a pulp, but actually killing Sir Wilhelm? That had been accidental. Most of the watch hadn’t cared about that detail—not with a Sirminican involved. Watchman Carey had cared and had looked away a number of times as the evidence against Lonzo mounted.

“Get out of here. You can do better.” He gave me a wry smile. He was the only member of the watch who’d ever treated me as an equal. The only one who even attempted my language. “And don’t take it amiss when I say I hope we never cross paths again.”

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