One thing I LOVE about SJM’s books is that if you really think about it, she uses sooooo many of the tropes that are really popular and already exist (not complaining, I love them) yet still manages to surprise us with them. Like the whole “main girl character is the lost princess” thing, I did not even see that coming, but it could’ve been sooooo obvious. She just adds her own twists and turns to make the boring stuff come to life, just ugh I love sjm. Also can I mention that she used the same secret marriage/coronation trope TWICE and we didn’t see it coming either time? TWICE and we still lost our shit both times. Applause all around, bow down to Queen Sarah
(Beware - a little nsfw action shows up towards the end)
Another day searching and another day without finding any Crochans. Manon had been sending scouts out in different directions every morning. When they’d met again each night, she’d endured report after report of nothing. It was a mixed blessing. Morath was not back to full strength yet, even if its monsters were continually patrolling the area. But the Crochans were nowhere to be found. Her frustration at this was tempered with relief since she had no idea what she was going to say to them anyway.
This was how Manon had spent each night as they’d all gather around a fire. Silently brooding about her lack of a plan, then despairing when nothing materialized. Although the Thirteen were evolving into friends, something that had never before been allowed, she was not at a place where she could admit this failure to them. Especially one of such importance. Maybe if Asterin were here, she thought, missingher Second. No. I am their leader.At least I’m supposed to be. She shook her head, disgusted not only by her self pity, but by how quickly she’d landed here. Just a few days ago, she’d felt such hope, such purpose. The old days were beginning to seem so much easier. Back when she didn’t feel so much.
Obedience, discipline, brutality. Her grandmother’s words floated through her head like a taunt. She had started a new path with her Thirteen. Loyalty, strength, amity. Those were the new rules she wanted them to live by. If she only knew how to get them there.