To Rule in Amber

To Rule in Amber by Roger Zelazny, John Gregory Betancourt Read Free Book Online

Book: To Rule in Amber by Roger Zelazny, John Gregory Betancourt Read Free Book Online
Authors: Roger Zelazny, John Gregory Betancourt
Tags: Fantasy
for it, and I lay unconscious for most of three whole days as a result.
    Her head fell back and her eyes closed. She snored softly.
    "Oh, no you don't!" I cried. I shook her until her eyes opened Wearily. "Stay awake!"
    "Wha - why - ?" she murmured blearily.
    "This Shadow is affecting you," I said. "Fight it. Talk to me, sing to me, curse at me - anything!
    Just stay awake."
    Her brow furrowed. "But I've been in a thousand Shadows before -"
    "Not like these," I said. "Dad redrew the Pattern that's casting them. It's all different now, but subtly. Can't you feel it?"
    "Different?" Her eyes widened. "How? Where is this Pattern?"
    "Uh-uh." I shook my head, smiling. "It's best if you don't know. Safer for you, too. Uthor would kill to find out."
    She sighed. "Everyone's already trying to kill me… what can one more secret hurt?"
    "Not everyone."
    "Need to sleep…" she whispered, head sagging toward her chest.
    "No! No sleeping! On your feet! Now !"
    I lifted her easily, and she slipped one arm around my waist for support. For a second she looked up at my face. Then, seemingly against her will, her eyes closed and her chin slowly lowered again.
    "Blaise!" I shouted.
    "I'm awake!"
    Her eyes blinked fast several times, then closed. She couldn't help it, I knew.
    No more fooling around - this time I slapped her as hard as I could, leaving a scarlet handprint across her left cheek.
    Her eyes flew open. A wolfish snarl came over her usually smooth features, and she twisted away from me.
    "How dare you!" she snapped. She punched my chest hard enough to stagger me back a foot.
    Like everyone in my family, she had a temper to reckon with. And fists of steel.
    I had the strangest feeling I might have gone too far. I had never seen her so furious. Still, it was too late to back down now, though not too late to apologize.
    "I'm sorry," I said quickly. I rubbed at my chest. "Keep in mind, though, that I was only trying to keep you awake and alive!"
    "That's not good enough! Never touch me !"
    She caught my hand. Her grip tightened painfully.
    "That hurts!" I said, trying to keep my own temper. "Let go. We shouldn't be fighting among ourselves."
    "I've killed men for less than that," she said. Her voice had a dangerous edge.
    "I'm sure you have." I smiled my most charming smile, which had been known to melt the heart of the iciest widow back in Ilerium. "It was the only thing I could think of to wake you up. I won't do it again if you don't go to sleep, okay? It's important."
    "Explain it to me." Yawning, she let go of my hand. At least she managed to keep her eyes open this time.
    "The same thing happened to me in the Beyond - I slept for three whole days. Dad and Aber finally got me up and wouldn't let me go to sleep. Dad was afraid I might never wake if they left me alone. I don't want that to happen to you."
    "Where is Dad? You said he was here."
    "Down the mountain." I jerked my head toward him. "He's sick, too."
    "Everyone in Chaos is looking for him. He has to go back. Is he asleep?"
    "No, tied up."
    "What!"
    "It couldn't be helped." I shrugged. "He isn't well. Not sleepy, really, but… kind of crazy."
    "Crazy?" She stared at me. "What do you mean? What's wrong with him? If you did something -"
    "No, no, nothing like that." I hesitated. "Maybe you'd better see for yourself. I think it might have something to do with the Pattern. It's obviously affected you. Maybe it's affecting him, too."
    "Show me."
    I escorted her down the slope, one hand on her elbow to keep her steady. When we reached our father, she gave a mew of unhappiness and bent to untie him.
    I held her back. "Don't. It isn't safe to let him go. He tried to kill me."
    "He's hurt -"
    "He'll live. I was just about to find him a doctor. I don't suppose you know anything about medicine… ?"
    "A little." She knelt beside him, pressing one hand to his forehead. Then, with the hem of her gown, she wiped a line of drool from his chin.
    "He's been badly beaten," she said. "Who

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