Belle Revolte - Linsey Miller Page 0,1

your father’s responsibilities along with the title you disregard. I remember when that was not even a possibility. You have so many more opportunities than girls in the past, than other girls now, and it is insult to refuse them.”

I was an insult to our name, and my very dreams, to be a physician and study the noonday arts, to channel the magic of Lord Sun through my veins and save the dying, were the worst insult of all. I wanted the wrong things. I wanted too much.

“Noonday artists change the world, whether through the fighting or healing arts. That is a responsibility that comes with power you cannot comprehend. You are young. You will learn.”

Demeine was blessed with two types of power: the noonday and the midnight arts. Each drew power from Lord Sun or his Mistress Moon, but Lord Sun was far stronger and even more fickle. The fighting and healing arts were used to change the physical world, and as such, required immense amounts of power. Such magic wore the mortal body down bit by bit until the ability to channel faded or the artist died.

Noble girls could not be allowed to handle such corruptive power.

There was nothing to learn. I comprehended the fact that I was a body, not a person, quite well.

“‘I will learn,’” I said, the small nothing town of Bosquet rushing past our carriage window. “Is that a command or an attempt at reassurance?”

“Please, Emilie, we both know you are incapable of following even the simplest of orders.” She twisted her first two fingers, broke the illusion hiding her fan in her lap, and flicked it open. “I prayed to Mistress Moon to console my grief at having to be apart from you, and she sent me a vision of you happy and content at court. You will be fine.”

Mistress Moon’s magic and the lesser power required for the midnight arts—illusions, scrying, and divination—wore the body down much more slowly but required excessive self-control. It was a safer, slower burn, but midnight artists couldn’t change the world. They only observed it, or, if they were good, changed how others observed it.

Perhaps Demeine was as it was, ruled by a court on the cusp of rightly losing control, because we let no one new change it.

I had to change the world. I had to prove to my mother that the whole of my being wasn’t wrong, that I wasn’t a disappointment.

“Maybe you saw a future where I became a physician,” I said.

The gods could take the time to answer her prayers but not mine. How paradigmatic. Divination was guesswork, hardly quantifiable. A diviner could see a dozen different futures, and none might come to pass. If a midnight artist even could divine. Many never mastered the skill.

“Though, admittedly, you appeared to have taken none of my clothing advice in my divination; you were not wearing a physician’s coat,” she said. “You stand at the edge of a great future.”

“Whose?” I lifted a silver chain, worth more than all of Bosquet, from my chest. The layers, the jewelry—I couldn’t breathe much less move for fear of drowning in silver and sweat. No wonder we were expected to be silent and still. Even this left me light-headed.

Oxygen deprivation.

“All power has a cost,” she said as the carriage slowed to a stop, “and you were born with power—your title, your wealth, your magic. This is your cost, Emilie des Marais, and it is your duty to pay it. Power demands sacrifice.”

“This isn’t fair.”

She laughed, the apathetic mask she kept up at all times slipping. “Really? There will be girls at school who lack your name, your money, and your magic, and they will not treat you as kindly as I have. You are arrogant and stubborn. Mind your tongue, or you will have no friends, no happiness, and no future.”

She had never called me a disappointment, but I could taste it in the silence between us. I was not the daughter she had always longed for. At least magic would never abandon me.

“You are my daughter, and I love you. I am pushing you to do this because I know Demeine will laugh you out of university. I do this because I love you.” She ran her fingers through the strands of her silver necklaces, where she stored small lockets of power. Her illusion settled over me like snow, soft and cold and suffocating, and I knew no one would be able to tell how hot and