Minggu, 22 Januari 2017

Lunar Chronicles Deleted Scene #8

Hai, sudah baca berapa buku dari serial Lunar Chronicles?

Saya baru saja menyelesaikan buku yang pertama, Cinder, hehe.
Boleh baca reviewnya di post sebelum ini.

Terus, kemarin Marissa Meyer sudah mem-publish deleted scene #8.
Ada 2 scene di sini karena ceritanya pendek-pendek..

Well, let's enjoy the scene..



From: Winter, 1st draft (or possibly the 2nd…)

Featuring: Scarlet, Thorne, Wolf

Helpful set-up: In the early drafts of Winter, there were a LOT of people getting captured and taken to the Lunar prison. In fact, one of the major revisions I had to do to the plot was trying to make it less repetitive with all those arrests!

So in this scene, Wolf has already been arrested (I don’t remember how/when), and now Thorne and Scarlet have been captured as well…

* * *

There was no sadness or worry or even fear as Scarlet stood between two Lunar guards in a dimly lit elevator descending down into the palace’s sublevels. There was only anger. Seething, boiling, simmering anger that had her face burning and every muscle ruthlessly taut.

Thorne, standing not two steps in front of her so that she could only see the side of his face, was holding in his emotions much better than she was. His expression was bordering on bored—complacent. He looked as though he expected to be taken on an afternoon stroll before being given milk and cookies and tucked into bed. Scarlet sucked in her irritation through her nose, almost envious at Thorne’s ability to appear so relaxed. It was certainly a gift.

The elevator doors opened. The thaumaturge walked out first into a cave lit only by a string of bare bulbs on the ceiling.

One of the guards jostled Thorne and he strode out of the lift with his shoulders back. Scarlet followed without hesitation, hoping it would keep them from touching her.

They followed the thaumaturge around a bend in the cavern, where another guard stood before a heavy iron door. He was already unbolting it at the thaumaturge’s urging.

“There are two open cells down on the right,” he muttered, disinterestedly, his eyes fixed on Thorne and then Scarlet as if ensuring these two new prisoners wouldn’t be causing him any trouble. Scarlet scowled right back before being shoved past him.

The prison was little more than a dank, dirty cave with rough black walls and unevenly spaced iron doors with tiny barred windows. There was an immediate fork after the heavy iron door and the thaumaturge led them to the right. In the distance down the hallway, Scarlet heard the clank of a door being opened and could see a second thaumaturge and two guards standing outside a far cell.

As she watched, a prisoner stepped out of the cell, his head hanging.

“The man will be here.” The thaumaturge gestured at a closed cell door without pausing. Thorne’s guards paused to open the door, blocking a coded pad with their backs. “And the girl, here,” said the thaumaturge, gesturing at the next cell door on the opposite side of the corridor.

But Scarlet ignored her—ignored Thorne and his guards and the jail cell that was about to become her home. Her gaze was transfixed on the prisoner who had just emerged down the hall, as a bundle of cleanly folded clothes was shoved into his arms.

“Wolf,” she whispered.

Thorne tensed, glancing back at her before following her gaze. His head lifted only momentarily as he spotted Wolf, just as he was pushed into his jail cell. He stumbled with the unexpected shove.

“Hey, gentle!” he cried, but his words were lost in the sudden clanging of the door.

At the sound of the door or the sound of Thorne’s voice, Wolf lifted his head for the first time. His eyes, even brighter when surrounded by dirt smudges and streaks of sweat, widened when they fell on her.

Scarlet’s heart ached and all the fury and strength left her in that one glimpse. She felt herself being nudged toward her own cell, but she barely sensed her feet on the floor or the guards’ hands on her back and shoulders. At the same time, Wolf was told to walk and he was coming toward her, and as he got closer she could see the budding misery and self-hatred in his eyes that she hadn’t seen since the last time she’d been trapped in a jail cell. When he’d chosen to help her escape. When he’d chosen her.

Her guard finished punching in the code and opened the door to her cell.

Wolf’s piercing gaze never left her. His knuckles were white as his fingers dug into the pile of clean clothes he’d been handed. He wasn’t a dozen steps away when Scarlet felt herself being shoved into her cell.

“No!” she screamed, her arm jutting out and blockading her way through the door. “Wolf!”

He dropped the clothes and sprang toward her all at once, his arms locking firmly around her waist. He pulled her toward him and crushed her lips in a kiss so violent she knew in an instant he believed it would be their last.

Her hands dug into his back, but he was already releasing her, yanking away so fast it left her spinning. “Scarlet—I love—”

In the next instant he raised one hand and shoved her so hard against her sternum that she fell backward, her shoulder scraping harsh against the stone wall as she stumbled back into the cell. She planted her feet, barely able to stay standing, but the wind left her at the force of the blow and she pressed her hand to her chest, struggling to breathe.

She blinked up at Wolf, at the horror and pain etched into every angle of his face, but it was his thaumaturge who spoke.

“There is to be no fraternizing with the other prisoners,” she said, as coolly as if she were commenting on the weather. “Pick up your uniform, and hope that you have not dirtied it, or you will be justly punished. Her Majesty is very peculiar about the appearance of her personal guards for the ceremony.”

Though Wolf’s eyes lingered on Scarlet, she could see them being ripped away from her involuntarily as he turned and stooped to gather up the fallen clothes, just as the heavy door to her cell slammed shut.


From: Winter, same draft

Featuring: Scarlet, Thorne, Cress

Helpful set-up: This took place a little later in the story, and Cress is now attempting to rescue Scarlet and Thorne. (This scene was later replaced with the scene in which Cress is trying to get into the palace’s broadcasting room, with Kai’s help.)

Also, instead of trying to send out the video of Levana, they were all focused on trying to get the plague antidote in order to save Winter.

* * *

The cave forked almost immediately and down each side Cress could see rows of heavy doors with small iron grates set high in each one. Her heart leaped when she noticed tiny coded pads also beside each door—the locks were coded. A flicker of hope stirred inside her.

Gulping, she stepped into the middle of the fork. “Thorne?” she whispered down the hall to the right. Then, “Scarlet? Wolf?”

Her tiny ringing voice carried away from here, echoing shrilly off the wall. She didn’t realize how frightened she was until she heard the quavering buried beneath her tone. “Captain?” She took three steps down the hall when she thought she heard Scarlet’s voice carrying back to her.

“Cress? Was that Cress?”

Hope crashing into her, she rushed ahead, whispering their names until she saw two hands wrap around a set of bars in one of the doors. “Cress?”

She nearly stumbled from relief. “Captain! Are you all right?”

His blue eyes met hers, shocked, through the bars. “How did you get down here?”

“Kai helped me.”

“Cress! Did you see Wolf?”

She spun around. Scarlet was in the cell down the way, her own hands gripping the bars.


“He was taken . . . they took him up to the palace for some reason. I don’t know why . . . an execution or . . .”

Cress shook her head. “The wedding ceremony is about to start. The queen can’t be doing executions right now.”

“Cress, can you get us out of here?”

She turned back, meeting Thorne’s intense blue eyes, before looking down at the coded panel. With a gulp, she sank down to her knees. “I think so, if I can get this panel off . . .” She tried to dig her nails into the gap between the code panel and the wall and cursed. “It’s soldered on.”

She glanced over at the panel by Scarlet’s door, but it was the same.

“All right,” she muttered, a bead of sweat slipping down her neck despite the chilly air. She turned back to the panel on Thorne’s door. “Maybe I can figure out the code. Let me think. Do you remember how many digits?”

“Cress, no,” said Thorne. “If you get it wrong it will almost certainly set off alarms.”

Gulping, she ran her shaking finger gently over the raised numbers, before squeezing her eyes shut. She rubbed her fingers over her wrists, almost able to feel long strands of thick hair tied around them like shackles. Her breathing started to quicken, her eyes blurring despite her attempts to focus.

“Just have to get the panel off,” she muttered, opening her eyes and again feeling around all the edges. “If Cinder were here . . . Cinder would figure out a way . . .”

“Cress. Look at me.”

She glanced up, only able to see Thorne’s long fingers wrapped around the bars. Standing, she arched on her tiptoes, grasping the bars to hold herself almost at his eye level.

His gaze was strong, but sad. “You need to get out of here.”

She shook her head, harshly. “No, I can do this.” She started to kneel again, but his stern voice stopped her.

“Cress, listen. You can’t be any good to us if they lock you up too.”

“But I just need a minute—”

“We don’t have a minute. Look.” One hand disappeared from the grate and Thorne’s eyes diverted. An almost-proud twinkle was in them when he met her gaze again and held up a small vial.

Cress gaped, her jaw dropping.

“I switched it out as soon as I found that tray, just in case. Put it somewhere safe.”

She took the vial gently as he passed it through the bars, her hands beginning to shake with their new precious cargo. “Captain . . .”

“Like maybe down the front of your dress?”

She blinked up at him, too nervous to be embarrassed, then down at her skin-tight dress that had no pockets. Biting her lower lip, she slipped the vial into her bosom as steaming tears began to fill her eyes again. “I can’t,” she whispered. “I can’t leave you here.”

“Yes, you can.” Thorne’s eyes were soft, beautiful through the shadows the bars cast on his face.

Wrapping her hands around the grate, Cress pressed her forehead against the cool metal, wishing she could dissolve into the door.

“You are going to go back to the hospital,” said Thorne, his voice calm as a crater lake. “You are going to make sure Winter gets this antidote, and you are going to save the universe.”


“That’s an order, Cress.”

She peered up at him, her vision blurry. “Captain . . .”

Thorne smiled, and the look didn’t seem forced or smug, merely encouraging. Stretching his fingers through the bars, he clipped a strand of her hair between them and brought it to his lips.

“You can do this, Cress. Besides, you’re the only person who ever takes me seriously when I give orders. Don’t let me down now.”

A distant clang would have gone ignored in Cress’s mind if Scarlet’s voice hadn’t intruded on her thoughts. “Someone’s coming. Cress—”

Thorne’s lips twitched, the first sign of worry, as he released the lock of her hair. “Good luck.”

Cress took in an unsteady breath and felt three heavy words weighing on her tongue, but they wouldn’t come out and somehow the idea that they could be the last word she ever said to him kept her silent. Then there were footsteps.

“Hurry,” Thorne said. “And whatever you do, don’t let them catch you.”

She dropped back from the grate and checked that the vial was secured between her breasts before, with a moment that clawed at her insides, she managed to tear her gaze away from Thorne and walk away.

She sniffed loudly, once, and wiped her dripping nose and eyes on her wrinkled cloak just as the prison guard came into view at the end of the hallway. He smirked when he saw her.

“I’ve obtained the information I needed,” she said, surprised to find her voice remarkably solid. “Thank you for your patience.”

Still grinning, he moved so that his body blocked the corridor leading to the exit. Cress froze.

“Perfect timing,” he said, his eyes swooping over her again. “I’ve just been relieved of duty.”

Her heart raced, the vial cold and heavy against her skin.

Cocking his head, the guard took a couple steps toward her—Cress mirrored each one with a nervous step back. “My emperor—”

“Is awfully busy right now.” He leered. “And as far as I know, he’s the only one who knows you’re down here.”

She gulped.

“Never seen a real shell before,” he continued. “Is it true that I can’t make you want me just by putting the thought in your head? Can’t make you hot and yearning with a few targeted emotions?” His eyes sparked. “Sounds like a fun challenge.”

“Stay away from me,” she hissed.

A chill crawled over her skin as his smile only grew.

“That’s not going to happen, little girl. Don’t you think you owe me for letting you come in here and get your emperor’s confidential information? Don’t think I was influenced by his pretty words as much as I was by your pretty face.”

Cress placed her hand against the wall to steady herself, afraid that her dizzying thoughts might lead to a fainting spell as the man crept closer.

He paused, his eyes swooping down her body once more, before in a blink—he lunged.

Cress slammed her eyes shut and yanked the gun out of her waist band. Pointed forward. Fired. The kickback slammed her against the wall, the gunshot ricocheting like fireworks in the tiny corridor. She heard the man cry out in pain and surprise.

She opened her eyes. Saw him staring at her with shock. And ran.

He was too stunned to stop her as she darted past him, pumping her arms and feeling the rush of adrenaline and the sweat tracing down her neck and forehead and the air blowing the hair from her brow as she ran.

She was already out of breath, more from fear than the sprint, as she raced up and pounded on the steel door.

The thought crashed into her that no one might be there. She might be locked in here with that man.

But the thought was short-lived as she heard the bolt being thrown back and the door opened. A surprised guard stared down at her. “What—I didn’t know anyone was in—”

Cress raised the gun, aiming the barrel between his eyes. His words fell silent.

“Put your hands up and step away from this door,” she ordered, feeling the fire of desperation boiling inside her.

The guard, to her disbelief, did as he was told, raising his hands by his ears and backing up into the dark, tiled chamber. Cress stayed close to the wall, her arm extended. She could tell the exact moment when the guard’s surprise wore off and his brain reminded him that he was a trained soldier. His fingers twitched, his eyes calculating the best way to disarm her.

Cress dropped the barrel and shot him in the shoulder. He roared.

She turned and bolted for the elevator and found it waiting at the dock.

“Stop!” His harsh voice rang out as she pounded on the button then re-aimed the gun, daring him to come closer as the doors shut her away.


Cinder - The Lunar Chronicles #1

Judul buku: Cinder (The Lunar Chronicle #1)
Pengarang: Marissa Meyer
Tahun terbit: 2012
Jumlah halaman: 395
ISBN : 978-1-4668-0011-3
Genre: Fantasi, science fiction, remaja

Aaaah... akhirnya selesai juga baca novel ini.. :3

Baiklah, ini adalah postingan pertama saya yang membahas tentang sebuah buku. Kayaknya boleh juga kalau aku bikin review buku-buku yang kubaca. At least, bisa buat catatan buat diri sendiri.

Oke, jadi buku yang saya baca ini berjudul "Cinder". Sudah terbitan beberapa tahun lalu hehe. Dan sudah tahu novel ini dari lumayan lama juga sebenarnya. Cuma, memang saya nih yang telat bacanya karena baru merasa tiba-tiba merasa pengen baca buku ini. Banyak yang bilang bagus. Hihi.
Kebetulan genre novel ini adalah science fiction, genre yang memang aku suka dari jaman kecil dulu jamannya film Spy Kids 😁

Saya mau komen dari cover bukunya dulu. Cover buku ini oke menurutku, simple, dengan warna black and red. Paduan warna yang saya suka. 
Tak jauh-jauh dari Cinderella yang identik dengan sepatu kacanya, cover buku ini menggambarkan kaki Cinder dalam heels merah, dengan sedikit transparansi yang menanmpakkan tulang-tulang logam dari kaki Cinder. Awalnya saya sendiri kurang ngeh, baru ketika membaca bagian "Cinder melepas kaki", hah? melepas kaki? Lalu saya melihat cover buku ini. Ooooh jadi ini "kaki" Cinder yang menjelaskan bahwa dia seorang cyborg.

Cinder ini lah tokoh utama dalam novel ini. Cinder seorang gadis yang pekerjaannya menjadi seorang mekanik robot, di New Beijing. "Ayah" yang mengadopsinya sudah meninggal, jadi ia ditinggalkan bersama ibu tiri juga dua saudara tiri. Cinder ini lah yang mesti bekerja cari uit.  
Judulnya aja "Cinder", jadi nggak heran kalau yang kepikiran pertama kali adalah tokoh Cinderella. 
Ada tokoh Pangeran, Pangeran Kai namanya. Ada pesta dansa juga yang gosipnya ajang Pangeran untuk mencari jodoh 😄

Jadi, garis besar cerita di Cinder mirip-mirip dikit lah sama cerita Cinderella.

Bedanya, kalau Cinderella itu manusia, Cinder ini adalah cyborg.

Selain itu, cerita ini jelas lebih kompleks. Dengan latar cerita dunia modern, dimana manusia hidup bersama cyborg dan android, tapi masih melibatkan makhluk mitos.
Setting kehidupan sebagai cyborg ini juga kali ya yang bikin penasaran, pengen baca selanjutnya, dan selanjutnya..  

Baru halaman awal-awal, sudah senyum-senyum bayangin ketika Cinder dan Pangeran bertemu pertama kali.. Apalagi waktu Cinder dikira seorang laki-laki sama Pangeran 😂😂 Secara, kerjanya jadi seorang mekanik...

By the way, mulai dari awal baca buku ini, banyak sekali pertanyaan-pertanyaan yang muncul di kepala. Cinder kan cyborg, emang bisa nanti nikah sama Pangeran Kai? Pangeran Kai tau nggak yah kalo Cinder itu  cyborg ? Hubungannya sama Lunar apa? Apa Lunar ini yang perannya sebagai "ibu peri" buat Cinder?

Pokoknya meskipun ketika awal-awal baca novel ini bakalan kebayang sama tokoh Cinderella, tapi eksekusi konflik sampai endingnya bener-bener bagus. Asli bikin tegang ketika sudah masuk konflik.
Cuma mungkin di bagian pesta dansanya ada hal-hal yang standar lah.. Saya pikir kedatangan Cinder ke pesta bakalan lebih mengagetkan dan mencengangkan. 

Memang nggak ada sih bagian Pangeran Kai jadi so sweet sama Cinder, apalagi bikin melting. Padahal itu bagian yang kutunggu-tunggu.. dan sampai sekarang pun aku masih bertanya-tanya bagaimana perasaan Pangeran Kai buat Cinder yang sebenarnya.
Dan yang bikin sedih itu waktu Pangeran Kai bilang ke Cinder: “You’re even more painful to look at than she is.”
*she ini maksudnya si Ratu jahat.
Hiks, You don't know Prince, you don't know the truth..

Overall, novel ini bagusss... indikatornya adalah, saya bisa baca novel ini cover to cover. This book keeps me interested. Dan endingnya.... sesuatuk banget. Lagi seru-serunya baca dan halamannya habis, bikin nggak sabar pengen baca novel berikutnya...

Wkwk penasaran kan yah.. 😄😄  Baca sendiri aja lebih seru 😀
Pokoknya ini novel menguji imajinasi dan membuat bertanya-tanya bagaimana cerita selanjutnya. 

Jadi dari 5 bintang, saya beri skor 4,7 deh.

Recommended buat dibaca :)

Well, Enjoy reading 😊

Senin, 16 Januari 2017

Lunar Chronicles Deleted Scene #7

Baik, sudah sampai scene #7..
Saya penasaran, bakal ada berapa scene yang mau dipublish sama Marissa Meyer.

Cuss aja yuk baca scene #7...

Oiya, as usual:



From: Winter, 1st draft

Featuring: Almost Everyone

Helpful set-up: This scene takes place immediately after Deleted Scene #6. Definitely read that one first!

Also, an interesting note about this scene – you’ll notice that I left notes for myself to describe Levana in a later draft. The reason is that, when I wrote this in 2011, I still didn’t know what she looked like under the glamour! In fact, I didn’t finally figure out Levana’s true appearance until I wrote Fairest nearly two years later.

* * *

Cress’s heart leaped when Captain Thorne’s voice filtered through the ship’s speakers, ordering the doctor to report to the pod dock immediately. Her knees gave out with relief and she sank onto a nearby crate, her immediate fear slipping away.

The captain was alive. He had returned.

But new fears quickly moved to take their place.

Who was in need of a doctor? What had happened on Luna?

Was Cinder gone, for good now?

She glanced at the screen on the wall, waiting to establish a direct-link with Cinder, but nothing had come through yet. Panic scratched at her lungs—what if she’d failed? What if the link didn’t work and they still wouldn’t learn anything new about the palace or capture video footage of the queen?

Moments later, steps thudded on the ladder leading down into the heart of the ship. Cress launched herself off the crate and stood, hands wrapping around themselves, until a head of red curls arose from the hatch.

Scarlet heaved herself out of the hatch and didn’t look at Cress as she darted into the medbay.

Cress stood, waiting, shuffling her feet. She could hear rummaging inside the medbay and was just taking a step forward when Scarlet returned with a pitcher of water and a first-aid box in her hands.

“What’s going on?” she asked. “Is the captain all right?”

“Captain’s fine.” Scarlet tucked the box under her arm. “He brought the Lunar guard back with him though, and he’s . . . where’s the—doctor!”

Dr. Erland hobbled out of the corridor, fixing his hat atop his head.

“I’ve been summoned,” he said, his blue eyes taking in the supplies in Scarlet’s arms.

“Yes, good. Take this and pass it down to me.”

Scarlet handed the pitcher to the doctor before disappearing back down the shaft without another word. His lips wrinkled as if he wanted nothing to do with the crew that had gone against his wishes, but he didn’t argue when Scarlet asked him to hand down the pitcher.

“What can I do?” Cress said, dashing to the side of the hatch while Dr. Erland started to lower himself carefully, rung by rung.

Scarlet glanced up. “Any word from Cinder?”

Cress shook her head.

“Stay up there and wait for her.”

Cress heard the door to the dock open and soon, both Scarlet and Dr. Erland had disappeared, leaving her alone again on the ship’s main floor.

Heaving a thick breath, she rocked back on her heels.

The guard was hurt. They’d known he would be, but she couldn’t imagine what the queen had put him through.

And Cinder . . . what would she do to Cinder?

She stuck an end of hair in her mouth, sucking nervously while she paced back to her crate, and waited.

She could hear nothing from the dock. The ship felt almost deserted, filled only with the constant noise that went unnoticed after so much time spent aboard. The hum of the life support systems, the quiet crackling of halogen (?) lights, the steady engine beneath her feet.

Pulling her hair out from her mouth, she tucked it behind her ear, wondering why she hadn’t had the forethought to install cameras in the dock weeks ago. She could at least know what was happening down there.

Maybe she should comm down to the level, just to see, just to ask . . .

Just to pester.

Frowning, she pulled her knees up to her chin and wrapped her arms around them.

They were busy saving the life of another of Levana’s victims. She would just have to wait for news, and orders. She would just have to wait.

Hopping off the crate, she paced to the screen and checked that the D-COMM chip, the companion chip to Cinder’s link, was still in place and firmly installed. All seemed to be in place.

Blowing her hair out of her face, she swung back around and took four steps back toward the crate when a chime startled her.

She pivoted, her attention focusing back on the screen just fast enough to catch the flicker of words: Direct communication now connected to LinCinBMI.

A second later, the words were gone, replaced instead with a shaky image.

A live feed.

Cinder was in a large docking station, pristine and filled with clean lines and white walls. She was following behind a woman – DESCRIBE THE BACK OF LEVANA – and two guards marched at either side.

The point of view shifted, Cinder looking over her shoulder, and Cress could see two muscular men walking uncomfortably close, wearing the uniforms of Levana’s army.

A tingle rushed down Cress’s spine, terror gripping her even from thousands of miles away. Though she was safe, the idea of being surrounded by Lunars, captured, being led somewhere unknown, had her trembling, like watching a terrifying film.

One that Cinder was living.

The group on the screen reached an elevator bank and the woman turned, showing her face to Cinder’s internal camera for the first time.


Cress didn’t recognize her, which was peculiar. She had memorized the faces of Levana’s thaumaturges and as many royal guards as she could, as well as the highest ranking Lunar diplomats and officials and nobles, all from studying Lunar news feeds, but this was a new face. Who could be so high-ranking that Levana would have them collect her most prized prisoner?

Someone who the other guards in the elevator would gather respectfully, protectively around?

Someone who would eye Cinder like a crazed, proud cat?

The ground suddenly fell out from Cress’s feet. She stumbled back, her hips colliding painfully with the corner of the crate behind her.

It was the queen.

The queen herself, claiming her prisoner.

Cress’s hands flew to her mouth.

Cinder had done it. She had captured video footage of the queen, without her veil to hide behind, and the queen had no idea.

The thoughts were already spinning in Cress’s head as she considered everything that could be done with this footage. She could have it on every screen on Earth before the end of the day. Levana would be mortified . . . and livid. The backlash of her anger would be unjustified.

And doing so would ruin the element of surprise they hoped to have when they broadcast their message to the people of Luna, encouraging them to rise up and rebel against the higher classes and their queen. If Levana knew that such a video existed, she would no doubt take swift measures to ensure it never made its way into any Lunar feeds.

Gulping, Cress tried to calm her rampaging heartbeat.

They had a plan. Cinder had already succeeded in her role, now it was up to Cress to make sure her sacrifice wasn’t wasted.

Letting out a slow breath, she followed Cinder’s progress out of the elevator and into a winding labyrinth of dark caves lined with cells. Her stomach twitched at the memory of being locked up, a prisoner in her own satellite, for nearly her entire life. And now Cinder was going to be kept in this nightmare.

She chewed her lip, wishing she would have had more time to install audio communication so she could tell Cinder to stay strong, that the video had come through, that she had succeeded, but all she could do was watch.

It occurred to her for the first time that perhaps she should tell the rest of the crew what was happening, that the D-COMM link worked, but she didn’t want to take her eyes from the screen for a second. Besides, they no doubt had their hands full helping the guard, and there was nothing anyone could do for Cinder up here.

They paused. One of the guards opened a cell door, leading into a cramped, shadowed cell, but rather than entering, Cinder turned her sight to another door just across the way.

Cress stared hard as they opened another door and dim light fell across a crumpled form.

It was impossible to make out, the screen almost entirely black, until the form moved. Whitish-blonde hair shifting into the almost-light. Cress came closer, her nose inches from the screen as she stared, waiting for the image to focus and make sense.

It was a person, so covered with dirt and blood he almost blended in to the filthy, rocky walls of his cell.

Then he looked up and his eyes caught in the light.

Cress gaped, trying to make sense of what she was seeing. She could swear—he looked just like—

Did Sybil’s guard have a twin brother? Or had Cress been confused and this was not the guard they’d agreed to trade Cinder for after all?

Or . . .

Her gut clenched.

Or it was all a trap.


The air left Cinder in a rush, like someone had just hit her in the stomach. She teetered on her feet, but managed to lock her knees and steady herself before falling into the open cell.

The guard’s eyes widened as he looked up at her, shock and terror fixing to his gaunt face, but then he cringed as if the expression caused more pain than he could handle.

“Lovely,” said Queen Levana. “I see you recognize each other. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know each other better during your short stay here. I must say I’m quite pleased with you both right now . . . for doing exactly as I expected you to.”

Cinder gulped, unable to pry her gaze away from the guard who lay broken and crumpled before her. “Who was the man you sent with Thorne?”

“My head thaumaturge.” The queen folded her hands in front of her. “He was quite convincing, wasn’t he?” She gestured that the guards should release Cinder and they did, leaving her feeling oddly abandoned in the middle of the dank cave.

Clenching her teeth, she met the queen’s haughty stare, hatred overflowing. The orange light was almost immediate when she focused on the queen, recognizing the illusion. She wished she could see beneath the glamour as easily as her retina recording device could, so she wouldn’t have to see those sickening red lips or onyx eyes ever again, but the queen’s true image had never been fully assimilated in her eye before, no matter how hard her brain interface attempted to see past the illusion.

The queen smiled and twisted her wrist toward Cinder’s empty jail cell. “Won’t you make yourself at home?” she said, her voice melting like chocolate.

Cinder felt her right leg twitch as if acting on its own accord. It took half a step toward her jail cell before she realized what it was doing.

Setting her jaw, she steeled her body against the tampering. A warning flashed in her gaze that she was experiencing bioelectrical interference—the failsafes in her brain managed to resist the queen’s attempts to force her to enter the cell against her will.

Rather than look surprised or irritated, the queen merely shrugged her slender shoulders. “As I thought. It seems we will have to execute you the old-fashioned way.”

Anger, more than fear, gurgled up from her stomach, making her limbs quake. She couldn’t stand to think what a fool she’d been to walk into this trap, to allow herself to be so easily fooled, and now not only had she walked right into Levana’s clutches, but she’d endangered her friends as well.

Her instincts told her to fight. One solid hit to the queen’s head with her metal fist could be all it took . . .

Before she could act on the idea, one of the soldiers grasped her elbow and half-shoved, half-threw her into the gaping jail cell. She hit the back wall with a grunt. By the time she’d spun around, the door had already been slammed shut, leaving only a small barred window a few inches above eye level.

“I am greatly looking forward to seeing you killed, again,” said the queen. “At first I’d planned on having you executed immediately and not bothering with you for any longer than I already have, but then it occurred to me that you may wish to stay alive long enough to see my wedding ceremony. In fact, I’m tempted to make you a special guest.” Cinder heard a cruel tinge in Levana’s voice. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I must commence with my preparations. My guests will be arriving soon.”

A lock was turned and soon the shadows passed by the grate and booted footsteps echoed down the hall, dissolving into cold, eerie silence.

Cinder found herself frozen against the wall, already starting to shiver from the damp air. The stench was making her stomach heave, but she managed to keep from throwing up and forced herself to take steady breaths—the sooner her senses adjusted to the smell, the better.

When she was sure the queen and her entourage were gone, she opened the tip of her finger and let the tiny flashlight create a pale spotlight on the iron door. She flashed it around the cell, seeing years of words carved into the stone cave walls. A bowl filled with slop sat in the corner and she ignored it entirely, knowing that was where the stench was originating and not wanting to know or see any more than that.

Refocusing on the door, she knelt down and examined the space where she knew the lock was on the other side. Sliding her screwdriver out, she tried to wiggle it into the crack of the door, pushing and prying and scratching at the stone wall, but it was impenetrable and the door was too tight to the jamb to allow her to get any leeway against the bolt. The door’s hinges were on the outside.

Heart hammering, she stood to examine the small window with the grate. If she could somehow detach the bars and wriggle her arm out and maybe use the dart gun in her hand . . .


She froze at the croaking voice, her hand wrapped around one of the bars. “Excuse me?”

“How did she get you?”

The guard’s voice was rough as if it had been used only for screams lately. She shivered and wished the thought hadn’t occurred to her.

“She . . . she offered a trade,” she said, her own stupidity encroaching on her thoughts again. “I thought she was going to spare your life, for mine.”

Something between a groan and a whimper seeped across the corridor. “Idiot.”

She bristled. “Look, it obviously didn’t work out how I’d planned, but I was trying to save your life!”

“Exactly.” His voice seemed to grow stronger as he tested it. “You traded your life for me, a nobody, when you—” She heard a hiss of pain and his angry words didn’t start up again.

Pressing her forehead against the bars, Cinder stared down at the circle of light her flashlight was casting around her boots. She huffed. “I’m a nobody too.”

“Don’t,” he said, his voice hollow. “I know who you are.”

“You think you know who I am, but I’m not her anymore.” She blew her hair off her face, frustrated with herself, with the plan, with everything. Her thoughts flew back to Thorne and the fake guard and she wondered if he’d gotten back to the ship yet. She hoped the crew would see through the glamour. She hoped they’d been watching the footage and would know instantly they were in trouble. She hoped they would realize her mistake before it was too late.

A thaumaturge was soon going to be aboard the Rampion, if he wasn’t already, and there was nothing she could do about it.

And it was all her fault.

Turning her back to the door, she slid down until her knees were pulled up to her chest.

“What do you suppose she meant by executing me the old-fashioned way?” she called over her shoulder.

“No magic or brainwashing,” came back the tired, irate reply. “Usually she has her thaumaturge force people to kill themselves, but with you it sounds like someone’s going to have to get their hands dirty.”

“I know that,” said Cinder. “But—how do you think she’ll do it?”

There was a hesitation, followed by another groan as she heard him changing positions in his cell. “Beheading?” he ventured.

She flinched and ran her fingers over her neck.

“Or drowning,” he said. “Stoning. Firing squad.”

“Thanks,” she said, “I think I got it.”

She bit her lip, realizing that this was the second jail cell she’d been trapped inside in the past two months. If she had just stayed in New Beijing, if she had just let Levana come and take her, this is where she would have ended up anyway. She still would have been executed. She still would die.

But instead she’d tried to run, she’d tried to fight—and all she got for it was a spaceship full of friends who she’d now be taking down with her.

“She’s going to win,” she whispered, half to herself, to see how the words would feel. Final. Hopeless. Inevitable. Gut tightening, she turned off the flashlight and buried her head against her knee.

In the quiet, in the darkness, she heard the guard’s tired voice.

“She won the moment you walked into her hands.”


Change: no plague given to Winter. He instead uses his gift to force her not to breathe, a la the corsette.

“Stop! Wait!” Cress screamed, bypassing the ladder and dropping down into the sublevel corridor with a grunt. She shoved herself off the wall, hurtling toward the open door of the podship dock.

She caught herself on the doorframe, gasping, adrenaline pumping through her veins.

Her eyes fell on him immediately, fear strangling her heart. He was laying on the floor beside the podship, half-supported by Princess Winter on one side and Dr. Erland on the other. His near-black eyes landed on her and sparked with surprise and the cruel recognition of a shell.

He could not have looked more different from the guard he was supposed to be. He had broader shoulders and dark brown skin and no hair on his head—and he was in perfect, healthy condition. Not a scratch, not a wound, not an ounce of blood, and yet it was clear that the doctor had spent the last ten minutes attempting to bandage invisible wounds.

Wetting her lips, she weakly pointed at the imposter. “Thaumaturge,” she breathed.

His lips twitched upward as the crew all turned to gape at Cress.

Captain Thorne reacted first, and almost had his gun out from its holster before he released a guttural shriek of pain and collapsed to the floor, shaking.

Cress screamed.

The doctor dropped his charge and fell backward, scrambling away. The princess tried to slink back, but the thaumaturge wrapped an arm firmly around her waist, securing her to his side.

Cress knew when he’d dropped his glamour because the eyes of her comrades suddenly widened, taking in the stranger in their midst, with his white embroidered coat and unnecessary bandages.

“Aimery.” Wolf said the name around a growl, placing himself between the thaumaturge and Scarlet.

Aimery grinned, his arm still tight around Winter. “Lieutenant Kesley. I thought you’d died honorably in battle, but I see I was mistaken. Ah—and the lovely Miss Benoit. I suppose I should have known.”

Thorne screamed again, thrashing on his back.

“Captain!” Cress threw herself at his side, protecting his head just before he slammed it into a metal cabinet.

“Cress, run!” Dr. Erland said, but his warning was drowned out by Scarlet’s shrill scream.

Glancing over her shoulder, Cress saw Scarlet backing up against a wall, staring at Wolf.

Wolf, hunched over, hands clawing at his hair, face contorted in barely restrained rage. Changing. Morphing. “Wolf! Stop it! Leave him alone!”

Scarlet rushed for Wolf and grasped his elbow, trying to pull his attention back toward her, when he spun on her. His hand whipped out, shoving her against the nose of the podship. She cried out in pain and slumped to the floor.

Cress gaped, her fingers idly digging into Thorne’s hair, mesmerized and terrified as Wolf’s back hunched, his fingernails lengthened, teeth morphed into sharp canines.

Warm hands suddenly wrapped around Cress’s throat.

Gasping, she looked down, catching the mortified look in the captain’s blue gaze, staring first at his own hands, then up at her.

Cress opened her lips to question, to scream, but the noise was locked off as the captian’s thumbs pressed into her windpipe. A strangled, panicked cry gurgled off her tongue and she tried to shove herself off him.

“Cress—I can’t—it’s not—”

“Stop it! Leave them alo—!” The princess’s words were cut short. When Cress glanced at her, she saw Winter clutching her head, swooning in agony.

Her throat ached, her lungs burned. She clawed at Thorne’s hands, desperately trying to pry the fingers away, but they were like iron around her. Her gaze fluttered helplessly around her companions. Princess Winter, still in the thaumaturge’s hold, gritting her teeth against a pain Cress couldn’t fathom. Dr. Erland not two paces away from her and the captain, staring in horror, but his eyes seemed the only part of him that was alive. The rest of his body appeared frozen in time as he watched his daughter strangled, within arm’s reach.

Scarlet seemed to be the only one not yet being manipulated by Aimery, and clearly he had no reason to bother with her yet. She was distracted enough, scrambling beneath the podship, trying to put distance between herself and Wolf as his transformation was nearly complete.

“What an uncivilized welcome,” said Aimery, smiling at the chaos he’d wrecked in so few moments. His dark eyes shimmered as he looked down at the weak princess in his hold. “And I even brought you a gift.”

A wave of dizziness passed over Cress. White lights flashed in her gaze. Burning tears seeped out of the corners of her eyes as her.

As she stared, fingernails gathering skin and blood as they desperately tried to fight of Thorne’s grip, the thaumaturge pulled a thin object from his sleeve. Uncapped it. Blackness threatened to seep into Cress’s thoughts just as she recognized what it was—a syringe.

The princess hardly seemed to notice, too distracted with the pain in her skull. It was clear she would have collapsed to the floor if it wasn’t for Aimery’s hold keeping her plastered to his side.

With a sickening grin, Aimery tilted the princess back and stuck the needle into the side of her neck.

A scream tore through her.

“Cress.” Thorne’s voice was weak, seeming to come to her over a mile instead of mere inches. “The cabinet—tools—”

As if angry that he would attempt to defy them, Thorne’s hands tightened on her throat. She instinctively sank her knee into his chest, trying to shove off of him, and he grunted with pain—but then his words shifted through the panic.

One hand still clawing weakly at his fingers, the other reached for the cabinet handle. Pulled. Rummaged blindly inside. Her fingers closed around something cold and long and heavy.

Her body itched to swipe it across Thorne’s head, but rationality fought the instinct. Looked up through the bright spots and threw.

A thump was followed by a cry of pain and Thorne’s hands dropped away from her.

The first breath sucked into her, stinging her throat. Cress clambered off the captain, throwing herself toward the back wall.

Aimery dropped the princess and she fell unconscious to the floor. Reaching up, he pressed two fingers to his skull. They came away glistening with blood. Then he looked down at the ten-inch wrench on the floor.

He dropped his control long enough for Dr. Erland to heave himself at Thorne and throw a punch to the captain’s jaw, before Thorne caught his fist and batted him away. With his free hand, the captain grabbed for his gun, ripped it from the holster, and tossed it at Cress’s feet.

No sooner had the gun left the captain’s grip than he slammed back against the cabinets, keeled over and clutched at his stomach.

Aimery turned toward her, his lips smiling though his gaze was harsh and furious. “You shells always cause so much trouble.”

Cress gulped. She still felt weak, her lungs struggling to take in the oxygen that had been missing. Her legs were trembling, barely able to support her, and all the while the gun at her feet called to her, its presence looming in her thoughts.

It was so close, but she couldn’t bring herself to take her gaze from the thaumaturge for one second. Her heart hammered. A drop of sweat dripped down her back.

A snarl sent a chill racing down Cress’s spine. Not animal, not human. From the corner of her eye she could see Wolf, but not Wolf, prowling toward her around the back of the podship. He lumbered with an awkward gait, half-crouched and ready to spring. At her.

She focused her attention on Aimery, her fingers itching for the gun, imagining the weight of it, the feel of it—though she’d never held one before [true?]. She imagined aiming. Pulling the trigger. Prepared her body, her fingers, her mind.

A drop of blood slipped down Aimery’s brow, arching down his temple.

A flash of cinnamon-red caught in Cress’s vision. Scarlet planted herself squarely between her and Wolf, arms outstretched, blockading her. “Cress! Now!”

Cress fell to her knees and snatched up the gun, feeling it warm and slick in her palm and for the briefest of moments she imagined she could do this.

Then Wolf roared and Cress remembered that she was the only one immune to the thaumaturge.

She had no allies.

As Wolf lunged, Scarlet’s feet sidestepped as smooth and graceful as a dancer.

Cress screamed as the force pushed her over onto her back, kicking the breath from her tortured lungs. She had enough time to see the fervent, cruel glint in Wolf’s emerald eyes, before he lowered his head and clamped his jaw around her upper arm. Her scream shrilled as fangs pierced her flesh, hot pain blinding her. Her fingers dropped the gun, her muscles and tendons helpless and burning.

The thaumaturge chuckled. She spotted him over Wolf’s shoulder, collected as he tucked his hands into the wide sleeves of his coat.

“The rest of these traitors may come in quite useful,” he said, smiling down at her, even as the world spun and she found herself again fighting to stay conscious. “But I’m afraid I have no use for you.”

Wolf pulled his head away and Cress screamed as she felt flesh ripping beneath his pinched jaws.

Gritting her teeth against the burning pain, Cress fumbled at Wolf’s waist with her free hand. Trembling fingers found his holster, blessedly, the handle of the gun still in it.

Towering over them on Wolf’s other side, Aimery didn’t notice until she’d pulled out the gun and aimed it for his chest.

As she felt claws rip into her abdomen, her shaking finger pulled the trigger.

The kickback from the shot threw the gun out of her hand, the ring of the blast echoing in her ears, her entire body throbbing and burning. That was the last she remembered.

Lunar Chronicles Deleted Scene #6

Katanya Marissa sih begini:
SPOILERS WARNING: Even though this scene was ultimately deleted (or heavily altered), it still contains information and references to things that did make it into the book. I strongly encourage readers to enjoy the published books before proceeding!


From: Winter, 1st draft

Featuring: Almost Everyone

Helpful set-up: This scene took place after Deleted Scene #5, in which Princess Winter had just joined the crew of the Rampion. Since then, Levana has learned that Winter is with the crew, and has offered a trade: Jacin, in exchange for Cinder. (DUN DUN DUN.) Cinder, being Cinder, agreed to the trade, and she and Thorne have left to meet with Levana and make the exchange.

Oh, and at some point Jacin tried to make a run for it and cut his hair in an attempt to disguise himself. That’s not really important, but I didn’t want all the fanartists to worry.

* * *

There was a sense of agitation in the ship. Winter could feel it not only in her own squirming stomach and humming nerves, but in all her new companions as well. No one had said much in the two hours since Cinder and the captain had debarked, leaving them all to wait with bated breath to see if the captain would return.

There was little hope he would be coming back with Cinder, and though that filled with Winter with anxiety—Princess Selene! Their one hope!—her thoughts turned more often to Jacin.

Jacin, beaten and bruised and in pain, tortured and treated like a criminal, like a traitor, all because of her.

Would her stepmother really let him go? Would she really accept Cinder’s trade? It seemed unlikely when she had no reason to. Not when Cinder was handing herself over without a fight and Levana could just as easily keep and kill them both—and the ship’s captain as well. But how long would they have to wait before they knew for sure that Captain Thorne would not be coming back?

Biting her lip, Winter cast her gaze around the cargo hold. At some time during her thoughts, Scarlet and Wolf had gone into the cockpit and the doctor had meandered back toward the bedrooms or the kitchen, leaving Winter alone with Cress, who kept pacing in front of the netscreen on the wall, fidgeting with her own portscreen, and sucking nervously on the tips of her hair.

Winter watched her, recognizing the impatience and worry. She wondered if the captain knew, and if he cared.

The same way she had so often wondered if Jacin knew how she felt . . . and if he cared.

“Why hasn’t she initiated a link yet?” Cress hissed, more to herself than to Winter. “She should have connected by now. Unless I did something wrong . . . or unless she’s . . .” Cheeks paling, she dropped onto a crate for just long enough to rub her palms into her eyes before hopping back up and resuming her constant pacing. Checking her portscreen. Checking the netscreen. Checking for what, Winter hadn’t the faintest idea.

Chewing her lip, she tugged on a curl, stretching it straight before letting it spring back to its coil.


He would be livid that Princess Selene would even consider trading herself for him. He would think it was the biggest mistake—a mistake that would cost them all dearly. And he would probably be right. Winter wondered if she shouldn’t have fought harder to change the princess’s mind, but it had all happened so fast. The declaration, the preparation, and then they were gone, leaving the crew to worry after them.

And though Winter didn’t trust Levana’s promises, she couldn’t swallow down a sting of hope. Jacin. If he were still alive. If Cinder got to him in time. If Levana kept her word.

Too many ifs that wouldn’t silence.

Then a voice rang out through the ship speakers, jarring her thoughts, good and bad.

“Identified Rampion podship approaching. Preparing to allow docking in 10 . . . 9 . . . 8 . . .”

Winter looked at Cress, at the girl’s face flushing, her blue eyes staring at nothing while the ship counted down. Snapping out of the trance, she met Winter’s gaze, just as Wolf came bolting out of the cockpit with Scarlet on his heels. Wolf didn’t look over as he grabbed a knife and a gun from the rack against the wall and hurled himself down the ladder that led to the ship’s sublevel.

Scarlet paused long enough to look first at Cress, then Winter, then back at Cress. “Stay up here, wait for Cinder. Once we determine it is Thorne, we’ll need you to do a full sweep of the pod, make sure no tracking devices or spy—”

“I know. I will.” Cress nodded emphatically, but there was dazed hope in her eyes, not fear.

Again, the pilot’s gaze focused on Winter and again she said nothing, looking toward the corridor instead. “Where’s the doctor?”

Cress shook her head. “He’s upset. He still doesn’t agree with Cinder’s decision.”

“Yeah, that makes a lot of us.”

Scarlet hurtled herself down the ladder and Cress took half a step as if to follow her before groaning and rounding back toward the still-blank netscreen. She backed up against a crate, casting her feverish gaze between the screen, the ladder, the screen, then, as if startled to find Winter hadn’t left, she met her eyes.

Reaching out suddenly, she wrapped her fingers tenderly but forcefully around Winter’s wrist and forced a brilliant smile. “It is the captain, I’m sure of it, and I’m sure he’s brought back your guard. Don’t worry.”

Just hearing the words gave Winter permission to hope, for the briefest of seconds. “Should I stay up here? Is it safe to . . . can I . . .”

She swallowed a breath and looked back toward the ladder, wondering if she should stay and wait, in case it was a trap. In case something, or someone, dangerous had returned with that ship. But her heart was pounding and her palms were sweating and in the sudden silence of the cargo room the unknowing was agony.

“You should go,” Cress said, releasing her. “I know I would be down there in a heartbeat if it wasn’t for . . .” She cast a furious gaze at the netscreen, knotting her lips.

Winter hesitated for a moment more, tucking her hair behind an ear, before giving a determined nod. “Thank you,” she whispered, throwing a smile at the blonde girl, before rushing toward the ladder.

Scarlet and Wolf were waiting inside the skinny corridor flanked by the engine room and the pod dock, the door locked tight while they waited for the dock to close against the vacuum of space and the life support system to fill the room with breathable air again. Winter clutched the rungs of the ladder behind her while they waited. No one spoke, eyes glued to the small screen that controlled the door and the locking device. Wolf’s hands flexed and relaxed and flexed again on his weapons.

“One of these days,” Scarlet whispered, careful not to disturb the unbreakable tension too drastically, “we need to get some cameras in there.”

Wolf grunted his agreement.

The light beside the door turned to green.

Wolf’s arm was lightning, shoving the door open before anyone in the podship would have a chance to get out. He rushed in, gun pointed, knife ready. Scarlet followed, Winter noticed, with a gun of her own, clicking off the safety as she stepped over the threshold.

Nervous, weaponless, Winter crept in last, just in time to see the pilot’s door whisk open.

Captain Thorne hauled himself out of the ship, and gave nothing more than an approving nod at Wolf, before rounding to the other side of the pod.

“Where’s the doctor?” he said, flicking his wrist over a scanner on the ship’s side. The second door opened and through the tinted glass, Winter thought she spotted a glint of pale hair. Her heart leapt.

“Upstairs,” said Scarlet. “Throwing a tantrum.”

“Comm him, now.” The captain reached in, ducking his head low. “Tell him to grow up and get down here, fast. We’re going to need him.”

Scarlet turned away, rushing to tap something into a small screen on the wall beside the door.

Thorne grunted, and Wolf moved to his side, pocketing both weapons in a single fluid movement, before leaning in to help Thorne pull a man out of the passenger seat and lower him to the hard, cold floor.

A cry dropped from Winter’s lips, relief muddled with terror. She dodged past Scarlet and fell to her knees, hovering over Jacin’s body.

“Is he alive?”

The captain blinked up at her as if he didn’t recognize her for a moment, before setting his jaw again. “Barely.”

She stared aghast at Jacin’s body. Shirtless, his torso was covered in crusted dark blood, careful straight gashes cutting geometric shapes on his chest—not unlike Winter’s own scars—and swollen punctures down his arms. One eye was swollen shut and his lips were bleeding too, not from injury but from lack of moisture.

“He needs water,” she said, cradling his head in her hands.

“He needs a lot more than water.” Thorne glanced up. “Scarlet—!”

“The doctor’s on his way. Should I get water?”

“Water, bandages, drugs . . . lots of drugs.”

Winter heard the girl scrambling back up the ladder, but a low moan drug her attention back to Jacin.

“Jacin! Jacin, it’s me. You’re all right. You’re safe.”

He moaned again, the cracks in his lips opening fresh as they were pulled apart.

“Don’t move. Just hold still. A doctor’s coming.”

“He must have known you were here,” Thorne said, dragging her confused gaze up to him. His lips twitched, without amusement. “He didn’t budge or make a sound for the entire flight. Maybe he has a thing for you.”

Heart tripping, she looked back down at Jacin and ran her fingers gently through the short, matted spikes of ragged blonde hair. “He’s a good friend.”


Winter ignored him, her heart expanding against her rib cage as Jacin moaned again and his one good eye strained to open.

“It’s all right. Relax,” she murmured. Wetting the pad of her thumb, she rubbed it gently across Jacin’s lashes, cleaning away the dried blood until he could barely squint open.

He gazed up at her, his blue eye glazed with both pain and numbness. But through the agony in his face, he somehow managed to smile and squeeze her hand, the sensation sending warm relief flooding over her.

“Prin-cess,” he whispered through his dry, cracked voice. “My princess.”


The interior of the queen’s ship was all white and sparkling and pristine. The walls were made of the same pearlescent material that the exterior was, the seats all covered in the most supple white leather, the warm round lights embedded in the ceiling casting an almost romantic glow over everyone. Even the sneering red-headed guard as he passed Cinder and took his seat in the cockpit. Even the four wolf soldiers who stayed standing, as cruel and imposing as any beasts, even in their human forms.

They still did not shackle her. One of the soldiers indicated a seat beside the ship’s hatchway, giving Cinder a merciless look until she sank down into it. The queen sat opposite, facing her, long legs crossed and fingers toying with the ends of her auburn curls.

Her eyes pierced Cinder throughout the entire short flight, out of the cave, low over the pocked surface of the moon. She never stopped smiling her secret, proud smile.

Cinder couldn’t hold her gaze, though she wished she could pretend to be as haughty, wishing she could give the queen at least an inkling that she had just walked into a trap of her own. But the gaze was too sharp and disconcerting. Cinder kept her gaze focused on the large glass windows instead, watching as they passed over domes filled with forests and domes filled with farmland and domes filled with cities.

It wasn’t long before the ship started into a gradual descent, nearing the largest dome in the center of the Lunar civilization. Glistening white steeples and towers and citadels reached toward them like bony fingers—beautiful, but also eerie in its beauty. Just like the queen.

The ship sank toward the surface, delving into another cave, but this one nothing like the first. It had all the markings of a royal dock—walls lined with shiny white plating that reminded Cinder of her jail cell back in New Beijing, more guards and wolf soldiers and low-ranking thaumaturges in black jackets lined the pad where they landed, crystal-draped sconces were interspersed with flickering netscreens on the smooth walls.

“I hope you’ll enjoy your stay, Linh Cinder.”

She dragged her attention back to the queen, her blood-red lips sneering.

“I’m sure I won’t,” she said, her voice trembling only on the last word. She cursed inwardly as the corners of Levana’s lips twitched upward.

Two soldiers exited first, gave a quick surveillance of the dock, before nodding in toward the queen. Levana stood and drifted down the ramp as if she’d just been out on a lovely tour of the country.

Cinder rooted herself to the chair and waited until one of the wolf soldiers grabbed her by her arm and hauled her up, shoving her down the ramp with a squeeze so painful she had to bite back a cry of pain.

She glared at him over her shoulder, rubbing the arm, as she followed behind the queen.

Her finger twitched and she wondered how quickly she could have a tranquilizer dart loaded in her pointer finger, how long it would take to shoot the queen in the back. But it was a stupid fantasy—a tranquilizer dart would only leave the queen unconscious for a time, not kill her, and the attack would be sure to end Cinder’s life prematurely. She could at least wait for a formal execution for that.

Squeezing her cyborg hand into a fist, she instead put her attention into establishing a direct-link with Cress and the crew.

The link connected on the first attempt and she nearly hiccupped with surprise.

D-COMM link now in progress with Unknown User.

She forced her suddenly rapid pulse to slow, focusing on measured breaths as she adjusted the lens in her eye to record and transmit. The video footage of everything she saw was about to be seen by her companions, too. All she could hope now was that they found something useful.

She kept her focus mostly on Queen Levana, waiting for her to turn around, to show the camera her true face, but she kept walking at a steady clip.

At least initiating the link hadn’t seemed to set off any alarms. When Cinder glanced at the soldier marching just behind her, he settled a suspicious, always-angry glare on her, but she suspected that was just his natural expression.

Not knowing what else to do, she followed behind the queen and started committing the layout of the Lunar palace to memory.

They left the dock through a huge glass door leading to a terminal of moving sidewalks and elevator bays and dozens of netscreens directing nonexistent traffic to different destinations within the Lunar capitol. Cinder imagined this would normally be a hub of activity, filled with city representatives and the queen’s minions and whoever else regularly traveled between the domes, but it seemed the dock had been evacuated for the queen’s private usage.

An elevator awaited them, flanked by more guards.

“I’m sorry I won’t be able to give you a private tour,” said the queen, swooping into the elevator, before turning to face Cinder with the same sickening smile. “I am in the midst of preparing for my wedding. I’m sure you’ll understand.”

Cinder bit her lip, hoping to hide her own inner glee as her imbedded camera was able to get a full, close-up look of the queen. Although her optobionics were taking longer to register the queen’s features, she knew whatever was projected on the other side of the link would not be effected by the queen’s glamour.

The camera would see who she was beneath the illusion.

“No worries,” she said, finding herself strangely calmed by this one victory, no matter how small. “You’ve shown me plenty enough already.”

A brief frown creased the queen’s brow, as if she could sense Cinder’s sudden lightness of heart—and she no doubt could. She stepped back, beckoning for Cinder and her entourage to follow. “I can show you to your accommodations, though. I’m sure they’ll meet with your expectations. I understand you’re quite used to jail cells by now.”

“I wouldn’t say that,” said Cinder, stepping in to join the queen, two guards and three soldiers surrounding them in the elevator, though with the queen’s piercing stare it felt like they were alone. “That last one could only hold me for about a day.”

“Yes, I recall,” said the queen, her lips tight, disapproving at Cinder’s sudden flippancy. “This one will be much better prepared, I assure you.”

The doors shut and nothing else was said as the elevator descended. And descended. And descended. Cinder grit her teeth, nervous that her connection would cut out again, when finally the elevator stopped and the doors opened.

They were no longer in the pristine, contemporary world of lights and moving pictures and automated voices. Instead, Cinder found herself following the queen out into another cave, smaller but not unlike the cave where they had made the trade for her life.

The elevator was situated at a crossroads, with four dark, chalky tunnels stretching out in each direction. One of the guards took the lead, guiding them down the third tunnel, a short staircase, more tunnels, and soon Cinder found herself passing barred prison cells on either side.

She wet her tongue, the first hints of claustrophobia setting in. She felt constantly for the d-comm link, checking that her comrades were still within reach. This prison of rocks and iron doors was nothing like the modern structure in New Beijing. This was dreary and tight and smelled of rot and urine. And worst of all—she had no blueprint of this prison. She had no map, no plan, no means of judging her location in this labyrinth of cells and caves.

The guard paused and unlocked one heavy iron door, not with a scan of an ID chip, but with a series of intricate keys. An old-fashioned lock.

“This will be your home until I have a free moment to end your life, as it should have ended many years ago.”

“Lovely,” Cinder murmured, peering into the cell that didn’t look large enough for her to lay down in and had nothing but a shallow metal dish against one wall, already half-filled with some mystery liquid that made her stomach churn.

“Before you begin acquainting yourself with your new, temporary home, though, I would like to introduce you to someone.”

Queen Levana’s lips curled with that sudden, impish smile and she turned toward the cell opposite Cinder’s. The guard opened it with a different key and as the door was opened, Cinder found herself being shoved toward the dark doorway.

She squinted into the darkness, seeing at first only a pale huddled form slumped against the cell’s corner.

The figure groaned, straining to lift an arm to block out the dim light filtering in from the hallway.

“Mr. Clay,” said Levana from behind Cinder, “won’t you introduce yourself to our newest guest?”

As Cinder’s eyes adjusted, the form lowered his arm and blinked up at her with shining, glazed eyes.

Cinder’s stomach plummeted.

It was Princess Winter’s guard, the man who had saved her life.

It was the man who would have been executed an hour before.

It was the man who she had just seen taken aboard the podship with Captain Thorne.


Langsung cuss baca next scene di sini Lunar Chronicle Deleted Scene #7

Lunar Chronicles Deleted Scene #5

Masih dengan pesan yang sama 😊:


Kalau scene sebelumnya sesuai urutan novel, kali ini deleted scene yang dipublish sama Marissa Meyer langsung dari novel ke-4: Winter.
Katanya deleted scene dari novel ke-3: Cress mau dipublish belakangan, karena scene favorit 😃
Jadi penasaran..

From: Winter, 1st draft

Featuring: Almost Everyone

Helpful set-up: The timeline is wonky from the final version – this scene took place after Jacin’s faked murder of Winter, but that originally happened before the crew arrived on Luna. Thorne is still blind. Iko is sadly nonexistent here because she originally wasn’t supposed to come back after Book One. (GASP! I know.) Also, that thing that happened to Dr. Erland at the end of Book Three didn’t happen. Oh, and Scarlet was never kidnapped, so both she and Wolf were on the Rampion for the entirety of Book Three.

* * *

“You look lovely,” said Cress, swooning with her hands clasped over her heart.

Cinder withheld a snicker, watching as Scarlet squinted at her reflection in the mirror.

“I look the same as I always do,” said Scarlet. “Except now I’m wearing a dress that’s too small for me.”

“That’s not true.” Cress bounded off of Cinder’s bunk and went to tuck a red curl behind Scarlet’s ear.
“The dress makes you look like a net star. Plus you’re glowing, just like a real bride.”

Cinder thought that the dress was maybe a touch too small for Scarlet’s envy-worthy curves, but it was the only dress aboard the ship—the light, floral daydress that Cress had worn aboard the satellite she’d called home for so many years—and Cress had insisted that the bride-to-be couldn’t wear the same men’s cargo pants and military-issue tank tops that the rest of them did.

The glowing part, she thought, maybe had an element of truth to it. Scarlet’s eyes did seem to have a particular twinkle to them that maybe hadn’t been there two days ago.

A knock startled Cinder into turning around. Thorne was standing with his fist still on the doorframe. “Holy aces, girls take a long time to get ready. Are we doing this or not?”

“You’re one to talk,” said Cinder, reaching out and ruffling Thorne’s hair. He squirmed away and instantly set to fixing the misplaced pieces. “You primp longer than any of us.”

“Yeah, well, I have a reputation,” Thorne said with a smirk. He rubbed his chin, covered with nearly a week’s worth of scruff. “Too bad shaving would probably result in bleeding to death right now.”

“You look nice, Captain,” said Cress, fiddling with her fingers.

Thorne preened. “Thank you, Cress.” Sending a cocky grin in Cinder’s direction, he started off down the hallway, singing, “Here comes the bride. I don’t know what color she’s wearing, so we’ll call it white.”

Crossing her arms, Cinder glanced back at Cress. “You know his head is only going to get bigger, right?”

Pink tinted the girl’s cheeks. “He does look nice.”

Sharing a smile with Scarlet, Cinder nudged her head toward the hallway. “Shall we?”

The lights were dimmed, casting a romantic glow down the hallway as they made their way toward the front of the ship. The cargo bay had been rearranged so that there was room by the loading ramp for Kai to stand with the bride and groom, and two crates for the rest of the crew to watch. Cress had programmed the screen on the wall to alternate pictures of roses and sunsets and quiet orchestral music alighted from every speaker on the ship.

Wolf was waiting just outside the hallway. Though he wore the same pants and t-shirt he always wore, his hair glistened, suggesting he’d made an effort to tame it for the occasion, but had failed.

Cress bounced toward him on the balls of her feet and squealed a delighted, “Congratulations.”

Wolf only smiled.

Cinder racked her brain for something appropriate to say, but just as she was realizing she had no idea what was appropriate—she’d never been to a wedding before—Wolf caught sight of Scarlet behind her and clearly forgot Cinder was there.

Hunching her shoulders, Cinder ducked out of their path and went to join the others. Cress had shockingly claimed the seat beside Thorne, so Cinder sat down beside Dr. Erland, who politely held his hat in his lap, letting his gray hair fluff out on the sides of his balding head.

She smiled at Kai, already standing at the front. In his finely embroidered wedding clothes, he was the only one appropriately dressed for the occasion. He returned her smile, but he looked peculiarly nervous.

The man who addressed the entire planet on a regular basis was nervous.

Cinder’s heart flipped at the thought.

Kai cleared his throat as the music quieted. “Um. Please stand?”

They stood, Thorne with some grumbling until Cress smacked him in the arm.

Wolf and Scarlet walked down the “aisle” together, and as she was passing between the two crates, Scarlet let out a laugh as if realizing for the first time how strange it all was, but there was a ring of happiness in the sound and Cinder felt warm down to her stomach. Glancing across the aisle, she saw that Cress had tears in her eyes.

They sat.

“Thank you all for joining us,” Kai started, “for what I assume is the most untraditional wedding any of us will ever attend.”

“Oh, hold on,” said Cress, jumping off the crate. “Let me grab a port so I can take some pictures.”

“Sit down,” Thorne hissed, snatching her wrist and pulling her back down beside him.

Kai smothered a smile. “Obviously, I don’t know Wolf and Scarlet very well, having met them only a week ago, but it was clear from that first day this relationship is not your normal relationship.”

Thorne snorted.

“Rarely do we get to see the amount of tenderness and devotion that Wolf and Scarlet show toward each other every moment they’re together.”

Cinder folded her hands in her lap, grinning at Wolf and Scarlet. Though she could only see part of Scarlet’s face, the warmth in Wolf’s filled her with a peculiar giddiness. She’d never considered it before, but Kai was right. The bond between them was almost palpable. She couldn’t remember doubting their love for each other since she’d first dragged them aboard the ship.

“As someone who knows what it’s like to not be given a choice of whom to marry,” Kai said, “I am honored to be a part of your wedding today.” His eyes dipped. “You are lucky to have found each other, despite all the people who would try to convince us that Earthens and Lunars can’t love each other. Despite starting this war on opposing sides. Despite all the challenges that have tried to keep you apart . . . I can’t even begin to imagine how many there were.” Scarlet squeezed Wolf’s hand.

“But you did find each other, and I sincerely hope your love will carry you through all the challenges still to come.” With a shy smile, Kai gestured for the bride and groom to face each other. His eyes darted over the small audience and Cinder thought perhaps his gaze was most intense upon her, but she instantly convinced herself she’d imagined it.

“I understand there are rings . . . ?”

“Right here,” said Cress, sniffling into her sleeve. She hopped down from the crate and pulled two soldered-steel rings from her pocket. “Cinder made them,” she whispered, handing them to Kai.
Cinder shifted uncomfortably, though she couldn’t help thinking she’d done a fine job with an outdated soldering iron and scrap metal.

“Perfect,” Kai said. “You may now exchange rings as a symbol of your eternal love and unity. Do you . . . Wolf . . . give yourself to—”


Kai blinked. “Excuse me?”

Wolf slid the ring onto Scarlet’s finger, holding her gaze as he whispered, “Ze’ev Kesley.”

“Oh. I’d wondered. All right, do you, Ze’ev Kesley—”

“Wait a second. Ze’ev?” Thorne stood up. “Since when?”

“Captain,” Cress hissed, hauling him back. “Sit down.”

Wolf grinned, his gaze still glued to Scarlet’s.

Kai started again, “Do you, Ze’ev Kesley, give yourself to Scarlet, wholly and entirely, in mind and body, to accept her strengths and weaknesses, her faults and her perfections, and to love her completely until the stars burn out in the sky?”

“I do.”

“Do you, Scarlet . . . Benoit?”

She nodded.

“. . . give yourself to Wo—Ze’ev, wholly and entirely, in mind and body, to accept his strengths and weaknesses, his faults and his perfections, and to love him completely until the stars burn out in the sky?”

Her lashes fluttered. “I do.”

“Then, by the laws of the Eastern Commonwealth and the power invested in me [???] by the Union of Earthen Nations, I do pronounce you husband and wife.”

Scarlet and Wolf gazed at each other for a moment, as if dazed by the proclamation, before Wolf broke into a devilish grin and swooped his arms around Scarlet and kissed her.

Cress jumped to her feet, applauding vigorously, and was soon joined by Cinder and Dr. Erland, though somewhat less enthusiastically. Thorne only rolled his eyes and said, “They’re kissing now, aren’t they?” When Cress swapped him on the shoulder, he begrudgingly joined in the clapping.

“Okay!” said Cress. “I’ll go get the food and then we’re going to dance!” She whistled a short tune and the screen changed to more upbeat waltz, before she took off for the kitchen.

Cinder shook her head after her, chuckling, before she caught Kai’s eye. He was in the middle of rubbing his hand through his hair—his face was all relief.

“How’d I do?” Kai whispered, stepping around the married couple as Wolf hoisted Scarlet up and her laughter peeled through the cargo bay.

She beamed at him. “You’d never know it was your first wedding.”

Kai ducked his face and she thought she might be embarrassed, except he was grinning ear-to-ear. “You know, I think that was my favorite act as emperor yet.”

“Too bad the rest of the world couldn’t see it.”

He nodded and tucked his hands into his pockets. “What would they think? Kidnapped emperor conducts wedding ceremony between Earthen girl and Lunar werewolf soldier.”

Cinder barked a laugh. “Now that’s a headline for the screen anchors.”

“Here we are!” said Cress, returning with a platter of sliced, once-canned peaches and pears drizzled with homemade caramel sauce, or as close as they could figure out how to make caramel sauce with cane sugar and evaporated milk.

“Thank you, Cress,” said Scarlet, laughing. “It’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of.”

Cress preened, her face flushed. “You two have to share the first dance.”

“Have to?” said Scarlet, glancing at Wolf.

He grimaced. “Dancing wasn’t exactly part of my training, but I’ll try.”

“Well, you can’t be any worse than me,” said Scarlet.

Cress twisted her wrists together, swaying as she watched Wolf spin Scarlet awkwardly beneath one arm. “We should have had His Majesty teach us. I know he knows how to dance.”

Kai raised both eyebrows at her, and Cress shrugged. “I watched every Eastern Commonwealth ball religiously. Well, accept this last one, of course.”

Clearing his throat, Kai scratched his ear.

Thorne, who seemed to be taking a nap atop his crate, sat up suddenly. “I can dance.” Cress’s eyes widened as Thorne swept his feet off the crate. Suddenly, his annoyance was gone, replaced with a suave, crooked grin at the promise of being the center of attention again. “I’ll prove it,” he said, holding a hand out to Cress.

Cinder rolled her eyes as Cress let the captain pull her into a waltz, his form impeccable.

“He shouldn’t encourage her,” Cinder muttered.

Kai glanced at her from the corner of his eye. “What do you mean?”

“He must know that she has a crush on him the size of Jupiter.”

Lips twitching, Kai watched as Thorne dipped a beet-red Cress nearly to the floor. “And that’s a reason to not dance with her?”

Cinder blinked. “It’s just—” Her words died as the hint of pressure tugged at her left wrist. She flinched, moving to pull away, but Kai didn’t release her. Bowing at the waist, he lifted her hand, kissing the back of her steel knuckles.

“May I have this dance?”

Her body seized up, heart lodging in her throat. Kai didn’t wait for a response before leading her away from the crate, into the center of the cargo bay. A chill shook her as he settled a hand on her waist and she tentatively settled hers on his shoulder.

“Um. I don’t . . . I’m not . . .”

He raised his eyebrows. “No time to learn how to waltz between fixing all those androids?”

She huffed. “It never seemed like a priority, Your Majesty.”

Grinning, Kai drew her a hair closer, the intimacy making her heartbeat race. Cinder tore her gaze away. Over Kai’s shoulder, she saw Thorne teaching Cress an elaborate spin, and Scarlet feeding Wolf a slice of peach, and Dr. Erland recording them all with his portscreen. She felt her body relax, as happiness curled around her spine. Kai guided her in a simple four-step, and even with the clumsiness of her heavy prosthetic she felt half-graceful.

“We needed this.”

Instead of answering, Kai suddenly turned and dropped her into his arms. Cinder gasped, clutching his shoulder, then smacked him.

Kai laughed. “I’m just glad to finally be getting my dance.”

She tried to return the smile, but her nerves were sizzling, her eyes unable to keep from dropping to his lips.

An alarm echoed through the ship, the lights flickering. Kai’s arms tensed around her as they both glanced up.

“Attention,” said the Rampion’s programmed voice. “Dock opening. Unrecognized pod ship now boarding.”

Cinder extracted herself from Kai’s arms, glancing around at the rest of the crew. There was a moment of hushed shock, before they scattered—Wolf and Scarlet rushing to grab handguns from an open crate near the cockpit, Thorne checking the pistol that rarely left his belt, and Cress rushing to the screen on the wall and cutting out the romantic music and pulling up instead a live feed from the Rampion’s dock beneath them.

The video showed the dock’s door just as it finished opening and a small podship approaching from the blackness of space. Cinder’s gut tightened, her hand morphing into its own weapon and pulling a tranquilizer dart into her finger almost without thinking about it. Gulping, she paced toward the screen, watching as the ship dipped too low on its way into the dock, its nose bumping into the Rampion’s exterior wall. The ship shuddered around them and Cinder braced against the nearest crate.
They stared as the pod lifted shakily and slid into the dock as if afraid. Cinder grimaced as the side of it nearly took out the attached toolboxes on the wall, before it finally settled down, its lights dimming as the engines shut off.

The automatic overhead lights of the dock reflected off the pod’s surface, making it shimmer and sparkle against the dark backdrop of the galaxy.

“It’s Lunar,” said Cinder.

“Not only that,” said Dr. Erland from behind her. “It’s a royal ship.”

Cinder grit her teeth as the doctor twirled his finger around a vague insignia on the ship’s side. “This is the emblem of the royal guard.”

They stared at the ship, but there was no movement beyond the shadows of the glass cockpit windows, and of course no one would de-board with the dock’s doors still open. They began to shut automatically a breath later, crawling gradually to shut off the ship from the airless space beyond.
“Well,” said Thorne, “shall we go greet our guests, then.”

With a curt nod, Cinder spun around and snatched another gun from the crate. She cast a glance at Kai, intent on telling him to stay on the upper deck, but found him already half a step behind Thorne on the way to the hatch.

“Your Majesty, perhaps you should stay up here.”

He turned toward her as they waited for Thorne to descend the ladder first, before casting a sly glance at the numerous weapons in the hands of the crew. “It looks like you might require some diplomacy,” he said, his eyes devoid of the grin he’d had mere minutes before.

They descended one by one into the ship’s sublevel, gathering outside the door that separated the corridor from the dock, all eyes focused on the screen indicating the doors were closing, closing, shut tight. Pressure sealed. Oxygen pump activated. Engaging life support systems. False gravity adjusted to _____ standard Earthen scale.

Safe to enter.

“Could it be Her Majesty?” Cress whispered, her quiet voice cutting shakily through the silence.

“Doubtful,” answered Wolf. “More likely a thaumaturge, along with a palace guard.”

From the corner of her eye, Cinder saw Scarlet casting a nervous glance at Wolf. “Is it safe for you to be—”

Before she could finish, Thorne unlatched the dock door and kicked it open, two guns pulled and aimed in the general direction of the podship.

They followed the captain inside, weapons turned on the still-closed door of the podship and its still-dark interior. For a moment, Cinder wondered if whoever was aboard had already exited the pod and she cast a fitful eye over the shadowed corners of the dock, until she realized that she could feel the presence of the person—the Lunar—inside the podship. Faint and weak, but not unlike the waves of bioelectricity she could feel from the crew members surrounding her. All but Cress, at least.

“Describe,” said Thorne.

Hiding behind the crowd, Cress whispered, “The ship is closed still, and dark. It’s definitely a Lunar ship, and it has the royal insignia . . . but I don’t see anyone inside.”

“Nor do I, but I can feel there’s only one,” said Dr. Erland, confirming Cinder’s thoughts. “It must be a Lunar, but . . . the gift seems weak in them.” He hesitated. “It does not feel like a thaumaturge.”

“Oh!” said Cress. “The camera! We should disable the camera!”

“What camera?” said Cinder, clenching her fists.

“All the Lunar ships have one, usually on the windshield . . .”

“Yes, here,” said Wolf, slinking forward with one hand gripping the gun. His opposite fingers disappeared into a small groove on the ship’s nose and Cinder heard something crunch. “That should do it.”

“Brilliant,” muttered Thorne. “Wolf, would you care to do the honors?”

Nodding, Wolf inched closer to the ship’s door, his free hand flexing and stretching. They all inched forward behind him. Cinder’s heart drummed against her chest, green gibberish filled up the bottom of her vision, warning her about increasing adrenaline. She raised her hands, aiming the tranquilizer dart at the passenger side of the pod ship, the gun at the pilot’s side as Wolf’s long arm reached for the pad on the ship’s side.

He pressed the tips of his fingers into thin film of pliable goo that took up a patch beside the door. It must have recognized him, either as a Lunar or as a soldier of the queen’s, for a moment later the pneumatics of the door hissed as the panel shoved outward from the ship and glided upward, revealing the pod’s small interior.

Cinder crept closer, recognizing the form of a girl half-slumped in the pilot’s chair. Shiny black corkscrew curls hid her face. The dress she wore was pristine, angelic white—except for the streak of dry reddish-brown blood on her hip.

Wolf jerked upward, eyes widening.

“Stars above,” whispered Dr. Erland, before pushing in between Cinder and Kai.

Wolf backed away as the doctor knelt beside the ship’s open door and felt for the girl’s pulse on her wrist, before gently tilting up her face.

The curls parted and the girl’s eyes started to open, squinting blearily at the doctor.

A mutual hiss of surprise passed through the crew—Cinder was surprised to find that one gasp had come from herself. It was impossible to tell what was more striking about the girl. Her beauty: the cutting cheekbones, the velvet brown complexion, the huge chocolate eyes flecked with shavings of gold and emerald and rimmed with thick black lashes.

Or the harsh scars that cut across her face, three pinkish cuts from her right eye down to her chin, marring what otherwise would have been perfection.

“What?” said Thorne, his fingers tensing on the triggers.

“It’s . . . a girl,” Cinder stammered.

In response, Thorne cocked the gun as if a girl were the most dangerous enemy that could have arrived in the ship.

“No, it’s the princess,” Cress said.

Thorne tilted his head, hesitated. “I thought Cinder was the princess.”

No one responded, watching as Dr. Erland felt the girl’s forehead and tilted her head back so he could peer into her eyes. “She appears to only be dehydrated,” he said, reaching for her chin to open her mouth, but she jolted away. Her eyes fluttered, the haze beginning to clear as she blinked up at the doctor.

“Hello, my dear,” he said gently. “How are you feeling?”

Without answering, she reached a shaky hand to unlatch the harness over her shoulders and half-climbed, half-fell out of the ship. Dr. Erland caught her, though his own small frame hardly looked strong enough as he struggled to lift her to her feet. Everyone watched on, stunned, as the girl steadied herself and looked up.

She met Wolf’s eyes first and glanced worriedly at the gun in his hand.

Scarlet pushed forward, the skirt of Cress’s dress swishing around her legs as she aimed the barrel of her own gun at the girl’s face. “Let down your glamour.”

The girl stared, licking her lips. Cinder could see her struggling to gulp. She looked like she was close to collapsing.

Dr. Erland raised his free hand toward Scarlet, coaxing the gun down though Scarlet held her ground. “My dear girl,” he said. “She is not using her glamour.”

Scarlet’s brow twitched and Cinder found that she was equally surprised by the statement, even though her optobionics would have informed her by now if the girl had been manipulating them. She knew it was true—this was the girl’s true face, her true scars—but it did not seem possible.

Scarlet’s jaw worked, surprised, before a pathetic “oh” slipped from them. She did not, however, lower her gun.

“Would someone tell me what’s going on?” said Thorne.

It took a moment before Cress dared to answer. “It’s Princess Winter. Isn’t it?”

“Indeed,” said Dr. Erland. “And she clearly needs medical attention. Come with me, child.”

Before he could take a step, Thorne moved to place himself between them and the door. “The queen’s stepdaughter? Sounds like a traitor to me. Wolf—kill her. Cress and Cinder—search the pod, make sure there aren’t any trackers or anything that could lead anyone here.” He hesitated. “How did you find us anyway?”

The girl stared at him. If his threats had frightened her, her serene face showed no sign of it, and Wolf made no motion to follow the captain’s order.

Princess Winter shook her head. “The ship—” She paused to wet her tongue before trying again, her voice less raspy. “The ship knew. Somehow.”

Cinder raised an eyebrow at the words—they hardly seemed comforting.

Then the princess’s gaze slipped off of Thorne and fell on her and the thoughts dissolved from Cinder’s thoughts. Princess Winter’s eyes widened, flickering with recognition. Cinder straightened her back, unaware that she’d lowered her weapons until she felt her shoulders scrunched in tight to her body, pinned self-consciously beneath the princess’s stare.

Strength returning, the princess extracted herself from Dr. Erland’s hold and took a single stumbling step before righting herself. Eyes never leaving Cinder’s. She inched forward, graceful even in her exhaustion.

Cinder gulped. From the corner of her eye, she saw Thorne tilt his head and found herself listening to the soft, almost imperceptible padding of the princess’s feet as she took two, three, four steps forward.

She paused two arms’ lengths away, her penetrating eyes burning into Cinder. She was a bit shorter, but she held a regality in her posture and expression that made Cinder want to shrink before her.
Then, suddenly, the princess’s face softened and glowed. Cinder lost her breath.

“It is you,” she whispered. Her eyes searched Cinder’s, hopeful. “Don’t you remember me, Selene?”
Cinder blinked. She had heard of Princess Winter before, the famed scarred stepdaughter of Queen Levana, but she had never seen a picture or video of her. She was sure she’d never seen her before—unless . . .

Unless she had known Princess Winter before the fire, before the murder attempt, before being put into her decade-long coma and stolen away to Earth.

She gaped, searching her memory, but there was nothing. Not even a dream.

Before she could respond, though, the girl dropped her gaze and dipped her head. Cinder watched on, stunned, as the princess collapsed onto both knees. Startled, Cinder moved to catch her before realizing that the princess hadn’t fainted—she was kneeling.

Fingertips grazing the floor, Princess Winter bent over at the waist until her black curls gathered dust on the dock’s metal floor.

“Your Majesty,” Winter said. “You are indeed my true queen, and I your humble servant.”

Cinder’s jaw fell, eyes glued to the top of the girl’s head.

“What’s happening?” Thorne hissed.

“She’s bowing,” Cress hissed back.

A hesitation, before Thorne erupted. “To Cinder?”

Rather than respond, Cress took a step forward and lowered herself to her knees, mimicking Winter’s pose. “You are my true queen, too.”

Dr. Erland and Wolf sank in unison, clasping fists to their hearts.

Thorne frowned. “Are you all—I am not bowing to my mechanic.”

Cinder felt panic rising inside her, looking around at the bowed heads, at Thorne’s crossed arms, at Scarlet’s stunned, uncertain face.

At Kai, lingering near the wall, looking at her as if he were seeing beyond her glamour—her cyborgness—for the first time.


Baca next scene di sini Lunar Chronicles Deleted Scene #5