The god grabbed her stubbly head in both hands and kissed her forehead. Aly yelped: the kiss sent something like a shock through her.
I fixed your seeming so that no one else would bid on you.”
Aly scowled at him. “Do you mean I got my nose broken, my eyebrow scarred, and the rest of me all battered for nothing?”
“The eyebrow scar is quite dashing,” Kyprioth told her earnestly. “I’ll fix your nose if you like.”
Aly covered her nose with a protective hand. “No. I got this nose the hard way, and I’m keeping it.”
I hope your journey here wasn’t too harrowing.”
“It was delightful,” Aly said with her best nice-girl smile. “All lovely and serene, like sleeping on lilies, only without the bees in my nose. You spoke to me in my dream.”
“I did,” the god said, averting his eyes in a falsely modest way.
Bronau obviously didn’t know that Chenaol, who could juggle razor-sharp cleavers with ease, had discouraged most problems of that sort.
The woman got back to work on washing the blood away. “So were you always mad, or did it come on you when you was took?”
Aly smiled. “I’m told it runs in the family.”
My aunt Rispah used to be a flower seller in Corus. She told all manner of tales about masters and servants. I’ll wager it’s worse when you’re a slave with a choke collar.” She fingered the leather band around her neck. “I’d as soon not find out. Better to be ugly and troublesome.
Maude had them cook all your favorites.”
“All my favorites? They’ll have to roll me north, I’ll be so fat.” Alanna collapsed her spyglass.
“Ah, but you’ll puke it all up on the trip, so eat away,” George said in a falsely comforting voice.
“That’s disgusting,” said his wife drily.
“No daughter of mine will be a spy.” Alanna’s tone made the word spy into a curse.
“But Da’s a spy,” Aly pointed out, shocked.
…But the whole point to doing as I did was so you could do something else, if you wanted to. It’s just that you don’t seem to want to do anything.” She massaged one of her shoulders, watching her daughter. “Look, hair is, is hair, I suppose. If you want it blue, or green, or leopard-spotted … Who am I to say what’s fit for a girl?
“It’s as sophisticated as a blueberry,” retorted Alanna. “Aren’t you a little old for this kind of thing?”
“Why? It’s fun, and it washes out. It’s not like the world revolves around my hair, Mother,” Aly said sharply. Why did this always happen? Home not even half a day, and her mother had already found something to criticize about her.