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."This looked like kingdom business, Kate decided, and she left the room to prepare for the day's English classes.Emily had gotten into plenty of scrapes and adventures over the years, and she and Marak had had many heated discussions.Kate was glad to stay out of them whenever she could."Yes, that's true," remarked Marak calmly."Seylin asked me for permission to leave.""But you can't let him leave like that!" said Emily."Seylin can't just go away and not come back.Or maybe I could go with him," she suggested, brightening."M, you are not going with him," answered the goblin King."He left the kingdom just to get away from you.""From me?" echoed Emily, sitting down on the couch.She stared at him in amazement."But why?""Congratulations on your choice of a husband," said Marak by way of reply."I know how pleased Thaydar must be.I haven't talked to him yet, but I'm sure you have.I'd like to hold the wedding as soon as possible."Emily gaped at him."I don't want to marry Thaydar!" she exclaimed.The goblin King returned her gaze impassively."Didn't you tell Seylin today that you wanted to marry Thaydar?"Emily tried to remember their conversation."Well, yes and no," she answered."I told him that I'd rather marry Thaydar than him, but only because he was being so rude.He made Brindle's little Penelope cry because he wouldn't change into a cat."The goblin King's face lit up with amusement."Seylin was proposing marriage to you," he cried, "and you wanted him to change into a cat?""Marriage?" gasped Emily."He never mentioned marriage! He said that he wouldn't always be a guard, and he didn't have much to offer, but-- Oh." She trailed off, stunned.Marak was helpless with laughter."Oh," he agreed when he recovered, wiping his eyes."You certainly conveyed a clear refusal, anyway, as well as a clear preference for Thaydar.Em, I told you that you were free to choose your own husband, and it's high time.Cats aside, which man do you want to marry?"Emily continued to look dazed."I don't really know," she confessed."I don't want to marry anybody.Why do I have to?"Her brother-in-law rested his cheek on his hand and studied her affectionately."What would you have said to Seylin if you'd known he was proposing?"Emily shrugged."I don't know," she admitted reluctantly."I don't want Seylin to go away and not come back.But he's been the worst nuisance this year, standing around and goggling at me.He's never been less fun.""Seylin finally realized that he loved you," pointed out the goblin King."Well, he didn't act like he loved me," complained the young woman."All he did was grumble at me and act embarrassed.Why does it have to be like this? We were always such good friends."Because sooner or later we all grow up, Marak reflected, and I should have known that Seylin would do it first.Lighthearted Emily was showing no real interest in growing up.It was time to give her a shove in the right direction."M, I have bad news," he announced."Seylin thinks you're marrying Thaydar, so he's left the kingdom to find an elf bride.I'm afraid you'll have to put him completely out of your mind.""An elf bride! There aren't any elves left!" protested the girl."Seylin thinks there are," observed Marak."He thinks he almost met some, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's right.He doesn't intend to return, so he's no longer a suitable choice for you.I'll give you a couple of months to decide on a goblin man you'd prefer, and if you can't do that, I'll marry you to Thaydar.You expressed a preference for him, however briefly."Emily stared at him in astonishment."But -- but -- Marak!" she spluttered."Seylin's quest is very important," cautioned her brother-in-law."I refuse to allow you to interfere.Don't waste your time thinking about him.He has better things to do than remember past sweethearts, and so do you.""I'm past?" exclaimed Emily furiously."Me? Past?""I'm glad that's settled," commented Marak, standing up."Time for court.As soon as you have that name, I'll be pleased to hear it."He left, and Emily sat there, feeling completely stunned [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]