Queen Levana Quotes in Cinder
Lunars were a society that had evolved from an Earthen moon colony centuries ago, but they weren’t human anymore. People said Lunars could alter a person’s brain—make you see things you shouldn’t see, feel things you shouldn’t feel, do things you didn’t want to do. Their unnatural power had made them a greedy and violent race, and Queen Levana was the worst of all of them.
“No, we’re talking about her daughter. Kai, the entire bloodline, every last one of them has been greedy, violent, corrupted by their own power. It’s in their blood. Believe me when I say that Princess Selene, even if she were alive, would be no better.”
Kai realized his arms were aching from squeezing them so hard, his skin gone white around his fingertips. “She can’t very well be worse,” he said. “And who knows? If the rumors are right, and she has been on Earth all this time, maybe she would be different. Maybe she would be sympathetic to us.”
“It is why Queen Levana is so striking to look at. Some talented Lunars, such as the queen, keep their glamour up all the time. But just as she cannot trick the netscreens, neither can she trick a mirror.”
“So they don’t like mirrors because they don’t want to see themselves?”
“Vanity is a factor but it is more a question of control. It is easier to trick others into perceiving you as beautiful if you can convince yourself you are beautiful. But mirrors have an uncanny way of telling the truth.”
She was indeed beautiful, as if someone had taken the scientific measurements of perfection and used them to mold a single ideal specimen. Her face was slightly heart-shaped, with high cheekbones barely flushed. Auburn hair fell in silken ringlets to her waist and her unblemished ivory skin shimmered like mother-of-pearl in the sunshine. Her lips were red red red, looking like she’d just drunk a pint of blood.
A chill shook Kai from the inside out. She was unnatural.
“It is a most useful trick,” said Sybil, sitting on the edge of the chaise lounge by the holographic fire. “Particularly when dealing with unruly citizens, which are never tolerated on Luna.”
“I’ve heard that when citizens are unruly, there’s usually a good reason for it,” said Kai. Torin flashed him a warning frown, but he ignored it. “And brainwashing doesn’t exactly seem like the proper solution.”
Sybil folded her hands politely in her lap. “Proper is such a subjective word. This solution is effective, and that can hardly be argued with.”
Levana folded her hands in her lap. “That vial is your gift. I hope you will find it helpful, young prince. I believe it is in both of our interests to rid your planet of this disease. My scientists could have thousands of dosages prepared by month’s end. However, such an undertaking, coupled with six years’ worth of work and resources, has put quite a strain on my own country, and so I’m sure you’ll understand the need for compensation. That will require further negotiations.”
Kai’s lungs constricted. “You would withhold this? When so many are dying?” It was a stupid question. She’d already withheld it long enough—what was it to her if more Earthens suffered in the meantime?
Instead of kissing her, he whispered, “Imagine there was a cure, but finding it would cost you everything. It would completely ruin your life. What would. you do?”
The warm air enclosed her. So close, she could catch a faint soapy smell coming from him.
His eyes bored into hers, waiting, a tinge desperate.
Cinder wet her mouth. “Ruin my life to save a million others? It’s not much of a choice.”
His lips parted—she had no choice but to look at them and then immediately back into his eyes. She could almost count the black lashes around them. But then a sadness filtered into his gaze.
“You’re right. There’s no real choice.”
Squinting, she jutted a finger at the doctor. “You did use your mind control on me. When we met. You…you brainwashed me, just like the queen. You made me trust you.”
“Be fair. You were attacking me with a wrench.”
Her anger wavered.
Dr. Erland opened his palms to her, “I assure you, Miss Linh, in the twelve years that I have been on Earth, I have not abused the gift once, and I am paying the price for that decision every day. My mental stability, my psychological health, my very senses are failing me because l refuse to manipulate the thoughts and feelings of those around me. Not all Lunars can be trusted—I know that as well as anyone—but you can trust me.”
“Because she was a shell.” He picked his hat off the desk and analyzed it while he spoke, his fingers tracing the herringbone pattern. “I’d agreed with the laws in the past, thought the shells were dangerous. That our society would fall apart if they were allowed to live. But not my little girl.” An ironic smile twisted up his lips. “After she was born, I wanted to run away, to bring her to Earth, but my wife was even more devoted to Her Majesty than I had been. She wanted nothing to do with the child. And so my little Crescent Moon was taken away, like all the others. He stuffed the hat back onto his head and squinted up at Cinder. “She would be about your age now.”
Levana knew he had been searching for Princess Selene. She would kill him. She would take over the Commonwealth. She would wage war on…on the whole planet.
She grasped her head as the world spun around her.
She had to warn him. She couldn’t let him make the announcement.
She could send him a comm, but what were the chances he was checking them during the ball?
Cinder peered down at her drab clothes. Her empty ankle. Peony’s dress. The old foot that Iko had saved. The silk gloves. Her head bobbed before she knew what she was agreeing to, and she used the shelves to pull herself to standing. “I’ll go,” she muttered, “I’ll find him.”
Dropping his hand, Kai met Konn Torin’s gaze, his eyes hollow. “I know,” he said. “I will do what is best for them.”
Cinder gathered up the material of her skirt in both hands, hope stirring inside of her. He understood her warnings. He understood the mistake he would be making if he agreed to marry Levana. She had succeeded.
But then he turned toward her, and the hope shattered at seeing the helplessness etched in deep lines across his brow.
“Thank you for warning me, Cinder. At least I won’t be going into this blindly.”
On the fifth step, she heard the bolts snap. The wires tore loose, like tendons stretched to the max. She felt the loss of power at the base of her calf, sending a blinding warning signal up to her brain.
She fell, screaming, and tried to block her fall with her left hand. A shock of pain jolted up her shoulder and into her spine. Metal clattered against stone as she crashed down to the gravel pathway. […]
His eyes drunk her in—a gleam of metal fingers, the wires sparking at the end of her battered metal leg. His jaw fell, and he looked momentarily as if he might be sick.
Releasing the new prosthesis, Cinder covered her ears and buried her face against her knee. The draft. All those cyborgs. So many people convinced that it was the right thing. That it was better them than humans. Once a science project, always a science project.
And he’d only wanted to find her.
If she didn’t try to stop Levana, what would happen to Kai? Though she tried to block out the question, it continued to plague her, echoing in her thoughts.
Maybe Dr. Erland was right. Maybe she had to run. Maybe she had to try.
She felt for the prosthetic limbs in her lap and wrapped her hands around them. Lifting her head, she looked up at the grate in the prison door. The guard had never closed it.
A tingle passed down her spine. A strange new electricity was thrumming beneath her skin, telling her she wasn’t just a cyborg anymore. She was Lunar now. She could make people see things that weren’t there. Feel things they shouldn’t feel. Do things they didn’t mean to do.
As her hands stopped shaking, she slid the stiletto knife out from the new titanium-plated finger and maneuvered the blade against her wrist. The cut was still fresh where she’d started to remove her ID chip before, so they would not be able to track her. This time, there was no hesitation.
Soon, the whole world would be searching for her—Linh Cinder.
A deformed cyborg with a missing foot.
A Lunar with a stolen identity.
A mechanic with no one to run to, nowhere to go. But they would be looking for a ghost.