The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There (Fairyland #2)

A book is a door, you know. Always and forever. A book is a door into another place and another heart and another world.

A labyrinth, when it is big enough, is just the world.

A library is never complete. That’s the joy of it. We are always seeking one more book to add to our collection.

And then she felt her Ell’s great strong presence beside her, and Saturday slipped his hand in hers. Oh. Oh. They would not abandon her. Of course, they would not. How silly she had been. They were her friends—they had always been. Friends can go odd on you and do things you don’t like, but that doesn’t make them strangers.

Cats don’t have dark sides. That’s all a shadow is—and though you might be prejudiced against the dark, you ought to remember that that’s where stars live, and the moon and raccoons and owls and fireflies and mushrooms and cats and enchantments and a rather lot of good, necessary things. Thieving, too, and conspiracies, sneaking, secrets, and desire so strong you might faint dead away with the punch of it. But your light side isn’t a perfectly pretty picture, either, I promise you. You couldn’t dream without the dark. You couldn’t rest. You couldn’t even meet a lover on a balcony by moonlight. And what would the world be worth without that? You need your dark side, because without it, you’re half gone. Cats, on the other hand, have a more sensible setup. We just have the one side, and it’s mostly the sneaking and sleeping side anyway. So the other Iago and I feel very companionable toward each other. Whereas I expect my drowsy mistress Above would loathe this version of herself, who is kind and quiet and lonely and rather dear, all the things the original is not. My love stands for both. This one pets me more; that one let me pounce on anything I wanted.

Children are natural practitioners of the Queer and the Questing, for childhood is nothing but a quest through a queer country. Of course, they often have a good deal of trouble with the Quiet.

Do you suppose you will look the same when you are an old woman as you do now? Most folk have three faces—the face they get when they’re children, the face they own when they’re grown, and the face they’ve earned when they’re old. But when you live as long as I have, you get many more. I look nothing like I did when I was a wee thing of thirteen. You get the face you build your whole life, with work and loving and grieving and laughing and frowning.

For there are two kinds of forgiveness in the world: the one you practice because everything really is all right, and what went before is mended. The other kind of forgiveness you practice because someone needs desperately to be forgiven, or because you need just as badly to forgive them, for a heart can grab hold of old wounds and go sour as milk over them.

For though, as we have said, all children are heartless, this is not precisely true of teenagers. Teenage hearts are raw and new, fast and fierce, and they do not know their own strength. Neither do they know reason or restraint, and if you want to know the truth, a goodly number of grown-up hearts never learn it.

Hearts set about finding other hearts the moment they are born, and between them, they weave nets so frightfully strong and tight that you end up bound forever in hopeless knots, even to the shadow of a beast you knew and loved long ago.

Her father’s shadow looked sadly down at her. “You can never forget what you do in a war, September my love. No one can. You won’t forget your war either.

I don’t want to be a Princess,” she said finally. “You can’t make me be one.” She knew very well what became of Princesses, as Princesses often get books written about them. Either terrible things happened to them, such as kidnappings and curses and pricking fingers and getting poisoned and locked up in towers, or else they just waited around till the Prince finished with the story and got around to marrying her. Either way, September wanted nothing to do with Princessing.

I have missed you so much I could kiss you,” he whispered.

September’s face fell. “Oh, but Saturday! I’ve had my First Kiss and I didn’t mean to, I didn’t want to, but your shadow is very rude and impulsive, and he took it before I could say two words! And I’ve had my second and third and maybe fifth, too. Come to think of it, this has all involved rather a lot of kissing.”

Saturday furrowed his brow. “Why should I care about your First Kiss?” he said. “You can kiss anyone you like. But if you sometimes wanted to kiss me, that would be all right, too.” His blush was so deep September could feel the heat of it.

She leaned in, and kissed her Marid gently, sweetly. She tried to kiss him the way she’d always thought kisses would be. His lips tasted like the sea.

I’m a monster,” said the shadow of the Marquess suddenly. “Everyone says so.”

The Minotaur glanced up at her. “So are we all, dear,” said the Minotaur kindly. “The thing to decide is what kind of monster to be. The kind who builds towns or the kind who breaks them.

I'm sure you've heard people talk about their Heart's Desire—well that's a load of rot. Hearts are idiots. They're big and squishy and full of daft dreams. They flounce off to write poetry and moon at folk who aren't worth the mooning. Bones are the ones that have to make the journey, fight the monster, kneel before whomever is big on kneeling these days. Bones do the work for the heart's grand plans. Bones know what you need. Hearts only know want.

Oh, September! It is so soon for you to lose your friends to good work and strange loves and high ambitions. The sadness of that is too grown-up for you. Like whiskey and voting, it is a dangerous and heady business, as heavy as years. If I could keep your little tribe together forever, I would. I do so want to be generous. But some stories sprout bright vines that tendril off beyond our sight, carrying the folk we love best with them, and if I knew how to accept that with grace, I would share the secret.

One: A Library Is the Size of the Universe and the Universe Is the Size of a Library. Two: Everyone Is Looking for a Book Strong Enough to Change Them. Three: Books Operate Under Unstable Physicks so Turn out the Lights when You Lock Up.

September did not want to feel for the Marquess. That’s how villains get you, she knew. You feel badly for them, and next thing you know, you’re tied to train tracks. But her wild, untried heart opened up another bloom inside her, a dark branch heavy with fruit.

September had never been betrayed before. She did not even know what to call the feeling in her chest, so bitter and sour. Poor child. There is always a first time, and it is never the last time.

She did not know yet how sometimes people keep parts of themselves hidden and secret, sometimes wicked and unkind parts, but often brave or wild or colorful parts, cunning or powerful or even marvelous, beautiful parts, just locked up away at the bottom of their hearts. They do this because they are afraid of the world and of being stared at, or relied upon to do feats of bravery or boldness. And all of those brave and wild and cunning and marvelous and beautiful parts they hid away and left in the dark to grow strange mushrooms—and yes, sometimes those wicked and unkind parts, too—end up in their shadow.

She felt as she often did in class when she was nearly sure she had the right answer, but could not always make herself raise her hand.

She must protect herself. There would be no one to do it for her. A plan started to prick up its ears inside her, slowly, but getting stronger.

Shows what you know, sunny-girl! I’m sure you’ve heard people talk about their Heart’s Desire—well that’s a load of rot. Hearts are idiots. They’re big and squishy and full of daft dreams. They flounce off to write poetry and moon at folk who aren’t worth the mooning. Bones are the ones that have to make the journey, fight the monster, kneel before whomever is big on kneeling these days. Bones do the work for the heart’s grand plans. Bones know what you need. Hearts only know want. I much prefer to deal with children, boggans, and villains, who haven’t got hearts to get in the way of the very important magic of Getting-Things-Done.

Some girls have to go to college to discover what they are good at; some are born doing what they must without even truly knowing why. I felt a hole in my heart shaped like a dark door I needed to guard.

That's Venus, September thought. She was the goddess of love. It's nice that love comes on first thing in the evening, and goes out last in the morning. Love keeps the light on all night.

The smell of loving is a difficult one to describe, but if you think of the times when someone has held you close and made you safe, you will remember how it smells just as well as I do.

This is what comes of having a heart, even a very small and young one. It causes no end of trouble, and that’s the truth.

You cannot escape where you come from, September. Some part of it remains inside you always, like the slender white heart in the center of the thickest onion.

You know, in Fairyland-Above they said that the underworld was full of devils and dragons. But it isn’t so at all! Folk are just folk, wherever you go, and it’s only a nasty sort of person who thinks a body’s a devil just because they come from another country and have different notions. It’s wild and quick and bold down here, but I like wild things and quick things and bold things, too.

You only had to choose which me to talk to, for, you know, we all change our manners, depending on who has come to chat. One doesn’t behave at all the same way to a grandfather as to a bosom friend, to a professor as to a curious niece.