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Lunar Chronicles Deleted Scene #1

Posted on: 2nd Dec 2016  /   Categorized: Cinder

 

As promised, welcome to the first of nine blog posts featuring deleted scenes from The Lunar Chronicles!

 

I’ll be posting a new scene or excerpt every Friday between now and January 27, spanning the releases of The Lunar Chronicles Coloring Book on December 6 and Wires and Nerve, vol. 1 on January 31.

 

SPOILERS WARNING: Even though this scene was ultimately deleted from the manuscript, 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!

 

Lunar Chronicles Deleted Scene #1

 

From: Cinder, 1st draft

 

Featuring: Cinder and Kai

 

Naming Notes: For clarity, “Adele” later became Adri, “Merlin” (yes, Merlin) became Dr. Erland; and “Coen” became Konn Torin (and pssst, he was originally a villain, secretly working for Levana! DUN DUN DUN).

 

Editing Notes: I really debated whether or not I should “clean up” the text of these deleted scenes before posting them. Truly, there were times when it was painful for me to read over them and not allow myself to fix this run-on sentence or delete that superfluous adverb, but I thought that posting them in their unedited versions might be useful for some aspiring writers out there to see the text rough and un-polished. Therefore, these scenes have been left untouched, with the exception of very obvious typos or misspellings.

 

Helpful set-up: This scene took place about halfway through the book, when Cinder went to the palace to see Prince Kai but was met with a crowd of protestors and turned away by the guards. In this initial draft, she didn’t have a handy royal android (Nainsi) to alert Kai to her presence, though, so she had to get resourceful… by using her cyborg brain to find a secret passage into the wall, of course!

 

* * *

 

At first, nothing happened. But when she pulled harder, she felt something budge, just a little. Putting all the might of her robotic limb into it, she pulled until a slab of interconnected stones pulled out from the wall, and she was left holding a heavy stone-and-grout door and staring into a dark tunnel, filled with cobwebs.

She looked at the guards and, seeing them still preoccupied, climbed into the corridor before she could change her mind. The door was outfitted with handles on the inside too and, with a little bit of grunting, she was able to lift it up and pull it back into place behind her.

It took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the darkness, which she spent brushing the cobwebs from hair and shoulders, glad that years of cleaning attics and chimneys for Adele had left her with a lack of fear of the everyday creepy-crawlies.

Standing at full height, the corridor’s ceiling was a good four feet from the top of her head, the same height as the castle’s ceilings, and the walls so close together that she had to walk at a slight angle as she made her way slowly into the shadows. There were two horizontal slits in the walls on either side, just above her eyelevel. She stood on her tiptoes to peer through one and saw that it looked out into one of the meeting rooms, but the view was dark and hazy. She guessed that the slit was hidden behind some sort of sheer curtain.

And so she’d been right—it was meant for spying.

As both of the meeting rooms were still empty, she proceeded down the hallway. It was much longer than it had seemed on the palmscreen’s tiny holographic map. One meeting room she passed had a couple servants in it laughing quietly together and drinking a bottle of rice wine. But otherwise, they all seemed deserted at the day’s late hour.

But as she made her way deeper into the castle’s framework, she began to hear more voices and footsteps on either side of her, some low and secretive, others boisterous and chatty, none suspecting that a spy could be in their midst, lingering in their very walls.

Cinder was suddenly hit with a feeling of discomfort. This was far too easy. She should not have been able to breach the castle’s security so easily.

When this was over, she would have to tell Merlin and make sure that something was done about this right away. She didn’t want to think that someone with evil intentions could steal into the castle just as she had done.

She was lost in these thoughts when she rounded a corner in the hidden stairwell and was suddenly grabbed by a strong arm.

A gasp and scream welled up in her but a hand clapped over her mouth.

And the scream sizzled away when she found herself staring into dark eyes, almost black in the corridor’s shadows, and looking just as wild and startled as she herself felt.

It was Prince Kai.

Recognition seemed to hit him at the same moment it hit her, and his grip loosened over her mouth. But he did not move the arm that was around her, pinning both her arms to her sides and holding her firmly against a metal support stud.

Without speaking, his eyes flickered to the wall behind her. That’s when Cinder heard the voices, quiet and murmuring, in the next room. There was a spyhole just over her shoulder and Kai kept his gaze on it as he held her, his brown drawn in concentration as he tried to make out the words.

It became clear that he’d all but forgotten her in his focus, even with one arm still tight around her, and one hand now lingering on her shoulder, and their bodies so close that she could feel his quick heartbeat.

She licked her lips and tried to keep her breathing as slow and quiet and possible, and listened as the words slowly became clear.

“—knows that it is the best choice for this country. And for all of the earthen kingdoms,” said one voice, deep and rough. Advisor Coen?

“I’m just not sure that it is,” said another male voice, not as deep. “She is not who I would have thought to be an ideal… choice.”

“You are not looking at the big picture. We all know it would be a marriage in name only, I certainly don’t expect them to fall in love or anything naive like that. But think what it would do for the relationship between the earth and the moon. No more threats of war would be only the beginning. The combination of our technology and the moon’s sorcery could lead to the greatest, most advanced civilization this galaxy has ever seen. But how will we ever accomplish that if there is no communication between the two cultures?”

“Communication, yes—we all agree there needs to be communication. But why must he marry her?”

“To ensure that we do not repeat this phase of distrust and silent threats that we’ve been experiencing for the past two decades. To unite the two royal families through blood—a common heir—would lead to an unbreakable alliance.”

A third, feminine voice interrupted. “What I worry about is the queen’s motives. Do we really think she desires only peace and a unity that could give her a child, after all this time?”

“What other motive could she have?” asked Coen.

There was a momentary silence, before the woman said, “Well, we’ve all heard the rumors about her. How she runs the country. If she is indeed drunk with power as the sources would suggest then expanding her rule to the earth would be a logical step.”

“I would like to remind everyone that what we know are only rumors. The moon people are severely misunderstood, largely because no one on earth has sought to debunk the myths surrounding them. And as for the queen wishing to arrange this marriage only so that she may increase her empire, well, she could just as easily do that by aiming a few missiles in our direction. Or infiltrating the minds of our world leaders and demanding allegiance through her magic powers, IF she has the ability as the rumors suggest. Look, in her thirteen years of rule, Queen Levana has done nothing to the people of the earth, and no one can doubt that it isn’t in her power to do significant harm if she wished it. That alone is a credit to her goodwill.”

Cinder watched Kai’s face for signs of disbelief or disgust, but he was as emotionless as stone. Only his eyes seemed haunted as they stared into nothing.

“And what of this army she’s supposedly raising?” asked the unknown man. “These… these beasts.”

Coen gave a sound, something like a snort. “I am convinced that the American Republic has been duped by a practical joke. Those images were clearly fakes. Can you imagine the queen dreaming up such a scheme, and then leaving it out in the open for any satellite to see? It’s absurd. It’s the stuff of fairy tales.”

“But shouldn’t we investigate further before asking our king to unite himself to this woman?”

“We are already working on investigating it,” Coen said, and Cinder saw a flicker of confusion in Kai’s face, as if he hadn’t known about any such investigation. “But we haven’t much time. The people of the Eastern Commonwealth will be anxious for a royal wedding as soon as Kai is coronated. Plus, we all know that Levana will request an answer at the meeting of the full moon. Kai needs to be prepared to give her one.”

“Well then let Kai make the decision. He will be king, after all.”

“And a great king he will be. But he is young still and I worry he will allow his youthful prejudices to influence this decision. I am asking for your help to convince him that his marrying Queen Levana is the best thing he can do for his kingdom and his people. It is possibly the only way he can keep us from entering into another horrific war.”

There was some uncertain grunting and humming before chairs were pushed back and Coen thanked his audience for giving him the time. The sound of a door opening and closing followed.

And then Cinder found herself alone in the secret, narrow hallway with Prince Kai still pressed up against her. They were surrounded by silence and heat and despite the conversation she’d just overheard, Cinder could not help delighting in the unfamiliar feel of a strong arm wrapped around her and warm, sensual breath upon her shoulder and a stray lock of silky hair on her ear.

Slowly, Kai seemed to reawaken from his thoughtful stupor and he heaved a sigh that spoke of desperation and responsibility. His gaze refocused on Cinder with something of surprise and she just blinked at him. She felt his fingers tense around her arm, as if testing the feel of her sleeve.

“Hello again,” he said in the most mild voice imaginable.

“Hello.”

His face was softened after the intense struggle to concentrate on the meeting, filling Cinder with peculiar, warm tingles.

“They want you to marry the moon queen?”

His gaze danced away to the spy hole. “Coen does.”

“But the people don’t. They’re protesting it outside.”

“I know.”

She expected him to release her at any moment, but he didn’t. In fact, she found his fingers gently, absently caressing her shoulder, and she wondered if it was possible that he was just as enamored with the sensation of holding as she was with the sensation of being held.

With a gulp, she clenched the gloved fingers of her robotic hand and tried to tuck it behind her, afraid that should he brush against it he would feel the cool, hard metal through the thin cotton glove.

But her other hand stretched forward cautiously until it found Kai’s waist and grasped at the material of his tunic. In response, he pulled her closer, though it was hard to tell if he did it consciously.

“I don’t want to marry the moon queen,” he whispered, and there was aching in the voice that nearly broke Cinder’s heart.

“Then don’t,” she said. “It’s your choice, isn’t it?”

“And risk insulting her by rejecting her offer? That would be one quick way to turn our country into a war zone.”

His chin settled down on her shoulder. The hand on her shoulder made its way around her back until she was almost drowning in the embrace that was so peculiar and startling and yet almost natural. Her stomach flipped at the realization that it did feel almost natural. It felt as though being cradled against him was the only reasonable place for her to be.

But then, she’d never been held by any boy before. How was she to know that it didn’t always feel that way?

And… it was the prince.

The very thought of it made her muscles tighten with nervousness. She desperately tried to dispel it and found herself chuckling awkwardly to herself. “All the girls in the kingdom will be so disappointed when they find out that you’re probably going to marry someone else,” she murmured, followed by another partial laugh.

A mildly amused chuckle followed from him as well. “I’d like to think so.”

“They all think you’re going to find a bride at the ball. They’re all planning their dresses and hairstyles right now in hopes that you’ll choose them.”

A silence followed. It occurred to Cinder that this may have been a very stupid thing for her to say, but when the prince pulled away from her—just barely, just enough to look into her eyes again—he did not look upset. Perhaps a little sad. Perhaps even a little hopeful.

And then he kissed her.

Cinder froze against him, stunned and wide-eyed at the feel of soft, warm lips against hers.

It was a short kiss, tender and longing, and left her trembling to the core. When Kai pulled away, still holding her close, she found herself unable to breathe as she stared up at him. She was heartened to see that he looked stunned too, as if the falling, suffocating feeling was not restricted to her alone.

A hint of a shy smile touched his lips and he looked as if he would say something.

And then a sharp stab of pain shot up Cinder’s spine. With a cry, she collapsed against the prince, shuddering as the pain arched through every nerve and fiber, ending in a hot, angry burning where her skin melded with metal.

“What’s wrong?” Kai asked her, his voice full of fear, but she barely heard him over the tumultuous agony frothing in her head. She gritted her teeth and grunted, struggling to breathe as the pain constricted her lungs and throat. Her legs gave out and she found herself supported by Kai’s grasping, terrified hands.

“It’s okay,” she said through her teeth. “It… it won’t last long.” Even as she said it, the pain was fading and she found herself struggling to gulp down the air.

“What was it? What happened?”

Cinder shook her head against his shoulder. “It just… happens, sometimes.”

“Did I do something?”

She flinched at his worry, unable to answer the question. She wasn’t honestly sure she knew the answer. In the past, the pain from the base of her spine had only struck her at times of supreme, passionate anger. She’d never experienced it when she was happy.

But then, how many times in her life had she been supremely, passionately happy?

“No, it’s all right,” she said, trying to keep her limbs from trembling as she backed out of Kai’s supporting embrace. “It just comes and goes. I never know when it will happen.”

She met his gaze and tried to smile reassuringly, but he did not look at all calmed.

“What should I do?”

“I need to go see Merlin,” she said.

Kai nodded, but slowly. “He can help?”

“I… maybe.”

“Okay. Can you walk?”

“Yes. The pain is almost gone now. I’m really fine.”

Kai was silent a moment as he analyzed her face, then his frown softened. “Good,” he said, reaching up and brushing a strand of hair back from her face.

She had a deep, unnatural fear that his kindness would trigger the pain again and shivered at the touch. Then Kai reached down to take her hand—her mechanical hand—and she jerked it away as if burned.

When he looked at her with uncertainty, she tried to smile at him and pretend that she’d only been caught off guard, before slipping her gloved, human hand into his. A thrill rushed up her and Kai gently squeezed her fingers, even though it was clear that his panic had not entirely disappeared.

They had to walk single file, and at an awkward angle, as they proceeded down the secret corridor. They didn’t speak and Cinder was glad for the silence as she tried to figure out what could have caused the eruption of pain.

The kiss, it would seem.

She had always thought the pain was related to stress, and maybe it was.

Falling in love could be stressful, couldn’t it?

But the thought brought both denial and hopelessness falling all around her. Denial, because she barely knew the prince. Sure, she’d had a crush on him since she was thirteen, as all red-blooded girls in the Eastern Commonwealth did, but she’d met him less than a week ago. And this was only the second real conversation they’d ever shared, and it was about him marrying somebody else.

Which was, of course, the source of her hopelessness.

He was going to marry somebody else. He was going to marry the Moon Queen.

The thought sickened her, and it wasn’t just jealousy.

 

 

2016 Marissa Commentary: Remember how I made you guys wait three whole books before you got a real kiss between these two? Well, clearly I used to be much more generous! And yes, this was officially the first kiss scene I ever wrote for this series. Oh, memories…

 

Stay tuned for next week, when I think I’ll be sharing a snippet from the original ball scene… or maybe we’ll jump straight to something from Scarlet? I’m not sure yet. Either way, more to come!

 

28 Comments

  1. Delanie Garcia commented on:

    Ahh, this was incredible! Thank you so much for sharing, Marissa! Regardless of it’s inclusion in the book, it’s so incredibly fun to be able to take a peek into what may have happened. Cinder and Kai will always, ALWAYS, hold a very special place in my heart and this made me SO. HAPPY.

    Also, trust me: the agonizing torture of waiting three entire books for them to kiss was SO worth it!

    Looking forward to the rest of the snippets! 🙂

  2. ~T~ commented on:

    Ha! I knew Konn was a bad guy! I didn’t trust him until he let Cinder kidnap Kai. When did you decide he was all right?

  3. Mira Hunter commented on:

    Ah! How I wish that kiss had happened sooner!! This is really cewl ^-^

  4. GenesisSt-Onge commented on:

    I never imagined Konn as a villain. OMG, and reading the comments of people saying they suspected it makes me feel dumb. Was it so obvious?

  5. Cate commented on:

    Ohhh I really want to hear about the ball scene, please don’t skip it.

  6. Book Gurl commented on:

    This is SO good and has also made my day or should I say night?! And, aghhh I’m getting hit with “the TLC feels” again! Well, at least I have something to look forward to for next week. 😛

  7. AQME commented on:

    *SCREAMING*… KAIDER OMG MY LIFE.

  8. Emma commented on:

    IT”S AMAZING!!!!!! KAIDER IS MY FAVOURITE OF ALL OF THEM!!!!!!!!:):):):):):)

  9. Cassie commented on:

    THIS WAS AMAZING!!!! I love Kaider so much and it was interesting to see a different view of Cinder where she’s jealous and has always had a crush on Kai! Also… I KNEW TORIN WAS EVIL!!!!!!!!!!!!! I never trusted him in the books and now I know why,

  10. Leen Abdul razzak commented on:

    OMG I LOVE THIS SOOOO MUCH , I CANT…. IM PRACTICALLY HATING MYSELF RIGHT NOW BECAUSE I CANT POSSIBLY WAIT FOR THE NEXT PART TO COME OUT. this has triggered a lunar chronicles reread, and I’m honestly stoked. I LOVE KAIDER SO FRICKIN’ MUCH. <3 <3 MARISSA MEYER you brought a series, that I've been waiting for practically my whole existence, to life.
    Like honestly i ADMIRE your work like no one else could because it puts two things that I'm passionate about to life: books and classic royalty related stories.

  11. fanatising commented on:

    Your Message

  12. Fanatizing commented on:

    I just read Stars Above, and i just have one question, that could mantain all of humanity:

    Will there be another book after Stars Above? (spoiler alert) because i am DYING on reading about Cinder’s and Kai’s wedding!!! I really hope so, because it would practically complete my whole life!

    THANK YOU!!!

    Fanatizing

  13. LU commented on:

    I love this series so much.
    Thank you for making me fall in love with reading and writing even more. You even helped me learn to read in english better (read the first 50 pages of Cinder with google translate for the difficult words).
    I can’t believe even your messy writing is amazing!
    You are truly amazing.

    Lu 🙂

  14. Lydia Parnell commented on:

    This was so cute!! Now I know I am not the only one that didn’t trust Konn Torin, and that there was actually a good reason to. I didn’t start trusting him till the middle of Winter.

  15. Emily Knight commented on:

    Post the ball scene!!

  16. Emma commented on:

    This is amazing and amazingly adorable. Please make a book after Stars Above I need more Kaider and you are just such an amazing writer

  17. Usagi Tsukino commented on:

    Oh my stars, Mrs. Meyer! How do you manage to surprise us even after the series is OVER! But ITS SO WONDERFUL THAT YOU DO.
    THANK YOU.
    THANK YOU SO MUCH.
    I always had a nagging feeling that Torin was a villan, but YES. IT COULD HAVE BEEN. KAIDER COULD HAVE KISSSSEEEEEEEEEDDDDDDDD SSSSSSOOOOOONNNNEEERRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
    Your writings are always so beautiful.
    Whenever I reread one of your works, I Jest want to start crying of happiness, and sadness. And THE OVERWHELMING EMOTIONS THAT ARE IMBUED INTO EVERY WORD. ARE YOU SOME SORT OF GODDESS??????? It’s all Jest so perfect……
    Winter+Jacin =Perfection You are so wonderful, Mrs. Meyer.

  18. Jocilyn Wagner commented on:

    OMGz! Incredible! I feel so stupid. I never really thought about what took them so long to kiss. I thought it was just a natural romantic progression. Cinder is Typhoid Mary. With no antidote in sight, Kai wouldn’t have lived long or would have been forced into a marriage with Levana too early to save Earth. Superb editing choice! Your writing genius continues to amaze me…

  19. Abdielle commented on:

    Oh!! Seeing this has brought back so many memories! I actually really like that the kissing scene was farther along rather than in the first book! I love the slightly jumbled writing, makes me think of a stream of consciousness, words just streaming out. This is perfect, thank you so much for sharing!

  20. Amelia commented on:

    OMG!!!!! This was so good- and it makes so much sense now the Torin was evil.

  21. Julia Adams commented on:

    This was really fun to read, but I also have to say, you’re a good editor. If this had been how Cinder was when it was released, I still would have liked it, but all the changes that happened between this draft and the published one made it so much stronger, better. Something that really stands out.

  22. Ann Marie commented on:

    OMG! I absolutely LOVE your work, and books! I could never imagine being so obsessed with a book series like I am with these books! Plz write another book! I just read Stars Above! Kai and Cinder are my life! It is so hard to grasp it is over! Now I’m just sitting around waiting for the movie to happen!

  23. Elisabeth commented on:

    Your books have become my everything!! I own the entire Lunar Chronicles(including Stars Above) and just recently bought Heartless from Christmas money. Getting the chance to essentially look inside of your train of thought as you write is awesome, as an adoring fan and also as a hopeful, nervous writer. Thanks so much for writing.

    (P.S. Reading that just killed me… I am away from home and my entire bookshelf!!!! Ughghhh)

  24. Astrid commented on:

    SQUAA!! I needed this after just having finished Heartless. All the mushy gushy is helping fill the hole where my heart was brutally ripped out.

  25. Rosa Miller commented on:

    THIS WAS LITERALLY THE BEST THING EVER! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! THEY KISSED AGAIN! Or “finally?” i don’t know but YAAYYYYYYYYYYY!

    *passes out*

  26. Sarah Brubaker commented on:

    It’s fascinating to see how not only the plot but your writing style changed through revisions. Your writing cleaned up VERY nicely; I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who over-uses modifiers in drafting. It’s encouraging to see how much work you put into creating the final (marvelous) product. I’m revising my own novel (for the eighth time), and it’s good to have someone beautifully human to aspire to emulate. Thank you for your bravery and openness to share!

  27. Misha commented on:

    Marissa Meyer should make a book on Selene/ Cinder and Kai’s wedding and Thorne proposing to Cress! That would be so sweet! And this scene was so sweet and mysterious, I love it!

  28. Carina Olsen commented on:

    Eee! I loved this scene 😀 Sniffs. I love reading more about Cinder and Kai. <3 And eee! Such a sweet kiss. Sigh. I need more kisses between them, haha 😉 Thank you for sharing Marissa. <3 Hugs.

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