iii) “What’s to feel bad about?”


“What’s to feel bad about? This thing would eat us if it could,” Fassn mumbles. His mouth, now entirely empty of teeth, is tender, and the words emerge poorly formed. His back straightens with the onset of an idea. “We should eat it, instead.”

“We’re not here to eat it,” Shyan says. She catchs the ugobok’s eye. “We’re not here to eat you.”

The snake grumbles and writhes gently, unable to fight the effects of Abia’s spell.

“We do, however, have need of one of your eyes.”

“It’s only one, though,” Shyan says. “It’s going to make us rich.”

“Filthy rich,” Cang agrees. He draws a skinning knife, topped with a wicked hook, from his bag. He approaches the head of the snake, then stops to ponder. “Indeed,” he muses aloud. “These fangs may well be worth a pretty penny, too.”

“Well if cutting out its eye kills it, we can talk about its fangs,” Shyan says. The beast’s great orange eyes bear down upon her. “Somehow this feels cruel,” she says.

“What, you never eaten meat before?” Fassn asks. “Where do you think it comes from?”

“Come along, now,” Cang says. “I’ll do it.” He gestures to Abia. “Keep a hold on it, would you?”


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