iv) Come on, Horton, you’re caught up in all this too?

“Come on, Horton, you’re caught up in all this too?” Shyan says as the groaning intensifies.

The blacksmith looks abashed, and keeps his ruddy face turned from hers. “It’s a job, missus.”

“Quiet, Horton. Do not deign to speak to our guests,” says Cang, luxuriating in his authority. “The rest of our invitees ought to arrive rather soon.”

Their cue delivered, a dozen humanoid creatures spill into the foyer through hidden doors. Shyan, Abia, and Fassn are surrounded by leering things with charcoal skin and empty white eyes.

“My footmen will show you to your chamber. I’m certain you’ll find it to your liking,” says Cang. He smiles, and the light from his teeth flickers briefly. A panic-stricken look comes over Cang’s face for an instant, and he says, “Help!”

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