iv) Despite its opulent appearance

Despite its opulent appearance, the carriage is constrained inside. Cang keeps his knees pulled up to his body, and even so, Fassn looms over him.

“You smell of fired cheese,” Cang says.

“Thanks,” Fassn replies. He pulls out a lumpy kerchief from a pocket, offers it up. “You want some?”

“If this is your meaning of fine dining,” Cang says, “we may as well turn this carriage around right now.”

“No, no,” Shyan says. “Ignore him. Fassn’s a fool.” To him, she adds, “You’re lucky we let you ride in the cab.”

“Hey, that’s mean.”

The carriage rattles and rocks its uneasy way down from the castle grounds into the village proper. Abia leans out a window, enduring the pounding rain, and in spite of the noise, whispers to Horton their destination. His face is a mask of fear.

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