3 iii) “We will get antidote”

“We will get antidote,” Abia says gently, her hand on Shyan’s shoulder. “Save princess, save Shyan.”

Shyan’s smile is strained. “I hope she’s sweet.”

Cang has crept up to a window of the church, is peering in, his hands shielding the sun. Inside, a child’s face pops up into the window. Their eyes connect. The child’s go wide and Cang winks. The child turns and flees to the adults, who are in a circle around a dais at the back of the church. “Ritual,” Cang says.

Fassn, meanwhile, plants his boot in the centre of the church doors, blowing them open. He maintains his balance, woozily, as all faces within turn to him, horrified and expectant.

“Fassn!” Shyan chides as she and the others move to back him up. “Uh, hello,” she calls out to the assembled church-goers. “Have you got a princess in here?”

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