4 ii) The peasants’ faces are twisted in wrath

The peasants’ faces are twisted in wrath. Three men in straw hats and coveralls charge Shyan but she delivers a spinning kick that knocks them back. They grunt hard as they hit the dusty ground.

“Old Ajralan has a taste for all things,” Fassn tells them in his most imperious, fatherly tone. He kicks them where they lay struggling to stand.

Many other peasants keep their distance, throwing stones at the gang, which Shyan deflects with her shield. The three of them crouched behind it, they press forward, the crowd breaking slowly before their advance.

Meanwhile, Cang peers through a window and spots the grey creatures’ princess on the dais. An elderly human intones above her, cutting the air with weird gestures and brandishing a golden knife.

Though only a few observers are left, whatever foul ritual is taking place doesn’t seem to have been dissuaded. Cang watches, transfixed, as the ritual continues, until the princess’ eyes happen to turn to meet his. They’re filled with pain and fear, and in that instant, Cang knows what he must do.

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