13 iv) Cang’s face pales when he sees the gems

Cang’s face pales when he sees the gems. He can almost feel their colourful warmth play across his skin as they catch and throw the light. He thinks for a brief, painful second of his lost emerald, traded to these cheering peasants, and how its green shape would look so at home nestled amidst the pile in Old Mossy’s hands.

“Steady,” Shyan says, giving him the side-eye. “Where’d you get all these?” she asks Old Mossy.

“Trader came through, maybe ten years back. We had goods, then. Furs, tusks. He might’ve made out better than us, really, naive as we were.”

“These gems are his by right,” the princess says, her voice authoritative. “It is Old Mossy’s choice what he does with them.”

A beat hangs over the group, everyone’s eyes on the gems.

Cang is first to blink, but Shyan speaks before he can, saying, “We’ll do it.”

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