26 ii) The bartender reaches to take the necklace, but Cang’s too quick for him

The bartender reaches to take the necklace, but Cang’s too quick for him, stowing it away under his vest.

Shyan tsks at the bartender. “This thing doesn’t leave our hands for free.”

“Rounds for you four all night for it,” says the bartender.

“Deal!” Fassn shouts, but Shyan waves him away.

“Who’s the local dealer?” Shyan asks.

“Fabio Quartez in the market district,” the bartender says, scratching his chin. “But he don’t take nothin’ hot.”

Shyan narrows her eyes. “This particular piece is a bit, well, warm.” Just then, she notices the bartender’s gaze is set somewhere behind her. She turns, following it, to find the drummer and flutist staring hard from their place atop the table.

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