35 v) Cang holds his palm expectantly aloft

Cang holds his palm expectantly aloft until the butler places the sack of coins into it. The gang callously tosses the necklace to the butler, who wastes not a single motion in gracefully snatching it out of the air.

Cang weighs the coins in his hand. “This feels fair, if not precisely generous,” he says.

“I am generous only with those in my employ. Isn’t that right, Abianarin?” rasps the dragon.

Abia’s demeanour remains calm, almost as though she didn’t hear the question.

“Well my mouth’s getting awfully dry,” Fassn announces. “If we can’t have those shiny metals I say we go for a shiny brew.”

Shyan makes an awkward half-bow to the dragon. “Uh, thanks for this,” she says.

“I shall have work when you return,” purrs the dragon as the butler shows the gang out.

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