25 iv) “In fact,” Fassn continues, “let me just taste ’em a second.”

“In fact,” Fassn continues, “let me just taste ’em a second.” He reaches for the princess’ necklace with bony fingers.

“I should think not,” Cang says, whisking the necklace away from his grizzled companion. “You shall bring down their value.”

“No way,” Fassn says. “My spit is mystical.”

“Nonsense,” says Cang. “You disgust me.”

“Boys, boys,” Shyan cuts in. “Nobody’s tasting anything. We’re headed straight for a jeweller or a fence. Whomever wants to take this necklace off our hands can do so.”

“Well I want to take it off his hands,” Fassn says.

“Great, just show us the coins.”

Fassn makes a show of patting his pockets, but of course he comes up empty.

“That’s what I thought,” Shyan says. “Now let’s get this done so we can enjoy a hot meal for a change.”

25 iii) The city’s composed of towers

The city’s composed of towers, great rising spires of grey, blue, and brown. The sun glares off their bulky edifices as the gang cranes their necks to take in the buildings’ soaring tops.

“They’ve built stone houses like mountains,” Shyan says, her jaw agape.

“I don’t wanna sleep in the woods anymore,” Fassn says.

“I bet they have an inn down there,” Shyan says. “An inn like none you’ve seen, with ceilings you couldn’t jump to reach.”

The glowing sphere bounces impatiently.

“Yes, yes,” Cang says. “We shall sell you in good time.” At this the sphere bobs away from Cang and circles behind Fassn, as though it were cowering.

“Ah, c’mon Cang, we can’t sell the little guy,” says Fassn. “Those jewels, on the other hand,” he says, and smacks his lips.