33 ii) “This doesn’t look so good,” Shyan says, peering into the dark

“This doesn’t look so good,” Shyan says, peering into the dark.

“Well of course not,” the flutist replies. “Can’t have the foyer visible from the street. Look at the type of element this place attracts.” By her words, she’s speaking of the peasants, but by her tone and look, she means the gang themselves.

Rufus, scowl on his face, strides into the dark. The gang follows, and moves through the blackness like a rubber gasket or burial shroud: once they’ve moved through it, everything is different. Elaborate filigree sprawls across the walls, golden sconces hold roaring torches, and the floor tiles are cut of burnished silver.

Cang subtly gestures at the tiles to bring them to Abia’s attention. “Let us steal a few of these and be done with it,” he says.

33) i) The gang follows the musicians from the tavern

The gang follows the musicians from the tavern out into a dark alleyway clustered with sailors who stared, taciturn, at the group’s passing. Rufus, the drummer, suddenly stops short at a rude wooden door and Fassn bumps into him. “Your hair smells good,” he says. Rufus gives him a scowl in return.

The door’s quite like any other in this ramshackle neighbourhood. “Will the boss of these filthy musicians really live in such squalor?” Cang asks Shyan, none too subtly.

The musicians choose to ignore him. The flutist raps gently on the door, speaks in a soft voice, and from within, the door opens, revealing only darkness within.