43 i) The dragon’s manse is dark and quiet

The dragon’s manse is dark and quiet. The foyer is empty, a single oil lamp burning low upon a polished credenza. Crushed velvet drapes of deep purple hang over wainscotted walls. The floor’s composed of greywhite marble tiles, each half a metre square.

Fassn strides confidently into the foyer. When he steps on the second tile from the doorway, a faint snick is heard, then a yelp of fear and confusion as Fassn drops down and out of sight.

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.