22 ii) Cang watches closely as one of the sentries limps through his patrol

Cang watches closely as one of the sentries limps through his patrol. The guard makes several turns about the courtyard, keeping eyes alert, especially at the bases of the twin trees.

Another guard has a black eye: it’s ugly, purple, already swollen shut. Its wide mouth is turned down in a frown.

Cang gathers a couple of stones and waits for his moment. When the limping sentry is at the edge of his loop, Cang throws a stone the opposite way, which the black-eyed guard notices. His gaze tracks it, and he squints with his good eye to see what it might have been. To test his peripherals, Cang makes a quick, silent wave far at the edge of his vision — and the guard doesn’t seem to notice.

“Perhaps next time Shyan should blacken both their eyes,” Cang thinks with a cruel streak of glee.