28 iv) …And there’s Cang, guilty grin smeared across his round face

…And there’s Cang, guilty grin smeared across his round face, hands on her coin purse. He coughs awkwardly, lets it go. “Pardon me, madam,” he says. “I believe you were about to drop this.”

For a moment, she’s flabbergasted, her jaw hanging open at the impertinence of the short, grubby thief. People edge by along the busy streets without taking notice. Cang’s hopeful she’ll believe it, even hazards a glance back to his companions, watching frightfully from around a corner. That is, until the woman draws a deep breath, her face flushing crimson, and she bellows, “Guards!”

28 i) When morning comes to the city

When morning comes to the city, a pale blue sky stretches beyond the buildings that seem to rise into the clouds. The streets are busy, with people hurrying about. Those few who take notice of our bedraggled gang give them a wide berth. One surly fellow with a glaring bald patch screws up his nose as he passes, and in a grunting voice, says, “You stink.” He departs, shaking his head.

“Yeah, but stink like what?” Fassn asks.