29 i) Before the guards can effectively pursue

29 i) Before the guards can effectively pursue

Before the guards can effectively pursue, Shyan holds open the bathhouse door and the gang slips inside. Within is a cloistered environment with low ceilings and but a hint of sunlight filtering through gauzy curtains. The glowing sphere turns a corkscrew around Abia’s shoulders and flutters past, ruffling the curtains and letting more light in.

A half-dozen bathtubs ring the mirror-lined walls, arced in a circle, pointing at a barber’s chair in the room’s centre. Fassn is uncomfortably reminded of his dental surgery and feels a phantom pain shoot through his jaw.

A stringy man with a wiry moustache appears a back room, polishing a set of hair shears absent-mindedly. When he spots the gang, he stops short, his eyes wide with fright for just a moment before a cunning shrewdness takes over.