33 iii) Abia shakes her head, a gentle motion

Abia shakes her head, a gentle motion that suggests a firm “no.” “Boss will know,” she says.

“Quiet down back there,” says the flutist. “Show a little respect.”

Cang gives her a grievous look, but says no more.

An attendant in a crisp waistcoat descends a set of wide, mahogany steps, and stares down at the gang past his long, crooked nose. “Rivera, why have you brought such filth into master’s home?”

Rivera, the flutist, draws herself up. “Getting some gold, all right? They brought something nice the boss is gonna want.” She gestures at Cang, who’s holding the necklace.

“Their clothes are filthy.”

“We took a bath, all right?” Shyan says. “Look, even cut my hair. What more could your boss possibly want? He either likes gold or he doesn’t, forget about hygiene.”

A small smile creeps onto Abia’s lips.

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.