Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves 1) - Page 75

“What happened?” he demanded. He was already unwrapping my ankle.

I deliberated taking a chance with the truth—at least some version of it. Chills suddenly overtook me and then a violent cramp in my stomach doubled me over. Diseased. The dogs had to be diseased.

Vairlyn, Jalaine, and two other women rushed in on Drake’s heels, and the room became a swirling chaos of questions.

“It was the dogs,” I answered. “I was afraid to tell you. I’m sorry.”

“Which dogs?”

“Lower your voice, Jase!” Vairlyn ordered.

“In the tunnels,” I said. “I—”

“What were you doing in the tunnels?”

Jalaine pushed Jase’s shoulder. “Mother said to stop yelling!”

“This is my fault,” Vairlyn said. “I promised her you’d show her the vault this afternoon.”

“It’s Jase’s fault,” Jalaine snapped. “I told him she wanted a tour.”

“Get out, Jalaine!” Jase shouted. “We have enough in here without you—”

“I’m not going—”

“Move aside. Give me some room.” A tall, thin woman elbowed her way in and pulled my dress higher, looking at my leg. “Yes, she’s definitely been bit by the ashti. Look at the spidering moving up her thigh. A servant is bringing my bag.”

Jase’s attention jumped from the healer back to me. “The ashti are stationed well past the vault entrance. What made you go way out there?”

“I was turned around. I—”

“There aren’t signs that say vault, Jase!” Jalaine interrupted. “How would she know?”

Another spasm gripped my abdomen and Jase was yelling again, this time at the healer, it seemed. At least I think he was. I couldn’t be sure. His lips moved out of sync with the sound I was hearing, echoing in long garbled ribbons.

I writhed in pain, my fingers digging into my stomach. And then I saw Death squeeze into the crowded room, grinning, waiting in the corner, his bony finger pointing at me. You, you are next.

“No,” I cried. “Not yet! Not today!”

The spasm finally passed and I saw a hand swipe the air, hitting the side of Jase’s head. His mother. “You heard her! Move aside! Give the healer room to work.”

The healer lifted a glass to my lips, encouraging me to sip a bitter blue liquid. I gagged as I choked it down.

“This will help. There now, keep it down. Another sip. That’s right.”

She used more of the blue powder to make a paste and applied it to the wounds on my leg. I heard her groan. “This one will have to be stitched. Eh, here’s another one. What were you thinking, girl? Here, take a sip of this now. It will put you out while I sew these up. The antidote should take effect soon. You’ll be fine by morning.”


“The dogs that bit you are poisonous,” Jase said. “Without the antidote, you would have been dead by week’s end. It’s a long and agonizing death.”

Poisonous dogs?

The thought became lost in a cloud of others, my lids growing heavy. The last thing I saw was a thin glint of steel and a thread being pushed through its eye.



Tags: Mary E. Pearson Dance of Thieves Fantasy
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