Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves 1) - Page 96

“He has to be here somewhere. What about the arena?” Natiya asked. “Have you checked there?”

From what Jase had told me, the arena bustled with people. It didn’t seem a likely place for someone to hide out, but it was worth looking into. “Jase is going to the arena tomorrow. I’ll ask to go along—”

“Incoming!” Eben whispered.

Natiya pointed to the counter, and we all quickly grabbed a delicacy laid out on the plates, chattering with delight as the servant came through the door. She gathered pewter mugs from a cabinet.

“Heavenly!” Synové said. “

Try this one, Kazi.”



“May I have another?”

Natiya beamed on cue, but as soon as the servant left again, her smile vanished and we returned to less tasty questions.

“And how did all…” She waved her hand at our bloodstained clothes. “This come about? No permanent damage?” she asked, peeking under Synové’s bandage.

“We’re fine,” I answered. “There are other troubles here that have nothing to do with us. With Jase becoming the new Patrei, we’re caught in the middle of a power war.”

“So I heard. I also heard they got a letter from the queen. They really believe she’s coming?”

“They do. It was part of our agreement—in return for the settlement reparations that are already under way.”

“Good job, kadravés,” Eben said, but his eyes landed on me and he nodded. He understood the compromise, the things you finally had to let go.

“What about Dolise?” I asked. “What did you two do to her?”

Natiya wrinkled her nose. “Just a little coralweed. She’ll be sticking close to her chamber pot for a few days.”

“We had to get over to the main house kitchen to talk to you somehow,” Eben added as he slivered open the door again.

“Just a good cleansing, as Aunt Reena used to call it,” Natiya said and held out a dish of treats to us. “Now go. Clean up. Rest. We’ll see you tonight at dinner.”

“What if he’s not at the arena either?” Wren asked.

Natiya frowned, unhappy with this possibility. “If we have to, then we move on. We search elsewhere until we find him.”

Move on.

That wasn’t the queen’s directive. We were only to come here, then home. It was impossible to search an entire continent for one person without a clue. I already knew that intimately. Maybe it was more of a desperate hope Natiya held on to—that the man who helped orchestrate the deaths of so many would be found before he killed again.

I took the dish from her. “The sage cakes are perfection, by the way.”

“Even better than her aunt’s,” Eben replied.

Natiya grinned. “You better never say that in front of her.”

Eben smiled. “I’m not stupid.” His gaze lingered on Natiya as if he forgot for a moment that we were all there.

We gathered up another plate of the vagabond delicacies to take back to our rooms, and Eben and Natiya returned to their work. They still had to continue their charade as cooks and prepare the evening meal. As we walked to the door to leave, Synové turned. “Just so we know we have the story straight, you two are posing as husband and wife?”

Eben set down the pot of water he had just filled, and Natiya paused from mincing scallions, the silence long and full.

“No,” Eben answered. “We’re not posing.” And then he went back to his work.

Tags: Mary E. Pearson Dance of Thieves Fantasy
Source: Copyright 2016 - 2023