Chapter XV: Agnize

iiiiii

i.*

As the knife plummeted, my hope fell with it.  I hung there on the net for a few beats and then Adwyn arrived.
He didn’t glance at me; he unsheathed a short blade.  In a half-dozen quick, precise swipes, he slashed at the netting.  But instead of trying to cut all the way through like me, he resheathed the sword, gripped netting and pulled.
It came right apart, and Adwyn had flown through before my eyes unclouded.  I flapped after him, frills folded, tail coiled.
Glancing behind me, the flock of guards had reached the nets.  But they didn’t all try to squeeze through Adwyn’s hole, they just followed his example, without swords, ripping the net with their claws.
I turned away, looking for the thieves and finding them, after moments of scanning, both flying low over the town.  Nothing much had changed, aside from my falling behind Adwyn — about five or six wingbeats — and thieves now having a crushing lead on us: they were more than thirty wings in front of Adwyn.

Chapter XIV: Concede

iiiiii

i.*

“The bodies are gone?” I said with a snap of my tongue. “Where did they go?”
Adwyn was still prodding the tarp in front of us, and still speaking, thinking aloud, “These are sandbags, decoys.”
The orange drake, face hidden behind a dust mask, turned from the cart. When he did, every careless scale had been shed. This Adwyn, I could imagine, was the last thing Raganari had seen before her end. “We have been robbed,” he said.

Chapter XIII: Suspect

iiiiii

i. *

“The bodies need to be guarded,” the pink-scaled guard was saying to Adwyn, “don’t they?  You’re plenty big and strong sure, but I can watch your back.”
Didn’t they hear me? “Who are you?” I asked again, a bit higher. I stood somewhere behind Adwyn, beside Digrif, but I knew they could hear me.
The short, mouse-like dragon at last glanced over, frowned, and tossed me a, “Ceian,” before turning back to the schizon-clad adviser.
Hinte stood beside the orange drake. “Do we need a little fledgling slowing us down?”
The guard glanced at her, and his frills popped open and there may have been a gasp or mutter.  “You’re the alchemist’s spawn!” they said, and stepped back.

Chapter XII: Validate

Next
iiiiii

i.*

“Hi?  Who are you?” I asked the immaculately-dressed plain-dweller.
He clicked his tongue once before replying, giving me a disarming smile, “Oh, me?  I’m nobody.  I might have dropped by the Llygaid Crwydro twice or so, but I am in Gwymr oh so scarcely.  No, you wouldn’t remember me.  And I don’t remember you.  How odd.”
This plain-dweller had stood listlessly in front of the library, looking all around, and checking a pocket ringglass.  Over their breast and forelegs a silky red robes with twisting green filaments flowed.  On the breast of the robes lay some embroidered pickaxes and a pile of ash.  Even for a library patron, they looked well-dressed.
Really, they looked out of place. Their green eyes met mine, and their frills spread out like an invitation.