When Gattick saw Staever, he drew back to throw the key. Wrest waved his claws no! and Gattick, smirking, backed toward his escape stairs.

I’m as helpless as I was in the arena. Gattick could make the key disappear, but they would never see it again if it fell to the Field, either.

The fence backed onto the ramp leading down, not taking his eyes from Staever and Wrest.

Then Staever noticed which claw Gattick held the key with.

His left claw.

He had one chance. Hunching with age was a lie Gattick had paraded for them all. But one injury, he’d hidden instead: something laming his left claw, so he sketched with the right.

If that too was fake, they were doomed. Staever ran along the bridge, feet falling light as air.

Gattick’s claw jerked forward, but he could not finish the throw. His face contorted. The key clattered to the walkway.

Staever scooped it up, while Wrest threw Gattick off the third story.

He stared at the fence’s body as it landed. Shuffling the key from his leg, Staever passed it to his friend.

He signed, Can you keep watch?

I’ll hide if they see me, Wrest answered, but Staever was already inside.

If you liked this chapter, check out the rewards available on my Patreon! I’m a self-supported writer, and even $1 a month helps.

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