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Arcite worked out the web of clay so he’d finish above Kragn. The more people who saw him opening their path, the better. The clay would combust from a single flame, blowing a passage in the wall without buckling the upper structure. He only needed one more line.

He heard running on stone, but didn’t look. Probably another lackey of Kragn’s come to rush the job. Or more likely it was his imagination. He’d hardly slept last night.

He was imagining someone faster than military armor should have allowed. When the footsteps stopped, curiosity overcame him. Expecting to meet the interloper’s eyes, he found a mask.

He dropped his satchel. “Eventhe.”

“Arcite,” Eventhe said, “you cannot blow up the wall.”

Of course he wanted to see her again, but he wanted her to see him triumphant, with the lobsters of the Eye streaming through his opening toasting his name. “Why not?”

“There is red clay under the ground. If you bomb this wall, it will kill everybody waiting below.”

Arcite snatched up the near-empty bag, clutching it like a life preserver. “Ridiculous.”

She reached for the bag. He pulled it away. “Did Wrest send you?”

“That does not matter.”

“Has he heard Magnam saying anything to Kragn? About you?”

They danced in a circle, she snatching at the satchel, he skittering out of reach. “You did make a deal.”

“Of course I did!” Arcite exploded. “Ev, he wants to kill you on sight. I had to use my leverage. I couldn’t think about you not being here.”

I’m a self-supported artist, and I rely on donations to keep bringing you The Glass Thief. Check out my Patreon to see the bonus content you can get if you pledge. Even $1 a month helps–and gets you a personal shout-out!

Thank you to Lynne, Pauline, David, Paul, and Thomas for their continued support.

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