Chapter no 38 – KAZI

Vow of Thieves (Dance of Thieves, #2)

“Well, well, look who we have here,” Priya crowed. Her knife was still unsheathed.

They circled around me, and I turned, trying to keep an eye on all of them.

“I’m on the run from the king,” I explained. “I’ve been searching for you. The family. I want to help—”

“Sure you do,” Gunner said, smiling. The kind of smile that was deadly. “It’s not what you think. I’m not—”

In an instant the smile was gone and his face gusted with rage. “My brother is dead! That’s what I think! You murdered him, and now you’re as good as murdering the town!”

“I didn’t kill Jase! He’s alive! I swear!”

Gunner nodded, and suddenly Mason’s arm crooked around my neck, choking me, jerking me backward while he pressed the tip of a knife to my side.

Priya grabbed the front of my cloak, her hand trembling. “You hanged him! You hanged my brother! I heard it out of your own mouth!”

“You were there?”

Her eyes glowed with hatred. “We snuck down for medicine, and I heard every word. Now that you’re on the outs with the king, you think your lies will get you anywhere with us?” She spit in my face, then shoved me harder into Mason, letting go of my cloak.

“He’s alive, Priya! I promise! I had to say those things. The king forced me! He’s a madman. But Jase is safe. Paxton took him to—”

“Paxton!” Mason tightened his grip on my neck. “You better shut up while you’re ahead.”

Gunner chuckled and stepped closer, his amusement more frightening than his rage. “You’re worth a lot of money now, you know? We heard the

news today. Seems you betray everyone in your path. The king and Banques have a noose set aside just for you, and there’s a hefty bounty on your head to make sure your neck fills it. Money isn’t of much use to us, though.” He ripped my cloak off and then took my belts and dagger. “These are the kind of things we need now.” He felt my pockets. “You have any medicine on you?” He grunted when he found they were empty.

“No. I—Please, listen to me. Jase is at the settlement. So are—” “If Jase were alive, he would be here!” Priya yelled.

Gunner’s hand shot up, gripping my face. “You picked the wrong family to betray, soldier.” He looked at Mason over my shoulder. “We have what we want. Kill her.”

“Wait! Please! I love Jase! I—”

“Shut up!” Priya ordered, but her eyes stared into mine, sharp and alert like she saw the raw truth there. I love Jase. It couldn’t be faked. She had to see it.

Mason’s arm pinched tighter around my neck.

“What are you waiting for?” Gunner said to him. “Do it.”

“A body right here might not be a good idea,” Mason answered. “And maybe we should—”

Gunner rolled his head in disgust. “Oh, for the love of gods. Here—” He reached out and grabbed my hair, pulling me away from Mason, then twisted me around and jammed my arm up behind my back—my bad arm. I gasped with pain, and white light shot behind my eyes. “There’s a better way,” Gunner said. “The slower way she deserves. We’ll let her hang the way she hanged Jase.”

He began dragging me back through the woods, then down a slope, until we hit level ground again and a thick bed of leaves swished beneath our feet. I pleaded with him as I stumbled, telling him I was on the run because of Lydia and Nash, that I had hidden them in the Ballenger tomb, but it only enraged him more. My words meant nothing. I was the enemy. There wasn’t a single thing I could say that would make him think otherwise. We reached a clearing, and he let go of me. They all stared at me, and I wondered what was going to happen next.

“Enjoy your journey straight to hell,” Gunner said, and gave me a hard shove. I stumbled back but then everything seemed to explode around me. Leaves flew through my vision, and my body sprang upward, ropes pinning me awkwardly. I couldn’t understand what was happening and then I finally realized I was caught in a snare. I hung there, my body twisted, and I tried to untangle my limbs. Tried to find a way out. Panic rose in me. “No, no, no.” Not now. Not when I was this close.

Priya watched me struggling, her eyes cold slits. “They’ll be by before too long. A whole squad of them patrols this way every day. I’ll help them out.” And then she screamed, a loud, desperate scream that vibrated through the trees. A signal to the soldiers. Someone had been caught.

They all turned and ran, disappearing into the forest like they had never been there.

“Priya!” I called. “There’s a weapon! Jase hid a weapon … in the greenhouse.”

But they were gone.

I frantically tried to reach the top of the snare, but my weight made it impossible to open.

I heard shouts. Soldiers getting closer. And in seconds, they were there.

You'll Also Like