Chapter 16.2

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"What happened?" Ward said to Mildew as they ran back up the corridor. Nick followed them silently.

Mildew took a deep breath. "Slops tried singing to the door, but it didn't work. So we stayed put. Then Corvus came. She frowned. "Slops spilled the beans of course. Corvus said the trial'd been brought forward and Carmen's folks were set to hang at three."

"Three o'clock – today? What time is it now?"

"One. But let me finish."

"Where's Carmen and Slops?"

"Corvus sent em off to see someone called Anna. Sounded like a wild slough chase to me."

He sent them to Grandmere, Ward thought. Why?

"Course I figure he was just getting them outta the way," Mildew said. "So then it's just me and the old man. I won't lie Ward, I didn't fancy it much. I've heard things about him that'd keep you awake nights. But then he pulled the Oliphant out of his pocket and blowed that tune like it was as easy as pie. Didn't even need a parchment or anything."

Mildew continued to fill him in as they returned to the surface, raced through the Old City, crossed Killing Field, and climbed back down into the tunnel. They met with nobody. Even the archon on the front door was silent, as if away haranguing visitors somewhere else in the OldCity.

Nick had been silent and thoughtful the whole way back. As soon as they reached the underground he left them, saying only that he had business on the other side of the city.

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*goes on a wild slough chase*

"Hey, this is actually kinda fun."

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