Chapter 4

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*Possible grammar mistakes ahead - writing at 3am with your eyes half closed certainly has its pros and cons.

Chapter 4

The first day in King City was filled with nothing but dead ends. Every moment Thea thought she had made a bit of headway into finding the missing captain, she would find herself as clueless as she was at the beginning. Sensing people did nothing; all it told her was that everyone was lying. And she couldn’t very well tell them how she knew they were speaking falsely, that would just lead to more questions.

Fen kept to the rooftops. They both knew a wolf at her side would only stir some trouble. At this point what she needed to do was evade the curious gazes of the townspeople. You never knew who worked for whom. The last thing she needed was to be cornered by a band of mercenaries. Even if the king didn’t love Thea, he had use for her, and that made her valuable. Anyone who found out her identity could easily ransom her for a steep price if they were brave enough to defy the king. 

As it stood, she was only a stranger in their city. No one knew who she truly was. Her uncle had always taken great lengths to preserve Thea’s identity. Even when roaming the streets of the city alone, she kept the hood of her cloak up and blended in with the crowd. It seemed everyone was too busy worrying about their lives to stop and take an interest in hers. She didn’t complain.

The uneven streets were beginning to take a toll on Thea’s feet, and judging by how crisp the air had gotten, it was getting late. From her last trip to the city, she knew the Ravenwood Inn was just along the backstreets of Holen Pass, only a few steps away. But a woman traveling alone would raise suspicion in the busy establishment. Her only other option was The Mynx, a brothel past the Yellowbird Spirithall. A reputable place for its patrons and occupants keeping to themselves.

Thea sighed. “Might as well,” she whispered, walking down the almost barren streets of King City.

It wasn’t her first choice, but it would have to do.

Opening her senses, she felt the emotions of the few stragglers hurrying past her on the cobblestones, trying to get off the road before it got too late. The streets were never a safe place when the sun went down and the people knew it. She honed in to the rooftops and found what she was looking for. Fen was sitting on the shingles of one the smaller cottages lining the path, watching her with those yellow eyes. As Thea passed the wolf, she heard him jump to another roof, and another, until they reached the familiar alley.

There was a single lantern at the end of darkness, signaling the entrance to The Mynx. It was hidden in plain sight, but not everyone knew of its existence. It prided itself in anonymity.

The building itself was nothing short of ordinary. It looked more like a run-down opium house rather than the exclusive home to Lyria’s finest women. But she knew better than to trust first appearances. Walking down the narrow path, she felt someone hidden within the shadows, watching her carefully. The masculinity of their emotions told Thea that it was a man. A woman’s feelings were softer, more timid. He didn’t feel dangerous, mostly curious and alert. She pulled the hood of her violet cloak farther above her head, tucking the golden strands of hair that refused to stay in her braid back from prying eyes.

 By the time she reached the door, the mysterious person emerged from the corner of the alley, the orange lantern casting an eerie shadow across his ghostly face. The Mynx never had a doorman before. Thea wondered why they had one now. 

He crossed his large arms. “What business have you here?” His voice was a deep baritone.

She slid her hand to the short blade concealed at her hip. “I come seeking lodgings for the night.”

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