Chapter 41 - King Talon's Vengeance

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Kastali Dun

Talon flew through the sky above the city. His anger and thirst for justice left his blood boiling. It took control to hide these emotions from Claire, to keep his voice calm for her. He was so proud of her quick thinking. Her scream was the trick that allowed the Drengr to discern her location with their sharp hearing.

It took less than a minute to reach their destination. Bedelth, Jovari, Koldis, and Verath were already in the sky and intercepted them. The six of them transformed into humans and used their downward speed to their advantage. They landed forcefully but gracefully on two feet. Dragon bodies would not fit in the narrow, dirty streets of the Pauper's District.

The city guard had already been informed—they were on their way. In minutes, the street would be swarming with soldiers and onlookers. They needed to act quickly.

The Pauper's District was exactly as its name suggested. Many of the buildings were dilapidated and just a few merchants kept shop here. Housing the city's poorest, it was a popular place for crime. For every crime ring snuffed out, two more appeared in its place. It shouldn't have surprised him that Claire was here.

The street was still quiet. An old woman spotted them and rushed into the shadows beneath a nearby eve. Talon glanced at his Shields, nodding imperceptibly. They fanned out. He scanned the multi-level buildings that towered over them. His eyes stopped on a crumbling edifice made of plaster and stone. At its lowest level was a rundown tavern—the only one in the area. It stuck out like a sore thumb. The worn sign was nearly unreadable. The King's Crown. He snorted. How fitting.

He looked at the others."Jovari, Koldis—go left. Verath, Bedelth—guard the front. Reyr—with me."

He and Reyr jogged along the street then diverted down an alley.

He stopped at a small door, giving it a little push. It was locked. Grunting with satisfaction, he glanced over his shoulder. Reyr was right behind him. Without a word he kicked the door in. It went flying inward with a loud bang as it broke from its hinges.

"Talon!" Claire's voice was in his mind. He faltered. "Talon, they know you're here!" His chest tightened. That voice...

Reyr stepped up beside him. "Shall we?"

They plunged through the doorway and into a small cookery. The lighting was poor, but even darkness couldn't disguise the filth of the place. Several tavern wenches cowered in the corner, clutching one another out of fright.

"All exits are guarded, Your Majesty. None will be permitted to leave."

"Thank you, Jovari."

"Ladies?!" The women yelped. "Point me in the correct direction." He flashed them a toothy smile. They remained frozen for several moments before the one in the middle pointed down the hall.

"Much obliged. This way, Reyr."

They thundered down the hallway.

"Talon, be careful." Claire's voice. His stomach fluttered.

"This...I will." He was about to tell her that six men were hardly a threat, but there was something in the way she said it...

They came to the passage leading down to the cellar. He stopped to listen. There were agitated voices below. His breathing heightened, not because he was winded, but because something dark was stirring within. He craved a good fight.

He and Reyr drew their weapons silently. "I want their leader alive for questioning. The others are fair game."

"As you wish, my king."

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