Chapter 73

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Rilien's mind felt clearer – and his heart significantly lighter – after telling Frista all about his night at the Cascadia. Shivan had been there with them this morning as they sat at the back table inside the coffee shop, typewriter poised in front of Frista.

Shivan had listened without commenting much, though his face had burned red with anger and indignation as he heard about Cara being locked up in there, drugged up – and Shivan's father, Jorand, not sleeping with the girls but totally complicit.

It was a lot to take in, Rilien knew all too well.

Rilien hadn't known what to do with himself for the rest of his Saturday.

He knew Frista was hard at work, writing the article as fast as she could. Shivan stayed with her, helping her with anything she might need. The stakes were higher now that they knew what was really going on. They wanted to get those girls out, sooner better than later.

But they needed to be smart about it.

Frista had a friend at the printers who did proofreading and final approvals, ensuring that nothing was printed that the City Lord wouldn't like. However, Frista said her friend was the laziest of the bunch. Especially when he worked long shifts and it was getting late. He had a tendency to skim. A lot.

Besides, nothing had been written against the City Lord or his posse in so long now, that some of the proofreaders had gotten lenient. So, Frista planned on using a misleading title and writing a bulky, somewhat vague opening, hoping to bore her friend into his usual negligence.

Then, he would send it to printing. Frista had enough money saved up to pay for the first round of one hundred copies. Rilien and Shivan told her to print more, that they'd both chip in, but she told them it would be too suspicious. They could always print more later.

Which left Rilien with nothing to do, now. Just waiting. Which was excruciating. At home, at the park, the Fashion District, or at the Happy Monkey – it didn't matter where he went, he kept thinking about those girls. Sunzar, Cara, Fiona, all the others. And the richest men in the city, who'd just decided they were entitled to do such an appalling thing. Who knew what level of damage had already been inflicted to those girls' minds and bodies?

So much for a clearer mind and lighter heart.

Not quite yet. Rilien couldn't keep all of this to himself. But the one person he most wanted to talk to was nowhere to be found today.

Around 7 PM, Rilien tried the Golden Temple again.

One of the senior guards, Saul Silverleaf, told Rilien that Leithan had gone to see a friend, and it had seemed important. Rilien was pretty sure he knew where Leith had run off to, again. His new Yoxai guy – the one with the eyes like he was always thinking about something funny.

Rilien thanked Saul and sat at the back of the lecture hall for a little while, thoughtful. He wondered idly if he felt any shred of jealousy, but he didn't detect any. His thing with Leith had been ages ago, it was all good.

He did envy Leithan a bit, he supposed.

Rilien had this on-and-off thing with the Hive's bartender. But it wasn't anything serious.

He supposed he envied the way Leithan's eyes brightened whenever Teshin appeared in the vicinity. Or even just when someone mentioned him. It was sweet. Maybe a bit naive, but hey. At least, Leith seemed to be doing better lately.

On the stage, Chosen Ander Irongrip was giving his lecture. It was about when Veya had climbed the Eye of the World.

Wait, hadn't Leithan already talked about this last week?

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