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Excerpt from Thorn Changer by Christy Reed
He watched her struggle for an answer. He knew she was struggling. He could see it in her eyes.
The answer came quicker than he had thought it would.
“I don’t know,” she shrugged, smiling back at him. “I’ve not done anything that I know of.”
Clever. He might have believed her if he hadn’t heard her talking to herself as he exited the library. “You seemed to think someone was a moment before.”
Her mouth tightened for a moment as the harp rubbed against her shoulder. A minstrel, then. That would explain it.
“You’ve run away from your post, haven’t you?” he asked quietly.
Her eyes went wide. Surprise. That he guessed? Or did she even know what he was talking about? “I’ve no post to run away from.”
Would she dare lie to him? She wouldn’t if she recognized him. But it’d been months since the last group of minstrels had been trained by Farer. And he had merely seen the group once. Strange, though, that he didn’t remember her. Her eyes were an unusual color for a Beolkin.
Maybe he had missed her in the crowd.
“Come now, during times such as these, did you really think you could lie to me? Or are you assigned to one of the few wandering positions left in Miagulo?”
Her eyes widened at that. She hadn’t expected him to know. She didn’t have a clue who he was, then. He watched her as she tried to think of another answer, fingering the wood of her harp. It was a beautifully made harp. Mekain, if he wasn’t mistaken. She must have played at one of the courts before this war started. Though why her post had been moved was beyond him, unless she had come from one of the farther kingdoms away from Foaie’s main line of attack. Her clothes were those of a court minstrel, though they’d seen much better days. Strange. Even if she was one of the wanderers, which the cloth headband would suggest, she wasn’t checking in at the cities she was supposed to. Else a noble would have remedied the neglect right away.
He stepped towards her. “Come, you doubtless meant no harm. We’ll sort out the whole thing. What post did you leave?”
“None,” she said quickly, maybe a little too quickly. She smiled. “I merely got confused, is all. You see, someone was trying to interrupt me on my way to my next post, but he’s given up, else we’d seen him by now.”
Plausible. But it didn’t sound quite right. He frowned. “If that’s the case, we better find him. Do you know what the man looked like?”
She shook her head. “No, he wore a hood. All I could see was his eyes, red as blood.”
He froze. “Red, you say?”
Something clattered behind him. He whirled, hand on the hilt of his sword. A couple of cats had knocked over a bucket, spilling out pieces of kindling. Whoever left it there would not be amused. He turned around.
But the girl was gone.
* * *That's the end of Chapter One Part Four. I hope you enjoyed it. For right now, Thorn Changer is available exclusively on Amazon. Feel free to share this excerpt, just please include all text between the asterisks (* * *), as well as a link to Thorn Changer's Amazon page. This will give your viewers a link to where they can purchase Thorn Changer if they're interested. Thanks.
Chapter Two Part One will be available on Monday next week.