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.Another boot scuff from inside, just beyond the door now.The guard was undoubtedly examining the late-night visitor through the glass.Sereth held his hands up in a submissive gesture.He’d told Lad of his failed attempt to forcefully rescue Jinny.Hopefully, Hensen would be more eager to continue receiving intelligence from his spy than to ban Sereth from his house.Four bolts clacked open, and a complex locking mechanism clattered before the heavy door opened.A length of a thick-linked brass chain stopped it from opening more than three inches.The voice from inside sounded tired and irritated.“What is it, Sereth?”“I need to talk to Kiesha.”“She’s sleeping.Come back in the morning.”Lad tensed as the door started to close, but Sereth stomped his foot between the door and frame.“Of course she’s sleeping, Worton.The whole damned city’s sleeping! I’d be sleeping if I had any choice in the matter, but your master made it quite clear that I do my job…or else.” Sereth fingered his broken nose and huffed in annoyance.“If you don’t let me see Kiesha, I guarantee that Hensen will have your balls in his egg cups for breakfast, not mine.”“Don’t threaten me.”“Get Kiesha, and if you’re too timid to wake her, go get Terrence or Jamesly and let them take the heat.”Worton paused for two heartbeats before relenting.“All right, but don’t think you can pull the same shit on me that you did on Jamesly.And you’re damn right I’m gonna wake Terrence.Wait there while I ring him.”“Wait out in the street for another City Guard patrol to come by? Are you daft?” Sereth glanced up and down the street nervously.“I’ll wait inside, or I’ll come back midmorning, and you can explain to Hensen why he didn’t get my report sooner!”“Fine!” The man sounded irritated, but resigned.“Move your foot so I can let you in.”Sereth complied, and the door closed.The chain rattled, and the door began to open again.Lad moved in a blur.This part of the plan they agreed on.Their first priority was silence.He thrust the door open with one hand and smacked the edge of the other into the guard’s throat just below the larynx.The blow wasn’t lethal, just enough to stun and silence any cry for aid.Worton stumbled back and raised a crossbow.As his finger tightened on the trigger, Lad plucked out the bolt, flipped it, and poised the tip an inch from the startled guard’s eye.The crack of the empty crossbow was no louder than the bronze door knocker.“One word and you’re dead!”Ignoring the menace, the man dropped his crossbow and tried to bat the bolt away while reaching for his sword with his free hand.Sereth lunged to catch the crossbow before it could clatter to the floor.Lad thrust the bolt through the guard’s sword hand, kicked him squarely in the crotch, clapped a hand over his mouth, and caught him before he fell to the floor.Sereth closed and bolted the door, then lay the crossbow aside.They were in.Lad kept watch as Sereth gagged and bound their captive.The guard’s moan seemed loud to his hypersensitive ears, but he detected no disturbance in the farther reaches of the house.Glancing back, he watched Sereth finish the knot in Worton’s gag, then stand and draw two daggers.The Blade nodded toward the stairs.Lad silently led the way, Sereth’s tread barely audible as he followed.The low light of ornate wall lamps illuminated their passage.Pausing at the second floor landing to listen, he heard nothing to indicate that an alarm had been sounded.They continued up.At the third floor, they stopped again.To the left, double doors at the end of the hall led into Hensen’s bedroom.Ahead, along the front of the house, was Hensen’s office.The two doors down the hall to the right were unknowns.Never leave a potential threat behind you.Remember!Lad pressed an ear to the office door and each of the unknowns in turn, but heard nothing.His heart sank a little; he’d hoped that Kiesha slept behind one of them [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]