Blood and Money

Blood and Money by Unknown Read Free Book Online

Book: Blood and Money by Unknown Read Free Book Online
Authors: Unknown
took, as though the blackness inside was manifesting itself on his skin. “I have been to see the alchemists, apothecaries, and every practitioner of tainted magic I could track down. And can you think why?” It was a rhetorical question. “No? Then let me tell you, brother.” Isra winced, hoping Sana would miss the familiarity in the taunt. “I’ve coated the runnels along the edge of this blade with a poison so toxic that I need only touch the steel to flesh for it to take effect. It’s a very particular poison. It will paralyze in moments, but not kill. That will only happen if I break the skin. There is no antidote. Nothing that can be done to reverse the process. Do you take my meaning, Nightwalker?”
    Until that moment, Isra hadn’t noticed that Faris was wearing gloves, but now it made sense. The man held the blade only inches from Sana’s throat. His words had the desired effect: she stopped struggling against him. The first tears broke and ran down her cheeks as her world was turned upside down. She was a feisty woman, always had been, but she wasn’t physically strong enough to free herself. Certainly not without her bastard of a husband touching the poisoned dagger to her cheek. She knew it and he knew it.
    “Better not cut yourself, then.” Isra said.
    “This blade was meant for you, Nightwalker.”
    “Did you really believe I’d let you close enough to prick me with it, Faris? You’re a bigger fool than I took you for. Put it down and let her go. It doesn’t have to end like this.”
    “Oh, but it does,” Faris said.
    There was movement on the other side of the door. Both men heard it.
    Faris’s grip around his wife’s throat tightened, an element of panic stealing into his face as the boy, Munir, appeared in the doorway. “Father?”
    The boy caught sight of Isra then, but rather than being frightened by the black-clad assassin, he didn’t seem to be concerned at all. Isra remembered the moment back at the ball when he thought the boy had seen him. Did he know? Or was he just too young to understand what was happening here?
    “Get out of here, Munir. Back to bed. Now.”
    “You’re hurting her.”
    “Don’t argue with me, boy. Bed.”
    Faris turned his head. It was the smallest of movements, but Isra sensed this might be his only chance to end this well. He closed half of the distance between them before Faris realized he was on the move.
    A look between rage and disbelief flashed across the merchant’s face. Then, coldly and deliberately, Faris yanked Sana’s head back and drew the blade across his wife’s throat.
    Arterial blood pulsed, the first spray describing a huge arc that spattered down Isra’s face and chest, the second and third smaller, until the blood barely bubbled from the wound.
    “I might not be able to fight you, brother dearest, but I can take someone you love.”
    Rage like nothing he had ever experienced surged through Isra. It was thunder in his blood. Lightning in his veins. It was a desert khamsin inside his skull, pounding relentlessly against his temples, trying to shatter the plates of bone. It was a djinn whipping up sand to blast his skull to dust.
    Isra had never killed in rage. Ever. The Nightwalker was always in total control of mind and body. Death was clean and swift, delivered with one eye on escape. Control meant no mistakes, no unnecessary suffering.
    But Isra wanted Faris to suffer. He wanted him to scream and beg and plead for his life. He wanted to break him and every bone in his worthless body. A thousand cuts could never be enough. He wanted to flay the skin from his back, to shred the flesh as he peeled it away from his bones. And he wanted Faris to feel it all.
    He pulled twin daggers from the sheathes on his hips, blades flashing in a blur of motion. He cut high, across Faris’ cheek, and low across his belly, opening the gut up. Faris dropped the poison-tainted blade, falling to his knees and clutching his stomach as a rope of

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