Book 08 - Petty Pewter Gods

Book 08 - Petty Pewter Gods by Glen Cook Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Book 08 - Petty Pewter Gods by Glen Cook Read Free Book Online
Authors: Glen Cook
Tags: Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery
charted a course unlikely to lead me into
trouble. I had to get to the Dead Man. I needed some serious
advice. I had fallen into deep shit if I was dealing with real
gods. I might be into it deep anyway.
    I moved fast and tried to watch every which way at once, sure
that the effort was a waste because I was dealing with
shapeshifters who could walk behind me and just be something else
every time I looked around.
    My head still hurt, though my hangover had faded. I was past the
sleepiness, but I was starved and all I really wanted was a sample
of Dean’s cooking.
    The streets were not crowded. Up there they never are. But times
have changed. I saw several enterprising pushcart operators trying
to sell trinkets or services. They would not have dared in times
past. Used to be privately hired security thugs would send their
kind scurrying with numerous bruises.
    They still did, I discovered. I came on several brunos bouncing
an old scissor sharpener all over an acre of street. They eyeballed
me but saw I was headed downhill. Why risk any pain encouraging me
to hurry? I guess those other cartmen were around because the thugs
did not have time to get them all. Or they had purchased a private
license from the guards.
    Not long after I crossed the boundary into the workaday real
world, I realized that I had acquired a tail. She didn’t give
me a good look, so I could not be sure, but I suspected she might
have had red hair when I was on the back end of the chase.
    Sometimes you just got more balls than brains. You do stuff that
don’t make sense later. Especially if you blow it.
    I was lucky this time but still can’t figure out why I
headed for Brookside Park instead of going home. If that was the
redhead back there she knew where I lived.
    The park was a mile out of my way, too. It is a big tract of
trees and brush and reservoirs fed by springs that fill a creek
running off the flank of the Hill. There are Royal fishponds and a
Royal aviary and a stand of four-story granaries and silos
supposedly kept full in case of siege or disaster. I wouldn’t
bet much on there being a stash if ever we are forced to tap those
resources. Corruption in TunFaire is such that the officials in
charge probably don’t even go through bureaucratic motions
before selling whatever the farmers bring in.
    But, hell. Maybe I am too cynical.
    The park police force, never numerous nor energetic nor
effective at their best, had worse problems than the thugs up the
Hill. Whole tribes of squatters had set up camp. Again I wondered
why they found TunFaire so attractive. The Cantard is hell by
anybody’s reckoning, but a lot less so if you were born
there. Why leave the hell you know, walk hundreds of miles, plunk
yourself down in a town where not only do you have no prospects but
the natives all hate you and don’t need much excuse to do you
grief?
    On the other hand—and I don’t understand
why—TunFaire is a dream for this whole end of the world, the golden
city. Maybe you can’t see why if you are looking at it from
the inside.
    The woman gave me more room out there, off the street, so she would be less obvious. I didn’t get a
better look.
    I strode briskly, hup two three four. Up and down hump and
swale, round bush and copse. I darted into a small, shady stand of
evergreens in a low place, careful not to disturb the old needles
on the ground. Hey, I used to be Force Recon. I was the bear in the
woods.
    I selected a friendly shadow, did the trick with the cord that
was supposed to make me invisible. I waited.
    She was careful. You have to be when you are tracking somebody
and they drop out of sight. They could be setting an ambush.
    I didn’t plan to jump her. I just wanted to try my new toy
and get a look at someone who seemed interested in me.
    She was about six feet tall, dishwater blonde, sturdy, maybe
twenty-five, better groomed than most gals you see on the street.
She had an adequate supply of curves but wasn’t dressed to
brag. She wore

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