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Home by Sarah Prineas Read Free Book Online

Book: Home by Sarah Prineas Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sarah Prineas
wasn’t what I’d planned, but as a distraction it couldn’t be any better.
    I ducked from between the wobbling bookshelves and took off in the other direction; Pip clung to my shoulder. I darted around the end of the shelf and peered back to check on the guard. She had drawn her sword and was backing away from the giant shadow-me. Laughing, I skiffed across the passageway to another alley between shelves, then ’round a corner, through a room full of map books, and out into the hallway.
    I heard the sound of shouting and running feet. Quick as sticks, I headed in the opposite direction.
    I got away clean, out of the Dawn Palace and into the rainy city, sticking to alleys and backstreets, through the Sunrise. At the bridge I saw a pair of guards, but I hid Pip under my sweater and kept my head down, and they didn’t notice me.
    Finally I stepped off the bridge and onto the puddled streets of the Twilight.
    Good! Now I could do the magical spell and find out who’d sent those kidnappers after me.

C HAPTER
    7

    M y cousin Embre had worse memories of the former Underlord Crowe’s house than I did, so when he’d taken over as Underlord he decided to leave the pit and ruins of the old Dusk House to rot, and a street away had built a new Dusk House of sand-colored stone, all on one level so he could get ’round it in his wheeled chair. His legs didn’t work because Crowe had had minions break them when he’d been Underlord and he’d wanted Embre out of the way, even though Embre’s true name, Embre-wing, was a black bird name, and he was Crowe’s own son.
    I walked up to the double-wide front door. No guards were posted, but somebody was watching, because the door opened before I could knock. Pip flew up and landed on my shoulder, and a silent minion brought us down a wide, slate-paved hallway to Embre’s office.
    He was there, sitting in his wheeled chair beside a warm fire and small table with a tea tray set on it. Seeing me, he frowned. “A bit worse for wear, aren’t you, cousin?” he asked.
    â€œI’m all right,” I said, wiping the rain off my sore face with my sleeve.
    Embre’s aunt, the old pyrotechnist Sparks, sat opposite him, holding a teacup in her three-fingered hand. She wore her usual gray, scorch-marked dress, and her ash-colored hair was cut short. “Whatcher, wizard boy,” she said to me with a grin.
    I grinned back at her. I was just as interested in pyrotechnics as she was.
    â€œMagic’s been tricksy lately,” she said.
    â€œI noticed,” I said. Hmmm. As a pyrotechnist, Sparks collected slowsilver, and made blackpowder and other things that would explode if you combined them. Because they’d once been dragons, the magics loved anything that had to do with smoke or fire, and explosions like the ones Sparks did drew their attention and got them all roiled up. That would not be a very good thing for the city right now. “Sparks,” I said slowly. “It’d be a good idea to not do any pyrotechnics for a while.”
    â€œFigured,” Sparks agreed. “Been experimenting with tea lately, instead.”
    Pip dropped off my shoulder and flew across the room, landing on the arm of Sparks’s chair.
    â€œWant a sip of my blackpowder blend, do you?” Sparks said to the dragon. She held out her cup.
    Pip stuck its snout into the cup and took a drink of her new tea. It looked up at Sparks, breathed out a puff of smoke, then took another gulp.
    Sparks gave a gap-toothed grin, then set her cup on the table and got to her feet. “All right then?” she said to Embre.
    He nodded. “Go ahead. I’ll give the ducal magister some tea if he wants it.”
    â€œRighty-o!” Sparks said, and bustled out of the room, leaving me and Embre to talk.
    â€œ Would the ducal magister like some tea?” Embre asked, picking up the teapot.
    â€œI’m not the ducal magister,

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