The Rogue Knight

The Rogue Knight by Brandon Mull Read Free Book Online

Book: The Rogue Knight by Brandon Mull Read Free Book Online
Authors: Brandon Mull
Twitch, and Mira escape Skyport when the legion came looking for Mira. By issuing a command in code, he had his men slow down the legionnaires while Cole and his friends got away. But if pressed, Cole figured Adam would call him a runaway in order to keep up appearances. “Why do you care?”
    Ansel turned his head and spat. “Have we been introduced? Slaves are my trade, Scarecrow. I’d turn in a runaway on principle, especially one I sold, and that’s ignoring the reward.”
    Cole knew he could end this conversation. He just needed to take off across the rooftops. But he didn’t relish the idea of Ansel scouring the town for him. If his fellow slavers were also in town, it could end up causing serious trouble. And what about Dalton and Jenna?
    Should he show Ansel the freemark? Would that evidence satisfy him? At this distance, Ansel might assume it was a trick. Even if the slaver could examine the legitimacy of the mark, the impossible change might only heighten his interest.
    Cole bit his lip. No matter what else he tried, he needed to fish for information about the other slaves. This man might have all the answers he needed!
    â€œWhat about my friends?” Cole asked. “Do you know where they ended up?”
    â€œWe sold the lot of them,” Ansel said. “Are you still trying to rescue them? I can sometimes admire stubbornness. But not stupidity.”
    â€œDo you know where they went?”
    â€œAll the deals go through me,” he said.
    â€œOne of my friends is named Dalton. You remember him?”
    â€œYou showed special interest in Dalton and another called Jenna,” Ansel said. “They both went to Junction. That was temporary. They’re long gone. They’ve been sent out across the five kingdoms by now.”
    Cole heard a creak behind him. Whirling, he saw a balding, beefy slaver coming up to the roof through a hatch. It was Ham, who had greeted him in the basement spook alley back in Arizona.
    For a moment, Cole stood frozen with surprise. If not for the faint sound of the hatch opening, he would have been blindsided and captured. Glowering, Ham rushed toward Cole. Pointing his sword to the roof across the alley, Cole gave the command and leaped across. The slaver dashed to the edge of the building, then eyed the gap, as if considering a jump.
    â€œSend him away or I’m gone!” Cole called, ready to make a longer leap.
    â€œCome back down, Ham,” Ansel growled.
    Ham retreated and disappeared down the hatch.
    â€œNow I see why you were so talkative,” Cole said.
    â€œI do what I can,” Ansel said. “Might as well come down too, Scarecrow. That sword may let you fly, but once I’m on your trail, it’s only a matter of time.”
    â€œDon’t bother,” Cole said. “I’m free.” He showed Ansel the back of his hand.
    Ansel frowned up at him for a long moment. Reaching into his satchel, he withdrew a spyglass. He held it up to an eye, focused briefly, then lowered it. “That looks pretty good from here. How’d you manage it?”
    â€œI told you, Adam Jones freed me. He had some guy he knew change the mark. That’s why I don’t have papers.” Though bending the truth, Cole was trying not to stray too far from what actually happened.
    â€œWhat guy?” Ansel challenged. “I’ve heard of some needle masters adjusting bondmarks after slaves are set free. But nobody can erase one and replace it with a freemark.”
    â€œThis guy could,” Cole said.
    â€œWhy would Adam Jones do a thing like that for a new slave?”
    â€œI saved some lives, including his.” This wasn’t exactly true either, but Cole was trying to stay in the same neighborhood as the truth. After all, he had saved Mira.
    â€œYou’re a liar,” Ansel said. “There’s a lot more to this story.”
    â€œI’m free,” Cole said. “Leave me alone, or

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