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Every time dry foliage crunched beneath her or Books’s boots, Amaranthe winced, but none of the workers looked their way. Whoever this group was, they seemed confident that nobody was around to witness their cargo being loaded.

Once she had put twenty or thirty meters between her and the tracks, Amaranthe paused, looking for Sicarius.

Books tapped her on the shoulder and, apparently of a similar mind, whispered, “Where’d he go?”

Amaranthe could only offer a vague, “That way, probably.”

She turned parallel to the tracks, stepping over the rows of corn stubble and heading toward the back of the depot building. They reached its protective shadow without trouble. Amaranthe poked her head around the far corner as the lorry closest to the freight cars started up. It headed straight toward her, following the road that led past the depot and into the fields from whence it had come.

Amaranthe jumped back from the corner. The wall did not offer any alcoves or decorative architectural features that would create shadows for hiding in.

The lorry rumbled closer, and its twin running lanterns pushed back the darkness near the road.

Suck it in,” Amaranthe whispered and pressed herself against the back of the building.

It’s sucked,” Books responded.

She hoped the vehicle would drive past and disappear down the road, but it parked not ten feet away, the cab and the two men inside fully visible to Amaranthe. If they turned their heads in her direction...

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