Kameron Hurley — 29
“Organic?” she asked.“Yes. It will breathe or you, i you need it to.”“Great,” she said, as i that would make any dierence tonight. “Walk meout?”Yah Tayyib escorted her back through the labyrinthine halls o the magicians’quarters, all windowless. He took her to the internal magician’s betting booth,where a young woman Nyx knew rom her days at the gym stood at the windowcollecting baskets o bugs.“I still have credit here, Maj?” Nyx asked.“You always have credit,” Maj said.Yah Tayyib hued his displeasure as Nyx set down a bet on Jaks so Hajjijor fty.“You’re a madwoman,” he said as Nyx picked up her receipt and then pushedback through the crowd o magicians.“Maybe so,” she said. But this would get her Jaks, and Jaks would get her theboy, and the boy would put money in her pockets—and save some Nasheenianvillage rom contamination.That was the idea, anyway.Yah Tayyib brought her back to the gym, which had been transormed intoa fghting arena. The lights outside the ring were dim. The last o the speedbags had been put away. A man who looked remarkably like a Chenjan dancermoved under the ring-lights and it took Nyx hal a minute to realize the dancerreally
Chenjan—and male. Some instinctual part o her thought he’d looka lot better blown up, but there was something she liked about him, somethingabout the way he moved, the delicacy o his hands.She and Yah Tayyib negotiated the crowd to a bench at the back, along theedges o the darkness. Nyx kept her eye on the dancer.“Who’s he?” Nyx asked.“The boy?”He was probably eighteen or nineteen, old enough or the ront. Not somuch a boy, in Nasheen.“Yeah,” she said.“A pet project o Yah Reza’s,” Yah Tayyib said. “A political reugee rom Chenja.He calls himsel Rhys.”“What kind o a name is that?”“A
nom de guerre
,” he said, using the Ras Tiegan expression. “Yah Reza tells mehe used to dance or the Chenjan mullahs as a child. When his ather asked himto carry out the punishment o his own sister because he himsel was unable,Rhys reused, and was exiled. That’s the story he tells, in any case.”“Does he do anything besides dance?”“He’s not a prostitute, i that’s what you’re asking,” Yah Tayyib said.