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staying here’s not

that Valley. I’m gonna

on about it now. He’s too woozy to be careful and watch his words, and downtown Rourton is notor- ious for its rats. Informers. Scum who hide in the shadows and sell people’s secrets to the guards. They get three silver coins for dobbing in a traitor. That’s


booby traps of glass and flammable alcohol. And we aren’t just facing ordinary bombs – the kind that

‘I just reckon



I remember his breath hitching whenever a bomb fell too close.

the corners crumbled in my palm. It came from Mr Corring’s bakery stall, which was the centrepiece of the market with its shining lanterns and aroma of cakes, cookies and sugar buns. ‘Just this once, Danika,’ my mother said, as she handed Mr Corring his coins. ‘You know we can’t afford treats. Try to make it last.’

I nodded solemnly, already planning how to do