Free Branded by Ana J. Phoenix

Book: Branded by Ana J. Phoenix Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ana J. Phoenix
didn’t look around. What else was he going to do?
    He did stop when something blocked the road in front of him. Something large and horse-like and potentially dead. Just lying there on the path. It hadn’t been there before, so what was it doing here now? Asher took a few steps closer to look at the creature. Half-horse, half-man, it wasn’t moving, and it wasn’t breathing. The centaur he’d been running from lay dead in front of him, its features pale.
    Asher swallowed, and he kept going. Both to reach the city, and to get away from the vampire.

Chapter 8 - The Execution
    Asher made his way back to the enormous walls and entered through the gate. With any luck the lizards wouldn’t even remember him, right? What with all the different smells of food in the air and all those people going about their business. Several dwarfs and penguins were walking the streets. And some people Asher had no idea what to call. People with two heads or three eyes.
    And they were all annoying.
    People were arguing everywhere. Loud enough to be heard through stone walls. It almost felt a bit like home that way.
    Just a few feet in front of Asher, a dwarf stood on the street all by himself, and even he was shouting. Asher wanted to go up to him and give him a piece of his mind, until he heard what the dwarf was actually saying. “DELICIOUS TECK-STEAKS IN ALL FLAVORS ONLY TODAY AT HALF PRICE! GRAB THEM WHILE THEY'RE STILL DEAD!”
    Asher grimaced. No way did he want to eat that. What did that even mean? Asher discarded the thought and walked on. He had to find Blind Guy.
    A lot of people were traveling in the same direction, and Asher decided to go along with them. They had to be on their way to something interesting. Some of them were talking among themselves. Asher caught chunks of conversation like, “Been waiting for this all day,” and, “Serves those bastards right, creating half-breeds… it’s not natural!”
    None of this made sense until the street opened up into a large square that looked like a medieval market place without the markets. A wooden stage stood in the center of it, surrounded by flocks of people of differing sizes. Lizards stood at the side. Fuck.
    Asher was about to turn and leave when he spotted two familiar people on top of the stage.
    Snakes and Stoner. And next to them, a guillotine.
    Asher stopped still. Well, that was bad. If Blind Guy was here, he would freak. Asher scanned the crowd again but couldn’t find him. Looking up at the stage, he swallowed a lump in his throat. For some reason, seeing Snakes and Stoner there gave him the feeling that he should be doing something.
    But first he had to find out whether Blind Guy was around. Asher took a few steps into the crowd. A couple of guys in red uniforms holding spears were posted along the side of the stage. They had to be part of the freak brigade that upheld the rules of this place. There was something elvish about them, but Asher didn't bother with them when he had a very particular elf to find.
    He scanned the crowd again and looked back at Stoner and Snakes. They were so close, he could have shouted out to them, but it was too loud. And there were more people on the stage. Of course, the horse guy wasn't around, but there was some fat man who looked like he would enjoy cutting people's heads off. Behind them, an old geezer with a beard almost down to his feet was strolling the length of the stage from left to right.
    Stoner and Snakes were bound by neon green shackles, but Asher saw no reason they couldn’t use magic. So why weren’t they freeing themselves?
    The incessant chatter around him made it hard to think. Along with the smell of fried food. The thought of food made Asher sick, though he couldn’t say why.
    He should leave, run, before he would be spotted. Just turn around and leave, but he couldn't take his eyes off Stoner and Snakes and his feet wouldn't move.
    The fat guy on the stage seemed to have no such problems. He

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