The Crimson Shard

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Authors: Teresa Flavin
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inside it that you drew in your sketchbook.”
    Sunni pressed her lips into a tight line. Blaise was sitting forward, his jaw clamped shut.
    “It was rumored that Corvo went to Blackhope Tower, where Sir Innes hid him. It would make sense for him to have concealed himself in
The Mariner’s Return to Arcadia,
” Throgmorton said. “Did you see Fausto Corvo when you were inside that painting?”
    “No,” said Blaise and Sunni as one.
    “I see,” said Throgmorton. “Then how did you come to draw him, Blaise?”
    Sunni cursed to herself. Why did Blaise have to carry
sketchbook around with him? She’d told him umpteen times that he’d either lose it or damage it, but he refused to put it aside until he had filled all of its pages with pictures.
    “I didn’t draw him.” Her friend’s voice was edgy.
    “His portrait is in among your drawings.”
    “I copied that from a self-portrait he made.”
    Throgmorton frowned. “I do not know of any self-portrait like your sketch. Are you certain you did not draw it from life?”
    “Yes, I’m sure,” Blaise muttered.
    “From memory then?” asked Throgmorton.
    “It’s partly copied and partly from my imagination. Not that it’s any of your business.”
    Throgmorton peered at them from the half dark. “I think Sunniva has a bad influence on you, Blaise, encouraging you to lie. But I also think you are the sort of young man who would lie only to protect others.”
    Sunni bristled at being described as a bad influence. “You have no idea what sort of person I am.”
    “Nor am I interested. I only want the truth about what is inside Corvo’s painting. Now.”
    “We’re not telling anyone anything. There’s nothing to tell.” Sunni stood up. “Take us back to our time, Mr. Throgmorton.”
    Blaise jumped to his feet, too, and picked up the lantern, shining it in the tour guide’s face.
    Throgmorton’s eyes were fixed on them, cold blue like shadows on icebergs. “Sit down.”
    “No, take us back through that door upstairs,” said Blaise.
Sit down!
” Throgmorton’s command emanated from somewhere deep in his chest, as violent as a crack of thunder and just as unnerving.
    Shaken, Sunni sat back on her chair, and Blaise put the lantern onto the table.
    Their captor’s face returned to impassive calmness. “This is a serious business. Do you think I would have brought you to this time if it were not?”
    Sunni and Blaise remained silent.
    “You know far more than you admit. You have seen paintings come to life before! And Blaise has drawn symbols and creatures in his sketchbook that could only be recognized by few learned men from the distant past. He may deny it all he likes, but I know he copied them from what he saw inside
The Mariner’s Return to Arcadia
— including Corvo’s three lost magical paintings.”
    Sunni’s face twisted. “So you know about
too. Why am I not surprised?”
    He gave Sunni a cool look. “I brought you against my better judgment. But you are here now and will make yourself useful.”
    “What does that mean?”
    “You admit you know about the three lost paintings:
The Chalice Seekers, The Jewel of Adocentyn,
The City of the Sun.
It is said that Corvo hid the deepest, most powerful secrets of the universe below their surfaces. Tell me their exact location, how to find them, and how to get out of the painting.”
    “You’re wasting your time,” Blaise said. “The labyrinth is closed down now. It’s over. There’s no way back in.”
    Throgmorton’s eyes glinted. “The labyrinth is only closed in
    “You want to go into the painting yourself!” Sunni said, horrified.
    “And to return safely, for my daughter’s sake.”
    “I’ve got nothing to say to you.” Her face was set.
    “Will you be more sensible, Blaise?”
    Blaise just shook his head, glowering.
    “So be it.” Throgmorton rose and smoothed out his long overcoat.
    “You will remain pupils of the illustrious Jeremiah

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