Congratulations on finding part five of the treasure hunt!
I’m so excited to be sharing this with you, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, a few UKYA bloggers and I have been working with Bex Hogan, the lovely author of the Isles of Storm and Sorrow series, to bring you this short story she has written in the world of Viper and Venom. If you haven’t read the previous four parts then go and read them first! I’ll get you started, the beginning of the treasure hunt starts here.
Disclaimer: This story is set AFTER Viper, so beware of spoilers if you haven’t read the first book. (Also, if you haven’t, seriously go read it, it’s absolutely amazing.)
If anyone is interested, here is my review of Viper.
Vitriol – Part Five
The cold weather was slowly releasing its grip, and now the ground was a foul slush of mud and sleet, though Shard barely noticed. His mood was as buoyant as the sky was grey, and Raze had constantly tried to get him to manage his expectations.
‘We may find nothing,’ he’d warned over and over as they’d trudged through ice storms, and blistering winds.
But Shard knew he was wrong. At the very least he would find Choke and together they could finalise the details of their plan. Soon, the Maiden would be his.
The settlement was on the coast, by a busy, bustling harbour. The streets were filled with people, the water littered with ships, and Shard realised if you wanted to hide in plain sight, this was the perfect place. You could wander these cobbles and no one would pay you the slightest attention, too consumed with their own thoughts. This was a place of industry, where weaponry for the islands was made. But times were hard now. Since the mines on the Sixth had closed, there was little to trade, little to work with, and many forges were now boarded up. Which meant pockets were empty, and subsequently so were bellies. Everyone here had a slightly haunted air about them, fear which threatened to easily give way to violence. Hunger and poverty brought only misery.
The two men headed straight for the inn, wishing to refresh themselves while they worked out their strategy for finding Karn. Once one tankard of rum had been consumed and the second nearly gone, they began to discuss what to do.
Their options were limited. They could ask questions, talk to their fellow drinkers, but as outsiders it was unlikely anyone would trust them enough to answer honestly, and worse, they could tip Karn off and he and his family might disappear. Or they could take a room, spend some time in the settlement and watch the comings-and-goings, patiently waiting for any sign of something they could consider a lead. Neither favoured the slow, long wait, keen
to make progress as fast as possible, but nor could they risk losing the only advantage they had by scaring Karn away. And so by the end of their fourth drink, they were decided. They would stay and bide their time.
‘I’ll secure us lodgings,’ Shard said standing to his feet and swaying unsteadily as if on the stormy seas rather than the still ground. Belching loudly, he started towards the innkeeper, but as he approached, someone came up behind him, caught him roughly by the arm and pushed him through the inn and onto the street.
Murderous with outrage, Shard spun to confront his assailant, only for his anger to evaporate in the cold night air. ‘You should be more careful, I was about to run you through.’
‘A threat that would carry more weight if you weren’t so drunk I could knock you over where you stand.’ Choke glared at him from beneath her hood. ‘You took your time.’
‘I came as quickly as I could.’
‘And not alone, I see.’ Choke clearly was as pleased that Raze was here as Shard had been.
‘Mouse’s orders. But he may be useful to us.’
‘You better hope so. Now come on. Go fetch him and we’ll be on our way.’
A cunning smile spread across Choke’s face. ‘There’s someone who’s eager to meet you.’
I hope you guys enjoyed part five of the story! To find part six in the treasure hunt, which will be out tomorrow, you need to decode this blog name…
BART KOOLER HOOVS