Judar was almost, almost tempted to hang upside-down from his carpet to give his would-be king an innocent look. The way the guy was currently clambering down an afternoon-shadowed balcony to drop into the midst of lethal Dungeon monsters, Cassim deserved it. “She really will like you, you know.”
Judar swooped underneath just in case Cassim let go at the wrong moment. “She only dresses up in all those silks and layers because she has to. Princess has to be proper, after all. She’d much rather be climbing up the peach trees. She finds out you’re half-monkey, she’ll be thrilled.” He shrugged. “Of course, she’ll also be asking you to get down the really good ones up near the thin branches. And you’d better share. I like peaches, too.”
Cassim’s knuckles whitened, gripping shallow niches of stone. “What are you doing here?” he hissed.
“Trying to keep you from getting killed?” Judar let his gaze slip sideways and down, to where a horde of unkillable monkeys were lounging in courtyard shade. “Unless you’ve got a Magic Tool stashed where I don’t want to search you, they’ll rip you to shreds. So what are you doing here?”
Dark eyes smoldered. “They went after my gang.”
“They did that,” Judar agreed, smiling. “Made a huge, bloody mess. And that was with the rest of your gang fighting back. The Fog Troupe’s not here. How far do you think you’re going to get?”