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“The fact that you’re still alive doesn’t mean you deserve to be.”

The prisoners paused. Even in his bedraggled state, the officer was still a tyrant. Rain and seawater had done nothing to quench the burning hatred in his eyes. One by one, he stared each prisoner down and locked them onto a prison chain, including Dev.

Dev stood straight again, mud concealing his expression and the dark tattoo across his nose. Schecheva was only 15 miles away, a mere tenth of the entire journey’s length. If not for his preparation, he would doubt his own survival. The chain line was a new danger. Dev could keep his own footing, but the others? Many were injured, exhausted, drinking the muddy water at their feet.

The officer took the lead and gave it a harsh tug, sending several men sprawling. “There is no key. As we pass through the mountains, the way will be treacherous. If you fall, either the others pull you back up, or you all die. And don’t think I give a damn whether you monsters survive the trip. So GET MOVING!”

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