Vision in Silver Page 103

Simon didn’t know how he would react to human painkillers either, but he thought giving Meg a couple of licks would make him feel better. He always felt comforted when he gave her hand a couple of licks while they watched a movie. But what about Nathan?

“Tell Jane to have Meg hold one of the chamomile cookies for a minute and then give a bit to Nathan,” he said.

Lorenzo studied him. “So the sedating quality isn’t just carried in cassandra sangue blood? Just having Meg hold something provides enough contact to transfer some of that calming effect?”

Cassandra sangue blood had been used to make the drug feel-good, which could make someone so passive he couldn’t respond to any kind of threat. It was easy to argue that taking blood from the girls was a bad thing, especially when the girls were treated like livestock. But Simon was suddenly reluctant to tell anyone, even Lorenzo, that a blood prophet might slip a mild tranquilizer to someone just by handling food.

After all, the comfort he felt might just be from giving his friend an “I’m with you” lick.

“The cookies always taste better if Meg handles them,” Simon finally said.

Lorenzo seemed to consider that for much too long. “That’s definitely something to think about. Now, you shift and get out of here so I can look at your friends.”

He hurt just as much in Wolf form, and his forelegs didn’t want to take his weight because his shoulders weren’t working quite right. But he hobbled out of the examination room, swiftly replaced by Nathan.

<Have to stay Wolf until I heal,> he told Vlad.

<Considering what Meg had done to her hair, you do not want her to paint your tail orange.> Not having a tail, Vlad sounded amused instead of sympathetic. <Montgomery has taken Theral to the hospital. Burke is going to talk to us about what happened here and at the stall market. I’ll interpret for you. Or Elliot can.>

<Elliot?> He didn’t see his sire. <Where’s Sam?>

<At the Green Complex with John and Skippy. They’re well guarded. Blair will bring the Wolf bed from HGR’s office to your apartment.>

Yeah, he wasn’t going to be jumping up on a bed for the next few days, and sleeping on something cushiony would feel better than sleeping on the hard floor.

Meg stood by the open office door, staring out at the square. But when Nathan, in Wolf form, limped out of the examination room, she turned and stomped back to where the three of them were standing.

At another time, it would have been funny—Meg in a stompy-bison mood with her puppy-fuzz hair and a determined look in her gray eyes. Now . . .

Please don’t whack me, Simon thought, grateful when Vlad stepped between the Wolves and the blood prophet.

“Nathan is coming home with us,” Meg said. “He needs quiet and rest as much as Simon, and if he’s in the Wolfgard Complex, the puppies will pester him.”

Vlad knew the adult Wolves wouldn’t allow that. But the Sanguinati was oddly silent. Of course, all Simon could see at the moment was Vlad’s back and not Meg’s face.

“Nathan is coming home with us.”

A moment of surprised silence. <Did Meg just growl at you?> Simon asked Vlad.

<Yes. So make up your mind about who is going where before she decides to do more than growl to make her point,> Vlad replied.

Simon thought about Nathan, trapped and alone in the overturned bus, cut by glass and the sharp rocks that had been thrown at him through the broken windows. Which would be more comfort, being with the pack at the Wolfgard Complex or being with a smaller pack that included Meg?

He looked at Nathan. <Do you want to come with us?>

<Yes.>

<Tell Blair to bring Nathan’s bed to my apartment too,> Simon told Vlad. <He can stay with me . . . with us . . . until he heals.>

<You sure?>

<Meg is sure, so I’m sure.>

*   *   *

Even though he wasn’t going to participate, Elliot felt the interview with the police would have more weight if it was held in the consulate’s conference room, and Tess agreed. That was why she and Nyx were sitting across from Captain Burke—and why they’d chosen the seats that would keep Burke from noticing Vlad, in his smoke form, blending into the shadows in a corner of the room.

<Burke looks nervous about being in a room with us,> Tess said.

<He should be nervous,> Nyx replied.

Burke held up a small notebook and pen. “All right if I take notes?”

“Of course,” Tess replied. She saw the flash of alarm in the man’s eyes when her hair began to coil, but the hair remained brown, a sign that she wasn’t feeling angry or threatened.

After a moment’s hesitation, Burke opened the notebook. “Mr. Wolfgard said he’d been warned to leave the stall market, that they were in danger. I’m assuming that warning came from Ms. Corbyn?”

“Yes,” Tess said.

“What can you tell me about what happened here?”

Tess told him what she knew. She’d been in A Little Bite. John Wolfgard had been unpacking books in HGR’s stock room, and Elliot Wolfgard had been doing some paperwork at the consulate when they all heard a weird-sounding howl. Then Sam and Skippy howled a warning that brought them running in time to see Meg dash up the stairs to the efficiency apartments and fall, cutting her knee. John grabbed the youngsters and took them away before Meg began to speak, leaving Elliot and Tess to hear the prophecy.

No, they didn’t take notes. They’d been unprepared, and there was no time. Meg had held on for as long as she could before speaking. The prophecy? Thieves entering the apartments to search for something. Danger to Simon, to everyone who had gone on the field trip to the stall market. Meg had fainted out of fear of what she’d seen. By then many of the terra indigene who had been in the Market Square had gathered in response to the howls.

Elliot called Simon. Meg was taken to the medical office. Tess, Nyx, and Blair removed the personal belongings from the apartments to thwart the would-be thieves. They were in the process of moving the belongings to a safe place when the thieves must have broken in. As far as the Others could tell, none of the furnishings provided with the apartments were taken. There was some urine on the floor of Merri Lee’s apartment. Assuming it was some kind of gesture of contempt, Tess had cleaned it up.

No, she hadn’t seen a vehicle and could only assume there had been at least one human.

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