Vision in Silver Page 106

“The diary,” Monty whispered. He set the whiskey glass down and rushed over to the dresser, pawing through the drawers. Why bring a diary if Lizzy had lost the key? Unless the diary wasn’t being used as a diary but was, in fact, another hiding place, and Lizzy had never been the person who had the key.

He checked the closet, checked the suitcases, checked under the bed and behind the few bits of furniture in the apartment. He checked under the mattress, shook out all the bath towels and extra linen. When he was done, he searched it all again.

Then he sat on the narrow bed and thought for a long time.

Tess had returned everything except the locked diary.

CHAPTER 51

Earthday, Maius 27

It was early morning when Tess walked into one of the Courtyard school’s classrooms to wait for Nyx. No one would be there to interrupt them or ask questions. Equally important, the school had been built in the interior of the Courtyard, so humans didn’t have even a glimpse of it from the surrounding city streets. Most humans didn’t know it existed.

Yesterday’s attempted break-in didn’t make sense. Trying to snatch Boo Bear in order to reclaim the jewels that had been hidden inside him would have made sense. The Sanguinati made it a point to learn about things that had value in the human parts of the world, and Nyx had told her that the jewels that had been concealed in Boo Bear were worth a lot of money.

But Boo Bear had been handed over to the Toland police, and the bear had been stitched up by the Wolfgard bodywalker so that no one would suspect that anyone had poked around inside the bear’s body. Thieves shouldn’t be looking for sparklies among Montgomery’s possessions. Not anymore.

No, this wasn’t about jewels. This was about secrets hidden inside a pink book.

Nyx flowed into the room as her typical blended form of smoke and human. “I brought the book.”

“Now we just need . . . ,” Tess began. She stopped and turned toward the door. Her hair began to coil in anticipation of dealing with the noisy intruder. Then she blinked in surprise as the Courtyard’s dominant enforcer entered the room.

Blair Wolfgard usually moved quietly because it was his nature, but he wasn’t making an effort to approach with any stealth as he walked in and shook a small toolbox.

“Tools aren’t that easy to acquire right now, so I’m not handing them over unless I know what you intend to do with them,” he growled.

“You don’t have to hand over anything,” Tess said. “You just have to open the lock on this book. That’s why I told you to bring your tiny tools.”

Nyx tipped her head. “That sounded nasty, but I’m not sure why.”

The Wolf showed his teeth and held out his hand. “Give me that thing.”

Nyx handed him the pink book with gold stars on the cover.

Blair fingered the catch. “Where’s the key?”

“Don’t know,” Tess replied. “That’s why you’re here with your tiny tools. We need to know what’s in that book.”

“Why?”

“Because Meg saw a pink book with gold stars that is connected to a secret. And because someone is still searching for something that the Lizzy brought with her.”

“You care if anyone knows we opened it?” Blair asked.

“No.”

He selected a tool and broke the lock.

Good thing we aren’t interested in locking it again, Tess thought when Blair handed her the somewhat mangled book, picked up his toolbox, and left.

Opening the book, Tess studied the writing. “I can’t picture an adult using a pink book with gold stars, but this writing doesn’t look like a child’s.”

“No, it doesn’t,” Nyx agreed. “But female, based on the human handwriting I’ve seen.”

“Time to find out what it says.” Tess settled a hip on the teacher’s desk and started to read.

*   *   *

Meg dreamed she was a luscious cake and someone kept licking her frosting.

She jerked awake when Vlad said, “You’d better stop that before she catches you.”

Pushing herself upright on the sofa in Simon’s living room, she stared at Simon and Nathan, who were giving her an “I don’t know what he’s talking about” look.

The last time Wolves had given her that “too innocent to be believed” look was when she discovered empty containers stacked in a cupboard in her sorting room—containers that had been full of Wolf cookies when she’d gone to lunch that day.

“You two have had enough frosting,” she muttered.

“How are you feeling, Meg?” Vlad asked.

Placing her feet carefully to avoid stepping on toes or tails, Meg stood up and took stock. Stiff, sore, hungry. And she really needed to pee—and probably wasn’t the only one. “I’m okay. I need to use the toilet. Would you open the door so Simon and Nathan can go outside? When Jane looked at them last evening, she said it would be better if they didn’t shift at all for another day.”

“Sure. You need help going up the stairs?”

“No, I can do it.”

As she went up the stairs—one stair at a time since the bandaged knee didn’t bend well—she heard Simon and Nathan struggling to get to their feet.

Jane Wolfgard would be here to check on the Wolves and Henry. She would ask the Wolf bodywalker to suggest some quiet activities that would keep Wolves occupied while they recovered. And Dr. Lorenzo should be arriving soon to check on her. She really hoped she could convince him that the Others knew he’d taken good care of her and it was all right to remove the bandages and let her take a shower. It was, after all, just a cut.

Even the Controller, who had valued her skin for profit, hadn’t made this much of a fuss over her well-being. Then again, the terra indigene valued her more than they valued her skin.

You have no reason to feel guilty, Meg told herself. But she did feel guilty, and she dreaded the scolding that was bound to come now that things were quieter.

She would wait until Dr. Lorenzo and Jane had made their visits. And then, once Simon and Nathan were settled with a dish of food and some water, she would walk over to the other side of the Green Complex and visit Henry.

*   *   *

“Well,” Tess said a while later. “This explains why the HFL movement is still after the Lizzy. But I don’t think it’s sufficient proof that humans will do anything about it. They could say Elayne Borden made it up to cause trouble.”

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