Vision in Silver Page 112

“The terra indigene defended themselves against an attack,” Monty said. “They defended themselves and their human companions, one of whom was a wounded police officer, from the aggressive actions of humans who were, for the most part, not merchants but men who were there that day for the express purpose of starting a fight and killing or seriously injuring the Others. The terra indigene’s actions were their typical response to being attacked.”

Before Rogers or Wallace could respond, Burke added, “The Others have not yet retaliated for the attack or for the HFL’s attempt to kill Simon Wolfgard.” After a moment of stiff silence from everyone else in the room, he continued. “Let’s stop pretending this was a spur-of-the-moment action by some hotheads who didn’t want a few Crows to buy some trinkets. The HFL wanted to stir things up, wanted to get people stirred up and angry at the Others so that no one looks too closely at what they’re doing.”

“You’ve made your dislike of the HFL movement quite clear,” Rogers snapped.

“I certainly hope so, because the blood of the next human who dies in a conflict with the Others is on your hands,” Burke snapped back.

“That’s enough!” Wallace said, stepping forward. “You’re out of line, Captain!”

Burke took a step back. “Say that after we find out what the HFL is going to cost this city.” After giving Captain Zajac a sharp nod, he walked out of the mayor’s office.

Monty rushed after him but didn’t try to speak until they were in the car. “You’ve just made enemies of the mayor and police commissioner.”

“The only thing they can kill is my career. I’ll choose that over the alternative any day.” Burke rubbed his hands over his face and blew out a breath. “Let it go, Lieutenant. For now, let it go.”

Seeing no choice, Monty let it go. But Lizzy and the Denby children were playing in the Courtyard because someone still wanted something that had come to Lakeside with Lizzy. Until that outside threat, that human threat, was eliminated, he had to trust that Simon Wolfgard and the rest of the Others in the Courtyard would hold to their rule of not hurting the young—even if the young belonged to a species they considered an enemy.

*   *   *

Meg kept her eyes on the road, her hands on the steering wheel, and refused to say anything when Simon sighed—again.

“Meg, with the way you’re driving, we can reach the Market Square faster by walking.”

“I’m being careful. There’s nothing wrong with being careful. You’re still healing and don’t need to be jostled.”

“Dr. Lorenzo is waiting for us.”

“He can examine Nathan first.”

Okay, maybe she was going a bit too slow. Maybe the BOW couldn’t go any slower and still be in motion. But she hadn’t known it would be so upsetting to see a friend hurt. And he was hurt, even if he wanted to shrug it off. Which he couldn’t do because his shoulders were still too bruised and sore from the beating he’d received during the fight. He couldn’t raise his arms to hold the steering wheel, which was the reason she was driving them to the Market Square.

“Nathan needs to stay in human form for a full day to let that shape heal, so Skippy will be watch Wolf today,” Simon said. “But Nathan will be nearby. And Henry will be working in his studio. He’ll hear you if you need help. And Jake Crowgard will keep watch. So will Marie Hawkgard. And Nyx.”

As she tried to decipher the message, she pressed on the BOW’s power pedal, bringing it up to a typical speed.

“Why all the guards?” she finally asked. Simon hadn’t indicated that anything unusual was happening today, and she hadn’t had any pins-and-needles feelings either.

Simon looked out the passenger window. “Not guards, exactly. Just more terra indigene keeping watch.”

“Why?” Crows were always keeping watch. And a Hawk or two always soared over the business area of the Courtyard. And Nyx had been spending more time at Howling Good Reads lately, so that wasn’t unusual either. So why make a point of telling her who would be around when they were often around, especially when Skippy was the watch Wolf?

“The humans started that fight in the stall market, but now the monkeys on the radio and TV are yelling about how the surviving humans who were involved in the fight are in jail and we aren’t. So we can’t trust anyone who comes into the Liaison’s Office. Not for a while.”

Maybe never again? Meg wondered. Having a few humans spoil things for everyone could make an exciting story, but she didn’t like it much when her friends suffered for it. “Those people have no right to be angry with you. You just defended yourself.” Her hands tightened on the steering wheel. She stomped on the power pedal, and the BOW shot forward.

“Meg? Could you slow down?”

“You were the one in a hurry.”

“Not that much of a hurry.” Simon braced a hand against the door.

She lifted her foot—and heard him breathe.

“Is it . . . ?” He stopped. Sniffed delicately.

“Is it what?” she growled, knowing exactly why he’d sniffed.

“Nothing.”

They were running out of road, so she slowed down a little more. “You were going to ask if it was that time of the month, weren’t you?”

“I did not say those words.” Then he added in a mutter, “Already learned that lesson.”

She pulled into one of the wide parking spaces that were used by the earth native delivery trucks that brought in supplies from the terra indigene settlements and took back human-made products.

Meg turned off the BOW but made no move to get out, even when Simon opened his door. He looked at her, then settled back in his seat and closed the door.

“Do you think people will stop coming after Lizzy? Stop looking for whatever they think she has?”

“Yes, they will, because we found it.”

She felt light-headed. It took a moment for her to identify the feeling of happiness mixed with relief. “You found it?”

“Something you told Tess helped her find the book that had secrets about the HFL movement. That’s why humans were chasing the Lizzy. They wanted to get the book back before someone read the secrets.”

Just because the Others found the book didn’t mean Lizzy would be safe. “But no one knows you found it.”

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