Vision in Silver Page 35

“Eve and I spent the rest of the morning talking it over,” Pete said. “And frankly, we talked about looking at another town in the Northeast or somewhere in the Southeast Region.”

“You think those places would be safer?” Monty asked.

“No, we don’t. That’s why I’m going to accept the job of being the Others’ attorney for human concerns and Eve is going to work for them as an apartment manager.”

“Smart move,” Burke said. “I’ll give you what help I can.”

Monty looked at Pete. “Before you go, I’d like to ask . . . If you’re working for the Courtyard, will you—can you—also take on other clients?”

“Lieutenant?” Burke asked, rising to his feet.

“Simon Wolfgard didn’t say I couldn’t,” Pete said. “And I don’t think they have enough business for me to make a living if I don’t take other clients. Why? Do you need a lawyer?”

Monty nodded. “I’m worried about my daughter. For a while, my ex was talking about relocating to someplace in Cel-Romano to live with Nicholas Scratch and his family.”

“Scratch?” Pete looked at Monty, then at Burke. “The HFL speaker?”

“The same,” Burke said grimly. “Scratch is still in Toland making his speeches. Gods above and below, you can’t listen to a news report without hearing the bastard making one of his speeches.”

“Since Scratch is in Toland, it stands to reason that Elayne is there too,” Monty said. “But I haven’t been able to reach her for the past couple of days.” He tried to hold in the words, but they burst out. “It’s bad enough that she invited Scratch to move in with her so soon after meeting him, but Lizzy is just as much my daughter as hers, and I do not want Elayne taking Lizzy across the Atlantik to live with a man I don’t trust. Gods! Nicholas Scratch is an alias. We can’t even find out who he is and if he really is from a wealthy Cel-Romano family as he claims.”

“You think he said that to sound more credible?” Pete asked.

“We don’t know,” Burke replied.

Monty pulled the papers out of the inside pocket of his suit coat and handed them to Pete. “These are copies of Lizzy’s birth certificate and the legal papers Elayne had drawn up for child support.”

“No other legal agreements between you and Elayne?” Pete asked.

“We weren’t married, if that’s what you’re asking.”

Pete tucked the papers in his briefcase. “All right. I’ll look into what options you have to gain some kind of custody, or, at the very least, prevent Elayne from taking Lizzy beyond Thaisia.”

“Thank you.” If he did gain some kind of custody, would his mother be willing to relocate and help him take care of Lizzy? Something else to think about.

Monty’s mobile phone rang. “This is Montgomery.”

“Lieutenant.” Something odd about Simon Wolfgard’s voice. “Come to the Courtyard. Now. We have something that belongs to you.”

Pater,

Payment for merchandise was misdirected. Location known, but retrieval will be difficult. First shipment of merchandise will be sent in good faith.

—NS

CHAPTER 15

Firesday, Maius 11

“Why do I have to play with a human?” Sam asked again as Meg reached for the back door of A Little Bite.

She stepped away from the door and bent over, bracing her hands on her thighs so that she and Sam were eye to eye. The way he was growing, she wouldn’t need to do that much longer. Or maybe this growth spurt would plateau soon. None of the Others would talk about what the terra indigene looked like before taking on the forms that separated them into various gards and gave each group particular traits, but Meg had the impression that Sam’s growth wasn’t based on how quickly or slowly wolves or humans grew to maturity; it was based on how the terra indigene’s mysterious first form matured.

“We’re not playing with her, exactly,” Meg said. “We’re just going to have a snack and keep her company until Lieutenant Montgomery arrives.”

“Because he’s her sire?”

“Yes.” She touched his arm, a moment of contact. “She’s all alone, Sam, and she’s too young to have come all that way on a train by herself.”

Simon hadn’t told her much, but he’d said enough. Lizzy Montgomery might not have reached Lakeside if Nathan hadn’t been on that train and riding in the same car.

Sam looked at the ground between their feet before asking in a small voice, “Did something happen to her mom?”

Simon said there’s some dried blood on Lizzy’s toy bear, Meg thought. Sam is a Wolf pup. He’s bound to smell it.

“We don’t know what happened to Lizzy’s mom,” she said. “But Simon and Lieutenant Montgomery will find out.”

Now he reached out, a fingertip touch on her arm. “Are you going to have to bleed?”

He didn’t know about the cassandra sangue’s addiction to cutting, but he did know that she cut herself in order to see visions.

“No. Whatever happened has already happened. I . . . cut . . . when it’s important to see what might happen. Like when those men attacked the Courtyard and I knew before they arrived that you had to stay with Mr. Erebus because you’d be safe with him.”

“And you knew when that box of sugar lumps would make the ponies sick.”

“Yes.”

Apparently satisfied that nothing would happen to his pack, he eyed her head with unnerving interest.

“Can I feel your fur?” he asked.

“It’s not fur; it’s hair.”

“Uh-huh. Can I feel it?”

Bad enough she’d shocked herself with this new haircut, but every Wolf, Crow, Hawk, Owl, and Sanguinati she’d seen yesterday had stared at her. Jester Coyotegard had trotted over from the Pony Barn to get a look—and then gleefully raced back to report to the girls at the lake. Even the ponies, who were the Courtyard’s mail carriers and the Elementals’ steeds, had been more interested in lipping what was left of her hair than in eating the carrot chunks she had for their treat.

“Why?” she said. “It’s the same as it was before.”

“Uh-uuuh.”

Meg huffed out a breath. “Fine. You can feel it.”

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