Vision in Silver Page 39

“There is sickness here,” Henry said. “The bodywalker must tend to Boo Bear.”

The Others did know Boo Bear was a toy. Didn’t they? Now that he considered it, the Wolves had talked about Boo Bear in much the same way Lizzy did—as if the stuffed bear was alive in some way.

“Is he going to need another operation?” Lizzy asked, her eyes swimming with tears that tore at Monty’s heart.

“Perhaps,” Henry said. “But I will stay with my brother bear.” He exchanged a look with Simon.

“Where is Ruthie?” Simon asked.

“She wasn’t scheduled to work, so she’s at home packing,” Kowalski replied.

Simon studied Kowalski. “Don’t leave until we talk.”

Monty bristled at the Wolf’s assumption that he could order Kowalski around, but they were all moving toward the back door of A Little Bite and then out to the medical office in the Market Square.

Theral MacDonald was closing up her desk when they walked in. Kowalski greeted her and would have stopped if Simon hadn’t growled, “Kowalski, we need you back here. The Lizzy should stay out front with Theral.”

“Mr. Wolfgard . . . ,” Monty began. Pointless to protest about Wolfgard giving orders to a police officer or making decisions about a human child. This was the Courtyard, and humans had little, if any, say about anything.

The door opened and a female Wolf walked in. She had fur instead of hair, and her ears were Wolf—a bizarre combination with a human face. But not terrifying like the blends he had seen a few weeks ago when a man named Phineas Jones had tried to hypnotize Meg and convince her to leave with him.

The female Wolf hesitated.

“Jane, this way,” Simon said, leading them all to the examination room Dominic Lorenzo had put together to provide medical care for the humans who lived or worked in the Courtyard.

Henry put Boo Bear on the examination table. Simon set the detached front and back leg next to the main body.

“There’s something inside,” Simon said. “Something that doesn’t smell like the Lizzy.”

Monty was about to point out that Boo Bear had been made by hand and might smell of the person who had stuffed him. But Lizzy had been three when she fell in love with the furry toy, and after four years, would there be any scent beyond the ones in the apartment and the people Lizzy came into contact with often?

“The child mentioned another operation,” Henry said.

Jane bent over the bear, sniffing as her fingers moved over the fur on the bear’s back. Then she rummaged around in the drawers, no doubt destroying any order Lorenzo had created. Not finding whatever she was looking for, she went out to the front desk and returned with a box cutter.

Monty didn’t have time to protest before she slit Boo Bear’s back.

Simon leaned over the table, poking at the stuffing. Suddenly all the terra indigene focused on the bear, as if they’d heard something.

Simon pulled out a small cloth sack. He opened it and poured the contents on the table.

Emeralds. Sapphires. Rubies. Even a few diamonds. And some kind of designer ring made of white gold or platinum and set with several diamonds.

Kowalski whistled softly.

Simon cocked his head and looked at Monty. “Do humans usually stuff jewels inside bears?”

“No.” Monty swallowed the sick feeling in his gut. Gods above and below, where was Elayne? And what was she doing hiding a fortune inside Boo Bear?

Or had she been the one who had hidden the jewels?

“Brown bear eating jewels,” Henry said. “That was one of the visions Meg saw yesterday when she made the cut.”

“I have to report this,” Monty said. “I have to . . .”

“Take care of your pup,” Simon said.

Monty looked at the Wolf. “Yes.” Lizzy came first. Someone else could call the police in Toland and ask about Elayne. Ask about stolen jewels.

“Maybe Lieutenant Montgomery and Lizzy could stay in the efficiency apartment you set aside for the team?” Kowalski said. “The Courtyard is closer to the station, and Lizzy could rest for a while.”

Henry nodded. “A good idea. The child has traveled far enough today.”

“What do we do with the bear and . . .” Jane waved a hand over the table, indicating all the bits.

“We leave it exactly as is,” Monty said. “I’ll call Captain Burke.” He hesitated, not sure how Wolfgard would react to the next part. “Police will need to examine this, ask questions of all of us.”

“Police who are not connected to you because the Lizzy is your pup?” Simon asked.

“Yes. Until we know what happened, it would be better if it wasn’t anyone on my team.”

“But one of the police we know and one of our enforcers will watch the unknown police.”

That was more of a compromise than he’d expected, so he agreed.

When he walked into the reception area, Lizzy jumped off a chair. She looked at his empty hands, then at the door of the examination room.

“Boo Bear has to stay here and help the police with their inquiries,” Simon said, addressing his words to Lizzy. “Theral is kin to police, so she and Henry will stay with Boo Bear. Officer Kowalski will bring your carryall to the efficiency apartment where you and Lieutenant Montgomery will wait and rest while the police do their sniffing. Blair will wait at the delivery entrance and will escort the unknown police back here.”

I’m off balance and not being much help, Monty thought as they left the medical office and followed Simon to the efficiency apartments above the seamstress/tailor’s shop.

The last time he and Simon had dealt with children, they’d been bringing five girls from the Controller’s compound to Lakeside. He’d been overwhelmed by what he’d seen when he, Simon, and Dominic Lorenzo had entered the compound. Savagery and slaughter. And heartbreak when he saw the girls, the cassandra sangue, who were being raised and trained for someone’s profit.

Simon had looked after the girls, and he’d made the arrangements for the Intuits on Great Island to take care of them. Now he was giving the orders again.

Take care of the pack. Protect the young.

It wasn’t quite that simple when you were human.

Jewels inside a toy that Lizzy took everywhere. Blood on Boo Bear. Elayne injured in some way—and feeling desperate enough that she’d told Lizzy to make the trip to Lakeside alone. Why hadn’t she called her mother or brother? They lived in Toland and could have fetched Lizzy if Elayne had needed to go to the hospital. Why send Lizzy all the way to Lakeside . . . unless staying in Toland wasn’t safe anymore.

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