Vision in Silver Page 70

“Maybe. We’re going to be able to feed our families, and that’s not something everyone will be able to say.”

“You think the Others are responsible for the shortages?”

“No. And that’s a worry, because if it’s not them . . .”

“Then it’s us,” Pete finished.

Monty pushed aside the grim feelings, but he didn’t need to put on a smile for his little girl. The children, and Jester, were sprawled on furniture, sound asleep. Only Theral was still awake, and she gave them a distracted wave before turning her attention back to the Wolf Team movie.

“Almost over,” Theral whispered.

Jester jerked upright at the sound of her voice and blinked at Monty and Pete. With a grunt, he scrubbed at his hair and sat back when Theral hissed a warning for him to be quiet before he had a chance to speak.

So they all stayed quiet.

Not a human-made movie, Monty thought as he watched the Wolf Team’s successful attack and rescue—and listened to Pete suck in a breath as the Wolves dealt with the bad humans.

“Are there more of these movies?” Theral asked, turning down the volume as the credits began to roll.

“A few,” Jester said. “You might have to put your name on a list at Music and Movies since the Wolf Team is very popular. There are books about them too.”

Nodding, Theral stood and stretched. Then she yawned. “Is Lawrence ready to go home?”

“I think he forgot you were up here and is looking for you,” Monty said, smiling. He picked up Lizzy, then waited for Pete to pick up Sarah and shake Robert awake enough to have the boy follow him back to the car.

As they walked outside with the children, Monty glanced toward the summer room. No light, so he couldn’t be sure Simon Wolfgard was still in there. But the Others wouldn’t need a light.

“Where’s Meg?” he asked.

“She went up.” Merri Lee tipped her head to indicate Meg’s apartment. “She’s tuckered out. So am I.”

They piled into the cars they’d left in the visitors’ spaces across the road from the Green Complex. Kowalski and Ruth dropped off Merri Lee and Debany, as well as Monty and Lizzy.

Bidding them all good night, Monty climbed the stairs and went to the efficiency apartment he was using. He woke Lizzy sufficiently for her to use the toilet and put on pajamas. As he tucked her in, he wondered how long Merri Lee and Debany would stay outside, and if Merri Lee would come in alone.

*   *   *

No need for a candle or lamp. The terra indigene saw quite well in the dark.

“What do you want to do?” Vlad asked quietly.

“We’ve never concerned ourselves with the human ships that travel on the Great Lakes or what those ships bring to the port here,” Simon replied. “Our supplies from other regions are brought in on earth native or Intuit ships. Humans will notice if we start sniffing around their ships now.”

“A few of the Sanguinati who live in the Courtyard often hunt around the docks. They might know something they didn’t think would be of interest to Grandfather.”

“Ask them. But there’s one form of terra indigene who can find out more.”

“If they’re willing,” Henry said.

Simon nodded. “If they’re willing.” He stood. “I’m going to check on Meg. Then I’ll pay the girls at the lake a visit.”

“Tonight?” Tess asked.

“Yes.” He looked at the three of them. “Will you be here?”

Henry and Tess nodded. Vlad said, “I need to visit Grandfather Erebus, but I’ll wait until you get back.”

He went upstairs and found Meg on the sofa, sound asleep, despite the television being tuned to the show she watched every Earthday. Crouching, he ran a hand over her fuzz of hair. She couldn’t growl about it if she didn’t know.

Fairly sure she wouldn’t wake anytime soon, he stripped out of his clothes and shifted. Then he left her apartment and ran to the Elementals’ part of the Courtyard.

Except for Winter and Autumn, who slept during the warmer seasons, all the girls were around the lake. They watched him approach. Air rustled the leaves in the trees. Water lapped the bank, flowing over Earth’s toes. Fire, Spring, and Summer sat a little farther away from the lake’s edge.

“Is something wrong with our Meg?” Spring asked.

<No. She had fun today. She’s looking forward to planting more seeds and tending what grows.>

“No planting tomorrow,” Water said. “Rain is coming from our kin who live near Lake Superior.”

“Since our Meg is happy, what does the Wolfgard want?” Fire asked.

<I want your help. I think you and your kin can find answers to some questions.>

CHAPTER 33

The questions were the pebble dropped in a pond, and the ripples were whispered in the wind to the Elementals throughout the continent of Thaisia. They flowed through the Great Lakes and down the streams and rivers, and they were part of the rain. They became a scent in the earth that was picked up by more than the shifters and Sanguinati willing to reside near human settlements.

That scent did not please the earth natives who lived in the most primal, and pristine, parts of the wild country.

And when the ripples became surf, Ocean took the questions into herself and sent them far beyond Thaisia.

CHAPTER 34

Moonsday, Maius 14

“Simon, it’s Tess. Blair is driving me up to Nadine’s Bakery and Café. She said she can sell me some of what she has ready, but she would prefer we pick up the order before she opens for human customers.”

Simon growled at the answering machine and continued to rub a towel over his hair. He’d heard the phone ringing when he got in the shower. The damn phone had done nothing but ring from the moment he’d turned on the water. But Tess could have used the terra indigene way of communicating to tell him she was leaving the Courtyard and chose not to, preventing him from voicing an opinion.

“Simon, this is Steve Ferryman. Remember me telling you about the woman who showed up to work with the girls? I’d like to hire her if I can figure out how to stretch the village budget to pay her. Anyway, I’d like you to meet her. And I wanted to go over some things about the River Road Community. Any chance you could come up to Ferryman’s Landing today?”

“How should I know?” he grumbled. “I’m not even dressed yet.” And if he didn’t get moving, Meg would growl at him for making her late for work—or leave without him.

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