Vision in Silver Page 85

“That explains why Jake Crowgard asked the Wolves to howl,” Simon said.

“I called the real estate representative a little while later and reminded her that there was an offer on the table for the asking price of both buildings, and my client would pay in cash. I think I’ll get a call very soon. We won’t be able to close by the end of the month on those two buildings, but you’ll be able to take possession of the double by then.”

“Good. Eve can decide which den she wants. Ruthie can have the other one.”

“What about Lieutenant Montgomery and Lizzy?” Pete asked. “They can’t keep living in an efficiency apartment.”

He hadn’t figured on them staying there. But none of the humans seemed eager to take the Lizzy outside of the Courtyard. “Why isn’t the Lizzy safe now?”

Pete ticked off the items on his fingers. “She heard something, saw something, knows something that can implicate the person who murdered her mother.”

Simon huffed. “She was in a stall teaching Boo Bear how to poop in the toilet. Then she went to the train, which she was supposed to do, and came back to find her mother, which she wasn’t supposed to do.” That last part could have gotten the pup killed. “And she’s short, even shorter than Meg. What could she have seen with all those grown humans rushing around to catch their trains?”

“You’re probably right about Lizzy being safe now.” Despite saying the words, Pete didn’t sound like he really believed that. Then he added, “However, I’ve heard that Celia Borden may challenge Monty’s right of custody. And sometimes when there is a fight like this, one of the people will hire someone to snatch the child away from the parent who has custody.”

Simon stiffened. “That female would take the pup away from her pack?”

Pete hesitated. “I’m not saying Celia Borden would try, but you have to admit, you have excellent security, which is something I’m sure Lieutenant Montgomery values right now.”

What they had was a lot of sharp teeth and a taste for special meat.

Probably best not to mention that.

He would have to talk to the other members of the Business Association to figure out where Lieutenant Montgomery and his pup could live—temporarily. He and the rest of the residents weren’t ready to have humans living in the Courtyard beyond the area designated for business.

Except Meg.

“Here.” Simon held out a key. “This opens the outside door and both doors upstairs.”

Pete pocketed the key. “Thanks.” He hesitated. “Do you wish you hadn’t started this, hadn’t changed the dynamics between the Others and humans?”

That was a bit like wishing you had taken another path through the trees and caught the deer instead of taking a tumble and landing in a creek. He hadn’t wanted to become this tangled up with humans, but the choices he made now were still aimed at benefiting the terra indigene, and Meg, first.

He didn’t think Pete wanted to hear that. Still, it was better if the human understood now. “Some of you have become like the Intuits—you’re considered not edible because you have made a bargain with the terra indigene that will benefit both sides.” He looked at Pete and let a hint of the Wolf show through the human form. “But most humans are clever meat. They are also predators that came to our land and keep trying to encroach on our territory. We won’t allow it. We never have. That’s something humans tend to forget.”

*   *   *

Vlad pushed his chair back when Merri Lee, Ruthie, Theral, and Eve Denby walked into HGR’s office and lined up on the other side of the desk.

“If this is another girl intervention thing, go talk to Simon,” he said. “If this is about Meg and Simon, let them work it out for themselves.” The last time the fluffballs ganged up on him for one of these interventions, the topic was sex and the result was all kinds of confusion.

“Nothing to do with Meg or Simon,” Merri Lee said.

“It’s more to do with furniture,” Eve Denby said.

“And the Crows,” Ruthie added.

Theral just smiled at him, as if to say no other information was required.

If only that were true.

“I’m listening.” Vlad didn’t see any way out of it that wouldn’t cause more trouble.

“We were helping Mrs. Tremaine pack up some of her things, and she said it was too bad there wasn’t time for a yard sale so she could sell off what she wasn’t going to take,” Eve said.

“And then I said maybe the Crowgard would like to take a look since they aren’t going out anymore to look for treasures,” Merri Lee said.

“And that made me think of the stall market that’s open on the weekends,” Ruthie said. “In good weather, some of the tables are outdoors, but most of the tables are in a big building that is rented out for different events. And there’s also a farmers’ market set up outside during the summer. Anyway, some people sell craft items and other people sell household items and things they pick up from moving sales and estate sales. Karl and I are going to take a look around this weekend. And I thought, as long as the merchants were agreeable, that it might be a fun field trip for some of the Crows. Maybe Jenni and her sisters could be the designated shoppers, and the rest of the Crowgard could purchase the items at Sparkles and Junk or some other store in the Market Square.”

“So you want to take Crows on a field trip to a place that has lots of little things they can buy,” Vlad said. He studied each woman in turn. Their eyes were bright with excitement, but none of them looked crazy sick.

“Yes. But we wanted to check out the idea with you before mentioning it to Jenni,” Ruthie said.

The idea made him uneasy. Lots of humans in the same place with a small group of terra indigene was never a good combination. By agreements with human governments, the Others were entitled to attend any public event. But experience had taught them that it wasn’t safe to attend a human school, or go to a concert, or see a play or a sporting event. “It sounds like a place where there would be a lot of humans milling around.”

“Not as many people on a nice day as there would be if it rains,” Ruthie said. “And Karl and I would talk to the merchants first.”

The other customers would be more of a concern than the merchants. Then again, the Crows had been acting subdued since they stopped going out on their trash treasure hunts. Maybe a short visit to this stall market would be safe enough, if they were there and gone before too many humans noticed them.

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