Vision in Silver Page 87

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.

“I don’t see a problem with you and the Crows going across the street to buy whatever Mrs. Tremaine doesn’t want. As for going to the stall market, I’ll talk to Simon and Henry. Get their opinions first.” He picked up a pen and moved a couple of papers on the desk. He’d seen a human in a movie do that as a way to end a meeting. Apparently, the females hadn’t seen that movie. “Don’t any of you have work to do?”

They beamed at him before they filed out the door.

Vlad watched them go, relieved he didn’t have to make this decision on his own.

A pack of human females and some Crows in a building full of things to buy.

He sat back and sighed. “And humans think vampires are scary.”

Douglas,

Trip delayed. Concerns at work. Overseas connections erratic due to storms in Atlantik. If possible, will call. Aunties request instruction manual for gifts you sent.

—Shady

Shady,

First part of instruction manual already on its way. Will wait for information about your travel plans.

—Douglas

CHAPTER 42

Firesday, Maius 18

Hearing the radio in the station’s cafeteria—and realizing he heard it because everyone had stopped talking to listen—Monty paused in the doorway.

“‘ . . . we cannot ignore the plight of these girls who, having been expelled from facilities designed for their special needs, are now unable to cope and are at risk because of the Others’ callous behavior toward humans in general and these girls in particular. Therefore, the people of Cel-Romano have opened their homes and their hearts to these girls and will do everything in their power to give the girls the care they need.’

“Nicholas Scratch made that impassioned speech at the Toland port as thirty at-risk teenage girls were escorted onto a passenger ship known as an ocean greyhound. These ships are the fastest oceangoing vessels in existence, and the captain told reporters he is confident his ship will be able to outrun any of the storms that have been responsible for the loss of several merchant ships over the past few days.”

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