Shadowed(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 2)(18) by Connie Suttle
"You call me dude? A slang term? Almost a gesture of friendship? This is indeed a good day. I have not had any friends among other races until now." Renegar smiled brightly.
"Dude," Ashe stomped a foot and lowered his shoulder helplessly. He felt obligated to befriend the tall Larentii child now. "Come on, let's go downstairs," Ashe sighed as he punched in the third door code to the underground portion of the Evans home.
"You play with this?" Renegar handled the lime-green Frisbee with care, touching Sali's teeth marks reverently.
"You should try it," Ashe said, pulling up information for his History final on the computer.
"Might we go outside, then?"
"I'm not supposed to—grounded, you know," Ashe muttered. The day had been nice earlier and he wouldn't mind throwing a Frisbee around.
"I can shield both of us," Renegar offered.
"Is there a name I can call you so we won't affect that nexus thing you talked about?"
"A nickname?" Renegar almost went into raptures, his blue eyes glowing brighter than they normally did.
"Can we shorten yours or should we do something else?" Ashe turned away from his desktop, History forgotten for the moment.
"Hmmm, that might work. Call me Ren. That sounds the same as the bird's name, does it not?"
"Yes. You can be Ren. Come on, Ren, and that shield better be good or I'll be grounded for another two weeks."
"Not to worry, friend," Ren was smiling again as he and Ashe rushed up the stairs and into a sunny afternoon.
* * *
"The fingerprint isn't in any database, Director." Vince Jordan handed the information on an electronic tablet to Bill Jennings.
"We don't have information on the killer in that way. Damn, this is frustrating," Bill muttered. "How are we going to tell if this man is after those kids? If it is a man. Do we have information on those Elemaiya, to see if their fingerprints are similar to those of humans?"
"The information is here," Vince tapped the tablet he'd set in front of the Director.
"You mean it's the same sort of lines and everything?" Bill shook his head at the information Vince had gathered. That information had been supplied, surprisingly, by one of their vampire agents, who'd gotten it from the Vampire Council.
"It appears to be so," Vince agreed. "But we know it isn't a vampire—one of the murders took place during the day, and the two werewolves who are assisting our investigators insist that the scent they got wasn't a werewolf's. They'd have recognized it right away."
"Do we know for sure that the perpetrator—that English teacher in Cloud Chief, was the one responsible for those murders last year?"
"He admitted it under compulsion, according to our vampire sources."
"Then this is someone new. Vince, I'm beginning to think we need a magic wand to sort this out. If two of my best agents with the help they've got in the field can't come up with something, we're screwed."
"Director, the children are still safe, are they not? Perhaps we should consider our small victories."
"Yeah. Maybe you're right, Vince." Bill went back to the information on the tablet.
* * *
"Jason, I brought iced tea and sandwiches," Marcie Pruitt, Denise DeLuca's sister, handed over a thermos jug and a brown paper bag for the two werewolves. They'd set up a small rest tent, the striped cloth top flapping briskly in the late afternoon breeze. Both Trace and Jason occupied comfortable lawn chairs beneath the high-topped cover while they kept an eye on Cloud Chief's guests. Jason Landers offered Marcie a brief grin before digging into the bag and handing a sandwich to Trace and then taking one for himself.
"This is mighty nice of you, Mrs. Pruitt," Jason said, pouring iced tea into the thermal mug he kept with him for coffee and such.
"Just call me Marcie. Dominic and I are divorced now." Marcie didn't like talking about her ex-husband, who was doing his worst and keeping her youngest son Jackson from calling or writing. Her oldest, Dustin, got around Dominic somehow and managed to keep his mother updated on everything, including his younger brother.
"Marcie, then," Jason said. "Would you like to sit? The kids seem pretty quiet today." Jason nodded in the distance, where Edward had a long-tailed kite in the sky and Bryce and Keith were tossing a football. The others were indoors.
"Maybe for a few minutes," Marcie agreed. "Denise tells me you know a lot about farming and growing vegetables. I think we have some sort of bug eating the tomato plants in the community garden."
"Then I'll have a look when the vamps come out to guard," Jason nodded.
"Good. Can I have a little of your tea? It's really warm today." Jason didn't hesitate to offer his cup and his lawn chair to Marcie.
* * *
"Dude, the phone is ringing," Ashe turned to mist in a blink, almost leaving Ren behind when he misted inside the house to answer the call.
"Mom?" Ashe said when he picked up. Caller ID identified his mother on the other end.
"Ashe, I was just checking to make sure you're home and safe."
"I'm home, Mom," Ashe replied, doing his best to keep the breathlessness out of his voice. Once Ren had understood the object of tossing a Frisbee, he'd become quite adept at it. The young Larentii now stood at Ashe's shoulder, having folded into the house carrying the Frisbee in his hands.
"Do you have homework?"
"Already did the Math, just have to study a little for the History final next week."
"Good. I'll be home in about an hour, hon. Let's have sandwiches tonight; I'm tired."
"Yeah. I'll make them so you can sit down when you get here," Ashe offered.
"That sounds good, honey. See you in a bit."
"Bye, Mom." Ashe hung up.
"Frisbee is quite entertaining. Perhaps we can do other things later," Ren reluctantly handed the Frisbee to Ashe. "I should go now, since your mother is coming home soon. I had a very good time, friend." Renegar disappeared.
"Must be nice to be able to do that," Ashe said and went to get a glass of water.
* * *
"Wildrif, why do I have to depend upon a spy to get information on the seventh child? Those Dark Ones are offering half a million if we can get information on all seven of those kids. They'll hand us a million if our information leads to their capture." Obediah Tanner stared at his hired clairvoyant.
"You know I have difficulty seeing past those witch boundaries," Wildrif sniffed, his thin, nearly colorless hair floating about his face, one brown eye and one blue eye studying Obediah earnestly. None knew Wildrif's true age and he wasn't planning to tell them. He also wasn't planning to tell Obediah that he couldn't see the seventh child, even while he was outside the witch's border. It was luck that their spy had learned of the child and of his beginnings, else they'd have never known of him and the Dark Elemaiya would be just as ignorant of the boy's existence as the Bright Ones. "And we are not talking capture, wise wolf," Wildrif bowed before Obediah. Subtle flattery never failed to gain Obediah's attention, and Wildrif knew it well. "I know they desire the deaths of those children, and I have no concern for that. I know of many that are buried across the country already."
"You're tougher than I thought," Obediah chuckled, causing his thick moustache to bristle and the deep scar on his face to bounce a little. "Wildrif, with your information and what's coming in from Josiah's spy, we may be on our way to an easy million. You'll get a nice bonus if we hit pay dirt." Obediah laughed at his own weak joke.
* * *
"What are you doing here?" Elizabeth, her hair styled neatly and dressed in jeans and three-inch heels, stared over the fence that marked Cloud Chief's boundary. Chad and Jeremy had walked up beside her, prompting Liz's angry question. She'd understood that both boys were grounded or under house arrest.
"Mom had to go into Cordell for groceries. We sneaked out. They can't watch us every second," Jeremy huffed. "Besides, you're supposed to be back there with the rest of the empties."
"I can sneak away too," Elizabeth's voice was cool and haughty as she pointedly refused to look at the two boys. "Just because you can turn into a werewolf or whatever doesn't mean you have the market cornered on cool and different." Liz had a new secret, one she'd discovered after seeing that boy lift Luanne and her parents out of a burning house, appearing from nowhere to drop them into a field. Liz had questioned Luanne at length about it, and Luanne had finally admitted that it was like flying invisibly through the air. Linda and Peter Jansen, Luanne's parents, hadn't remembered much at all concerning the incident, but Luanne had remembered after a time.
"So, where is the nearest city from here?" Liz asked. She was at a disadvantage—she had no idea where she was and hadn't bothered to study any maps before coming to Oklahoma.
"Cordell is a few miles west," Jeremy deliberately pointed in the wrong direction while Chad snickered softly.
"Liar," Liz muttered. "It doesn't matter. I can find it for myself." With that, she disappeared right before a stunned werewolf and shapeshifter, becoming mist swiftly and flying toward her temporary home in Cloud Chief. She'd make plans and stay in Cloud Chief—for now.
"You think I'll risk getting into more trouble with Packmaster DeLuca right now?" Chad hissed at Jeremy, who suggested they tell his mother, Diane about Liz's disappearance. "Just keep it quiet. Who the hell cares that she can disappear? If she could do more than that, she would have done it while we were there. Trust me, we still have the upper hand—did you see the way she was looking at us? Man, if looks could kill," Chad chortled over Liz's impotent fury.
"And who dresses like that in the middle of nowhere?" Jeremy snickered. Liz's shoes were completely inappropriate for walking through grassy prairie.
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