“So which was it?” Marta held the kitchen door open for Dmitrio.
“I’m getting there.” Dmitrio smiled. “You never were patient.”
“I’m plenty patient. You just like drawing out a tale,” said Izabela. She put the kettle on to heat. “I’m guessing more happened on this journey than finding Marta.”
“Much more. We decided to go to Erin’s Folly first because the winds were blowing that way. We traveled by balloon for speed, hoping to overtake Marta. Mal came with us. I think she remembered some of the debates Marta and I used to engage in and she might have been a touch concerned.”
Izabela snorted. “Debates. Is that what you call it? Was Mal concerned for you or Marta?”
Dmitrio chuckled. “I’m still not certain, though there was little love between the two of them.”
Izabela’s eyes narrowed slightly, catching his use of past tense. Dmitrio was focused on creating his illusion for the next part of the story and pointedly not making eye contact. She busied herself arranging muffins on a plate and waited.
“We camped each night on the ground. The gondola wasn’t really meant for more than one, maybe two people if they are willing to get cozy. I did enjoy talking around the fire in the evenings.” He held between his hands an illusion of a campfire under a sky of stars.
Dmitrio pulled a pouch out of a box and examined its contents. “I’m guessing hazelnuts?”
“Probably,” said Teri. “Try this one.”
Their eyes met briefly as Dmitrio took the bag. “Potatoes?”
“Only one way to know.”
As he examined the contents and tried not to notice how close Teri was standing to him, Dmitrio asked, “What do you plan to do to Marta when you catch her?”
“Well, first, I’ll get the maps back so I can return them. What happens next?” Teri shrugged. “That will depend.”
“I found the dried meat. Let’s get this into a stewpot,” said Teri.
Dmitrio sat down next to Mal. She was feeding sticks to the fire.He sighed. “Want some help?”
“No. I’ve just about got it,” said Mal.
“I’m going to get water,” said Teri.
Mal waited until he was gone then asked, “What do you think?”
“He’s your type, isn’t he?”
“He’s also hunting my sister,” Dmitrio pointed out.
“So that’s why you keep staring at him.”
“And he’s a Traveler.”
“Another good reason to stare,” she teased.
Dmitrio sighed. “He is nice to look at and I like his sense of humor. But there is Marta. I asked what he plans to do with her when he catches her and he just avoided answering me.”
“You clearly don’t understand Traveler justice,” said Mal. “He’ll wait to decide once he’s caught her and recovered the maps. What she says and does will determine what, if anything he does. Likely as not, he’ll expect you to deal with her.” The fire flared as the logs finally caught.
“That is what I’m afraid of,” said Dmitiro.
copyright 2015, all rights reserved, Kimberley Long-Ewing