Jean Crow leaned back in her seat. “It’s good to be going home,” she muttered softly,
“Technically, you’re our guest,” noted Elaine.
Jean frowned at the young du Lac. “Castle Terribel is the first place I’ve lived in for more than a month. By my standards, it’s now home. Do you have a problem with that?”
Elaine glanced at her friend. “No.” She glanced out the window. “I really wish we’d gotten a chance to stay here longer. There were some places I was hoping to visit, but never got around to it.”
“Your family practically owns it,” said Jean with a roll of her eyes. “I’m sure you’ll get plenty of chances to visit.”
“I suppose,” said Elaine with a shrug. “I just feel a little cheated. All my time got eaten up by that wedding.”
Jean stared at her in surprise. “Wha… but that was the whole reason we were here!”
“Still doesn’t mean I have to like the damn thing,” muttered Elaine, crossing her arm. She glanced at her sister, who was playing with a little wooden doll. “Don’t tell Mom I said that.”
Malina paused and nodded. “ ‘Kay.” She held up her doll. “Isn’t this neat? Pinador gave it to me!” The little Dev grinned. “When we get married it will be just like that. Only with more sassins and jivalrous warriors.”
Elaine stared at her stepsister for a moment, then patted her little horned head affectionately. “You’re a real sweet kid, Malina.”
Jean glanced out her window. “Well, we’re heading out the gate. Goodbye to White Pine.” As she stared at the immense carving of Mother Night, it occurred to Jean that when you looked at it from a certain angle it DID seem to smile at you…
“What are you staring at?” asked Elaine.
Jean blinked. “Oh, I was just noticing…” She stopped. “Nothing, really. Just something I thought was there but wasn’t.” Jean shook her head. She’d been certain it had been smiling, but on closer inspection, it must have been an illusion.
At least, she hoped so.