Alvin Schwartz by Jill C. Wheeler

By Jill C. Wheeler

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To stalk a bird or to bring down game for the table are the things I find to my liking. ” I asked her, though I felt sure that was what she meant. Her lip curled delicately, and I could see the pale gleam of one fang. Another touch of claws into my shoulder told me that I had pushed my good fortune as far as it was safe to go. ” I assured her. ” Her instructions were brief and accurate. I found him within minutes, for he was near the Clan-place. This was a really strange creature. He was, as she had indicated, different from those others who were making chaos of the wood.

We are not enemies of the Khi, even though we rejected their ancient offer to civilize us. Those of our descent are not easily molded into any pattern except their own. Yet we are not thereby rendered crude, uncivilized, or stupid. You have watched those alien beings in the forest. They are dangerous to all they meet—that is obvious even to the youngest. This one, so like and yet so unlike, must be linked with them in some way. If he were of their mind-shape, he would know nothing of the Khi. He would want to go anyplace else but to their valley.

With little hope of success, I tried her with some Varlian, but she hissed disdainfully and swept a hand crosswise before her. I took that to mean no. Then I made the shape of the Khi, as Lime had done, with my two hands and pretended to fold an invisible napkin. Her eyes narrowed. A stream of soft hisses and sibilants issued from her almost-lipless mouth. I didn’t know whether to be encouraged or the reverse, but I persisted, gesturing toward the west and indicating by walking my fingers down the branch that I wanted to go there.

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