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   Chapter 27 Skyside

Skyside: Book Five of The Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 8499

Updated: 2018-02-26 16:33

Chapter 27

The party continued well into the night and Elena finally fell asleep to the sounds of the band in the central square. The dragon dream returned, but no new details were added. It left her with a headache and she quickly downed a couple of aspirin to kill it as the first of her meet and greet visitors arrived. Many of the early arrivals looked a little bleary. Elena wondered how long they stayed at the party the night before.

"Maybe if we have more festivals and such, people wouldn't go as crazy when we do have them, " Mateo suggested when he and Kiera arrived to say hello.

"Something you can look at when you are in charge, " Elena teased as she picked up a cracker decorated with some sort of mousse from a passing tray.

"I am only in charge when you are off planet, " Mateo said warningly. "As soon as you dock I am handing the whole mess back to you."

"Don't look so panicked, " Elena said. "I'll space my trips out and will stay skyside next season. Besides Benjamin agreed to stay and continue dealing with the paperwork."

"You know I think he actually enjoys the paperwork, " Mateo said. "He is a sick, sick man."

"But very helpful." Elena reminded him.

"True, " Mateo conceded. He looked around. "Speaking of your compatriot in arms, where is he? You don't think he decided to leave and not stay and help me do you?"

"I'm sure he is around somewhere." Elena told him. She scanned the crowd that came into her quarters. After saying their hellos, they began to mix and mingle, strolling from room to room as though it were a grand house tour, all the while munching on the finger foods Consuelo provided. Elena had the feeling she would have to brush crumbs from her bed before laying down to sleep. She spotted Therese leaving her bedroom, Benjamin, his face full of thunder not too far behind her. Therese sidled to a tray of drinks and picked up a glass, slow sauntering across the room, away from both Benjamin and Elena.

"That can't be good, " Mateo said under his breath. Benjamin watched Therese from a discrete distance. Finally, she set her barely touched drink down and made her way to the front door, exiting the building.

"I didn't even see her come in, " Elena said, which as protocol demanded visitors greet Elena first before wandering around her home was a bit odd.

"Well that's our Therese, all manners." Mateo said. Benjamin made his way over to them.

"I caught her trying to pick the lock on your desk drawer, " he explained. "I think her metal probe broke

d as Elena tucked the list into her pocket.

"Yup, you know why?" she asked.

"No why?"

"Because when all is said and done, chicken tastes like chicken." She told him. "There is no guess work involved. Chicken is just chicken."

Benjamin laughed and Elena went to do a last minute check of her bags, making sure all the papers she needed were inside and ready to go.

The next morning, before light even began to think about cresting the horizon, Elena led Thompson and a half-asleep Jennifer down to the docks. She felt a little like a sneak thief as she boarded the Storm Chaser and prepared to set sail. She knew if she waited until people were up and about her leaving would become an event. At the moment she had enough of grand events. The ship creaked familiarly beneath her feet and she adapted her steps to match its sway. Spin stalked off determined to do a thorough search and sniff out anything that might be amiss.

The Storm Chaser was moved away from the main bustle of the port and Elena had a clear sea before her. She smiled as she pulled away from the coast, heading out into open sea. It would be a week before she docked at Grant's Inlet. An entire week where all she had to worry about was her ship, her cat and the two people on board with her. One week where she didn't have to decide anyone's fate, schedule anyone's duties or fix anyone's problems.

"One entire week, " she told herself with a grin. As the sun started to rise from the ends of the sea and tint the water to gold, Elena Calabrese, newest Councilor on the Ruling Council of the Guild of Families began to softly hum an old sea shanty as the port of Haven disappeared from her horizon.

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