Most times, the diners at the refugees’ Pilgrim’s Bounty feast just waved him away. That was part of the reason he had picked sweet potatoes, of course. Also, looking at the spice bread stuffing made him think of his father and feel sad.
“Candied sweet potato?” Bael said, bringing the platter down between Myrla Stoneround and Therum Deepforge, whose conversation was momentarily interrupted by the platter’s intrusion. They shook their heads and Bael slowly pulled it back, pausing first by Stoneround and then by Deepforge, each time looking across the field toward the apartment he shared with his mother.
“Is she almost finished?”
“What?” Bael jumped in surprise, almost dropping his platter.
“Um, yes, I think so. She’s almost done.”
Across the field, Bael spotted his mother shaking her head again before ducking back inside the apartment.
Another shake of his mother’s head.
Another shake. This time, he actually was able to see her slipping the hood back onto her head. Bael glanced around nervously; no one else seemed to have spotted her doing so before ducking back out of sight. Everyone was studiously keeping their eyes on their plates or their neighbors; no one seemed to want their gaze to land on what had been their stables until a few days ago, but which now housed a group of pirates who had attempted to raid the refugee camp.
“Yes, thank you, I will have some.”
Bael stopped and began spooning some onto Tuldire Longread’s plate.
“Bael,” Longread asked, watching the boy as he served the food, “do you have any idea where your father is now? Your mother never mentions him.”
Bael’s movements slowed and he stared at his plate for a moment.
“No, not really. Not any more.”
“That’s too bad. I hope you can be reunited soon.”
Bael looked up, seeing his mother striding purposefully across the field, her hood hidden safely back in the apartment, their great black lion, Lucky, following behind her, clearly hoping for some turkey. She had a rigid smile plastered on her face, and was nodding ferociously.
They had found the demon hidden in their midst.