The Invincibles stepped aside at once; Floyt went to her. Medical personnel closed in on the others who'd emerged. More explosions rumbled from the vault.
It came to Floyt with a jolt that only minutes had passed since he and Yumi had been in each other's arms. It felt more like days, making their time together seem even more unreal. In the middle of the martial confusion of the landing zone, he hesitated to throw his arms around her.
Yumi read it on his face; she hugged herself to his chest, pressing her cheek to his. "You are unhurt? No
—you have injuries!"
"What? Yes; Alacrity too. We'll be all right, though. He's just a bit, um, fuddled."
"I feared for you, Hobart. I am glad you're safe."
He was jarred, to inhale the jasmine in her hair again after the smells of gunpowder and burning machinery and blood, and the indefinable odor of eternity in the vault. He glanced around the landing zone. "But what about you? They should've gotten you out of here right away, up to King's Ransom."
She resisted when he would've led her to one of the landing boats; he was surprised at her strength. "I will not be going inboard the governor's ship, Hobart. I must return directly to Frostpile, to rejoin my Daimyo."
"Oh. I'd been hoping—"
"It is his wish. But I couldn't leave until I knew that you were safe."
She pulled his head down to her and kissed him again, a grace note and a good-bye. She pressed something into his hand. "I will always keep you in my prayers, Hobart Floyt." Then she broke away from his embrace. Yumi picked up the small case that contained his blood and said, "I am ready now."
More Invincibles appeared from somewhere. The captain was back with the lieutenant, to salute her smartly, saying, "At your service, Lady Nakatsu," while his men came to present-arms.
She looked tiny and fragile among them, but regal and accustomed to command. She was conducted aboard an air-cutter with a great deal of military courtesy. Floyt watched it lift into the sky.
When he opened his hand, he found she'd left him a small woven wire sack, like an old-fashioned file:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/harry%20kruis...aley%20-%20Jinx%20on%20a%20Terran%20Inheritance.htm (39 of 320)19-2-2006 17:12:28
[Fitzhugh 2]-JINX ON A TERRAN INHERITANCE
reticule. It was heavy, and clinked as he tossed it on his palm. Tucking it indifferently into a bellows pocket, he kept his gaze fixed on the aircutter as it slid across the sky in the direction of the Weir stronghold, vanishing from sight.
Someone was talking to him; a jowly Celestial field surgeon stood at his elbow. "I've been ordered to examine you, Citizen Floyt. The governor will be very vexed with me if you don't comply. And if I may say so, you look as if you could use it."
Floyt capitulated; his gaze left the sky. "Why, that's very kind of you, Colonel." His nose was grotesquely swollen again, hurting like hell. And the parts of him that weren't bleeding were sore. The colonel held up a medical scanner.
"Just pick a spot, any spot," Floyt invited. "Has Alacrity—Master Fitzhugh—has he been treated?"
"They're working on him, sir. Nothing very much wrong with him but a slice, some contusions, a bit of shock. I'm going to give you both a thorough going-over inboard King's Ransom."
"I'm afraid we're bound for the spaceport."
"Not anymore." The colonel eyed his scanner. "How long have you been anemic, Citizen Floyt? Sir?
What's so blasted funny ?"
The Blue Pearl had already been limped back to the flagship. Floyt found himself in a landing boat with other members of the original party.
Alacrity, who'd come out of whatever state the harp had sent him into, moved off to one side with Floyt.
"Do you have any idea what's going on?"
"I was going to ask you that. Do you think Redlock would go back on his word? That doesn't sound like him."
"No, but now isn't the time to pester him." The governor sat with Dorraine, watching as his medical people ministered to Seven Wars.
Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle