“At least Lacroix will know it wasn’t you.”
The circuit around town is a bust. Zoe picks up and examines several black feathers along the way but Eli knows, without knowing how he knows, that they aren’t feathers from the peryton. Several times he gets a strange feeling, like he’s being watched, but he never catches sight of anything unusual and nothing jumps them from the shadows.
Eventually, they end up back outside the Chungs’, Zoe regarding her feathers with a critical eye.
“Well,” she says, “I can make up some of the locator charms with these tonight. We can meet up tomorrow to test them out.”
Eli nods in agreement, then they say their goodbyes. Zoe offers him a lift back to his place (“I’m sure Dad won’t mind”), but Eli declines. The clouds have finally lifted and the sky above is clear and studded with stars, moon hanging like a big silver grin against the dark.
It’s getting cold, but Eli doesn’t mind. He likes night times out here. Back home—back in his previous home—the city was so bright that the closest they ever got to dark was a kind of dull, yellow twilight. In Rosemont, there are actually stars.
Eli is so busy watching them, in fact, that he doesn’t notice the peryton until he almost runs into it.