Gateway by Sharon Shinn Read Free Book Online

Book: Gateway by Sharon Shinn Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sharon Shinn
Tags: General, Juvenile Fiction, Love & Romance
wooden plate with the bowl of his spoon. “Little things. Ombri can see in the dark. Aurora knows when the weather is going to change. And—like he told you last night—they’re both able to read people as if they can see the thoughts in their heads. It’s like nothing in this world is mysterious to them. I find that pretty convincing.”
    “So what did they tell you about why they came here?”
    “Pretty much what Ombri told you last night. That they wanted to find a way to send Chenglei back to his own iteration.”
    She toyed with her spoon. “And did that make you—curious? Uneasy? Did you wonder why they should have the right to decide who gets to live here and who has to go home?”
    Kalen just looked at her, his expressions tartled. “Not really,” he said at last. “I’ve come to trust them, so I believe they have good reasons for what they want to do.”
    Daiyu nodded and let it drop, though her own uneasiness remained. She glanced around. “So where is Ombri now? And Aurora?”
    “I don’t know, but I think they’ll both be back by dinner tonight.” He gave her a tentative smile. “So what would you like to do today? If you’re feeling rested enough to leave the house—”
    Rested and deeply curious.“Iam,”she said.“Why don’t you show me your world?”

    By daylight, Kalen’s neighborhood didn’t look any more impressive than it had by twilight. Daiyu followed him to a rundownintersection, where they hailed another of those clattering trolleys. This one held riders who were mostly whites and blacks— cangbai and heiren —and was even more crowded thant he one the night before. When the trolley made a ninety- degree turn, Daiyu realized that they were on a broad avenue that was parallel to the river. If this had been the Mississippi, they would be heading north away from Soulard, a district that had been built a century ago to house the working poor. . . .
    “Hey,” she said, “I think you live really close to where I live back on Earth.” Her voice trailed off. “That is so weird .”
    “Ombri said there would be a lot of points in common be tween our worlds.”
    “Yeah, but I didn’t think that I’d be staying in practically the same neighborhood where I live back home.”
    Kalen smiled down at her. “Does that make you feel a little better?” he asked. “Like you’re where you’re supposed to be?”
    She couldn’t help a slight laugh. “Kalen,” she said, “nothing will make me feel like this is where I belong.”
    Once Daiyu was oriented to the river, though, she did start to develop a better sense of how Shenglang was laid out, which made her more cheerful. They disembarked from the trolley within sight of the red gate and slowly strolled toward the river, their shoes crunching over the yin-and-yang pattern of the decorative stone mosaic. The riverfront was crowded with workers hauling cargo to and from small boats and idle onlookers watching the water slip by. A steady stream of pedestrians crossedaseriesofnarrowbridgesthatledfromtheeasternside of the river, where the land appeared to be dense with houses, vehicles, and commercial buildings. Daiyu thought it might be even more populous than the city on this side of the river.
    She automatically looked north, where she would have expected the symmetrical scallops of Eads Bridge to connect Missouri and Illinois. Instead there was a high, thick structure spanning the river that looked like a combination dam and sluice. Three monstrous gates had been lifted from the central portion of the bridge so that water streamed unimpeded past the remaining supports, carrying the occasional boat on its surface. Daiyu guessed that when the gates were lowered, the river slowly filled up behind the dam. She couldn’t imagine why.
    She looked up at Kalen. “Okay. This is where you explain everything you’ve said about working on the river.”
    He guided her toward a stone bench that overlooked the water. She settled beside him

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