From the Author
"I can't stay a few weeks, Needa," Bess said. "You've been good to me, wonderful really, but my parents must be frantic."
"And the rider'll come back in a few days," Wellen said. "If we can't return Bess to her mousehole we'll have to find some other place to hide her. That rider won't fall for the same trick twice. Fact is, we'd be safer taking her back to the mousehole and going through with her."
Needa's face hardened. "We can't leave Corlene."
"Oh, Ma, Corlene's gone. But if the riders think we know about the mousehole, they might send us all to the Citadel to make sure none of us try to use it. So we got to use it, whether we want to or no."
"Why would they care if you used it?" Bess asked. "It can't hurt them."
"It can," Wellen said. "Course, the riders don't want no one here sneaking off; but even more, they fear the mischief folk they don't control could do them."
Of course. The riders must dread having the mousehole discovered by Bess's world, given the difference in technology. No wonder they wanted to find her! They would never consent to her return. Not on her life.
At that moment a cold draft blew through the sitting room and the fire guttered in the fireplace, then sprang up more brightly than before. There followed the sound of the back door to the house being shut and latched.