“Tell me what happened.” His gaze ran over each of them and lingered on Rory’s bloodstained shirt.
“We were doing the treasure hunt,” Rory said. “Suzie and Edwina were part of our team, along with Anita. We’d discovered our first two clues and were on the way to where we thought we’d find our next. We were running along the forest path, with Anita in the lead and me behind her. Edwina and Suzie followed me. We noticed nothing odd nor spotted strangers around until Anita fell. Then we heard the gunshot. I grabbed Anita and took cover. The gunman continued firing whenever we peeked out and kept that up until we heard voices. Two other teams approached us on the same track. I caught a flash of green—a man—when I scanned our surroundings. When other shifters appeared, it was clear the gunman had left, so we hustled back with Anita.”
Rory glanced at Edwina and Suzie. They seemed as mystified as him.
“This gentleman saw a person wearing green clothing. Did you see anything? Do you have comments to add?” the steward asked.
“I saw a figure wearing green,” Edwina said. “It was the same color as the gardener’s green uniform shirts.”
The steward’s eyes narrowed. “Our gardeners don’t wear green. They don’t have a specific uniform.”
“When we were looking for our second clue, we saw two men. They wore green shirts, and it looked as if they were deadheading the roses. When we approached the shed, they set down their tools and left. We noticed because we intended to question them, hoping they could help us,” Suzie said.
Angus scowled. “Describe these men.”
Edwina shook her head. “One had black hair and the other brown. Their bodies seemed fit and strong, and they wore the same green shirts. I saw little more than this. Did you?”
“No,” Rory agreed. “I didn’t even register their hair color. I saw their uniforms. The pair were working with plants, and I assumed they were gardeners.”
“You saw nothing while you were walking on the track?” the steward asked.
“No, not until Anita fell,” Edwina said.
Rory stood. “I’d like to check on Anita.”
The steward frowned. “I don’t like this. We have security, and this shouldn’t have happened. I’d suggest you don’t go outdoors or wander alone. I will question the security team and increase our patrols. Do you think your friend saw anything?”
Rory shook his head. “I’ll ask her, but we were hustling and not expecting problems. We were aware of our surroundings, but the gunfire surprised us. There were no strange scents to warn us of problems.”
“Which means they shot your friend from a distance,” the steward said thoughtfully. “Have you had trouble during your stay? Before you arrived at the castle?”
“No,” Rory said. “Nothing to make someone shoot at me.”
“What about Ms. Gatto?”
“She’s from New Zealand. I doubt someone would follow her here to shoot her.”
“What about any problems this week?”
“I’ve spent most of this week with Anita. If she hasn’t been with me or in her room, she’s spent time with her friends. I doubt anyone would want to hurt her. She’s a pleasant woman.” Nice understatement. He and his wolf wanted her with every fathom of their being. She was their other half, even if she didn’t wear their mark on her shoulder. “Can I leave to check on Anita?”
Angus picked up a pen and tapped his desk. “Please stay within the castle and its immediate grounds. It’s best not to put yourself at risk.”
Rory pressed his lips together but didn’t release the retort tingling at the tip of his tongue. He needed to learn if Hugh had left when he’d ordered him or if the team had followed Rory’s grandmother’s orders and stayed to monitor him. His next task after he reassured himself Anita was okay. “Which way are the doctor’s rooms?”
“Turn left out the door. The doctor has a surgery at the end of the passage,” Angus said. “The medic would’ve taken her there.”
Rory paused in the doorway. “Will you let me know if you learn anything?”
“Aye,” Angus said. “When we find the shooter, they will receive punishment. I will not have a rogue gunman ruining this gathering’s reputation.”
“Thank you.” Rory left and strode along the tiled corridor. A discreet sign on a wooden door said Doctor’s Office. Rory knocked and opened the door, and followed his senses to the right. His first breath dragged in Anita’s floral perfume, along with coppery blood. On entering the examination room, he found Anita lying on a medical couch. Her eyes were closed, and her face paler than usual. A white bandage wrapped around her upper chest. Behind him, Edwina and Suzie spoke in quiet voices to the doctor—a bespectacled young man with a foxy scent.
“How is she?” Rory asked, walking straight to Anita. He ached for physical contact and ran his fingertips along her arm. The relief was instantaneous, and when she raised a hand and allowed him to lace their fingers together, his wolf hummed approval.
Anita’seyelids fluttered, and she opened her beautiful brown eyes. “I’m fine. Sore, but my feline has healed the worst of the injury.”
The doctor crossed the room to stand beside Rory. “She’ll be sore and bruised for a day or two. She’s strong and healthy, and I don’t foresee any complications. I cleaned the wound, and that probably caused more pain than the actual injury.”