“Big star,” Masagawa repeated.
“Why does she keep saying that?” Alicia asked Nina.
“I don’t know. ‘Big star’ is how you say North Star—that way,” Nina pointed to the north end of the pueblo. “Is that the place of the gallows?”
The trapper came out to report on the proceedings in the afternoon. He fumed at the pueblo rules and prejudices.
“Those fools won’t believe me. They claim your brothers stole my weapons and burned the hides on purpose.” He was red in the face and agitated. “Your friend Romo is going to ask for leniency in the sentencing. It’s a fine thing since he pressed charges.”
“He’s only doing his job, protecting the Mission’s business.” Alicia felt like she should say something on Padre Romo’s behalf.
“Yeah, and I’m doing mine, surveying and tracking business here,” the trapper said. Alicia wanted to ask him who he worked for, but she stayed quiet.
“Brothers have no job,” Nina said.
“They go big star,” Masagawa repeated.
It was almost twilight when the crowd emptied the courtroom. Alicia heard a lot of muttering.
“Damned Indians ought to be run clean out of here. I don’t call them braves, I call ’em thieves.” Vulgar things were said in the presence of Nina and Masagawa, who were still hoping to see Pedro and Flaco released.
“Hard labor,” the trapper reported to them. “They will not hang, but Romo said there’s plenty of work to do in Monterey. They are being sent north to pay off their debts.”
“They go,” Masagawa said. Alicia realized Masagawa knew all along what the outcome would be. The brothers were being sent north to Monterey. Big star, north star.
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