Destroyer(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 5)(21) by Connie Suttle
"Then let's do this," Ashe said. "I drop you behind Ormonde," Ashe nodded at Gavin. "I'll take Tony to the humans and help him take them."
"In what way are you going to help me?" Tony asked.
"I'll gather them in my mist, one at a time, and then dump them in the same spot. Right now, they're at different positions at the bottom of the stairs, hiding behind brick columns. Hard for you to get both without getting shot. I can bring them together," Ashe explained.
"Yeah. That's feasible," Tony agreed. "Gavin?"
"I agree," Gavin nodded slightly.
"Ready?" Ashe asked.
"Ready," Tony said.
Dropping Gavin behind Kieran Ormonde went without a hitch. Ashe left Gavin only a few feet behind Ormonde and then flew his mist toward the steps leading into Ormonde's basement. That might have gone without a hitch, too; Ashe gathered both gunmen inside his mist, leaving their machine guns behind. He then dumped the gunmen in a corner, where Tony removed both heads quickly.
Neither Ashe nor Tony expected a third gunman, who seemingly appeared from nothing and shot both of them from behind. Ashe cried out as he was hit and Tony, even wounded, moved like the wind to remove a third head before hauling the body and head toward the first two. Dropping both parts amid the others, he spared a pain-filled glance for Ashe.
Ashe had taken a bullet in his right arm and Tony had been hit twice in his left shoulder. Ashe and Tony pressed hands to bullet wounds and stared at the headless bodies lying on the floor.
"What are we going to do with the bodies?" Tony's breaths were short and labored.
"I'll take care of it," Ashe muttered before lifting his left hand and turning three bodies to flying sparks.
Tony, bleeding and in pain, dropped to his knees in shocked reverence as three bodies winked out of existence.
"Hold still, I will remove the bullet." Gavin's claw was at least a foot long as he carefully inserted it in Ashe's wound. Ashe had insisted that Tony be tended first—his wounds were worse.
"Ow." The pain of the removal was nothing next to the pain Ashe was already experiencing. He watched, fascinated, as Tony snaked out a hand and neatly caught the bullet Gavin flipped out of his arm.
"Leave no evidence behind," Tony mumbled, stuffing the bullet in a pants pocket.
"Child, I hope you weren't overly fond of this shirt." Gavin ripped the sleeve and tied a strip of it above the bullet wound in Ashe's arm.
"I have others," Ashe attempted a grin. It failed—he was in too much pain.
"Can you still get us home?" Tony asked. His bullet wounds were already closing.
"Yeah. Too bad I don't heal as fast as you guys. Ready?" Ashe asked, working to keep his concentration. Gavin was now stanching blood from the wound with the rest of Ashe's torn sleeve.
"Yes," Gavin growled. Ashe skipped his passengers to Texas.
* * *
"What the hell happened?" Winkler snarled while Trajan phoned the werewolf nurse. Blood was all over Ashe and Tony's clothing. Winkler wasn't worried about Tony—he could replenish what he'd lost easily enough—Gavin and Tony's fridge in the basement was packed with bagged blood. Ashe didn't heal as swiftly as the vamps. He'd be down for a day or two at least.
"Miscalculation," Ashe grimaced as Trace moved Gavin aside, ripped the rest of Ashe's shirt in half and pulled it off as he sat on a barstool in Winkler's kitchen. "On my part," Ashe added, as Loren and Andy walked in with Marco. "Somebody showed up that I wasn't expecting and didn't see."
"Damn, Ashe, what did you do?" Marco muttered.
"Got shot with a nine millimeter. Lived over it. End of story," Ashe whispered.
"He's going down," Trace snapped.
"I've got him," Gavin moved in before Ashe could drop off the barstool.
The last thing Ashe saw before he fainted was Gavin's worried face above his.
* * *
"He's sixteen," Winkler sighed. "He's bound to miscalculate, now and then."
"I'm surprised. He's very intelligent."
Winkler nodded at Gavin's words.
"Grand Master's here," Trajan tapped on Winkler's study door.
"Send him in," Winkler sighed. It was nearly four a.m. and Weldon had gone to Star Cove to talk with Bear Wright before driving his rental to Winkler's beach house. Everybody was having a late night. Matt Michaels was spending the night in Austin before flying in the following morning.
"Grand Master," Gavin rose and shook Weldon's hand.
"Gavin, good to see you," Weldon nodded to the Assassin. "How's Anthony?"
"Anthony will recover," Gavin replied dryly. "He is sleeping and his wounds are already closed. I regret the child's wound."
"He's been stuck in the middle of a dangerous time, don't you think?" Weldon took Winkler's remaining guest chair and settled on it with a weary sigh. "Probably won't be the last time he gets hit."
"As I understand it, Ashe is the one who protects others. Who will protect him?" Gavin asked.
"I don't have an answer," Winkler responded. "Wish I did."
"How's the kid doing?" Weldon asked as Trace walked in and handed a cup of coffee to the Grand Master.
"Fine. Gavin had the bleeding almost stopped when they got here, the nurse cleaned out the wound and gave him something for pain. He's asleep."
"Good. Have you told Gavin what we've got coming our way tomorrow night?" Weldon asked.
"Waited for you to back me up," Winkler said, offering Weldon a tired grin.
"We have Zeke Tanner's rogues heading this way," Weldon began. "We might need your help."
* * *
"Winkler has some business that I need to be there for." Buck told Adele Friday morning. He'd called her as soon as he'd gotten off the phone with Trajan. Something was going down, but Trajan hadn't given Buck any details. He'd only said that Winkler needed an extra guard. Buck was the one he'd called. "I was hoping I'd see you tonight after work, but maybe we can get together tomorrow night."
"That sounds good. I can cook, or we can go out."
"Will you cook? That sounds so much better than restaurant food."
"I'll cook, then."
* * *
"One million dollars for additional information on that boy." Curtis made his first offer. He figured it would cost at least five times that much to get what he wanted, but it was smart to start the bidding low.
"Ten," Zeke Tanner countered.
Curtis smiled. He'd estimated five million. Zeke was putty in his hands.
* * *
"Dude, I need help," Sali left the fourth message on Ashe's cell. "Man, pick up," Sali added before hanging up in frustration. Algebra II was kicking his behind. Ashe would know how to work the problems. He always did.
Tossing the cell onto his desk, Sali flopped on the bed and lifted his tablet, staring at the assignment Mr. Dawkins had given the class. "Marco," Sali muttered, grabbing the cell and calling his brother.
"Hey," Sali said when Marco answered.
* * *
Don't tell him about Ashe, Trajan held up a quickly scribbled note as Marco spoke with Sali.
"Sal, Ashe had a late night and he's asleep. Cut him some slack, okay?" Marco watched Trajan, who nodded in approval. "He probably has his phone turned off." Trajan gave a bigger nod.
"Will you tell him I called?"
"I will, but you already said you left four messages. I think he'll know already," Marco laughed.
"Dude, algebra is kicking my ass," Sali whined.
"Is that what this is about? Homework?"
"Oh, like you weren't on the phone with Cori every five minutes about college algebra."
"Then call Cori. See if she'll help," Marco suggested. "Let Ashe get his sleep."
"Will you call Cori for me?"
"Sal, do you need your hand held?"
"If I call her, I'm telling her what you bought for her birthday."
"Salidar, I'll key your car. I swear I will. You can't hide it, either, Dad has the keys."
"Fine. I'll call Cori. Will she blab to Dori that I called?"
"Ah. I missed the ex-girlfriend angle in all this," Marco nodded sagely. "I don't think Cori will blab. One peep about what I got her and your car's toast."
"I won't tell. I just need help with homework."
* * *
"I just want to pat his head," Matt muttered as he stared at Amos Thompson. Amos Thompson's white buffalo stood amid the dunes surrounding Winkler's beach house, guarding the property with two of Winkler's wolves.
"Amos put in twenty years with the army. I'd hold off on patting his head," Winkler chuckled.
"His wife's a good cook," Matt bit into a chocolate chip cookie and chewed happily.
"She's a swan," Winkler pointed out. "Amos loves her a lot. You should see them together on a full moon. Amos tucks her under his chin and snorts at anybody who gets close."
"That's great—I'd love to see it," Matt smiled.
"Marco told me that—he's seen it, I haven't."
"Truth really is stranger than fiction," Matt said.
* * *
"Mrs. Thompson," Ashe wandered into the kitchen at five, after sleeping all day.
"Young man, you need to be careful," Florence Thompson shook a flour-covered finger at Ashe. Her blonde hair was pulled back in a neat bun as she shaped rolls with her hands at the island.
"I agree," Ashe said, sliding onto a barstool.
"Want a sandwich? You haven't eaten all day."
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