Destroyer(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 5)(22) by Connie Suttle
"A sandwich would be awesome."
"How do you feel?" Trace walked in while Florence "Flossie" Thompson put a roast-beef sandwich together for Ashe.
"Kinda crappy. Like my head is full of cotton," Ashe replied. "I think your nurse friend gave me too much pain medication."
"That's possible, I guess," Trace agreed. "He may have thought he was treating a werewolf and not a shifter."
"I'm not really a shifter, either," Ashe muttered. "Thanks," he said as Flossie put the sandwich in front of him. "I'm just something different who happens to shift."
"Young man, anybody who shifts is a shifter. That's that." Flossie softened her words with a smile.
"I guess I'm a shifter," Ashe grinned and bit into his sandwich.
"Spoiling your dinner?" Winkler walked in, followed by Matt Michaels and the Grand Master.
"I guess." Ashe took another bite of his sandwich.
"He's starved. He hasn't eaten all day." Flossie was back to shaping rolls for the oven.
"Are those homemade rolls? I can't wait for that," Matt sighed.
"Don't get home cooking much, do you?" Flossie offered Matt a smile.
"Nope. Those cookies were amazing."
"There are cookies?" Ashe was interested quickly.
"For dessert. Mr. Michaels was in the kitchen when they came out of the oven, so I gave him three. He's too thin," Flossie observed. Weldon Harper threw back his head and laughed.
* * *
"Charles, the target has been eliminated," Aedan sounded weary to his own ears.
"Something wrong, Aedan?" Charles's voice crackled; they didn't have a good cell-phone connection.
"Nothing you can fix," Aedan replied.
"I'll send the jet tomorrow evening," Charles promised.
"Thank you." Aedan ended the call and tossed the phone onto the sofa. He'd made the call from the safe house located outside Mucklagh, in County Offaly in Ireland. Dawn was still hours away and that troubled him. This would be where his life ended; in a field near the place of his birth so many years ago. Fate had sent him to Ireland when his life had become so empty.
Rifling through his small suitcase, he found a pad of paper and a pen. This would be his last letter to his wife and son. Briefly, Aedan cursed the ones who'd brought him this unbearable pain.
* * *
"Mr. Winkler, can I talk to you for a minute?" Ashe stuffed hands in the pockets of his jeans as he offered Winkler an exasperated look before ducking his head.
"Sure, kid. What is it?" Winkler invited Ashe inside his study.
"That pain medication—what was it?"
"Not sure, why?"
"I feel like my head is stuffed with cotton. And the signals I usually get—well, they're gone. I can't feel anything."
"How long is this gonna last?" Winkler motioned for Ashe to sit. Ashe took a guest chair in front of Winkler's desk with a troubled sigh.
"I don't know. Kinda makes me feel blinded."
"Yeah, I guess it would. Maybe I'll contact the nurse and ask how long that stuff stays in your system."
"I think he gave too much. Probably unintentional, but I can't tell right now."
"And you were unconscious when he gave it," Winkler stood, a frown crossing his features. "He's one of Shirley Walker's wolves. I'll ask the Grand Master to give her a call and we'll do some quick research. We don't need traitors in our midst, just as Peyton Miller is hauling a batch of Zeke Tanner's trackers our way."
"That's not good," Ashe muttered, rubbing his forehead.
"Got a headache?" Winkler asked.
"Yeah. A bad one. I kept hoping it would go away, and I sure don't want to take anything else for pain. Not if it makes me blind and stupid."
"Understood. We didn't expect you to help tonight; Gavin and Tony will be with us. It wouldn't hurt, though, to know you're able to help if we need you."
"I'll be on standby, but I don't know how helpful I can be," Ashe said. "I haven't attempted to relocate or do anything else yet."
"Maybe a workout will help. Trajan!" Winkler called on his Second, who came running.
"Boss?" Trajan wasn't even winded when he stood in Winkler's doorway seconds later.
"Give the kid a ton of water to drink and make him run on the treadmill. We'll see if we can work some of that painkiller crap out of his system."
"Sure thing. Come on, kid. Your ass is mine for the next hour." Trajan offered Ashe a wolfish grin. Ashe slouched off the chair and followed Winkler's Second out the door.
* * *
"I have my talents focused on one of the vampires, that's how I knew," Wildrif sounded gleeful.
"I'm glad we were able to do something about it," Zeke tossed a pistol on his desk after making sure it was empty of bullets. "How did you know this would work?" Zeke turned to Wildrif.
"Narcotics have that effect on the race—it dampens their abilities, sometimes for months. This particular drug is the worst—it is one of the Elemaiya's few weaknesses. Only the most foolish have ever experimented with this drug, as it leaves them helpless."
"This is gonna toss a big wrench into the works," Zeke chuckled. "That kid doesn't show up when his mother gets hit. She dies; he goes crazy and then goes after both sides. They pay us even more money to give them information so they can find him first. What more can you ask for?"
Wildrif's answering laughter sounded evil, even to Zeke's ears.
* * *
"I gave him enough," Jude Gilmore, the werewolf nurse, snarled as the gun was waved in his face. "Are you going to release my wife, now?"
"You should stick to your own kind," the tracker growled. "But thanks for giving us a weak human as a hostage. Breathe a word of this to your Packmaster and we come after your wife again."
"I'll be quiet, just stay the hell away from us," Jude replied.
* * *
"Shirley can't find Jude. Tried calling his cell three times," Weldon muttered angrily.
"So we have no idea what the kid was given," Winkler said.
"We can't take him to the hospital for tests—we don't have the time and we can't explain how he got the stuff or the healing bullet wound."
"Yeah. Should have suspected something when the kid slept so long."
"Jude's been trustworthy until now. There wasn't any reason to suspect," Weldon attempted to calm Winkler, who'd started growling in frustration. "Look, we'll have our hands full tonight. No need to add to the stress."
"I want to kill Gilmore over this. If he was pressured or blackmailed, we could have helped. Instead, we can't find him now and the kid's talents are compromised."
"Is there anyone we can contact who might have information on this—on why this is causing problems for Ashe?" Weldon leaned back in his chair. He and Winkler were in Winkler's study; Matt Michaels was on the deck with Trace and Trajan, going through the weapons cache he'd brought with him.
"I don't personally know anybody else who has Elemaiyan blood except Lissa's father. I have no idea how to contact him, and I sure as hell don't want to see him if I can help it."
"I agree. He's not an option," Weldon nodded. "We don't have time to track any of the others down again, and I really don't want to do that anyway. Not after recent events."
"Matt wants them dead or off the planet. I'd feel safer if they were gone. Who knows how many deaths they're responsible for? Those kids for sure, and nobody knows who else has gotten in their way over the years."
"Salidar said there were children at the Elemaiya camp in Canada. Only a few, but kids were there," Weldon sighed. "I asked Marcus, who gave me information after he questioned his son. I had wolves check out the site, and I'm sure Matt sent some of his, but the Elemaiya never went back once they left. I don't know where they moved, but it's a sure bet they're around somewhere."
* * *
"Mrs. Evans, we're almost out of shrimp." One of Adele's new hires blinked hopefully at Adele, as if she might conjure more shrimp from a magical location to serve her patrons.
"How much do we have left?" Adele was helping out in the kitchen—there'd been a bigger crowd than usual for a busy Friday night. Adele would be lucky to get the restaurant cleaned and everything prepped for the following day before twelve-thirty—meaning she'd get home after one in the morning.
"Maybe fifteen pounds."
"Is the crowd thinning at all?"
"Maybe a little."
"I'll come take a look. Get back to your tables, I'll check into this. If we have to pull shrimp off the menu, we'll do it. I have a truck coming tomorrow at eleven with another delivery."
Adele brushed back straying strands of honey-blonde hair and smoothed her embroidered apron as she stepped out of the kitchen, gazing toward the hostess stand near the front door. Breathing a sigh of relief, Adele turned to walk back to the kitchen. Closing was half an hour away and there weren't any customers waiting to get into the restaurant. "We'll make it," she muttered and went back to preparing clam chowder.
* * *
Wlodek boarded the jet as the pilots and flight attendant bowed respectfully to the Head of the Vampire Council. This was a last-minute trip that Wlodek decided to take, and he hoped for a successful and equitable outcome.
"I have bagged blood if you'd like," the attendant allowed Wlodek to settle on his seat.
"I am comfortable," Wlodek waved the two-hundred-year-old vampire away. "I will call if I have any needs."
"Of course." The attendant bowed again and backed away. Wlodek pulled out his cell phone to make a call.
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