Vendetta(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 4)(7) by Connie Suttle
"It's okay. I had it coming." Ashe slipped off the stool. "Dad, I think I'll go to my room. I have an early morning tomorrow." Ashe walked toward the stairs.
* * *
"I don't have any idea and Winkler already called Wlodek, hoping to get information," Aedan said. "I could have told him not to waste his time."
"He has information we may need and he's holding it back," Adele muttered angrily. The gold medallions were beautiful, but Adele didn't know what to think of them on her son's skin.
"We'll find out or we won't, it's as simple as that," Aedan soothed. "And I won't be angering the Head of the Council by asking a second time."
* * *
Baltis stared at the one before him. He remembered this one, with one blue eye, the other brown. A quarter child, he'd been forced away from the Dark camp years ago at age sixteen. Now he was back, although Baltis' new guards had been rough with him.
"What do you want?" Baltis demanded. "We have little patience with those who seek us out a second time."
"I have information, Dark King," Wildrif bowed low, his hands shaking. He was filthy and his clothing smelled—he'd traveled through sewers and then the old rail tunnels beneath Chicago's streets to locate Baltis and his temporary camp. Most of Baltis' people were with his brother, Prince Beldris, in a remote area of Canada. Baltis wanted to be nearer to his spies. Chicago was a compromise.
"Tell me and be gone," Baltis commanded.
"Your Destroyers? They are dead," Wildrif informed the Dark King.
"You have no proof of that," Baltis snapped. "The talismans have not returned to me."
"They will not return. To you or to the Bright Queen, who has also lost her Jewel Sentinels. The talismans have found a new home. With the Ir'Indicti."
"There is no Ir'Indicti," Baltis was enraged at Wildrif's wild claim.
"No? Have you spoken to your sources? What have they said?"
"I have not spoken with them since the attempt we made met with failure. My Destroyers may be injured and making their way back slowly as a result."
"No. They will not return. Contact your sources. Find the truth."
"And if what you say is true?"
"Then you need a foreseer. You do not have one; I know this. You depend upon other means to gather information, now. Your former foreseer was also a Destroyer and could not see the Ir'Indicti. None can. To predict the movements of one we cannot detect, we must predict the movements of those closest to him. That I can do."
"Should you prove correct, I will consider this request. Do not count on it, or my patience." Baltis called a guard forward. "Contact my sources. Learn what you can." Baltis sent the guard away.
"May I have food and drink while we wait?" Wildrif asked timidly.
"See to his needs," Baltis commanded.
"Thank you, my King." Wildrif bowed.
* * *
Marco grinned as Sali's arms shook while lifting one hundred seventy-five pounds. "Come on, Ashe can do forty more," Marco said.
Don't make it a contest, Ashe sent mindspeech to Marco. Ashe was doing squats with Trace. Trajan watched Sali with a critical eye while Marco worked out with dumbbells. They went to run on the beach afterward.
"Come on," Trajan ran beside Sali, who lagged behind the others. "You run as a wolf. Now you run as a human, too. Don't expect to be perfect right away."
"Marcus, Nathan and Jonas are going to interview three candidates for the Principal's job next Monday, right after sunset," Trace informed Ashe as they jogged along.
"Do you know who's applied?" Ashe asked, his feet hitting the ground in a regular rhythm, accompanied by the swish of shoes meeting packed, wet sand.
"Somebody is coming from California, I heard. Another one from Colorado and the third from Kentucky. They made the short list."
"Do we know anything else about them?"
"Two are werewolf, one's a shapeshifter."
"Wow. They found a shapeshifter?" Ashe turned curious blue eyes to Trace's brown.
"Yeah. Don't know what he is when he turns, but he's a shapeshifter. The one from Kentucky is a female werewolf. If she gets the job, her husband will come with her."
"You're not giving the shifter a chance?" Ashe frowned at Trace.
"Ashe, it would take a really tough shifter to deal with werewolves, don't you think?" Trace turned his face forward again.
"So, a bumblebee bat just wouldn't be tough enough? Is that what you're saying?"
"Ashe, you know how they treat you. The other kids, that is. Even the shifter kids think it's a joke. I'm telling you that as a friend, not as a werewolf or a bigger shifter. Kids get bullied all the time because they don't fit into some cookie cutter ideal the others hold. Believe me; I know what I'm talking about. The Principal of any paranormal school has to demand respect. And get it. That way, when he challenges somebody for making fun of another kid, they'll back off and listen."
"And there I thought academic credentials and personal integrity were the guidelines," Ashe muttered sarcastically.
"It helps if they can read," Trajan ran up beside Trace. "Stop scaring the help," he jerked his head at his younger brother before dropping back to run beside Sali and Marco.
After his run on the beach, Ashe trotted homeward to shower before getting with Andy to see what the job was for the day. Coming out the front door later, he watched Sali climb into his car and drive away. Breathing a frustrated sigh, Ashe loped down the street—Winkler's house and the community center were on the other side of the canal. He suspected that memories had been altered again. Shaking himself, he rang the doorbell at Andy and Buck's house.
"These are past year accounts," Andy handed a pile of file folders to Ashe when Ashe walked inside their makeshift office. "See if you can find anything wrong with any of them. And we'll see about getting a bigger desk—you're just too damn tall," Andy said with a grin. "On the bright side, though, Winkler says we can get a new computer for you. We'll take a trip to Corpus this afternoon and pick it up."
"Really?" Ashe felt a bit of excitement over buying a new computer.
"Yep. Get to work and we'll drive down after lunch."
Ashe took the pile of folders to his tiny desk and began to sort through them.
* * *
"These are the plans," Buck unrolled the large sheet of architectural drawings so Adele could see them. "We'll put the freezers here," he tapped the sheet where the kitchen lay. The building would take up the entire lot, including the back yard. "And Winkler asked me to tell you that he's buying a restaurant on the water in Port Aransas. He wants to hire you to run both."
"I think I'd like that—Ashe and I ate at Victoria's not long ago. We loved it."
"Funny you should mention that—Victoria's is the one he's buying. The owner wants to retire and just put it up for sale. Winkler got wind of it and was interested. He's got a lot of property in the area already."
"I'd like to keep the same menu," Adele said, offering Buck a smile. "We loved the shrimp and fish we got."
"There's a local shrimping business that's werewolf owned. They'll supply fresh shrimp and seafood, I'm sure. The Sheridans grow enough produce to keep two restaurants in business, plus some. And we have a line on any other fresh fruit and vegetables you want."
"This is exciting to me, Mr. Wilson," Adele said. "Please tell Mr. Winkler that I appreciate this opportunity."
"It's nothing. And call me Buck," he said, the corner of his mouth lifting slightly. "We're starting on this one tomorrow," he tapped the sheet again. "If the weather cooperates, we'll have it built just before school starts."
"That's wonderful. Thanks, Buck."
"No problem, Adele."
* * *
"Money's no object," Andy said as they looked through computers at the electronics store. A solicitous employee stood nearby, hoping for a very good sale. Ashe was busy reading the specs for two that he'd narrowed down.
"I want a better printer," Ashe said, pointing out the desktop he'd selected.
"Not a problem," the employee agreed.
After Ashe and Andy packed the new computer and accessories into a Winkler Security van, Andy drove to an office-supply store.
"Pick out a desk. You'll get the office we're in right now. I'm moving my office to the media room. Buck is putting a TV in his bedroom so you won't have to share your office."
"Really? I feel special," Ashe grinned.
"Yeah. Come on; let's find something that will accommodate those long legs of yours."
"This is as good as Christmas," Ashe said later, rolling an ergonomic chair across the tile floor. "I like this one."
"We'll take it. And the desk and credenza," Andy told the salesclerk. Another load went into the back of the van. "I think Winkler wants to talk to you again when we get back," Andy said quietly as they climbed inside the vehicle.
"What about?" Ashe couldn't imagine what the Dallas Packmaster might want this time.
"Not sure," Andy lied. Ashe knew that Andy knew but wasn't going to point it out. He was used to it.
"All right." Ashe buckled up, settled into his seat and watched the van drive past gulf waters.
* * *
"Ashe, I know we've asked an awful lot of you, and I realize your age, but I have a proposition for you," Winkler said.
"What's that?" Ashe was certainly curious.
"You took the SAT already, didn't you?" Winkler asked.
"Yeah—took it at the end of the school year, as practice. Did pretty good on it, too."
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