Spider's Trap(Elemental Assassin,book 13)(88) by Jennifer Estep
Finn and Bria went over to make sure that Pike was dead. The metal elemental lay where he had fallen in the middle of the shattered stone garden, his sightless eyes glaring up at the moon and stars, as if he were wondering how he had wound up in such a sorry state. He really should have known better. Bloody was how things always ended in Ashland.
Especially when the Spider was involved.
While Jo-Jo worked on me, Xavier entered the garden, along with Silvio and Sophia. Corbin shuffled along behind them, looking even more beaten-up and bedraggled than ever before, urged on by the Ice gun Mallory kept poking into his back. Lorelei walked alongside her grandmother, telling her everything that had happened.
Xavier and Sophia made sure that I was okay, then went over to where Finn and Bria were still examining Pike’s body. Jo-Jo finished healing me, but I still felt a little wobbly on my feet, so Owen put his arm around my waist and helped me over to Lorelei. Silvio joined us.
Mallory pushed Corbin down onto his knees in a patch of leaves. A surly expression twisted his face as he glared up at the petite, elderly dwarf.
Lorelei nodded at me as I came to stand beside her. I nodded back.
Then she looked at Corbin. “Start talking. Or I’ll let Gin ask the questions. I doubt that she’ll ask as nicely as I will.”
I arched an eyebrow. “Getting me to do your dirty work again?”
A faint grin curved her lips. “I thought you wouldn’t mind in this case.”
I pretended to think about it. “You’re right. I don’t mind. Although you’ll have to let me go get one of my silverstone knives. If I use the ceramic ones you gave me, the blade will probably break off while I’m cutting through something vital—”
“All right! All right!” Corbin yelled. “I’ll tell you what you want to know. Just keep Blanco away from me.”
“Talk. Now,” Lorelei hissed. “Before I change my mind.”
For the next ten minutes, Corbin spilled his guts about how Pike had approached him in a Southtown bar about a week ago and had told him all about his plans to terrorize Lorelei. Naturally, Pike had offered Corbin enough money to make it worth his while to report all of Lorelei’s plans and movements back to her half brother. Betrayal, greed, double crosses. It was all pretty standard stuff. But there was one thing that still bothered me.
“And what about Pike’s source?” I asked. “The one who told him where to find Lorelei in the first place?”
Corbin gave me another surly look.
I took a step forward.
“I don’t know! Okay? I don’t know. Pike never told me how he found Lorelei. Just that someone tipped him off. He never told me who it was.”
Unfortunately, his panicked words rang with truth. Besides, Pike hadn’t struck me as the kind of guy to share important info with his minions.
Lorelei looked at me. “Are you satisfied?”
“I’m good. I didn’t really expect him to know anyway.”
“All right, then. Questioning’s over.”
Lorelei snapped up her last elemental Ice gun and shot Corbin in the head.
The shot echoed through the gardens, even as Corbin toppled over to the ground—dead.
I stared at Silvio. “And you think my managerial style needs improvement.”
The vampire shrugged his lean shoulders, then gave Lorelei an admiring look. “Actually, it was a rather quick and effective solution to deal with a spy like Corbin.”
“Yeah,” Lorelei sniped. “That’s me. Quick and effective.”
“You’re going to have to be,” Bria chimed in, walking over and waving her phone. “Someone’s reported hearing several gunshots near the gardens. A patrol car is on its way to check things out.”
“Which means that we need to move. Clear the vans off the road, get rid of the bodies, and vamoose like this never happened.” Finn quirked his eyebrows at me. “Unless you two ladies want to hang around and explain things to the cops?”
I looked at Lorelei, who shook her head.
“No,” she said. “I’ll have enough headaches finding a replacement for Corbin. Besides, this was a . . . personal matter. I’d rather keep it that way.”
Her gaze drifted over to Pike’s body, and her mouth twisted. Lorelei might have said that things were finished, but they weren’t. Not for her. Not now, maybe not ever. Something I could relate to all too well. Perhaps we should start our own sleep-deprivation club. Nightmares Anonymous of Ashland. Heh.
Finn nodded. “All righty, then. Xavier, Bria, Owen, Silvio. You’re with me.” He went over, grabbed Sophia’s hand, and gave her a low, gallant bow. “Naturally, I will leave the bodies to your discretion, my lady.”
Finn smooched a kiss to Sophia’s hand, making her laugh, reach out, and rumple his hair. He grinned, then hurried after the others. Sophia drew a tape measure out of the pocket of her black coveralls, bent down, and measured Corbin’s body, before going over and doing the same thing to Pike’s. Jo-Jo trailed behind her sister, along with Mallory.
Lorelei started to follow her grandmother, but I called out to her.
“One more thing.”
I stabbed my finger toward Pike. “There aren’t any more like him around, are there? No more Pike brothers or sisters or aunts or uncles? Nobody who’s going to wonder what happened to cousin Ray-Ray and come to Ashland looking for revenge? Because I don’t need to start another blood feud. I have enough problems right now.”
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