Chapter Twenty-One: Ashe
Not on My Watch
“You’re fucking kidding, right?” Tibo’s eyes narrowed. “I’m not going home without an answer--you didn’t see the look in that little girl’s eyes when she died.”
Ashe’s face flushed hot. “You didn’t see your own father die right in front of you. Don’t tell me I don’t know what it’s like.” He turned away, his hands on the counter, feeling the heat radiating from his arms. Calm, Ashe. Stay calm. He took a deep breath.
Jaxx stepped between the two of them. “All right, guys, let’s not let this get out of hand--”
Tibo pushed him out of the way. “You don’t get a say in dictating any fucking thing I do,” he said to Ashe’s back. “You wanna go? Go. I don’t need any of you.” He stormed off toward his bedroom.
“Sorry, gents. Tibo’s always been a right little scrapper,” Rolly said on a weary sigh.
“Tell me about it,” Jaxx said. “Go.”
Rolly took off after the goblin.
“Well, that was a little harsh,” Jaxx said when they were both gone.
Ashe sat down at the table across from him, staring regretfully at the eggs. They were already stone cold. “I know. It’s just… I stayed up half the night, worrying about you. What if you were the one who got shot?” He took Jaxx’s hand, across the table. “Losing my father was hard enough. I just found you again. I think it would kill me if I lost you too--I’m not letting that happen on my watch.”
“Hey, no arguments from me. I came to support you. If you decide to call this whole thing off, we’ll drop it and go home tomorrow.”
Ashe nodded. “I think that might be best.”
“Crap. There’s always a ‘but’ with you.”
“I know you, Ashe Heyoka. Your father meant the world to you, even when he disappointed you.”
“Which was every other day.”
Jaxx squeezed Ashe’s hand. “If you don’t find out who did this to him, it will haunt you until the day you die.”
Ashe sighed. He sat back in his chair, crossing his arms, and staring at the satyr. “I hate it when you’re right. But what if someone gets hurt? I mean, really hurt? Or killed?”
“Everyone here came of their own free will. Rolly’s here because he loves Tibo. And I’m here--”
“‘Cause you love me?”
Jaxx snorted. “Because I thought you’d get into something you wouldn’t be able to get out of without me.” He grinned lazily. “I’m still deciding about the whole love you thing.”
“You asshole. You totally love me.”
“Yeah. Maybe.” Jaxx blushed. “So?”
“Changing the subject?”
“What do you want to do?”
Ashe got up and started pacing back and forth. “I don’t know,” he said at last. “I guess… I mean, I know you’re right. Someone killed Kino. If I quit now, they’ll get away with it.”
Tibo chose that moment to burst back into the room. “I can’t believe what a chicken shit coward you are, walking away when your own father was killed by these bastards.”
“Damn it, Glent!” Rolly called, running into the kitchen after him.
“I’ll go with you,” Ashe said softly.
“I mean, seriously, what kind of… wait, what?”
“I’ll go with you to this castle. Or whatever it is. Jaxx will too. You’re right--we have to see this thing through.”
“That’s… you’re… I mean, it’s just… well, great!” He sat down at the table next to Jaxx.
Ashe smiled at the goblin’s discomfort. “Look, I’m sorry I let my temper get the best of me earlier. I’m trying to do better. My dad never could.”
Rolly chuckled. “Yeah, our Tibo here can relate.”
Tibo glared up at Rolly.
“So we’re doing this?” Ashe said.
“Sounds like it.” Jaxx said, grinning at the lot of them. “Now where’s this castle?”
* * * * *
“Found it!” Jaxx said, calling them over to look at his laptop. He jabbed his finger at the screen. “Schloss Rotlich.”
Ashe squinted at the screen. “How’d you do it?”
“I started with a check of Dragon Maps, which had nothing.” He pulled up another website. “But it gets hits in references to business listings. Turns out Schloss Rotlich comes up in the holdings of Eich and Baum.”
Rolly let out a surprised huff. “Really? They make the charmed net filters my Da uses so we don’t snag merfolk.”
“The same. So I checked, and guess what?”
“I’m guessing you’re just dying to tell us,” Tibo said dryly.
Jaxx glared at him. “Here it is.” He pointed at the address.
Ashe grinned. “Nice work. So where is it?”
“About forty miles west of here. Right about…” He brought Dragon Maps back to the front. “...here.”
There was a lake in the middle of the countryside, and a blurred out area next to it.
“What’s wrong with the image?” Ashe asked.
“It’s that way in the Dragon Maps database. Sometimes companies have that done for proprietary reasons.”
“How do we get there?” Tibo said, his eyes gleaming with excitement.
“That’s the best part,” Jaxx said. “There’s a train…”