Chapter Twenty-One: Tibo
Notes that aren't Suicide
“It’s not all equations.” Jaxx’s forehead crinkled in confusion.
“Well, duh. It’s in English. Dr. Bach is Swiss, right? In the German-speaking part. Why would he write in English? Maybe these aren’t even his notes.”
Rolly nodded as he plunked down in his chair. Despite being all domestic this morning, he still looked so drained and tired. “I see your point, Ti. But most magical theory scientists write notes and papers in English. Better to be after sharing with colleagues and such. Though even in English, it’s still gobbledygook to us lay people.”
“Yeah. You mean uneducated trash like me,” Tibo muttered as he turned his attention to breakfast.
“Tiborishandelac Glent! I said nothing close to--”
“Guys?” Jaxx interrupted. “Rolly? This page. Just look at this one.”
Rolly took the page and sipped his coffee, his expression more and more distant as he read. Finally, he said softly, “What was Shandi’s last name, Ti?”
“Kass.” Tibo tried to angle so he could see the page, too, but couldn’t quite bend far enough. “Shandilevinar Kass. Why?”
“It’s magical theory I can’t pretend to understand. But see here, underneath? The Kass correction resolves the previously unsolvable expression… Are you thinking it could be our girl, Jaxx?”
“Maybe? It’s just too much of a coincidence. The name Kass comes up here and there. Even in this note scribbled in German at the bottom of this page.” Jaxx handed over another page and Rolly’s frown only deepened.
“I’d say the good professor was after writing a suicide note, except I don’t think that’s what this is.” Rolly put the sheet flat on the table and pulled out his phone. “Give me a tic. My German isn't as good as my French.”
They waited, Ashe pacing, Tibo with his leg bouncing a syncopated rhythm while Rolly alternately looked at his phone and wrote things down on a scrap of paper from his pocket. Finally, he cleared his throat and read:
They will come for me now. It makes no sense to run. I should not have involved the Kass girl, since they have surely found her by now. The gods protect her. I have told them no, and will hide the notes. This is all I can do.
“Poor guy,” Ashe whispered. “He didn’t kill himself, then.”
“Sounds pretty certain he didn’t, poor bastard,” Rolly put the sheet down. “So he was working on whatever this all is, runs into some whisper of Shandi’s work and gets in touch with her. Then whoever’s after his notes, they flatten the poor girl and string him up.”
Tibo had reached for the notes to distract himself from flashes of that terrible night—the from-nowhere car, the shriek of tires, that horrible, sick sound of— “Hey. What’s this mean? Sklos Rot Lich?”
With one red eyebrow cocked, Rolly took the page and glanced at the words above Tibo’s finger. “Schloss Rotlich, it says. A castle? This set of notes is about experiments at the Schloss Rotlich facility, it says. Something about underground? It’s hard to say.”
“So there’s a place. Where they were doing experiments,” Tibo prompted.
“Not liking the look in your eye, Ti. Not one bit,” Rolly said softly. “Please tell me you’re not chasing after another ninny-headed idea.”
“But it’s where everything must’ve been happening!” Tibo jumped up, still holding his piece of toast, munching on it as he paced. “That has to be where the bad guys are. Right?”
“Maybe, but you’re not saying we should go there, are you?” Jaxx asked.
“Of course we should! That’s where we need to go!” Tibo waved the toast around in agitation.
“Glent, that’s just barmy and you’re spraying toast crumbs everywhere.” Rolly brushed some from his shoulder. “It’s an experimental facility. Most likely guarded. I know you want to solve this, love. But maybe it’s time to go home.”
“Not when we’re so close. No. Rolls, I don’t want you walking into anything else. You’ve already been arrested and shot for me. You go home. Please.”
“Not on your life, you feckin’ little wanker. If I go home, so do you.”
“Don’t give me those big puppy eyes. It’s insane and even you know it.”