Dragon Hoard Books: Damage Control

Ace maneuvered back through the doors, heading straight to Mari and Cass. “How is she?”

“Unconscious. Tends to happen when you’ve never been shot before.”

“I know.” Ace knelt, ripping his shirt off. The the halter buckle snapped, and he tore the green cloth into strips, using them to help patch what he could of Mari’s shoulder. Words tripped out of his mouth without his knowledge, “Come on, Mari. Stay with us. You’ll be okay.”

“I’ll watch for the ambulance.”

Ace nodded as if he understood, though the words tumbled through his brain like ice cubes through a tall glass of ale. The smell of blood clenched his gut, tangy, rusty, and full of salt. Everyone bled red, no matter the race, and the sight always seared his retinas. “Come on, Mari.”

Flashing lights danced into the front of the store, shining through glass doors as the undulating shriek of an ambulance siren built to crescendo as it arrived in the parking lot. Cass gave a report to the police, then showed them in. Ace moved aside for the two medics. Mari’s blood painted their gloves red as they moved her onto a stretcher and wheeled her into the ambulance. A hand brushed his wing, and he startled.

“Easy, big guy. Just me.” Cass swiped a strand of purple hair back into place. “The police want to talk to you.”

“I don’t want to talk to them.”

“Come on, Scales. They ain’t gonna leave until you do.”

“Fine.” He rolled his shoulders, cracking every joint in his spine and shoulders, and settled his wings before shifting around the newest blood stain in the carpet, and out to where the police waited.

“Mr. Assedesinkajun?”

“Just Ace.”

“Ace, then,” the officer jotted something in her notebook, “We received two different reports of an assault at this address. One from a Cass Zækiir, claiming Mariami Tadika was shot, and one from an anonymous tipper who spoke of a large, black Drakern, similar to your description, attacking patrons by breathing fire.  What response do you have to that?”

“Jericho probably called you after I fried his arm. He fell in with the Ætheriun Veil. He’s attempted to rob the store twice, and I’ll tell your precinct for the hundredth time, he’s also the one responsible for Wilæm Trymil’s death.”

“Wilæm Trymil?” She scratched a few more notes in her pad.

“The former manager of this place, killed in an armed robbery attempt six months ago.”

“I was not aware anyone was murdered at this location.”

“You must be new,” Ace choked back the grumble in his throat, “Yes, I did torch his left arm, after he shot Mari.”

“Well, as we have yet to investigate, I’ll take this as your statement, and you’ll hear from us as soon as we have more.”

“See you.”

The officer nodded, her ears twitching as she put her pad back in her belt. She reached up, tightened her fog white hair in its bun, and walked off. Stalked might be a better term. Once the police car pulled away, Ace tucked his wings, worked his way through the tight squeeze of the front doors, and made his way carefully to the back room. He sat down on the floor, his back against the side of a shelf, wedged into a wall corner in order to stay out of the way if Cass needed anything, and closed his eyes. Sleep wouldn’t come easy tonight.

Remember, the webcomic based on this short series is live on Patreon as of 30 December 2016!

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