Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Assassin's Retirement Chapter 20 #blogstory #Gentleman

Welcome back to Assassin's Retirement! Today we have Chapter 20 where there is still some good butt kicking going on, just not the destructive type. Zane has to decide if he's going to have mercy on Ella or not.

I need to give you a heads up for next two coming week. With the finishing of Caledonia Destiny's edits and now I'm prepping it for the cover reveal, book blast, and release, I keep putting off finishing the next chapter of Assassins Retirement. Things have been hectic and I still have an unknown number of articles to write for the book blast. I'm guessing perhaps 15 but I might need more, I don't know at the moment. I have to have everything to the promoter by the 18th... *glances at the calendar* which means I need to my ass in gear. So!! There is a very good chance that I won't get a chance to write on Assassin's Retirement this week. To take the pressure off myself--this blog story is meant to be fun for me and not something that causes stress--I'm going to take a two week blog-writing vacation. I'll see about scheduling a couple of flash fictions that I wrote last year to put on Tuesdays, but Assassin's Retirement will be back on July 3rd which seems far away, but believe it or not, it's only 2 weeks. 

I apologize for the inconvenience. My writing/editing plate is so full right now I won't be able to do Assassin's Retirement just if I tried to squeeze it in.

But no worries for today! Here's Chapter 20!

Chapter Twenty – Mercy

"Just kill her, Zane," Skyld said much too calmly. "We can take care of this fake scion before he hurts anyone else and hunt down any information about you the oracle has shared with others."

Cord made a choked noise, reminding Zane they had way too many witnesses. Normally, it wouldn't be an issue. Before his retirement, he would have dispatched Ella and everyone else on his property, except Skyld of course. But now things were messy. Alonzo was his and Zane was a bit surprised by his possessiveness when he thought about Alonzo. He also liked Crimson Comet, despite their grumpy, asshole members.  And hadn't he decided he would help Cord before he even left their house last night? Had that been only twelve hours ago?

Besides, Zane had questions. Boy, he wanted some very detailed answers. He thought Skyld could answer some of them well enough, but still. He weighed the pros and cons of eliminating a source when he didn't know exactly what he was dealing with. He do some research to see what he could find on this organization, I.O.N., but the more he thought about what Ella had done, he realized he didn't need her.

Zane flipped Ella face first into the snow and planted a foot in the middle of her back. "Back up, Cord. Brain matter goes everywhere," he advised. The thought of making Ella disappear made a small part of him very, very happy.

"Wait!" The Valkyrie Anson watched struggled to her knees. Her white, metallic wings shrinking until they were but little things on her upper back.

"I am getting really tired of people demanding that I 'wait'," Zane snapped.

"Please, hear me out, Scion." The Valkyrie finally stood, hands still tied behind her but her proud baring drew Zane's attention.

"I am not a scion," Zane automatically denied.

"You see me, do you not? Unless we allow it, humans never notice us. When we landed we were cloaked… we still are, and yet you behold me without issue. So yes, you are a scion as the oracle has claimed." Oracle? She meant Ella. Zane's growl sounded very animalistic, making everyone startle, even Skyld. He ground his teeth, struggling to bring his anger back under his control. The Valkyrie dropped her gaze and that simple show of submission instantly soothed him.

She continued, "You are the reason why we brought her here. If we had known she had wronged you, she would have been taken into custody and an I.O.N. representative would have been sent to right those wrongs."

Ella attempted to move and Zane pushed his foot harder between her shoulder blades.

"I have been remiss with introductions," The Valkyries said, taking a step closer, her gaze going to Cord. "I am captain of this team of Valkyrie, Saja Bryadotter of the Skaronul line, mother to Cord Rasmussen." She bowed slightly and not to be rude, Zane copied her. "Ella has broken several laws, especially if she has kept the mantles as bargaining tools against the scion bloodlines." Zane frowned as Saja took a couple of steps closer. Anson followed her, his gaze never leaving her as if he was ready to pounce. Zane was gratified that it seemed the members of Crimson Comet had his back, something he wasn't accustomed to.

"You haven't said anything to convince me to let her live," Zane replied coldly.

"She needs to be taken in and questioned. This is bigger than just you. We need to find out how deep the corruption goes and who it has affected. The mantles need to be found and handed over to the bloodlines," Saja argued.

"If there is corruption in this organization, then how do you know they will properly investigate and put to rights what Ella has done? I know nothing about Others or I.O.N. and I do not place my trust lightly." Not that Zane wouldn't be doing his own investigation later. Cord had called Ella an oracle with a reverence reserved for people who wielded great power. What exactly did an oracle do anyway. He was well read enough to know what they did historically but he wasn't willing to bet that definition remained the same over the centuries.

Saja's gaze flicked to Alonzo's unconscious form cradled in Midnight's arms. The cold knot in Zane's stomach intensified and when Saja glanced back at him, something of his fury must have been showing for she flinched before drawing back her shoulders. "Alonzo Cardosa is known to us. He worked with I.O.N. for many years. I suspect you would accept his word more readily."

She wasn't wrong, but Alonzo didn't seem as if he would be waking anytime soon.

Zane looked to Skyld, needing some guidance. As his oldest friend and mentor, he trusted Skyld's judgement. He would rather shoot Ella and be done with her. The issue of these mantles and wronged bloodlines was not his problem to sort out. Yet… Saja made it sound as if a bloodline meant he had more family than he knew about. Or perhaps that was his wishful thinking. Besides, if they questioned Ella, he could find out who else knew of him without him using his dark web contacts. If he used those, then people would think Gentleman the assassin was back in business, and that was the last thing he wanted. Glancing around, his gaze met too many eyes. And it hit him hard, his anonymity was a pipe dream. That realization almost pushed him to shoot Ella out of pure spite.

Ella moved again, as if his prolonged silence meant she could get off the ground. Without even looking at her, Zane put more pressure on her spine. A silent warning that he would break her back without a second thought.

She pounded her fists into the snow. "Are you just going to keep me here all day?"

Zane ignored her and looked back a Skyld. He didn't seem as if he liked the situation anymore than Zane.

"Motherfucker!" Skyld snarled.

Skyld looked to the back door where Raine stood, one of Zane's firearms clutched in both his hands, muzzle pointed at the ground. "Raine, find me a gag," Skyld called. He flipped a latch on his belt and pulled out two more zip ties.

Zane wondered what kind of work Skyld had been doing lately that he had a custom belt made to carry so many ties. Had Skyld retired as well? Zane was saddened to realize he'd been so focused on himself that he hadn't reached out to check up on Skyld.

Kneeling, Skyld secured Ella's hands and feet. Unsurprisingly, Ella struggled, spewing venom and that too Zane tuned out even though he was glad when Raine returned with a sock and curtain tieback for her gag.

"Can we remove the restraints from the Valkyrie?" Cord asked.

Relaxing slightly, Zane finally gave Cord his full attention, seeing how conflicted Cord was. He had to wonder why Cord stood at his side instead of automatically going to the Valkyrie's aid, especially considering his mother was among their number.

"Can you guarantee they won't attack Skyld, Alonzo, or me?" he inquired, curious to how Cord would answer.

"Moder?" Cord raised his voice but didn't take his gaze from Zane's.

"You have my word, Scion. We will not cross swords with the Blood or those under your protection," Saja solemnly replied.

"All right," Zane finally capitulated.

The corner of Cord's handsome mouth twitched into something not quite a smile. "Thank you." Cord stepped closer, but Zane didn't back away, instead looking up as Cord leaned down and brushed his lips over Zane's in a soft, chaste kiss. The whiskers of Cord's beard tickled Zane's skin. "I would never betray you," Cord whispered before stepping away and going to his mother.

Zane stared after him, surprised that Cord's promise rang true.

Skyld threw his arm around Zane's shoulders in a rare show of PDA. Zane was grateful for the contact and leaned into Skyld's side. "When we get a moment to breath, we need to talk."

That was the understate of the decade.

Table of Contents

Chapter One - Retirement
Chapter Two - Normal is not supposed to be this hard
Chapter Three - Caught
Chapter Four - Crimson Comet
Chapter Five - Mountain Magic
Chapter Six, Part 1 - Harbinger of a Nightmare
Chapter Six, Part 2 -
Chapter Seven, Part 1 - Stolen Answers
Chapter Seven, Part 2 -
Chapter Eight, Part 1 - No such thing as heroes
Chapter Eight, Part 2 -
Chapter Nine, Part 1 - Dead is supposed to be... dead
Chapter Nine, Part 2 -
Chapter Ten, Part 1 - Gathering Allies
Chapter Ten, Part 2
Chapter Eleven - Combustible
Chapter Twelve - Standing His Ground
Chapter Thirteen - Choices
Chapter Fourteen, Part 1
Chapter Fourteen, Part 2
Chapter Fifteen, Part 1 - To kill, or not to kill
Chapter Fifteen, Part 2
Chapter Sixteen - Maricoxi Guardians
Chapter Seventeen - Coincidence?
Chapter Eighteen, Part One - Guns Ablazin'
Chapter Eighteen, Part Two

Chapter Nineteen, Part Two
Chapter Twenty - Mercy

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

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