Read Alpha Asher by Jane Doe Chapter 170
There was no room for argument, no room for negotiation within the gruff plains of his voice. Not a single shred of remorse or sympathy was viable within his words, nothing I could play on or entice to change his mind.
‘Asher, come on. I have to do this -‘
You don’t have to do shit.’ He snarled, the sound raising each and every hair on my body until I felt like I’d touched a live wire. ‘You can wait until we get back, then we can assemble an actual team to accompany us.’
‘It’ll be too late by then. I’ve already told you that they change the location of their lairs. If I don’t act now, they’ll move somewhere else and then we’ll never find them. How can you not understand that?’ I barked, frustration sharpening my voice and tinting my vision in a dull shade of red.
I was being insensitive, uncaring of the fact that he’d gone through so much while I was held captive by my father, but Asher was being so damn stubborn.
‘I might be stubborn, but I’m not reckless. I don’t leap into a dangerous situation with the word of a Vampire we don’t know nor trust.’ His rebuttal was instant, a barrage of fire and ice clashing within the confines of my skull. ‘If they move locations before we’re both able to go, then so be it, but I will not risk my mate a second time. I mean it, Lola. Do not do this. As your Alpha and mate, I forbid it.’
A sound of surprise and defiance slipped past my lips, making several heads in the coffee shop I sat in turn in my direction. I wrapped my hands around the to-go cup I held, tightening them to ease the shaking my rage had incited.
‘Did he just try to Alpha-command us?’ Maya scoffed, offence thickening her voice.
Hastily, I maneuvered around the growing line of customers and veered straight for the doors. The slew of crimson tinted emotions I was currently experiencing deafened my ears to the few patrons I heard call out my name followed by a ‘hello.’
The door jingled as it clattered shut, and a warm breeze lapped at my face, carrying my lowered voice several feet.
“Says the guy on a dangerous mission by himself with a witch he still doesn’t trust.” I seethed, so consumed by disbelief and anger that I hadn’t noticed Rowena’s auburn hair and flowing sundress until I clipped her shoulder roughly.
“Oh, Lola.” She half-yelped, placing a hand against her shoulder as she smiled warily. A flash of recognition danced within her mossy eyes and the expression she had turned to one of concern. “Is everything alright?”
I opened my mouth to speak, but she beat me to it with a wave of her hand.
“Don’t answer that, clearly something’s wrong. I didn’t even want coffee today, but something was telling me to come here. Let’s have a chat, shall we?” She mused, flipping back the loose curls that trailed down her shoulder. I was seconds away from declining when she said, “…and I warn you, I won’t take no for an answer.”
“Alright, yeah. Let’s have a chat.” I grumbled, sounding so much like Tristan that I took a moment to collect myself.
Rowena led the two of us to a vacant bench, her flowy dress swishing around her full hips and clinging to her slender waistline with each move. She smoothed out the back of her dress before sitting down and placed her dainty purse on the bench in between us.
While Rowena waited patiently for me to explain, I watched the morning traffic ebb and flow, eventually thinning out as everyone headed to their respective jobs. There was no twisting sensation in my gut, no feeling of mistrust that forced me to remain silent.
“The Vampire woman you saved last night; she gave me the location on where the rest of the Vampire’s are staying. If I don’t go right away, my chance at finding them will slip through my fingers. They change the location of their lair every month, but Asher strictly forbade me from going until he gets back.” I bit back a snarl and explained the situation as calmly as I could.
Rowena made a sound of surprise and raised both of her eyebrows. “Oh, that’s not quite what I expected, but I’ll try to help nonetheless. Tell me, will they not still be there once Asher returns?”
“‘No, they won’t. They’ll be off to some new location, and it’ll be impossible to find them. The Vampire-Bridgette, she only knows the location of this current lair, and they never visit the same place twice.” I sighed sharply, pinching the bridge of my nose when a headache stung my temples. “He-he’s still dealing with how it felt to lose me the first time, when I had to hand myself over to my father, but I let him go off on this mission knowing there was every chance he wouldn’t return.”
“Now, keep in mind this is simply an outsider’s perspective, but have you considered that protecting is in his nature, just as sacrifice is in yours? I’m not excusing or condoning his reaction, but it’s merely a thought.” She replied, her eyes soft and tone contemplative.
“Even then, that doesn’t help me decide what to do. If I go against him, I don’t know if he’ll forgive me.”
“Yet if you stay, you’ll lose the one chance you have at gleaning more information on the witches responsible for the death of two of your pack members, and the attempted murder of Breyona.” Rowena pointed out helpfully. “Also, with how I’ve seen Asher look at you, I don’t think forgiveness is an impossibility.”
It seemed that even Rowena knew what I would do, that this opportunity was one I couldn’t pass up. As much as I wanted to trust Bridgette and let that warm feeling of hope build in my chest, I had to remain vigilant. On the off chance this was a trap, I’d make sure the Vampire’s responsible knew exactly what their Queen was capable of.
“It seems you made your decision, if I’m not mistaken.” Rowena hummed, her eyes crinkling at the corners as her lips curved into a smile.
When I nodded, she slid her purse onto her lap and began rummaging through it. Seconds later she pulled out a dainty necklace with a teardrop ruby at the center.
“You’re giving me a necklace?” I questioned, staring down at the golden chain as she slid it into the palm of my hand.
“It’s from your grandma as well. Oh, and it’s magic.” Rowena beamed, her eyes lighting up at my surprise. “I was going to give it to you at training today, but since you cancelled I figured I’d just keep it in my purse until we ran into one another again. You can add it to the amulet Cordelia gave you, it’ll make a perfect addition to your growing collection.” She teased, helping to lighten the situation even if it were only for a few moments.
“What does it do?” I couldn’t help but ask, my curiosity more than piqued. “At this rate I’ll have to layer them like a scarf to keep from losing my mind.”
“The spell that’s on it is a bit of a doozy to do on your own, so I had your grandma help. It’ll strengthen you and help focus your magic whilst playing on Cordelia’s protection amulet for some added oomph. You’ll notice it’s effects the second you find yourself using magic.” She said with a self-assured smile, clasping her hands over her lap. “I do hope this makes things a bit easier for you. I can only imagine the difficulty of the decision you’re making, but in truth, I think I was drawn here today to help sway your mind.”
I wanted to believe it so much that I closed my mind off to any other option, turning my attention to the protection spell I still planned on casting, and the mission I now had to plan.
Thankfully, along the strip of stores within the heart of town, there were more than a few metaphysical shops that held an assortment of candles, crystals, and dried herbs. With Cordelia’s book of protection spells sitting like a ton of lead in my bag, I toted it into the locally owned shop and inhaled the earthy scent of lavender and sage.
The owner was a fair-haired woman with faint lines around her eyes, telling me she spent the best years of her life laughing, a kind smile carved onto her elvish face. Even though the items in her shop were more for show than anything else, she led me through the small aisles plopping the ingredients I needed into my basket.
A few black pillar candles, some jagged crystals I could barely pronounce the name of, and a bundle of sage later, the ingredients needed for the protection spell Holly, and I planned to cast were gathered.
All that was left was to wait until dusk, when the sun kissed the horizon and gave birth to night.