Home > One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles #3)(4)

One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles #3)(4)
Author: Ilona Andrews

Maud wouldn’t have asked for my help unless she was in imminent danger. I would beg, offer favors, and promise the moon and sky to save my sister. After I got the Ku settled last night, I had placed a message to Arland of House Krahr. It was late morning now. He hadn’t responded.

Arland and I had a history. He had helped Sean and me to track down the alien assassin, or rather we helped him, since the assassin was here because of the internal politics of House Krahr in the first place. He had also participated in the peace summit, which turned out very well for the Holy Anocracy, in no small part because of me. Technically, I could claim he owed me a favor. Practically, he was the Marshal of a powerful vampire House, who had plenty of responsibilities and probably couldn’t drop them on the spur of the moment.

The waiting for a response was nerve-racking.

A seven-foot-tall darkness loomed next to me. Orro thrust a small plate in front of my nose. I looked down at a small bagel covered with purple jam.


“Thank you, I’m not hungry.”

Orro’s foot-long spikes rose. He growled. Given that Quillonians resembled terrifying monsters who stood upright, had hands armed with savage claws, muzzles filled with fangs, and backs covered with foot-long black quills, the effect would give any sane human a lifetime of nightmares. I was past caring.


He wouldn’t give up until I did. I grabbed the bagel and bit into it. Like everything Orro cooked, it tasted like pure heaven. Orro muttered under his breath, waited until I finished the whole bagel, and stalked away.

As a Red Cleaver chef, he should’ve been cooking banquets at the best gourmet restaurants in the galaxy. But an unfortunate poisoning accident left him disgraced. I found him at Baha-char, when he was at the end of his rope, and although his contract with me was finished, he refused to leave. Gertrude Hunt was now his home.

The communication screen was still blinking.

I paced back and forth. Arland was my best bet. If I couldn’t get him to help me, I had no idea where to go next.

Pacing back and forth wasn’t going to get Arland to answer any faster. I stopped and forced myself to turn away. Through the kitchen window, I could see the backyard. The boost bike lay opened on the back patio. Sean was elbow deep in it, while the Ku, whose name was Wing, of all things, pranced around him. Beast cavorted around them, gathering sticks and spitting them at Sean’s feet.

I waved my hand and the inn opened the window, letting the cold air in.

“…Of course the stabilizer failed.”

Sean plucked a weird looking gadget from a tool chest. He’d asked if I had tools and I gave him access to the repair garage. He saw the rows of shelves filled with an assortment of mechanical wonders, swore in appreciation, and then picked out a tool chest.

He reached into the guts of the boost bike, plucked something out, and tossed it on the grass. “That’s what you get for buying spare parts from an Alkonian chop shop.”

“Cheap parts!” Wing volunteered.

“Look, it can be fast, good, or cheap. You can have any two but never all three.”


“It’s the law of the universe.”

When did he learn to fix boost bikes?

Something clicked within the engine. Blue lights ignited on the bike’s dashboard.

Wing raised his hands and emitted a piercing screech. Discretion wasn’t even in his vocabulary.

Behind me the communication screen chimed. I jumped.

“Accept the call.”

Arland’s face filled the screen. Handsome, with a mane of golden hair framing a powerful masculine face and penetrating blue eyes, Arland would’ve stopped traffic at any major intersection. Women would get out of their cars to take a closer look, until he smiled, and then they’d see his fangs and run away screaming.

The Marshal of House Krahr looked splendid in full armor, a deep black shot through with blood-red.

“Lady Dina,” he boomed. “I’m at your command.”

And he’d lost none of his flair for the dramatic. “Are you going to war, Lord Marshal?” Please don’t be going to war.

“No, I was attending a formal dinner.” He grimaced. “They make us wear armor to these things so we don't stab ourselves out of sheer boredom. How might I be of service?”

“I have to go to Karhari. The matter is urgent and I desperately need your help.”

Sean came in and washed his hands at the sink.

“Karhari is the anus of the galaxy.” Arland frowned. “What could you possibly want there?”

“My sister.”

His blond eyebrows crept up. “You have a sister?”


“What is she doing at Karhari?”

“I don’t know.”

The last time I had heard from Maud was over three years ago, and at the time she was on Noceen, one of the more prosperous of the Holy Anocracy’s planets. Klaus and I had gone to see her when we were searching for Mom and Dad. It was a short visit. Finding out that Mom and Dad had disappeared nearly broke her. She would talk with Mom all the time while my parents’ inn was active, so when communication abruptly ceased, she’d had no idea what had happened. She tried to get passage back to Earth, but her husband was involved in some sort of complicated vampire politics and she couldn’t go. During that meeting, I got a feeling that everything wasn’t going well, but she wouldn’t say what the problem was.

Caldenia entered the kitchen, wearing a beautiful pink robe, and took a seat at the kitchen table. Orro swept by and a plate with a bagel and jam landed in front of Her Grace.

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