Dragon, 117

Some Situations You Can’t Take Your Eyes off of for A Second, but It’s Hard to Know Which Ones until it’s Too Late

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“How could this have happened?”

“I don’t know,” Owen said. He sighed, hands in his pockets. “Nobody saw anything.”

“Because magic happened?” Gavin asked, scowling at the dungeon door. “Or because nobody was watching?”

“I mean literally nobody was watching,” Twig said, crouched in a corner. He’d been poking all the stones to find a secret entrance and hadn’t located one even though he’d insisted that all dungeons had one. “We were all at the wedding, including most of the palace guard.”

“There was somebody guarding the dungeon, he claims he didn’t notice anything amiss,” Gavin said. He rubbed his arms now. “Fuck.”

Owen touched Gavin’s shoulder. “We’ll find him.” This was Drew’s cell they were standing in. It had been found empty the night of the wedding.

“How?” Gavin asked, resting his forehead on Owen’s shoulder.

“I don’t know,” Owen admitted. “We’ll just look everywhere until he turns up.”

“We may be able to do more than that.” Owen looked up and saw Cleo, who was coming into the cell with a mage with braided hair named Lee. She was the one who’d examined Drew to begin with when he’d been arrested. “Let us have the space for a little while. If he was teleported out, we should be able to tell.”

“Okay,” Gavin said. “Let us know what you find.”

“I’d also like to examine the guards who were posted here, your Highness,” Lee said to Gavin. “Just in case any of their memories were tampered with.”

Gavin nodded, then stopped. “You think Drew just walked out?”

“Given the powers we know he had, it’s certainly not impossible. As far as I could tell he didn’t have them any longer, but…”

“But it’s not impossible.” Gavin sighed. “Okay. Let me know what you find. Come on, Owen, Twig.”

Owen followed him out and gestured for Twig to do the same. “Wild that there aren’t any secret entrances or exits,” Twig muttered. “What a shit dungeon.”

“I think it’s a good dungeon if the people we arrest can’t escape from it,” Owen countered.

“Yeah, but you have to build a dungeon assuming that you might be in it someday. What if I lead an uprising and make myself king? Then you’ll both be trapped in that dungeon with no way to escape. Speaking of dungeons, you know who else is in a dungeon? The crazy witch who tried to open the hell portal.”

“Right,” Owen said. The portal had been opened by some woman named Jocelyn who was apparently a witch. She hadn’t said much yet, but she was being held in the dungeon under the fortress instead of the castle, because they had cells that were magically reinforced to stop magical people from melting them open or whatever. “We need to get her to talk so we can find her partner.” No sorcerer had been arrested.

“Yes, that’s true, and is tangentially also what I was getting at,” Twig said. “But the point I was actually not-stating was that what if her partner freed Drew?”

“We don’t really have any reason to assume that’s true,” Gavin said, holding Owen’s hand. “I know all shitty people seem to know each other, but sometimes unrelated shitty people do things at the same time.”

“Okay,” said Twig, who was okaying in that way he did when he didn’t agree.

“If a sorcerer pulled Drew out, Cleo will be able to tell us.”

Twig nodded. “Yeah. So anyway the guys Jocelyn hired to punch people for her were Rock Boys. They’re a big gang of drug dealers and stuff. I was thinking I could maybe ask around and find out what they know about her seeing as she’s not talking, you know?”

Gavin eyed him. “I recognize that tone of voice, Short Owen.”

“Hey, I’m tall,” Twig insisted. “My bones just haven’t gotten the message yet. Anyway yes, I did already do it. Actually I should go and see if anyone I know has dug up any answers.”

Owen sighed and patted him on the shoulder. “Don’t get stabbed by any drug dealers.”

“Okay, I’ll…”

“Or anyone else,” Owen added.

“Well, that’s no fun,” Twig muttered, and he hurried off.

Once they were alone, Owen put his arm around Gavin. “Would have been nice if we could have had one or two days after the wedding to just hang out.”

“Yeah,” Gavin sighed. “I don’t know if I’m more worried for Drew or for what he might do. We should have done more to help him.”

“We did everything we could to help him. He wouldn’t talk to anyone,” Owen reminded him.

Gavin nodded, exhaling through his nose. “We’re going to find him. He’s our responsibility.”

“I know. If Cleo and Lee can’t find anything, then we’ll ask someone else. And we have to tell Edwin. Robby is the one who got Drew arrested in the first place.”

“Right.” Gavin looked like he would bite his lip, but then he didn’t. “I know this sounds terrible but I really hope someone’s kidnapped him. If he escaped on his own it’s going to be really hard to find him and who knows what he might do in the meantime.”

“Yeah.” Owen wanted Drew to be safe. But he also wanted everyone else to be safe. “I get you. We’re going to find him.”

“Okay. I also wish we could just hang out.”

Owen nodded. “We’re still going to Great Scar soon.”

“I don’t know if we can afford to do that when…”

Owen pulled Gavin into a kiss, just a fast one. “We can’t not do things just because there’s a problem. There’s always a problem somewhere and if we have to, we can come back in a hurry. You and I aren’t going to be personally out looking for Drew on the streets, and the people who work for us do their jobs just as well when we’re not here to supervise them. Better, probably.”

Gavin nodded along, quiet for a second. “You know, I remember when I used to be right all the time.”

“That got boring,” Owen explained.

“It really didn’t, actually, I think we’re going to go back to it. From now on you’re the stupid one and I’m the one with good opinions.”

“If you say so.”

Gavin glared at him. “Twig is a bad influence on you.”

“Probably. This morning he told me that oatmeal is made from the same thing we feed horses.”

“Okay, well…” Gavin laughed. “That’s true? You do know oatmeal is made out of oats, right?”

“I knew that! But I thought there were like, human oats and horse oats.”

“We cook them differently.”

“Okay but I don’t want to eat the same food as Dinner.”

“Just for that I should make you eat in the stable tonight…”

Even if only for a little while, Owen had gotten Gavin smiling again, and that was worth far more than any potential change in his dinner plans or Dinner’s supper plans.

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