Kane reclined back in his poolside lounge chair within his T.M Tower’s private residence in T’aipei, Taiwan. The sun warmed his lightly tanned skin and the din of the traffic some sixty stories beneath him softened to a melodious whisper. He watched Mei going through her daily routine of swimming laps, never really losing the desire to watch her athletic form cut gracefully through the water. Love that she skinny dips for these, Kane thinks. Damn, life’s good. His mind wanders in spite of his fixed gaze of Mei. No bullets. No weird magic shit. No attempts on my life. Just the comfortable, wealthy life. My share of that pot of gold from the Nepalese leprechaun and my personal hoard. With Mei as my cherry on top. Well, not really a cherry. Kane’s lips curl into a slight smile. But I helped SAVE THE WORLD,… not that anyone knows about it. I damn well deserve what I got!
Though, I suppose life can get a little boring. Technically, I’m Mei’s bodyguard and chief of security, but that isn’t anything like running. Briefings, planning trips, logistics… no matter how much I delegate, always seems to be something. Worth it, though,… well, I suppose it’s worth it. At least I’m not brat wrangling like Sunder is with his kids. When was the last time I saw him? Could it have been that long ago? I remember him building a new compound for Gina and the rest of his family, though can’t say exactly where that is. He never said where. Paranoid guy, that Sunder.
Come to think of it, I’ve not seen any of the old crew lately, though that bitch Big Girl always seems to find me every so often. Pain in the ass, but then I do hear bits and pieces of information from her. Kane chuckles to himself. Man, Katai never changes though. Still chewing straws and putting the “over” in overkill. Still haunts Richmond, though seems to take a lot of jobs beneath his skill level. What’d he say? Just keeping in practice?
Richmond’s become a weird place for sure. Not too many places where magical spirits left such a strong magical residual and that on top of where Goldstein died. Between researchers and all those tourists wanting tours of the Petersburg Barrens, Quest actually patrolling the godforsaken place. Well, at least near the attractions. A lot of the seedy elements moved east to Hopewell.
“Jeeves,” Kane calls, holding his glass in the air above him, “another drink.”
A sharply dressed young man promptly enters the patio to fetch Kane’s drink. “Sir,” the butler says, “again, my name isn’t Jeeves, its-“
“Not important,” Kane interrupts. “I like Jeeves. Now, my drink?” Mei climbed out of the pool. “And make it quick. Something more important to do just showed up.”
In the Den of a Mansion in a Compound in an Undisclosed Location
“Damn it!” Sunder curses. “Get that one! Ja-, er… Le-,..! Just come here! Come here, come here, come here!” Sunder chases the rambunctious toddler toddling quickly and out of reach. Arthur, a tall, lanky young man with a bit of a scruffy appearance contradicting his fine attire, steps in the way of the child who then dives underneath the couch. Sunder, exasperated, shouts, “You’re getting in the tub and that’s IT!”
“Just ‘cause I’m part of your magical group doesn’t mean I get baby sitting duty!” Arthur says in disgust. Surveying the room while the other twin runs down a hallway. “You know, kids this unruly deserves only one thing.”
Sunder looks at Arthur, echoing Arthur’s words, “A nanny!”
Somewhere in Rural Asia
The cold of the early morning did not appear to bother the herd of caribou grazing on the summer’s grass in the vast field dotted with patches of flowers in various colors. The mountain range behind them provided the perfect back drop for a would be painter… would one be around. In spite of the soft patter of hooves on the soft earth, all was still and near silent.
Except for a slight click of a weapon having a round chambered. Even in the near silence, the tiny noise startled the caribou, with the herd looking in the general direction of the noise, standing motionless. By the time they notice the pistol barrel seeming to float in mid air, the weapon fires putting a large entry wound on the left side of the head of one of the caribou, the right side of its head exploding into bits of bone, muscle, and brain, the poor creature’s right eye being pushed out of its socket.
Immediately, all the caribou run away from the noise, scattering in all directions since most do not know exactly from where the shot originated. Once the caribou fled, the armored figure becomes visible and moves to the kill. Removing his helmet, Alex holsters the Ares Predator heavy pistol. One of three blades from his right hand extends which promptly cleans the animal. Throwing the huge, heavy animal over a should, the ork walks a short distance to a nearby four wheel drive, all terrain vehicle to prep it for the trip home.
We will eat well tonight, Alex thinks to himself. This kill with the others should mean plenty of meat for the winter. Life is so peaceful here. I wish I had the inclination to do this years ago.
Kirah slows her heart rate and breathing through skills learned in her line of work.
“Focus Kirah,” she says to herself. Looking through the scope of the 50 caliber sniper rifle, she sees Dana sitting with the target on a terrace of swanky restaurant, laughing as if she had no care in the world. Dana’s slight build and flawless features belies just how dangerous she is. The target, an elf wearing a slick suit and the jewelry to match, clearly wants the world to see just how important he is. Too bad for him, Kirah thinks. Probably would be better for him had he not actually be important. The wind is calm, she thinks. I have the range just need the signal. Dana said she’d flip her hair away from her shoulders. Stay steady. There it is!
Kirah squeezes the trigger and the round nearly rips the head off of the hapless corporate V.P. as it travels on tearing off the right arm and chest of a woman just behind him at another table before finally stopping in the concrete floor. “Ooh, a two-fer!” she says after assessing the damage. Hundreds of feet away, Dana has already pulled her concealed monowhip, cutting the two stunned bodyguards into a few, large but disconnected bits. Before the patrons can react, Dana is over the decorative fence surrounding the patio, disappearing into the night.
“It’s like printing money,” says Dana over the radio.
Quest Headquarters, Richmond, VA
Moriarty sits at his desk in a cheap suit from twenty years ago and an old, wide, 20th century tie he must have picked up at a homeless shelter. Partially buried under actual paper was his name plate: “Captain James Moriarty.” Clearly not having shaved, and perhaps even not showered, Moriarty dug through the paper files and documents clearly looking for something.
“Damn it,” Moriarity curses under his breath, “where the hell is that file.”
Forget the file, he thinks. Where the hell did Katherine go? This is her gig, not mine. This just isn’t my thing at all, but she ensured that I would replace her when she left… somehow. I didn’t realize she hated me so much to take me off the street, promote me, and make me in charge of our magical group.
Exasperated, Moriarty throws himself backward in his desk chair, looking at the ceiling and pushing his fingers through his hair. Moriarty’s loss of sanity would have to wait as an officer knocks on his open door.
“Sir,” the officer says, “the press is waiting for your statement about that serial killer.”
“Yeah,” Moriarty responds without looking at him. “The Dwarf Tosser, as the media calls him. Alright, I’ll be there in a minute.” This job sucks, thinks Moriarty. Damn that Katherine. She knew I’d stick it out to keep some ethics in the police force.
Moriarty gets up, disheveled and crooked tie in all. “Let’s get this over with.”
A Buddhist Sangha, Richmond, VA
Zee sat crossed legs, perfectly straight back, and eyes closed. I don’t get this, she thinks to herself. Timber really likes this, saying is comforting and helps to clear your head. Well, there’s too much stuff in THIS head that makes this whole thing difficult. All these monks and nuns here don’t say much. It’s so quiet it’s hard to believe we’re in the city.
Timber sat the same as Zee, facing her. His breath was rhythmic and steady. Zee’s breathing matched his, though her mind wandered.
Timber and I have gone through a couple of good scraps over the past year after all that save the world shit. I guess he’s a good guy and we make a pretty good team, so if he wants me to waste some time hanging around here, I suppose it’s okay. That whole non-violent shadow running thing is next to impossible to do. Sometimes you just can’t stun everybody. Though, the bean bag gun is a lot of fun. Zee smiles slightly. Which run was it where I used that and hit some poor guy in the head?
He’s had my back when it counted and a couple of times saved me from being in a pine box. He says it’s no big deal and something he’s just supposed to do. And I’ve made sure he didn’t die on a couple of other occasions. It’s getting to the point where we can almost guess what the other is doing.
I need to see the girls. It’s been a couple of weeks. Timber doesn’t really get along with them, but they’re cool to hang with. Can’t wait until Kirah and Dana get back from D.C.