By Marcus L. Rowland
In the pub next to Giles' house in Bath, Harmony sipped a piña colada and scratched absent-mindedly at the skin under the oversized watch that continually transmitted her location to the Council's computers. She knew better than to try to remove it, or drink human blood while wearing it; the complex spells in the band would incinerate her in seconds. She took a look at her nails, and for the third time that evening said "I'm still not sure the pink glitter nail polish really goes with this dress."
Dawn stifled a yawn then said, "I think I'd better call it a night, it's nearly eleven," and finished her glass of white wine.
"I'll stay on for a while," said Harmony, "then go on to one of the clubs. Maybe I'll get lucky."
"Suit yourself. Just don't get too bitey if you do. G'night." Dawn picked up her bag and tucked her coat under her arm, and went out. Harmony waited a few minutes, to be sure that Dawn wasn't coming back, then got her own coat and left, walking into the maze of narrow streets east of the Cathedral. As she walked she felt her cell phone vibrate, and ducked into a quiet cobbled alley to answer.
"Yeah, of course it's me... I met her today... Blaise, Modesty Blaise... B L A I S E... Park Lane in London, Giles said it's a penthouse, can't be that many addresses to check... You know I can't risk... no, definitely not. Talk to you when I can." She pressed the disconnect button and turned to leave.
She realised that she wasn't alone as a stake was thrust into her heart. Dust, a mobile phone and a bulky watch fell onto the cobbles.
"I'm sorry to bother you this early," Giles said the following morning.
"I was up anyway," said Modesty, showing him into her living room. "Would you like to join me for breakfast?"
"That's very kind of you, but I've already eaten. I've been up most of the night, and have to be in Whitehall in an hour or so. But please go ahead, if you don't mind me talking to you while you eat."
Modesty led him through to the kitchen, where a filter machine was making a pot of coffee, and poured two cups. "You probably need this more than I do."
"I won't disagree." He added some cream, drank a little, then said, "there's been a development. Drusilla may already be in the country."
"What sort of development?"
"Harmony vanished last night. We found our tracking device in the street a few blocks from my house, she couldn't have removed it without serious magical help, but there's no evidence of that. Judging by the dust we found with it, she was staked. She and Drusilla were rivals, it's just possible that Drusilla decided to settle an old score."
"Are there any other possibilities? Didn't you say she was some sort of defector?"
"Yes, her... um... former employers might have caught up with her, but she really wasn't that important. If they wanted revenge I'm sure that they would have gone for something much more protracted. If they wanted her back they would have had the magic to remove the tracker."
"What about your side? She was a vampire, perhaps one of your slayers killed her."
"I've checked, of course. There were only two slayers in Bath last night, and both were busy elsewhere at the time she vanished."
"What about Buffy?"
"She's been in London since yesterday evening."
"Organising the girls in the car park?"
"You spotted them?"
"A friend noticed them, and I guessed who they were."
"I hope that you don't object?"
"Not at all. But I'm making my own arrangements, so hopefully they won't be needed."
"Might I ask..?"
"I'm a reasonably good shot with a bow, and by this evening I'll have some incendiary ammunition for my pistol."
"I have a firearms license, and a permit to carry it."
"Tarrant, of course. Which reminds me, I need to get on, he's my first appointment."
She saw Giles out, and wondered what he wasn't telling her.
To Be Continued
Not sure how soon I'll post the next part - I know where this is going, but it may take me a while to get there. Comments please before I post to archives.