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Chapter 20.VandeLeur

After about an hour of aimless passage through traffic, Xavien spotted a familiar vehicle parked along the side of the road. He pulled behind it and got out.

It was the black, armored Hummer that he’d seen Joseph Johnson driving over a month ago. The engine was running still, so he knocked on the tinted window. The window rolled down and the smiling face of Joseph Johnson greeted him.

“Where the fuck have you been and what have you been up to? Are we paying you for a vacation, or can we presume that this is some sort of thievery?” He said with amusement that barely disguised the concern in his voice.

“I was in training. I believe I’ve exhausted my options stateside, so I intend to hop a plane to Wales to continue my investigation.” Xavien smiled back.

“Ya know… if this were anyone else, I would suspend pay. But I’m just going to pretend like I believe you, for now. If you think you can drop off the grid like that again, you’re in for a nasty little surprise. Also… is there some meaning to the fact that you returned the ear piece we provided you?” Joseph questioned, as the smile faded and he took the tone of a superior.

“Yes. I do not wish to be contacted or disturbed. If I am, as you said, a contractor… I wish to remain on my own as much as possible. I apologize for the lack of communication thus far and will maintain an open line from now on. I have some additional loose ends to tie up before I depart, but will keep you abreast of my movements. Will that be sufficient for your needs?” Xavien spoke as his own smile faded and he spoke as an apologetic subordinate.

“Take it as a warning, nothing more. Do what you need. I am pleased that you at least have a direction. You also look… different. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you are almost happy. Good for you… but if it gets in the way of your contract again, I won’t hesitate to terminate it.” Joseph nodded as he put the window up to cut short any potential response.

Xavien snorted derisively, rolled his eyes and made his way back to his car. He decided to drive to the apartment complex where he’d seen Marcy, and ask her if she had seen Bruce or Ron.

A short drive later, he made it to the parking lot adjacent to the apartment complex that Marcy lived in. He exited the car, ascended the stairs to the main entrance, entered the building and took the elevator to her floor.

He walked down the hallway and knocked on her door. After a minute, she opened it and smiled brightly.

“It’s great to see you! I was worried something had happened… Come in!” Marcy said, as she moved out of the way.

Xavien walked in and she closed the door.

“Have you heard from Bruce or Ron over the past few weeks?” Xavien asked, tentatively. He understood the animosity between her and Bruce, but had no other leads and was not going to enter the police station.

“Oddly enough, I have heard from them each of the past few weeks. They’re staying together… hold on…” Marcy trotted to the kitchen counter, grabbed a pen and tore a piece of paper off of a note pad. She quickly jotted down an address and handed it to him; “Here. They wanted to know if I’d heard from you, and if you come to me, they asked for me to give you this. They’re fine. Since whoever was only out to get you, they’ve been left alone; but they’re not taking chances.”

“Thanks! How are you?” Xavien smiled politely.

“Oh, I get by, hon… I get by. You look fantastic… I mean… totally different… It’s not just the snappy outfit, your eyes are on fire; you don’t look so overwhelmed and confused.” Marcy smiled as she seemed genuinely happy for him.

“Thank you. I feel fantastic. I crawled under a rock for a while to get my bearings, but I think I’ve got a better grasp on things. Look, I really appreciate everything you did. It was a risk to you to have me here, but you did it anyway. I was at my lowest and most vulnerable, and I will never forget your kindness and hospitality.” Xavien bowed, almost out of instinct. He chuckled self-consciously; he’d assimilated into the Inari culture ever-so-slightly.

“This may seem strange… but… I truly understood how important it was to help you. The way that Bruce and Ron carried you in here, all bloodied… It helped me ignore the past I have with Bruce and just focus on… something that felt right. I wasn’t going to screw it up, and I would have done whatever it took to keep you safe.” Marcy said as she shook her head and shrugged her shoulders to indicate that it was not a problem.

“I don’t know if I’m worth all of this fuss, truly. But, as such, I will not forget the impact you had at that particular time. I apologize, but I have to leave. If anyone comes and asks you where I went, just tell them to come find me at this address.” Xavien shook the piece of paper, with a defiant smile.

“Oh no, I won’t do that!” Marcy said, fearful for his safety.

Xavien closed the distance between the two of them, placed his hand around the back of her head. This caused her breath to catch and she tilted her chin up.

He kissed her forehead instead; “Please do this for me. They’re coming for me anyway. If you endanger yourself withholding that silly bit of information, it will upset me greatly.”

“Oh, god… I… dunno. I’ll… try.” Marcy said, and then pulled away bashfully.

He smiled and nodded; “Thank you.” She then opened the door for him.

“Xavien Brady… you stay safe.” Marcy commanded him with a pointed finger.

He grinned wickedly; “If someone asks you if you’ve seen Xavien Brady, just say no… but Xavien Van de Leur just left a little bit ago…” He then winked and strode purposefully away from the door.

He waited for the door to close before he entered the elevator. As it did so, he puffed out a few chuckles and hit ‘G’ for ‘Ground Floor’. The doors closed and the elevator descended.

Xavien left the building and headed to his car. The thought occurred to him that he was under observation, and all his movements were carefully recorded and reported on. He did not wish to have so much attention on him, but would have to endure it for the time being. He piloted his car to the address on the paper.

It was a modest condominium in Dark Foal Estates South. The parking lot was gated and had a security guard station that took names and verified all guests. Xavien gave his newly-accepted identity to the guard and stared at him confusedly as he called the unit number that was provided.

The guard nodded as he hit the button. When the gate opened, Xavien pulled through, and then parked in a visitor’s spot. He exited the car and went up to the condo. The door opened and Bruce opened it with a wan smile. He had suffered a beating very recently and his eye had swollen shut.

Xavien pushed past Bruce, and gave a mighty kick to the door to slam it shut as he drew his gun. His eyes scanned the room and he was horrified to see a strange man explode into a cloud of spiders. He growled under his breath and then felt a sense of instinct kick in. It was then that he realized Mei Li had taught him many spiritual tricks throughout their training sessions.

He’d not truly been operating only on his physical prowess and his training had immediately been put to the test.

These motherfuckers are in trouble, now. Xavien thought and grinned as his nerves cooled and he readied his body in the first fighting stance that he’d been taught; slightly bent at the knees and elbows slightly bent, with his hands close together, one over the other. He shut his eyes and felt the spiritual essence fill him.

He felt the brush of the attack before it happened, and managed to grab a spiny, black arm as it attempted to grab him from behind. He shifted up into his massive silver-maned werewolf form and flipped the creature violently onto the ground. He drew the gun, which increased in size with him and he was about to fire… when the creature exploded into thousands of spiders.

A guttural chuckle rumbled under his breath as he appreciated the cathedral ceiling in this condo. A quick scan noted that Ron was alive, but unconscious and bloodied on the kitchen floor. Xavien holstered his weapon and then crouched down with one knee and the opposite hand on the floor.

He sniffed the air about him and, again, anticipated the next attack. Instead of the gun, he flipped his body around and drew his katana mid-air. Xavien whipped it through the air and made a diagonal cut through this spider-being. The blade hissed audibly as it whipped through the air and sliced the creature open from its right hip all the way through its left shoulder. The grotesque half-man, half-spider shifted down as it died and fell to the ground as a heavily-tattooed dark-skinned man.

Before the next attack could hit him, Xavien vaulted to his feet and drove the blade up through the abdomen and through the top of the head of the next assailant. He sensed another attack from behind and he went into a split as he yanked the katana downward and whipped it behind him. His own attack did not hit the creature, but the creature still exploded into hundreds of thousands of spiders as a reaction to the motion.

Xavien spun his legs around and vaulted back to his feet, with his blade at the ready; “I truly did not come here to fight, but as you’ve already seen… I am ready. If you harm my friends and attempt to kill me; I will be prepared to take action.” He spoke in the lowest, growling tone that his primal form would allow.

He sensed an attack from above him, and he spun out of the way and slammed the pommel of the sword into the skull of this creature with all his might. It stunned the beast and it collapsed in a heap on the floor. Xavien faced a tough decision. If he were to wait until it awakened, it would merely turn into a billion fucking spiders and attack him again. He just couldn’t bring himself to kill something prone. This creature was just doing its own contractual obligation, likely.

The moment of pause Xavien had allowed the ugly creature to recover from the stun. It shifted down into human form. It was a rather plain-looking Japanese female with sharp features and angular jaw. She stood up, and was nearly as tall as he was in human form. She was devoid of emotion or fear, but appeared to understand that the battle would not be won.

“Leave.” Xavien snarled.

The female nodded slowly, and walked toward the door.

Xavien heard the click of a gun and managed to pluck it gingerly from Bruce’s hand before he could pull the trigger; “NO.”

The woman turned toward Xavien, drew in the corners of her mouth and nodded diagonally, in appreciative acknowledgement. She then opened the door and exited, pulling the door closed behind her.

As Xavien shifted down into his human form, Bruce yelled; “What the fuck did you do that for?

Xavien knew this to be a predictable reaction but didn’t glorify it with a response. He walked over to Ron, who had started to recover consciousness.

Jeeeeeebus… It’s like they were here the whole fucking time… wow, my fucking head… Oh, nice suit, Xavien… nice fucking suit. Where the fuck’d you go? Vegas?” Ron shook his head and chuckled as he held his head while he struggled to his feet.

“I got religion and a whole ton of it.” Xavien smirked as he helped Ron steady himself.

“Not like, God-god, right? Please say no.” Ron half-whined.

“Everything is a religion, if you believe in it. Anyway… even if it was a God-god… it certainly seemed to work. So… umm… that was special; spider-shifters. How do I keep finding these things that no one warned me about?” Xavien chuckled, helped put Ron’s hands on the countertop, then rifled through the pockets of the deceased assailants. He located a roll of cash and two small handguns with four spare clips of ammo in total.

“Neat. I’ve got just the thing for these…” Xavien nodded, satisfied with himself; “Well, seeing as you guys are alright… anything new I need to know?”

Bruce chuckled and shook his head; “What the hell happened to you? Nevermind, I don’t care. It seems like whatever happened was less than bad, and that’s an improvement from before. I got nothing new for you, honestly. Sent approval for Andrew Masterson’s leave to the Chief, and that got signed off a month ago… Andrew’s back, as if nothing happened. I would steer clear of him, though. There’s a Bill Sykes as his partner, and… well I don’t need to tell you about the Sykes’ family line, do I?”

Xavien shook his head; “Nah, thanks. I’m fine with my conclusions on that. I’m not interested in Andrew right now.”

Bruce did not like this; “Do I have to worry about him?”

Xavien sighed and squinted as he shrugged and shook his head; “Honestly? No idea. I don’t think so, as I think he would at least keep up his pretense of holiness while in service of your unholy master.”

Ron chuckled; “I can tell that you don’t like the guy, Xavien… care to enlighten us as to why?”

“Oh no… actually I like him a bit more now and perhaps trust him a bit more, as well. But… it’s rather hard to explain and I feel that extra information may make you more of a target than you need to be. What I said right there may have been a lie, but I’m kinda off-the-cuff at the moment. I’m processing an awful lot of information real-time and I couldn’t think up a bullshit response fast enough.” Xavien chuckled at his own candor.

Bruce looked at him, then at Ron and then back to Xavien; “Okay, okay. I get it. So, do you need anything from us beyond info? It would seem that you have an ever-growing collection of fans.”

Ron piped up; “Grapevine has a monetary and spiritual bounty amped up; if I were a freegan-breed, I might consider it myself.”

“Freegan-breed? Eh?” Xavien crinkled his face inquisitively.

“Trash-diver… shit-heel wolves that are better suited as rats than any respectable wolf? The breed is actually labeled Muttwolves, officially.” Ron explained with a fair amount of disdain.

This distinction instantly made him think of Jorge, his brothers and Blackie Sharp… Without further clarification, Xavien shrugged; “Whatever. I’m supposed to be a hated breed, too… doesn’t matter, but for the actions they take. I feel that I got them off my back, for what it’s worth.”

“Yeah, actually… that made a pretty big ripple. They said you were traveling with a known pelt-thief. Ironically, he was born the same breed as you… Likely introduced himself as Jamison Stake. The group he associates with on the down-low actually cuts the pelts off of werewolves and puts them on humans so that they can assume the form of fully shifted werewolves. It’s fucking ghastly… and I’m just going to hope that you aren’t regularly associating with him. One way or the other, it was more than enough to scare them off; doesn’t help that you’ve been luckier than hell.” Ron added with his lips in a straight line and a subtle nod.

“So… nothing beyond this?” Xavien asked.

“Well, the only other thing we had was that you were last seen entering the Inari garage… but the Inari claimed that they would deliver your body to Charles Baskerville when they were finished.” Ron shrugged; “Guess they didn’t actually kill you… I somehow expected they may not have told the whole truth.”

Xavien unleashed a deep belly-laugh; “Crazy… like a fox… That’s funny as hell, because I just got an idea. Anyway… Ron… I know you’re a little banged up… but I am curious… is there something you can teach me that will heal someone else? I know this is possible, because it’s been done to me… but I want to know if I’m experienced enough to learn.”

Ron nodded, eagerly; “Yeah, sure… I mean, if you’re ready… it can be useful. Doesn’t work on yourself, though…”

Xavien nodded and, with that, Ron began to explain the thought process and the focus needed to use that spiritual trick. This was particularly advantageous, because both men were injured. So, Ron demonstrated on the broken bones in Bruce’s face… and Xavien practiced on Ron’s injuries. It took several tries, but Xavien was ultimately successful.

After he’d finished, Xavien sighed with satisfaction, as if he’d eaten a large meal; “Thanks! I’ve been looking for something that could actually help someone, rather than hurt them.” He extended his hand to Ron.

Ron nodded and shook his hand, as he studied him; “You are different. I don’t want to say you’re ready… but… this is a good thing. You look like you’re headed out. Be safe… Want me to follow you out for a little backup?”

“Nah… rest up; who knows what shit you’ll get thrown into. Thank you for everything you’ve ever done. I don’t feel that I thanked you properly, and I wished to remedy that.” Xavien smiled warmly.

Ron nodded; “Sure thing. I’m proud of you, already.”

“Thanks for that. I know you did not sire me, but you sacrificed for me as a father would for a son. And Bruce… I appreciate your consideration over the years. I was unaware of the context, but now that I know, I feel that I owe you as a son owes a father.” Xavien said with earnest passion, as he shook Bruce’s hand.

Ron scoffed in pretense; “Don’t go soft on me now”

Xavien nodded in his direction with a half-smile and a couple quick nods.

Bruce squeezed his hand; “Try to stay alive, Mister Van de Leur” He let a sly smile crawl over his face.

“Sure to. See you jokers later… I gotta see a man about a horse.” Xavien waved, then walked towards the door, opened it and slung himself through it in a fluid motion.

He made his way down to the parking lot and sensed that this evening would likely hold more excitement. His heart raced with excitement and anticipation. This could be the worst idea he’d ever had, or possibly the best idea he’d ever had. Xavien refused to think on it, in case something was out there reading his mind.

As he put the key in the lock to his car, he heard a loud ‘pop’ near his head. The moment he turned his head, his face was pelted with a mass of dried matter and gelatinous goop.

He could barely think the words ‘what the fuck’ before he saw, what was obviously, a vampire race toward him. He was about to draw his gun when a streak of fire shot from the sky and the vampire exploded into a flaming human-shaped ball of fire. Two more audible ‘pops’ later and there were four bodies on the parking lot.

Xavien felt something large, human-shaped and heavy land on him. A loud ‘pop’ and that, too, fell to the ground.

In a rather cheeky mood, he turned back to his car and unlocked the door. He was about to get in when he heard a voice in his mind. It was Karl.

“You’re not even going to look up and see who it was that just saved your ass?” Karl questioned out of indignation.

“You didn’t say hi.” Xavien responded, as he telepathically communicated his amusement.

“Well. Hi. And you’re welcome. And Agony helped, too.” Karl added.

“Well thanks to you both. And wait… why the hell are you helping me, Karl? I thought I told you to get lost?” Xavien questioned.

“Look… I’m no angel, least of all yours… but while the iron’s hot, I may as well do what I can to bank some good karma. Besides, we all hate vampires, so… no big.” Karl added, casually.

“Thanks, Karl. I appreciate it. Now get lost before you break your hand patting yourself on the back.” Xavien said, then added; “Seriously, thanks.”

“Sure thing. You’re kind of making your own mark, though, so good on you for that. Keep it up and those fuckers might actually leave you alone.” Karl offered.

“Thanks again. Gotta jet.” Xavien responded telepathically, then ended the connection.

Everyone on the force knew where the chief lived. The movers and shakers in the city often attended parties there, and select members of the force got invited; Xavien had always respectfully declined. He decided that he would just invite himself over as a fashionably-late arrival. Perhaps a year or two late, in this case.

He decided to exceed the speed limit by fifteen miles per hour, it was enough of an incentive that his life was endangered simply with a foot outdoors, and he didn’t want to spoil the surprise any.

He pulled up to the wrought-iron gate outside of Baskerville Manor and pressed the intercom button. The gatekeeper answered and Xavien responded; “Xavien Van de Leur here to see Charles Baskerville.”

Without further response, the gate buzzed and he drove beyond the gate, down the long drive, then around the circle before he parked in front of the grand front entrance. He exited the car and started up the marble staircase to the ornate set of brass and wood double-doors. The door on the right opened as he reached the top step and Charles Baskerville stood there in his black denim pants and tattered black T-shirt with a screen-printed silver-maned wolf on the front. This was an interesting look for someone that looked to be in their early seventies, but Xavien was able to hide his amusement at Charles’ appearance.

“So, Mister Van de Leur, I hear? Fancy name… come on inside, we’ll talk.” Charles chuckled, not altogether unpleasantly.

Xavien followed him inside and waited for Charles to click the door behind him. Without a single note of warning, Xavien shifted up into his werewolf form, claw-raked Charles across the face and body-checked him onto the harsh black-marble floor of his entrance hall. As Charles shifted up into his own werewolf form, Xavien pounced on top of him, balled up his fist and slammed it into his muzzle, met with a sickening crunch.
Charles flailed underneath of him, and attempted to buck Xavien off, but was unsuccessful as Xavien levied a punishing backhand smack across Charles’ right eye.

“Stop fighting me, asshole” Xavien snarled viciously.

Charles choked up blood and spat it in Xavien’s face; “You’d better kill me, because you’re dead if you don’t.”

Xavien slammed a palm-strike into Charles’ chest, crunching his ribs and collapsing a lung. He then drew his gun as the elder werewolf gasped as he attempted to catch his breath.

As he jammed the gun underneath Charles’ chin, Xavien shifted down into his human form; “I don’t like losing my cool, but you will leave me the fuck alone and call off whatever bounties you have on my hide… YOU GOT IT?

The elder wolf coughed and gasped as he laughed.

Xavien annunciated plainly; “You and all that work for you… are to leave me alone… GOT IT?” He said as he cocked the gun.

Charles’ wounds appeared to seal up instantly, as even the right side of his chest re-inflated with the ‘snap’ of ribs as they repaired. He shifted down into his own human form and put his hands up; “If that’s what you want… you got it. As of right now.”

Xavien stood up and toward the door, to let Charles up; “If I have another attempt on my life from any angle, I’m going to assume it’s you. I have no intention of making death my first choice, but I may make an exception in your case. Don’t make that mistake. I would make sure that you send out a warning; if you have any concern for your safety.”

Charles cleared his throat and spat a wad of blood and mucous onto the floor; “Your point was well taken. Now get out before I change my mind.”

Xavien was under no illusion that he had bested the elder on skill or talent. He’d caught him by surprise and by acting completely out of character. He opened the door and walked out…

Right into the heaving maws of two brutishly-strong silver-colored werewolves. Behind him was the sinister laughter that belonged to Charles Baskerville.

Then he saw something that stunned him; many airborne furry beings wearing a wide array of colors as they landed on the front porch. A quick assessment tallied ten fox-shifters with shiny blades.

The werewolves suddenly seemed less eager to attack as Charles Baskerville snarled telepathically; “You made your point; doubly-so. Now call off your fluffy Japs.”

Xavien turned to see that there was a black fox-shifter that had wrapped some sort of barbed-chain weapon around Charles’ neck, with enough strength to pull him backward at an awkward angle.

As the two werewolves shifted down, Xavien saw that their human forms were dressed as security guards; “Before we go… give me your wallets.” They looked at each other incredulously, but complied quickly. Xavien took them and shoved those into his pockets; “Thanks, boys. Keep it in your pants next time.”

As he walked down the stairs, Charles began to speak telepathically, but Xavien just ended the conversation. It was likely going to be something trite, and he didn’t have time for that kind of bullshit.

When he got into his car, he noticed that Mi Lei was seated in the passenger side. Xavien smiled; “Thanks! Wasn’t expecting that sort of response. Much appreciated.”

“I feel much like a parent that is called at four AM to bail a foolish child from jail.” Mi Lei smiled reprovingly, then added with a softer tone; “But it is this sort of foolishness that can make a bold statement… So, I cannot say you did the wrong thing.”

“While we’re on the subject of… things… Can you…” Xavien grunted as he emptied his pockets and clumsily dumped it into her lap. He then took the guns and wad of cash out of the car’s center console and place that in her lap, too.

She seemed about to spill into a fit of amusement as he asked; “Can you somehow find a way to get the cash to Marcy, Giles’ mother? It’s not a lot, but… She could use it, and wouldn’t take it directly from me.”

Mi Lei’s amusement faded as she nodded; “You are a sweet soul. Okay.”

“How did you know to follow me?” Xavien asked.

“Same way I knew you intended to fly to Wales…” Mi Lei smiled; “Your reluctant friend Karl seems concerned for your safety.” She said as she handed him a plane ticket.

Xavien smiled sheepishly; “That’s pretty funny… This has been one heck of an interesting day.”

“May they always interest you. Now, straight to the airport; do not bother with any stops. This Baskerville is very tricky.” Mi Lei smiled as a mother that has instructed a child with hidden amusement at a misdeed.

He bowed his head with a smile and she exited the car.

As he pulled out of the driveway with the escort of twelve colorful motorcycles, he smiled at his life. It would certainly remain interesting for him, of that he was positive.

Xavien made it to the garage and parked his car. He then hitched a ride on the back of Mei Li’s bike to the airport. She rode wordlessly and did not react when he dismounted the bike. He bowed and she rode off.

He made his way through the terminal, flashed his badge at the security check points, displayed his ticket to the attendant and walked through the breezeway to the plane.

He showed the stewardess his ticket and she walked him to his seat. Xavien’s momentary lapse of attention nearly cost him as there was a sickening crunch, snap and scream.

A well-calloused, hairy arm had reached out and grabbed the stewardess’ wrist, crushing and snapping it backward. Before Xavien could strike the offender, he saw a long syringe drop from her hand. He focused his eyes on the stranger; Giles.

“Hm. Thanks.” Xavien muttered.

“Don’t mention it.” Giles said flatly, as he got up to leave. To the terrified looks and frightened whispers of the other passengers, he dragged the stewardess, who flailed and screamed down the aisle toward the exit of the plane. Giles then opened the hatch and threw her out. She landed awkwardly and suffered multiple fractures as she landed on the tarmac. She was likely still alive, but the point had been made.

Xavien did not approve of how Giles handled the situation, but before he could rebuke him, Giles jumped out as well.

An old woman looked up at Xavien and said, very plainly; “I think that man just saved your life.”

Xavien nodded but then declared firmly; “As much as I appreciated the gesture, I do not like the display and felt that he injured the woman excessively. Honestly, I would have preferred to have been stuck with that syringe than to have witnessed that savage scene. That is not the way things should be done.”

“Oh, shut up, sonny. When you run the whole world, you change how everything is done. Until then, thank goodness you have the breath within you to whine about it.” The old woman dismissed him.

Xavien smiled and chuckled; “Ma’am, I appreciate your refreshing candor. I hope that you enjoy your flight.” He then did a double-take as he got a mental image of a coyote-shifter laughing as he looked in her direction.

He shook his head quickly to clear the image and sat down in his seat. His mind wandered about what the future held, and how many times his life would have to be saved. He hoped that this type of ‘outside help’ would not be quite as necessary for quite so long.

Xavien allowed himself to drift off into a deep sleep, as he pondered the past month and a half. Much had changed, and much more was about to. As he slipped further into sleep, his mind traveled outside of the plane and alongside of a falcon that miraculously kept up with it.

He knew that he was dreaming, but humored it for fun; “To what do I owe the honor of this visit? You certainly must be powerful to fly so fast!”

“To the Inari Oath of Kinship, that was taken by The Man, Xavien Van de Leur.” The falcon responded.

Xavien was suddenly aware of his surroundings in the dream, but understood that this falcon was not merely a figment of his dream; “I am honored and welcome you to my life; I hope to learn much from you.”

The falcon responded; “The honor is mutual and the bond is eternal. I will be with you this trip and far beyond.”

Xavien asked; “Where does this trip take me?”

“Your benefactor. The one that seeks you, even now, to aide you on your journeys.” The falcon responded.

Xavien had intended his question to be metaphorical, but apparently the falcon had been literal.

So, the benefactor was real, and eager to meet him.

He couldn’t wait.

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