One locator spell later and Willow was able to pinpoint the hideout of the Quaquitator sect. Giles sent some of his most trusted Watchers to the site to keep an eye on any activity while they decided on a plan of action.
“We should just barge in there, weapons blazing and demand answers,” Methos said. Giles looked at him for a moment, eyebrow raised in scepticism.
“Not to rain on your military parade, but I don’t think acting like the Dirty Dozen will work, Adam.” Xander interjected.
“Indeed,” Giles concurred, “Softly, softly is certainly the way forward. We have no idea of their numbers or their intentions.”
“Their intention is to kill me!” Methos said.
“We don’t know that, they have made no visible threat to your person. We could end up starting a war against these demons when they had never intended any violence.” Giles replied.
“They worship the Horsemen
!” Methos snapped back.
“Let’s just say that you’re rather biased on the subject and leave it at that.” Giles said softly, immediately shutting Methos up. “As soon as the Watchers I sent out confirm that the sect are there, we shall go to them, unarmed
,” Giles continued, looking pointedly at Methos, “and find out what it is they truly want from you.” Methos opened his mouth to protest, but Giles held up his hand to stop him. “Willow and a small group of Slayers will be waiting out of sight. If the situation becomes violent, we will signal for the cavalry.”
“What’s the signal?” Willow asked.
“How about the Team America secret signal?” Xander quipped, causing Willow to snigger.
“I was thinking more along the lines of a flare actually, Xander,” Giles said.
“And what if we’re incapacitated?” Methos pointed out.
“Then we have to hope Will’s Spider-sense is tingling.” Xander said with a grin.
“Is he always like this?” Methos asked.
“Pretty much, yes,” Giles replied. “Now, Willow, could you go and gather some Slayers together please. I suggest we rendezvous in the car park in thirty minutes. I’ll go to the armoury and gather up some weapons,” Giles said. Willow nodded and left the room. Once she was gone, Giles continued, “Adam, you can bring your sword with you, I wouldn’t suggest anything else, but it stays concealed unless everything goes sour. Do you understand?”
“I understand, Rwpyrt
. Stop talking to me like a kid.” Methos sniped.
“Then stop acting like one Adam
.” Giles snapped back before leaving.
“Xander, a moment?” Methos asked and reached out to stop the younger man from following Giles, “Please just hold back on talking to Willow about your Immortality until you’ve had a chance to think this through properly.” Methos said.
“You’ve already made it quite clear how you feel about the subject thank you, Adam.” Xander snapped back and began heading for the door, but Methos blocked his exit.
“I’m trying to look out for you, you daft bugger. Even if she accepts who you are; even if it all works out as you hope, don’t you think Willow would want to help you win? You’ll have to explain the Game, you’ll tell her the Rules and ask her not to help, but she’s your friend. I’m sure she’ll faithfully promise to not interfere, but is she really the sort of person to just stand by and not help when your life is in danger? I’ll admit I don’t know her, but I do know people and I have a feeling that, behind your back, she’ll enchant your sword or something else to ensure victory for you.
“Willow wouldn’t do that if I tell her to stay out of it,” Xander insisted.
Methos huffed. “Did you really think Rupert lied to you all these years to protect you? To protect his precious Slayer? He was protecting himself. When someone cheats, there are quite a few of us, MacLeod being a prime example, whose overgrown sense of honour and justice would make them consider it murder. And they might come looking for your head in retribution.” Methos replied. Xander stopped and looked at him.
“I hadn’t thought of it like that. But Giles said it would be okay to tell her.”
“Probably because he knew you wouldn’t be able to keep it from her. You and Willow, you’re really close aren’t you?” Methos said kindly.
“Closer than close.” Xander agreed.
“I understand that it must be hard to lie to someone you’ve previously shared so much with,” Methos said, trying to sound sympathetic, “Most new Immortals have to leave their old lives behind, start over, but your circumstances arespecial. Please, just consider what I’ve said.”
Xander nodded reluctantly, “You make some good points, Adam. I promise to think about this a little more before I make a decision. I’m sorry for being so”
“I was going for something less insulting, but that will do,” Xander finished. He held out his hand in apology and Methos took it.
Xander and Methos stood looking at the large warehouse as Giles closed the gate behind them. Across the street a battered old Transit van concealed Willow, half a dozen Slayers and enough weaponry for a small Crusade.
“Are you sure this is the right place?” Methos asked.
“Willow was quite certain, and the Watchers I sent confirmed that several demons entered the premises twenty minutes ago,” Giles replied.
“Yeah, butseriously?” Xander said, pointing to the sign above their heads, “Four Horsemen Storage? I mean, as secret hideouts go, it’s not exactly secret, is it?”
“Nobody said they were clever, Xander,” Giles answered, walking forward. The other two Immortals fell into step as they crossed the yard to the building.
“Nervous Adam?” Xander asked. Methos snorted.
“Hardly, it’s not exactly my first tea party,” he replied.
“Yes, well let’s not have a repeat of Madrid please,” Giles said. Methos grinned, strode up to the door, and knocked. There was no answer so, cautiously, they opened the door and went inside.
The warehouse was a typical storage facility, rows and rows of padlocked rooms divided by corridors. They could hear distant voices chanting, but there were no other signs of life.
“No guards. Stupid.” Methos said quietly. Xander nodded in agreement.
“As far as they are concerned, this is their church,” Giles whispered, “Would you put guards on a church? Look who I’m asking, of course you would.”
“Better paranoid than dead; that’s always been my motto,” Methos replied with a grin, before creeping to the end of a corridor and looking round. He motioned the other two forward and slipped round the corner.
“Adam! Now is not the time to get a hero complex,” Giles hissed before following Methos, leaving Xander to bring up the rear.
As they neared the end of the final corridor the voices became louder, until they reached double doors. Giles peeked through a small window in the door, before moving aside to allow Xander and Methos to view the scene. Twenty sect members stood, spread out like a choir, with their backs to the door. In front of them, on a stage-like construction, was a tall, purple demon.
“Isn’t that the one from Paris?” Methos asked.
“Looks like him. Demons have long lives too you know,” Giles replied.
“Let’s just hope he doesn’t have a long memory,” Methos whispered darkly. On the other side of the door, the chanting ended and the congregation fell out of formation. “Looks like the ceremony’s over.”
“It’s now or never then gentlemen. Xander, you stay here. If anything should happen to us, you have to alert Willow. No heroics please, if the head priest recognises us and realises we’re Immortal; he may know how to kill us. After you Adam,” Giles said. Methos sneered at him, then pushed the door open quietly.
“I didn’t want to ask in front of the children, but do you actually have any grand plan, oh glorious head Watcher?” Methos muttered from the side of his mouth as they walked forward into the room.
“Not a clue, teacher of mine, I assumed you had one,” Giles replied sarcastically, “Anyway, what’s to plan? We ask them nicely what they want; if they get nasty we slay them.”
“Simple, but effective,” Methos said with amusement. By now the closest demons had noticed their arrival and a murmur was spreading through the room. Methos smiled and addressed the nearest demon, “Take us to your leader.” Giles groaned at the cliché. “What?” Methos asked with a smirk.
“We’re all going to die.” Giles said. They were grabbed roughly by two demons and frog-marched to the front of the stage, where the chief priest was still standing.
“I am Krionys, High Priest of the Secuutus Quattuor Equitatus. What are you doing here, humans?” he croaked. The similarity between his name and that of the leader of the Horsemen did not go unnoticed by either Immortal. Perhaps the sect knew more about the Horsemen than either had suspected. Methos shrugged himself free from the demon holding him and stepped forward.
“I want to know why the bloody hell you’ve been chasing me,” he demanded.
“Chasing you? I don’t even know who you are.”
“I’m Adam Pierson.”
“Sorry, but that name doesn’t ring a bell,” Krionys replied, looking genuinely apologetic.
“You ransacked my room! And you’ve been following me for weeks! We captured one of your assailants,” Methos protested.
“Ah, Scrimgeour. He met his death well I presume?” Krionys asked.
“He revealed nothing to us. He was loyal to your cause,” Giles said. “We don’t wish any harm to you or yours, we simply want answers. We know you want something Adam has in his possession, tell us what and we may be able to give it to you.”
“We seek a holy relic of great importance to our sect. We used a locator spell that led us to hotel room, but we did not know the identity of he who possessed the sacred document.” Krionys explained. Methos blanched.Have they figured out the Horsemen were Immortals? Do they want my Chronicle?
he wondered. He spared a glance at Rupert and could tell from the look on his face that he was thinking the same thing.
“What document?” Methos asked the demon.
“A prophecy, written in ancient times of the Four Horsemen, that tells of the time when they will ride the Earth again, and rain fire and destruction upon all!” Krionys said with a maniacal laugh. Methos snorted, but looked apologetic when Giles shot him a warning look.
“Was this prophecy written in Egyptian?” Giles asked.
“Then you have seen it!” Krionys exclaimed, and his excitement sparked a fresh bout of chanting from his gathered followers. Methos couldn’t help himself, and burst out laughing. Krionys scowled at him
“Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t mean to laugh, but... that’s too funny! All this time, I was worried for my life, and you just want a scrap of papyrus?” Methos asked.
“Legend says that prophecy was written down by Death himself. It may be a scrap of papyrus to you, but to us it is sacred!” Krionys said, clearly growing angry.
Methos stopped laughing and reached into his pocket. He withdrew his wallet and extracted the piece of papyrus on which he had written his first fiction so many years ago. He had taken the papyrus from Giles’ office after their first discussion, and with all the madness that had ensued he had not had time to remove it from his wallet.
“My apologies. Here, you can have it, it’s been in my pocket all this time. You know you only had to ask, and I would have given it to you weeks ago! Would have saved a lot of bother.” Methos said, pulling the tatty fragment of papyrus from his pocket.
Krionys took it from him, reverently, and held it aloft. The other assembled adherents shouted for joy, and the demon holding Giles released him.
“Thank you for giving this to us. You shall not go unrewarded. We shall sacrifice you in honour of the Horsemen!” Krionys said with a wicked grin. Giles and Methos looked at each other and shrugged.
“We’d be honoured,” Giles said to Krionys, who was surprised but happy at their reply.
“This is getting to be a habit,” Methos whispered to Giles as they were led onto the staging area.
Outside, Xander watched through the window as Giles and Adam lay down on the stage. He couldn’t hear what was said, but he had a feeling he knew what was going on. The others didn’t seem in any real danger though, and they weren’t trying to struggle. When the priest pulled a dagger from his robe, and Giles grinned at Adam, Xander knew they weren’t in any danger of being beheaded. So, he stood back and enjoyed the show.
After the priest had stabbed them through the heart, there was a bit more chanting and then the demons left through an outer door on the opposite side of the room. Once the room was clear, Xander hurried over to the stage, just as Giles and Methos came back.
“You could have sent in the cavalry,” Methos sniped.
“What, and start an unnecessary war?” Xander said with a grin and offered them both a hand up.
“Don’t worry Adam, just for that he’ll have double practise when Willow’s gone. For a week,” Giles said. Xander groaned.
“You’ve got a real sadistic streak I never noticed before,” Xander observed.
“Can’t think where it came from,” Giles said.
Methos shot Giles a look that would have killed a mortal, but Giles merely smiled. Giles and Methos had rearranged their clothes so that the drying blood wouldn’t show and the three headed back the way they had come.
Giles and Methos sat in Giles’ office, drinking whiskey. Giles pulled a box of cigars from a drawer and offered one to Methos.
“So, back to the States in the morning?” Giles asked.
“I’ve no reason to hang around now. Back to Adam Pierson’s life, for now anyway,” Methos replied. Giles nodded.
“Having you here, seeing you again, it’s been good,” Giles admitted with a smile, “It was nice to be reminded that I wasn’t always a Watcher.”
“I’m not normally one to reminisce, but I must admit it’s been good to see an old friend. Especially one that wasn’t trying to kill me.”
“Talking of which, I would like to know what happened in France, one day. They were an important part of my life too, as much as we’d both like to forget those days,” Giles mused, “We can’t change who we were or who we are.”
“Oh, very philosophical. Get that from a fortune cookie did you? Four thousand years and that’s the best you could do?” Methos said with a smirk. Giles laughed and after a moment, Methos joined in adding, “I tell you one thing. It’s the last time you’ll catch me writing fiction.”The End