I still do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Norse mythology.
I’d like to take a moment to thank Tammin for all his hard work. The reason I am posting this chapter now is that I saw the notice that the site would undergo maintenance on the 10th. Rather than make you wait, you get it early.
So enjoy!EpilogueMayor's Office
Mayor Richard Wilkins III was quiet for a moment after Alan finished his preliminary report. The young man looked tired, which was no surprise as he'd spent most of the very early hours of the morning collating what little information was available so far.
None of which was good, from Wilkins' perspective. “Right then,” he began. “I think you should let Bob know that the incident with the streetlights and the vandalism of the construction site are not related. The latter is obviously a college prank where as the streetlights malfunctioning is likely yet another instance of the ill-maintained Californian power grid not serving its citizens as it should.”
“Uhm, yes, sir. That should work for our public statement. Uhm, do you want him to investigate anything or just drop the matter?”
“Drop it,” he waved the matter away. “I'm more interested in where our resident Aesir are now. You're sure you found all three of the Children there?”
The deputy-mayor blinked. “Uh, we think so. It's hard to tell, but we found one hole made by acid, a vaguely humanoid shaped boulder, and a group of mushrooms. They all seem to correspond with a fight and you said nothing about Aesir leaving anything like that behind when they die.”
“Because they don't. No, they just leave a corpse like any human would. Which means Plan A has failed completely,” the Mayor noted calmly. “And it didn't even land any of them in the hospital,” he mused almost wistfully.
Waving the matter away, Wilkins leaned back in his chair. “This does leave the question of how they managed it. Redouble our surveillance efforts, Allan, find out what our people missed the first time.”
“Any-Anything you would like them to pay attention to in particular, sir?”
“Hmmm, see if they didn't miss an Aesir. Yes, either a fourth member of Miss Summer's little group is an Aesir or perhaps they've made contact with another one.”
The deputy-mayor made a note. “So they should take a good look at anybody new in the Slayer's circle, I will relay that. Uhm, I assume you want to continue using just our human employees for this?”
“Yes, of course. It's more important than ever that we don't make our resident godlings suspicious. No, I want them to remain focused on the more obvious threats. Speaking of which, I best call Val to let him know what went wrong. We can always hope they'll try again immediately.”
“And if they decide to not try right away,” Allan asked.
Wilkins shrugged. “That would be unfortunate, but not a real problem. Heck,” the Mayor continued as his lips parted in a jovial smile. “Even if they survive to the grand finale, they'll still only inconvenience my plans. Or do you honestly think a bunch of children can outfox little old me?”
His tone of voice was friendly enough, but Allan still shook his head frantically prompting Wilkins to sigh mentally. The man certainly lacked his father's steadiness. “If that's everything, I think it would be best if you put your people on it now, Allan.”Bilskirnir
“Damnation, and you're source was sure they all survived?” Val's lord asked him suspiciously.
“He seemed certain of it,” Val carefully pointed out.
“How did three Aesir who had just come into their power defeat my Children? How? And then there's this Wilkins' motivation to be so forthcoming,” Loki mused. “This latest information smells like prodding to me. Do you know why he wants us to get rid of them?”
“I know... less than I would like to, my Lord. Wilkins believes the reason for the defeat is a fourth member, but....”
“There hasn't been any Aesir active in Midgard for two centuries, and nobody has ever stored four of the galdra-vél together,” Loki finished for him. “It's either one or three, that's the tradition.”
Val nodded. “As you say, but he may be onto something. As for the other matter, Wilkins is a sorcerer who has seemed to have made some kind of deal with a number of demons. He hasn't aged since he founded the town on top of the Hellmouth and has consistently run it in a demon-friendly manner.”
“And having even one Aesir in his domain would upset matters, that would make sense. But we do not work for him. I want Mjöllnir for my own reasons, and I'll retrieve it on my terms. His incomplete information has cost me three Children and the ultimate cost of killing Thor will only go up as these children learn.” Val said nothing, unsure if his master had forgotten for a moment that the current wielder of Mjöllnir was a girl.
“And yet you will have to delay this personal vendetta,” a female voice interrupted. Both of their heads whipped around to see who had dared to enter the conversation with an order. They were confronted with not one, but two intruders.
One was female, the other male. Both looked almost human, except for the gold and silver sheen respectively of their skin. It made their timeless features stand out stronger. The woman continued. “Because the Vanir require you to direct all your energy elsewhere.”
“Ah, Freya, Freyr,” Loki greeted them warmly. “So good of you to barge in unannounced. Now, what are you babbling about? We agreed when I joined you that the hunt for the Aesir would be my right, has the council decided otherwise in my absence?” Val himself wisely kept his mouth shut. The Vanir did not hold his kind in high esteem.
“Nothing of the sorts,” Freyr assured him swiftly. “My sister refers to your primary obligation of supporting the endeavors of the Vanir, of which you are a member.”
Freya picked up where her brother left off. “King Gymir marches on Utgard as we speak, trying to reclaim his land once more, and the Frost Giants are supporting him as well. But your ally Surtr is slow to muster his forces in response. We would have sent word to him directly, but...”
“He's my ally,” Loki cackled. `Not yours. Still, it's strange he wouldn´t rush to meet his enemies. I´ll send a message straight away and send you more of my Children to strengthen your defenses in the mean time. I hope that meets with your approval?”
“It does,” Freya responded bluntly.
“And with our gratitude,” Freyr added right after trying to soften his sister's words. “Of course, once things settle down we will not object in the slightest when you return your attention to other pursuits. But right now, we are all threatened and so we should stand together.”
Smiling pleasantly, Loki nodded. “Yes, yes, naturally. You can see yourself out, I trust?”
Nodding in the affirmative, a portal opened behind the pair and they stepped through it. Never did they turn their back to Loki. His lord waited a moment longer after the portal had closed before speaking. “I hate to say it, but they are right. With a golden opportunity like this knocking on our door, I can't afford distractions. After all, my 'fellow Vanir' will be very cross once they lose their precious access to Jötunheim's energies. Especially when they find out I've been busy developing a way to trap those same energies. But they'll pay my price, the weak-willed addicts will convince themselves they have no choice!”
Loki laughed loudly now, only to abruptly stop a few seconds later. “And on that note, best you start putting up those wards now. I don't want those people coming in here without an invitation any longer.”
“At once, my Lord.” Bowing to Loki, Val turned around and strode out of the hall. There were a lot of preparations to make.Outside of Sunnydale
Walking towards the rising sun, Buffy didn't actually feel tired even though she'd been up all night and had just barely won a fight to the death against someone that was stronger than her. So it wasn't fatigue that made her trudge through the barren landscape heading for the mountains on the horizon. It was reluctance.
She'd half-dreaded meeting her mom again on Kingman's Bluff, but that was forgotten when neither she nor Giles showed up there. Instead, only Xander, Willow, and Oz met her there. Apparently, the police had left someone at her home and they were naturally curious what had happened. So they'd carted her mom and Giles off to the station to make a statement.
The guys had done their best to pack, but what Buffy missed the most was the chance to say goodbye to her Mom. 'Right now, anyway. In a week, that's probably going to be replaced by indoor plumbing.'“Not to mention TV,”
Mjöllnir chimed in. “Of course, it's mostly reruns anyway. We should be back by the time they start showing fresh material.”
'Easy for you to say, you're the one that hasn't had a problem lying around in a cave for a thousand years,' Buffy shot back. 'Unlike you, I got needs. Like food, water, and shoes!'“I can help you with the first two, I think.”
Buffy stopped dead in her tracks. “You think!” she yelled into the morning. A small bolt of lightning jumped from her hand holding the strap of her bag to a nearby bush. It promptly caught fire.
With a curse, Buffy dropped her bag and shrugged off her jacket so she could use that to try and put out the flame. But not before she uprooted the bush and threw some sand on it.
Buffy was still patting at the bush when the war hammer continued, its tone growing defensive. “I would let you know my wielders had experience with surviving in a lot of different types of terrain. It's just... that none of them ever had to do so around here. But most of the principles should hold up,”
'Should hold up, huh? Yeah, that just fills me with confidence.' But after donning her jacket and picking up her bag, Buffy did start to walk again, and not back to Sunnydale. THE ENDAuthor's Notes: And so ends this story, but as you can tell a sequel is in the works. I hope you've enjoyed reading the story as much as I did writing it.