Lone Star – Chapter 38

Yaran met their visitors at the edge of town again. Deliah had brought her team’s psychic, Jasmine, along again, and Arcturus had come as well. He had ridden the hovercycle that Dorian would take- the skelebot body could run fast enough to keep up with the cycles on the way back. The entire rescue team was accompanying Dorian to meet his escort home.  He’d had a hand in saving the lives of each of them, and while their work helping other runaways would continue, their primary mission was just about finished.

It had taken Dorian three days of rest before Billie and Gordon agreed to let him travel. He had already started to gain back some of his weight, and much of his strength. His face had begun to fill out again, and his eyes didn’t look so sunken. In new clothes, with his hair trimmed and groomed, he looked like a new person. And in many ways, he was. He’d been as close to hell as possible, and had been convinced he would die there. This was a new life.

Trindle secured Dorian’s pack to the hovercycle. It was mostly travelling food. Dorian’s old possessions had been taken by the CS soldiers when they’d arrested him, and they didn’t dare go back to his old home to see what was left. The canine stepped back once he’d finished, and let Billie help Dorian mount the bike. He was much more agile now, and got aboard easily.

Damien spoke to Arcturus briefly, while Yaran spoke to Deliah. “He’s as safe with us as he could be,” she was saying.

“Oh, I know it. We got a glimpse of what your team can do, remember?” Yaran smiled. “Out of curiosity, how do you guys feel about traveling with a vampire and a pair of psi-stalkers?”

Deliah chuckled. “The psi-stalkers are our guides. They’ve been finding other creatures to hunt while we’ve been in the wild. As far as Martiniros goes… well, it’s a long story. Besides, we have a dragon with us, too.” She shrugged. “I guess there’s a strange sort of balance.”

“A dragon?” Yaran repeated. Then he shook his head. “Whatever it is you were after when you attacked, I hope you got it.”

“A lot of it, yes. We’ll have to get it all home, and spend a lot of time working on it, before we know for sure.” Deliah looked toward the setting sun. “We should get moving, though.”

Yaran nodded. “Thanks again for taking him with you.”

“Of course. Good luck.” Deliah looked to the others, who were all prepared to leave. The only thing left were the goodbyes. The canines tried to make it as expedient as they could, but it wasn’t easy. Billie in particular had a tough time letting go.

Finally, Yaran embraced his old friend, and patted his back. “Take care, Dorian. When I get back to Tolkeen, I’ll check up on you.”

Dorian smiled. “When you get started on a job like this one, Yaran, you don’t ever want to stop. There’s too many souls, too many stories. Too much good work needs doing.”

Yaran nodded, then stepped back. The canines all watched the three hovercycles speed away, followed by a sprinting skelebot that moved un-naturally fast across the empty plains. Within three minutes, the group crested a hill and disappeared. One by one, the canines turned to make their way back to the village’s hotel. Soon enough, Yaran and Damien were the only two out there. The sun was half-hidden by the hills, but there was plenty of light left in the sky.

Damien sighed. “I guess Sven has a bunch of good drink waiting for us.”

“I’m sure he knew tonight would be tough on us,” Yaran said. Neither of the canines had turned their eyes from the hill Dorian and the others had disappeared behind.

Yaran’s eyes finally drifted away from the spot, but came to rest on another hill, not far from the one they’d been staring at. Another figure was atop this hill, astride a hovercycle. They were almost a kilometer away, but Yaran could tell it wasn’t Dorian or any of his new companions. The figure sat still atop the hill, as if looking back at the two canines. Yaran nudged Damien’s shoulder, then pointed toward their new visitor.

They seemed to know when they had the canines’ attention. One hand came up in the air, almost waving but not quite. Then a green-blue glow appeared to rise out of the hand, a rod of light that the rider held up in a salute.

Damien smiled. “Sir Rickard,” he said, softly. Yaran nodded, and raised his own hand to return the salute.

A moment later, three more hovercycle riders crested the hill behind the cyber-knight. They all paused around Sir Rickard, holding up their hands and saluting with their own psychic-energy swords. Each was a different color, glowing in the twilight. Then the lights disappeared, and the riders moved off their hill, heading the same direction Dorian’s group had gone.

Yaran sighed. “Can’t ask for a better escort than that,” he said.

Damien nodded, then turned back toward the village. “C’mon, Si-shon. I’m thirsty.”

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