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Part Two

The Bull mingled in the crowds, trying to find both the man and the item that was supposed to be the keystone. Neither the Alpha nor the lady knew where exactly it was supposed to be, but they did know that it was being activated, and that if the man found it, he would use it to extinguish the universe without a second thought.

“Pardon me,” he said as he bumped into another Bull, then scanned the area. No trace of the man anywhere.

The Bull rumbled out another apology, then muttered under his breath, “If you are looking for the man, he’s near the forth bar where the pool is.”

The Bull thanked him, and walked off for a moment before catching on. He turned and looked at his compatriot. He was dressed in the richly embroidered blue robes of a Tribe Father, but his appearance was what caught the Bull’s eye. Tufts of brilliant lilac fur shown up against deep purple skin. Shocking violet hair was tied back with a gold hoop. Electric blue eyes gazed at the Bull with an air of humor, as if he was enjoying a joke at the party’s expense.

“Well?” the purple creature growled at the Bull, his voice filled with command. “Go after him! I’ll catch up with you in a moment.” The Bull looked at him one last moment, then ran off to his destination.

===

The man himself was at a loss. He could feel the keystone, its massive power blinding all of the his senses, but every time he tried to find it he couldn’t.

“Patience,” he thought to himself, scanning the crowds surrounding a fountain pool. “You waited long for this. A few more moments won’t hurt.” Then he noticed it.

The keystone looked like one of the many stone pillars around the area, but to the eyes of the man it had a shifting aura. The pillar flicked through a hundred different things in an instant, then stabilized back to the pillar. The man grinned, and he took a step forward.

“You!” a treble call rang out, and then the man was turned around to face a delectable figure of femininity. Her smiling face was perfectly formed, framed in a mass of red and black curls. A shockingly sheer gown of yellow fabric draped itself over her ripe curves, showing almost nothing to the imagination, but that didn’t stop the woman from plastering herself against the man. “Abrazi,” she said, her voice richly accenting the name. “I thought that was you. Whatever are you doing on this planet?”

The man snarled and tried to escape the lady’s embrace. “The same might be said for you, Mil! I heard you left the service.”

“So did you, if I remember rightly,” she said, still smiling. “I take it you are doing independent work?”

Abrazi finally unwound himself from the lady, and pushed her away. “I repeat the question: What are you doing here?”

Mil inserted a dose of mockery in her smile. “Why, my dear companion, I thought you already knew.” She stepped up to the man and pointed daintily at the pillar.

He pulled the hand down and snarled, “How did you know of the keystone?”

Her smile grew even more mocking. “How did I not? It was all you were talking about last time the Counsel met. Oh, you didn’t say it outright, but it was all there.” She shook her head in amusement. “Fortunately for you, the Counsel sent me over to see what the fuss was about.”

The man’s expression turned furiously icy. “They are going to stop me, aren’t they?”

“On the contrary,” she said, “they sent me with a warning.” She leaned over and breathed in his ear. “They are here.”

He pulled back, all anger gone from his face and painted instead with unease. “Are you sure?” She nodded. “How many? Which ones?”

“All of them.”

He got a goblet of champagne from a passing server and drank it in one gulp. “That isn’t possible,” he muttered. “What sort of event could possibly bring all of them here?” His mind mulled at the possibilities, then smiled. “Could it be…?”

Mil threw her head back and erupted in peals of mocking laughter. “Oh you,” she said a while later, wiping tears from her eyes. “Always thinking about yourself.” She smiled widely. “Alas, that is not the thing that is bringing them together. It’s what is bringing this party here.”

“The door?” She nodded. “But why?

“No idea.” Her focus shifted slightly, and frowned. “Hm. Interesting.” She started to walk slowly towards the pillar.

He turned to face her, then noticed something changed. “The hell…?!”

“Indeed.” She touched the pillar, stroking it lightly with a well-manicured hand. “It seems the keystone is no longer here.”

“What?!” He started to move towards the pillar, but sensed the keystone somewhere else in the area, the power building up again. “What did you do?”

She turned around, totally baffled. “Me? I didn’t do anything.”

“There you are!”

Abrazi turned around to find the Bull standing there.

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