Evening had set upon the small village, and the celebration continued. The villagers decided it was indeed time for a celebration of freedom from an oppressor. And Shani and Pania took center stage. The food was extravagant, the music loud and the laughter, well it was something that both elves had not seen in quite some time since their arrival on Earth.
As the sun began to set, Pania sat by the camp fire, her hands cupping a mug of cider, and she just listened to the sounds that surrounded her. It wasn’t long before the lithe gunslinger joined her, taking up a patch of ground beside the bard as she sat cross legged on the ground. Pania smiled as Shani took her seat.
“Sorry ‘bou’ ye ‘at,” Pania said with a small smile.
“Hell, I think I kin git a new one,” Shani replied with a sigh. “Losin’ the hat’s least o’ my problems. ‘Sides, I were too busy thinkin’ ‘bou’ getting’ outta thet place.” They both sat quietly and listened to the music, shook hands with the occasional villager and even accepted more cider. “Whoa!” Shani remarked as she took a sip. “Figger this stuff’s fer special occasions, it’s got a might good kick ta it.” Pania laughed at the comment, then smiled as a small girl approached the two elves.
“I… I want to give you somethin’,” she said rather timidly. Shani and Pania watched as the girl took out a hat from behind her back and handed it to Shani. Similar in style to her old Stetson, but much newer. She took the gift with a smile and inspected it carefully.
“Well thank ya, darlin’,” she said with a grin. “I ‘ppreciate this.” To emphasize her statement, she carefully plopped the hat on her head, brushing down the brim a bit. “Need ta work it in a bit, but thet’ll be jist fine.” She smiled to the small girl, who stepped forward and gave both elves a hug before running off to join her friends.
Pania watched the girl a moment, then turned her attention to Shani. The lithe elf looked to Pania somewhat confused. Pania didn’t have lusting eyes toward Shani this time. They were much more respectful. “We make a good team, ye know,” she finally said.
Shani smirked, reminded of the past two days that they spent together. “I reckon yer right ’bout thet,” she replied with a sigh, then turned her attention fully to Pania. “Shreveport, huh?”
Captain Samuel Williams paced back and forth in the small room as he waited. He had been in Harrisburg for the past four days, and still nothing to report. No orders either. So all he had to do was wait. But four days was beginning to drag, he had a need to get back on the road and hunt down his quarry, Black Mask and now the gunslinger known as Pale Rider.
The door to his apartment opened as one of his men rushed in, carrying a letter with him. Williams stood straight as he waited for the soldier to read the message. “Good news, I hope,” he said in a calm voice. Inside, he was in knots.
“Received word from a few ranchers, Sir,” the soldier informed him. “There was some activity between here and Reading. And a few farmers said they saw a pair of riders heading south, toward West Virginia.”
Williams considered this information carefully before he finally gave a solemn nod. “Inform the other men to prepare their horses. We ride within the hour.” The soldier quickly saluted, rushing off to tend to his orders. Williams smiled as the soldier left.
Finally, they could pick up the trail again.
Franklin, West Virginia
Marshal Martin Derringer sat back in the saddle and watched the sky carefully. Derringer wasn’t a small man, standing at six foot eight inches tall. And his olive toned skin was not a common site among the settlers. His life was also a mystery to them. All that really mattered was he protected the area with a vengeance. As he looked to the sky, he knew that he would have to do so again.
The clouds seemed to rush across the sky, looking much like a group of hunters chasing after their prey. Derringer narrowed his eyes as he spoke in a low tone. “Huntsman. What is it you seek? What is it you want? And how is it that I can stop you for the second time in a millennium.”