His choice to separate from Hekla had nothing to do with greed, nor did it pertain to her decision to protect her friend. It had to do with the fact that he needed total commitment.
He did not doubt that Hekla would stand beside him in a fierce melee, or if the need arose. However, he needed her to full attention on what Jayce hoped to achieve. Her inattention and lack of focus could jeopardize future missions. “It’s better this happened now rather than later. Now, I know to trust no one.”
Leroy’s stride never ceased as Jayce put the spurs to the horse. Vasken mounts were top of the field when it came to stamina. Leroy kept up the pace as he raced across the plains. By sunset, Jayce could see Lord Taber’s mansion.
Jayce led the horse to the hitching post, or whatever the lingo was for it on this new planet. He had heard people call it Tennersilvia. Jayce called it New Earth. “It’s still Earth, even if it’s 20,000 years in the future.”
The captain that gave him vittles before he left on the hunt for the blutbaden, met him at the gate.
“Were you successful?”
“That means no. Why weren’t you?”
“Take me to Lord Taber. I’ll tell him, you can listen in if he lets you.”
Jayce followed the captain, who made it a point to turn and stare at him, into the room where Taber had given instructions to him. Taber sat at a small desk. He had one foot thrown up on the desk, a petite human waif wiped at his boots. They were immaculate, but still Taber insisted that dirt remained.
Some of the Elven troops chuckled snidely at the waif’s attempts to get the boots clean. Jayce frowned.
“Lord Taber, the monster hunter is back.”
Taber glared at Jayce. He kicked the rag out of the servant’s hand and strode to where Jayce stood.
“Where’s my head,” he shouted. The veins in his forehead throbbed from the rush of blood.
“Still attached to the shapeshifter. You said you wanted updates, milord. I am here to report in.”
“I did not fail. My attempt did not go as planned, that is true, but the hunt is not over. I leave at first light.”
Red-faced, Taber crossed the room to his desk. He sat in his chair and slammed his hand on the desk. Taber pointed a finger at Jayce and then chuckled.
“You’re something else, human. Do you know where the blutbaden is?”
“Better than that, I know who he is traveling with. I will pick up his companion’s trail in the morning. Shortly after that, I will take care of this defiler for you and your lovely daughter.”
Taber shoved a pipe into his mouth, the match flared briefly and then caught on the tobacco.
“You’re here for more money, I assume?”
“No, milord. I made an agreement with you. The deal stands.”
Taber stared at Jayce for a long moment. He nodded and exhaled smoke into the air.
“I heard that about you, monster hunter. You’re a man of honor, which is something I never thought you humans possessed. Color me impressed.”
“Thank you, milord.”
“My captain here says you fought at the Battle of Sentient. Is that true?”
Taber waved his hand dismissively.
“Save that ‘milord’ business for the public. In here, we are talking business. I heard you were one fierce opponent during the battle.”
“I just did what I was taught. Who did you hear this from?”
Taber stared behind Jayce. The door opened. Hekla and Tomak walked into the room.
“He heard it from me, Jayce.”