Chapter V -- Undercurrents

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Unnoticed by the crowd around the bank, a stagecoach disgorged its sole passenger just after it had rolled to a stop in front of the Long Branch.

John Abraham Danvers stepped out as he watched the activities just down the street with a wry smile.

Dressed in dark pinstripe and bowler, those that he passed saw chiseled features beneath clean cut gray hair which marked him as simply another gambler that was passing through town.

The silver chain that hung from his pocket and a natty bow tie above a fanciful silver and black vest that he wore only served to complete the image.

While he had enjoyed his share of card games, such was not the intent of this particular trip.

Alpha of the largest North American werewolf clan, he'd been on his way to California to assert new territory when word had come of the two mutts who'd drawn unnecessary attention from the law.

He pushed through the double doors of the saloon that was attached to the Long Branch; casual and confident as he passed between tables thick with card players, while most everyone else in the room watched with veiled interest as the newcomer moved to stand alone at the bar.

"Whiskey and a beer ..." he paused as he studied the mirror above the bar, "... if you were to be so kind along with a tab to be run." He finished casually as the barman approached before he turned to lean back against the bar rail while he watched several card games in progress.

Two lanky cattlemen threw in their hands with open disgust before they rose from their tables to stand to either side of Danvers, their rough hewn features in stark contrast to the clean-shaven man found between them.

Having followed his lead, they also ordered whiskey and beer while Danvers signaled the barkeep to use his tab.

"Gentlemen ..." he mused as he turned his back to the room, "... it would seem that your simple chore has gone terribly awry. Care to explain to me just how and why this could have happened?" Danvers inquired evenly in a low voice as he snapped down his whisky, before he took a long sip from the cold beer.

"Couldn't be helped ..." Twain Jones, his head agent offered, "... we got here just after it happened."

Worn and drawn from far too many days having covered far too many miles for their boss, both he and Taylor Brevets could easily pose as roving cattlemen when it suited them.

Handpicked by Danvers himself, both men enforced pack law in the western territories and had done a fine job of it until the latest mishaps that had begun to occur.

"Am I also to understand that we have some ..." Danvers paused as if he'd tasted something foul and bitter, "... foreign visitors of sorts that are conducting business of the flesh nearby." he continued to watch the activities behind them in the mirror above the bar.

"We've already spoken to them at length, boss; they both seem fit to stay long term." Jones replied evenly as he shook his head in dismissal of pointed insolence they'd gotten from the lycan pair. "They aren't really a whole lot like us, being, well ... foreigners and all as you put it so well."

Danvers sighed. "I'll just have to step in and give them my regards; perhaps then they might choose to change their minds about that."

Jones smile was wide as he sipped from the chilled beer of his glass. "I'd assume so. What do we do with Burgess and Bisbee?"

"I'm reminded of an old saying." Danvers offered before he snapped down another shot of whiskey.

"And that would be?"

"If you love something, let it go. If the love is true, it will come back to you, all in due time."

Jones laughed. "And if it ain't?"

Danvers turned without a smile. "Then you hunt it down and you kill it without mercy or second thought."

The last of his beer now drained, Danvers set it down and pulled out his pocket watch. "It's time to see someone about the company of a young woman for the night. Enjoy yourselves as you see fit in the matter of the troublesome Burgess and Bisbee, while it may prove best if our local law enforcement never came across them again, if you catch my drift."

Neither man responded as Danvers walked back through the tables and out through the door; for his direction had been plenty clear - they had work to do.

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