Part 3

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Summer, 1878 / Fort Danna, Wyoming

Abby waited patiently for Bonnet to get over the initial shock as she and Poe had when they'd first discovered the diamonds.

She watched his eyes go from the diamonds to the pencil case and back several times as wheels turned and gears clicked while several sips from his glass finally emptied it as they sat in silence before he carefully eased the diamonds back into the case and secured the cap.

He got up to pour another drink and added a second that he placed in front of her without having asked.

"This has become more of a ... problem than I first realized." he finally offered as he returned to his seat.

She picked up the glass, taking a moment to breath in the ambiance of the liquor before she took a cautious sip and placed it back upon desk with her fingers still around it.

"What now." She asked calmly, having already known how deep his issues would be, long before she'd arrived.

"How exactly were you so ... conveniently close to help Poe as you were?"

She smiled, as she wondered what dots that he had managed to connect and what lines that he thought he'd drawn between them.

"An associate, one of the very few that I maintain contact with wired me about what had transpired at the bank."

"And the Indian" He said quietly.

"Yes, that too; she was contacted by the smithy to take over for him, Cat or whatever his name may be. The more I find out about the activities of that day, I fear that he knows something that I should as well." she prompted, before taking a sip from her drink as they looked at each other for several moments.

"The Indian was raped, beaten and pregnant before they found her, most likely by one of the lycans and as irony would have it, she was saved even further misadventure by one of the other lycans that had chased her while she chased the other one."

"That's unfortunate." She sighed. "I'm guessing they put a stall to her change and that's why they took her and left as hurriedly as they did."

"Yes, as a matter of fact ..." his eyes narrowed with suspicion, "... how'd you know ... oh wait, you probably know things that I may not." he sighed as he gently shook the ice in his glass before he took a sip and waited.

She closed her eyes. "When a woman is pregnant and turned, she loses the child."

"Always?" he asked, apparently remaining as thorough as he'd been trained to be.

"Turns are different between vampires such as myself and lycans ... of any sort for that matter I'd suppose."

"Lycan women would be different ..." he rubbed his face with the palm of his hand, having learned now what very few outsiders were even aware of, "... in much the same situation."

"Yes, their turn involves a venom of sorts in the blood; blood that is shared by the fetus in the womb."

"What chances ..." he sounded reluctant, "... would they have of success, if you were to lay odds."

"Normally it would be a scratch ..." she replied as she winced when she realized what she'd just said, "... pun most assuredly not intended." she offered with a wry smile. "But with the witch and her doings along with the help of the others and those at the farm, it may still be a crap shoot that may yet favor the house."

"Yes, the farm, a concern for yet another day." Bonnet reached out and pushed the pencil box toward her. "You'd better keep that for now; if I take it there will be a record and well ... records may be a bad idea."

"Are you in danger?" she asked with legitimate concern, while she eased the pencil case back into her jacket.

"Until you showed up, I would not have thought so." he said, as he took a sip and savored the contents. "Now, knowing what you've told me, I'm sure that I'm going to be far more careful than I may have been otherwise."

"We maintain corporate safe boxes at most banks, some more secure than others. I could have you added to certain ... lists for access." she offered.

"Is that normally done? I'm assuming not; changing your methods would be a sure fire way for anyone who may be watching to notice." He suggested having observed such training while in study of trade craft. "What corporation, if I may be so bold?"

"TRG Incorporated, a holding company for various needs that may arise ... such as this." she replied, as she gently patted her jacket.

"What do the initials stand for, someone's name? If I don't need to know ... so be it." he was looking worn out and very tired.

"Templar Rose Guard. I highly doubt that you've heard of them."

He smiled and sat back as he looked up at the ceiling in memory. "The nine of the ninth, a rather wicked punishment and scary story told around campfires late at night to keep the cold at bay with shivers of another sort. Yes, I know of their origins."

He seemed further amused when she appeared surprised that he'd known. "What bloodline are you?" he asked with a smile.

"Seventh in nine." she replied, further impressed that he'd known to ask that particular question and what it meant.

"When they tell the stories, no one seems to know how they make that designation ... between blood-lines, that is."

She took a deep breath with some resignation. "Scarred before the turn, you remain scarred afterward. Scars after the turn heal when you feed and then, voila ... no scar."

"They were marked, of course." he admitted. "Sad bunch if you ask me."

"They made sure they were well marked; branded, inked or otherwise before the devil had his due." she replied evenly.

"Makes sense in a backwater sort of way." he mused sadly. "I fear that I have well placed perversion amongst some of my ranks as well. This operation has been long term and well run; interruption will assuredly bring consequences."

"Pandora has undoubtedly finished her discussion with the manager by now, however if I have read the ... operation correctly, it's blind beyond direct contact in the loop." Abby observed.

"What happens to him now; if he lives, he would report what happened."

"Or he runs." she said with a smile. "A man who will bear striking resemblance to the manager will clean out his accounts and board a coach before he disappears well south of the border."

"Good, that will keep someone busy for a while. But at some point they will backtrack." he took a drink and seemed to fall deep in thought. "On second thought keep the diamonds, it's better if they disappear with the manager."

Abby nodded as she stood and set her glass near his.

"What now?" he asked.

Gently, she eased open the flap of her jacket to reveal her badge. "Rose has probably arrived and introduced herself to Poe. We will maintain a vigil to see who or what may come knocking. My companions will also take over the mansion and all properties therein."

"Is your ... friend Rose any good beyond any of her smithing abilities?" he replied.

"As far as that goes, she's taught me more about combat than the other way around." Abby mused, as she moved to the window.

"And the Indian?" he asked as he picked up her glass to pour what remained of her drink into his.

When she hadn't answered, he looked up only to have realized that he was now alone.

"I really hate it when they do that." he mused, before he tossed the remnants back and enjoying the burn as he swallowed.

Hidden lines were being drawn that were looking to get bloody and he feared his could very well be part of it if he wasn't careful.

He thought about the legendary group that she'd mentioned. He opened a drawer and dropped the bank robbery report into it before he closed and locked it.

Even secret services needed secret services he now realized.

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