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Part 35

Part 35

        Writing the ‘Dear William´ letter was the hardest thing that Buffy had ever had to do because she knew now how hard he would take this rejection, and she had to make it hard otherwise his future self wouldn´t exist. But it had to be done, she kept telling herself. All she could see were William´s bright, intense, loving eyes, so much like Spike´s were, except he was still innocent in all ways, and hadn´t been brutally traumatized by his experiences with Angelus´ group, and the world. She felt like such a bitch for doing this to the gentle man she had met. She wished that there was some way she could still be with him, and get to know William, but it was an impossible dream she couldn´t even begin to entertain for both their sakes. She had to be strong for the future of all them. She couldn´t allow herself to fall in love with the man Spike had been, because she also liked the street wise vampire who complimented her in every way.

        "It´s done," she announced finally to Hyde, wiping the tears from her eyes.

        He came over, and handed her a handkerchief to wipe her face. "This Spike must be very important to you if you are so willing to sacrifice his present human self, and his soul," he commented looking at her red eyes, and obvious distress.

        "He is. And I feel awful doing this to William. He´s such a nice guy. This is going to destroy him, but I have to…I really have to do this," Buffy sobbed, still upset over what was going to happen to the unsuspecting, decent man she had met.

        "You are sure about this, Miss Summers?" he asked reading over the letter quickly while she wasn´t looking, and frowning at it´s harshness.

        "Positive. Hopefully, he will believe it is from Elizabeth. But please get it sent to him as soon as possible. The sooner it is in his hands the better," Buffy told him looking down at her hands guiltily, totally hating herself for having to destroy William so that Spike could come into existence..

        He eyed her warily, and knew she was withholding information about the nature of the real relationship between her and the future vampire. There was much more going on that just friendship. He was not that blind to the passions of the human heart after having sisters himself and knowing how they acted when they were romantically involved with someone. Carefully he told her, "let me go find someone to take this to him. Do you remember the address?"

        "Address? Ahh, no. It was just this big Victorian house on a nice street about an hour by carriage from Elizabeth´s house. I didn´t see any street signs as I was still so shaken to find myself back in time. Do you have some way to look up people´s addresses?" Buffy asked, remembering now that she had no clue where his house was.

        Hyde just rolled his eyes, but recovered quickly. "We will find it, Miss Summers. Just stay here. I´ll be back in a few minutes," he told her leaving her alone in the study. After having read the letter, Hyde and already decided not to send it. He was even more certain now of that course of action when the girl could not give him an address. Giles was not a common name, but finding the right William Giles would be a difficult task in such a large city. From the additional information of the carriage ride most likely he lived somewhere outside of the city.

        He had also deduced that this Spike was more than a friend to the young woman by the way she talked about him, and how much it was tearing her up to write the letter. There was no way in good conscious he could allow any slayer to be smitten with a vampire regardless of how ‘good´ she might think he was. Also her reactions to the human William were also telling. Hyde was debating whether or not to allow further contact between Miss Summers and Mr. Giles, further altering their histories. Maybe even bringing the young man in as a potential watcher in training, allowing their romance to continue would be a better course of action. He wanted to discuss this further with his superiors, but he could see a way to motivate Miss Summers, who was already an experienced slayer to stay in this time, and eliminate the threat of Angelus´ group at the same time. The watcher knew about the end of days prophecies, but did not believe in them, nor did he believe Miss Summers was going to be returning to her time until her tasks here were completed. She was here for a reason, and her switching with Miss Wellington must mean that she was here to alter history, so that a different time line occurred.

        Instead of seeking out someone to deliver the letter, John Hyde summoned his coachman, and had him bring his carriage around front, then he returned to the study after pocketing the letter carefully in his inside coat pocket. "Miss Summers, I have had my man bring the carriage around. We still need to go to the Council House, so that you may tell your story to them, and we can decide on a choice of action to take while you are here."

        "Tonight?" he asked a little afraid. She had only met her watchers, and Mr. Travers, but the idea of meeting a whole house full of Watchers, and Council members without friendly support on her side was wigging her out.

        "Yes, they asked me to bring you to them as soon as you had recovered from your tests. They really want to meet you," he tried to reassure her.

        "I bet they do. The only reason I´m going to go along with this is because someone there might know how to fix this mess so I can get home," Buffy said standing up, keeping a tight rein on her impulses to run like hell. "So they believe me, don´t they—that I´m me, and the slayer you were supposed to get is stuck in my body in the future?"

        "They are still skeptical, but once they start talking to you they will realize you are telling the truth. The longer you are here the more American you sound, along with your strange use of words. And your tale is so unique it is doubtful that you could have fabricated it all. Especially the parts you have told me about Angelus and his group as Miss Wellington would have come to me with absolutely no knowledge of vampires. Your conversation with Markus proved that you were completely on the level, and astounded even him with your depth of knowledge that even some Council members aren´t privy to."

        "He was just being a big show off like most of them are and when he tried to claim he was the Master, I got angry because I knew he wasn´t him, and I wasn´t going to let him get away with it. Just that simple. I hate jerks," she said.

        "I take it he was a ‘jerk´ which is not a complementary term?" Hyde asked in amusement.

        "No more than most vampires are. They all have attitudes. But he was helpful during the test, and gave me a lot to think about plus gave me information I needed for when I get back. No, I´m glad I took my test this way instead of the way I was going to with Spike," Buffy said with a sigh getting up to join him.

        "Why is that, Miss Summers?" he asked intrigued.

        "Dusty endings to end it, and that wasn´t on the program," she sighed and hoped that the gang had decided not to go through with the ceremony on their end because she knew now that the ritual could only end in one way: either the vampire´s, or the slayer´s death. There were no other options.

        "I see," Hyde said thoughtfully, resisting the urge to press her for more details of what they had planned to do in her time, but already he could guess and it was made him angry and sick to contemplate such a vile thing. "Shall we proceed then to the Council?" he asked, handing her a heavy coat which must have been in Elizabeth´s belongings.

        Buffy nodded and put the heavy gray wool coat on that reached almost to her ankles and buttoned it up. The put on the hat that Mr. Hyde handed her. He did help her to adjust it and pin it in place since she had no idea how to that. "I take it hats are not worn in your time?"

        Buffy wrinkled her nose. "Not like the ones I´ve seen here so far. The most hats that I wear are either big floppy ones for going to the beach, or a baseball cap when I don´t feel like fixing myself up. People just don´t wear them that much anymore," she explained. Looking at herself in the hall mirror still in disbelief at the girl she was seeing reflected back at her.

        "Beach? So you live close to the ocean, the Pacific one?" he asked as they stepped outside into the cool night air.

        "About an hour away. My friends I go there when we can which isn´t too often because of all the slayage stuff. There´s no vacations with this job, I´ve found that out over the years. Even when I left for three months I still ended up slaying vamps and demons where I was. Since it´s the Hellmouth, there´s always some demon showing up trying to open it back up or cause trouble. Most of the demons are no problem once we figure out what they are, what they want, and how to kill them. We´re real good at research either with all of Giles´ books, or with Willow´s computer, we can generally find out what we need to know and get rid of the demon of the week," Buffy explained as they got into the carriage.

        "Computer?" he asked not recognizing the word.

        "I forgot no computers, and you don´t know what I am talking about. I´m not even sure how to explain it. It´s a electronic thing and with it you can get all kinds of information like from other people´s libraries all around the world and talk to other people too. That´s the Internet. All you need is a computer to access the information.," she tried explain, realizing how big a gap a hundred years was knowledge wise.

        "Like a telegram, except better I take it? You can see and read things with this computer?" he asked fascinated.

        "Yeah, it has a screen so that you can see pictures, read stuff, and if you have a web cam you can send your image like moving photographs to the person on the other end. If they have one you can see them what they are doing too, you can watch movies, play games, do all kinds of things."

        "The future sounds quite wonderful. Do we still have horses and trains?"

        "We have cars, I guess you´d call them horseless carriages, and trains are still around, but people don´t use them much. We have airplanes, jets, and we´ve even made it out into space and landed on the moon. Though that was before I was even born. We have telephones, cell phones, and bunch of other things too which I am going to miss. Stuff I took for granted, and now I don´t got, so I´ll have to deal somehow," Buffy said a little sadly, looking out the window at the strange landscape of Victorian England, and missing her home, her friend and Spike most of all.

        "I won´t pretend that I completely understand your losses, Miss Summers, though I suppose if some one had dropped me off in say, King George´s times, I would be at somewhat of a loss myself. I will try to be patient with you, and help you adjust as best as I can to this new life you are finding yourself in."

        She looked at him and nodded gratefully. "Thanks, I appreciate it. And I will try to cooperate with you. But you do have to realize I have been slaying since I was fifteen, and I am now almost twenty. I´ve survived because I know when I can win something, and when I need to back off, and regroup. I get the baddies. It may take a while but I do get the job done. So far I have done four apocalypses, and it looks like I am facing my fifth with whatever this Glory is up to. I do know what I am doing, I just hope you´re good too at your job because I believe in team work, Buffy told him bluntly.

        "Unfortunately, that is not they way things are done. You go out and slay alone. There is no team work except for me occasionally doing some research. I do not fight. Your actual physical training will be done at Council headquarters by those who do have weapons training," he told her and saw her eyes narrow worriedly.

        "You mean you don´t go out in the field? You don´t fight. You stay home and research and that´s it?´ she asked incredulously, sitting back heavily in her seat. Slightly stunned.

        "Precisely. I take it your Watcher does train and go out in the field with you?" he asked.

        "Yeah, though not all the time, because Giles is getting too old to go tromping through graveyards all the time. That´s why I have my friends go with me as backup. Most of time we can handle the vampires we run across on patrol."

        "So you´re not really used to working alone?"

        Buffy shrugged. "Not really. Ever since I moved to Sunnydale I´ve had my friends helping whether I wanted them to or not. But I can handle things on my own. I mean I tried to keep my being a slayer all secret but when Xander and Willow got attacked by vampires, and then Cordy did, they all volunteered to help and have been ever since," Buffy told him, really missing her friends now.

        "But they´re civilians, didn´t your Mr. Giles try to discourage them?"

        "Yeah, he tried, but they wouldn´t listen. Over the years Xander has got pretty good with weapons, and Willow and Tara do witchcraft, Anya can fight, and so could Oz, and I guess Cordy has learned working with Angel. Spike was always around as backup whether I wanted him there, or not, because I was ‘his´ slayer and if anyone was going to take me out it was going to be him, and not some no name demon, Least that´s how it started with him, now we patrol together, and work as a team. Most of time it is just him and me," Buffy told him seeing him frown. "What he´s on our side now."

        "And you trust him—completely?" he asked cautiously, studying the young, nervous woman sitting across from him.

        "Yeah, with my life, and that of my family, and friends too. He´s changed a whole lot since he got the chip. At first I didn´t see it, but now I do. He let me know what Riley, now my ex-boyfriend, was up to before any of my friends, or family got hurt. But Dru turned him recently, and now I have to deal with him as a vamp whenever he shows up again."

        "You have lead an interesting life, Miss Summers. I believe we are here," he informed her as the carriage entered through the big wrought iron gates of a huge estate.

        The Council´s headquarters looked like a fortress, complete with a moat so that they had to go over a small bridge to get to the actual front entrance. The brick, and stone foundation building was three stories tall, and spread out with two big wings. Behind the mansion were several other structures, but it was difficult to see from the carriage. The pulled up to the front entrance where they were met by a footman in dark blue livery who opened the door and helped Buffy out.

        "Impressive," Buffy commented looking upwards a the imposing structure. On either side of the entrance were two enormous stone sphinxes on white marble pedestals which Buffy got the impression weren´t that completely inanimate as she felt watched and studied as she made her way up the short flight of steps to the huge metal doors that were decorated with runes, and other ancient scripts that she recognized from Giles´ books. It was clear that the place was heavily warded as she felt her skin crawl in the presence of heavy magick use as she crossed the threshold. The dark wood paneled foyer was huge and decorated with many mirrors and reflecting surfaces she noted. Even if a vampire managed to make it into this place, the magically charged mirrors would give them away. Looking in one of the mirrors she was astonished to see her real self reflected back with her blonde hair and greenish hazel eyes.

        "Mr. Hyde, do you see? That´s me. The real me," she explained looking in fascination.

        "Fascinating, so the Mirror of True Self does work after all. This is the first time I have seen it work. Yes, I can see you. But you, and Miss Wellington still do look very similar. This also verifies your story with physical proof," he assured her.

        "Good, finally," Buffy exclaimed.

        Then seemingly out nowhere appeared a tall, thin thirty-ish looking man, with red hair, glasses, and a pleasant smile, dressed in a dark suit. "Mr. Hyde, Miss Summers, I am Joshua Foxworth, I was sent to escort you to Mr. MacAlastair, and the other members of the Council in the Grand Hall. Jennings will takes your coats," he said motioning to a butler looking type man behind him as Buffy and Hyde took off their coats and hats, then handed them to the man. "if you will come this way," he told them and they followed him down a wide hallway on the right.

        Along the walls were portraits as well as scenes of slayers past Buffy guessed. Many of them were quite ancient looking. There were also statues, and other objects that also appeared slayer related. Mr. Foxworth stopped and smiled at Buffy. "I see your interest in the portraits."

        "They´re all about slayers through the ages, aren´t they?" she asked.

        "You are correct. We try, and find all such art objects that we can. Many of the peoples that slayers save feel compelled to commemorate the slayer´s battle in art, or in writing. Since slayers, and the work they do are a secret from the rest of the world, Watchers try to find these objects of art before they can be made public, which at times is not an easy task. But we have been lucky so far. I take it this is your first visit to Council headquarters?" he asked.

        "Yeah. I´ve never been here before, or to England either. All my Watchers came to me as did the head of the current Council. This is a very impressive place," Buffy told him politely as they continued on.

        "Watchers? You have had more than one?" Mr. Foxworth asked.

        "Three, four counting Mr. Hyde now. My first one died in battle with a master vampire, then when I moved Mr. Giles became my watcher, then he got fired after my eighteenth birthday test. After that, Faith, the other slayer, and I got Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, but then he got fired over not being able to handle Faith and me. I quit the Council, and I asked Mr. Giles to be my watcher again, and we´ve been working on our own since," Buffy told him, and waited for his shocked reaction, but he seemed to just take her news in stride.

        As if reading her mind, Mr. Foxworth turned to her, and said, "Mr. Hyde gave us a brief run down of what you had been telling him since he met you at Miss Wellington´s house. Our seers have been attempting to verify your story, and the results have been very interesting to say the least."

        "Seers? As in people that can see into the future?" Buffy asked, amazed. "That really works?"

        "With varying degrees of success," he told her stopping then opening a set of double doors that led into a huge three story chamber lined with row and rows of books going up to the very top of the huge room in the center of the mansion. "This is the Grand Hall, the heart, and research facility of the Council." he told her with pride in his voice as they walked in.

        Buffy was very awed at what she was seeing, and more than a little intimidated. No wonder Giles always got that dreamy look when he mentioned the Council´s research library. Willow would die to see this. The place was busy as she saw quite a number of people doing research either in the stacks or at the various tables, desks, and comfortable chairs scattered around the room. In the very center of the chamber was a very large, ancient looking wooden circular table with chairs around it. In its center was a huge, smooth, rounded smoky colored crystal that pulsed with different colored lights. There were about twenty people seated at the table that all looked up when Buffy approached.

        An good looking ancient looking man with snow white hair, and a long beard got up from his chair, and came to meet them. "Hello, Miss Summers, I am Colin MacAlastair, head of the Council of Watchers. I am very pleased to meet you," he said taking her hand, and bowing to her.

        "Wow, you are?" Buffy said surprised.

        "Yes, between what Mr. Hyde has told us, and what we have been able to glimpse of your time through the Eye of the Oracles we are very impressed with your career as a slayer," he told her guiding her to a chair next to where he had been sitting.

        "You mean you can actually see me in the future, what I have been doing?" she asked, not sure whether this was a good thing or not, considering there were some things involving Angel and Spike she really didn´t want them to see.

        "Mainly, it has been key events in your life, battles, things like that, up to where you, and Miss Wellington switched places, of which I confess, we are still unsure why, and how that occurred. Or if there was a purpose to it other than sending an experienced slayer back to deal with the menace of Angelus, and his family. This is all very puzzling to us. But we have been able to verify what we first thought was just a fantastic tale by Mr. Hyde. Watching you, and your friends work together has been very interesting, and informative. It is clear that using team work is more effective than sending slayers out alone to do their work. We may end up rethinking our long standing tradition in view of what we have been observing of your team," he told her.

        "Wow. I expected you to be all mad about my friends. Especially about Angel and Spike," she said truthfully, a little shocked at his attitude.

        "That´s where it gets a little strange, Miss Summers. Initially, when we viewed your time period both vampires were present as well as the female ones, Drusilla and Darla. More recent viewings do not show either one being present as if time were altering, diverging from its original timeline into something different all together," he told her.

        Buffy looked horrified. "That´s what I was afraid of. The longer I´m here, the worse it´ll change. Have you been able to see the big battle called the End of Days?" she asked worriedly.

        "It is very hazy still, but what we have been able to see is quite upsetting. And neither of the vampires is present on either side, though you were correct that both are mentioned in the written prophecies about it. It has us all very confused.

        "What about this crystal I was holding before Elizabeth, and I switched, have you been able to find out anything on it?"

        "Well, there is no mention of a crystal being used in connection with the Blood ceremony in any slayer history. Where your Mr. Giles got the idea for using it, or obtained it to begin with is still unknown. We get unusual crystals of all types for use in different rituals, and workings, but so far nothing has turned up fitting your description in our inventory," he told her.

        "I was hoping for good news and that you had it so I could go back," Buffy sighed, discouraged for the moment. "So you say that when you first viewed my life things were as I described to Mr. Hyde, and now they are altering, can I see if that is possible?" she asked wanting to know what was going on.

        "I think we can arrange that," he said gently, knowing the young woman was having a hard time dealing with this situation. He turned to a dark haired woman sitting a couple of chairs away, "Maryanne, if you would?"

        She nodded and extended her hands towards the large crystal on the table and it began to clear and began showing not only images but sound as well.

        "Wow, that´s just like having television," Buffy remarked getting up so she could get a closer look and hear what was being said. "She saw herself going through the Ceremony of Blood with Meredith and she and Elizabeth switching then. He was still killed by Lomas, the gum burned down, and she and her family moved to Sunnydale. She saw herself/Elizabeth meeting Giles, Willow, Xander and Cordy, but there was no Angel, or any mention of him. She saw herself fight the Master with the help of Riley and the some of the Initative guys neither of which shouldn´t have been there at all at this point in time. She also saw Dawn in some scenes which she shouldn´t have been either. She did die and was brought back by Riley instead of Xander, Then later Faith appeared but no Kendra. And this was a slightly different Faith that was easy to get along with. Wesley came with her as her watcher, and he and Giles worked together. Spike and Drusilla never showed up and the Anointed One was killed by Riley. They stopped the Mayor before the Ascension, so that the High School was never blown up. Maggie Walsh´s plans were uncovered before Adam could be assembled and she was replaced by someone else as head of the Initative project which got altered because of her group´s input as well as from the Council. Glory appeared and was dealt with before she could harm anyone or Dawn because dawn was never the ‘Key´ though she did have developing powers and she was being trained to use them along with Willow and Tara by experiences witches from the Council. Through this all this new history Riley was by her side, never betrayed her, and they married and she was expecting a child by him when the images stopped.

        Buffy stood there stunned at what she had just seen. "That´s not my life! I mean that´s me, and my friends but it never happened like that," she said almost in tears. "That´s all very wrong!"

        "We understand that. Before the images, and events started altering we saw the future you described. It was earlier this day that these new images began appearing. Evidently some important event has occurred that is altering your time line and it looks like events are fixing themselves to this altered history," he carefully explained.

        "It´s got to be that William never got Elizabeth´s letter breaking off their engagement, because that was what led up to him meeting Cecily, her rejecting him, and then running into Angelus, and Dru, so that he became a vampire," she told Mr. MacAlastair. As once I realized where, and who I was with I tried to fake out that I was Elizabeth with his family when I met them so that I hopefully didn´t mess things up. Then I met Mr. Hyde when I arrived at Elizabeth´s home, and told him my story. Next we went to his house, I did the Ceremony. When I awoke this evening I wrote the letter for William to try to keep to the original events that I knew from Elizabeth´s diary, but if this is happening it might have already been too late as he was supposed to have gotten it the night I disappeared from his life when Elizabeth found out she was called as a slayer. I didn´t do that because I was hoping that by doing the ceremony I would somehow snap back to my time. That hasn´t happened, and if what you showed me is right then things are really screwed now," Buffy told him exasperated, and she sat down heavily in a nearby chair almost in tears now because of the mess that had been created.

        "I am so sorry, Miss Summers. This has never happened like this before. We have had slayers switched in time for important events, but never have the consequences to the time line been so massively changed. Though it does not appear that your altered future is that bad, however it is clear that you are here permanently as is Miss Wellington living your future life with no switching back for either of you." Mr. MacAlastair explained sadly to her.

        "I´m not going to be going back?" she asked alarmed, her eyes huge.

"That is our consensus of what we are seeing," he confirmed.

        At that point Buffy broke down into tears, heartbroken at the news. Maryanne and another woman helped her up and took her to a place where she could cry in peace.

        When Buffy was taken away MacAlastair looked at Hyde, "you know something don´t you, John?" he asked the younger man.

        "Yes, I am afraid, I might have a big part in the altering of events. The letter that Miss Summers said that was key to the events leading this William Giles to become a vampire was never sent. I still have it, as I just couldn´t in good conscience allow that to happen, and this Spike to come into being. I fear that in her time that the two of them are romantically involved, as she has also been involved with the other vampire Angel before that. This entanglement goes against all that I believe in as a watcher, " he explained stiffly looking levelly at his superior.

        "Yes, we did see that initially, and it was quite disturbing watching her consort, and have relations with both of them. Though hers is not the first incident of this nature. There have been others throughout history, but luckily the couples were both destroyed before ‘The Blending´ occurred, and they were able to breed. So this letter was evidently the key to stopping that chain of events. You did good. John," MacAlastair praised him.

        "Thank you, sir. I do have a proposal of sorts. Since Miss Summers does have feelings for both the man and vampire, I was hoping that some way we could encourage her involvement with Mr. Giles, so that she will lose all desire to try and seek a way to return to her future. Bring him as maybe a Watcher in training, allow her, and this man to possibly marry."

        "I see, and do you think this would work? Do you think he might be possible Watcher material?"

        "I don´t know that much about him except that Miss Wellington´s parents thought highly of him, and he comes of good family, educated at Oxford, and is a teacher. He lives at home, and takes care of his mother, and younger sisters because his father died several years ago, and his older brother left him in charge while he pursed a career in banking. The alternative is that somehow events will conspire to create this Spike which should not be allowed. If Mr. Giles is brought into the fold, and is allowed to work with Miss Summers then there might be added incentives by both to eliminate this threat of Angelus, and his group," he told MacAlastair who was smiling slightly at the idea of this plan working..

        "Ingenuous, John. It might even work. I will have Mr. Giles brought here, and interview him, and explain the situation with Miss Summers and himself and see if he is willing to do this. For the time being I would like to keep Miss Summers here to test out her abilities and interview her more thoroughly on events in her time," MacAlastair told him.

        "I see. Do you require me to stay here as well as her Watcher?" he asked.

        "That won´t be necessary. You go on home, and I will let you know when she is ready to return," the older man told him, effectively dismissing him.

        "I understand," Hyde said disappointed and a little angry of being kept out of the loop. "Should I send any of her things?"

        "No, we will take care of all her needs. We do have slayers in training here, and I am sure that we can find whatever she requires."

        "I will still be her watcher, won´t I?" Hyde asked worriedly.

        "That is one thing I, and the other members of this Council need to determine according to how her interviews go. Her experiences far outstrip your own, John. You are good training Watcher with a newly chosen slayer, but Miss Summers is a very special girl, and needs to be handled gently at least at this point in time if she is ever to resume her duties again. I do not wish to see her courageous spirit crushed, and I feel that you may not be flexible enough to work with her as her Mr. Giles was able to do," MacAlastair told the younger man bluntly.

        Hyde lowered his head in defeat. "I think I understand, sir. Yes, it has been a rather unnerving experience with her so far, and she is very head strong, and I have been fearing that we would be butting heads over her methods. Do you know she was trying to talk me in to allowing her to go out dressed in pants to slay? I mean a slayer in pants, and dressing like a man—it´s too difficult to think about," he told him.

        "The pants idea does have some merits, John. It is difficult for our girls to do their jobs dressed in the height of fashion nowadays. And we have been losing too many girls recently at a higher than normal rate. Observing Miss Summers fighting in her own time wearing pants, and garments that allowed her to move easily has been making us rethink many things."

        But tradition, sir?" Hyde protested.

        "Traditions change as do the times. Everytime we have stuck to tradition we have begun to lose to the forces of darkness. Only by being flexible and modern in our thinking and methods do we stand a chance of keeping those forces at bay for the world to survive. I realize that you trained under my predecessor, Mr. Gordon, but now I am head of the Council ,and I believe we need to investigate any means to keep our slayers safe as well as battle evil," MacAlastair told him effectively cutting off further conversation.

        "Then, I will go an await your word on Miss Summer´s status."

        "Good. we should be able to give you a decision in a couple of days, John. Foxworth will show you out. Good evening," the older man said, motioning to the red head to escort Hyde back out. As soon as Hyde had left, MacAlastair turned to one of the servants in silent attendance, an older man with bushy gray sideburns. "James, go tell Mrs. Bennett that we will have a guest for a couple of days, and have a room prepared for Miss Summers, near, but separate from the other girls. I have a feeling that Miss Summers would like to have some privacy. Also see if she can find clothing for Miss Summers too. You have seen her so you can suggest appropriate sizes. That should do it for now," he told the man who nodded, and went off to follow his instructions.

End part 35






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