Round 5 - Ryalin
If the situation hadn't been as dire as it was, Veronica would have enjoyed analyzing the various reactions she witnessed to the utterance of a single, simple name. Challenger's expression held intrigue and curiosity, while Roxton's held more hatred and contempt then she had ever seen in the man. Poor Ned merely looked confused, having been lost in the spirit realm during this particular escapade that had come so very close to costing Marguerite her life.
"I thought that Olmec and his men left the plateau through that portal they opened?" Ned asked hesitantly. He, like Veronica, could see how the situation affected Roxton. The mere mention of Olmec's name made Roxton wince like he'd been hit.
"That bastard could move through space and time as easily as we walk from one room to another," Roxton stated coldly. "If he's somehow involved in whatever has happened to Marguerite, the next gun that is pointed at him is not going to miss."
"Oh really, John Roxton? Care to open fire right now? Do it, and plan on saying adieu to any chance you have of saving Marguerite."
The voice, smooth as aged brandy, came from directly behind the four explorers. They whirled around in unison to see a familiar figure emerge right through the painted stone wall. In less than a heartbeat Roxton had his Webley at the ready, finger on the trigger, his aim deadly accurate.
Gone was the musketeer-like apparel from his previous visit. In its place the creature they knew as both the man named 'Locke' and the god named 'Olmec' stood before them in the uniform of a German Field Marshal. The broad smile on his face did little to hide the sinister sparkle in his eyes. "Or maybe I should make that Auf Wiedersehen?"
"What the hell have you done to Marguerite, you son of a bitch?" Roxton spat out, his grip on the pistol growing tighter.
Challenger, concerned that Roxton's wrath would prevail over logic with disastrous consequences, lightly touched the hunter's wrist. "Roxton, no," he whispered firmly, using his hand to gently lower the barrel of the gun to a less dangerous and threatening position. "As he said, it looks like we're going to need him if we want to help Marguerite."
"Marguerite is currently enjoying a hell of her own design," Olmec stated with an amused chuckle. "Well, not entirely her own. I might have given her a bit of a nudge in the right direction." The last words were almost an aside, as if the fallen god was enjoying a private joke. "You see, I still want her, even if she did humiliate me in front of my men during our previous encounter. Last time I made the mistake of forcing my will on the woman when she wasn't ready to accept the gifts I was offering. The irony is that this time she will make the choice of her own accord, and you, John Roxton, will have to live with the knowledge that Marguerite chose me and not you. I have to say quite honestly, that image thrills me to no end."
"She doesn't want you, Olmec," Roxton said bluntly. "If your great plan is banking on Marguerite choosing you instead of me, your plan is going to fail, and I'm going to enjoy watching you scamper off with your tail between your legs yet again, assuming I don't blow your tail off first."
If possible, Olmec's eyes appeared even more sinister as the light in the dim room brightened once again.
"How little you know this woman you claim to love. Shame and guilt are truly wonderful human emotions that make you so very easy to manipulate. Marguerite has been gracious enough to set the stage. All I have to do now is tweak the facts just a bit and everything she believes in will come crashing down around her like a house of cards. When it does, I'll be there waiting with open arms."
Suddenly the intensity of the light in the chamber increased to the point where the explorers winced in pain. Blinded by the tears streaming down their faces, they didn't witness Olmec's departure. It was only when the light eased a few moments later that they realized he had vanished.