(Story Starts Here!)
A wet drip echoed through the seeming endless caverns. There was a clear, clean scent in the air. Short stalks of moss clung to rocks and walls, emanating a pale blue light that reflected off sprays of water. Small streams and pools of water were filled with the light of plants growing beneath the surface.
For all the rhythmic beauty of the scene, it did nothing to improve Xavier's mood. The light was bleak, the sounds of water insistent and irritating.
"You'd best have a very compelling reason for dragging me all the way out here," he snarled to the empty cavern. He knew he was not alone.
"This one brings Impatient One news," said the familiar voice from a deep shadow, void of plant life.
"If this news is not that you have acquired the girl..."
"Moonlit One travels, and she does not travel alone." The Hunter seemed to purr, excitement tinging the usually tranquil tone.
"She...what?" Xavier felt a flash of aggravation flare to life in his mind, running red hot through his temples. A heavier plunk of water sounded to his right. "Where is she now?"
"Moonlit One travels south west." Giggling filled the cavern from collection of darkness. "This one warned Impatient One, but Impatient One still believes in controlling everything."
Xavier wrinkled his nose with a deep sigh. It was always at the most simple joints of his plan that his subordinates utterly failed him. Obtaining a toy from a child, snatching an isolated girl from a dirty, crowded street. Neither of which should be all that difficult, he must have grievously over estimated his help.
"You have confirmed her movements? I only have so much patience for failure." He brushed his hand along the hem of his jacket, annoyed at how filthy this place was. Bits of moss and dew clung to the fabric.
"Oh, this one did, yes," whispered the shadows. "This one found many informative ones. Informative ones said Moonlit One departed with two companions. One male - tall, regal, arrogant. One female - protective, kind, fierce. This one assumes traveling ones are the same as Moonlit One."
"The same?" Xavier's eyes lit up with a cunning glow that promised only misfortune to his target. "You mean to tell me you believe them to be shapers?"
"This one feels the pulls and tugs that makes this one believe so..." Ripples broke over one of the still pools on the rocky ground, but there was no sound to accompany the reaction.
A low chuckle escaped Xavier as he rested a curled index finger over his mouth. It escalated to a pleased laugh, as instead of wrenching his plans, this only furthered them. A cruel smile slashed open the shadows on his face, eager. Excitement pricked at his bones and all his limbs.
"Impatient One should take care," whispered the shadows. "Impatient One does not know the powers of Moonlit One's friends. This one thinks Impatient One does not understand the extent of Moontlit One's powers."
"If I cared about your opinion I'd ask for it," Xavier snapped, his smile transforming into a scowl. "This changes little. The target has become three. Who do you gauge to be the easiest to ensnare?"
"This one's reconnaissance leads this one to believe Moonlit One is the best prey."
"Then focus your attention on her. Once captured, we will use her to trap the others."
A low growl answered.
"This one thinks Impatient One intends to use Moonlit One for more than bait." The Hunter struck to kill, not capture. Torturing and tormenting one's prey was disgusting and weak. A quick, clean, painless death was the right of every being.
Xavier smirked, enjoying the sound of his lackey's mental turmoil appearing in the voice. It was delicious.
"It you are successful, I have a few targets that require a swift, silent end."
The growling stopped. A drip of water chimed, echoing along the stone.
"If you do not move quickly, however, I will have to give the hunts to someone else."
Suddenly, Xavier was alone. This didn't bother him. Truly, it was so easy to manipulate people. Those ones made the best minions. He cast his eyes over the dimly glowing moss, for once allowing himself to wonder about his prey.
A prison did not always require bars and shackles. Xavier was sure it would be easy to imprison the girl within her own circumstances. A threat, a warning to be fulfilled should she be a bad girl.
The prospect made a shiver run down his spine, and he chuckled, darker than the last.