Dillon had no idea why the small man dressed as a server was at the convention center. Well it was obvious that the little man was up to no good given how he turned rabbit and ran when Dillon saw him preparing to hide a package on one of the serving carts going into the hall where the delegates were meeting. Even without looking around, Dillon knew that Rual had seen him move for the door and was probably signaling his men to give chase and find out what was happening. This was one time the Xoniran security chief’s obvious disdain for Dillon would work to his advantage, he had been so obsessed with showing up Xonira’s favorite adopted son that Dillon figured by the time he caught up to the little man with the package, Xoniran security and the assorted military escorts of all the delegates on the island would show up en masse to back him up. Right now, though, Dillon was having a devil of a time keeping up with the springy little man who was starting to open up his lead.
The small man did a quick look over his shoulder, his long hair was tied into a pony tail and whipped across his shoulder like a ferret hanging on for dear life. Without being right up on him, Dillon could see he was of either Asian or Islander origin. With Xonira being a land founded by uniquely diverse groups of people from across the world, this didn’t mark the little man as unusual – he could’ve been a native, immigrant or tourist. Dillon wouldn’t know anything until he caught him. That task was starting to look easier as he pushed himself to pick up the pace. Dillon was a big man, but his size was deceptive where speed was concerned. The gap bean to close a little as the two men flew down rain slicked streets like they were the leads in a marathon, when the little man looked one more time, flashed Dillon a smile and sprang into an alley. Before he even reached the mouth of the alleyway, he heard the noises that made him want to spit nails. Sure enough, the little man was already scrambling up the side of the building to the rear employing some kind of freerunning method that Dillon wasn’t going to pull off in a tux and dress shoes.
That was when Dillon heard a roaring noise behind him and he turned.
The convention hall, that was filled with international dignitaries when he left, had exploded and was being consumed in a conflagration that belched waves of heat that Dillon imagined he could feel even though he was several blocks away.
As his mind raced over what he should do next, he saw the little man’s package in a heap about midway through the alley. His movements were automatic, he saw the contents of the package strewn across the concrete and moved to investigate. Dillon hadn’t noticed that his quarry hadn’t left from his perch, but the little man wore a smile as he watched Dillon squat down and extract a pen from his pocket to poke around the debris. His eyes widened as he recognized the materials were not just items that could be used to make bombs…
…they were from his weapons locker on his plane.
“I’ll save you the trouble, Mr. Dillon. There is plenty of evidence at the site of the blast to tie you to what has just happened”, the little man yelled. “Let me be the first to congratulate you on becoming an international terrorist. By morning you’ll be the most wanted man in the world.”
Dillon stood. It was a frame, probably not a solid one, but one that would pull him off of the quest to discover the secret behind the mask of Amiri Ezana long enough for this joker and his friends to find the Golden Lady before he did. Plus this would cut him off from everything he usually had at his disposal, his friends, his resources, anywhere, including Xonira, was no longer a safe haven. The little man wasn’t seen by anyone else, and Dillon had the sneaking suspicion he was lured away from the hall in a manner that made it look like he was trying to escape the building before it blew up.
In a sentence: Dillon knew he was screwed. Still, he didn’t bother with anything other than burning the features of the little man above him into his memory. Dillon made a promise to himself that he would resolve their unfinished business sooner over later.
“One thing, friend” Dillon said by way of a response.
“A dead man should have a last wish, Mr. Dillon, what shall yours be?”
“I’d like to know your name.”
The little man smiled and stood with an ear cocked. Dillon did likewise and could hear the distant sound of sirens. He was going to have to get the hell out of Dodge soon if he wanted a chance at getting off the island before security locked the place up tighter than a convent in Miami during Spring Break.
The little man bowed low from the waist. “That is the easiest wish to fulfill, Mr. Dillon. I intended to leave it with you. A dead man should know who murdered him.
“I am Xuanzhuan Siwang of the Society of the Azure Dragon. We await you should you survive long enough to find us.” Siwang, stepped back, bowed once more, and was gone.
The sirens were getting louder, coming closer. If he could make it to the roof, Dillon could double back to get to his suite of rooms, grab his bug out bag and lay low in his bolt hole while he figured out what to do next. He had no one to call and no one he could count on or trust.
But he had a name. “Xuanzhuan Siwang”, Dillon whispered to himself as he tried to remember his Chinese. He frowned as he figured it out and what the name translated to. The sirens broke him from his thoughts and he did the only thing he could do, Dillon ran.
But in the back of his mind, he was already trying to work out what he had to do to clear his name when he found the Society of the Azure Dragon and once again met Xuanzhuan Siwang, the polite little man whose name translated to “Whirling Death”.