By; Gerald A. Polley

The Ancient One soared over familiar ground, yet it wasn't familiar. He could not believe how much things had changed in ten years! The local spirit guards were filling him in on where the problems were, when The Ancient One smelled something and smiled.
"Get lost," he told his companions. "I'll get back to you later! Somebody wants a private talk."
The spirit guides nodded and headed off. When they were all gone The Ancient One remarked "Come on! Show yourself!"
A creature of Darkness came out of the shadows. It was in tattered priest's robes. "Heard winged and obnoxious was back!" the demon muttered. "Was hoping it wasn't true. Heard you took quite a bashing!"
"You did worse," The Ancient One answered, "twice, if I remember."
"Actually three times!" the creature of Darkness answered "Man, you've got a hard head!"
The Ancient One smiled. "Now, I'm sure," he remarked, "you haven't shown yourself unless you want something. What is it?"
The creature of Darkness sighed. "I want to help," it muttered.
"What?" The Ancient One asked.
"I want to help!" the creature of Darkness managed again. "I want a truce. You let us feed in the comfortable places without harrassment and we'll help you."
The Ancient One was taken back. "Well, you've got to understand," he remarked, "I need to know why."
"These kids," the creature of Darkness remarked, "they can't be controlled. They kill and destroy for pure pleasure! It's not like the old days. Yes, we cause some havoc to feed. But these people cause havoc just for the sake of causing it! Food is being wasted. It makes no sense! As much as I can't stomach it I realize what you are saying is true. If the human race perishes so do we. We wouldn't be able to feed on other species. So I wanna help."
"Well, I can understand that," The Ancient One agreed, "after what my physical form has just been through. Ok, we've got feeding stations in the area. Any of your group that wants to cooperate we'll welcome. But you know who's leading the others that have already joined us, and you and her are going to have problems."
"Haven't we always?" the creature of Darkness muttered. "She made me like this, then said it was all my fault, that I made her a creature of Darkness! Women! What's that you say? Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em?"
"That's what I say!" The Ancient One answered.. "I don't think any greater truth has ever been spoken. I'm especially interested in the drug dealers and the child molesters. Any of those you can give me..."
"I've got some beauties for you!" the creature of Darkness answered. "Oh, they're not going to like you coming back! They're not going to like it at all!"
"That'll make me happy!" The Ancient One sighed, "But we've gotta do alot. You showing up tells me that. If you can see it we're in trouble! How's the local babbles?"
"Pretty straight," the demon answered. "Won't like you, you're against the church, but they shouldn't be too much of a problem. Not much connection with my kind."
"Good!" The Ancient One snapped, "Still might make use of them. Well, gotta get going. Any idea who caused the little incident when I got here?"
"Won't ever bother you again," the creature of Darkness answered. "Told him I didn't want you bothered. It'll be months before he crawls out of his hole again!"
The Ancient One nodded. As he turned to go the demon called out "Don't ride any bicycles by stone walls. Might be too tempting!"
The Ancient One laughed. "Couldn't if I wanted to!" he answered. "Having trouble just walking in my material form."
When he got back to his body his wife stirred, sniffed and remarked "Wooo! I wish you'd air out before you come to bed! You fight something?"
"No," The Ancient One answered, "just talking to an old adversary. Things are bad! Things are really bad! We've got a lot of work to do."
"Don't we always?" his wife answered.
They both went back to sleep. They had a lot of work to do!


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