Rupert Giles walked slowly through the labyrinthine halls of Meson de Manco Capac, straightening odd bits of furniture and paintings and running his feather duster over the chair rail. His movements were precise and attentive, but he did not dawdle. His employer's guests would be arriving soon, and he was anxious to ensure that all preparations had been attended to. Although his highly controlled exterior revealed nothing but calm, Giles was filled with apprehension.
Just a few more days and I'll be back in England where I belong. No more of this bloody debt hanging over my head. Just the quiet country life for me from here on out.
Giles continued his ministrations with increased urgency, winding his way around the west corridor until he reached the cavernous central gallery. Setting his duster down on the small foyer table, he took in the full expanse of the room. When he was satisfied that nothing appeared awry, he crossed to the far side of the enormous fireplace, framed on either side by a large tapestry. Pausing out of habit to look around, he reached up and gently tugged on the iron sconce hanging several feet above his head. The faint scraping sound that followed made Giles' nose twitch, and he made a mental note to find the oilcan. Stepping quickly to the other side of the fireplace, he pulled back the tapestry, and disappeared into the darkened passageway.
At the end of the dank corridor was a large steel door, it's polished surface anomalous with the bare stone walls and brick floor. Giles looked up at the security camera and softly cleared his throat. The door slid open at once, and he proceeded into the room. The modern furnishings, fluorescent lighting, and plethora of machinery never failed to put Giles on edge, and he stood as near to the door as he could without seeming disrespectful. The figure sitting behind the spacious Lucite desk faced away from the door, concealed within the large leather armchair. The chair never turned in Giles' presence, but he was acutely aware that his employer was cognizant of his every move - throughout the entire mansion.
"Is everything in order?" the familiar voice rasped.
"Yes, quite," Giles replied, uncomfortably conscious that, as usual, he could not ascertain the age or gender of the figure behind the desk.
"And they have all accepted their invitations?"
"Yes, the last confirmation came this morning. They should all be arriving in Lima tomorrow morning, and I took the liberty of arranging transportation to the island. The boats will be here at noon."
"That will be all Giles."
Giles hurried out of the room, but before the door slid shut behind him, he distinctly heard the sound of a low chuckle.
The figure waited until the butler was gone before spinning around to face the desk, on which lay a number of file folders. Fanning out the stack as if they were a hand of cards, the figure brushed a hand over each name printed in bold black ink across the margin: Cordelia Chase, Riley Finn, Alexander Harris, Anya Jenkins, Faith Johnson, Tara Maclay, Daniel Osbourne, Willow Rosenberg, Dawn Somerset, Buffy Summers.
"Soon," the voice murmured without the slightest hint of emotion. "Soon you will all get what's coming to you."