Atticus is taken on a short tour of Statodnim. The Search Party finally reaches the Port City Eight. Lisa, Chris, and Marshall have a discussion. Savannah learns how to manipulate reality.
Hearing the rain drip down as he sat on the floor, Atticus was unable to sleep. He kept waking up due to strange dreams about his friends coupled with a lingering sense of guilt. Having lost track of time, he had no idea whether it was day or night anymore and decided to leave his room and explore Statodnim.
Walking out, he entered into an illuminated hallway — the lighting was faint and seemingly came from nowhere. Hearing a noise from the other end of the hall, he turned to see a hooded figure standing outside another doorless room. "Serapis?"
The figure turned, and for a second Atticus caught sight of his sunken face and bone-white skin. By the time Atticus blinked, the darkness of the Dream Eater's hood had obscured his visage yet again.
"It's... nice to finally... speak with you. My name is Moloch," he said, in a shaky, uneasy voice. "I'm... told yours is Atticus?"
"Yes, it is. Atticus Anoethite," Atticus extended his hand. "I'm a bit confused. Do you know what time it is? And could you perhaps give me a tour of this place? It doesn't have to be very long, just enough for me to get a grasp of my surroundings."
"Time has no... bearing on St-Statodnim. Xanvi keeps it that way," Moloch said. "You'd like a... tour? Come with me." He led Atticus through the featureless hallway.
"All of the r-rooms are here. Except Xanvi's. He stays in the, the central orb... always."
"Where do we eat?" Atticus asked, following Moloch.
"We don't. You'll learn to... sustain yourself, in time," Moloch said, turning a corner.
"What?" Atticus asked, shocked. Before he could ask another question, the two came upon the end of the corner and found themselves in a wide room. Sitting in different areas, the rest of the hooded figures — minus Xanvi — seemed to be meditating.
As Moloch walked towards the others, Atticus noticed the peaceful aura of the room begin to fall apart as the Dream Eaters began muttering to themselves and clutching their heads.
"It would a-appear Xanvi wants our audience. Come now, don't leave him... waiting." With that, Moloch and the others teleported, leaving behind nothing to show they'd been in the sterile, pristine white room.
Deciding to follow them, Atticus closed his eyes and focused on what Moloch had told him earlier — Xanvi was staying in the central orb. He focused further on his previous training, and the same sensation as before washed over him. Feeling pulled forward and apart, he felt himself speed forward until he could sense the hard floor below him.
The spherical room Atticus entered was dark and cold, a stark contrast to the rest of Statodnim. The domed walls around him were made of paneled screens, and the floor was metal and covered in pipes. The Dream Eaters stood in a circle, with one sitting elevated above the others. His robes were unique, lavish and lined with fur. Though Atticus didn't recognize this figure's appearance, he knew that it was Xanvi.
"Ah. Welcome, Atticus," Xanvi said. "It took you a while to arrive. Looks I can't reach you as well as I thought."
"What did you call us for?" Atticus asked, unsure of what else to say.
"We can start with a question," Xanvi revealed a hand from his robe and extended it. "How would you feel about eternal life?"
"I've never thought about it before," Atticus answered. "I'm not really sure how I feel."
"Suit yourself. That's why I chose you, I suppose." Xanvi pulled his hand back. "You're selfless. Capable of serving the greater good. I must let you know, though, you'll be missing out on a direct link to me. Wouldn't you like that power?"
"Direct link to you? How exactly does this provide such?" Atticus asked.
"Mentally, metaphysically, there'd be a little piece of me inside you. All of the others — you call us 'Dream Eaters' on Euclid? — the others derive their power from me alone."
"That's, uh, interesting," Atticus said, glancing across the room to notice that all of the hooded figures seemed to have their gaze on him. "But as I mentioned, I'm not really sure right now. I'd like some time to think about it before I make a decision."
"Of course. You're free to do as you wish." The Dream Eaters began murmuring to each other, though one kept his gaze on Atticus. "Consider this meeting dismissed."
Florence frantically pulled his coat on. Once it was on, he slid his revolver into his pocket. "Do you know what the best part about a stay at home order is, Dexter?" he smirked. "Nobody to get in our way when we break it."
"Don't be too sure," Dexter checked the rounds remaining in the pistol's magazine before reinserting it. "There could be patrols outside, keeping watch in case they try and make a break for it."
"We've gone through worse. The Union won't be as nasty as the Svatovid, even if they catch us." Florence turned the doorknob. "Let's go get the others."
The two men finished preparations and left the hotel with no issue. Due to the stay-at-home order, the tenants remained in their rooms. No one was in the lobby to impede their exit.
Jordan looked at Dexter and Florence with a grim expression on his face. "It's about time you guys showed up! Lisa was taken into custody by the Global Union."
"Shit," Dexter cursed under his breath. "Why? Did you see where they were taking her?"
"Ms. Fiss got captured near a monastery by individuals who called her by the name of Melissa Devlin. She was fighting alongside two teenagers whose appearances matched those of Marshall Rooke and Chris Wellington, my youngest brother. Her arrest was a case of mistaken identity, but we may have found the Port City Eight," Charles explained.
"Do we know where the rest of them could be? Did the Union get to them too?" asked Florence.
"It is unknown if the rest were captured at this time, or if they are in the monastery," Charles replied.
"Looks like that's our next stop," Dexter said. "You tell me where that monastery is and I'll figure out a way in."
"I think it's, uh," Florence pointed over the others' heads, towards a behemoth of a mountain. "...that way."
As the group made their way towards the mountain, Jordan surveyed how quiet the streets were. "We're gonna have a pretty hard time getting there. The Global Union probably has it surrounded."
Stepping from the street, a man dressed in a red patterned tunic and dark pants stopped the group. "Why are you still on the streets? We issued a stay at home order."
"I'm sorry, sir, but we're in a bit of a hurry. My friend Florence here is quite sick, and we must get him to the hospital quickly," Jordan lied.
The man gazed at the group before shaking his head. "Whatever, I'm not going to waste my time stopping you. Just continue ahead. But if anybody else stops you, you won't be so lucky next time. Get to wherever you're going."
Continuing on their mission, the Search Party stopped upon walking into a clearing. Before them sat two helicopters, with a large number of foot soldiers and officers surrounding it. All of them seemingly had their gaze up the mountain. High up on the mountain, a plateau was visible, with a large gate and a monastery resting comfortably — the mountain continuing to stretch far beyond it.
"Before anyone does anything, understand that we're going to need a plan," Dexter started. "As we can see, the Union has this place surrounded. We'll likely get in trouble if we rush in as we are."
"Hey," Florence called for some attention. "I don't think you remember who hired me. Theo Rosington is a minister for the GU, I'm sure we can get to the Port City Eight before any grunt officers realize something's up."
Cautiously, the group approached the GU crowd, taking note of all the men stationed around. "Sorry to interrupt," Jordan said to the GU soldiers. "We're making a delivery to the monastery on account of Theo Rosington."
"What? That's fuckin' insane, don't you know what's going on here?" a tall dark-complected man asked, he wore a different uniform than most of the men and seemed to be one of the few in charge.
"And uh, where is the delivery? Y'all are empty-handed."
"Look, man," responded Florence, as he reached into his coat to grab a folder. Stamped on it was the flag of Silivia, which the guard immediately recognized. "Do you really want to lose your job over this? My assignment here is more important to Governor Rosington than your employment."
"Eh, whatever. Just do ya business here," the man waved them forward. "Be careful though, terrorists are held up in that place. Maybe if we're lucky, ya can bring them down here on your way out."
"Understood, officer," Dexter said. "We'll do what we can."
After weeks of investigation, the Search Party could finally proceed to the Port City Eight's location.
Alone, he sat at the windowsill desk. The large, hexagonal room smelled of agarwood incense. It hung partially over the mountain and overlooked the harbor below. The room had neat, tall shelves of books, with rolling ladders on either side of the elderly man. Smoke billowed in front of Li, both from the votive candles around him and the censer.
He pushed his cup of tea away. From his pocket, he pulled a frayed and faded photograph. The image showed the Port City Eight at a location in Silivia. They were smiling. Samuel, Marshall, Blossom, Atticus, Chris, Melissa, Steven, and himself. Everyone.
A knock on the door interrupted his thoughts. Before he could say anything, Blossom opened the door and walked in.
"Sorry for intruding on whatever you're doing, I just wanted to check up on you. I know the news about Chris and Marshall is pretty bad, but I've been worried about you for a while now."
"Wh-what?" His absent-minded expression dissolved. "Oh. I-I was just, uh, reading a book." He turned to a book on the desk, finding it closed.
"It's closed," Blossom remarked.
"Oh, well, yes, you're right," Li admitted.
"Now, do you want to tell me what's really going on?" She asked, sitting in a chair across from him. "You haven't been yourself lately."
"H-have I? Oh, I suppose so, but—" he stuttered, having now slipped the image into his pocket. "I'm feeling my age, Blossom," he exhaled deeply. "I realize now that I am just too old to be doing this anymore. Liberating cities and fighting demons is for the young. I'll only slow you down. The truth is... you don't need me anymore."
"That's not true," Blossom replied. "We need you now more than ever. Don't you see that we're slowly losing everybody? Steven is long-gone, Samuel and Melissa are likely dead as well, Atticus disappeared, the GU captured Chris and Marshall, we're stuck in this place. They're still outside waiting for us."
After pausing, she continued. "I know you're having issues, it's clear as day. But I just can't stress enough how much we — I — still need you here."
Li shook his head. "To be truthful, I'm not fit to lead you kids anymore. Samuel did most of it, I just helped. And now, I've failed all of you. It's okay, Blossom. All men face this moment eventually. The time when they are no longer needed by their students."
Blossom paused again. "You haven't failed anyone. We're still alive, aren't we? Whether or not you like it, Samuel is gone and we still need you."
A tapping came at the doorframe, to which Blossom and Li noticed Blackmore leaning in.
"We've got visitors. Introduced themselves as Florence Carnation and Dexter Wellington, plus two teenagers. Isaiah is talking to them right now."
Situated in the map room, an awkward conversation unfolded as the two groups finally met each other. Leaning against the wall, a giant chart of Euclid behind her, Blossom gazed at the Search Party across the room.
"So, let me get this straight, Governor Rosington — Atticus' father — sent you guys to find us before the Global Union did? I'd say that failed," she remarked.
"Yeah," Jordan replied. "Uh, I don't mean to stir anything up, but where's everybody else? Last I heard, you guys were the Port City Eight, not the Port City Two."
"Steven was..." Blackmore crossed his arms as he looked towards Blossom, "...dead before I met them, Melissa and Samuel had their reasons to leave." Blackmore turned his gaze back to Jordan. "They're probably both dead now. Muné doesn't forgive... And then we wake up, Atticus is missing, and the GU knows where we are. Draw your own conclusions there."
"You're not seriously blaming him, are you?" Blossom asked, both shock and anger were visible in her tone.
"Is Atticus seriously gone?" Jordan asked, choosing to ignore Blackmore's accusation. "I spent all that time searching for my best friend, and now nothing?"
"He is," Blossom sighed. "As Blackmore mentioned, he disappeared — we haven't seen him since last night. And erm, about 'your friend.' He doesn't even remember you anymore, he has amnesia."
"Amnesia doesn't matter. I'm sure if Atticus were to ever see me, he would remember me right off the bat. The way that Savannah spoke of him, he seemed to be in adequate condition," Jordan said, visibly upset by his friend forgetting him and Blackmore's accusation. "I refuse to accept he would rat you guys out."
"I agree," Zade interjected. "Atticus seemed like a noble man, from what I saw of him."
"Wait, who? Savannah?" Blossom asked, thoughts quickly developing in her head. "Savannah Whitesmith? When did she say this?"
"A month ago, I believe," Jordan replied. "She was part of our search party looking for you. I was surprised that she knew Atticus, considering I hadn't met her before and we were inseparable."
"What the hell? She's dead. Fontaine told us this months ago, he even showed us proof. Alchem killed her, it's part of the reason we attacked them at Remnant Rock." Blossom replied, uncrossing her arms.
"She is very much al — Fontaine? As in my uncle John Fontaine? What happened to him?" Jordan asked, surprised.
Florence's eyes lit up. "John Fontaine? We had our suspicions he was with you. One second," He pulled out the folder from his jacket again and pulled out a paper with Fontaine's face on it. "See here, he was reported dead by Alchem after a scuffle in Silivia while chasing after a rogue android. An unidentified female civilian died, reportedly associated with the android's escape and the theft of Alchemilia equipment."
Florence pointed at a small bit of text on the page. "Only problem is, he was reported dead a full half-year before the attack on Remnant Rock, and his brother Aaron had seen him multiple times in that window."
"I'm sorry, but your paper has to be wrong," Blossom answered. "He, um, went missing during the Remnant Rock attack and we believe he died as well. Sorry for your loss, Jordan." Thinking quickly, she tried to change the conversation.
"What can you tell us about Savannah? Where is she? As I mentioned, she died and we saw proof of it."
"I may not have seen him often, but it's still sad to lose a family member," Jordan replied.
"Savannah Whitesmith never stated that she died. She joined our Search Party, but randomly left with the Nuyö-Dyavol Coalition," Charles explained.
"The NDC gave us this after she left with them," Dexter said as he held up a small purple object. "It granted us safe passage through demon territory and allowed us to reach Nirvana safely."
"Hm?" Zade quipped.
The old man considered their options before continuing. "But escape would prove incredibly difficult. The Union officers might shoot on sight if they spot us attempting to flee. I can't think of anywhere we could even hide.
"We should surrender," Li concluded. "Running has worked so far, but our luck may soon run out. That, or we'll run out of people. Our original group has been shrinking since Remnant Rock. At least if we surrender, they will have to give us a trial before sentencing.
"Maybe there are people like me, who saw the evils Alchemilia committed from the inside and are willing to speak about them now that their influence has waned. Maybe some of those who brought about those same evils are willing to confess for a lighter sentence. I'd rather take my chances on trial than against a firing squad."
Li grabbed his cane as Isaiah handed it to him. His bones creaked, bending forward and pushing himself up from the wooden chair. Humped over and leaning on his cane, he slid the rice paper door aside and hurried himself out to the courtyard. Several others followed to see what he would do. Li carried himself to the gates; he thought to himself.
Is this the beginning to an end? Perhaps. I look at myself in the mirror now, and all I see is a withered old man, a shell of what I used to be. I will no longer be a shell, I will be the master.
He looked at Isaiah.
"You know what to do with this," he disclosed, gripping his dark wrists and depositing a small silver lighter into his hands. The letters "W.L." were etched into it.
He proceeded forward. Two monks pushed open the gates as he stepped out. A cry of "Mister Li, stop!" echoed within him, before dissipating. Soldiers demanded he stop, drawing their weapons.
Despite the orders yelled at him, he continued towards the soldiers, before coming to a halt. A smirk came upon his face. Rifles were pointed at him from nearly all sides. He dropped to his knees. Li assiduously placed his cane on the dusty ground, slowly raising his arms above his head.
In the continent of Nuyö, the helicopter finally landed near the giant building. Now that it was the dead of night, it was easier to move the prisoners into the building without attracting attention from any of the nearby locals.
Blindfolded, the three were escorted through the building and what seemed to be a long hallway. After various stops and conversations between guards, they could hear the sound of a metal door opening and they were eventually stopped and had their blindfolds and handcuffs removed.
They were inside a jail cell, two guards standing in front of them with the cell door wide open. One of the guards, a middle-aged woman with graying hair, began to speak. "We're going to leave you in this cell until your arrangements have been made. While you weren't allowed contact with each other on the ride here, we've decided to give you a bit of hospitality and allow you to share a cell. Don't try anything funny, we're going to be outside this cell."
The two turned around and the other guard, a short man with sandy-blonde hair, closed the cell and locked it. "Wait!" Lisa shouted, running towards the door and looking through the bars. "What happens now?"
"Miss Devlin, as Dunsfield already said, you're going to wait here until your trial arrangements are made." The man said, speaking with a thick accent.
"But I didn't do anything," Lisa tried to reason. "I'm not Melissa Devlin! You have to believe me!"
The man nodded, before turning away. "You can save that for your trial, Miss Devlin."
"Ugh," Lisa slammed her fists against the bars, before turning around and facing Marshall and Chris. "I shouldn't have gotten involved in this mess, I just wanted to find Atticus."
"Atticus?" Chris asked. "As in Atticus Anoethite? Who are you, a plant? Is that why you're here with us?"
"No, I'm not a plant. I was part of a group from Silivia, looking for Atticus," Lisa replied.
"Under GU orders? Why would they arrest you then?" Marshall asked, observing the situation from a corner.
"No! Obviously not, dumbass. I used to be his girlfriend, a group and I wanted to find him before the GU did."
"Who else joined your group?" Chris wondered, distrust weighing heavily on his voice.
"Wait," Marshall chuckled. "Did you say girlfriend? Guess you won't be liking Blossom too much."
"Uh, yeah?" Lisa asked, unsure of Marshall's tone. "Isn't she one of your allies? Why would she matter?
"And to answer your question, Chris — several people. My friend, Jordan Walesh and his uncle, Aaron Fontaine — though he left before we made it off Thales. This girl, Savannah Whitesmith, but to nobody's surprise, she ran off as soon as she got the chance. And then there's Dexter Wellington, he used to work with Alchem before you and your allies attacked it. We also found Charles Wellington in an old factory and Dexter reprogrammed him. I think these people have connections to you?"
"All those names ring a bell, in different ways," Chris replied. "John Fontaine, who helped orchestrate our attack on Remnant Rock, may be a relative to Aaron and that other guy, Jordan. I highly doubt that was the real Savannah Whitesmith, as we saw proof that she was deceased. I remember Dexter, a descendant of my creator, Andrew, he helped me escape Alchemilia Corporation. And Charles..." Chris stopped talking and attempted to access his memory banks. He couldn't remember anything specific about Charles. Then, finally, after a few minutes of silence, it came to him. Tall Charles, with his flaming red hair and piercing eyes, tossing him in the water and holding him down. "My brother. Things weren't too good between us. I'm surprised that he's still around, thought all my siblings were destroyed."
"So, this woman is an impostor?" Lisa asked, grinning slightly. "I knew there was something off about her. Everyone else seemed to trust her off the bat, especially Jordan."
"Where is the rest of your group now?" Marshall asked.
"They're probably still in Nirvana," Lisa replied. "Can I ask something? How well does each of you know Atticus? Why did you rope him into your group and attack Alchem? They helped Silivia a lot."
"The woman you mentioned probably is an impostor. And Atticus wasn't roped into our group," Chris replied. "After I met Atticus, Melissa, and Savannah, we walked through a forest and eventually found a ride in a van. That's where Marshall joined us.
"The van drove us to Alchemilia Corporation, where I met Gabriel Arsene. He invited me to work for him and I declined, so Gabriel had me locked away in one of his facilities. The others witnessed the scientists doing something horrid. They were caught, but escaped in a van they managed to steal. We were separated for a time, reuniting in Silivia much later.
"After we were reunited, we were introduced to John Fontaine, who revealed that Savannah was killed by Alchemilia. Fontaine planned to destroy Remnant Rock. We agreed to help him destroy the facility, along with former Alchemilia executive Wen Li. The operation did not go according to plan, but it was successful and we escaped unharmed."
"What?" Lisa asked, shocked. "What 'horrid' things did you guys witness, Rooke?"
"Torture," Marshall replied. "Alchem was performing experiments on humans, trying to turn them into Artificial Tieflings."
"Tieflings?" Lisa asked, feeling uneasy around the subject. "Did it work...? This is insane, Alchem wouldn't do such. They've been a major force for the past few centuries. They're part of the reason Silivia has existed unharmed for so long."
"And? Do you think they got that powerful due to the kindness of their hearts?"
Chris noticed Lisa looked hesitant, and added, "Exactly. Alchemilia Corporation is a corrupt entity, no matter the way they appear from the exterior. From our point of view, they're the bad guys."
Not wanting to continue the conversation, Lisa sighed and walked over to one of the cell beds. "Let's just try to get some sleep," she began, "who knows what they're going to do in the morning."
The sparring match remained heated. With every strike Savannah deflected, Cicero swung harder the next time. Little to no strategy was involved in his blows, only brute force. Savannah's knuckles whitened around the hilt of her sword as she dug her heels into the floor, attempting to stand her ground.
"If you're on your guard the whole time," spoke Cicero, "you'll suffer for it in the long run. How do you expect to hit your opponent without taking risks?"
Savannah was getting angrier by the second. Playing defense was hard enough. Cicero hit her again and she blocked it, only to have the sword fly out of her hands. Cicero placed the end of his sword under Savannah's chin and lifted her head to look him in the eye.
"Maybe you should take a break," he pulled back the sword and, with a flourish, placed it on his back. Cicero extended his hand to Savannah.
"Yeah," Savannah took his hand. "I'm not getting the hang of this. Sorry."
Cicero nodded. "I understand," he said, "but the demons have been waiting for someone like you for the past three centuries. They were treated as nothing more than useful animals by their creator, and when my father assisted them in their revolt, gave hope to a race of slaves, the other deities executed him."
The mention of other deities brought an image to the forefront of Savannah's mind. The face of the strange being that had spoken to her after her death. Tuisco.
Ask another god who I am and they will tell you I am a first-generation deity.
She put that aside for the moment. "That's horrible," Savannah replied. "I can't believe they would kill one of their own for helping the demons out of their plight."
"The demons are scorned by their creators. In their culture, Xeren and your god of death, Tuisco, are revered. Only those two. Reverence for the warriors and for those who came before them. Every demon has been working towards a future for every other. It's why the Coalition enforces communist ideals back in Nuyö. Come over here," Cicero said, opening a door.
Cicero led Savannah through a long hallway and up a flight of stairs to a mostly unoccupied bedroom. The room was spacious and well-kept. Two sets of empty bookshelves flanked the bed, upon which was a coiled black serpent, asleep. She was directed towards a lantern on a desk.
"As the reincarnation of Xeren, you are capable of Aegis-class reality manipulation. The Powers, so-called deities, possess more advanced abilities: Alexander-class. You are limited to Aegis-class because Xeren's soul split at the time of his death," Cicero explained. "Half of it passed on to the afterlife and was reincarnated as the first Aditya. The other half is a crimson orb that continues to orbit Euclid to this day. You may have seen it streaking across the sky."
"I've seen that orb before, I think," Savannah said. "That's his soul — or, like, half of it. I'm the other half? How can I live with only half of a soul?"
Cicero raised his hand to the height of his chest and clenched it into a fist. The lamp split apart into two pieces, though neither showed any sign of damage. "You're alive, and you're functional, even though you're only one piece of the puzzle." Savannah stared intently at the lantern's flame, which began to waver. "...but like the flame, you'll soon burn out. Every Aditya has died at a young age. It can't be a coincidence."
"That means I need the other half to survive longer, right?"
Cicero stared at the flame as it continued to flicker, and just as it nearly went out, he relaxed his hand and allowed the pieces of the lantern to return together. The flame began to burn again, and Cicero let his hand fall back at his side. "That's the general assumption. Most people here on Euclid with a passing interest in the occult have their theories on what the big red light is; most people on Euclid are correct. 'The demons' light is Xeren and holds immeasurable power.'"
"Well, is there some way of getting it?"
"We don't have the answer to that question. I can refer you to one of the philosophers or scientists if you want to draw your own conclusions. Were you paying attention to what I did with the lamp?"
"Yes. I'm assuming you manipulated reality to take it apart without breaking it."
"Close. I'm not doing this myself. Aegis, and I assume Alexander-class reality manipulators operate with an element known as aether. It's the material Ahriman is made out of, and the mortal mind can't perceive it. Gives them headaches."
"That explains why summoning the sword felt like getting stabbed. What I still don't get is why it happened, exactly," Savannah paused. "That wasn't the first headache, actually. The first time I felt something like that, a man's gun vanished from his hand and appeared in mine. Everyone around me said I grabbed it out of his hands. Both times I was being threatened, is that relevant?"
"Yes, your abilities are limited to subconscious self-preservation. For now. We can work to change that, but only so much can be done without awareness or training."
"When do I start training, then?"
"As soon as you take hold of the lantern."
Cicero pushed the lantern towards her. She grabbed it as suggested. Savannah tried her best to hold the exact posture Cicero maintained while separating it.
"Good. Try and imagine the lantern is easily malleable. Imagine you are shaping wet clay."
Savannah closed her eyes and tried to think of herself sculpting clay. She thought of pushing two large chunks apart into separate blocks. The lantern remained solid in her hands, unresponsive to her attempts to shape the imaginary clay.
"I'm trying that. Isn't working."
"Are you focused on the lantern or shaping the lantern?"
"Focus on the lantern a bit more. See if that changes anything."
As instructed, Savannah opened her eyes and studied the lantern. She took note of its exact shape, guessing its measurements. The colors and textures were memorized. Then, she closed her eyes again and tried to focus on the lantern. She pictured it in her mind, imagined herself pulling it apart with ease.
The lantern was bent slightly out of its original shape before becoming rigid again. Savannah faced Cicero, expecting him to be disappointed.
"Good work," he said.
"Is there anything else you need, sir?" Park-Chae Lynn asked, standing at the door to the governor's office.
"No, you can leave now," Rosington said, watching as his assistant closed the door and left for the night. Getting up from his seat, he walked over to the door and locked it, proceeding to make sure all the windows were closed and locked. Walking back to his desk, he pulled a drawer open and searched through various papers and files, finally finding the file he wanted. Flipping through it, he reached over and grabbed his phone, dialing a number.
Eventually, a woman picked up. "Hello?"
"Hello," he greeted, before uttering a password.
The phone instantly clicked, and a new woman picked up. "Hello," the voice of Jessica Morin, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Global Union, answered.
"Hello, Jessica," Rosington began. "How are you? It's been a while since we were able to talk personally."
"Theo!" The delight in the older woman's voice was clear. "I'm so glad to hear from you again. I'm doing well, how are things with you? How is your wife?"
"I'm glad to hear it," Rosington replied, checking the clock on his wall. "Things are fine here, Vanessa is doing well. She took the current news about Atticus pretty hard though."
A sigh could be heard at the other end of the line. "Atticus was such a promising boy. It's unfortunate it had to be this way, but at least we know he's not dead anymore?"
"That's actually what I wanted to talk to you about," Rosington answered. "I believe our forces managed to capture the Port City Eight in Nirvana, Sampi?"
"That's correct. However..." Morin paused. "Atticus isn't with them, we don't know if he's still inside the monastery or if he departed from the group at some point. Two other group members, Samuel Brownlee and Steven Devlin, are missing as well."
After a moment of silence, Rosington spoke again. "I need you to pardon them. All of them, even the ones who aren't with the main group."
"What?" Morin asked, gasping. "Theo, I can't do that. Do you hear yourself? These are terrorists! They attacked one of our most loyal and important allies. Considering everything Alchemilia Corporation did for Silivia, one would think you'd understand this."
"I don't understand why they attacked Alchem, and neither do you. But I do know that most of these people are upstanding residents of Silivia who've dedicated their lives to science or teenagers who have bright futures. They don't deserve to spend the rest of their lives imprisoned or face capital punishment," Rosington said.
"I think your judgment has been clouded by family ties," Morin replied. "I expected better from a Minister."
"Family ties?" Rosington asked. "Hm, that reminds me. I seem to recall something from a few years ago — it was at a party."
"Theo…" Morin warned.
"What was it? You had a few more drinks than you should have, and you seemingly got upset about something. I asked what was wrong and you started telling me about your father? You didn't want anyone else to ever find out his identity. You were afraid of losing this position."
"Theo!" Morin yelled. "That's enough, don't discuss that subject further."
"Seeing as this trial directly relates to your father and his company, I'd say this is a pretty big conflict of interest. It would be a shame if your paternal roots were leaked to the media or, say, Dyer himself."
"You wouldn't do such," Morin replied slowly. "We're friends, you wouldn't do that to me."
"Jessica, you know I have the utmost respect for you, but I would do whatever needed to get this pardon. The next move here is yours," Rosington answered, growing impatient.
After several moments of silence, he spoke again. "Jessica?"
"You've got what you want," the woman spat out, hanging up instantly.
|Season One:||Catching Smoke • White Room • Bare Trees • One Night in Gladea • Ceasefire • Hide & Seek • The Hounds • Reunion • Saccharine • In Somnis Veritas • Carpe Diem • Primo Victoria • Don't Fear the Reaper|
|Season Two:||Crumbling Castle • Roaming King • Safe Haven • Marked Map • The Less I Know the Better • Riding the Wave • Centuries of Damnation • House of the Rising Sun • The Master • Everybody Plays the Fool • Loyalty|