Elements of Chaos Chapter 1
May 18th, 9988 AD. Etrenank, Solaris.
It was a momentous day for Solaris. The graduation ceremonies held for those who had completed school at the military academy Jugend was today. Throughout the outer courtyard of the vast academy complex, and indeed, even into the town itself, people were celebrating with wild abandon. Alcohol flowed freely, and a sort of half-mad glee pervaded all about.
And yet Hyuga Ricdeau sat by himself and thought grimly about the past.
He wasn't certain exactly what it was that drew him backward five years. Certainly not nostalgia; the 18 year old didn't greet these memories with any happiness. Perhaps. a wish that his family could see how far he had come? He sighed, and tipped his head downward to the grassy ground. If his family were still alive, he wouldn't be here today.
Five years ago, he'd been a simply third-class citizen living in the slave quadrants of Solaris. Five years ago he'd been nothing, nobody. But he'd been happy. hadn't he? He'd had his parents, and no less than eight brothers. Sure, they'd been slaves, but. they'd been a family.
And then came the plague.
It had swept through the lower levels like wildfire, and all the bigwigs in the government would do was shrug their shoulders and ask why they should worry about third-classers. And thus all the people could do was cry out in despair for the brief period they lived before it ripped them apart from the inside out. It had taken Hyu's entire family away from him, seemingly against all odds killed ten of the eleven Ricdeaus in existence. why had it spared him?! Why had it left him alone, thirteen years old in the slave quadrants, without a friend in the world?
He knew he couldn't answer that question, and probably would never be able to. What he had needed to know at the time - and it had seemed a far easier answer to go after than the why - was how this plague had come down, what had caused it. So he locked himself away and did research. for nearly two years.
He chuckled a bit at that, drawing some stares from passerby curious as to what he found so funny, sitting as he was completely alone on the side of a grassy hill. But he couldn't help it; the 'lone researcher' image was just too typical of him these days. It was as if he'd been laying out the course for the rest of his life with that.
He sighed. Also typical was the fact that he'd found the answer. In the midst of the slave quadrant was a vast trash chute. it was where Solaris emptied all of the waste of the kingdom. This place of filth and muck had proved an ideal breeding place for Aquavian Rats - Cain only knew how they'd gotten up here - which carried a certain type of disease that had 'jumped' to humans after a sufficient number had been born to consider biting their fellow muck-dwellers. Somehow, the Solarian government had been astounded. Hyuga still wasn't certain why. Certainly, it had been a feat of research and study to find the answer to the Plague of 9983, but the government hadn't cared while the plague was going on!
But they had cared, if not for the answer, then for what it heralded of this young Ricdeau's mind. They had sent one of the higher-ups from the military, a 'recruiter', to have him tested. Check out his ether potential, the like. Apparently the man, someone who would play a large role in Hyu's life from that point on, liked what he saw.
Jesiah Black had immediately gotten him enrolled in the military academy of Jugend, had immediately changed his entire life. He, a simple third-class citizen, had been allowed into Etrenank, the grand city of the true Solarians, had been given a place in the most elite school in the country. And better yet - for the young man cared little about trappings of rank - he'd actually made a few friends, for the first time since his family had died. There was, of course, Jesiah, his benefactor and more importantly, one of the few people that could tell what went on inside his head. Hyuga had a tendency to talk too much while saying little of what he was thinking. It kept people off-guard when he was trying to learn something, and it kept them from trying to probe too deeply into who he was. And then there was Sigurd Harcourt, a fellow former-slave who had been his roommate during the last three years at Jugend. He was a bit... rowdy at times, and definitely overzealous, but Hyu wouldn't have changed any of that for the world. It certainly added some excitement to the reticent young man's life - although at times he didn't think that property damage and threatened suspensions were all that exciting.
And then, of course, there was Kahran Ramsus. He was a brilliant visionary, someone who actually sought reform in this country where the wealthy controlled all, and your birth determined who you would be. He wasn't any older than Sigurd or Hyu, but... the man commanded respect. He was an incredible swordsman, and though he was only today graduating from Jugend, he was already a high-ranking Solarian Air Force officer. He'd likely be a General before long, and then they would all see his idealistic dreams become reality.
Just then, Hyu was pushed from behind, making him jump as well as reminding him that he should probably concentrate on keeping himself in reality first.
"You're looking moody today, Master Ricdeau." Hyu turned at the familiar voice, to see none other than the dark-skinned, light haired young man that was one of his best friends. Dressed from head to toe in his official Solarian military uniform, Sigurd cut an impressive figure. Glancing down at his own uniform, Hyu realized that he likely did as well
"Not especially, Sigurd." Hyuga said, pulling himself to his feet and adjusting his spectacles. "Just thinking about the past a bit."
"Yeah, I figured." Sigurd smirked, crossing his arms. "But you're pissing off Kahr and Jesiah doing it. You're late."
"Eh?" Hyu asked, blinking. "Late for what?"
Sigurd chuckled, and held one hand up to his long white hair, letting a few strands fall in his face as he groaned in mock aggravation. "I figured you'd forget. You were supposed to come to the Square and meet everyone for a celebratory lunch." the young man sighed and shook his head. "I told them I'd come fetch you."
Hyuga stood there for another split-second, still confused, and then his face fell. "Oh... geez. I guess in all the excitement and... other assorted preparation for today, it slipped my mind. Kahr's going to be pissed... tell me his girlfriend's not there with him."
"Heh... no such luck for you, friend." the young white-haired man smirked, enjoying this. "Yes, I'm guessing Miang's going to bitch at you for making her wait for the past twenty minutes to even order."
"You could've ordered without me." Hyu said, grasping to find some sort of excuse to give to the volatile woman.
Sigurd just cocked an eyebrow at that. "You know Jesiah would never allow that."
"Well..." Hyu glanced down at his watch. "Let's make haste, then."
"Oh, where is that foolish boy?" Miang grumbled irritably, her eyes ablaze as she looked about herself. She, Kahr, and Jesiah had been sitting at this rather drab outdoor restaurant for quite longer than she'd intended, and she had other things she wanted to get done today.
"Calm down, Miang, please." Kahr said, looking deep into those fiery orbs without a flinch. "Sigurd went to get him... I'm sure they'll be back soon."
Miang considered a well-placed retort would probably do wonders for Ramses' already non-existent self-esteem, but a quick glance at Jesiah silenced her. The older man was always so damned... suspicious about everything. So instead she simply shrugged her shoulders and leaned back in her seat, letting Kahr feel her displeasure without saying a word.
Jesiah shook his head slightly as he looked at her. The woman seemed so... out of place here, with Kahran. She was a high-ranking Solarian official, and reportedly met with Krelian himself on a regular basis. For the life of him, Jesiah couldn't think of a single reason for her to be with a young cadet.
And it was his business to find out why; Shevat would allow no less.
Miang glanced at the older man coldly, letting him fully know that he had been staring at her. The Solarian officer suppressed a grimace and let the gaze of his icy blue eyes fall to the paved ground. I wish those two would hurry up and get here, he thought.
As if on cue, the two jogged up just then. Hyuga, of course, was panting; he'd apparently dashed over the moment he realized he was late. Jesiah smirked quietly at that, but there wasn't much humor in it; he'd probably remembered that she was going to be here.
Gasping for breath, Hyu pulled up a chair and sat down. He tried to look as dignified as possible doing it, but fatigue took precedence; he fell in the chair rather heavily and didn't even make an effort to sit up.
Sigurd seemed no worse for the wear for their long sprint, and sat down next to Jesiah, grinning at Hyu all the while.
"Hey, Hyuga. Good of you to join us." Jesiah said, smirking. The young man, for his part, looked properly mollified by the sarcastic remark, and quickly moved to apologize.
"I... well, I just forgot about it. I apolo..."
Jesiah just shook his head. "Think nothing of it. We didn't mind," he smirked at Miang, "waiting in the least."
"Fine and good, then. He's here, let's order." Miang said, leaning forward. The motion made her shoulder-length purple hair frame her eyes... gave her the look of a predator. But it passed quickly, and she allowed herself a smile as she glanced at Kahr. He's here, let's get down to business... why do they think I'm even here?
Over an hour passed as the four young men - and one girlfriend - reminisced over all they'd done these past three years at Jugend. There were some tales told - specifically by Sigurd - that would have raised the eyebrows of most anyone else at the outdoor restaurant. The young man had been rather... promiscuous these past several years.
Eventually - though there was no shortage of stories left to retell - Jesiah called for silence. "Friends, as good as all this has been, I didn't really call the meal to reminisce." he grinned, letting them know that he hadn't minded spending time doing just that, though. "Actually, I've got some official orders from Solaris I'm supposed to be taking out, here."
The three young men's eyes widened simultaneously, as a sense of dread began to pervade. From how Jesiah had phrased that... it foretold nothing good.
The older Solarian officer chuckled and waved a hand. "Geez, it's nothing bad. Come on." he waited for a moment as his young friends relaxed. "Now then, you all know that I've been pushing to get a movement passed that would install an elite military group in Solaris."
Hyuga blinked and adjusted his spectacles as he looked intensely at Jesiah. "The special operatives.... Elements?"
Jesiah nodded. "Yeah, that was the codename for the group. See... the bill was finally passed by Krelian, and this," he pulled out an envelope stamped with the seal of the Solarian government, already opened, "is what they sent me."
He pulled it out and started to read. "General Jesiah Black: I am writing to notify you of the passing of the Spec Ops: Elements bill, and to inform you of the choices I have made as to who its members shall be. You shall carry the message to each of the men listed below personally. And... yadda yadda yadda..." Jesiah, growing bored, scanned down through the paragraphs of legalese jargon that followed. "Ah, here we are. The members of the group Elements are to be as follows: Jesiah Black, Element of Earth; Sigurd Harcourt, Element of Fire; Kahran Ramsus, Element of Wind, Hyuga Ricdeau, Element of Water." he grinned as he watched realization come to his three young friends, surprising them as much as having, say, holo-vid star Karen Lovelace show up naked in their rooms. Following for a moment the thought of Karen Lovelace naked, Jesiah missed the next few comments.
The next thing he heard, aside from the expected whooping and shouting from Sigurd, was Hyu's voice, low and directed only to him. "How... did Krelian even know who I was? And why would he pick... me?"
Jesiah could think of a few answers to that, but nothing that he especially wanted to go into with the young genius. "I dunno. I guess he must've looked over your scores and ether rating, Hyu. You haven't exactly been a wallflower in that regard since you came here."
Kahr's eyes were shining as a genuine smile covered his face. "Miang... with this position, I'll finally be able to bring about change in Solaris! We... we can get rid of the aristocracy, at last, and people will be judged on their self-worth, not birth!"
Miang thought for a moment, and decided perhaps it would be best to lift this thought up, to let Kahr dream. "Yes, Kahr... with this you can finally be worth something." she said quietly, smirking as she saw the mixed reaction it had on the young man. Perhaps it wasn't a totally praiseful comment.
"Woo hoo! Elements, yeah! Nothing can stop us!" Sigurd shouted, jumping around and drawing quite a few stares from the other tables. A moment later, his shouting changed tone as he ran into a young female waitress carrying a pot full of hot coffee. His shouts as the scalding liquid poured over him drew several chuckles from the weary crowd, as did the moments following his recovery, when he tried to ask the waitress for a date.
Hyuga grinned as he looked at the young man's antics, and thought over his words. Truly, what could stop us, together?
June 5th, 9992 AD. Etrenank, Solaris.
Another dark Solarian day. To be quite honest, weather didn't exist in Etrenank; every day was sunny and windless, but not unpleasantly hot. But that lack of change itself served to make it dark to Jesiah Black. He was so sick of this place... he wanted to go back home. The people were all so false, and the truths they were hiding disgusted the old general.
Jesiah had been told it would be like this when he signed up to infiltrate the country. He had known, deep down, that the people who described it as a gilded maggots' nest were telling the truth. But he had to be some brave hero, wanted to be a spy against the country that had taken so much from his people. To be quite honest, he'd gone into it for the glory.
Queen Zephyr told me twelve years ago that it wouldn't be all that glorious, he thought, and I didn't listen. How could it have not been glorious? The brave Shevatian spy infiltrates the evil country of Solaris, rises to one of the higher military positions in it. I've fooled immortals, from the Gazel Ministry to the Emperor to Krelian himself. A sigh. But my queen was correct. There's no glory here... nothing but rotten dust covering filth and plague.
At least he was helpful to his country... at least he could claim that. But there were days when doing it gave him little pleasure. He flipped the monitor of his personal computer on again, looking around needlessly to make certain no one had entered into his room - needlessly because his wife and young son, some of the very few good things that had come of this entire mission, would never disturb his privacy when he was working. Putting that out of his mind, he glanced for the hundreth time over the latest orders from the Gazel Ministry and Krelian... sure, they were stamped with the official seal of Emperor Cain, but these days everyone knew who was really in charge. He glanced again over orders that would likely prove a death warrant for the young men he had cared so much for these past seven years.
Orders to the Element Spec Ops in particular.
The Third Invasion attempt against Shevat shall begin in approximately 26 hours.
Element force to report to Fifth Quadrant for special orders.
Air Force to prepare aerial gears for direct combat against the Shevatian particle shield.
All other military personnel, report to respective gear bays at the appointed time.
It went on from there, of course, as all Solarian orders seemed wont to do, but that was all that was important. Element force report to Fifth Quadrant for special orders. It was happening. Jesiah knew what was going to happen... the orders would almost definitely demand a special infiltration by the Elements, which equalled into something that Jesiah would have to tell his superiors in Shevat about.
And that would almost certainly mean death for his friends.
Shaking indecision from his mind, the old spy stood up and rushed from his personal office into the den, where his wife Raquel sat and played with eight year old Billy. He smiled briefly at the two, but it dwindled fast as his wife looked at him. 'Tell me what's wrong.' her eyes seemed to say.
"We've got problems, dear. The Solarians have finally commanded something that will require a direct betrayal to prevent. Pack our things... we've got to be out of here in twenty-six hours." he grabbed his stark white military jacket and pulled it on.
"W-wait..." Raquel said, obviously not fully understanding what was happening. She had been prepared for an eventual departure, having learned everything about Jesiah long ago, but hadn't expected it to come quite so... abruptly. "Where are you going?"
Jesiah sighed, and looked his wife straight in the eyes. "I've got to go get my friends briefed so that they can get killed in Shevat."
Without waiting for a response, he opened the front door and walked out, leaving Raquel alone with her son and some rather unsettling thoughts.
The Seeker of Power had been to many places in his life, but he had not expected Solaris to be one of them. Just looking at the ultra-clean steel walkways of the complex he currently inhabited made rage boil within him. He felt a sudden urge to cast his black cloak aside and kill everything in sight, to destroy destroy destroy the world and everyone in it.
But not now. No, Grahf had learned well over the centuries how to contain his anger, his rage. But he sincerely hoped he didn't run into Krelian today... he wasn't certain he could hold himself in check if he ran into the fellow immortal. He glanced down at the child that walked next to him... little more than a red-haired eleven year old, at first glance. But Grahf knew better... oh, much better. This young Fei... this Id was a powerful tool, but a tool could not bring about that which Grahf wanted to bring about. He needed more than a tool... he needed a battle-forged weapon. And these Solarians had offered him a task which could provide the smithy flames.
Almost immediately, he came upon the door that led to the future... that led to the fulfillment of destiny. Within lay the computer system that held what was left of the Gazel Ministry. It was an easy thing to determine this. The doors here were not guarded, no sentries patrolled this hallway. There was no need. The Ministry controlled powerful ether weaponry... hooked up as they were to their precious AI machines, they had known Grahf was here from the moment the Seeker had walked in. If any came in who did not belong, they would simply fry them with the weapons at their command... or call the guards, who were also little more than weapons by this point.
Regarding this fact with a complete lack of pity, Grahf walked up to the door, then through as it slid open with his presence. Within lie... darkness, and an ever-spinning core of knowledge... of the original humans of the planet.
If Grahf had been capable of awe, he would have felt it now. As it was, he simply felt like attacking something, or maybe sicking his little Id on said something. A quick glance at the young ball of rage showed that he would have leapt at the chance, if it were offered. But there were more important things to have done, first. Too much destiny involved. Too much power at stake.
"WE WOULD WISH YOU WELCOME, LACAN, IF WE INDEED WERE GLAD TO SEE YOU."
Grahf grimaced as he heard the name, a dead name, and considered for a moment letting Id attack anyway. It passed after he spent a quick moment promising himself future ruin to these damned creatures. "That name is dead, Minister. If you want the services of Grahf, perhaps you should keep that in mind."
This threw the Ministry off for a moment. They desperately wanted to chasten the insolent spirit, but they could not safely do so. As much as they hated to admit it, they did require the services of the Seeker of Power. They would simply have to adapt. "VERY WELL, GRAHF. YOU KNOW WHY WE HAVE CALLED YOU."
It was not a question. The Ministers knew well that Grahf was always holding all the cards, always knew the angle of the other players... always knew how to play things to his advantage. "You wish Elru to be destroyed."
"INDEED. THE COUNTRY HAS PROVEN REBELLIOUS AS OF LATE. HOWEVER, THERE ARE CONDITIONS; RESTRICTIONS WHICH YOU MUST BE AWARE OF."
Grahf smiled darkly beneath his twisted metal mask. Restrictions, on him? They had no power over him, could do nothing to him. No simple humans, no matter their age, ever could... "Do tell, O wise minister." the Seeker said instead, his tone acid.
"VERY WELL. TO BEGIN WITH, WE ARE NOT YET PREPARED TO ATTACK. WE ARE CURRENTLY IN THE PROCESS OF INVADING THE COUNTRY OF SHEVAT." They paused for a moment, to see if this truth would get a negative reaction from Grahf. It was a wasted moment; the dark spirit couldn't have cared less what happened to that damnable nation. "THE DESTRUCTION OF ELRU MAY NOT COMMENCE UNTIL THIS MISSION HAS BEEN COMPLETED, WHICH WILL LIKELY NOT BE FOR A FEW MORE WEEKS. SECONDLY, THERE ARE SEVERAL WITHIN THE NATION WHO WE WISH TO HAVE SPARED FROM THE PURGE."
Grahf crossed his arms. "And what does that have to do with me, Minister? I sincerely hope you don't expect me to play errand boy and fetch people."
"OF COURSE NOT. WE ARE NOT FOOLS. HOWEVER, YOU HAVE BEEN KNOWN IN THE PAST TO BECOME... OVERZEALOUS IN YOUR WORK. WE SIMPLY ASK THAT YOU DESTROY THE COUNTRY SLOWLY ENOUGH TO ALLOW OUR AGENTS TO RECOVER THE FOUR ETHER EXPERTS."
Grahf was a bit curious at that; it wasn't like Solaris to single out a few people, 'ether experts' or no, and certainly not to be spared from a purge. The Ministry was of the opinion that rebels were like a cancer; until you burned and cut out every bit of the cancer, it could still thrive and respawn. "Very well, Minister. That can be accomplished."
The monitor that contained the Minister addressing Grahf flickered briefly, but the grim visage of the dead man sadly remained quite visible to the Seeker's probing eyes. "LASTLY, GRAHF, WE ASK THAT YOU COOPERATE WITH THE SOLARIAN TROOPS."
Grahf shrugged at that, his back turned to the Minister; he'd begun to walk off the moment he'd heard the word 'lastly'. "Keep them out of my way ,and I should have no problems 'cooperating.'"the dark one glanced down at the child that had accompanied him, the one that the Ministry knew to be the Contact. It must have truly infuriated to have seen him, to have had him in their grasp, only to have a force they could not stand up against remove him once again. "Come along, Id." he said, simply to frustrate the dead men further. Id was following Grahf body and soul right now... truly, mind control was a marvelous thing.
And as the two walked back down the halls, Grahf fantasized pleasantly about the apocalypse.
"Why, good of you to show up, Jesiah." the voice that spoke those words was the most unpleasant thing General Black could have imagined. Of all the people in the world to brief his Elements team, why did it have to be Philip Stein? He and Jesiah had been rivals for as long as either could remember, in the military and in more... personal matters. Stein had tried to take Jesiah's wife from him several times, usually with his rather manipulative charm - charm that both Jesiah and his wife found rather repulsive.
Sigurd, Hyuga, and Kahran had already shown up to the briefing, and though they didn't have the history with Stein that Jesiah did, they seemed to share the Element of Earth's opinion of the man. They had, with the exception of Ramsus, already taken seats in various corners of the computer room, trying to keep their view open to the main monitor that would tell them about their mission while staying as far away from Stein as possible.
They were a haunted-looking bunch, these three. Thinking about the hard decisions he'd be making within the next few hours, Jesiah realized he likely fit in with them quite well. Kahr had always been a bit... neurotic, and his new policies for Solaris had done little more than change the fashion in which it was elitist; now class was determined largely by military standing, as opposed to birth. Not much of an improvement, really, as Jesiah could tell Sigurd felt just by looking into his eyes. Perhaps it wasn't just that, though... Sigurd had changed a lot lately. He seemed distrustful of everyone here... almost like he was some sort of spy. Jesiah allowed himself a humorless smile at the thought. Would that Sigurd was against Solaris... at least then he'd have someone to take with him when he got the hell out of here. And then there was Hyuga. The last four years had been amazing for the young Ricdeau. He'd invented so many things, from the Optic whips that Sigurd wore on his belt to the Wyvern aerial gear that Kahran would likely be flying into battle within the next day. The boy was amazing... truly, Jesiah wished there were some way he could get him out of Solaris. But his eyes were as clouded as the other Elements this day; he was just as disturbed about the policy changes in Solaris as Sigurd and Jesiah, for one things... but perhaps there was something else. It was so difficult to tell with Hyu.
"Well then, if you're all ready, I shall begin the mission briefing." Stein spoke the words grudgingly, as if giving the Elements information on their task was a personal favor. He turned on the computer console before him, immediately causing it to come up on a 3D wire image of Shevat. The aerial city whirled and twisted in odd ways as Stein began typing in file commands, opening several screens of text and images. "To begin with, your personal missions are very important to this strike. You shall be split up four ways; I shall go over your tasks individually."
He glanced first at Kahran Ramsus. "You, Element of Wind, will be leading the Air Force in their strike against the Shevatian gears. It is vital that you stop any attempts at retreat for at least long enough for our other units to gain access to the shield."
Kahr nodded, not surprised in the least. He was, after all, General over the Air Force these days. Anything but a direct strike would've been insulting to the ambitious young man.
"Element of Fire." Stein glanced condescendingly at Sigurd. "You shall be with the ground troops that are to enter the city of Aphel Aura as soon as the barrier shield is dispersed, as acting commander. You are to attempt to destroy as much of the city as possible, and take any prisoners you can for interrogation purposes."
Sigurd nodded absently, not seeming all that thrilled with his task.
"Element of Water." Hyuga adjusted his spectacles and attempted to look interested at his instructions. "You are to infiltrate Shevat through an experimental ship we have prepared that should be able to make it past the barrier. You will then cut off the barrier and open it to our troops from within." he punched in some keys on the computer, bringing up an in-depth map of the areas surrounding the hangar. A few more button presses, and a map printed itself out from a slot next to the machine. Stein handed it casually to the young intellectual. "Memorize that; the barrier is controlled from the area marked in red."
"Element of Earth." Stein's voice went cold at this point, and he looked as though he would rather choke Jesiah than give him instructions. "You are to infiltrate Shevat along with Ricdeau, then move directly to the Shevatian palace. There you are to attempt to take the place from within; if you can capture Queen Zephyr, this whole battle will be over very quickly." his eyes burned into his rival. "You think you can manage to get anything useful done, Black?"
Jesiah didn't wither in the least beneath Stein's glare. "I don't know if I'll capture the queen, but I'll do a hell of a lot more than if you were there, pal."
There was a tense moment, in which the other three Elements feared they might have to defend their unofficial leader, but it quickly passed as Stein turned back to the monitor and typed in some more thing. Several faces appeared onscreen. "These are individuals it is important that you look out for." first appeared a young bookish man. "Nicolae Balthazar. Notable gear designer and scientist. He will likely be within Aphel Aura. The Ministry desires his capture for several experiments." The Elements doubted that would be much trouble; the man didn't look like much of a warrior, unless he was an insanely powerful Ether user.
The picture onscreen changed to that of a young, beautiful woman. Immediately, Hyuga's eyes widened. She was the most stunning person he'd ever seen in his whole life. "Yui Uzuki. She is a reknowned swordswoman - likely the best warrior in all of Shevat. Keep an eye out for her, as she will almost certainly be on the lookout for any sort of attack from within, especially around the barrier shield."
Hyuga tried hard to remind himself that this woman was an enemy, a dangerous one, from the look of her statistics. He wasn't sure if he managed it, but he supposed it was good that he couldn't get her out of his mind. He'd be on the lookout for her if he couldn't stop thinking about her.
"And then, of course, there are the typical 'notables'; the chi master Wiseman, the elder Balthazar, Queen Zephyr herself, etc, etc." Stein rolled his eyes. "They put a number of needless things in these briefing folders, I imagine just so that I'd have to be in your presence longer." he glanced at Stein. "And I know that makes you happy, but as much as I hate to hurt you, you're all dismissed. Get the hell out of here, and be ready for the attack in twenty four more hours."
Jesiah wasn't especially happy, he realized as he helped his wife pack several hours later. Certainly, his orders had worked out in the best way possible; by 'infiltrating' the palace, he would be able to directly report to the Queen on what was being planned and where. However, a quick thought went to Hyuga. Stein had been right on one thing; Yui Uzuki would most certainly be sent after him. When Jesiah told Zephyr what was up, she would almost certainly be sent after him... and the Shevatian spy doubted that even as good a swordsman as Hyu could survive her skills.
Of course, at this point, he wasn't sure if any of his friends would survive the day. It didn't matter. He had things to prepare.
"TRAITOR!" - Kahran Ramsus.
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