The dim glow of the slowly rising sun in the distance signaled the start of a new day as its light chased the darkness from beyond the distant mountains. The slight change in light and temperature pulled Edward from his slumber slowly. Overslept again.

“...son of a bitch...” Edward mumbled as he sat up and stretched. After actually opening his eyes and taking stock of his surroundings he muttered another curse. While he did not remember when he fell asleep, he recalled he had no intention of doing so on the roof, and how he managed to not fall off at some point in the night was most likely a matter of sheer luck. Edward thought on that for a moment, shrugged, hopped from the roof and set about his daily morning routine.

Taking a break, Edward watched as the sun made its full appearance and bathed Virava with its morning light. He knew there was a lot that needed to get done and only so much time to do it. The only problem was that both Calvin and Jonathan were needed; the former for his savvy silver tongue, the latter for his knowledge and navigation of the city itself. Reasoning that Jonathan would be easier to rouse than Calvin, he turned from the morning view to make his way towards Jonathan’s quarters.

When he reached the door to Jonathan’s room Edward knocked on the door; hard enough to be heard, but not hard enough to sound like someone big and/or angry wanted to kick his head in. “Oi, Jonathan! You awake? C’mon, get up.”


Edward frowned. "No. We've got a job to do, remember? And we don't have all day to do it. The sooner you get your ass up, the sooner you get to go back to doing whatever floats your monkey."

The door opened with a creak, revealing a humanoid fox, dressed only in a pair of woolen draw-string trousers. “Floats my monkey? That’s a new one.” Jonathan rubbed his ears and yawned, displaying dentation that reminded Edward of a Hunting Person, except not quite as sharp. Closing his jaws with a snap, the fox-man shook his head. “Whaddya say we get some breakfast before we move out? Besides, it’s too early for the taverns to be open, I bet. Right?”

"Yeah, I had thought about that." Edward replied with a smirk. "That's why I let you sleep in."

“Lovely.” Jonathan glanced at his wrist, then shook his head. “What am I thinking?” he asked no one in particular, then sighed. “Okay, give me a few minutes while I get dressed, you evil morning person you.”

Edward shook his head and considered sighing himself. "Seriously Jonathan, I figured that by the time I got you and Calvin up, got breakfast and all that rot, it would be a good time to start looking around." He shrugged his shoulders. "I mean, we aren't exactly barhopping here... even if that is what it looks like."

“Hey, don’t knock barhopping till you’ve tried it.” Jonathan went to close the door then paused. “Lemme get dressed and join you before you pry Calvin out of his room. This outta be funny.”

"I wasn't," he grinned. "I've been barhopping in three different countries on three different continents, and compared to what they've got in Korea, the stuff here is weaksauce." He leaned against the wall to wait for the fox-man, who, after thinking about it, reminded him a lot of Jillas. All Jonathan needed was an eye patch, poncho, and wide-brimmed hat as well as a bad quasi-British accent.

Reappearing while buttoning up his doublet, Jonathan continued the conversation, “I don’t think they have distillation here. So they can make wine and beer, but there’s no brandy, or gin, or whiskey.”

He nodded. "Exactly my point... but I don't know about the distillation thing though. If that don't have it, maybe we can talk Marcus into setting something up... maybe even turn it into a business or something." A shrug of his shoulders. "Anyway, you ready to get Calvin?"

“Lead on, MacDuff.”

Edward nodded and stepped away from the wall. It didn't take him long to make his way to Calvin's room and the door where he prepared to deliver a very similar knock to the one used to get Jonathan's attention. "Oi! Calvin! Rise and shine!"

No sooner did Edward's hand touch the door than it slowly creaked open. Inside, Calvin's sketchbooks were neatly arranged in a semi-circle on the floor and in the corner could be seen a random assortment of things he had acquired from the market. Calvin's clothes, however, had been seemingly thrown around the room. In the middle of it all, half-on/half-off of the bed, lying face down and stark naked, Calvin Murdoch was still asleep. 

"Bwa..? Wha' you talkin' 'bout? s'middle of th' night," he mumbled, his face still buried in a pillow.

"Ed, man, get outta the way, I gotta see if the Doublemint Twins are still in there."

Calvin rolled over, rubbing the sleep from his eyes with one hand, and fumbling for his pants with the other. "Nah, they already left. They wake up earlier then you guys do. What's the deal waking me up ass early in the mornin', eh?"

Edward stepped aside and folded his arms over his chest. "Early? I let you two sleep in. You know we've got a lot to do and it's not like we've got all day to do it. C'mon, get yer ass dressed.

"Wait. What we doin' again?" Calvin slowly recovered his clothing and began to get himself ready. He was still very obviously half asleep.

Edward massaged his temple and sighed. "We're supposed to find that resistance group, the Yellow Candle Society or whatever they're called. John's going to show us where he knows they hang out, you are supposed to use your leet skillz to get their help or offer our support... or... something. And I'm coming along to make sure you both don't end up dead. Or worse. That jog your memory?"

Calvin let that sink in for a moment as he tucked his knife into his belt. "Oh yeah. I remember that part, now. When's breakfast?"

Edward glanced to Jonathan and then back to Calvin. "Oh, about thirty minutes ago, I guess."

“How about now?” Jonathan crossed his arms over his chest and glared at Edward. “That’s what you told me, anyway.”

Another sigh, accompanied with a 'damn you, you messed it up' look to Jonathan. "Yeah, that works." A pause. "I hope that you guys aren't assuming that I'm in charge of this little party."

"You're kidding, right?" The fox-man shook his head slowly. "Jesus, even if you weren't 'in charge' you'd be as soon as we hit the streets."

Edward lifted his hands in a defensive gesture. "Only when the shit hits the fan. I know just enough about running around the underbelly of a city to get myself into more trouble than I'm willing to deal with. I have no bloody clue who to talk to, how to talk to them, or even where to look. Like I said, I'm only coming along in case bad things happen, which is something I have every intention of mitigating by not saying or doing something stupid."

“Too late,” Jonathan grinned.

Edward paused for a moment then shrugged his shoulders. "Think of me like insurance; I'm the guy standing behind you and Calvin, ensuring things don't go horribly wrong... and if they do, I ensure that you both get back here in one piece."

"And believe me, when the time comes, that will be greatly appreciated. But for now, I starve. Feed me!" Calvin shouted from suddenly halfway down the stairs, having not actually walked past the other two. He had Herger's drinking horn slung over his shoulder from a leather strap and one of his numerous sketchbooks tucked under one arm. "Then off to see the wizard, I guess? We'll find this Yellow Camera or whatever in no time."

“Yellow Candles,” Jonathan corrected. “And you seem full of a lot of energy for someone who was up all night.”


“Is that what they’re calling now?” Jonathan paused to count on his fingers. “Yeah, well, considering it’s around 350 calories for an hour of sex... times two... and what? Six hours?” He paused, almost causing Edward to run into him. “Jesus, Calvin, that’s like 4,000 calories! No wonder you look like a rail!”

"...God-Emperor, what in the bloody hell did I get myself into?" Edward muttered to himself as he followed the pair, shaking his head.

* * * * *

It was, Edward decided, like Luke Skywalker walking into the Mos Eisley cantina. He had no idea what the tavern was called, as the sign hanging outside showed only a plow. Inside it was actually rather spacious, with stone walls for the first floor, a hard-packed dirt floor, a large stone-flagged fireplace, plenty of tables, a bar in the back, and if the smells were any indication, some sort of kitchen. The clientele further reinforced the Star Wars imagery—a trio of musicians on drum, pipe, and violin were in one corner, and while the bulk of the patrons were Farming People, that still meant half the people in the room weren’t. There was a scattering of Hunting People, a few Leaping People, one tall tan-skinned drink of water that had to be a Running Person, some of Calvin’s Horned People (who really did have what looked like goat’s horns in their heads), while the white-haired and white-tailed woman sitting near the fire had to be one of Jonathan’s ‘Fox People.’

“Hey,” Jonathan nudged him in the side with an elbow. “Stop drooling.”

Edward blinked and glanced to Jonathan. "I'm not drooling." He turned his attention back to the bar.  "I'm just...taking stock of the place. Yeah." A poor excuse if he had ever heard one. He scratched the back of his head. "Anyway, I guess it's your and Calvin's show now. Go... do whatever it is you do. I'll watch your backs."

Calvin headed to the bar, eying up potential marks the whole way. "Wish I'd have known about this place sooner," he muttered. Catching sight of the Running Person, he reminded himself that he was here on business. He could start drawing people later, now was for talking.

"See any good pigeons?" he whispered to Jonathan.

“For what?” came the reply. “We’re here to find the Yellow Candle guys, not rip people off with a game of Three-Card Monty.

"Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. Who in here looks like an anti-government revolutionary to you? Never mind. I'll start at the bar." Upon reaching the bar, Calvin ordered a drink and started chatting up the bartender. "I tell ya man. It's getting hard for working stiffs like us. Working long hours into the night. Burnin' the midnight oil. And for what? Barely enough to scrape by, that's what!"

Calvin leaned on the bar, doing his best not to draw too much attention. He kept a conversational tone, while occasionally glancing around to see who was listening in. "Even the market's getting pretty bad. Hard to find even basic day to day necessities. What's a guy gotta do to find a yellow candle in this place?"

The bartender was a large, broadly-built Beast Person, with thick black hair and a full beard. He leaned forward, placing hands that dwarfed Calvin’s own on the scarred wood of the bartop. “And what,” he rasped in a low voice, “would you want with yellow candles in this place? I’m no chandler.”

"Well, my friend, you may not be a chandler but you certainly run a marvelous establishment here. I was merely hoping to wash away the bitterness of the current market slump. Tough times to be had by all, eh?" Calvin locked eyes with the large man. He placed one of the coins he got from Jiranee on the counter in front of him, sliding it back and forth with a finger. Maybe you know nothing of yellow candles, but maybe you could point me to one who does?"

The coin vanished as the man shifted one hand to gesture at Jonathan. “He with you?”

“Yeah, Zorzs. He and Edward here are friends of mine.”

Zorzs regarded Calvin for a moment before turning his gaze to Edward. A moment later he shrugged and then indicated the white-haired Fox Person sitting by the fire. “Talk to Viviana, she deals in candles.”

For his part, Edward remained as much in the background as reasonably possible, figuring the best way to keep from causing Calvin and Jonathan problems would be to keep himself only as close as absolutely necessary to do his job. When the barkeep looked his way, Edward offered a slight nod and then glanced as the indicated fox person and promptly received a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. This is too easy. Even if she’s a regular candle-maker and not a point of contact for a group of revolutionaries, which is entirely possible, the Yellow Candles know we are looking for them now and may not be entirely friendly considering who we keep company with. A sigh followed by a glance to both Calvin and Jonathan, following them both at a reasonable distance.

Even if she was a member of this group, and they are aren’t going to try to do take out their frustrations on us, what does that say about them that members of their order are so easily found? What would stop the King from employing similar tactics, or worse, have agents pretend to be members to round up enemies?

Simple, we’re the heroes!

Edward blinked. That’s stupid.

Is it? It’s how it works in anime, right? Also how it works in the movies and video games...


...and that’s exactly why it’s stupid. This isn’t a game or a movie, and it sure as hell isn’t an anime! This is real life here. It’s time to grow up.

Satisfied that the inner-monologue was dealt with, Edward folded his arms over his chest and let Calvin and Jonathan work their magic.

Calvin glanced over where the barkeep had indicated then turned back. "Much appreciated my good man. By the way, I like the beard. It's a good look for you. Have a nice day."

At that, he casually strolled over to where Viviana was seated. "Greetings! Do you mind if I have a seat? Zorzs at the bar suggests you may be able to help me. You see, I'm searching for a Yellow Candle."

“Are you now?” Viviana asked as she stood.

Holy shit, she’s tall! was Calvin’s first reaction as the Fox Person’s true height became apparent. Certainly not of the the Captain’s stature, but she was easily over six-feet. She also, Calvin noted, wore a long-sleeved knee-length blue tunic-like garment that was belted at the waist. Tightly belted at the waist, which enhanced her physical... ahem... attributes.

“Man! Look at the-” *mrmph*

Calvin spared a glance over his shoulder, to see Edward standing there calmly, one hand wrapped around Jonathan’s muzzle. Face never changing expression, he made a ‘go on’ gesture with his free hand.

"Don't finish that." Edward hissed in Jonathan's ear. It would seem it was now his job to also keep Calvin from failing his Diplomacy Check. "We want to get their help, not piss them off."

Viviana stood silent for a moment, her tail swishing back and forth in the manner common to Hunting People. It could be, if you weren’t careful, hypnotic. Finally she crooked a finger. “If it’s candles you need, then you’ll need to visit a chandler. Come with me.”

"Yellow Candle is such a stupid name." Calvin muttered under his breath. He cheerfully watched her tail swish back and forth as she led him out the back door. Hypnotic indeed, he thought.

Exactly where they ended up was always a question of some debate between Calvin, Edward, and Jonathan. Jonathan readily admitted he was too busy watching Viviana’s tail to pay attention to his surroundings. Calvin, who had been under the same spell, never actually came out and said he’d been distracted. As for Edward, well, he was pre-occupied with making sure Jonathan didn’t open his mouth and utter a potentially fatal wise-crack about the tall Fox Person’s appearance. So it came as somewhat of a surprise when the trio realized their guide had been joined by four almost equally-tall individuals. There was a broad-chested Horned Person, who appropriately sported a goatee to go with his goat’s horns; a lithe and frankly dangerous-looking Furred Person, all black pelt and hair with golden eyes and a white patch around his mouth; and two Farming people, who carried thick staves and looked more than willing to use them. As for Viviana, she’d produced her belt knife and now held it close to her waist. “Looking for candles, eh? Do you think we’re fools not to recognize the hand of Minster Ranganathan?”

“.… that’s about on schedule,” Edward muttered to himself as he gave a glance to each of his opponents, quickly sizing them up. “Minister who? Look, I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve made it a personal policy to not work for people whose names I can’t pronounce.”

‘Ed... shuuut uuuup...” Jonathan hissed as he practically plastered himself against the warrior’s leather-coated back.

The Furred Person leaned in, his eyes narrowing, “Then perhaps we’ll find out who you do work for, eh?”

Yeah, I wouldn’t have bought that either. It was all he could do to keep from going for the blaster he had hidden in his coat. We’re here to talk and get help, not fight… we’re here to talk and get help, not fight… He kept telling himself as he shifted to a position so that he could keep himself between this lot and his friends while keeping his hands in plain view.

Calvin's eyes narrowed a bit. He did his best to look confidant even if he really wasn't. "Seriously guys, I don't know any Ranganathan, but what if I were to say we were working with the Flower of Virava?"

Glances were exchanged. “Prove it.”

Calvin very carefully withdrew the favor that Jiranee had given him from his pocket. He kept his distance, but displayed it so it could be seen by those around him.

Viviana and the Furred Person bent and stared at the colorfully-decorated length of cloth. Calvin could almost hear the ‘hmmm’ as they regarded it. Finally, the two stood and nodded to each other. “Come on,” they said, their toned hurried, but not demanding.

The trio were then shepherded through some of the narrower back streets of Virava and even cut through a few crofts. Eventually they ended up in a long low building, stacked high with piles of lumber. Viviana ushered them into a small alcove formed by the stacks of timber and motioned to her four companions. “You stay here. I’ll see about Iosef.”

Calvin briefly turned to his two companions. "A lumber yard,eh? Reminds me of a movie I saw once. That didn't turn out so well..."

Edward frowned and folded his arms over his chest. "I hear that. I think it's a bit late to say 'I've got a bad feeling about this' though."

“You say that in all your movies,” Jonathan muttered.

After a tense period of waiting that seemed like hours but as certainly no more than a few minutes, Virava returned, accompanied by gray-haired and bearded man with deep purple skin. Dressed in a simple tunic, trousers, boots, and a leather apron, he looked more like a shop-keeper than a resistance leader. If, in fact, that’s what he was.

Settling himself down on half of a barrel, Iosef brushed sawdust from his clothes and fiddled with several tools tucked into a pocket of his apron. Finally, he looked at Calvin, Edward, and Jonathan. “Let me see the Flower’s favor.”

Calvin once more produced the trinket, showing it to the man seated before him. He looked Iosef in the eyes, then glanced back to Viviana's eyes. Once more he shifted his gaze back to Iosef, then spared a brief glance at Viviana's chest. It was going to be a long day, he thought.

Once again there was a long moment while the presumed leader of the Yellow Candle Society stared at the length of cloth. “Hmm... certainly looks authentic... and is well made... with quality fabric....” Finally, Iosef handed the favor back to Calvin. “So,” he asked, “what is it you need candles for anyway? I have them for many occasions, you see, and would hate to sell you goods you don’t need.”

Fearing he was wasting his time, Calvin wondered if he was being blunt enough. His next words took on a slightly more serious tone. "You see, we're planning an early retirement of sorts, for a gentleman of some kingly stature, if you get my drift."

That seemed to have some effect. Ever suddenly stiffened and even the placid-looking Iosef’s eyes widened. Folding the favor over, he handed it back, regarding Calvin with kind eyes. “You wish to depose of King Pallathu,” he said in a blunt tone of voice. “And the Flower knows and approves of this.” It wasn’t a question. “What plan does the Flower have?”

"As we speak, she's in the middle of attempting diplomacy. If and when the whole thing goes all pear-shaped...  Well, it'd be good to know we found support when we go through Plan B." Calvin's expression clearly betrayed he was making the best of a bad situation. "I believe the important thing is to merely establish contact with you fine people and wait until we're forced to do things manually."

“Perhaps,” Iosef said with a grin, “things would go better if you spoke more plainly. But never mind. Viviana?”

“Yes, Iosef?”

“Do you know any of these men?”

“Yes.” She pointed at Jonathan, who promptly started to utter denials for things he may or many not have done. “He was at the Broken Plow the other night, drinking and telling fortunes. If he’s one of Ranganathan’s he’s very good, for he spoke loosely and drank much. And he did mention being a guest of the Flower.”

“So... we’re good, right?” Jonathan asked hopefully.

“Perhaps,” replied Iosef, before turning his attention to Calvin. “And you, young master, what is your name, and that of your companions?”

"Well, good sir, " Calvin said with an overly dramatic bow, "I am Calvin Murdoch, at your service." He then motioned to his two companions in turn, "The larger one is Edward Aldrich and the fuzzy one would be Jonathan Roberts. Our other compatriots are elsewhere at the moment."

"Pardon my ignorance, but who is this Ranganathan? Someone we should be worried about?" Calvin looked genuinely confused. "I'm guessing he's a real scoundrel by the way you speak of him."

“Well met, Master Calvin. I am Iosef, a carpenter, and Viviana here you’ve met. These other individuals,” he indicated the other four with a wave, “will be known to you later, once we’re sure of your intentions.

“Now, as for Minister Ranganathan, he’s the king’s eyes and ears, and his spies are everywhere. Thus, we need to be sure of who you are before we proceed. Although,” and here Iosef looked then over, “you don’t have the appearance of one of Ranganathan’s men and not even he is so bold as to have them carry the Flower’s favor... yet. So,” and here he clapped his hands, “perhaps we can discuss how you intend to plan ‘an early retirement of sorts’ for a certain person we all know. Have you eaten?”

Edward frowned. "Sounds like a wonderful fellow..." He suddenly felt as if he should have paid more attention in history class just hearing more about Ranganathan. " least he ain't French"..

"I'm usually not one to turn down food." Calvin said with a grin. He then turned to Edward, "If he were French this would be easy. We'd just have to look menacing and he'd give up, right quick."

Edward nodded. "Indeed. Though something tells me that he's going to be at least as much trouble, if not more-so than our royal friend. The spymasters usually are." He paused for a moment and mentally changed gears. "Anyway, talking about retirements sounds like a good way to have lunch."

Food was quickly brought in and handed out to everyone. There was thick slices of dark brown bread, with butter and honey, wedges of creamy cheese, pickles, and various fruits. Large mugs of ale served to wash everything down. “Now that we have broken bread together, it is time for you to tell us as much of you plan as you feel comfortable. If it is a good one, then you may have gained  allies. If not, I think I will leave you to your fate.”

"To the best of my knowledge," Calvin said with a swig of ale,"the first attempt is diplomatic in nature. The details aren't known to me, except that Jiranee and our other friends are going to ask politely for him to step down. The second attempt will be to force him out. Whether or not we take his head is not up to me, so I can't speak further on that matter." 

He stuffed another slice of bread in his mouth before he continued. "Once the old bird is out, I'm under the impression we were to try to reinstate his brother into the position. Am I about on the mark with that Ed?"

Edward ate quietly, halfway paying attention to what was going on around him, the other half ensuring Jonathan was behaving himself. At Calvin's inquiry, he scratched the side of his jaw and nodded. "Yeah, that sounds about right." He shrugged and continued. "Though if you ask me, I don't think he'll step down easily or quietly... and even if he does, he or his supporters will continue to be a very painful problem, which only makes me wonder how much thought into the aftermath has been put into this whole thing."

“Probably none,” Jonathan remarked. “You dispose of the current tyrannical king and ‘bang’ everything comes up wine and roses. It’s sort of like the end of Return of the Jedi, where getting ride of Vader and the Emperor means the Empire suddenly gone. Never mind there’s going to be dozens of admirals and Grand Moffs all jockeying to grab what’s left and trying to put their butt in the top seat.” He paused to dip his muzzle into a mug of ale. “So you get rid of the king? So what? You still have men like Minister Ranganathan around, and I doubt he’ll go quietly into the night. And if he does? It’ll probably to create a new Yellow Candle Society—one aimed at the new king.”

Edward sighed "That's exactly my point. I've seen this movie play out in real life... it wasn't pretty and a lot of people got hurt, or worse."

There was a long moment of silence. The group exchanged glances while Iosef looked almost guilty, or, at the very least, thoughtful. Finally, rubbing the back of his head with one hand, Iosef spoke. “Wise words. You’ve hit upon the crux of the matter. Even if we were able to remove Pallathu and replace him with Pannu, we’d still have Pallathu’s ministers and hangers on to worry about. So we’ve yet to move. But you,” and here he looked at Calvin, “you seem to have a plan. Will you share it?”

Edward glanced over to Calvin. "Yes, please do, because the last time I checked 'get rid of the bad guy and replace him with the good guy' was about the extent of our plan..." Edward paused. "Dammit... I hope Don hasn't decided to go about this half-cocked, that would make things a lot harder than they already are, because from here it looks like he was planning on getting you guys to work on the cleanup and all that rot."

Calvin looked thoughtful for a moment. He took a good long pause and an equally long drag at his ale before he said anything. I'm no mastermind when it comes to these things, he thought to himself. "Don may not be totally in on the big picture, but there's a bit more to it, if I paid attention this time. Knowing that Ragamuffin and his cronies are probably the biggest threat in this, if wet-work is involved, I'm sure they'll be next on the chopping block before Billy Jo is done. A total 'Regime Edit' sounds the order of the day."

"For all we know Ed, that may be the case. Jiranee may have convinced Don so that we take care of the big fish, and then these guys round up the guppies." He paused once more thinking back to the bandits they had displaced on the way to the city. "I think there's more to it than I personally was privy to. I'm under the impression our job was merely to see how many arms we can gather before a detailed plan is formulated. I think it safe to assume, though, we'd just need a number sufficient for wiping the slate clean. Considering what our little group is capable of, that shouldn't be too much."

Edward folded his arms over his chest and nodded. "That sounds about right—one needs to know what they have before they can commit. Personally, I was expecting to enact a "Regime Change", but I don't know if that would be possible. I mean, we would have to pretty much round everybody up at once... or at least in short order, to make it work." he shuddered and quickly shifted the subject to the right.

He took another swig of ale and muttered under his breath. "Me, personally, I wouldn't mind if we just put the Flower on the throne. She's well-liked, even-handed, and she knows a crap-load of BS when she hears it. But then again, that's not my call to make." This last part he said with a shrug.

"Maybe she would be better suited overall, especially given her long lifespan." He shrugged himself. "...but I somehow see that starting a whole new set of problems if we're lucky."

“Putting the Flower on the throne?” Iosef sounded a bit dubious. “Also, what do you mean by ‘long lifespan’? Is she immortal?”

"Immortal? I doubt it." Calvin leaned in and spoke in a slightly conspiratorial tone. "She has hinted that she's been around a bit longer than we, at least, are accustomed to." 

Edward nodded in confirmation. Iosef's reaction and words confirmed what he had been thinking already. "I would guess that she's about as old as all of us combined. But long-lived doesn't mean immortal. In any event, for any number of reasons, I think it would likely be a bad idea. The fact of the matter is that she may be well liked by the people as an adviser, someone who is fair in administering justice and field marshal, but I have a feeling that that is the extent of it. Putting her any closer to the throne than she already is would likely cause bad things to happen to say the least."

He paused for a moment and shrugged his shoulders. "Besides, who's to say that she even wants it? Sure, there is something to be said about someone who doesn't want a position likely being the best choice, but at the same time there also needs to be this... I dunno... intrinsic desire to govern, which goes well beyond simply leading and commanding. This is something that I think the Flower lacks, not that this is a bad thing, but I think she would be much happier and more content to maintain her current position."

Edward’s musing were interrupted by the crackle of the communicators he and Calvin both carried:  "The eagle has been poached! Repeat, the eagle has been poached! Donovan is down... I... we... need... back... up....." Cyan’s voice faded in an alarming way.

"I have no idea what that meant, but that doesn't sound good." Calvin said as he turned to Edward.

“No it’s not.” The color seemed to drain for Edward’s face. He had overheard similar radio transmissions a number of years ago. They didn’t end well. With an audible, frustrated curse, Edward was on his feet. “Calvin, Jonathan, let’s roll.” He paused and turned to Iosef. “Sorry to cut this meeting short, but the shit just hit the fan like a ton of bricks. We can talk more about all of this after we keep our friends from getting killed.”

"Can we assist you?" Iosef asked. "For it sounds like your plan has been put in motion."

"Yeah, looks like we're gonna need all the help we can get." He then looked to Calvin, as he made his way towards the exit. “I only pray to whatever gods manage this place that he or Cyan ain't dead otherwise there will be hell to pay, and these guys will wish that this was NeoTokyo by the time I'm through with them."

"Poetic." Calvin said with a grin. "Well, you know what they say. 'Never give Edward cause for revenge.' Or was that Irishmen?" He gave a quick nod to Iosef before heading out the door. "Since the party is already underway, might as well crash it and bring some friends."

Return to The Well Of The Worlds