“The Rule of Three is a religious tenet. It states that whatever energy a person puts out into the world, be it positive or negative, will be returned to that person three times. Some subscribe to a variant of this law in which return is not necessarily threefold.”
***Elven Kingdom, Palace***
I slowly approach the door and watch Fin, the elven king, as he raises his hands with his palms out. It seems like he doesn't want to get involved in something. Levitating in front of him is a communication crystal. For once he isn’t with his newest concubine.
“Rufus, I understand that we worked together in the past, but I really can't help you in this. My hands are bound in this case.”
I raise an eyebrow and study Fin on his throne. It's rare that I catch Fin alone and unaware of my presence. At least I think that the elven king didn't notice me when I leaped onto the balcony which leads directly into the throne room. Giving in to my curiosity, I decide not to announce myself.
The name Rufus sounds a lot of alarm bells. Why does the elven king have a communication crystal which connects him directly to one of the leading figures behind the Consortium? I know nothing of this. Normally, all interactions with other nations are supervised by the Alliance’s observers. If anyone finds out about this relationship the elven kingdom will find itself in a lot of trouble.
“I don't understand. We and the Sociocrathy have an agreement on that front. You even told us about your suspicions regarding Nova and Illum. I always knew you as an honourable man who keeps his word. Why would you suddenly step back and do nothing?”
I try to make sense of the information. Is the person on the other end of the connection talking about the bargain against the Mirai?
The voice doesn’t seem pleased, but Fin is unimpressed. “You are right. However, I firmly believe in the Rule of Three. Whatever you do to others is one day returned back to you three times. That's why I can't help you. I have an agreement with Illum's ruler. We won't interfere with each other’s business. Sending spies and gathering information is one thing. Actively plotting attacks and assassinations are completely different things.”
Rufus doesn’t give up. “Whatever bargain you have with Nova should be void. Our bargain is older. You shouldn't have offered her a hands-off deal in the first place!”
Fin closes his eyes and shakes his head while he crosses his arms in front of his chest. “You are right yet again. I shouldn’t have offered her the deal, but I didn’t know her true identity at the time. Be that as it may, the deal was made and I won’t be the one who breaks it. At least not in an obvious manner. My agent already interfered with Nova’s operatives, but only because we didn’t know that they are hers. Informing you and the others about the situation, that’s as far as I’ll go.”
“You do realize that this conflict won’t stay localized, don't you? Our only chance is to stop her before everything spirals out of hand. She controls the resistance. She is the point of origin.”
“Do you even have a guarantee that killing Nova will stop the events she set in motion? You already tried that and the assassination failed.” Fin shrugs, looking relatively unconcerned. “If there are times of peace, there also must be times of war. I am relatively sure that my kingdom is prepared to ride out the waves of unrest. Is there anything else you need?”
“So you intend to lean back and hope that you aren’t a part of her plans? And who says that we will go after her? Her protections are clearly too good. But there are other ways. We will strike at her surroundings to destabilize her rule.”
The king tilts his head and sighs. “I know what you are trying to do, but I think that it’s a waste of your time.” He leans forward. “I only want to understand one thing. What’s your problem with this Nova? As I see it, I am not even on her list of targets. Neither are you. But you will be if you keep making trouble. Everything I’ve heard about her hints that her grudge should be directed mainly at the Empire. The Sociocrathy also didn’t exactly welcome her.”
“You haven’t met her in person. She is dangerous and clearly has the ability to turn this world upside down.”
Fin isn’t impressed. “Let’s be honest. All of us have the ability to turn this world upside down. It’s just a matter of whether we want to or not. I think that I could live with it if that woman destroys Jules’s Empire. I don’t like that man.”
“The question is what she is going to do once she accomplishes that. She is clearly one of those reincarnated who have to shape the world around them according to their wishes.”
“Hahaha. Maybe the Sociocrathy? Or you? I heard that you didn’t exactly make friends with her.” Fin shakes his head. “Accept it, Rufus. I won’t do anything that causes my name to rise on her list of targets.”
“List of targets?”
“Isn’t it obvious? That woman has a goal, and people who stand in her way...” Fin doesn’t finish the sentence.
Not being comfortable with what I heard, I shift my weight around. Inadvertently, I listened in on something I shouldn’t know. And what are reincarnated?
Suddenly, Fin’s head whips in my direction. He is looking directly at me. “We can resume this discussion later, Rufus. I have a visitor.”
Fin deactivates the communication crystal and gestures for me to step into the throne room.
I hastily follow the invitation and kneel down in front of the throne, focusing my attention on the floor.
“I see that you survived.”
Raising a hand, I cover the eye patch which is now covering the now empty eye-socket. “The healers had to remove the affected tissue. They couldn’t restore the eye, but my life is no longer in danger.”
“You will be recompensed for your loss. Are you ready for another mission?”
I nod. “Anytime, my king.”