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Gabrielle and Jericho left a week after the incident with Izsak in cuffs. Other Ophiuchian Agents including Leona and Talib arrived to apprehend the remaining members of the Watch and to bring them in for questioning. Trystan was released from prison and re-offered his position, but he declined. Meanwhile, the feudal lord heading the Ariesian Investigation Bureau was arrested in his place.

Olive learned from Cadence’s end that the Romano Family and the Foxmans were working with Ophiuchus to find out exactly what else Verga had been shipping for ELPIS. Ricardo had also rented out Matilda and her crew’s services. They were delivery men again, although they now transported conductor parts from facility to facility instead of whole conductors to civilians. When Olive had voiced his displeasure at this, Cadence had laughed.

“That’s how the city works,” Cadence had answered with a shrug as she attended the celebratory party that followed the new partnership. “They had nowhere else to go anyways. Rinse and repeat.”

In the middle of a toast, Francis coyly had offered a normal packet of cigarettes and a bottle of wine to Cadence. But after casting a glance in Olive’s direction, Cadence had accepted only the wine.

Werner’s end appeared to be ending on a slightly more positive note. After extensive interviews from Ophiuchian Agents and Capricornian officials, it was decided that Werner had acted appropriately in the situation and that he was uninvolved with Ersatz’s plan. A statement by the Aquarian Captain Dunya Kramer also proved his and his squadron's innocence. The Capricornian government was also found to be uninvolved.

Major Ersatz had survived the battle and was brought to Ophiuchus to be detained and questioned about his ELPIS involvement. He was given a dishonorable discharge by Capricorn, and the Watch was disbanded. Werner was revered as a hero and given temporary leave which he extended to the rest of his squadron.

The Ophiuchians also mediated the border conflict, and it was resolved with the vitae reservoir being declared as belonging within Capricornian borders. There were reparations to be made on both sides.

During his leave, Werner had stopped by the Aquarian-Capricornian border with Gilbert. There they met up with Greta and reminisced as they watched Capricornian engineering Conductors start work re-harvesting vitae from the reservoir.

Not soon after that, a new combat medic was introduced to Werner’s squadron. His placement was said to be a component of an agreement made between a certain Geminian business and the Capricornian army. He would serve as the liaison between the two groups.

Cadence was worried, but they all knew Werner was reliable. Nico would be fine.

Maria’s side was surprisingly more subdued. Her ship had been quiet and empty after Olive's incident. She had pulled back into the Pollux Bay a couple of days following the incident, and the Foxmans greeted her warmly much to the surprise of Morandi and his men. After hearing about her circumstances from Conta, the Foxmans had offered her the services of Morandi and his men with condolences. Although there was some resistance at first, a flash of Geminian Cens sealed the deal for Morandi's group. They set out to sea the very next day.

When Olive had asked what Maria's goal really was on a stormy night at sea, she had laughed and said, “There was only one moment when I was not in control of my life, and I am in the search of the person responsible for it.”

When he had asked why in the world she would chase after someone like that, she had simply responded with her usual ‘why not’. Olive didn’t think he’d ever understand Maria.

Atienna's end made a bit more sense to Olive. Virgo ended its isolation two weeks after Usian’s arrest. Atienna’s father, however, resigned from the Tribal Council and stepped down as chieftain of the Imamu Tribe. Bachiru was upset about it but Atienna thought it was for the best. She was planning to take a step forward as he took a step back, after all. Not as chieftain, of course. That responsibility was for someone else more worthy. Now that Virgo was ready to reach out ot the world again, a diplomatic party needed to be formed to interact with the other countries. And Atienna was determined to have a foot in it.

Atienna herself spent quite some time researching the meanings behind ‘syzygy’ and ‘True Conductor’, but it seemed as if without a Conducting License she could barely scratch the surface of anything. How ELPIS and Leona knew of these words was also a mystry. And since there were so many dangerous unknowns involved, the six of them agreed to keep their connection under the table until they figured out how to resolve it.

A resolution came with Claire as well. With the conclusion of the Capricornian-Aquarian border conflict and the promise of reperations, Claire graciously returned home. But not after solidifying Saggitarian-Ariesian relations with the king and queen and then insisting that he and Olive become pen pals during the same meeting. No tact at all. Olive had declined the offer point blank in front of his aunt, uncle, and the feudal lords. Of course, Claire had just laughed the entire ordeal off.

While Olive's personal relations did not seem to improve much, he found that Jericho's relations did. 

When Jericho returned to Ophiuchus, the man had done his best to avoid the commotion that came with his mission completion. The mystery of what had unfolded was the new buzz of the Serpens Establishment. Within the first few days of his return, Jericho had been approached by over a dozen peacekeepers pressing him for the details. Thankfully, the ELPIS Department made a statement on Leona’s disappearance and Izsak's involvement not so long after:

Leona was ambushed by ELPIS after a fellow peacekeeper disclosed her location to them. A traitor to the upstanding, philanthropic Romano Family of the Twin Cities was then tasked by ELPIS to handle her imprisonment, but the traitor was discovered by the Family and dealt with swiftly. This improved the relations between Ophiuchus and Gemini. Leona managed to break free of her captors before there was an intervention, however, and successfully stopped the assassination of the Ariesian prince. The assassination was orchestrated by a recently ELPIS-converted Capricornian Major with the assistance of the afformentioned peacekeeper. There was no mention of Maria’s ship.

Talk about paintin’ a pretty picture, Cadence had thought as Atienna had read the article in the newspaper. Not givin' credit where credit is due.

The traitorous peacekeeper who was involved in the assassination attempt and Leona's capture, the ELPIS Department elaborated, went by the name of Izsak Wtorek. A Taurusian who had served in Ophiuchus since its founding. Izsak was believed to have been under the influence of a Manipulator Conductor and was currently undergoing treatment in Ophiuchus. 

Jericho's and Talib's names were mentioned only briefly at the end of the article. When pressed by Cadence, Jericho had informed the group that he felt neither pleasure nor displeasure at this. 

Not soon after the article was published, Jericho was invited by Talib to a party to celebrate a successful case closed. Talib led Jericho into a room at the very back of the Serpens Establishment. An office that Jericho had never been inside before.

Within the office, Gabrielle sat at the centermost desk with Alice Kingsley at his right and the pink-haired Ferris at his left. At the couch within the room sat three men and two women. All assessed Jericho with differing expressions upon his entrance.

“How would you like being my minion?” Gabrielle had asked, extending a hand. “I’m planning to become chair of Ophiuchus and bring real peace to Signum, and I could really use someone like you on my team. You have a thing against ELPIS, right? Well, if you work together with me, I can get you to them.”

Truly, a terrible personality.

Even so, Jericho accepted Gabrielle's hand.

And with that, an entire month passed by.

Now Olive found himself kneeling before his uncle and aunt in the throne room of the royal palace. He had bowed upon entering and remained prostrate despite their insistence that he stand.

The red of the carpet below his feet was nostalgic. Almost alluring. Beckoning him to stay. To reconsider. To return to how things were before—with him skipping classes at the university, with him watching council meetings with disinterest, with him escaping to Marta's shop to sleep for hours. It really was tempting. An easier way. Drifting through days with indifference.

But—

Mustering all of his courage, Olive lifted his gaze from the carpet to his aunt and uncle.

“I’m going to try for the State Conducting Exam.”

Both his aunt and uncle beamed.

“That’s wonderful, Olive!” Terra hummed. “Now that this is over with, you can return to the university and—”

“I’m going to study on my own,” Olive said. “I’m leaving the Capital.”

“What?!”

“Olivier, you can’t—”

There was a flicker of black out of the corner of his eye. Not any of the others. Lavi.

“I don’t care if it looks like I’m running away. If I stay here, I’ll fall back into the same patterns over and over again. I won’t change,” Olive continued, rising to a stand. “I appreciate everything you’ve done for me, and I’ll never be able to repay you it. I know it seems selfish of me leaving like this, but I have to take responsibility.”

His uncle and aunt remained silent. There was disappointment in their eyes. But that was fine. Letting out a small breath, Oive turned away from them and walked forward.

Olive exited the chambers with his sister following right behind him.

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move on forward!!


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About the author

elmerwynn

Bio: Salutations!
Epidemiologist with a love for writing and reading.
My life is the epitome of eating a box of donuts at 3 am and waking up the next morning with a stomachache.
I love meeting new people and discovering great stories so feel free to message me about anything!

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