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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/980363-Chapter-17-Samantha
Rated: 18+ · Book · Sci-fi · #2216358
Go read Box: Detach instead!
#980363 added May 27, 2020 at 7:58am
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Chapter 17: Samantha

Chapter 17

Samantha

Three days since we came to Chicago.

I had not expected us to be able to accomplish so much in three days, but here I was, laying sideways on mattresses inside Losar's burnt up office. It was a little trippy to be able to see some of the second floor armoury downstairs through the gaps in the wood, but if we rolled over and kept our frame dead centre in the mattress, we wouldn't be seen by anyone from below.

It would be problematic if we Raixiens had been seen by the newly arrived - and still arriving - troupe of Aerilosacs that seemed to have warped down here from wherever their warship was. After Rivin and I snuck out of the warehouse to meet up with Lyla - who had loudly proclaimed herself as the 'best tracker in the world', whatever that meant - and Leki, we robbed them of their hotdogs and went straight up here with mattresses we took from the warehouse. They were just lying there, and I figured we might as well redecorate his office to our liking while they were outside dealing with the mess.

That wasn't to say we didn't pull our weight through the night, but thing was, we were both terribly tired after staying up until five in the morning. It had taken us all well over five hours to even pick up the non-crystal debris so as to make the place seem nicer. So, we siblings were the only ones who slept until eleven in the morning.

And by 'we', I meant just me, because Rivin ended up pulling an all-nighter to help the Aerilosacs. I thought he looked strange to me when I saw him after we rendezvoused back together, because he wasn't the least bit worried about his fortitude. It didn't hold up for long, but I seemed to recall him having some sort of sickness before we went our separate ways last night. Hadn't he had a coughing fit?

It was difficult recalling exactly what happened, but I was sure I'd get my memories back soon enough. I was just a bit tired.

When I had woken up fifteen minutes ago, Lyla was already busy layering the entire office floor with fluffy white carpets and rugs to cover up most of the holes in the floor. Since she said the entire warehouse itself had a metal infrastructure, we were in no danger of suddenly falling three stories down, but it didn't placate my nerves in any way. Though it was kind of adorable that this bare charcoal-coloured office now had a rainbow arrangement of colours all over. Courtesy of Lyla saying she 'now had a chance to make improvements'.

As instructed, we stayed hidden in this room without ever leaving. Losar had warned us that the arriving Aerilosacs were not in the know about us, so the only source of food were the hotdogs we had robbed from the Aerilosacs. I had devoured four of those, too, and Rivin had smacked me over the head for not leaving him any. He won't die. All we had to do was wait until the clean-up crew was done with their business, then we could go out until tonight, when we would likely have to return to hide from Losar's boss. Or his minion, something like that.

Losar and Leki entered the room, and Rivin sat up straight on his mattress. Lyla stood up from the single plastic stool in the middle of the room to offer it to her boss, but Losar denied it and chose to sit down before her in a cross-legged position. Leki stayed near the glassless window, where the morning wind was gently breezing in, ventilating most of the steamy air in the room. Everyone was more relaxed now that we were under no threat from anyone, so Rivin decided to speak first.

"I really can't thank the three of you enough, so... thanks. We wouldn't have lived without all of your help." He bowed his head again, and he glared at me from the side. I grumbled for a bit, though ultimately, I did dip my head in gratitude.

I wasn't that bratty.

Lyla, on the other hand, jumped and rushed forward to lift my head up.

"No, no, no, don't bow, it'll make me feel bad about myself!" she said, which did manage to make me chuckle lightly. She wasn't that annoying all the time.

However, Losar was looking so tired and exasperated at his officer's antics that I thought he would pick her up and throw her outside the window. It was a bit coincidental that he looked outside just as I had that thought, and his bandaged arm trembled when Lyla continued to throw out light-hearted jokes in my face.

Wait, is he really considering it?

"I would like to get straight to the point, but there is something of more importance right now," Losar started, and I pushed Lyla back to her own seat.

"Hm?" all of us said.

"Which one of you stole my hotdogs? Give yourself up, or I will throw you out through that window."

Ah.

So that's what he was thinking.

Rivin broke first.

"It was Samantha, she ate four of it. I only ate one, so you need to throw her out first." I looked at my brother in absolute horror, and Losar turned to me with a scowl that made me gulp. Come on now. Was he really going to throw me out? So early in the morning?

Then, Losar sighed.

"At least you came out and say it. Next time you do that, I will not hesitate."

"Right." I mumbled. "To the point?"

"Yes. I would like us to exchange stories first, so everyone is caught up and well informed if people come later to question us. We must corroborate our stories together." Everyone agreed with a nod, and Losar craned his head over to Leki.

Leki snapped awake from his spot and cleared his throat, acting as Losar's messenger.

"Err... Three days ago, on the third of November, insurgents from the Chicago Division stole the newest addition to our wares, the 'Laeer' suits," he began, but was stopped by Losar no more than ten seconds in.

"Please do not call them that. Refer to them as just the 'suits' from now on." Losar sighed, and I got the sense that there was something that he just didn't like about the designated name of their glowing outfits. From what I could see, it rapidly increases the Aerilosac wearer's speed by an unimaginable amount, and maybe something else. Lyla had managed to swipe the twenty or so crystal knives out of the air in a flash. I wasn't sure how it worked, but that was none of my business.

"Sure. The suits were stolen and hidden as a ploy to overthrow Commanding Officer Losar. Do you two Raixiens care to know why-"

"No, not really, just tell us the main points." I butted in, and Leki smirked at me.

"Losar had deduced that there were listening devices - you call them bugs, I think? - hidden inside this office and on his body via the tracker in our forearms. In order to retrieve the stolen suits without making the insurgents suspect his defiance, we planted incendiary bombs to distract every insurgent in the Division from chasing him. The plan worked, and Losar was able to get free from the insurgent's watchful eyes for a brief amount of time."

"In that time, Lyla had triangulated on the last known position of the Aerilosac who had removed his tracker and stared to use the crystals. With that information, I headed to Southeast Unity Church to find the... two of you and the unfortunate woman who was killed in that situation," Losar said, and I frowned. "Our end of the story ends here. We all know what happened afterwards. Your turn."

I looked to Rivin to see if he wanted to explain. His chin was still propped up by his hand, and he was intensely studying everyone in the room like he was planning something nefarious. I knew that outwardly calm gaze far too well to even try asking him what he was thinking about, so instead, I took the duty of explaining our side.

"We came to Chicago to find clues about..." I stopped. Why had we come here in the first place?

Rivin picked up on my sudden failed recollection and smiled nervously.

"Our mother - also a Raixien - disappeared after we found a computer underneath our house detailing the locations of the Aerilosacs spread all over the world. We came under false judgement that we might find hints about our mother's disappearance here, since there was a yellow dot signifying your people here. We took a night bus and arrived here three days ago and first met Leki, who drove us to our motel."

I blinked.

"Right!" I clapped my hands joyously. "That's why we came here! To find hints about mom! Anyways, while my brother was still asleep in the motel, I bumped into Lyla at the... church? Yeah, I was there because I was just walking around, and then we both realized who each other were."

Lyla nodded. "That's right, and then Samantha tried to make a run for it."

"I did! I ran back to the motel, woke Rivin up, and then we..." Rivin spoke for me once my memory started to fail me again. Was I really that tired?

"We slipped past the Aerilosacs and ran back to the church, where we met an old woman who took us in for the night underneath the church. That was also where we coincidentally found the stolen crate, and began to make plans to defeat you all. We figured out that there was a sensor on the crate that would activate if we opened it, so we used that to lure one of the insurgents over." Rivin said, and everyone including Losar nodded heartily.

I opened my mouth to add something of my own, but the words died at the tip of my tongue. I forgot what I was going to say, but I suppose that Rivin already helped me with that.

"And it was after you lured the Aerilosac to the church for interrogation that I arrived. We all remember what happened after that, correct?" Losar asked everyone.

There seemed to be an air of uncertainty within the burnt room, and it wasn't just me that looked confused by something that hounded at the back of my mind. Even the three Aerilosacs had on a slight frown on their faces as if they, too, were missing something crucial in our stories. I wouldn't be able to help them, since I was much the same. Still, now that Rivin said it out loud, I think I do remember that what he said was true. That did all happen.

The scattered puzzle pieces of my memory from the past three days filled into place. Though they felt a bit out of place, Rivin was the only one here who seemed to remember in exact details what we did, so of course I'd trust him.

Losar started to scratch at his bloody bandaged arm as his eyes twitched uncomfortably. What did he find off about our stories?

Rivin pushed the conversation onward before anyone else could voice out their concerns about the stories.

"So that's everything that happened in the last three days, but that's not all that important, really. We're here because we want to know about you and why you're helping us. And vice versa."

Leki moved closer to us and sat down on the floor next to Losar, who was nodding his head absentmindedly at what Rivin said.

"That is correct. Which side shall start first?" Losar asked.

While I wanted to propose that the Aerilosacs start explaining their origins first, Rivin found it in good nature that we, as the ones that were helped, offer our backgrounds first. He didn't reveal too much about how mom escaped from her home planet to Earth, but rather on our numbers and lives back in Oakwood. I would argue that telling the Aerilosacs all this stuff might be endangering our lives, but my brother was having none of it. The Aerilosacs listened without interrupting his talk, and Leki jotted down the occasional notes on his tablet when Rivin started explaining our ability.

Needless to say, it didn't take the Aerilosacs long to figure out what we could do. Well, just Losar and Leki. Lyla was rolling her head on the floor, still trying to grasp the nature of our time-defying ability, so everyone ignored her. It was a bit difficult, but it wasn't as difficult as when we had to explain it to Edward, our human friend who inadvertently walked in on us using the ability when we were still in grade school. The fact that Losar himself hadn't asked us a single question meant he already had an idea of what we did before Rivin explained it, which was why his outline was near black when I first met him at the restaurant.

And though it took way longer than expected, Lyla finally understood it at the end. At least, I think she did. Rivin finished his long-winded and very unnecessarily detailed talk, and Losar simply nodded.

"I understand," he said, and we Raixiens waited for him to keep speaking. When he didn't, Rivin sighed and fell onto his back, the less than bouncy mattress making a loud creak as he did.

"Don't you have things to ask us?" Rivin said.

"No. Your story is adequate enough for now. Now, it is our turn."

Rivin and I sat up.

"I am Losar, Commanding Officer of the Chicago Division on Earth, the fifth and final Division established by Larius. We arrived here on our warship Lyosa twelve years ago to set up the five Divisions as part of a reconnaissance operation, named -"

The next word that came out of his mouth wasn't English. It was some guttural and rumbling sound that made everyone snicker, including Leki and Lyla. The Commanding Officer turned and scowled at his Officers. "Did I pronounce it incorrectly?"

"No, Commanding Officer. Hearing you speak Losarien after so long was just surprising." Leki smiled.

"Yeah, but it does sound bad compared to English. I kinda forgot most of it." Lyla scratched her head.

"Reconnaissance for what?" I asked. "Don't tell me your warship is planning their next conquest. It'll be stupid, then."

It was stupid. There would not be a need to set up such extensive Divisions on Earth just for reconnaissance. They could likely waltz down here with a few thousand troops and raze everything to the ground without anything else. Hell, if this Larius guy wants to, he could send Losar down here as a one-man army to claim the entire continent given that he has enough crystals to work with. I remember what happened last night. I didn't see what he actually did, but he tore down half of the building just as fast as an earthquake could. It made no sense to do so much unnecessary ground work for a race of people who couldn't possible muster up any worthwhile defences.

I love humanity. But even I knew that if the Aerilosac wanted to wipe Earth off the system, they could do it in a heartbeat.

"I do not know why. Commanding Officers are not privy to that information. Only Larius knows." Losar shrugged, and we siblings stared at him disbelievingly. "I am not kidding."

"Then why are you here? Why did he give you position of Commanding Officer then?" I asked.

"Because I am strong. What more reason would you need to make one leader?"

I was going to say charisma and humour, because he obviously lacked both of those.

"Okay, so what's your job? In fact, what are all the Division's job?"

"My duty here in Chicago is to oversee all Lyosa transports in and out of North America. It is much the same for the Peru Division, though the other three have their own specialties."

"Uh-huh."

"The Iceland Division primarily focuses on research and development. The Commanding Officer there is Laeer, and he is the embodiment of annoyance. The Hong Kong Division focuses on architectural and fortification research. The Commanding Officer there is Leyar, and she is the embodiment of superiority. I dislike those two. Always rambling on and on about how great their Division is, how they get massive budgets to perform their experiments without a care in the world. It makes me want to shove crystals into their faces," he started to go off on a spiel, and we listened with amazement as Lyla scooted her stool over to me to whisper in my ear.

"He really doesn't like the other Commanding Officers, as you can tell."

"No shit. Why does he hate them?"

"We were all academy buddies back on the Lyosa. Losar never really got along with any of them," she giggled and slid back over to behind Losar as he seemed to realize he was getting off topic.

He coughed. "Excuse me. Finally, the Antarctica Division. I have no idea what Lahu does over there, but considering she is a one-Aerilosac Division, I cannot imagine her contributing anything to the Lyosa and our mission."

"Why's she a Commanding Officer, then?"

"I do not know. Larius chooses us, and it is likely part of his goal for us to extend our influence on this planet. It does not matter. The Antarctica Division is a joke even among us Commanding Officers, so Lahu would not factor into my plan."

"Your plan?" This was finally getting interesting. This was why we stayed, after all. There was a reason why Losar helped us, and I was not surprised to hear that he had a plan for us.

Losar nodded, and Leki paced around the office in a circle as if he was searching for something, before he ended up back where he started and gave Losar a thumbs up. Were they seeing if anyone was listening in on our conversation? There were still newly arriving Aerilosacs outside, but they couldn't be listening in on us, right?

"I have told you before, Samantha, what my wish is." Losar bore his golden eyes into me, and I somehow managed to nod normally. Rivin frowned, since he had left before I pressured Losar into telling me. "My wish is to live a long and peaceful life, preferably deep in space where I would not have to deal with the planet itself."

I forgot how ridiculous it was. Rivin must've thought the same, because we both burst out laughing when he said out loud once again. The three Aerilosacs scowled at us while we tried to calm ourselves down, though it took much longer for me to do so than Rivin, who instantly sat back up straight when he saw the solemn faces on the Aerilosacs, even Lyla. "You're serious. Why do you wish for that?"

"Is it not normal for people to wish for peace and quiet?"

"But, all of you are..." He struggled to find the correct words for it. I knew what he wanted to say. 'Wandering conquest' was what mom always referred to them as, but would it sound derogatory to these three?

"I am aware of the Aerilosac's reputation. However, this may come as news to you: There are only five warships and one mothership that serve as our 'home' in the entire universe. Out of these six ships, only one warship is responsible for the destruction you hear about. The other warships do not actively seek out civilizations to ruin. Larius has certainly dragged the name of the Aerilosacs down an abominable path."

My eyes widened from the sudden revelation.

"You serious?"

"I am."

"So the warship who destroyed mom's planet..."

"Was the Lyosa, fifty long years ago." Losar concluded.

I didn't know what to say. That Losar's boss is the very one Aerilosac who had ordered the destruction of mom's home planet? And that he's planning something with Earth by sending down his Commanding Officers?

Losar noticed that we were both heavily processing this newfound knowledge, so he waited a bit before continuing.

"None of us Commanding Officers were born back then, but even we could read the long line of conquests the Lyosa and Larius had accomplished in our textbooks. While the conquests had stopped completely ever since your home planet was destroyed, it would not be difficult to imagine that he might one day set his sights on another civilization, and if the targeted civilization is powerful enough, not all the Aerilosac would be able to live through the battle."

He obviously wasn't talking about Earth. This was a hypothetical situation where their warship would go against a more advanced civilization that could actually defend themselves somewhat. But what did that have to do with-

I stopped my train of thought to look at the three of them.

"You three don't want to die." I surmised.

Losar smiled soothingly.

"Yes. It is not uncommon for Commanding Officers to take charge during a conquest, and the system itself had been abolished by Larius himself after a conquest in which all five Commanding Officers perished. It was only four years ago when Larius assigned us children to be the new Commanding Officers."

"So you think if you - all of you - had to take charge during a difficult conquest, none of you will live through the battle."

"Yes."

"So you're all scared of dying."

"Who is not scared of death?" Losar said, and for some reason, this struck me deep. I frowned at that one line, feeling everything I had virtually constructed in my head about these Aerilosac crumble away as something new took its place. In my mind, they were all demons. Powerful, unstoppable demons that had no fear and true emotion. They weren't like us, who were like humans. I could still remember how I felt during the last two days. I was afraid of death.

And now, this guy, the one who brought down an entire building by himself, was saying that he was afraid of death? Not just him, but Lyla and Leki too?

Did they not realize who they were? They were part of the Wandering conquest, and there isn't a single conquest without casualties. There will always be at least one person who dies during the fight, and these three were worried about dying? Are they unable to see the power that they possessed?

... This was dumb.

Yet, a goofy grin crept up to my mouth despite what he had just said.

Maybe these guys weren't demons after all.

They were scared of big bad death, just like us.

I could relate to that.

"And so you three want to avoid partaking in the fight when it comes. Then what's the plan, and how does it involves us two?" I asked.

Losar placed his hand underneath his chin as he crossed his arms. Exactly like how Rivin does it.

"The plan is to kill Larius and for me to ascend to his position as Commander."





See, now my thoughts were a jumbled mess again. It wasn't that I couldn't comprehend what he had just said, but rather, I had thought I understood a little bit more about their psyche from their wish, but then they just turned a full one-eighty degrees and dropped another piece of information that they had purposefully omitted from us so far.

Rivin just laughed.

I couldn't help but follow his example, too. Come on.

Their plan to obtain peace involved killing?

Ha.

"I don't know what to say," Rivin finally said.

"Me too," I added.

"You do not need to say anything. Let me explain my plan. In fact, I do not need to say it. You have already seen the plan first handed," Losar said.

"Actually, no, I don't-" Rivin stopped me.

"You're planning an insurgency." Then, he raised his head up to stare down at the Aerilosacs like a condescending god. "Ironic."

Losar nodded. Goddamnit. If this event was any indication, it was that planning an insurgency against themselves doesn't work. From what they said, they had literally figured it all out the moment the wares were stolen and made the appropriate plans to counter it, even though the insurgents had been planning for who knows how long. All in the span of three days. Shouldn't they have learnt their lesson here and try to make sure it doesn't happen again, instead of doing the exact same thing themselves?

It was hilarious and depressing at the same time.

Although, if it was these three...

"The first phase of our insurgency was to recruit all the other Commanding Officers to stand by me. That would involve us having to travel to the other Divisions to meet them face to face, since warping up to the Lyosa and then back down to their Divisions would make Larius catch onto me quite quickly. I was supposed to go on a flight to Iceland next week, but with all this work to clean-up, the insurgency will have to be put on hold for now."

"Can't you just, I don't know, warp straight to their Divisions without going through your warship?" I asked.

Losar shook his head. "The warp gates in our Divisions are not programmed for direct travel. We must all warp up to the Lyosa first before warping anywhere else. Part of Larius' contingency protocol in case we ever decide to rebel against him."

"You guys really don't trust each other, eh?"

"I am willing to take the leap. If I succeed in my plan to recruit the other Commanding Officers, we can put up a fight against Larius. It will be very difficult, since almost every aged Aerilosac on the Lyosa reports to him directly and faithfully, and their numbers will always be at least ten times our numbers, even if I get everyone on board with the plan."

"That's phase one."

"Correct. Phase two will involve the actual battle instead. That is where we would struggle the most, since we would need vigorous teamwork and synergy to stand a chance against the Lyosa. I cannot rush this phase, so the actual planning will begin once all the Commanding Officers gather together."

"What makes you so sure you can convince them all to work with you to kill Larius? You make it sound like he's very powerful."

"Very, indeed. However, while I was also wondering how best to persuade them all to my side, I stumbled onto the greatest weapon that I could find." He raised a hand and pointed at both of us. I pointed at myself as well, confused by what he was trying to say. Us? Weapons?

"I don't get it," I said frankly, though from the looks of it, Rivin had already understood what Losar intended for us.

"The other Commanding Officers would not easily join me. They would think the plan is risky and not worth it, even though the outcome is something they would also desire. They would reject an alliance with me simply because they would not believe it could work. However, if I told them I had a sure-fire method of making sure we could actually succeed, then that is an entirely different story altogether."

He paused for dramatic effect. What a show-off.

"If I told them we had weapons that could predict the future, then that would suddenly make the plan sound infinitely more feasible. That is where you two - and your mother, hopefully - come in. We will bring you along as we visit each Division, and you will demonstrate your ability to predict the future to them. Once they see that you are the real deal, they will follow me unquestionably."

"But you're lying to them," I said. "Because we can't predict the future. Neither can our mom. The best we can see is five seconds into the future, and even that only works for moving objects that are unaware of our ability. It's not precognition."

"They do not need to know that. Perhaps we could have you guess the number of fingers they are holding up behind their backs. Small things like that. As long as you show that you at least have some semblance of vision over the future, coupled with my persuasion ability as the strongest Aerilosac among us Commanding Officers, they will buy into our plan. They will undoubtedly give us their full support, and phase one will be complete in no time. The difficult part is getting our first supporter. The rest will fall in line after the first."

Rivin frowned pensively. I don't know if it was the correct plan here. These three may not have been on Earth for long, so they haven't watched as many movies as we had, but wouldn't that plan work perfectly until the absolutely crucial, vital moment when everything kept secret comes spilling out? When that happens, the Commanding Officers will either abandon the plan, or even worse, turn against Losar. And by extension, that meant us Raixiens, too. While I could see it working initially, how long could Losar drag this lie out?

Because we really couldn't predict anything for shit. Five seconds? Sure, I could predict fingers behind their bags by their outlines, but what if they demanded more concrete proof? I couldn't lie about that.

"That is the reason why I helped you both. If you two stood by me and helped me solidify my relations with the other Divisions, our chances of successfully overthrowing Larius will increase by tenfold. Even if in actuality, neither of you did anything in regards to predicting the future," Losar finished.

Rivin and I looked at each other.

While I wanted to discuss this in full detail with him, a thought had crept into my mind by this point in time. Sure, the plan sounded iffy, but if we sat down and kept talking for any longer, I was sure that Losar would already have strategies upon strategies laid in place. To me, at least, it wasn't about how they plan to do it. It's their end goal.

Killing Larius.

Would mom want us to ally with them? If they weren't lying for the sake of reeling us into their plan, then we would be getting our revenge against the Raixien's eradicators. Not all of them, but at least we would be killing the one that was responsible for the conquests.

And if I rationalized it, we wouldn't just be getting revenge for mom. We'd be potentially saving the world. Who could say no to that? Any smart or reasonable person would instantly agree to it. If Losar kept talking, he'd inevitably get me hooked on his plan.

"I can understand if you two do not wish to get involved. You can think about it before giving me an answer," Losar said, and his two officers nodded fervently with consideration for the history between the two sides. Mom would probably get angry at us, but once she heard the proposal to end Larius, wouldn't she accept anyways?

Thus, there was no need for me to think any further.

There was only one answer that could adhere to my pride as a Raixien.

"I'll do it. I'll help you." I announced, and just as the Aerilosacs all smiled in tandem, I tilted my head over to Rivin. "But only if my brother also wants to help."

Suddenly, all of the attention fell onto him. Rivin was still just sitting on the mattress with a blank look on his face, as if he were completely zoned out and was talking to someone else inside his head. It wasn't until I snapped my fingers at him that he blinked and returned to the real world.

Though he held up that farce of a mask, I knew that my little brother was likely raging like a storm inside. After all, I had dumped my decision onto him.

But to me, it wasn't as simple as that.

Out of all five of us in this room, Rivin was the only one that truly came close to death. I already had a miniature heart attack when I had to fight the five Aerilosacs back at the building, and I would have died had Losar had patched up my palm with the now half-yellow half-crimson crystals. Even though I was scared, that was nothing compared to what my little brother probably had to experience all by himself.

He never told any of us how many he killed last night, and I didn't want to ask anyways. Though he continued to stitch up that smile on his face, he must be feeling something underneath that mask of calmness.

There was no way. Within the span of one day and one night, it felt like he became someone else. Like he wasn't my little brother who I would beat up every training session anymore. It wasn't really a visible change. He still laughed when I made jokes, and we still bickered here and there, but something just felt... off. And the worst part was, I had no idea what it was. I was sure it wasn't killing, because I also killed, and I could say with full honesty that I have zero regrets for doing what I did. Rivin is the same as me in that regards. I can at least say that with confidence.

If it wasn't killing, why did it feel like I was sitting next to a completely different person?

I couldn't possibly know. He's not one to tell me how he feels.

So, the only thing I can do is let him take charge. I'll let him decide on what we should do, just like how I let him drag me to Chicago three days ago.

Rivin didn't squirm at all under our gazes.

It seemed like minutes passed before any of us even said another word.

Everyone froze when Rivin opened his mouth.

"Okay. We'll help."

I silently jumped in joy at his answer.

Losar breathed out a sigh of relief.

"Good. Then we will discuss the plan at a later date. For now, you two should return to Oakwood and see if your mother agrees to this. If she does not understand, you can ask me to come up to your house personally to explain. There is no immediate pressure. We will be spending a lot of time recovering from this insurgency ourselves, so the first phase will not begin anytime soon."

"Okay," he said.

... Was that all he had to say?

"Then, we shall talk later. I must first contact Larius." Losar stood up and left the room before I could speak. Lyla grinned contentedly while Leki gave us both knowing nods. They must be thrilled at having new allies that they can share their information with. I got the feeling that Losar in particular was just itching to tell us just because he knew for a fact that we would accept the deal. Was he that confident that he could convince us? Had we been psychologically brainwashed by some unprecedented Aerilosac tech?

Ha.

















































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