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Governor's Residence, Sungkow, State of Sungkow
April 3rd, 1950

he leaves are starting to show.

“Were you followed?” Goetic isn’t her native language.

He snarls back through gritted teeth.“I always am, Marquesa.” It isn’t his, either. “It’s your damn spy agency, get a hold of it.”

With a resounding thud, the dark oak doors close behind them.

“It’s your fault you’ve gone against us for the past five years, Emanuel.”

“Are you finished? Did you invite me here just to slander me outside of council sessions?”

She doesn’t answer, instead slapping down an inconspicuous tan dossier on her desk. “Read it.”

“You people…” The paper-stuffed dossier is opened without much commotion.

The electric fan seems to fill the room with its hum. Emanuel’s eyes scan through each sheet of paper, and his hands flip between each page with unbridled speed. The breeze doesn’t stop the beads of cold sweat from beginning to form on his forehead.

“Steinhaus is… missing?” Emanuel’s face looks surprised at first. The wave of astonishment quickly gives way to fear. “He’s vanished into thin air.”

“He was en route to Neugotha to visit family two days ago.” She pauses to recollect her thoughts. “He never made it.”

“Does the Admiral know?”

The Marquesa’s face contorts into one of confused disgust. “That senile bastard? You think I’m in league with him?”

“What? I know damn well you three were back in ‘44. It’s an open secret you financed the whole damn thing. Steinhaus did logistics and Myrthenbaum provided the manpower.”

“That agreement is null and void, now that Steinhaus is gone.”

The room went quiet again; Emanuel had much to take in, but the silence helped.

Since his birth, he had been foolishly content with the Prince’s rule. The events of 1933 turned that around. This triumvirate didn’t make things any better. But with Steinhaus out of the picture and no longer meddling with the workings of government, he could make his move. No longer would he have to wait for Myrthenbaum to pass, or for some other miracle to happen. But he still had questions.

“I assume the state press hasn’t reported this yet.”

“Of course not! We can probably withhold it for a week, but people are already getting suspicious.” The Marquesa shrinks into her seat, overwhelmed.

“Why are you showing me this? You have friends in the Council. Why not Rothmann? Why not Montemayor?”

“Rothmann’s been with Steinhaus recently, and Montemayor is indecisive. You, on the other hand, fit the bill.”

The confusion rises. “What bill? Elena, just give it to me straight, already.”

There’s another pause in the conversation as she takes a sip of tea, neglected from all of the shouting. Emanuel began another round of introspection, sinking into the sofa in front of her.

“I doubt I’d have known about all of this infighting even if I was in your government.”

“You spend too much time ranting, Emanuel. You’d be as blind as a bat.”

A light chuckle reverberates around the walls of the room before the whirr of the electric fan drowns it out.

“You’ve heard the rumours about the Admiral, yes?” The Marquesa speaks, exhausted.

“Something about regretting his putsch.” The topic piques Emanuel’s interest as he sits back up. “Now he’s courting favours with the unionists. Is it true?”

“They have the wrong person.”

“Who is it, then?”

“It’s me.”

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