B2 — 7. Unfolding Plots And Speculations

PoV :   Klaus Klossner (Ambassador, Heroic-Grade, Unit that our Head Maid was eyeing the previous chapter)

Recap:  We were introduced to the Royal Ambassador as we continue to expand our Empire.  The Empress is becoming the central point of the nexus, sending out her minions to fulfill her will.

Our Ambassador has quite the personality, and he’s taking full advantage of his new life in a fantasy world.  You could even say he’s been reincarnated, and he’s got a story of his own!  How many more will be like him as our Empress makes her mark on this planet?

We met our lovely Cook, Antonietta, and her family while Klaus explored his new Undead family.  Learned that there might be a little somethin’ somethin’ passing between our Ambassador and Head Maid, and now he’s on route to the Nalvean Capital city!

We were introduced to the Nalveans and got our first look at the salamander-like plated creatures.  How will first impressions be on our reincarnate?

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Klaus hummed softly while leaning against the ship’s side; it had been a relatively smooth journey, and he spent most of it so far memorizing the landscape.

Now that they were entering more populated areas of the Nalvean Empire, he paid more attention to their surroundings.

His first vision of the creatures put a curious grin on his face, and after traveling further into the riverside village, he began to notice a difference in their colors.  Most of the males were brighter colored while the females had a darker tone, but each seemed to have unique markings.

The primary mission was to identify their culture and learn more about their combat potential if they became a threat while finding out ways to prevent war if possible.  The Empress’ Empire was relatively young, and the smartest move was to avoid conflict with a well-established power.

Nalvean males were at least a foot taller than their female counterparts in most cases, but there appeared to be the exception upon further study.  From what he recalled, a human male average was around 5”9, and judging with just his eyes, these salamander-like creatures stood at 7”2.

Klaus’ eyes furrowed as Camellia whispered.  “A Ri’bot is swimming toward us in the water … is it trying to attack?”

“Wha … no, no, please give us time to confirm!”  Nadraca replied, scanning the sides of the ship.  “I believe it would be best to remain hidden while we’re in public…”

Iona and Welix scanned the boat’s edges upon the prompt, swiftly detecting the swimmer on the left side, away from the Nalvean settlement.

Klaus adjusted his clothes, clasping his hands behind his back as the Ri’bot surfaced; both of their Xaria companions from the Flex and Lethix Clans tightened their grip around the hilts of their sheathed knives, stitched to the back of their leather vests.

Nadraca peered over the side, ready to duck back if necessary while Ukara and Frinel continued to direct the ship’s rudders.

The bright green head that popped out smiled at the Priestess, having no idea the two warriors were seconds away from stabbing their blades into his head.

“Priestess Nadraca!”  He whispered with relief.  “The Mother Superior has been fearing what might have become of you during the storm.  Umm … may I come aboard?”

“Unira … yes, yes, come aboard, quickly!  What has happened?  We have heard…”

“Shh…”  Unira swiftly crawled onto the deck behind the covered Thélméthra before lying flat on his back to not be seen from the shore.  “I have an urgent message from the Mother Superior; I should be as the smoke … that is what she told me to say first.”

Klaus’ smile flashed as he promptly walked over to a supply box to take out another sheet; he had noticed more than one Nalvean eyeing them along the docks.  “I see, well, then, how about you cover-up?  We wouldn’t want a sharp change in current shifting us in a manner that others can see you.”

“Uh … you must be one of those humans,” Unira mumbled, accepting the cover before wrapping himself in it by the luggage.

“Oh, you’ve heard of what we call ourselves?”  Klaus mused, motioning for the others to study the jungle while they talked, backs facing the village.

“The … umm, the message comes first.”

“Of course, continue.”

“Eh … Priestess, this human acts as if it is in charge?”

Nadraca took a deep breath before letting it out.  “In a manner of speaking, he is.  Pay it no mind, Unira.  What has the Mother Superior told you to report?”

“… Mmh … the Mother Superior warns you that not long after Commander Lacord returned with the human cargo, they were taken to the palace … none have returned since, and whispers have been sweeping the city through the night and morning.

“However, one thing is for sure … it is unknown why, but according to Elluinara, Commander Lacord was … executed.  The Mother Superior has not been made aware of any crimes he may have committed to requiring such harsh sentencing … indeed, nothing like this has happened for more than sixty years.”

Klaus rubbed his cleanly shaven chin, and as far as he was aware, he’d always remain beardless.  “Who is Elluinara?”

Nadraca collapsed to her knees, causing Klaus’ lips to fall a little.  “He’s … no, no, it can’t be … Commander Lacord did no crime.  He was just … he believed in our mission, and even … you’re sure, Unira?”

“Yes, Priestess,” he whispered mournfully.  “Elluinara confirmed it to the Mother Superior herself … I was privy to the conversation, but it has not been made public knowledge as of yet.”

“Why?  We … not even the Empress would have executed him … we did our best to treat the humans kindly.  Commander Lacord was very strict on that unless it involved the direst of circumstances.”

Klaus cleared his throat.  “… Priestess Nadraca, could you…”  He paused, vision rising to see a colossal city, rising out of the ground with mixed Egyptian and Chinese-style architecture, towering over the jungle.

The sight only distracted him for a moment.  “… Ahem, my apologies for your loss, Priestess Nadraca, but the why is not essential at the moment.  Unira has stated that the details are currently being hidden by the Nalvean governors; however, it is structured.

“That being said, we must determine who has given your people that information and why it was divulged if the powers at be have chosen to leave your leadership in the dark.  So, I will ask again, who is Elluinara?”

“Huh … that is a relevant question.  Hmm…”

Unira was the one to respond as Nadraca seemed utterly stunned by the news, and Klaus could understand why.  She was trying to come to terms with the fact that her rebellion against the High Priest’s wishes had caused a rift to form between her people and the Nalveans and that they were already indebted to the creatures.

Klaus wouldn’t put it past the Ri’bot woman to be considering the possibility that turning herself in and confessing might fix everything.  She had been the one to convince a small fraction of her people to join her, and many were dead because of that rash choice.

Nadraca is no battlefield tactician or warrior … I doubt she’s had the life of anyone on her conscience, and now she has dozens.  She didn’t take Benira’s execution lightly by the way she was talking to her people, but now, everything’s falling apart.

Camellia’s leg twitched underneath the cloth, and her agitated voice drew Klaus’ mind away from the problem.  “Hey, when your superior asks a question, you answer!”

Unira’s eyes widened like a goldfish as his irises shifted to the massive concealed Thélméthra beside him.


A long puff of air shot through Klaus’ lips as he put his hands on his hips, but he quickly reigned in the jarring shifts in conversation, deciding to nip the topic in the bud.  It was best to postpone his questions to bypass any long-winded, choppy discussion regarding all the events that needed explaining, and Nadraca operating within a functional level was a key component of the mission.

“Elite Warrior Camellia, will you allow me to correct any misunderstanding that Priestess Nadraca and Unira, Mother Superior Korina’s messenger, may have?”

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“Uh…”  The Spider Sister was a little taken aback by his address.  “Yeah … the chain of command is important!”

“Correct, Elite Warrior,” Klaus praised.  From his observations of the creature, it was fairly obvious that she lacked certain social skills compared to her family, but the very Sub-Class she’d been given was proof enough of the Thélméthra’s nature.

“First, Priestess Nadraca.”  He held out his hand to her, still staring at the plants below her in disbelief.  He was forced to repeat himself once more before she lifted her eyes, blinking a moment as a lump dropped down her throat.


“If you could, please take my hand.”

“I … umm, okay?”

She mechanically reached out, and Klaus calmly waited until her limp grip tightened.  Effortlessly pulling her up, he gave Nadraca a concerned look, making sure to emphasize it in his voice so that the species gap might be bridged through tone.

“I’m worried about you.  Could we perhaps sit down?  You don’t need to speak right away, but just collect yourself, and when you’re ready, I’ll be here to listen.”

He wasn’t positive, but he sensed the Ri’bot was a little surprised at his patient show of compassion.  “I … thank you, A-Ambassador,” she stammered, having a difficult time with the name.

She blinked a few times as he guided her over to a resting area where the seats doubled as storage, and Klaus hid his free hand with his body, motioning for Unira to stay hidden.  “Just rest for a moment.”

Unira understood that was meant for him, too, because he settled in, glancing once more at the massive sheet beside him before throwing his own covering over his head.

Frinel gave them strange looks as he hurried to follow Ukara’s directions, too far away to understand what was happening, but the actions clearly threw up some flags for the seawayer; she was currently occupied, though with some tricky currents forming along the broad river as they came upon an area with massive stones, shooting out of the river like spikes.

The obstacles weren’t close enough to cause real panic, but it did shift the waters in an unusual direction, and Klaus couldn’t even guess how large these jutting rocks were, breaking out of the deep river.

He sat next to Nadraca, holding her hand, and not long after his declaration, Camellia’s confused voice entered his mind.

“Why are you not explaining that a drone must listen and obey their superior?”

Hmm … that will come in time, Camellia, but creatures like these require a stable mental-state to learn.  I am not that well accustomed to the Thélméthra culture yet, so I cannot draw an apt comparison.  However, I can say that this is the most efficient means to obtain what you desire.

“Oh … okay.  Umm … I’m not stupid.  I know I’m not as talented as my Sisters, and I might not catch onto things as quickly as they do, but I want to learn.  The Empress told me that you are smart, and I should listen to your council.  So, why do you think this Elluinara chose to warn the Ri’bot, and what should we do about it?”

Klaus’ fingers tightened slightly against, Nadraca’s left hand as a few tears fell down her cheeks while keeping the conversation going with his superior.

The Empress said that, did she?  Well, I mustn’t disappoint.  I don’t know why or who Elluinara is, but I suspect this person is a Nalvean … one of those salamander creatures along the shore.  There appears to be a relatively stable governing body at work within this Empire, and this person must be within a position at the palace, considering the topic has been hushed.

Elluinara could be a high ranking member of this nation or a scullery maid for all I know … low-ranking servants tend to be the best spies.

Those are only speculations, though, and as to her motives … I couldn’t fathom with so little information.  It would be a pointless waste of time.

“You could get the answers from this Ri’bot, though?”

Yes, but in the grand scheme of things, Unira is worthless.  He is merely a messenger, carrying very specialized news that once delivered, makes him utterly disposable.  Although, there is merit in the fact the Head Priestess selected him, ultimately, his worth on a political scale is negligible compared to Nadraca.

Nadraca is the face—the representative of the Clavex Clan within the Empire, and ill fortuned news she just received could lead her down the path of depression, potentially to a delusional, self-sacrificial offering to Yesenia to appease her anger.

We must prevent this at all costs.  Nadraca has a decent enough grasp of the Empress’ religious network that, if leaked to Yesenia, could cause irreparable damage in the long-run.

Klaus directed an encouraging smile at Iona and Welix as they leaned up against the mast, eyeing the human and Ri’bot holding hands with a hesitant expression.  The pair’s study drew upon his mind, forming possible connections.

Camellia must have been somewhat satisfied with that answer because she retreated into her own thoughts, and Klaus turned his focus to the Xaria pair.  A plan formed as his own curiosity sparked the question.

“Nadraca … as you know, I’m not accustomed to many of your Ri’bot traditions, and I understand that very well might vary from tribe to tribe.  With that knowledge … is me holding your hand something frowned upon?”

Nadraca’s body stiffened upon his probe, but her fingers tightened.  “N-No … umm, no, no, it’s just … it’s comforting.  Thank you, Ambassador … I just never expected such a kind action from … no, no, not that the Empire is cold!  I, umm … I’ve heard a few whispers about the great acts of kindness performed by the Empress and Grand Ritualist Tiffany.

“It’s just … I don’t know what I’m trying to say,” she mumbled with an embarrassed laugh, knuckles pressed against her knees as her skin turned a darker shade of green.

“Take your time,” Klaus encouraged, giving her hand a light squeeze.

Nadraca’s pink tongue slid out of her mouth to graze across her lips, staring at the floor.  It took a few minutes before she spoke again.  “I knew Lacord for … as long as I can remember.  He became like a second father to me … my mother died when I was young … no one really knows how.  She went to trade with the Inularma Clan and just disappeared.

“My father was a hero … he entered one of the Gateways, volunteering to join the Nalvean Strikers that were tasked to conquer it.  He died … but managed to touch a stone that saved the whole squad … Strikers are a precious combat force for the Nalveans, and so it lowered the debt by a lot … my father did that.”

“Mmh … it must have been hard.”  Klaus nodded, rubbing the back of her hand with his thumb to show he understood.  Nadraca’s motivations and personality were unzipping rapidly while confiding in him for comfort, and he stored every piece of information.

She swallowed, sniffing a little while liquid fell down her cheeks.  “A little … I wanted to help, too, but … now I’ve ruined everything.”  Her body began to tremble, slowly working its way down her arm.  “I just … I wanted to do something right … and he’s dead…”

“Hey, hey,” Klaus whispered, smoothly sliding closer to hug her.  “We’ll get to the bottom of it, okay?  Isn’t that also coinciding with the task the Empress gave me?”

“Is it … will you really help us … help me?”

“Of course, Nadraca, you’re a part of the Empire now, aren’t you?  The Empress supports those that believe in her.”

“Thank you … thank you, Empress Elinor … thank you…”

Klaus continued to comfort the breaking toad woman, knowing that he’d directed the conversation down the proper path to increase her faith in the Empress.

Once she’d calmed down, she made sure she was stable enough to leave her for a moment; once confirming it, Nadraca trying to regain her composure, he walked to the back of the boat where the wheel was with several contraptions that aided in maneuvering the ship and other devices he wasn’t going to guess their function.

Frinel stayed silent as he approached, leaving everything to the seawayer.  Ukara glanced to the side, watching the Priestess clean herself up.  “I heard a bit of it … thank you.”

Klaus’ sad smile moved to the choppy waters as they continued weaving through strange jutting rocks, and he began to notice red crystals attached to a few.  “I’m here to help.”

“… Is there something you need, Ambassador?”  She tentatively asked, eyes always moving to check the changes she needed to make.

“Can you slow our course?”

Her brow creased.  “Uh … it’s possible.  If we draw nearer the shoreline and pull the sails.”

“That would help greatly.”

Leaving it at that, he gave her a departing smile, returning to Nadraca.  He caught the seawayer work her jaw around a few seconds before issuing orders to her understudy, starting with the sails.

“Sorry, Ambassador,” Nadraca took a deep, calming breath while scooting over to a barrel nearby that was half-filled with water, splashing some on her face.  “Everything just…”

“… Hit you all at once?”

“Yeah … yeah,” she softly chuckled, playing with her toes.  “Umm,” she swallowed, “so … what did you want to know?”

“You’re sure you’re doing okay?”  He asked, tone still showing his concern.

“Yeah!  I’m totally fine now … I’m just so thankful … Empress Elinor has blessed me … a lot.”  She mumbled, thighs pressing together.  “It, umm … just crossed my mind, but … do you think … I mean, if Lacord was killed…”

Klaus reached over again to place his hand atop hers, pressing into her lap.  “Yes … I’m sure the Empress has seen him safely through to the other side.”

Her lower lip trembled for a moment before Nadraca took a deep breath.  “… Eh, you were asking about Elluinara, right?”

“Yes,” Klaus replied, grip tightening around her hand reassuringly.

“She’s a junior member inside the Nalvean Seaweaver Council.  They’re in charge of developing and researching their ability to change the winds and tides.”

“Hmm … you’ve mentioned that before.  How strong is this gift of theirs?”

“Mmh,” Nadraca puffed her left cheek to the side, brow creased as she thought on the question.  “I’ve never actually seen them use it in combat.  I’ve heard stories that some can make an entire ship twice as fast on their own, but in person, it required a few Nalveans to increase a ship’s speed by twenty percent.”

The general population may have a gift, but only a select few can really wield that power at a decent strength … it’s more than manageable, but no real governing body worth its salt is going to reveal all its cards.  Valdar might actually know more in terms of combat prowess, but it’s also dated information.

The existence of a research branch in the government leads credence to the possibility that we’re dealing with a more advanced civilization than we first thought, and the architecture … I’ll have to see how cutting-edge their society is when we arrive at the capital.

“Is something the matter?”  Nadraca asked, her blue eyes fastened on his hand, enclosing hers.

He gave her a small smile.  “No, no, just thinking.  Hmm … I think it would be best to avoid eyesight from here on out.  How close do you think we can get to the Mother Superior’s place without entering the city?”

“Without entering the city?”

Klaus nodded with a grave expression.  “It might actually be too late, but I doubt it.  Does the Nalvean’s have a spy network?”

“I … don’t know.  I’m sorry,” she whispered, head drooping.

“It’s fine,” Klaus replied, patting her hand.  “I wouldn’t expect you to know every facet of their government.  No, I have no doubt they have some kind of spy division … and while Yesenia hasn’t yet consolidated power, things are swiftly moving in that direction if what Chief Nina saw turns out to be true.  In that case, we need to tread carefully.”

He caught Iona and Welix’s eyes; they two had been mumbling softly about where best to start their mission, concluding the slums of the Ri’bot community would be the best location.  Unlike the Clans in the Valley, the Clavex had no enemies, allowing them to multiply like crazy, which increased their numbers into over eight thousand souls.

Most had never held a blade to defend themselves, but after speaking to a few of the Clavex members, a strange idea had sprung up, and that was a place where lazy Ri’bot gathered.  The rejects of the clan and there were even a minority of random Ri’bot from many other areas that had found their way to the easy life of the swamp.

It didn’t take them long to reach the shore, and within that time, Klaus had explained the current situation to Benira.  The stunned messenger took a bit to come to terms with the news, but to Klaus’ surprise, Nadraca spoke quite passionately about everything that had occurred and the powers the Supreme Chief held.

There was a small strip Ukara guided them to near the bank, situated between the closest town and the massive capital towering over the jungle.  It didn’t nearly have the goliath size of the Quen’Talrat Fortress, but it did make the structures in Egypt and China that they reminded him of seem tiny in comparison.

Ramming the boat on the opposite side of the river, Klaus saw the Nalvean settlements; they tied up the boat before heading into the jungle with Benira as their guide.

Camellia told her two drones to guard the ship, tying anything up in webs and sending her a warning signal if anyone tries to steal the craft.  She transformed into her human form, adding her garments behind a tree; apparently, she’d learned about modesty from a few humans.

Klaus found the exercise kind of silly, considering the type of murderous creature she was, but it did add more character to the spider girl.

He was more than a little floored by the results of the change when she revealed herself.  Klaus managed to keep his shock hidden, though.

The Empress’ power certainly is something … she’s able to turn something like that into this … red-headed drop-dead supermodel?  Eternity might not be so bad.

He mused, eyeing the spider in human guise; while heading toward the boat from the fortress, he’d caught a few glimpses of her but hadn’t been able to get a clear image until now.  A flash of her looks was all he was able to get while Camellia was tearing up the jungle.

A smile touched his lips as Nadraca stayed close by his side.

She’s going quite attached to me, but it’s understandable.  I’m an anchoring stone for her at the moment.

Klaus doubted there was any need for concern, Camellia had proven that she’d warn of possible incoming threats before, but he decided to make sure.

Camellia held her hands behind her back while easily trudging through the moist ground, causing squelching sounds as Klaus continually forced his feet from the muddy land.  “Mmh … nope.  Nothing big.  A whole lot of birds … well, those big bird things.  A lot of little critters, but no Nalveans.”

Good to know.

The news did lighten his mood.  He knew Camellia was powerful, but there was still a voice in the back of his head that warned him not to let his guard down; Camellia was built with a complex nervous system to track things, but she was not specialized in it for her Class or Subclass.

After a time, they made it to a paved street, which caused Klaus to slow to a stop, making everyone else halt.

He glanced around the space, watching Ri’bot moving in and out of buildings, carrying goods to sell, process, clean, or items they’d bought.  It was hard-pressed to find any that didn’t have at least a few fish attached to backpacks, held in carts with other objects or carried in their hands.

Not any grain products … a pure carnivorous diet?

He motioned for them to continue while taking in the sights; they were starting to draw attention, mainly Camellia and him.

“I see quite a few areas that have that dream language you were talking about.”

Nadraca nodded with a slight frown.  “Yes, sadly, some Ri’bot in the Clan have taken a liking to the Nalvean lifestyle and see themselves as more Nalvean than Ri’bot.”

“Mmh … which is one of the reasons you wished to pay the debt?”

“Yeah, it’s one,” she whispered, voice falling a few octaves as they passed curious Ri’bot.

To Klaus, it seemed the workers were heading home for the day; the sun was quickly descending beyond the horizon, ducking below the tree and building line.

“We’re getting close,” Unira whispered, vision scanning for Nalveans after hearing Nadraca’s story.

Klaus was a bit less concerned.  Yesenia had only begun taking over this Empire the day before, and within a well-established government with potentially hundreds of thousands to a million citizens, it would take time to win over the whole geographic area.

There was little doubt in Klaus’ mind that there would be rebellions, even if small, and those could be expanded if needed, but that wasn’t his area of specialty.

He watched the two Xaria wander off, knowing their part in the plan.  They would be staying for quite some time, and it was a part of his job to get them support.

The four Clavex members watched them leave with a slight frown but didn’t question the decision since Klaus and Camellia didn’t make a fuss about it.

They walked for several minutes, taking twists and turns; the looming city that dwarfed this small Ri’bot settlement could be seen across the river, and upon Klaus’ prompt, Benira guided them out of the open docks, taking them the back way to the Mother Superior’s residence.

However, they all froze as Camellia hissed, “Stop!”

A passing Ri’bot eyed them curiously but hurried past, clearly more interested in his own business than the strange creatures walking down the street he’d probably never seen before.  The lax attitude of the Ri’bot told Klaus volumes about what kind of life these creatures had led compared to the struggling tribal warfare practiced by the Valley Ri’bot.

Camellia’s serious expression made Klaus’ nerves shoot up, though.

What is it?  He asked, reaching out through the Nexus.

“I sense a creature with murderous intent within the area … two of these streets down, to the left.  It’s a Nalvean.”

Thoroughly taken aback and impressed by her detection skills, he made a mental note of it.

It shouldn’t be directed at us.  It seems very unlikely anyone would be able to pinpoint our exact location this quickly without some kind of tracking spell or device.

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The group watched them with bated breath, and only Unira was unaware that the creatures brought back by the Empress could communicate without words.

“No … it’s creeping away from us.  I believe he will wait until nightfall.  He’s moving the same direction we are, though.”


Speaking up with a light chuckle, he motioned them to keep going.  “It doesn’t concern us.  Oh, where’s the Mother Superior’s residence, Unira?”

Pointing southeast, he cleared his throat.  “… Uh, we just need to curve around this bay.”

“Ah, so we are close!  That’s good.”

They quickly jogged to catch up to him, Unira retaking the lead with a baffled expression.

Camellia, keep track of him if you can.  If he continues following the same path we are … then Yesenia might have already made a move.

“To kill this Mother Superior Ri’bot?”

It’s possible.  She’s a massive figure in their community, but … no, something’s not right.  That wouldn’t have the optimal effect, but it could be motivated out of pure hatred for the Ri’bot, barring logic for an emotional response?  Hmm … let me know if he breaks off.

Klaus frowned while passing the area Camellia had sensed him in, scanning the alley, but there wasn’t a single Ri’bot or Nalvean in sight.


“Yes?”  She asked with a concerned tone, glancing back at Camellia; she wasn’t even looking where they were heading, seemingly staring into a wall like she wanted nothing more than to demolish it with her sight alone.

“Do Nalveans come to the Ri’bot districts regularly?”

“Umm … not normally, no,” she mumbled.  “You’ll find them all over the docking areas, collecting goods from the daily trades, but we normally go to the main Nalvean bartering hub in the Main District docking area to conduct most of our business and come back to our homes to rest.  Almost all of the licensing and processing tasks are hired out by Nalvean businesses in the Nalvean Districts, too.”

They’re the labor force of the Nalveans, hmm?

The conversation died as he tried to piece together the straws of information he had until Camellia interrupted his thoughts.

“He changed directions.  The Nalvean is moving northeast now.”

“What’s in that direction?”  Klaus asked Nadraca.

“Mmh … that is … there’s a lot of houses there, and beyond that, the old swamp … that’s where most of the Ri’bot that do very little to contribute to the debt live.  They don’t care about how filthy the place has gotten or the strange smell the mud releases.”

He chuckled softly.  “I see, I see.”

Interesting … the Clavex has adapted to a different lifestyle than all the other Ri’bot, and even though Nadraca wants to return to a previous time, she’s oblivious to the fact her own cultural tastes have changed.  Toads won’t be toads, I suppose.

“May I ask why?”  Nadraca queried with an innocent expression.

Klaus smiled, laughing softly.  “I’m curious about everything about Nalvean and Clavex culture.”

Camellia … if I’m correct, then we might have stumbled upon a very delicious plot!  Could you follow him without being seen?

“Naturally!  I may not be as stealthy as my sisters, but I am a Thélméthra … can I follow without being seen … wait, was that an insult?”

I would never be so bold as to insult you.  Klaus’ stomach shook with laughter, causing the other five to glance his way.  No, I’m just very new to the Empire, and I know almost nothing about the combat units.

“Okay … I can be stealthy, though!”

I have no doubt.

“Then why’d you ask?”  Camellia grumbled, becoming semi-transparent before his eyes.  He could still see her, but by the reactions of the Ri’bot beside her, she’d utterly vanished.

“G-Great Chief Camellia?”  Ukara whispered with a bit of fright.

Camellia giggled, moving shockingly fast to stand in front of her face.  “Right here!”

“By the Ancestors!”  The seawayer screamed, falling back in shock.

“I’ll be away for a bit.  Try not to get yourselves into trouble while I’m gone.”

With that, Camellia became a blur, running along the walls with her bare feet.

“What am I supposed to be looking for?”

Before that … I’m very impressed, Camellia!  You continue to blow my mind with all of the fantastic things you can do.

“Mmh … you’re not just saying that, right?”

Absolutely not!  I have never seen a human so talented … no, I have not witnessed anyone in the Empire thus far with such raw ability!

“Stop it … my sisters are way stronger than me, but I try really hard … umm, what does blow my mind, mean?  I’ve never heard of that before.”

An amused smile touched Klaus’ lips as the group continued forward, the Clavex members mumbling to one another about how strangely they were acting, but Nadraca was quick to try and silence any doubts, only allowing fun speculations that only doubled Klaus’ amusement at the ridiculous thoughts thrown around.

I’m not lying, Camellia; you should be able to sense that since your rank is higher within the Nexus … which means you’re trying to dissuade me from thinking this way?  You should have more confidence in yourself!

By the way, the Empress’s Nexus is phenomenal.  She was worried it might not function outside of her range, but it seems that coverage can be projected by Intelligent Undead.  It opens up a whole new scope of communication, although tedious, but it could be instrumental.

“Oh … I didn’t even notice that … you are pretty smart!”

I wouldn’t go that far.  He replied, continuing to observe the Ri’bot around the area that passed them.  They were getting a few curious looks, and several even ground to a complete stop to stare at him, but none worked up the interest or courage to approach.

Something blowing your mind means that you’re stunned or shocked about a particular thing.  The reason I want you to follow that creature … I believe he’s trying to recruit a Ri’bot to murder the Mother Supreme.  It’s the perfect event to initiate Martial Law or lockdowns, and it could cause a fracture within the Ri’bot community if certain individuals were given the right incentive.

I’m a little concerned if Yesenia found the proper support to launch something like this, but … we’ll have to see how things play out.  Keep in contact with me, and tell me if he meets with anyone.  I’m sure you’ll be able to spy on the conversation, right?

“Naturally!  And that plan … blows my mind!  Did I use it right?”

Hehe, perfect.

“I’m a little confused about the whole thing, but the way you make it sound, it would cause a war between this clan, right?”

Correct.  A very bloody one that would justify quite a response by the Nalvean government since this is happening in their own front yard.  However … the smarter play would be to start seeding dissenting lines of thought that divided individuals … hmm; in any case, this could be a massive bargaining chip we can use to bring the majority of the Clavex Clan into the Empress’ pocket.

“Oh … this is turning out to be really fun!  It didn’t think there was this kind of battle … you keep blowing my mind!”

Klaus only laughed, continuing to ponder his next steps, depending on the direction this path led and what options he could take if it didn’t pan out.


Clan Territory Markers

Unmarked Map

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