On the first floor, Bonnie, Agonda, and Jodi have a brief conversation. The three of them speak near the doors leading outside the palace.
“And that’s all we know as of now,” Bonnie says.
“So if she survived the blast,” Jodi says. “Then those locations are my best chances of finding her before Glenn.”
Agonda nods. “That’s correct.”
“Her face. Her lips. And that body! I get such strong urges when I recall it.”
“How can you even tell she has a good body? She’s quite covered.”
“You weren’t looking hard enough.”
Bonnie bumps Agonda. “Don’t encourage him. Now Jodi, we only told you this for that ‘exchange’. Do not kill her.”
Jodi makes a lustful face. “But the excitement! That girl is—!” He briefly pounders. “Say, how do you think she looks in a two-piece bikini? Mmm, she must be delicious.”
“Jodi, come on,” Agonda says. “If you kill her, it’ll be really bad for all of us.”
Jodi becomes less excited and walks several feet from them. “Fine, I won’t go too far. And in exchange as promised,” he turns his head toward them with a deranged smile. “I’ll find ‘its’ remains,” he says before sticking out his tongue. Black hands with arms come from his waist and push him into the floor from his head through a black portal beneath his feet.
Once he was transported from the room, Bonnie makes a face of revulsion. “He’s disgusting.”
“Yes, but he is of use to you, is he not?”
“He’s a fool who is a waste of my time. All he cares about is satisfying his primal desires. Truth be told, he would turn on anyone who can’t satisfy his urges.”
“Reminds me of the first time you asked for his aid. What did he ask you to do?”
Bonnie lightly blushes before clearing her throat. “Moving on. I think I’m losing Derexen’s trust. And that’s very bad.”
“That is unfortunate. But you knew that was going to happen eventually. But I don’t understand. Why are you in need of Afearia? Why withhold information?”
“Not here, Agonda!” she quickly blurts.
“What’s going on here?” Valerie sternly asks as she comes down the center stairway. “Don’t you two have things to do?”
Bonnie grits her teeth. “You’re one to talk. Shouldn’t you be upstairs?”
“I sensed not everyone had left the building and decided to see why those remain. And a moment ago, I’m sure Jodi was here.”
“Listen, number ten—!”
Bonnie’s aggravation rises. “Your high and mighty attitude is really starting to make me mad. Last I checked, I’m number six and you’re number ten. And I don’t recall Derexen making you the false watcher of the organization.”
Valerie slowly steps to Bonnie, stopping in front of her with a calm intensity. “Then let me open your eyes, Bonnie. These numbers mean nothing besides their entry placement. I go by what lord Derexen says, not you. So don’t give these numbers more meaning than they have. You can’t manipulate me like you used too. This isn’t like the day you found me.”
“That just makes you ungrateful,” Bonnie nearly snarls.
“Oh, I am grateful. I am grateful to you for giving me the chance to meet the mighty king of Terra. That’s why I’ve never put you down for insulting me.” Bonnie grunts. “But if you or anyone else does anything against the lord’s wishes, I will not hesitate to remove your shameful, putrid, body from this world.”
Bonnie steps closer. “You little—!”
Agonda grabs Bonnie’s shoulder. “Let’s go. We do have things to tend too.”
Bonnie grumbles at her once more. “You better stop accusing me of treachery, Valerie. I mean it.” Bonnie storms out the building with Agonda steadily following her. Valerie closes the doors behind them and walks back upstairs.
On the second floor, Yadeira sits at a smaller, yet similar dining table as the meeting room. The only few differences are the room’s positive décor with the open windows letting the sun in to gleam off the brown waxed wooden table. The room itself is three-fourths the size of the usual gathering area with only four chairs available.
Yadeira quietly draws a rough draft of Afearia’s face when Valerie comes in the room from the doors behind her. “Was she still here?” Yadeira asks.
Valerie sighs before sitting on the table edge next to her. “Yeah. That woman… I don’t understand why lord Derexen keeps her around.”
Yadeira smirks. “Maybe they’re lovers,” she says before giggling.
“Gross, and not even funny.”
“I’m just kidding. But lord Derexen always has a plan. You don’t have to worry. No one can surpass him,” she says with a serious look in her eye.
“But she’s not the only one. I’m concerned about how high the odds are stacking.”
Yadeira makes a confused face before looking up at her. “Who are you—?”
Glenn comes through the doors. “Sorry I’m late. Had to get the word out on Afearia.” He walks to the other side of Yadeira. “How long until you finish, Yadeira?”
“I need about fifteen to thirty minutes. I can have the mass copies done in two to three hours. You and Valerie can distribute them soon after completion.”
“How do you plan to make that many copies so soon? Never mind, I don’t care.” He walks from the table. “I’ll be back in two hours.” He leaves the room with the girls saying nothing for a moment.
Valerie gazes at the light coming from the window before turning her head to Yadeira. “Do you think the lord is happy?”
Yadeira stops drawing. She remains motionless for a moment before she continues drawing. “I think he’s not fully satisfied with his progress. In truth, a man in his position doesn’t have room for happiness.”
“Out of all the years I’ve known him I have never seen him smile.”
“Does that bother you?”
“Of course that bothers me!”
“He’ll be fine. Lord Derexen is far too strong willed to let things like emotions restrict him. He will not be shackled by greed, blind by anger, or consumed with pride. And so—lord Derexen will never find peace. Even if this world became his ideal Eden and he did, he would no longer be qualified as king.”
Valerie stares at her with a slightly surprised expression. Her response was so clean, she thinks. If I replace he, his, and Derexen with I and my, I could have easily sworn I was talking to the king himself. To be able to speak so highly of him while sounding just like him…
Yadeira looks up at her and smiles. “What’s with the face, Ms. Valerie?”
“Nothing… Seems like you may understand him better than I do.”
She giggles. “Don’t say that. I don’t think anyone in the organization deserves to be where you stand in the lord’s kingdom. You have a wonderful position.”
“And what’s that?”
“I can’t say.”
Valerie smirks. “Has your mental synchronization with the lord been served?”
“I can’t say. Just don’t underestimate where you stand with him.” Yadeira turns to her with a calm demeanor. “Your position—okay?”