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located in The Skycity of Revelation, a part of Revelation: The Cure, one of the many universes on RPG.

The Skycity of Revelation

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District Alpha

Caelin pulled up to the manse in a craft driven by an assistant. Her name was Safrina- a maid in his own estate. The reason he had chosen her was because he had picked her up from one of his old forays into Gamma- and in her sector she was reknowned as an excellent thief that could break into heavily guarded warehouses. She never stole much, which showed how smart she was. Any noticeable missing supplies would cause a sector-wide man-hunt, and the thief would be put to death very slowly to demonstrate how theft is looked down upon.

People that he had rescued from a life of poverty were the hardest to teach, but often were the most loyal. She opened the door, bowing slightly as she got up. He normally wouldn't arrive like this, as the distance between any house in District Alpha was walkable to an extent. However, he was here on a formal visit and there was some unspoken protocol involved. The gates opened, and he and Safrina walked inside. Chandler's own taste was rather moderate, and as they were guided to the sitting area, he realized how quiet the entire place was. Unlike his own home, where Siri and sometimes his friends ran around and played in this manse was eerily cold. Taylor wondered briefly if his was the same kind of place before he adopted the boy.

As the maid came in with the tea, Taylor broke from his reverie and looked around. He needed hints. Something to get an answer out of Chandler. The room was sparse, little to show of Chandler's family. Understandable, as his wife was dead and his kid was rumored to be missing. He did spy a picture over the fireplace, a man holding a kid lovingly in his arms. It looked like it was hand-painted by a master.

"It's a Ferlinghetti." Safrina murmured, her eyes trained on Taylor. Taylor nodded in thanks- luckily, a maid had to be well educated which helped very much in this situation. Ferlinghetti was a famous artist that was famed for his paintings so delicate the pictures seemed life-like. Ferlinghetti paintings were very expensive.

On the table in the corner, he saw something odd. A small, curved box with a note on it. The note was layered in a fine dust, as if the maids deliberately ignored it. Safrina scooted over cautiously, and read it. "Happy Birthday." She murmured. "This box is a ring box." She reported. It was branded with the signature of a goldsmith. She moved back over, when Chandler entered the room. He was old, and the lines on his face were those of laugh lines mixed in with age. He moved slowly, as if there was all the time in the world. For him, yes. For Taylor, no. He would have to be a little aggressive if his passive pace was at this rate.

"Lord Taylor, it's truly a surprise to see you visiting me." He greeted, the warmth dissipating at his eyes.

"Lord Chandler, it's been too long since I've had a chat with you." Taylor replied in kind. "Tell me, how has it been?"

"How has it been? It's been quite mellow, Lord Taylor. Sometimes I think that if I stay in place for too long, time will just shoot right on without me."

Taylor chuckled. "Time certainly does enjoy toying with us. When we're busy, there's never enough time. When we're not mindful, it flies."

Chandler offered a smile, and began delving into some quiet small-talk. Safrina said and offered nothing, as customary for a maid. Soon, the pleasantries and catching up were done with and Chandler was softened up enough. He only had three things to go on here- the rumors, the picture, and the box. The box was a pretty weak clue, but the painting was going to be extremely useful.

"Lord Chandler, I've been hearing some disturbing rumors around Parliament for awhile now." Taylor said, his voice heavy with concern. He was, as he would for anybody with a missing child. Chandler's face seemed to depress slightly. "I've been meaning to ask you about them, as they've been getting a little wild and I want to separate fact from fiction."

"I see, what is it?"

"Word has been going around that your son has been kidnapped by one of us for leverage- instead of missing as you first claimed. I wonder, how in the world could such a conclusion be drawn?"

"I've heard no such thing." Chandler said heavily.

"Impossible, Lord Chandler. Word always gets out. Surely, you would have heard something like this. We live in an environment where words dictate the lives of citizens." Taylor retorted back.

Chandler paused. "...Yes, I've heard of such things. I've released an official "Missing Persons" report, though. I have no idea how this could have turned into a blackmail case."

Taylor nodded. There was nothing he wanted to elaborate on, apparently. It would require some pushing. "Why would somebody create rumors about something like that?" He asked pointedly. Chandler looked up.

"I don't know."

"Don't lie to me, Lord Chandler. What would somebody have to gain from spreading a rumor about your child? I don't think anybody would have much to gain, as it would bring bad attention to the matter." He said. The old noble seemed to be struck. "You've been very supportive of Lord Gilgamesh recently, despite your moderate status. Don't tell me this might be truth?"

The old man sighed. "Alright. Alright. I spread the rumors. My kid's been kidnapped and somebody left me a letter. I thought that if I spread some rumors around a curious noble would offer his assistance. It's worked, but none of them turned up evidence." He said bitterly. Another clue. Maybe, if Taylor got his hands on the letter...

"You loved your kid, didn't you?" Taylor said quietly.

"I am a parent, Lord Taylor."

"Would a parent go to the extent of having Ferlinghetti paint a picture of their kid?" He asked. Chandler's eyes immediately shot to the painting.

"No, but he's the only thing I have left since my wife passed away." He said, his voice surprisingly level. Taylor was impressed. "I wanted to keep his memory, even now when he's not here."

"May I see the letter?" Taylor asked cautiously.

"Of course. You seem to be looking into the matter too." Chandler said bluntly. Well, it was to be expected.

"You can be assured that none of this will leave the manse." Taylor offered. Chandler smiled softly.

"I trust you. You're the only honest politician in this damned city. It takes real character to be transparent in politics, and you've somehow managed to do it." He said, snorting at the oxymoronic phrase. He left the room, and returned minutes later with a letter. Giving it to Taylor, he sat down. "I don't say this to guests, but if it helps you can take a look around the manse for any help." He offered.

Taylor took the letter. Sniffing it slightly, the hint of a strong scent reached his nose. "Doused in gasoline." Taylor muttered. "There won't be any fingerprints or bodily evidence." Opening it up, the writing was written in a blocky hard-to-trace lettering. "Support Gilgamesh in all his political endeavors." It read. Ambiguous enough so Gilgamesh isn't the only suspect, but everybody within his circles. Smart. The ink had been set for quite a while before it had been doused with gasoline, as Taylor scratched at it and there wasn't a single mark or chip or mar. "Premeditated kidnapping." Taylor continued, thinking to himself. Looking up, he quickly asked the Lord Chandler where he found the letter.

"My kid's room." He said, sighing.

Taylor nodded. "May I keep this?" He asked. The old nobleman nodded. Taylor stuck it in his shirt, making sure ti hand this to Loki. As weak as it was, it was still evidence. He still had to know the exact details. He didn't expect to get Chandler to oppose Gilgamesh unless his son was safely returned. He was openly loathed by Gilgamesh's side, so it wasn't surprising that he let spill everything to Caelin after some prodding.

"Let's discuss specifics, Lord Chandler." Taylor said. "How much information do you know regarding your son's disappearance?"

District Delta

Victoria did not relax an inch, even when she peeked inside discreetly and saw a child. Children saboteurs could very well be a possibility when it comes to a guerilla army. Reading texts that had been salvaged from the earth below them, there had been instances of kids giving soldiers teddy bears with bombs stuffed inside them. Frankly, it was horrifying, and it was the kind of things one had to be prepared for when on the run. A woman had answered the door, and giving her a quick scan, Victoria was immediately jealous of the way time had treated her body. She caught an irregular bump in the gown she wore, and decided not to call her out on it. Everybody had a right to defend themselves.

Victoria didn't know who the woman was, but Pandora seemed to know. She let her take the lead, walking into the living room and giving the seat a quick examination. She pressed on the cushion twice discreetly as she bent over to sit down. Many assassinations by her master had come from sticking poisoned needles inside the cushion to gently puncture a victim as he/she sat down. Since no needle or otherwise shot up at the motion, she sat down. She spent her time quickly mapping out possible locations for cover, escape, and ambush.

She almost flinched violently when Sigrun sat next to her and began talking happily to her. Instead, she took the movement half as well, turning suddenly. "Uh, no. I wish I could be, though." She replied, shrugging. Ishtar took that moment to return with cups of tea. She sniffed at it. No bitter or sharp smells- devoid of obvious poisons. The tea scent itself wasn't overpowering, which meant it wasn't trying to disguise poisons. The coloring was normal, and the leaves didn't have unknown particles among them at the bottom.

Never take somebody's word for it. He had told her.

However, Pandora had already sipped from her cup. No immediate reactions, which narrowed the poisons down to heavy drugs. Weren't lethal unless you downed the cup in a single gulp. She took a small sip herself. Tasted normal. While she had been staring intently at the tea, Pandora had been retelling her lie. One thing she had learned before the mission was that Pandora was a terrible, terrible liar. Speaking for her would arouse suspicion, and going by a script was risky. She let her do the talking, as she knew her tongue best. Pandora then directed the woman's question to Victoria, who lowered the cup she held in her hands.

"Yes, I've been living in Beta for most of my life, but I had relatives down in Delta I visited frequently. They're dead now, but it wasn't before I saw how bad the conditions were here. It was worse when I saw how roughly the guards treated you all and how little was being done up in Alpha." She paused. "I might have sounded a little presumptuous, but, what really drove me over was the death of my master during the fires." She stopped. Every time she mentioned him, tears seem to come unbidden. Swallowing, she added one more sentence. "The guards thought he was a mage and beat him... it was a crushed skull..."