Twenty minutes later, Chris finds himself standing in front of the Main Gate with his mentor, Bernides the morbit. The guests they are expecting are now coming from the main road.
As the hooded travelers come into view, Chris recognizes Robert among them, whereas the other two seems familiar. The travelers then remove their hoods, and Chris greets them. ‘Welcome to
Rael’charon returns the greeting, ‘We are much honored that the Prince greets us here. I’m Rael’charon Luvazel, Envoy of Lore, and these are my escorts, Ney’varíth Ushmiel and Robert Chandler. We are here for a diplomatic meeting with your Emperor.’
‘I’m sure we can accommodate you by the best way we can. Sir Robert,’ says Chris, turning to Robert. ‘I’m so glad to see you again. It’s been a long time.’
‘A long time that brought lots of changes, Your Highness,’ Robert replies politely, and Chris nods approvingly.
As they walk into the palace, Robert says, ‘Ah, Father Bernides. Glad to see you again. All is well, I hope.’
‘It’s well so far,’ replies Father Bernides.
‘Glad to hear that. By the way, where are Iris, Carol, and Father Andreas?’
‘They’re out in the city on a mission. I’m sure they’ll be happy to see you.’
Rael comments, ‘You do have good friends here, Robert. I’m impressed.’
‘They’re just my companions during my wandering, as I told you before,’ Rob answers. ‘The ones who fought together in Enia’s Sanctum. ‘Twas a sad thing that we should part, but seeing them alive and together put my mind at rest.’
They exchange no more word as they enter the main chambers of the palace.
Hearing about Robert’s coming, Andreas, Iris and Carolyn return to the palace. They spend the night talking with Robert, exchanging stories about the things they went through after their parting. All the buccaneering, trials, adventures that involved air raid, gallows, bugbears and fishmen. Chris and Bernides also join them, exchanging informations about the Heir and the recent murders that took place in Lore,
‘What? You’re surely not kidding, eh, Rob?’ says Chris with a mild surprise.
Robert answers, ‘I’m not kidding, Chris. Several of the victims were the people I know. The rest were mostly influential people and those who worked for them.’
‘Same here,’ says Carolyn. ‘I’d say the murderer was very picky and serious with his targets. The murders were done to weaken our nations, create chaos and clear the path for worldwide invasion.’
Andreas adds, ‘In that case, we are dealing with an organization of death dealers acting to fulfill the mastermind’s masterplan. And the one we know has the motive, power and will to conquer the world is...’
‘...Vordac’s Heir,’ Iris completes the sentence.
‘Now what’s our plan to stop this Heir?’ Bernides asks. ‘We have to, because WE are the Heir’s primary targets.’
Robert replies, ‘...Which reminds me. Three attempts already to kill me, and one to frame me. The last attack on Rael’charon and me was an attempt to have the heroes kill each other. I know Kyflynn didn’t mean to hunt us down, but he had to be serious with his work, because he’s being watched too. Failing in a hunt because the hunter can’t subdue the target is a good enough reason for him.
And after Myrcalia, Rael’charon will go with me to Valanis for the trial, so the Heir will have a fat chance to send his goons for another attempt.’
‘So, I guess,’ says Iris. ‘You can use more fighting power. We shall go with you.’
‘If, we have the Emperor’s permission,’ says Chris. ‘You see, we are under city arrest here.’
‘So, here’s what we’ll do,’ says Bernides. ‘We’ll ask the Emperor for permission to escort you to trial. And then, we shall spring a trap for the Heir’s death dealers, then capture them and bring them to trial as additional witnesses. We lay the rest to Vadis’ will.’
‘Thank you, my friends,’ says Robert. ‘Now let’s wait and pray for what tomorrow has in store for us.’
They all go on chatting until late at night, exchanging stories and encouraging words. Carol, however, can’t stop staring at Robert with a mixture of disappointment and anguish on her face.