Chapter 23:

The Truth

The Forbidden and the Gifted

[10:04 a.m., August 9th 2048, St. Petersburg. Frost stands face to face with Drift, who stands in front of Naomi, Martial and Daisuke. Shin, still feeling the effects of Frost’s punch, sits next to Yuki, who looks towards Frost. Behind them are Karina, Ashe and Electra, and behind Frost is Katarov, who stands up, Fetistof and Ryo, as well as the other two men from before]

Frost [To Shin]: First, let me apologize for that… I let my temper get the best of me, but I did not mean any harm…

Shin: Eh? You think an apologies gonna cut it?

Frost: What else do you desire?

Shin: Nothing, really. But I don’t trust you… even though I blindly agreed to let you do this to them because of Yukes’ reasoning, I still don’t trust you enough.

Katarov: Eh… you don’t trust him? That’s rich mate.

Frost [To Katarov]: You. Knock it off. You know better. I won’t be having that type of blatant disrespect from you.

Katarov [Laughs]: Sorry, sorry. Just needed to let the moron over there know his place, that’s all.

Frost: That isn’t for you to speak on. I’ve come here on your terms for my own business… you stay out of this.

Katarov [Chuckles]: Yeah. My bad.

Shin [Interjects]: Oi, geezer. Tell me, before you talk to Drift about God knows whatever, why the hell are ya here? Your answer before was too damn vague. What the hell do you want with us?

Frost: Did I not just tell you? I wanted to awaken these four –

Shin: But why?! I couldn’t care less if you’re a guardian for these gifts or whatnot… why the hell does it matter if these gifts come to fruition? Can’t they just stay dormant?

Frost: But Shin… wouldn’t that be a waste? If it was your brother, Ichigo, would you not want him to become even stronger than he already was?

Shin: Ichigo never needed your bullshit… Ichigo was perfectly fine as is.

Frost: Ichigo Taiki was someone I had studied from the shadows for a while… a true testament to the strength of mankind… I would have loved for him to have had those same pulses as I sensed with Katarov, but he just didn’t.

Shin: Even then, he would’ve never needed this garbage from you. He was perfectly fine. Hell, the world was perfectly fine without this trash… he was a perfect guardian for the Eastern Seaboard, but you had to manufacture him… [Points to Katarov]. He would’ve lost that day. He would’ve.

Frost: That may be true… but that shows the revolutionary ability of these gifts, does it not?

Shin: Eh? ‘Revolutionary ability’? You gave that shit to a damn terrorist! Look at him!

Frost: But again Shin, you’re mistaken… Katarov there may have killed your brother, but he has done plenty of work rebuilding the broken Baltic States within the Baltic Empire. He only ever killed your brother because your brother was tasked with an assassination job against him, after all.

Shin: That doesn’t take away from the fact that you created him… you gave him the power to become an assassination target. You are the one at fault.

[Katarov cracks his knuckles and looks angrily at Shin, but Frost lowers his hand downwards, signaling for him to stop]

Frost: Again, Katarov has done plenty of good work in those states… not everything he has done has been perfect, but I believe I made the right choice when I found him all those years ago. He has turned into a great leader of the people and has turned around a lot of the states, even if the living conditions are still a work in progress. I really don’t think I made the wrong choice here. Of course, your opinion will differentiate from mine because at the end of the day, this man here… [Points to Katarov] killed your brother, who, with all due respect, was an extremely great man. I do understand your frustration, but I cannot reciprocate the idea that I have made some form of error in my judgement then. I’ve only had one of those, really.

Drift [Interjects]: Oh yeah? Who?

Frost: You should know him… after you returned from your short time in Greece and well before you left for Japan, for the little while that you were in Albania. Pius Handanarov.

Drift: Eh? Who?

Frost: Maybe it’s a little easier if I tell ya what his gift was… you remember a guy who could use vines ever? Cause I’m sure it was you and your other friends that I saw there when he was running rampant. You were some of the few spectators who were able to live after he went on his rampage.

Drift: THAT GUY? YOU CREATED HIM TOO? [Calms down] Maybe I shouldn’t be

Frost: Yes. And I atoned for my mistakes as well by killing him. He was the first person who I had ever awakened, but he spent most his time training with myself and my second-in-command. I always thought he was a decent person. However, when I spoke about awakening another – who was Katarov – he disappeared from my sight. I halted my plans to awaken Katarov to find him, but I could only find traces of him in the underworld, with him killing many people in Albania, Greece and Montenegro, his homeland.

Drift: So then…

Frost: Eventually, I was able to gain some distance on him, and that’s when I found him, on that same day that you guys did. It wasn’t the police that actually ended him, although their presence did help… I was the one who had to end his life.

Yuki: Wait… then how’d you get out?

Frost: Most of the cops were killed by him anyway. The one’s who lived didn’t even get to see my face. All I knew was that I had to put him down though. I don’t know what it was… jealousy, aggression… he wasn’t the right choice in the end.

Yuki: And it was only after that that you awakened Katarov then, I presume?

Frost: I was going to, but I took some time to reconsider and reassess, before going ahead with my decision, because I truly believed in him. That’s what I decided – anyone who I’d awaken from then on would be someone worthwhile, not just anyone who I saw with an innate gift.

Drift [Interjects]: And so… you considered us to be worthwhile? What the hell does ‘worthwhile’ even mean then, if you considered him [Points to Katarov] worthwhile?

Frost: Oh please… deeming someone as a worthwhile individual just means that I consider them to have similar ideals to my own, that’s all.

Shin: So then… how can you say that him [Points to Katarov] and him [Points to Drift] both align with your ideals? They’re clearly on opposing ends in this conflict, so what gives? Are you just spewing nonsense?

Frost: No, no. In the end, one’s morality is only one part of who they are, and does not encompass their ideals at all. In fact, all of you here are quite similar in how you think and act upon those thoughts – it’s purely fate that has brought you to oppose one another.

Shin: Listen man, I don’t wanna be lectured on how they’re actually good, we’re actually good and no one’s actually wrong here. That kind of stuff’s for Hollywood, not for a standoff. In the end, fate, free will, gifts, hatred, whatever, that guy [Looks to Katarov] killed my brother. Now that your whole shenanigan of awakening these guys, or whatever, is over, you wanna move aside?

Yuki: Shin…

Shin: Don’t Shin me. I stood aside long enough because I was waiting for him to finish. I know he’s strong. I’m not an idiot. But I ain’t leaving here empty-handed. I’ve got unfinished business with Katarov that I need to attend to.

Katarov [Yells]: Oh really? Unfinished business like what? Getting your brakes beaten off? Come on then bud… if there’s no issues, of course.

Frost [To both]: One second.

Shin [Looks at him]: Eh? Why? You’ve had your fun, haven’t you? Your awakening or whatever it was is done, isn’t it? Your great spectacle or whatever, right? It’s done, no?

Frost: It may be done… but I have unfinished business.

Shin [Confused]: Unfinished business? Man, what the hell are you talking about?

Frost: I’m talking about him.

[He points to Drift]

Shin: Huh? Whad’ya want with him? You’ve already done your ritual, you’ve already knocked off his prosthetic arm and replaced it with… [pauses] whatever the hell that is…

Drift: That’s true. What more could you need from me man? [Pauses] Wait… I get that you’ve been tracking me or whatever since the Pius incident all those years ago… but still –

Frost [Interjects]: “But still, how did I know your real name?” Is that what you were gonna ask?

Drift: Yeah. The hell’s up with that? Did that weasel tell you about it?

Ryo [Looks up]: Oh not at all, not at all. I was surprised myself when he brought it up.

Drift: Shut it. I didn’t ask you.

[Ryo laughs then looks towards Frost, who looks at Drift]

Frost: Wilhelm… the seventh, I presume?

Drift [Shocked]: Huh…

Frost: You really think I wouldn’t know everything about you, Wilhelm?

Karina [To Electra, in the background]: The seventh?

Electra: Beats me. I don’t know what that means.

Karina: What? Haven’t you been with this guy for your whole life?

Electra: Not our whole life. We met up in our early teens and went from there. I know a lot about him, but I don’t know everything.

Karina: You know anything about his childhood?

Electra: Nope. Never really bothered to ask. Me, him and Higuchi were all just some broke teenagers who were living by ourselves in a country who couldn’t care less about us, so we banded together. I didn’t really care to get into specifics about it with either of them, and they elected to do the same.

Karina: So before you guys became the talk of the town in Albania because of the stuff you guys used to do, you guys were just some poor kids?

Electra: Yeah, we were. I swear I told you this story, didn’t I?

Karina: Not me, no. I only know about what you three used to do before moving here to crash with Naomi. You guys were some pretty good petty criminals eh?

Electra: Well yeah, we had to be. When you grow up broker than a smashed piece of Fine China, of course you’re gonna find ways to make money, keep it and get yourself up and ahead in the world. Cause if you don’t, you’re better off dead, right?

Karina: Yeah for sure… still wild to think that at one point you three were some broke-ass boys sitting on the side of the road though.

Frost [To Electra and Karina]: Broke-ass boys? You talking about Wil here like that?

Karina [To Electra]: He can hear us?

Electra: I guess so.

Karina [To Frost]: Well, Elec was just explaining who they were when they first met… that’s all.

Frost [Looks up, then chuckles]: Ah, I see. You’re his good friend, Electra, aren’t you? You know more about him than anyone here, besides myself obviously. You and that other boy – Higuchi Ren, was it? – you two were always with him. You three made a good trio, and even when that third left, you two worked well here within Eastern.

Electra [Walks towards Frost, with Karina following]: Hey, hey… I get that you’re some great Godfather, or something like that, with your weird ass awakening and whatnot. I ain’t questioning you – you’re the real damn deal surrounding these gifts, but man, why the hell do you know all of this stuff?

Frost: Like I just said… I need to know everyone who I deal with… in order to know if they’re worthwhile of an awakening. It wouldn’t be fair to anyone if I didn’t do my due diligence. I’m sorta like your boy over there [He points to Martial] – as much as I’m strong and gifted, I deal in information as well. Knowing who’s on your side and who’s not is quite important in this day and age; hell, I wouldn’t be half of the person I am without my wealth of information.

Drift [Interjects, angrily]: Never mind all that. [Looks to Frost] How the hell’d you know?

Frost: What? It wasn’t common knowledge? Really?

Electra: Common knowledge? What was?

Drift [Gestures to Electra to keep quiet, then motions to Frost]: Of course it isn’t common knowledge. Why would I have attracted attention to myself like that?

Electra [Thinking]: Wait a second… he said the seventh, right? Wilhelm… the seventh?

Frost [To Drift]: Clearly, I thought that you’d use some form of leverage at least.

Drift: Some form of leverage? It was already hard enough trying to get myself out of that shithole that I was in, and getting that removed from my official documents took more-or-less all of the cash that I had managed to take with me. I did everything I could to erase that shit from my past and forget all about it – so why do you, you here, now, want to bring it up?

Frost: Please… I had some information regarding your father, Wilhelm the Sixth.

Electra: Holy shit.

Karina [To Electra]: Wait, wait, wait, what happened? Huh? Their whole family is named Wilhelm, cool? But why the reaction from you Elec?

Electra: I may not be Albanian, but I lived there long enough to know that name… Wilhelm the Sixth was the King of Albania…

Shin: Huh?

Yuki: Say what now?

Karina: Holy shit.

Katarov [To Ryo]: You knew about this?

Ryo: Not entirely, no. We had our reasons to kill him, but this wasn’t one of the listed ones.

Katarov [To Fetistof]: How about you?

Fetistof: Nope, not a clue. If anything, Vlar may know something or the other. He’s been around Greece and Albania on a couple of occasions.

Katarov [Chuckles]: Well though, I won’t be getting to Vlar anytime soon… but would you look at that… the son of royalty.

Fetistof: Quite odd, isn’t it?

Katarov [To Drift]: Oi mate, what the hell? Why’d you give it all up? You gave it all up to be, what, the third in command of some black-market Japanese group? And hell, you wouldn’t even be here if not for that one guy… Ichigo’s friend. [Pauses] Oh whatever.

Electra [To Drift]: Wait… is this true? Did you never tell anyone about this then?

Drift: Clearly not. Look at the way everyone’s reacting. This is new information.

Electra: Then why’d you hide it? You hid it from both me and Higuchi for what? Why’d you even come to us then? You had life made, didn’t you?

Drift [Slaps him with his left hand]: Shut up. I obviously had a reason to come to you two, didn’t I? Why would I willingly give up that posh life unless there was some bullshit behind it?

Electra: Then what was it? And why couldn’t you tell me or Higuchi? Why not just explain it to us?

Drift: At first I thought you two would come to realize who I was! An abandoned kid, with a similar look to the current King, with the damn name Wilhelm! I thought you two would clue in and I’d have to explain my situation – but when you two didn’t, I decided to just go along with it. Why would I put myself in any more danger than I already was in?

Electra: Why would I suspect you to be the heir to the throne of a damn country? Like I was telling Rina, we were beggars damnit! We had nothing and no reason to be suspicious of anything!

Drift: Then that makes it all the better, doesn’t it? Who cares?

Electra: I care! Why the hell would you run away from such a life anyway!

Drift: The hell do you mean why would I run away? Everyone has their reasons no?

Electra: The damn heir to the throne of a European nation doesn’t just up and go, now does he?

Drift: He does if the situation at the top was as it was over there!

Electra: The hell do you mean? Albania was fine man! There’s worse situations out there!

Drift: That’s what you think.

Electra: The hell do you mean, that’s what you think? It’s a damn fact! It wasn’t as good as England or France or some of the other upper echelon countries in Europe, but it was still damn good!

Drift: Again… were you a noble? You didn’t see the shit that I did!

Electra [Sarcastically]: Oh pardon me, mister gifted nobleman, let me just take a step back and bask in your glory. My bad, big shot.

Drift: Man, give it a rest. I’m not here to fight with you over this garbage.

Electra: But then why would you keep it so hidden then? I mean shit, it makes sense that you changed your name once you moved here, and it makes even more sense why you were such a wanted target. Hell, even moving to Japan –

Ryo [Interjects]: Well, we just got the hit on our list… so I didn’t know anything about who he actually was. But there probably was some talk between the higher-ups, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that was a bigger reason that was kept under wraps.

Electra [Looks at Drift]: And you couldn’t have told us… anything, about this?

Drift: Well –

Electra: You understand how much better it would’ve been if we just knew about this man? Did you think we’d sell you out or something? We’re brothers man… the hell do you think?

Drift [Mutters]: It was matters of national security…

Electra: Eh? The hell’re you muttering? Speak up damnit! You’ve been quiet about this for long enough man. Tell us.

Drift [Yells]: It was matters of national security, goddamnit! What more do you want me to say? What more can I say eh? I didn’t tell you guys because it was in the country’s best interest!

Electra: The country’s best interest? Huh? The hell are you talking about? You’re the one who abandoned your seat at the throne!

Drift: I abandoned it cause the country was falling to ruin!

Electra: Then don’t bring up bullshit like the ‘country’s best interest’! It was your own best interest!

Drift: Shut up man! Do you understand how hard it is to grow up as a nobleman’s child, with all of those damn headaches! Do you understand the hell that I went through?

Electra: HUH? You were a noble! Shut up! You didn’t go through hardships like we did. You would never understand then!

Drift: Then what would you do if I told you that the national debt of our nation… at the time of my abandonment, was nearing one trillion USD?

Electra [Gulps, then shakes his head]: That’s a lie.

Drift: A lie? How so? The figure was written in my blood by my father.

Electra: Even then, so what? You were in line to be the ruler of a damn country! Who cares about the national debt! The national debt of every country gets high as hell because there’s so much spending on all kinds of bullshit! That’s the citizens problems – you get to sit back like the king you were supposed to be and watch.

Drift: The hell do you know… you wouldn’t know the first thing. When you’re being told by your family, your relatives, everyone, that you’re going to be the one who inherits that goddamn mess of a country. And they weren’t gonna do shit to help out. Nothing.

Electra: So? When it’s your turn to assume office, what’re you gonna do, turn to your old man?

Drift: No, you moronic piece of shit. You think other countries aren’t looking to seize an opportunity to take down such a messed-up state? Once the new kid gets his crown, they’d advance onwards, and what’s the new ruler gonna do? Stop them? With what funds? What military? What public backing?

Electra [Stutters]: But still, couldn’t you just leave your throne by the time they came after you?

Drift: That’s what you’d think, but as a nobleman’s child, I was supposed to have the country’s best interests in my mind. That’s what had been drilled into my mind day-in and day-out. That’s all I ever heard about. That’s all anyone ever talked about. That’s all my life revolved around. How my old man and his cronies became the pieces of shit that they did, with all of that money going into their own pockets is beyond me. Then again, maybe as you age, you learn that all those talks are nothing but garbage.

Electra: So let me get this straight… you left the throne, because you were taught that it was the right thing to do?

Drift: No idiot. After hearing those talks about people wanting to spring onto a weakened Albania with a new King on the throne, I immediately began thinking of what I could do, but even then, I thought I would be fine. When I realized that all of my family, my relatives, and everyone in the upper-ranks of the Albanian monarchy and government was going to abandon me at the first chance they got, I realized that I had no choice.

Electra: Why would they choose to abandon you though? Why not abandon your father, the King?

Drift: Albania wouldn’t have been attacked under his leadership. As much as we were in crippling debt, he was a well-respected man throughout all of Europe, and Albania put on a brave face so to not allow for any media questioning of the state of the state. His son, myself, on the other hand… not quite the same. The majority of his allies would turn against the son, because the son was not half the man that he was – or so they thought. And no amount of persuasion by myself, or by our countries informants would do any good.

Electra: So then, the best plan of action would be to leave?

Drift: What other option would I have? If I had stayed, the throne would have been passed to me in short order, and my family would disappear from my side, abandoning Albania and fleeing for safety across the Atlantic or somewhere else. Then what? I take the throne, with nothing but some few loyal advisors and informants, waiting for a neighboring country to try and expand their borders, capturing the majority of the Albanian land?

Electra: What if you did that then?

Drift: Fool. You think the citizens would stand loyal to the country if another country attempted to take the land? Hell no. Because beyond the façade that was our country’s appearance, we were a desolately poor nation, taxing everything that we could from our citizens, while providing the bare minimum. The nation looked nice, and hell, for us scoundrels living on the streets, it was great, but ask any homeowner – it was an absolute mess. If we were ever to be challenged, we wouldn’t be able to stand up to an incoming nation by ourselves – let alone incentivize another nation to provide us with reinforcements. It was a ticking time bomb, and it was something I wanted no part of. And knowing all of this, I made the decision to leave before I could have ever taken the throne, because I believed that taking the throne and then abandoning it in the middle of an international conflict would be the height of cowardice. Little did I know however, things like that are more frequent than they are rare.

Electra [Shakes his head]: It’ll take me some time to process this… but at least you’ve cleared it up for now. Whatever.

Frost [Looks to Drift]: And this… this is the result of my hard work then, Wilhelm.

Drift: Shut it. You’re the one who brought this shit up. None of this needed to be discussed with anyone. Yet you chose this. Why?

Frost: Wilhelm… you should know who I am… I’m surprised you don’t know.

Drift: Eh? Where the else could we have met? Nowhere, right? I’d surely remember someone like you… wouldn’t I?

Frost: That’s what I would think too… but you did seem to remember the people who used to advise your father, back home, didn’t you?

Drift: Eh? [Pauses] Wait, you were one of my advisors? Seriously? I mean, to be fair, I couldn’t tell the difference between any of them anyway, so that’s probably why I’m not remembering you vividly right now.

Frost [Laughs]: How nice, how nice. I worked under your father as an informant for a short while, partially because I had identified you as a prime candidate for this awakening… still, I could not fathom the amount of stress that you had been placed under by your circumstances, and that’s why, like some of your other advisors, I stayed with you and supported your decisions until the end.

Electra [Interjects]: How’d he not get caught though? Wouldn’t he have been a pretty wanted man by the monarchy and the government?

Frost: He was, for a short while. However, with money already lacking, his family decided that the search would only last for a month, and surprisingly enough, he hadn’t been discovered in that time. He did a good job evading them, and I guess in that span, found you guys as well. From then on, I watched him from afar, before, after sometime, severing my ties with the Albanian monarchy.

Electra: Wait, but weren’t you on this guy’s side? [Points to Katarov]

Frost: Again… I was never on his side… I awakened him and that’s it. I do treasure him, and believe he was the right person to choose, but I was never on his side as you say.

Electra: Even then… how does this timing work? How were you in Albania, but also here and there and everywhere? It doesn’t make sense.

Frost: Oh, that’s what you’re getting at. No, no, you’re right. I was never truly committed to my work in Albania. Call me a double-crosser, call me whatever, I don’t really care. But I was a foreign informant anyway, so I never was committed to anything that this guy’s old man ever sent me. My main focus was always these gifts, and the awakenings. Nothing else mattered to me – however, his old man really treasured my presence, I’d assume.

Drift: Really?

Frost: Well… that’s why it was so important for me to explain what I know and what I don’t know to you… it makes a world of difference.

Electra: The hell do you mean?

Frost: You haven’t been keeping track of Albania at all, have you?

Drift: No, not at all.

Frost [Gestures to Electra]: And you?

Electra: Nope, nothing from me.

Frost: Figures… figures.

Drift: What’re you talking about?

Frost: Y’know… your father, the King of Albania, passed away a couple of weeks ago. Right now, the throne is being held by one of your cousins… I’m pretty sure his name is… uh… [Pauses]… oh, that’s right, Vyacheslav Molgrov. Half Serbian, half-Albanian, but was the most qualified for the throne as per what I’ve –

Drift: Wait… so my old mans dead? Really?

Frost: Yes. I assumed you would care to know, but it wouldn’t matter too much, since you had abandoned your throne at such a young age.

Drift: No, no… don’t get me wrong, all that education, training, whatever nonsense, all of that shit was annoying as hell. I hated it. I hated him. I hated everything. But I still remember everything, and all of them. Man…

Frost: I expected that sort of response… do you feel anything else?

Drift: Not really. Molgrov can have the throne, for all I care. I couldn’t care less. That situation is beyond reprise. I’m surprised he didn’t decide to abandon it earlier – then again, who else would take the throne then? [Pauses] Wait… why the hell did Molgrov even take the throne? What kind of idiocy? Did he not know?

Frost: Oh no… he knew the situation. He knew everything. He wasn’t an idiot.

Drift: Then…

Electra [Realizing]: Wait…

Frost: I think you’re starting to realize it…

Drift: Wait… what?

Frost: After you left, I stayed on as an advisor for some time, before leaving like I said. But during those few months after you left, your father, Wilhelm VI, completely changed the way that he did things… I have no idea what got into him, but he reformed the structural integrity of the country in an unprecedented manner. He took money away from the military, away from causes which he felt were unnecessary, such as in boosting tourism and the already well-to-do infrastructure, and instead focused on the country.

Drift [Confused]: Huh? What the hell? No, that’s a lie. It has to be. No friggin way. My family wouldn’t…

Frost: Oh, but they would Wilhelm… they would. After they lost you, they realized that no matter no matter how well-respected your father was, no matter how exceptionally loyal his noblemen were, no matter what, eventually, someone would try and start an uproar, similar to that that was happening in the Baltics – and that was if actual nations didn’t decide to come after the weakened Albania first.

Drift: So he…

Frost: He revamped everything. I saw the beginnings of it, before I eventually left them behind. He wanted to lower the national debt by billions, and from my estimates now, based on the information I have gotten from numerous sources… he has lowered the number to 3.7 billion.

Drift [Perplexed]: HUH? In that short of a time period?

Katarov: What the fuck? That’s ludicrous! That’s a functioning government there then!

Frost: Indeed it is… and like I said, he fancied me a bit for some reason… maybe because I kept telling him that someday, I’d be able to find his son… so he entrusted me with this letter…

[Frost hands Drift a letter, which he unravels, and reads aloud]

Drift [Reading the letter, voice changes to Wilhelm VI’s voice]: Dear Wilhelm… whenever this reaches you. I am entrusting this letter to this informant, who goes by the name Frost, who has told me countless times that he would be able to reach you, and would be able to deliver my message to you in some way or another. I do not have much time left, and by the time you receive this, who knows what may have happened to me. Regardless, I am writing this letter to apologize for your childhood. To apologize for the strenuous burdens that we placed on you. To apologize for those rumors that you heard, which were the main reason that you abandoned us in the first place. I will sugarcoat nothing… the rumors were factual, through and through. Once you took power, we planned to abandon the country of Albania for our own safeguard, and leave you with the palace and the mountains of debt which we had accumulated. And I – selfish as I was – never intended to lessen those debts in time for your appointment to the throne. I didn’t care about your wellbeing at all. But after you left, and we were unable to find you, and you chose to – likely – live on the streets, instead of in the palace which we had, I realized that I couldn’t run from my own bullshit. It wouldn’t be fair to you, or to anyone. So, I worked, and I worked, and I worked. Over these past years, I managed to lessen the national debt to 3.8 billion, and it is still being lowered today, with the reforms that my people and I have put into motion and continue to implement. With this, I hope that someday, you will return to the throne, and take what is yours. I don’t know who you are, or what you have become, but I know that through it all, you are my son, and the rightful heir to the Albanian throne and monarchy. If this is suitable enough for you, you can return to the palace – whether I am there or not – and you will be welcomed by everyone, including the current heir to the throne, Vyacheslav Molgrov. They all know who you are, and they would not dare step in your way. If you so choose to return, I would truly be grateful, but if you choose not to, that too is fine. The choice is yours now, I have not much longer to live. I hope you will make the wisest choice for yourself, in your current situation. With all my love, and my heartfelt apologies that I will never be able to take off of my chest, Wilhelm VI.

Drift [To Frost]: Did you know?

Frost: I had a feeling he’d ask for you to reclaim the throne… I didn’t check the letter, as you can tell by the fact that it had been sealed by him, and his fingerprint is in blood at the bottom of the page, verifying it’s legitimacy. The decision is yours now… I will not sway you in any way. But apart from this letter, I also am here to tell you something else… something that, more than likely, if you check the news right now in East Asia, you’ll be able to verify as well.

Drift: Huh? What?

Shin: The hell’s he talking about?

Frost: You know how I said that I worked with someone before, right?

Electra [Thinking]: Wait… wait… wait.

Drift: You did… go on.

Frost: I left that guy behind after some time, because his views were not aligned with mine. Yet, he still knew a lot about the people that I knew about as well. He knew about Katarov, he knew about Pius, and he knew about you, Drift. He knew about you too well…

Drift: Huh?

Frost: There’s a reason we wanted to catch Ashe Yoshino as well… it wasn’t just because we wanted to bring you out here, although, that was one of the major reasons. There was one other reason as well…

Drift: Which was…

Frost: The capture and execution of Oskar Yoshino… my former partner, and the man who helped me with Katarov. [Looks towards Ashe] Her father. Oskar Yoshino. Who would’ve followed us here to fight with us in order for us to release her.

Drift: Wait, but if we’ve taken the guys in Korea and China down… then what the hell does Oskar have to do with anything? You let him go… so he’s your problem, isn’t he? Just because he isn’t here doesn’t make it our problem, does it? What does this have to do with the news?

Frost: Oskar Yoshino wanted to rip everything from me… everything, including you, Drift. And now, when his precious daughter was ripped from him, he’d try to take everything precious from me, and in turn, you… what was precious to you? Does… Higuchi Ren, sound familiar?