Chapter 46:

The Plan

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

Gwyn found himself back in the war room. He was seated in the stands by the staircase. It happened to be next to Fiona, who was nervously looking around the room. All other major parties were sitting back in the room. Each group was sitting behind their respective leader at the five-pointed table. Gwyn and Fiona happened to be isolated from the other groups.

"Do you know what's going on?" Gwyn asked with a whisper.

"No idea; I never thought I'd be invited in this room," Fiona whispered back.

At the table, all the leaders had reconvened. Except, this time, their Needaimus were firmly attached. King Fio sat at the table for the Hobusians. Gwyn was able to tell right away that he was Odell's father. They were the largest crowd and took up a wide swath of seats. He had a bulky, blue Needaimus on his arm.

Feya sat at the table for the Netzians. Her group was the smallest and consisted of the other three Gwyn had met. Her Needaimus was hidden under the table as it was bonded to her leg.

Zenith sat at the table for the Bentulousians. Her group consisted of the all-female procession that Gwyn had witnessed before. A crimson Needaimus was attached to her arm.

The Zenotote leader was someone Gwyn had yet to see. He was covered in bright red scales and had a head that looked draconic. Gwyn might have thought he was a dragon trying to imitate a person if he had wings. The Zenotote leader sat with a green Needaimus attached to his tail.

Queen Whitlock was sitting at the table for the Aqueenians. The chair her late husband had used was removed and replaced. She had her Needaimus attached to her arm and King Whitlock's bird-like Needaimus resting on her shoulder. Once everyone had settled into the room, she spoke up.

"Thank you all for coming here; I apologize for the disturbance before," she started, "As of now, I believe it is in our best interest to consider this conference concluded." Queen Whitlock paused for a moment as she anticipated what would happen next.

The Zenotote leader banged a balled fist on the table.

"This is ridiculous! I can understand delaying it but concluding it all together?" he yelled in a hoarse voice.

"Though I am not one to agree with Leader Mixolydian, I do think it is unwise to end this year's conference," Zenith joined in. She had a face that suggested she might have eaten something nasty as she backed up the Zenotote leader.

The other leaders nodded in agreement. Queen Whitlock cleared her throat before beginning to speak.

"I understand that the decision may seem rash..."

"Rash? Jolon probably hasn't even gone cold yet!" King Fio butted in with a loud exclamation.

"King Fio, I understand that you and my late husband were good friends, but please wait until I finish," Queen Whitlock calmly said. "As I was saying, I understand the decision may seem rash, but we do have our reasons for doing so. The first will be to arrange a proper funeral for my husband. Of course, any of you that wish to attend may stay in Quenth until the day arrives.

Sadly, we lost such an extraordinary leader, and we would like to prepare a grand event to celebrate his life. This, unfortunately, has led to a massive amount of conference resources getting rerouted."

The other leaders nodded in understanding.

"The next reason is due to some of the information we have uncovered. We have found that the Dia Mond who invaded the castle has a career as a beauideal in Nun. We have contacted the city mayor, but he refused to respond to our calls. I would not like to jump to rash conclusions, but I believe this may have been a conspiracy by Nun to topple our nations."

Her comments got the leaders riled up, but no one said anything. They all wanted to rebut her claim, but none could think of a reasonable explanation that would do so.

"What's Nun?" Gwyn whispered to Fiona as the Queen spoke.

"It's a neutral city that sits in the center of many of our territories. A collection of people from all nations have gathered there over the years. It is the only place on the planet to not go along with the other groups in the conference," Fiona explained.

"I understand that we do not want to suspect Nun," Queen Whitlock continued, "But the fact remains that the threat originated there. I know some of you might not realize, but an Aqueenian would never be allowed to keep a cursed wing in Quenth."

Fiona frowned as her mother spoke.

"I have decided that we would send an initial search party to Nun. They will investigate and report back to us here with their findings. I believe this Dia character is only a small pawn in a larger organization that Nun has started."

"And who do you propose we send on such a mission?" Mixolydian asked with a roll of his eyes.

"Surely you don't intend to volunteer members from our nations for this task?" Zenith asked.

"Of course, I will not ask other members of the conference to send their people on such a mission if they do not want to. As for us, I plan to send our own Princess Fiona and the Nonpareil." Queen Whitlock gestured to Fiona and Gwyn as she spoke. Everyone turned to the duo that sat isolated in the seats.

Donn jumped up from his seat on the other side of the room. He had discussed the mission with his mother before but had intended to go to Nun independently. The other leaders were turned away, so they did not see Queen Whitlock turn and motion Donn to sit back down. He quietly obliged with his mother.

"They don't seem like much," Mixolydian said with a snort as he turned back to the table.

"They might not, but they were the first ones to engage with Dia when she invaded the castle. Had the intruder not been prepared, I suspect that team would have defeated her." Queen Whitlock replied.

"I know for a fact Fiona has not had much combat experience, and I suspect the Nonpareil has never even been in a fistfight. If they get into a conflict, they will get hurt at best and die at worst. I'm against this." King Fio said while crossing his arms.

"I have to admit, it does seem reckless," Feya added.

Queen Whitlock sighed.

"If you have issues, then please provide your own valid warriors on this mission to support them," she replied sternly. The room fell silent as the leaders began to think.