Chapter 50:

Decisive Strategy

Lovely kNight

“I have heard plenty about Chamelis. Good from the layman and then rumors of a darker side by those who are ones for gossip.”

Plutia remains seated at the head of the table while Vestil sits on its surface. I lean against the wall and take measured breaths to right myself back into balance.

“I’m sure you’ve already heard accounts of her eyes being biased at best and that she’s abusive of her powers at worst. Though I’ve never once met her myself no matter how long I’ve served this kingdom. She prefers to keep to herself outside of her work for the most part.”

“Is she really that secretive?”

“Secretive would be one way to put it.” Vestil folds her arms and sighs. “She does make public appearances from time to time. Usually she wears either a plain face or a smile. Just by looking at her it’d be a hard sell to be told that she’s rumored to be devious.”

“So we’re not just going against her hold over the knighthood. We’ll also be going against the image she’s made for herself.” I scratch my head in frustration. “Even if there’s a part of me that wants to say it feels like a losing battle, I know that I’m not going to let anything stop me from making things right.”

“That’s the right heart. Just as I’d expect from the groom to be.”

“Still I wonder what could be the connection between her and that man. But that’s likely something we couldn’t know for sure. He was so kind to Juna and yet the moment her name was spoken…”

“Just like the others: willing to chat until her name is brought into the conversation.”

“Given how he’d responded, I’d bet that there may be something held over his head. It was clear to see how much he’d wanted to help. I’m sure imagining his own daughter’s dreams being thrown away had to cut him deeply.” Says Plutia. “Sir Lupin is a reputable man and a friend of many. The only fault I’ve ever known of him is that he’s quite protective when it comes to his daughter and may leap without looking when it comes to her.”

“I can tell he’s far from being a vile or spiteful person. No father so loving could ever turn away anyone seeking help. It was so strange. He’d asked me if I would rescue the kingdom. I know he didn’t just mean to ask if I’d destroy Loveless and the Roots. He was pleading for my help. Our help. We need to put an end to this situation not only for Juna. I’ll save him too.”

“My, with that resolve you’re even more brilliant and handsome. It’s quite enchanting.” Plutia grins while resting her chin on her palm.

“You do seem pretty cool when you’re like that. And I know you’re a man of action, so I’ll be seeing just what you’ve promised soon enough. This knight will be beside you all the way. It’s been long enough that the kingdom has been put under these shackles. It’s time someone did something to liberate it. With the Celestial Knight and a breathtakingly beautiful kingdom assistant on my side, it’ll be a foregone conclusion.”

“Oh my. You’d better be careful, cutie; the Celestial Knight is so near. But I do enjoy a brave one. And how forward that you would include me without even asking. It’s attractive when someone knows just what I’m thinking.”

The two share in banter. It’s more than obvious that they would make for a frightening pair.

“So you’ll join us, Plutia?”

“Without even the faintest doubt. Your adorable friend is my adorable friend. It breaks my heart to see her as anything else but the little ray of sunshine she is for this manor. With my position I do have privileges to balance out the responsibilities. I’ll add that strength to this investigation. With each of us having a means of contact now we’ll be able to communicate much more fluidly.”

“It’s a natural match made in heaven. I was going to ask you for your number anyways since I’d be more than interested in having some fun talking with you later on. So this is a pleasant outcome.”

The two exchange their contact information and I can practically see Vestil’s heart racing in her chest.

“If anyone makes any discoveries or finds any leads, we’ll send out word to our group. So let’s keep each other updated.” Vestil creates the room for the message client and mine and Plutia’s devices ping.

Conversation flows naturally into Vestil’s own investigation and the coming bust tomorrow night. She catches Plutia up to pace while letting her eyes get a good look at her conversation partner.

“Since we’ll hopefully be taking down one vein in the drug ring, I’m wondering if that vigilante is going to show themselves tomorrow. I’d like to have a moment to speak with them myself.”

“The patterns and track record point to the likelihood of them being there. I’d like to meet them again myself so I’m hoping that will be the case. But I suppose we’ll have to wait until the moment comes to know for sure.”

“You’re talking about the vigilante who’s been targeting the dealers around the kingdom?” A keen interest lights up in Plutia’s eyes. “I’ve heard about them. It seems they’ve caught just enough attention to have begun appearing in the papers and news outlets. Rumor has it that their vendetta has something to do with a family member.”

“A family member?”

“That’s right. I’d heard that one before. One of their family had passed on due to the drugs. Ever since then they’ve been relentless in their pursuit to shut it all down.” Vestil shrugs to herself. “But that’s just a rumor. It might not even be close to the mark.”

I reflect on just how much ire flowed forth from Judgment’s eyes as she’d dispatched every criminal she’d faced. Although it’s only a rumor, I wonder to myself if it could be that their family has something to do with their sheer passion for justice to the point of vigilantism.

“That would probably wrap everything up with a neat bow if that were the case. Though we’ve been talking about rumors so much. It’d likely be best if we’d focused on what we know for certain. After tomorrow’s interception I’d like to take my time to search the city for any clues while on patrol.”

“We each have our own ground we can cover. So Khiron, you go ahead and look through the streets. I’ll do what I can from inside of the knighthood since that’s in my reach. Meanwhile Plutia will investigate the castle and royal grounds proper.”

“I was thinking along those lines. It seems that great minds may think alike after all.”

“Then it’s settled. As we continue our investigations, when we’ve come across anything substantial we’ll gather here to discuss it.”

Everything settled and an agreement found among us, we share in a vow of teamwork. Plutia makes herself busy as she takes up her mantle and departs to the castle. She blows a kiss from the door. Of which Vestil wishes to claim for herself but to no avail.

“If I didn’t have matters to tend to, I’d stay around a little bit longer. I wish I could see Juna but it looks like today has been another rough one for her.” She rubs her shoulder and heaves a sigh. “At this point you and I know she’ll more than likely sequester herself away for some time. I know it’s tempting but I guess we should just give her some time to come to terms with everything.”

“I know I really shouldn’t be frustrated with that man, but I am. Just when I’d thought everything would be set right. But it’s only been a day since this began. It was naive of me to get so worked up.”

“Not at all. I know that Juna’s smile means so much to you that you’d be prepared to do most anything to get it back. It’s not naive or dumb to have hope.”

“That sounds like something Solus would have said to me.” I lighten up thinking of my protector. “Now’s not the time to let my spirit get weighed down.”

“But what about his majesty? You’d asked him to send an assistant to help the case. With how this played out I’d think it’d be fair if you’d go to him again to speak over what happened.”

“I really couldn’t ask him for more than he’s already given me. I don’t know how deep Chamelis’ influence runs, but I’d rather not risk another person’s livelihood if I can help it. Juna would never want me to drag anyone down for her sake. So there’s only one option left: we continue as we are and get to the bottom of this.”

“The perfect image of a knight as always. Even more knightly than myself. Asking of the king alone must have taken 3 years off of your life expectancy. I’d rather your tender heart not give out now when we all need you the most.” She chuckles and pats me on the shoulder. “So why don’t we burn off all these weeds and make this field a little bit more fertile?”

Her departure is heralded with a wave. Seeing the strength in her step is enough to drive a fighting spirit into my heart. So I take my own steps forward as she and Plutia have. Just as Vestil had advised, I decide to let Juna be and instead take to other avenues in the meantime.