--donation bonus (day #25, post 1/5)--
‘Sorry, go ahead,’ said Darsihm. ‘Harper and I were just curious to meet these people. It’s taken a while to track them down.’
Bartholomew had already grown bored and gone to the far end of the room to play one of his games. Kohzek didn’t seem to care, either, which compounded Helen’s confusion. If the boy was truly near her own age, then she would have expected him to display a bit more maturity and interest in their conversation.
Roman’s phone chose that moment to go off, which earned a look from Kohzek. “I should take this,” said Roman, and he exited the room.
‘Now then,’ said Kohzek, addressing Helen, ‘the matter of your request. Since our last meeting, I have received confirmation that Abolish is indeed present in your country. I do not require proof that they are attempting to instigate conflict. That much can be assumed. However, I remain unconvinced that sending my troops to rout them is the wisest course of action.’
“Why would you think it unwise?” said Helen.
‘Because I feel you are asking more of me than you realize. Yes, with our help, you would likely retake your country without much difficulty. The problem lies in holding onto it once it is retaken. I cannot allow my people to remain with you indefinitely, so what is to stop Abolish from merely waiting until we leave and then attacking you again?’
“I have been thinking on that as well,” said the Queen. “I was hoping we could establish a more long-term partnership. My country can provide you with financial backing, if you need it, or perhaps some kind of natural resource would interest you more.”
‘I do not think so,’ said Kohzek. ‘The most valuable resource to me at the moment is manpower. Intar is a much larger country than Atreya and so requires many more people to protect it. Our enemies might well seize the opportunity to attack while our attention is divided.’
Helen frowned. “Be that as it may, I am sure we could find--”
Roman burst into the room again, phone in hand, drawing everyone’s attention. “Gina, tell them what you told me.”