‘That is about the same as what Axiolis told me,’ said Shenado. ‘I’ve always thought that story was a little strange.’
‘You are not the only one,’ said Wendy. ‘Octavia and I wondered if the Vanguard was somehow behind the attack on the Elroys, but we never found any evidence proving so. And of course, Zeff and Axiolis saw the attack happen and were convinced it was Abolish, so I don’t think they ever doubted the Vanguard like we did. Or perhaps that was their reason for rejoining: because they thought it would help them find answers.’
‘If they ever had such suspicions, then they never told me about them,’ said Shenado. ‘I think they genuinely believe it was Abolish’s doing. And to be frank, I trust their judgment more than I trust yours.’
Wendy ruffled his feathers again. ‘I do not blame you, I suppose. But you must admit, recent events have cast a new light on that old one.’
Shenado made no response.
“If the Vanguard betrayed my family thirty years ago, then why would they wait so long to try and finish us off?” said Marcos.
Everyone blinked at him collectively.
“What?” he said.
‘Nothing,’ said Wendy. ‘That was a very level-headed question and well-posed. We have been wondering the same thing, but just because we don’t currently have an answer doesn’t mean there isn’t one.’
Shenado came to land on Marcos’ shoulder. ‘It hardly makes much difference at this point. We’re in a fight now whether we like it or not. How goes the gathering of the allies, by the way?’
“Fairly well so far,” said Octavia. “Our conflict has gained quite a lot of attention. The fearmongers are saying a war in Sair would destabilize the entire continent, so there are a number of parties interested in preventing it.”
‘And a few in exacerbating it,’ added Wendy.
“Do you think it will really come to war?” asked Marcos.
“If Lawrence continues to ignore our demands, then yes. Soon enough, we’ll have ample strength to lay siege to Rhein’s Keep.”