Sunday, November 22, 2015

Page 1116

This was why he was unfit for leadership, Xuan knew. He didn’t have the temperament. Or rather, he didn’t want it. He could keep calm well enough. Think clearly well enough. But the fight was all he really cared about. Because that was what it always came down to. In the end, the fight was what mattered most. Diplomacy might win the day, but there was always tomorrow. The fight was inevitable.

And that was why, he realized. That was why he’d changed. He remembered that lesson well. Field Marshall Kane had tried to teach it to him. It took Abolish for him to truly understand, though.

Quite possibly the greatest diplomatic victory of his life. Working directly under Kane. A very delicate mission in Hoss, Vantalay, and the recently-emerged state of Steccat. All three countries had been flirting with war for a good five years or so, and Abolish had been doing its damnedest to help them make the final push.

Kane’s task force grew by leaps and bounds during that time, learning new tactics, relearning old ones, refitting itself to become one of the most flexible paramilitary units in the world. By the time all was said and done, Xuan had fought Abolish in almost every conceivable manner--as a counter-terrorist, as an ambassador, as a bodyguard, as a propaganda officer, as a spy, as a negotiator, as a mediator, even as a mailman and a deli shop employee.

It was some of the hardest, strangest, and most rewarding work he’d ever been a part of. Without a doubt, Kane and his men saved tens of thousands of lives, if not more.

And the very next week, after returning home to Waterbreak in Roth for the first time in over four years, Xuan heard the news.

Lac’Vayce. A million dead in less than three days of fighting.

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