Saturday, June 30, 2018

Page 1853

((Belated Triple Saturday -- Page 1 of 3))
And indeed, Hector had read the historical accounting of the ambassador of the Mohssian Empire who had been largely responsible for convincing the emperor to grant Atreya its independence. In the account, the ambassador had arrived in this brazen little country to chastise its newly appointed King Domitrus and negotiate terms of a legal retraction, believing that a nation with such comparatively little land would have no other choice.

However, according to the account, the ambassador began changing his mind almost immediately upon seeing Bosliat Palace, because he didn’t think there would be enough wealth in the entire nation to create such a grand structure.

It had made one hell of a first impression, in other words, and the king and all of his supporters had furthermore been able to follow through and change the ambassador’s view of them so radically that Atreya’s independence was officially recognized by the Mohssian Empire in less than a year.

Weirdly enough, Hector had never really felt or put much thought into national pride, but reading that had stirred something inside. Just a bit.

An odd feeling. Especially considering he’d already met the Queen and even fought for her. Multiple times. Shouldn’t he have been feeling this way about Atreya all along?

He couldn’t recall the school system ever evoking any sense of nationalism in him. Which was strange, wasn’t it? Shouldn’t they have been teaching national unity or whatever?

Eh, maybe they had, and he just hadn’t been paying attention. In fact, that seemed like the most likely explanation, the more he thought about it.

He’d been thinking about what he would say if he were to be asked what he thought of Atreya--which, tonight, might very well happen. It was a tough notion to wrestle with. In the end, he felt like his allegiance was more to simply protecting innocent people, but he certainly knew that there were limits to that. There was only so much that he could do. And if he overextended himself, then the people who were already safe under his protection might very well end up in danger again.

Lives were on the line here. With a whole castle full of people waiting for him back in Gray Rock, Hector felt like he’d been too naive in the past. He needed be realistic about things now.

As he stepped out of the black SUV and onto the blue-striped carpet, he tried to push his anxiety down as far as it would go.

Which wasn’t very far, sadly--not with all the cameras and microphones and eager reporters in front of him. The path forward remained clear, at least, thanks to a team of burly guardsmen holding the news crews behind a velvet rope, but the shouting and shuttering of cameras was still plenty distracting.

Oh man.

Jamal Easton was already there in front of him, having stepped out first, and Amelia Carthrace was stepping out behind him.

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