Marcin entered Mercinon’s office only to to see him on all fours with his rear end pointed up in the air. Marcin cautiously conversed, “Did you lose something, sire?”
Mercinon replied, “My patience, Marcin! Which is why I’ve taken up yoga.” He laid flat on the ground and lifted up his torso. “It’s an Eastern method of relaxation and inner peace.” He flipped his body over and arched his back in a way that made his stomach jut towards the ceiling. “I can’t believe it’s taking this long to take over one measly kingdom!” He laid flat again and transitioned himself into sitting with his heels touching each other. “It’s just not fair!” he shouted as he shifted into a squat with his arms extended forward.
“I don’t think this yoga thing is really working,” Marcin remarked.
“What did you say?” Mercinon probed as he stood up and raised his right foot to his left thigh.
Marcin hastily covered up his previous statement by announcing, “I said I have a piece of good news.”
As Mercinon switched so his feet so that his left one touched his right thigh, he followed up with, “Just a piece, eh? Not a whole good news segment?” Marcin shrugged, and as Mercinon stretched his left leg behind him and grabbed his ankle for balance, he asked, “Well, what is it?”
“Let me show you!” He happily skipped into the hallway.
As Mercinon did the same pose with the opposite leg, Marcin wheeled in a large cage that had Dason bound and gagged inside of it! Mercinon got such a large shock from seeing this that he lost his balance and fell face first onto the floor. He quickly picked himself up and gasped, “What did you do?”
“I kidnapped the prince.” Marcin had clearly expected to get praised for this deed and started to get nervous when he didn’t get it.
“I can see that!” Mercinon responded with a hint of annoyance in his voice. “Why in the name of Hades would you do that?”
Marcin hung his head sheepishly. “He caught me capturing a monster.”
Mercinon forcibly raised his hand to his forehead. “So you kidnapped him? You could have pretended to be an innocent villager trying to stave off another attack! Did you even try that? You do realize that even if he did catch you committing a crime that the best solution to that problem isn’t to kidnap the witness, right? Really, this is exactly the kind of thing that we have a pit of jackals for!”
“Well, I kept him alive so you could decide what you want to do with him,” Marcin explained. “You know, in case you wanted to ask the royal family for a ransom or something.”
“A ransom…” Mercinon rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Yes, I suppose we could send an anonymous letter to the palace and demand a large sum of Drachmas! We could use the extra money, especially after The Points ate a bunch of our gold! Okay Marcin, I forgive you for this stunt!” Marcin looked very pleased with himself. “But since you brought him in, you’re responsible for feeding him and cleaning up after him! Make sure you store him somewhere safe!” Through his gag, Dason clearly tried to shout a comeback to Mercinon, who reacted in appall, “Hey! Don’t insult my mother! She could be here any time!” After he uttered this, Mercinon eyeballed the room apprehensively.
Dason turned to Marcin for explanation, and Marcin advised him, “Don’t ask!”
Mercinon quickly composed himself and maintained a dignified stance as he questioned, “This new monster is less easy to destroy, isn’t it?”
“Oh, don’t worry! No man stands a chance against them!” Marcin assured him.
“Good! If those super weirdos destroy this set, I swear to gods I will…!” He trailed off as he shook his fist in the air. Marcin stared at him in confusion as to whether or not he had finished his thought, so Mercinon told him, “You can go now!” Marcin hastily grabbed the cage’s tether and dragged Dason out of the room. Mercinon sighed, sat on his desk with his legs criss-crossed, and began humming tranquilly.
Exelda stood with her hands on her hips as Narcius used a stick to practice sword fighting with an invisible Stocasting, who clearly had the upper hand and was able to get a number of jabs in as Narcius moved around the practice space trying to find him. Narcius moaned out of a growing frustration, and then suddenly Stocastin tripped over Akintos, who had been lazily lounging on the sidelines. Stocastin lost his concentration and turned visible, and seizing the opportunity, Narcius ran over to him and pinned Stocastin down with his foot. “Ah-ha! Now you can see my ancestor’s noble blood at work! I don’t even need to see my opponent to beat them!”
Exelda rolled her eyes, Kefalia fervently clapped, and Akintos sarcastically asked, “Oh, so next time we face a monster, can we blindfold you?”
Narcius proudly answered, “Yes, you certainly can!”
“No! Absolutely not!” Exelda interjected.
“Is that jealousy I hear?” Narcius arrogantly said to her.
Exelda scoffed, “No! It’s reality!”
Stocastin put in, “You know, you can get off of me any time!”
As Narcius took his foot off of Stocastin, Exelda scolded him, “You got a lucky break! Any monster we might face probably won’t be so clumsy!”
“So what you’re saying is that there is a small chance!” Narcius reacted cheekily.
Exelda didn’t acknowledge his remark other than to shake her head. “Okay, Akintos, why don’t you face Kefalia this time?”
Everyone groaned, and Akintos complained, “We’ve been practicing all day! Can’t we take a little break?”
“Don’t get complacent!” Exelda warned. “Just because we bested two sets of monsters doesn’t mean we’ll get through the next one so easily! Now, come on! Let’s go!”
“You’re no fun when you’re sober!” Akintos grumped.
Exelda looked affronted by that. “I can have fun! We just need a lot of practice!”
“His hypothesis does seem to have merit,” Stocastin opinionated. “You seem to have replaced alcoholic beverages with combat practice.”
“I’m not addicted to practicing!” Exelda refuted. “We were hired to do a very important job, so we should do all we can to make sure we do it well!”
Akintos challenged, “ Name one fun thing you’ve done since you gave up drinking!”
Exelda exclaimed, “I do lots of fun things! Like… uh…”
The men all had satisfied smirks on their faces, but Kefalia defended her. “You guys should be nicer to her, you know! She’s probably going to be the future queen!”
“Future queen?” Exelda puzzled. “What in the name of Zeus are you talking about?”
“Oh come on! If I can see it, it must be pretty obvious!” Kefalia stated, and the others agreed with her.
Exelda’s cheeks reddened, but she dismissed these claims. “That’s crazy! What makes you think I have feelings for him?”
Akintos told her, “Because you look at him the way Narcius looks at himself in the mirror!” Narcius had coincidentally been gazing into a hand mirror at that moment, but he put it down when he heard him say that.
Kefalia comfortingly pat her arm. “It’s okay! He obviously likes you too! And you won’t be so boring when we defeat all of the monsters and find your prince!”
Akintos wondered, “What makes you think we’ll find the prince when we defeat all of the monsters?”
Kefalia shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know! They happened around the same time, so I thought the same bad guy did it!”
“Of course!” Exelda cried out. “Kefalia, you’re a genius!”
“Woah! Woah! Woah!” Stocastin, Narcius, and Akintos all reacted at the same time.
Narcius expressed, “Why are we taking orders from someone with that kind of judgment?”
Exelda elaborated, “I meant that she really has a good point! Think about it! What are the odds that two major crimes occurred simultaneously without them being connected?”
“By Hera! Why didn’t I see the correlation before?” Stocastin pondered. “Sometime between the defeat of the Menoreas and the release of The Points, the acting head of state disappeared, so it stands to reason that a single person could have orchestrated both events. Why? I’m not sure. I suppose that this individual’s intentions could be to seize power through both physical and political means!”
“Exactly!” Exelda concurred. “These monsters aren’t just randomly showing up, someone is setting them onto us! So, if we find Dason’s kidnapper, we might be able to stop these attacks! Maybe we should use our powers to go look for him!”
Everyone groaned again, and Akintos whined, “So, we’re supposed to walk around all of Chaos just so we can find your boyfriend?”
“He’s not my… I mean, not that there would be anything wrong with it if I did, but I ‘m not… Oh, never mind! We don’t have to travel through the whole city-state; we can go to the Academic village and do some research.” Exelda suggested. “They probably have some maps we can study to narrow down a region that someone could hide a bunch of monsters in. Who knows, maybe they have some knowledge about potential monsters that we could face.”
“Finally! We’re doing something I wanted us to do!” Stocastin rejoiced.
The other three seemed less excited about the prospect, so Exelda pointed out, “It’s either that or we stay here and practice some more.” They suddenly became much more interested in doing research and prepared to leave immediately.