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An unexpected visitjunglefeet
Reclining on a sofa in his private living soom, Anthony allowed his body to relax. This week had been hell and back. Come to think of it, the last four months had been hell and back. Today, this silent Sunday, he had decided to put all the madness to a side, and pamper himself in a way he felt he deserved.
The short, squat woman in her loose white tunic, pressed a few buttons on the tape player, and soon the room was filled with the soft, relaxing tunes of slow, traditional music. She then wound up the tunic arms, to reveal arms that bulged with muscles, before she deftly applied oil to Anthony's bare back and neck. After that she began to massage her patient with a rough piece of seaweed, and went about the task with a high degree of gusto, working her fingers into Anthony's tender muscles, loosening knots and softening up stiff parts.
Closing his eyes, Anthony let his mind drift back.
It was a sunny Tuesday midmorning in the late of February, and at the
The mark of a great leaderjunglefeet
The streets of the Kasbah were crowded. The man was weaving in and out between thongs of people, laborers in their drab rags, the nobles rubbing shoulders with them, stepping over filthy puddles and piles of dog dung. Keeping his hands shoved in his pockets and a moody cloud darkening his face, he strode with determined steps towards his destination.
Looking up, he spotted the iron sign hanging from its hook, 'the Bull and the Bear in', did it read in red letters upon the two animals pictured in black against a backdrop of fading yellow paint, the metal shining through in parts. People stepped out of his way without meeting his eyes, as he forced his way through the crowds, elbowing others out of the way. Not bothering with meeting the eyes of the usher, he pushed open the creaking wooden door, and was soon inside of the dusky and crowded hall, the monumental buzz of uncountable voices hitting his eardrums, as he breathed in the stench of stale ale, sweat, ganja and other odors he coul
There were two main eateries within the Grand Residence, there were the second floor refectory, and where the personnel on duty ate, and where sometimes even Anthony Muramaki himself could be seen taking his meals. Especially early dinners and in company of some of his staff supervisors or political advisors. Then, there was the ground floor café which was open for the public, including visiting tourists. That one served lighter meals as well, and often staffers found their ways down there too, especially if they were just about going on or off their shifts.
Cole Halifax, head of the presidential public relations, found the nurse Margot Wong there, sitting alone by a window table, eating a salad and reading a pocket book. She looked up as he pulled out his chair.
"Hi," Cole smiled, putting down his cup of tea and his plate with a sandwich.
"Hi," Margot folded her read closed.
"You've been avoiding me lately, what is it about really?"
"Oh, nothing," she shrugged it off. "Just been
"Sire, Magdon Betellio is one of the kitchen staffers," Muriel began whilst cornering Anthony outside his office. "Now, earlier today, he came running to me with a complaint."
"A complaint," Anthony halted his pace, to face his chief of staff. "What kind of complaint?"
"He told me you had ordered his boss, Juliet Sergeiowich, to carry dinners up to Halie Kraits, up in the longue on the fifth floor. Say, should that be correct?"
"It is," Anthony confirmed. "Is there a problem with that?"
"Of course it is!" Muriel almost huffed, and her hands flew out in an exasperated gesture. "For the love of Kel, Sire, Mrs. Sergeiowich desires nothing less, she felt insulted and now she's taking out her bad mood on people like Betellio, letting them suffer for her discomfort. Now, why on Earth did you order such a ridiculous thing?"
"Muriel, I wanted Sergeiowich to learn and respect Mrs. Kraitz a bit better, and I supposed that bringing her food would have her see this woman differently."
"So how many Sovereigns were there before you came in position?" Anthony asked, whilst shifting in his chair, uncrossing and re-crossing his long legs.
"I'm the nineteenth," Halie made a move with her hands, like counting fingers. "A man with the moniker 'The Capitan' was my predecessor. He was pretty old when I was elected."
"Did he ever receive you in his office?"
"Yes he did."
"What did you talk about?"
"We didn't exactly, uh, talk. Let's leave it there."
Halie slowly turned away, obviously not wanting to say anymore. She wasn't in the mood, and it had never been a good memory. On the other hand, things now felt different between her and Anthony, in a way she really couldn't put her finger on. When she had entered his office today, he had appeared sad, almost bitter, and he had been watching that photo in the silver frame again. The one he always put down in the drawer and shut it, almost as if it was some kind of guilty pleasure of his. She couldn't help wondering about that photo,
"I imagine you're familiar with the Caesar's Palace," Joshi Zorian addressed Enola and Amanda over the speaker phone. "But have any of you been inside of it?"
"No," they both have to admit. Enola and Amanda were sitting in Thor's home office, which was lit by veils of pale sunlight falling through the two round windows. Amanda took a sip of coffee and then leaned forwards, her elbows resting on the smooth, white table.
"Tell us," she prompted.
"Yes, on the bottom floor, and two floors up from that, there's a casino," Joshi said. "One of the oldest known, actually. Goes back to the pre-disaster days, even if the games which went on there these days are quite different from the ones played these days. Now, the people I, uh, am acquainted with, have arranged to meet the two of you there tomorrow night. They will discuss the upcoming deal regarding the gold with you, and they would probably wish for you to engage in a card game."
"A card game?" Enola said in surprise.
"Yes," Joshie replied