Mnemon ground her teeth, looking over the latest report from her spies. Now it was Cynis Majara who had crossed the floor, voting on behalf of Nagazzer on every major bill in the last two months. Never mind that she had shown little inclination to support Nagazzerâ€™s plans before, suddenly she was his very best friend. It was infuriating.
Worse than that, it was nonsensical. Sinking into a chair, she contemplated her situation. By all rights, she should already be the Empress, preparing for the next stage of her plans. Instead, she was being stymied by a hedonistic cripple and his insane choice of protÃ©gÃ©. The two houses that she had counted on to support her were being decidedly lukewarm, and her enemies grew in power daily.
â€œYou know, I could pop right out and kill her.â€ Perfected Tears Upon Alabastar Sorrow sighed theatrically. â€œIf five or ten senators that oppose you were to drop dead of mysterious but appropriately gruesome circumstances, the rest would fall in line that much more quickly.â€
Mnemon glowered at the Abyssal, who was currently sitting idly on a pile of cushions. â€œI am not about to embark on a campaign of assassination against my own senators.â€
â€œTheyâ€™re not your senators.â€ Sorrowâ€™s response was languid, and he leaned back as he shifted his position on the cushions.
â€œThey will be.â€ Her tone was darkly promising, and Sorrow shrugged.
â€œIâ€™m sure. But in the mean time, Iâ€™m being forced to keep a low profile, and almost anything seems more interesting than sitting here and watching as you gradually implode.â€
â€œWatch your tongue.â€ Mnemon glared at Sorrow until he looked away.
â€œMy apologies.â€ He paused. â€œIt was merelyâ€¦ frustration speaking.â€
â€œFrustration, we both have.â€ She sat down at her desk, picking up a quill pen, and shook her head as she prepared to write new orders for her own senators. â€œWhat does the Slug have that I lack?â€
â€œIâ€™d say, about 350 pounds.â€ Mnemon didnâ€™t bother to glance over at Sorrow. â€œNo? Possibly an endearing nickname, then? A harem?â€ He shrugged again. â€œOr perhaps, and this is just a thought, it is that heâ€™s a very genial man. After all, he even deigns to spend time with the regent.â€ He considered for a moment. â€œNo, wait, this is the Dynasty. Itâ€™s probably the harem.â€ As he settled back, his voice gradually lowered. â€œI wonder if he shares them withâ€¦â€
Mnemon did her best to ignore him. She was becoming more and more convinced that the Mask had placed Sorrow at her service for the sole purpose of driving her mad. No matter what the situation, his dry commentary was sure to make it worse, to no particular benefit toâ€¦
She stopped, and looked up. â€œWhat did you say?â€
Sorrow glanced sideways at her, raising an eyebrow delicately. â€œI was speculating as to Nagazzerâ€™s harem. I didnâ€™t think that you were interested.â€
â€œNot that!â€ Mnemon waved a hand angrily, and the deathknightâ€™s eyebrow rose further. â€œNagazzer is seeing the Regent?â€
â€œOh, that. Yes, he is. Frequently.â€ Sorrow paused. â€œIs that a secret?â€
The pen shattered in Mnemonâ€™s hand. Sorrow blinked. â€œAh. Apparently so, then.â€
All of the pieces fell into place in Mnemonâ€™s mind like a puzzle that she had only just learned the proper shape of. Nagazzer had suborned the Regent. It was unthinkable; the entire reason the regent had been approved was that he was too affable to BE suborned. But with Sidereal support, anyone weak-willed might be shaped into a weapon. Especially someone like that.
It was obvious, so obvious that she was astounded and furious with herself for failing to have noticed it before. But the regent had been sitting there, in plain sight, too spineless for her to consider as anything more than a sop for his advisors. And yet, his knowledge would be great. He knew exactly who was manipulating whom, and for what purposes. Through him, Nagazzer could affect the entire Dynasty.
She looked over to Sorrow, a smile overtaking her features. â€œYou wanted something to do, I believe?â€
Sorrow looked worried. â€œI donâ€™t think I can kill the Regent and live to tell about it, madam.â€
â€œNo!â€ She rolled her eyes. â€œWhy do you assume I want everyone dead?â€
She ignored him. â€œYouâ€™re supposed to be as stealthy as a ghost. Spy on the regent. Find out what he is telling Nagazzer. I want all of it. When I know how THEY are planning, it will be simple to work against them. I will turn this little plan of Nagazzerâ€™s inside out.â€
Sorrow nodded. â€œSounds entertaining, at least.â€
Mnemonâ€™s smile broadened. Finally, something was going right.