Hvs.tCF 61:2

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Turn Number:83
Side's Turn:Gobwin Knob

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"Yeah, I know. Give it time," said Don. "She'll build it back up."

"Okay, Don, okay," said Benjamin. "We'll give it time. But no more money." He wagged his finger at his Ruler.

Don King sipped his drink. "No need right now," he said. "The opportunity may have passed, but so has the urgency."

"Eh. Still seems pretty urgent to me."

"Nah," said Don. "The Worm moved his capital far away from us, and he's halted his advance. Jetstone didn't fall. The battle accomplished that much.[1] When Queen Jillian is ready, she can pry the city of Gobwin Knob outa Stanley's little fingers, expand Faq to the east. By then, we'll likely be in a position to lend her some aid again."

This was another conversation they'd repeated often, and Bunny's attention began to wander away again. But then Benjamin said, "Yeah? What kinda aid, though? You plan to send your heir? Or Caesar?"

"She's got Vinny... I should send Caesar, since he hates her that much," said Don, smiling. "Make him fight beside her, and win. Maybe they'd even bond."

Both men chuckled.

"But nah, I don't think he's gonna live that long, the way he sticks his neck out. Know what I'm saying? He's in a dangerous position. Things are bound to happen, eventually. And... and maybe that would be for the best."

Bunny breathed slowly and deliberately. She left biscuit number three on its plate, and took a sip of water instead.

"Yeah, but he keeps risin' to the occasion," said Benjamin. "You know, they talk about units with Fate blessings on 'em. I don't know much about that, but he keeps surviving these fights like he's meant for something. Maybe you should be careful, Don. Maybe that's your throne."

"Pff, please. Maybe he wants it," said Don King. "But you can't tell me the Titans do, Bennie. They want a Royal. If Caesar's got other ideas... he wants to come at me, fine. I could see that. I prob'ly would, too, in his position. But I got that conti-*hic* contingency covered."

He leaned back and craned his neck toward her. "Don't I, Bunny?"

---

When all four biscuits had been eaten, and both drunken men had wandered off to their bedchambers, Bunny some dolls to tidy the smoking room. Then she walked the palace corridors alone.

Most units couldn't claim to enjoy the absolute faith of their Ruler. Almost everyone alive must deal with the possibility that their King or Overlord could see fit to disband them at any time, for any reason. They had only the Titans to answer to.

But Don would never do that to her. He needed her like he needed air. And he didn't think to question her, any more than you'd question whether the air for your next breath will be there for you.

That faith had been earned at a terrible cost. A very long time ago, when she had not truly known her own heart, or Don's, or Prince Ponzie's, she'd made a choice. Because of it, she had forever lost her connection to those who shared her craft. She had lost her voice. And her lover had lost his life.

For a few thousand turns, perhaps, Bunny had dwelt in the agony of regret. But eventually, she just gave it no thought anymore. This was simply her life now.

That was a dangerous thing to do, where such a hard lesson was concerned. She had forgotten not to fall in love. And now it seemed a hauntingly similar choice loomed ahead.

She had reached her chamber door, but as she touched the handle, it felt strange to her. The moonlight flickered, and she shivered.

No, not the door handle. And no the light. It was a sense she had forgotten how to feel. Someone was plucking at her G-string...

Notes