Hvs.tCF 76:1/Text

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"You've caught me on my morning flight!" grinned King Tramennis. "I'm afraid I wasn't expecting a King-a-gram. Do you mind terribly if I continue to flit about the city as we talk?"

"Not at all," said the King of Transylvito. "If I could fly, I would probably spend more time in the air than my warlords do. Count me jealous. As it is, I am poolside. Swimming is as close as I can come to the sensation."

It was true; in the little window of light that appeared in Tramennis' vision, Don King was shirtless and seated in a lounge chair in some kind of grand bathing chamber. He wore a towel around his neck and dark spectacles, despite the fact that his swimming pool appeared to be indoors. As a diplomat, Tramennis took this as a sign that Don had become comfortable enough over his last couple of calls to begin showing some informalities.

"It really is a lovely feeling," said the Jetstone King, who eased himself forward through the air at just below a walking pace. The flying body armor responded precisely to his will, as expressed in the balance of his back. "I wish I had another such item to send you, but our Dollamancer is gone. I gather from Cubbins that Ace created the gear to impress me, so that I would see that he was being underutilized. I certainly see that now. And I shudder to think how the enemy may now be putting his talents to use."

"Which in fact brings me to the subject of my call," said Don, "if you'll pardon the directness. I thought you'd want to know that I've recently gotten a peace overture from Gobwin Knob."

Tramennis raised an eyebrow and tried not to let his smile give too much away. "Have you? How extraordinary for Stanley."

"I don't know about Stanley," said Don. "This was his Chief Warlord speaking, name of Gotti. The one who's got a force of troops in the Magic Kingdom. You know about all of that business, right?"

Tramennis nodded. "Our sources on the matter have been explicit about the man, yes. Not necessarily reliable or complete, but explicit. What did he say to you? What was his offer?"

"Bilateral truce," said Don King. "Details negotiable. But we didn't get down to terms, because I'm not interested."

"I see," said Tramennis. "There's something to be said for it though, given your local situation, isn't there?" Transylvito was currently at war with four of the five sides they bordered: Carpool, Metroland, Jitterati and Gobwin Knob.

"Yeah but we should keep the Coalition intact. I would much rather make peace with Carpool or Metroland, and then push into Gobwin Knob territory, fighting alongside Faq," said Don King. "There's gains to be made there, I think. Queen Jillian should own the city of Gobwin Knob. Faq needs room to grow."

"I didn't think Faq was quite strong enough to attempt a second assault on Gobwin Knob," said King Tramennis, intentionally not adding "or Transylvito" to that observation.

Below him, the cliffs of Palace Hill fell away abruptly, leaving him much farther from the ground. He saw soldiers on the grand steps that ran alongside the cliff face, and gave them a single—he hoped, kingly—wave.

"They will be," said Don. "Give 'em time."

"Stanley will also grow stronger, given time," Tramennis pointed out.

Don smiled. "Yeah. That's why I don't want a truce," he said. "I wanna give him trouble in the interim. I hope you can help me out with that."