Not long after, Isaac found his personal airship docked on land. Exchanging small talk with the Queen, Isaac entered the airship’s guest room where there was an observatory. Isaac enjoyed a meal with the Queen as the airship took flight, heading to New Port City.
It had been a long time since Isaac could indulge himself with decent food. Once satisfied, Isaac lit a new cigarette and asked the Queen.
“So how long was I stuck in that place?”
“About 40 days.”
“And you finished all the negotiations within that time?”
“Of course. And we even decided to announce it to the public.”
“There are too many powerful people to count in our world. Wouldn’t it have been more profitable for them if they kept their monopoly a secret?”
“That’s because I wanted it to be announced to the public.”
“Even a month seems too short to decide on whether to accept your demands.”
This wasn’t some awkward first contact. They were literally killing each other moments ago. They probably dragged her to the interrogation room the moment they saw her. Could she really convince them that she’s an ambassador? Especially when it was much easier to ignore her claim and simply extract intel through brute force?
Even if she was accepted as an ambassador, the old world wasn’t ruled by a single government. Countless nations were entangled with one another, competing for the smallest of advantages.
This world was a stream of gold flowing into the old world. Instead of fighting amongst one another to get a larger piece of the pie, they unanimously acquiesced to the demand of announcing it to the public? And in such a short amount of time? It was ludicrous to even think about.
This was a trade deal on a planetary scale. A difference of 0.1% would change the number of digits on paper. Countless factions who originally joined forces to increase their profits would fight amongst each other for a single decimal place. Wars breaking out would be the norm going forward. If you consider those who were left out of the original cartel, the Queen wouldn’t even have to wait an entire generation to close the gate.
“It was nothing. I have what everyone who has money and power wants.”
What was the Queen’s secret card to which those at the peak of power and money would submit willingly? It was obvious.
“I swear, eternal youth and immortality always works.”
“Kuku. It has to.”
“Is it possible?”
“Of course. You’ve already seen the successful cases. Youth and a new life is a temptation they cannot refuse.”
“But the non-humans wouldn’t allow that.”
“They don’t know that.”
True. Once the public knew, it didn’t matter if the Queen lied to them. She was the one holding the leash in the first place. Immortality aside, the Queen could provide them with a life free of disease and disability using the medical technology of this world at the very least. Isaac sighed briefly and lit a new cigarette.
“So all the talks were already over. All that’s left is the final signature. Just how did you do it?”
“When a Gate opens, this world detects it. Even I can’t prevent that. But I can bypass it by opening a tiny Gate going through heaven or hell first, allowing me to communicate with them without this world noticing.”
“You bypassed them through heaven and hell?”
“Yes. Occasionally, some of the angels and demons noticed the gate and forced it bigger, crawling their way into this world. It was a headache, but that will never happen again.”
Isaac was at a loss for words as the Queen confessed that all the angel and demon incidents were caused by her. It seemed like it would take something extraordinary to foil her plan, which had been long in the works.
Meanwhile, a tiger entered to take away the plates and cutlery. It glared fiercely at Isaac before bringing them tea and snacks.
The tiger slammed the tea in front of Isaac, spilling some on Isaac’s lap. Isaac looked at the tiger blankly, but the tiger simply scoffed and turned around. And when it did, its tail slapped Isaac’s head.
“… Kuku. Don’t be so angry at them. From their perspective, you did kill one of their kinsmen.”
Isaac’s eyebrows narrowed when the Queen tried to calm him. He scratched his cheek, then shrugged. He had no weapons on hand, and there was too much to unearth before he could fight at this point.
“Well. Tell me everything that’s happened while I was in jail.”
The Queen, seemingly used to Isaac’s brash behaviour, replied without hesitation.
“It’ll be quicker if you see for yourself.”
With those words, the Queen turned on the monitor on the wall. Isaac was almost speechless, his mouth agape watching the screen.
“Kya! I’m assuming she’s a stand-in, since the original damsel would never go there in her right mind. Thanks to you, I don’t have to go through with my hero making plans.”
Isaac grinned, watching Rivelia announce to a crowd that the plague was officially over.
The damsel would never agree to do something like this willingly, so the Rivelia on screen was most likely a stand-in. Unlike her usual demeanour, the Rivelia on the screen was acting like an iconic hero at the centre of the crowd’s awe.
Isaac laughed as he watched it play, when the Queen clapped her hands and spoke.
“Ah, the Grand Council still decided that they couldn’t let you go free after killing the Three-eyed. They decided to scold you.”
“Mr. Isaac went ahead with an order that was both reckless and dangerous despite everyone advising against it, and as a result lost control over the plague situation. When the plague spread like wildfire, you escaped the scene without hesitation. Rivelia stepped in to fill your position, and helped Mazelan bring the city back under control. When everything was over, you returned and claimed that everything was your doing.”
Isaac’s laughter grew louder listening to the Queen.
“So they made me into the worst son of a bitch of them all? They couldn’t kill me, so they decided to make me into a pariah?”
“It’s not a problem for you though.”
“You’ll be seeing me in the next scene.”
Isaac was curious why the Queen was so confident, only to burst out in laughter. On the screen was something he’d never imagined.
Countless people stood in the plaza, wearing clothes he was so very familiar with. At the stand were those who seemed to be the crowd’s representatives, clapping away. Behind them were flags of major nations Isaac couldn’t possibly forget.
“You went there yourself?”
An old white man came out to the stand and made a speech. He then stepped back, making way for the Queen. The Queen smiled and shook hands with everyone on the stand.
“Puhup! What’s she doing there?”
Isaac suddenly found himself coughing, completely caught off guard by the next person on the screen. Behind the Queen was Reisha, waving at the cameras with a grin. Those in the plaza screamed in unison, which thrilled Reisha even more. She now waved her hands eagerly like a superstar.
“She came with me to be my watcher. She was quite adorable.”
The Queen snickered, and Isaac laughed with her.
“To watch you? I think she’s enjoying herself too much for that. A star is born. Are you sure she didn’t come with you just to be to be evidence of this world?”
Isaac muttered as he watched Reisha pose in front of hundreds of cameras, revelling in the moment.
Humans were creatures whose reality was only what they wanted to believe, no matter how much evidence was presented. To such creatures, Reisha—an elf—was the proof of non-humans. Her beauty also made her approachable without ill feeling.
There were many people who’d love her simply for the fact that she’s an elf, so long as she kept her mouth shut. Then again, some people would like Reisha’s brash and outgoing personality. Everyone had different tastes after all.
“But why was it Reisha of all people?”
Did Reisha betray Kunette? Isaac thought to himself but immediately shook away such thought. Isaac was well aware she didn’t have the personality to do such a thing.
“Just as you said, Mr Isaac, I went as the ambassador to the other world, but the Grand Council was still concerned. They needed to send a watcher to make sure I wasn’t planning something fishy. But if I truly had ill-intent, the watcher would have been sent to the dissection table in an instant. They couldn’t just send anyone there. That’s why Reisha was selected. She loved it, exclaiming that she got to be the first elf to be known to the other world in public.”
Isaac let out a deep sigh. When one considers Reisha’s personality, one would know that she would never miss an opportunity to become the world’s first anything.
The elves stood in the moderate faction, and they refrained from cooperating with the radicals. Reisha was an agent of Surveillance and Kunette’s close aide, so she was the perfect candidate. But watching the screen, Reisha seemed more preoccupied with being a superstar than watching the Queen.
“What about Kunette?”
The question held many meanings within, to which the Queen replied after sipping tea.
“As the Director of Surveillance, Kunette had rejected the Grand Council’s decision to control you and has been closely monitoring Mr. Isaac all this time. But she couldn’t stop Mr. Isaac from killing the Three-eyed. Such crime was enough to lock her away for a few days.”
“I’m the one who killed the three-eyed weirdo, and she gets punished for it?”
The Queen gauged Isaac’s reaction before asking.
“You don’t seem to mind it too much?”
Isaac shrugged at her question.
“It’s not like I asked her to stay with me. All I’ll say is thanks for taking the fall for me.”
The Queen, who was closely watching Isaac, grinned.
“True, I guess none of it matters now.”
“That’s right. In fact, why is Kunette different from others? I saw her transform into a human and, I must say, she’s damn fine.”
“Huh? Are you talking about another woman in front of me?”
“No, I’m talking about a pretty woman.”
Isaac smoothly parried the Queen’s jab, to which the Queen scoffed.
“Kunette is the most powerful of all the Directors of Surveillance that came before her. Since her youth, she’s had to suppress her own power. The reason why there’s such a great disparity between her human and beast age is that she must not only suppress her power as a beast but also her growth.”
“I have to say that for a grown woman, her mental age was…”
Isaac reminisced over Kunette—the teddy bear who would die for honey, loved to play, easily got grumpy, and bawled her eyes when things went wrong. The Queen snickered.
“You could even say she has multiple personalities. That’s how different her mental age is between beast and human. She had to. Otherwise she’d have been consumed by her own power by now.”
“If she’s so strong, how couldn’t she find out the radicals’ plans?”
“Have you any idea how many Directors of Surveillance I’ve faced until now? I’ve been careful. But Kunette continued to be suspicious of me, despite the fact that I obscured my true intentions in the deepest corners of my mind. In fact, having the Three-eyed killed was a gamble on my part. If you, Mr. Isaac, couldn’t ride out your confinement, Kunette would have escaped with you, and all of my plans would have been revealed.”
“Hm. So the disappearance of those mutts that were gloating about whether to kill me or not—all of that was just to prevent my enraged self from undoing everything?”
Isaac asked, and the Queen smiled.
“Would you have stayed put otherwise?”
“You have a point.”