CHAPTER 6: THE SEARCH FOR PRINCESS CLUTHEA

After the meeting with King Plyke and Queen Eyjdra, Lelelu gets to work researching the Blenia that were adversaries of the traditional Spubfurnia Blenia relationships on Utkrora. The Muse of Mischief and Agent Brzko decide to hear the results of her research in person. They arrive at Lelelu’s home on the Planet of Portals in the mid-morning. Lelelu had a Gaznzulian transporter installed in her home, that meant that Ferocity can easily transport down from his ship without being seen by anyone outside of her home.

“How long has it been since you’ve been here M? A few years?”

“Yeah, that sounds about right.”

“OK, so what’s up? With both of you and Ferocity here, there is definitely something going on. Spill it.”

“Spill it?” Ferocity said leaning his head forward and cocking it to one side.

“Earth slang – spill your guts – meaning tell me everything.” Brzko explains.

“Crude.” Ferocity said, leaning back.

The group is gathered in Lelelu’s garden, with huge butterflies, the same shade of blue as Lelelu, drifting about from one amazing flower to the next, occasionally landing on her bare shoulders. M looks at Brzko to see if he wants to make the announcement. He gestures for her to proceed.

“We’ve decided to take up a new residence, someplace where we can openly receive you, Ferocity and other guests.”

M pauses to see if there were questions, but they both stayed silent, waiting for her to continue.

“We’re thinking of an island, someplace where we can set up some serious security, but also have several structures. For example, a private dwelling for you Ferocity, and one for you, when you visit Lelelu, and of course guest quarters. Our recent close call with the VReoria made us realize that we don’t want to draw attention to Earth. They aren’t ready to deal with anyone as advanced as the VReoria. We’ll be keeping our place on Earth so that we can visit it, but it won’t be our main residence.”

“Where? Where are you thinking of living?”

“Here, on the Planet of Portals, or on Gaznzul. Those are the top two choices.” M leans back in her chair and waits for a reaction from Lelelu and Ferocity. Surely she wouldn’t have to ask for their opinions.

Ferocity shares his opinion first, “This is very good news. I will enjoying residing nearer to Lord Brzko.”

Lelelu stays focused on her tablet. M is just about to ask her to share her opinion when she turns the display toward the others, “What do you think of this island? It’s reasonably priced and it’s not far from Luchybos although still remote enough that it would be easy to secure.”

M and Brzko both laugh.

“So I take it you would vote for the Planet of Portals instead of Gaznzul?” Brzko asked.

Lelelu smiles. “Well sure. I mean it would make some things easier. And I think you’re right about protecting Earth. When you had Ciic stay with you, a Viiv managed to break through your security. Luckily they were confined to your house and not able to wreak havoc on the naive public, but it’s probably just a matter of time. Gaznzul would certainly be a secure location, but it wouldn’t be as convenient for me and besides, it just isn’t as fun as the Planet of Portals – the Gaznzulians really like rules and regulations.”

“Those are all valid points Lelelu. But you missed one.” M said. “The oceans and sunsets are much prettier here than they are on Gaznzul.”

This make them all laugh.

“OK, so what have you found out about the Blenia that object to serving the Spubfurnia?” M asked, getting them back to work.

“There doesn’t seem to be an organized resistance movement yet. Right now, it seems like the small group of Blenia have objected to the system and have set up a small community  near an old landing port. Which doesn’t seem like it would be an issue, but they are having trouble supporting themselves at the level they were accustomed to.”

“How many are living in this community?” M asked.

“About thirty.”

M continues to seek more details. “And does it seem like they could become violent or irrational?”

“Well there’s always the potential for violence, especially when your standard of living drops suddenly. But so far there’s been no reports of violence.”

“What about the Spubfurnia that object to being served by the Blenia? Are they connected in some way to this community?” Brzko asked.

“I think so. But that’s more difficult to determine. Satellite images don’t reveal what’s below the surface of the water. I’ve talked to Zri and he said that he does have an aquatic drone that would provide us the intel. But I’m sure you’d want to discuss that with King Plyke and Queen Eyjdra, I mean that would be like flying a drone right through Emperor Bartala’s palace.”

“Hopefully it won’t come to that. Do you have images of the community? Is it on land or is it floating?” M asked.

“They’ve attached their docks to a small island. The island used to be a landing port for visiting ships. And actually from what I’ve learned, it seems like the Spubfurnia own the dock structures and the island. But in an effort to keep things peaceful they are not enforcing any type of ownership. They’ve shifted their traffic to another port and let the Blenia use the docks and the island.” She calls up the images of the community on her tablet and props it up facing M, Brzko and Ferocity.

They scroll through the images, the community looks just like Lelelu described it. A series of docks attached together, forming a small network around an island.

“Is there a leader of this group?” Brzko asked.

“Yes, it is a Blenia named Thethlut. She is rumored to be the oldest living Blenia.”

“And how old is that?”

“123.”

“Can you arrange a meeting for us?”

“I already did.” Lelelu grinned, she was rightfully pleased with herself for anticipating the next step in the search for Princess Cluthea. “But it’s not until tomorrow morning so I guess you’ll have time to go look at that island.”

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