The Muse of Mischief almost always arrived at the bottom of the palace stairs when she visited Ploosnar. A habit she had developed when she was young in order to prevent the palace guards from being startled. Today, there was no time for that. She arrived on the landing, outside the entrance. The palace guards were momentarily startled. M was well known on Ploosnar and once they recognized her they relaxed.

“Sorry, I’m in a real hurry today.” she said.

“We understand.” one of them answered.

M rushed inside and asked the first butler she encountered, “Where is Empress Nalau?”

Before he could answer the Empress rounded the corner. “Oh M, I’m so sorry. How can we help?” She said embracing M.

“I need a big favor Nalau.” The Empress just looked at her, waiting to hear what it was. “I need a coordinator, someone that can handle incoming and outgoing communications for me. Brzko and I can’t get bogged down with the details but I’m afraid we may miss something without someone managing communications.”

“Of course, it would be my pleasure. Do I need to bring anything?”

“No, we should have everything you’ll need. We’re going to set up the guest house as a command center.”

“This would be the guest house you built for us on Misko?” Emperor Bartala said as he rounded the corner with Wisssi lounging in his arms.

M realized she rarely saw the Emperor and Empress this relaxed – Bartala wore green slacks and simple white shirt with the sleeves rolled up and Nalau was wearing an almost identical outfit.

“Hey Bartala. Yes. Don’t worry, Nalau will be safe.”

“I have no doubt! Please contact me if you need anything and keep me informed when you can.”

Empress Nalau took a second to kiss her child and embrace her husband, and then turned to M. “OK, let’s go.” And they did.

They arrived near M’s house. She kept her grip on Nalau’s arm to steady her.

“Which house?”

“That one.” M said pointing to the guest house and walking that way.

“I don’t need an escort M. You have more important things to do. Have someone get me an earcom link and I’ll take care of the rest. Where’s Whotov?”

“Probably there.” M said pointing to Ferocity’s house.

Nalau was off. She went to Ferocity’s house first, intent on securing Whotov’s help with gathering supplies – she intended to have sustenance and other supplies available for everyone on Misko.

Whotov answered when she knocked on the door. He was shocked to see her, “Empress Nalau! To what do I owe this honor.” he said as he bowed.

“There’s no time for formalities Whotov, I need your help.” She said stepping into the house.

M clearly didn’t need to babysit her. She had made the right choice getting her to help. Nalau may be an Empress but no one can organize and mobilize better than she can. “Zri,” M called via earcom link.

“Go ahead M.”

“I need you to get Empress Nalau an earcom link and set up a full communications center in the guest house.”

“Brzko told me where you went. Everything is ready for the Empress.”

“Thanks. Brzko, Ferocity, where are you?”

“We’re all at the guest house.” Brzko answered. “We need to start working on a plan.”

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