It has been a life long quest of Radu I Wallace to turn back the clock to long ago time when Kings and Emperors ruled the plates with undisputed power. Because of this Arcadian politics breaks down into two major factions. On one side there are the Republicans, favoring a constitutional monarchy and the Monarchists, who favor absolute monarchy but are content to endure a constitutional monarchy for the sake of efficiency. But there are extremists. House Taylor has long championed a Democratic Republic form of government with the abolition of a monarchy. And Radu himself favors an absolute monarch with an abolition of the Parliament—especially the House of Barons which has long opposed him.

Houses of the Sphere, by Luciana Terrol

Chapter 13: Radu

The King flinched at the crack of the bomb that exploded not several blocks from the Palace.

Marcus Mithra wanted to smile at that but did not dare. One did not make sport of the King—even if he and Mithra were close confidants. And it would not do for the Baron to let his Grace know what low esteem he held him in. Radu Wallace was the ruler of Arcadia and one did not make the ruler of the second most powerful plate on the Sphere angry with one.

“What the Hades is going on?” growled the King.

Radu’s nephew, the Duke James Wallace shrugged. He was a tall, quiet man who always carried a Tionka—an ape-like alien that produces addictive venom while feeding on the blood of its owner. James was not given to committing himself to an opinion. Years of addiction to the Tionka venom had rendered him a bit of a simpleton.

Also in the camber was the heir to the throne—Prince Wesley Wallace. Radu had no children so he was forced to adopt his nephews as his successors to the throne, Prince Wesley had just returned from the Wallace Colony on Earth 3261 and wore his blonde hair in the ropey style of some of the young rebels of that world commonly referred to as dreadlocks.

Radu did not approve of the haircut but he approved of Wesley. In a choice between him and the older James, who lacked any form of leadership ability it was easy. Wesley won out hands down over his cousin.

These people were Mithra’s closest friends and associates—if indeed he could call them that. He really felt no love for any of them and the only pleasure he got from the relationship was the pleasure of the power that it brought him as the King’s Master of Assassins—to use the old term. “We feel that outside element, hostile to your rule, are fomenting riots in the city,” said Mithra. “Nothing that the RAMP and their mercenary auxiliary elements can’t handle.”

“It sounds like more than just a riot,” said Wesley. “It sounds like a full scale revolution—a coupe d’etat.”

“I assure you that it is nothing that intense, Your Grace,” Mithra said.

“And how progresses that search for the Taylor brats and their mother?” asked Radu.

“We have increased the guard on all exits from Arcadia,” said the Master of Assassins. “The Army and Space Navy are also on alert for any ships attempting to run the blockade that has been thrown up around Arcadian space. The realm is sealed off very tightly.”

“The heirs to house Taylor must not escape,” said the King. “Until we have them in our custody we have no leverage to turn their father away from his seditious ways. It will leave us with one chose and one chair only—to kill him. And if we kill him the Barons will never let it rest unless we kill them and their families as well. And then there is our bastard cousin on the throne of Pangea. We cannot count on his Chancellor to keep a tight leash on him forever.”

“Ah,” smiled Mithra. “Then I might have something that will put a very tight leash on the emperor is we can exploit it.”

“And that would be?” asked Wesley. There was still that sarcasm in the Royal heir’s voice. Mithra did not relish the future day when he would be required to take direct orders from this one.

“My sources have informed me that the Prince of Thuvia may be here in Arcadia aiding the disruptive elements.”

Radu leaned forward a wolf like look on his round face. “Toreus the Younger?”

“Yes, your grace.”

“We should send an ultimatum to the Emperor right away,” Radu slammed his meaty palm on the arm of his chair. “Warn him of the consequences if he does not pull all of his operatives out of our sovereign territory.”

Mithra shook his head. “He would deny everything and continue with his illegal operation. We need proof.”

“And what would that be?” asked Wesley.

“The capture of his son would be proof to the entire Sphere of the criminal activities of the Pangean Empire. Nothing else will do. And I have already taken this matter up with the Commissioner of the Royal Arcadian Mounted Police. He has assigned some of his best agents to the case. I expect that the rogue prince will be in our custody before the night is out.”

“Excellent,” said Radu. “When you have him I want him brought before me. I will dress that young scoundrel down before sending him back to his father in shame.”

“It is high time that the Rhann were called to task for their interference in other realms,” said Wesley.

“But this does not mean that you will decrease your efforts to find and arrest the Taylors,” said the King. “I would like them in custody about the same time as you arrest Toreus.”

“It is your command,” said Mithra bowing.

“And I will help you in that task,” said the King. “Young Wesley here will assist you in the task.” Wesley looked as if he had been electrocuted. The Prince was lazy and not interested in risking his neck in the street. Mithra could earn brownie points by interceding on his behalf. “That will not be necessary, Your Grace.”

“Oh, but I insists,” said Radu. “That the Crown Prince helps arrest these dangerous rebels will look good to the people. It will help to raise their future king’s stature in their eyes. It will also serve to remind them of the benefits of life under a monarchy as opposed to the republic espoused by ilk such as Duke Taylor.” “It is your command,” said Wesley. He knew his uncle well enough to understand when he was determined and unswayable on a given subject.

“Good, that is settled. Now, go and bring me the heads of my enemies.”

Marcus Mithra left the King’s chamber with a feeling of satisfaction.

He had managed to get his nemesis the Crown Prince involved in the hunt for Toreus Rhann. If things went wrong then Wesley would be shamed and perhaps he, Marcus Mithra, would move one step closer to the throne.

Anyway you looked at it he stood to win.

A war with Pangea might make him a hero with standing. Perhaps if the Rhanns killed off the Wallaces then he might be in line for the throne himself. With that Taylor bustard gone he certainly would not have much competition.

Yes, this would work out just fine.

Jimmy Saratoga stood outside Mackean’s Den with his team.

Dead bodies were lined up in the street being scanned and tagged by the Crime Scene Squad. Many of the bodies were Kai’Vhan and killing a Vhan was not even considered murder save by their brother Vhans.

Many other bodies were those of Mercenaries from inside the bar, including one massive Rheticulan with a dozen bullet holes and knife wounds in him.

Investigator 1st Class Ken Reinhold came over to him looking at the screen of a pocket PAD.

“Report, Mr. Reinhold,” he said to the Investigator.

“None of the corpses is the subject,” said Reinhold. “If he was in there he escaped as the raid commenced.”

Saratoga shook his head. “Have your agents canvas the neighborhood. Get the uniforms to turn over every dumpster. Find his trail.”

“Yes, sir,” Reinhold saluted Saratoga and headed away to obey his orders.”

This is not going to be easy, Saratoga told himself.

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