[23rd of December, 2740 AD; New Prime Minister’s Office, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]
After the attack during the summit, Ayanna found herself back at the prime minister’s office. Wilson Dezine has made the decision to pull out and return to Rezar, bringing along the officials and military with him. However, Ayanna knew that there was more to the withdrawal than Dezine let on. A lot more, in fact, that she and Law decided to pay a visit to the prime minister’s office the moment they arrived in the city. If Wilson Dezine was associated with Foundation as Johan had claimed, then there had to be evidence that contributed to that claim. She went upstairs as Law walked alongside her, the two making a direct line to Dezine’s office with no one to stop them.
“You know, it’s not like you to gamble like this,” Law said. “Usually, I’m the one who likes to roll the dice in situations like these.”
“Fortunately for us, we don’t have much to worry about,” Ayanna said. “All the others have either left early or did not decide to come in today. Let us count that as a sign of good luck, if you will.”
“I will,” Law replied. “So, what do you think? You worked pretty hard to get to where you are, you know.”
“If I’m being honest with you, there is much I wish I could’ve done that day,” Ayanna said, “But the whole reason why I am doing this is because of Dezine’s actions then. If he had been in the Iiayikohnian meeting room, then I would not have my doubts.”
When the shooting broke out, Ayanna had been in the crowd listening to Rain’s speech. After the announcement, she coordinated with Reiss and the other soldiers to make sure everyone was safe. She had wanted to find Dezine first, as it was important to ensure the prime minister’s safety, but was told by Reiss that he had already left for the meeting room with a couple of soldiers at his side. Still, it concerned Ayanna that the prime minister had left by the time of the shooting. It did not help that afterwards, she had seen Dezine speaking with Casper Bradley and Isaac Kunigunde, laughing as though nothing had happened.
“There was little reason for him to leave Rain’s speech so early before the attacks began, especially when nobody else was informed until after the fact,” she said, “I must get to the bottom of this incident before it has a chance to get worse. I have to do this not just as a lieutenant general, but as a citizen of Iiayikohn as well.”
“Well, we both should have an idea of what happened,” Law said. “There’s no point in trying to deny the reality of the situation: Dezine’s been working with Foundation and Isaac.”
“Right,” Ayanna said. “Though it will be difficult to oust him even if we can obtain information on him.”
“Does Dezine have a few tricks up his sleeve?” Law asked. “Perhaps he has a fail-safe in case someone were to come to his office. If that’s the case, I’ve got a good idea of what we can do.”
“That’s not it,” Ayanna said. “All the doors in this building have the same lock and cannot be tampered with easily. No, what I’m worried about are the actions he took in order to secure his position.”
Ayanna explained briefly to Law the “Prime Minister Protection Act,” and how it factored into this conversation. In the most basic sense, Dezine would be able to see to it that he always has a select group of soldiers suited to his security, as well as being able to enact certain protections that prevented him from coming under scrutiny, as well as avoiding any potential threats.
“That’s quite vague,” Law said.
“I believe that that’s the point,” Ayanna replied. “Even in our books, it’s left as vague as possible about what any of that entails. While I do believe it’s good to have the prime minister secured, given what happened to Alan Berry, we are all left in the dark as to what these protections are and what Dezine believes to be a threat to him.”
“Well, it could be your classic threats like terrorists, or it could be anyone who opposes him,” Law said. “I’m willing to bet that it’s the latter, however, since he’s all good pals with Isaac and they’re looking to start power tripping as soon as they can.”
“That is what I’m afraid of,” Ayanna said. “Dezine may just be all talk, but it is Foundation and Isaac that worries me the most.”
“So what about General Reiss?” Law asked. “You said he’d be here to help us out, but it’s just us right now.”
Ayanna did find it strange that Reiss did not show. She informed him of her intention to investigate Dezine, to which Reiss replied that he would come as soon as possible to help. But even without his help, Ayanna would find the truth. As Ayanna arrived at the door to Dezine’s office, however, she hesitated as she set her hand on the doorknob.
“I am wondering myself where he is, too,” Ayanna replied. “I’m hoping that he is only late, given that this is a covert mission.”
“Well, we can wait here and make ourselves look more obvious, or we can go in and not have to wait for the man himself,” Law said. “It’s your choice.”
Ayanna unlocked the door and began to turn the knob. “It’s important that we do this for the sake of Iiayikohn. Follow me.”
Law shrugged. “Why wouldn’t I?”
Once inside Dezine’s office, Ayanna surveyed the room. Nothing looked to be out of the ordinary, she thought, but that just made Dezine more suspicious in her eyes. Ayanna decided to look through Dezine’s desk, while Law spent time by looking through the bookshelves. As she looked through each drawer, Ayanna found nothing of interest that caught her eye. Everything from letters, bills, and even newspapers occupied the drawers of Dezine’s desk and none of them had provided Ayanna with any clues.
“Damn, he’s pretty secure,” Ayanna said.
“I don’t think he’s careless enough to hide anything incriminating inside his desk,” Law replied. “No, if he was going to hide something here, then it has to be stuffed inside a safe.”
“Well, Alan did keep a safe in this office,” Ayanna said. “Though I’m pretty sure that his grandson took it out after the funeral.”
“I see,” Law said. “You wouldn’t happen to know where he kept this safe, do you? You know, because you worked pretty closely with him and all, so I can only imagine that Dezine may have put something in that place.”
“Actually, you’re not too far off from where it is,” Ayanna replied. “It’s in the bookshelf next to the one you’re looking through.”
Law placed his hand on a protruding book. “So it would be around here, then? Let’s see what we’ve got, then.”
Ayanna walked over to Law as he began to pull the books from out of the bookshelf. True to Ayanna’s word, there was a cavity behind the stacks of books, but what she did not expect to see was another safe. She was sure that Alan’s was removed, so this one had to belong to Dezine. How he got it inside his office was another story, however, as there was little chance he could have done it without the help of the guards. There was no time to question, though, as Law placed his hand upon the lock and turned it.
“Seems like we can turn this guy from zero to one hundred,” he said. “I gotta be honest, though, when I say that I’ve got no clue how to even crack this thing.”
“It’s usually three numbers,” Ayanna said. “You just have to turn the dial in the correct order and try to open it.”
“Well, we don’t have a lot of time,” Law replied. “We could spend all day trying to open this safe, but that’ll get us nowhere. Though, if you have any idea what the number might be, I’m all ears.”
Ayanna shook her head. “No, that’s fine,” she said. “The fact that this safe exists means that Dezine has something to hide.”
“So we don’t need any evidence, then,” Law said. “Then again, the safe is all the evidence we really need right now. We just need to utilize it when the time is right.”
“More like I’m going to need it,” Ayanna said.
“What do you mean?” Law asked.
“Nothing,” she replied. “Let’s just clean this up quickly before we leave and get out of here.”
After Ayanna helped Law clean up the mess he made, they hurried to exit Dezine’s office. She knew that she would have to bring up that safe to Dezine in the future, but did not know how he would react once she mentioned it. After all, she had found in in what was considered an illegal search. Ayanna did her best to abide by the laws of the land, but even she knew that there was cause for concern involving the prime minister. If it came down to what she truly believed in, then Ayanna would choose to act in the interest of Iiayikohn and the citizens before anyone else, and that included the prime minister himself. Even so, Ayanna knew that she may have to sacrifice all she worked hard to achieve in order to seek out this justice and it was not an easy decision for her to make.
“I bet you feel better now,” Law said. “Some doubts are probably clearing up in your head, I’m guessing.”
“They are, but it doesn’t make me any happier,” Ayanna replied.
As she and Law left the prime minister’s office, General Reiss stood outside waiting for her. Ayanna closed the door behind her as she noticed that he was exhausted and gasping for breath. She ran up to him instantly as Law followed her in suit.
“Sir, are you okay?” Ayanna asked.
“I’m fine,” Reiss said. “Listen, it was a mistake to come here today. You two should leave now before he sees you!”
“Ah shit, so he’s caught wind of our antics, hasn’t he,” Law said. “Well, if we get moving, we’ll avoid him before he even makes it upstairs.”
“We’re not going to leave General Reiss behind,” Ayanna said. “Sir, it’s fine, I can help you.”
“Ansa, you have to move right now,” Reiss said. “Dezine’s going to chew my arse out and that’s fine. I’ll be glad to fall on the sword for you two! Run!”
“It’s quite noble to see you stand up for her,” Dezine said. “Even though she has been a nuisance to me, you don’t give up on her. I’ll admit, Roderick, that you have earned my respect.”
Reiss stood tall. “Damn it, you came in at the worst time,” he said. “Well, I have no problem with that. Just leave them alone, they have nothing to do with this.”
“So you’re going to play dumb, then,” Dezine replied. “It doesn’t suit you at all, my friend. Your peers have praised you on your intelligence, so choosing to act like a simpleton only makes you reek of the foul stench of suspicion, General Reiss.”
“Just what are you planning to do with us, old man?” Law asked.
“You should treat me with much more respect, Mr. Power,” Dezine said. “I’ve heard plenty about you and will not hesitate to use my position as prime minister in order to deal with you.”
“Just tell me, sir, what happened in Glora,” Ayanna said. “The sooner you explain to us what you did, the faster we can figure out who was responsible for Chancellor Harring’s assassination.”
“Ah, so you believe I may have had a hand in his death,” Dezine said. “Tell me, general, was the reason you came here because you believed what she said over what I told you?”
“There is no reason for me to lie to you, Prime Minister,” Reiss replied. “It came as a surprise when your name was mentioned in that broadcast, that I’d found it impossible to believe. Yet, on the day of the attacks, I heard from one of my subordinates that she’d seen you head up to the top floor with the president of Ameci and Mr. Kunigunde.”
“So you would call me, the prime minister of Iiayikohn, a killer?” Dezine asked. “All because I decided to take a stroll?”
“It’s not because you took a stroll, sir,” Ayanna replied. “It’s the time and place in which you took your so-called stroll.”
“I’d like to believe that the leader of this country would not stoop to a low such as assassination of a neighbooring country, but too many pieces line up for me to dismiss such claims,” Reiss said. “The other soldiers that were tasked with looking for you have all corroborated the subordinate’s claim, and even the lieutenant general here says she has found evidence.”
Dezine scoffed. “To think that even the general himself would choose to believe such slanderous accounts… I’ll deal with those soldiers later,” he said. “What I should do now is deal with the three of you. Luckily, that’s where my power comes in.”
“What are you planning on doing to us?” Reiss asked.
“Oh, I won’t do a thing to you,” Dezine replied. “If I try anything drastic, I just know that it’ll attract the vermin to me. Instead, I will sign the papers that will process your retirement, general.”
“You think I would comply to that?” Reiss asked. “Even then, I know that you’ll draw attention if you force me out.”
“That is true, Roderick,” Dezine said, “But I consider this to be the lesser of two evils. As for you, Ansa, I have something different in mind: I’ll reassign you to a specialized post outside of Iiayikohn. Neither of you will argue these conditions, unless you wish for misfortune upon your families.”
“Like hell we’ll allow that to happen,” Reiss replied.
“So you honestly think you’ll get away with this,” Law said. “I’m not sure if you’re stupid for believing in that or if you’re stupid for telling us. Either way, old man, this is pretty reckless for someone like you.”
“Oh, I’ve had this planned for a while,” Dezine said. “With my new laws in place, there’s no chance of anyone upending me. But you three still think you can disobey a direct order, in which case I will exercise the privilege of the ‘Prime Minister Protection Act’ and order my men to do their work.”
“And it all comes back to that,” Law said. “I’d think even you’d have the decency to leave innocent people out of this, but I suppose I can be wrong.”
“Waste not your breath on me,” Dezine said. “Well, general and lieutenant general? Will you comply or not?”
Before Reiss could speak, however, Ayanna knew that she had to speak up and respond to Dezine. She knew how important it was to stop Dezine now that he revealed his true self to her.
“You’ll not harm either of our families if we obey your order, am I correct?” Ayanna asked. “Is this the honest to god truth?”
Dezine smiled. “Believe me.”
“Then I will comply,” Ayanna replied. “To show you that I am serious, here… take this.”
Much to the shock of both Law and Reiss, Ayanna took off her lieutenant’s badge and handed it over to Dezine. It was a difficult decision to make, but she knew that it was the easiest option out of the two. Neither man spoke as Dezine wrapped his fingers around the badge and placed it in his pocket.
“Consider me quite surprised, lieutenant general,” Dezine said. “Or should I say… Miss Ansa? Either way, I am glad you understand.”
“And General Reiss will agree to these terms as well,” Ayanna said. “We will comply and get out of your way.”
“Then I’ve got no need for you,” Dezine said. “Now get out of here.”
Ayanna nodded and looked to both Law and Reiss. With one look, she could tell that they understood and followed her out of the prime minister’s office. That she was able to pull off such a feat against the prime minister made Ayanna much more confident about moving forward. Now, however, came the difficult part as she exited the building with Law and Reiss with her. They still looked to be in shock as Ayanna turned to them with a smile on her face.
“I didn’t think he’d fall for it, but he did,” Ayanna said. “To think I’d pull off such a trick like that… I must admit it’s quite thrilling!”
Law chuckled. “I think Roddy over here deserves a bit of an explanation,” he said. “I mean, I totally understood what you did, but let’s fill the man in on the trick you pulled.”
“Yes, I’d like to know what the hell you were thinking, too,” Reiss said. “You didn’t just give up, did you? Even if our families lives were at stake, there’s no guarantee he’d leave us alone if we obeyed.”
“That much we know is true,” Ayanna replied. “If he works with the likes of Isaac and the Neu Thekohnian Order, then I know that there’s no reason to ever accept a deal from him. That’s why I want him to think we would.”
“Okay, now I’ve got to ask you what that means,” Reiss said. “We may have worked together for years now, but I’ve no idea what you’re saying.”
“Basically, if we make Dezine think he’s won this little war, it will be easier for us to know what he’ll do next,” Ayanna said. “I know he’ll try and go after us anyway, which is why I still need your help, sir.”
“There’s no need for formalities now,” Reiss said. “You can just call me by my first name. Anyway, what is your plan now?”
“We’ll need to head off towards the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn,” Ayanna said. “Right now, a friend of mine is in trouble and he needs our help. We’ll need to find some soldiers that will be willing to assist us as well, since I’m sure that Foundation is thinking up a new plan as we speak.”
“Are we sure about that?” Law asked. “I’m not exactly sure we can round up a select group of soldiers in record time, but then again, I’m not going to start doubting you yet, my dear.”
“I already know of one man who will help,” Ayanna said. “If we convince him, then we can convince several others to join our cause.”
“If that’s the case, then I’ll make the calls,” Reiss said. “If you are speaking of the man I think you’re speaking of, then I want you to take him with you. I’ll be sure to join up with you later.”
“Very well,” Ayanna said.
“And one more thing, Ayanna,” Reiss said. “You don’t need to worry about your family, either; I’ll help them out.”
Ayanna nodded. “ Thank you.”
“If anything goes wrong, let me know,” Reiss said. “Now go.”
With everything agreed on, Ayanna and Law went off to find Dierk and take him with them to the kingdom. It would be a long trip, but they knew that they had to regroup as soon as possible. Dezine and Foundation were moving fast. For Ayanna, that just meant that she had to move faster.
To be continued…