HEADHUNTERS (63.2)

City of Rangda — Council

“Oh ho ho ho ho!”

Paladin Arsenica Varus laughed as 8th Division radio activity started to pick up.

She could only understand a smattering of words here and there.

Her cursory Ayvartan knowledge and imagination filled in the blanks how she liked them.

Engagement with a group of armor-clad female soldiers, you say?

A sniper in ambush, you say?

Deploying heavy machine gun fire, you say?

All she could ask for was for a little bit of mortar fire now, to add some drama!

She had been a sinful girl, but it was white sin, little sin. Nobody would know.

After all, what Queen rose to the top, that did not carve a bloody road behind her?

Certainly not the current, and certainly not the future. Not Arsenica Livia Varus!

She sat at the helm of the radio room in the Council building, her wooden chair like a throne, and having hurried her radio engineers and intelligence personnel to other menial tasks, she quickly issued specific instructions on her own bands while monitoring 8th Division radio traffic. Shuffling units around on the map, she found a way to easily dispatch the Vittoria kid while still keeping her units on track to their objectives.

Once she issued her orders the little Vittoria accepted them like a bleating sheep. She would charge into an enemy blocking position and be slaughtered; and then, that position would be destroyed by her more powerful units, and the invasion would proceed as if nothing had happened. It was a tree falling in forest; nobody would hear it.

Arsenica stood from the radio table, and she left the room, and allowed the translators and intelligence personnel and radio units to return from their various purgatories.

She strode across the wine-colored carpets of the Council building with her head up high.

Thanks to her leadership, the foothold into Ayvarta would be secured.

Soon the 8th Division would be neutralized. Because of their confused defensive posture and her total dominance over the airwaves, the 8th Division was slowly being encroached upon by strong groups from the Cheshire rifles and the Knights. Most of her tanks were moving toward Ocean Road and the port to secure it for the Royal Navy. Her own defenses outside the Council building were being seen to. She would use Drachen and his defectors as cannon fodder, and her elite knights would then counterattack any last-ditch attempt to breach the Council defenses. It was a perfect coup in all aspects. Arsenica had won.

Moving down the steps, Arsenica decided to head outside and inspect the defenses.

On the lawn of the Council Building, she found half-dug trenches and emptiness.

Old Ayvartan anti-tank guns lay in their old positions, broken by artillery attacks launched before Arsenica ever got here. Corpses were still on the ground, unclaimed. There was no barbed wire, no sandbags. Nochtish machine guns lay scattered about, abused and disused.

Arsenica had ordered a defensive line built.

Where were her laborers? Where were her defenders?

She had left explicit orders! She had trusted they would be carried out on her authority!

Arsenica ran out to the lawn, and she looked every which way.

She found tracks running along the ground.

Huffing and puffing from exertion, feeling exhausted after just a few minute’s run, Arsenica dashed around the side of the Council building, where she found a ramp sloping into a gap in the ground, to a garage below street level. It was open, and something large had clearly broken free and escaped from it. She charged down, sword drawn, and inside the garage, she found a gaggle of her knights, bruised, tied down, their equipment stolen.

She trotted angrily toward one of the girls and kicked her in the stomach.

“Wake up! What happened here? You were supposed to oversee my defenses!”

She had forgotten completely she had handed around that task like a hot potato.

And she had especially forgotten the last person she, in her fey mood, gave the task to.

So Arsenica Livia Varus, 4th (3rd?) in line to the throne of Lubon, was surprised when she heard the words of her defeated subordinate, spoken half-confused, half-fearful.

“Von Drachen.”


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