Carpathia III: Episode 81 - The End of the Charade
The Palace, Zhail City
After sending Phobos and Deimos out to sneak around the palace, Artemis busied himself tinkering with the objects around him. His desk was a mess, surrounded by half-finished creations, failed creations, and handwritten notes scattered all around.
Hearing the familiar noise of the elevator clattering down to his floor, Artemis quickly stashed his computer into his bag. After hearing the elevator door open and the familiar "clack clack" of high heels on the stone floor, Artemis knew he made the right decision. Erosia was coming, and she barged into his lab with her customary rudeness.
Erosia: I'm late for a meeting, so let's have it. What are you working on today?
Artemis grumbled. Every day, she came to see what he was working on. Every day, she bluntly expressed her disappointment at his response. He wondered why she even bothered.
Artemis: Not that you care, but I'm working on some polarized lenses. They'll protect your eyes from the sun.
Erosia sighed dramatically. Artemis knew what was going to happen next.
Erosia: Why do I even bother coming down here?
Artemis: Seeing as how I don't work for you, that's a very good question.
Erosia paid him no mind and instead looked down at a flask of clear liquid sitting on his desk. She picked it up and studied it intently along with the notes laying beside it.
Erosia: What's this?
Artemis glanced up at the flask that Erosia was holding.
Artemis: You don't want to touch that. I was trying to make a new lubricant for... um... machine parts, but I used the wrong chemicals. That stuff will burn your skin right off.
On this very rare occasion, Artemis watched as the corners of Erosia's mouth turn up into a very discomforting grin.
Erosia: Oh ho! It seems you can be useful after all! I shall show this to the King right away!
Artemis wondered what possible use she could have for such a thing or why it made her so very excited. Regardless, her excitement made him feel very uncomfortable. Erosia quickly turned with a flourish and stomped out the door, carrying the flask and notes with her.
Erosia: The factory workers have been getting awfully uppity lately. This will show them who's boss.
Artemis listened to the door of the elevator open and then clank shut as he sat, dumbfounded, waiting for Erosia's words to sink in.
Artemis: Oh hell no!
Artemis quickly grabbed his bag and rushed to the elevator, which was already ascending. He pulled the lever, but it had no effect. He had to wait for Erosia to go wherever she was doing before he could use it himself.
Finally, he heard the elevator mechanism stop. Again, he pulled on the elevator handle and it began to descend once again. The time it took to reach him surely indicated that Erosia had gone to the top floor or close to it. At last, when the elevator reached him, he got inside and began to ascend.
Artemis knew that Erosia probably went to the King's room, but that was not his destination anyway. Higher and higher, he rode the elevator until it stopped automatically on the top floor.
After opening the elevator gate, Artemis stomped straight to Riven's room. Without a care about what Adell and Riven might be doing, Artemis flung open the door without knocking and marched inside. Both Adell and Riven were sitting on the couch with documents spread all over the table. They both looked up at Artemis in shock. Artemis grabbed the door and slammed it shut.
Artemis: I will not make chemical weapons for you or anyone else!
Both Adell and Riven looked at each other, hoping that one of them had any idea what Artemis was talking about. When it was clear that neither knew, they both turned their attention back to Artemis.
Adell: What are you talking about?
Prince Riven: I do not recall requesting such a thing.
Artemis tapped his foot impatiently.
Artemis: Not you. Erosia. Doesn't matter anyway. She took one of my failed experiments, a liquid that I accidentally made too acidic, and said she was going to use it against some factory workers. Now, explain! What, exactly, is she going to do with that?
Both Artemis and Adell looked at Riven expectantly. Riven furrowed his brow for a moment and raised his fingers to his mouth, considering his response.
Prince Riven: I'm afraid I could not speak to her exact purpose. I would surmise that she intends to retaliate against a few people who may be organizing a possible worker action against us.
Adell: And you're okay with this?
Prince Riven: The idea brings me no pleasure, if that is what you are asking. How do you control the undesiarables on your world?
Adell: We don't have any undesirables! Everyone is required to follow the same laws and regulations in Carpathia. We've been over this before.
Riven raised an eyebrow.
Prince Riven: I know your constitution contains ample references to equality. However, I am having difficulty grasping the concept. Surely your Lord Lynx needn't follow the laws?
Adell paused and rubbed his forehead.
Adell: Yes, even Lord Lynx. That's the point of the entire system. Everyone has a chance to better themselves and work for the betterment of their lives. When you have that, there's no need to use chemical weapons on anyone.
Prince Riven: It must be a common way of thinking where you are from. For me, however, it is a radical concept. I must cogitate on this further.
Interrupting their conversation, Artemis let out a large, melodramatic sigh.
Artemis: Well, that's just fine. You to just keep doing whatever. I'm leaving. If you need me, I'm going back to Sra.
Suddenly, Adell and Riven forgot about each other and focused on Artemis with their undivided attention. Adell jumped up from the couch and ran to Artemis as he reached for the doorknob.
Adell: No! Don't do that! We'll think of something. Maybe Riven can make sure that Erosia doesn't come and visit? Or we could get you a new lab where she won't bother you?
Adell continuously looked back toward Riven as he spoke, hoping for some sign of possibility from him. He received none. In desperation, Adell, grabbed Artemis's arm. Artemis whirled around, throwing Adell's hand away.
Artemis: Don't touch me!
Artemis gave a mighty shove to Adell's chest and he fell backwards onto his rear end. Adell remained where he was, too stunned to move.
Artemis: You think that's the only reason I'm leaving? If you're not going to be a part of my life, then it's time for me to make one of my own!
Adell blinked several times, doing his best to comprehend Artemis's words. Riven pretended to study the documents on the table, while making several glances in their direction.
Adell: I don't understand.
Artemis removed his glasses and rubbed his forehead.
Artemis: I love you, you thick-headed fuckwit!
Artemis wiped his eyes and put his glasses back on. As he spoke, his voice cracked.
Artemis: Heaven knows why. I thought we had something, but all you've done is ignore me since we came here.
Several more seconds ticked by in uncomfortable silence.
Artemis: Well, say something, dipshit!
Finally, Adell tried to stammer out a few words as he rose up onto his knees.
Adell: I... I... I didn't realize...
Adell got on his feet, and cautiously approached Artemis, guarding against another shove. Artemis stood where he was, trembling, but otherwise unmoving. Tentatively, Adell reached out and carefully put his arms around Artemis.
Adell: You're right. I am an idiot.
At that moment, the door opened and Shai poked his head inside.
Shai: My Prince, I thought I heard some manner of commotion in here. Is everything okay?
Prince Riven: Indeed, all is as well as can be expected now. I believe the air has, at least, been somewhat cleared of certain matters.
Shai stepped fully into the room.
Shai: Master Artemis, I did not expect to see you here.
Artemis: Yeah, well, I didn't expect to be here.
Adell stepped back and turned to Riven, preparing to inform him he was going to spend some time with Artemis for awhile. However, before he could say anything, Adell noticed that Riven was pointing towards Artemis's feet with an expression of utter astonishment on his face.
Riven: WHAT IS THAT?
Everyone looked towards Artemis's feet. Especially Adell and Artemis were horrified to see Phobos standing there, tugging at Artemis's pant leg.
Artemis jumped in a panic.
Artemis: ACK! Phobos! What are you doing...
In a flash, Artemis feigned composure.
Artemis: I mean... oh my goodness! I wonder what that is!
Phobos maintained his persistence.
Phobos: Dad, please take out your computer right now. There's something you need to see. It's extremely important.
All city pictures from SimCity 4