“And thus…” floundered Elmpam a few mornings before her sermon. “…And thus…” She then growled to herself before sitting on the bed and looking at her notes. “… ‘And thus, we all must remember that our Pantheon, like parents, would want us to find things out for ourselves.’ Why in the Depths can’t I remember that line?! I wrote the damn thing!”
“THEY CAN’T BE SERIOUS!” howled Lensarn’s voice.
“Daddy?” asked Elmpam. She left the room and went downstairs to see Lensarn and Roolpam in the kitchen. Lensarn was ranting and holding a newspaper while Roolpam checked on breakfast. “Daddy, what’s wrong?”
“What’s wrong?! Our kingdom’s people, that’s what’s wrong!” ranted Lensarn. “Look at the polls!” He handed Elmpam the newspaper and she saw the section concerning the upcoming election for the Coliamdii Kingdom’s new Prime Minister, the right hand of the Royal Family. Elmpam’s eyes went wide as she saw the results.
“Rentir’s a candidate?!” she yelped. “And he’s the people’s choice?! The guy’s a face-eating leopard!”
“No kidding!” agreed Lensarn as he helped Roolpam set the table.
“I can understand that we all need to be diverse,” supplied Roolpam, “but I hardly see how enforcing diversity makes it appealing.”
“Exactly!” agreed Elmpam.
“Elmpam, maybe you can convince our Kings to not let Rentir into office?” asked Lensarn.
“Daddy, you KNOW the All-realm Constitution forbids me from doing that.”
“But you’re from the Coliamdii Kingdom!”
“I’m considered an Under-realm Royal now. I help Orbak rule a foreign Realm and Article 7 expressly states that Royals of a foreign country or Realm may not interfere in another’s politics. I’m sorry, but my vote no longer has weight.”
“…Dammit!” swore Lensarn.
“Hey, guys!” called Malnar’s currently sunny voice. She bounded into the kitchen. “Did you catch the latest?!” she asked.
“…On what?” asked Roolpam.
“That mermaid we found and discovered to be an Over-Splitter!” answered Malnar, referring to Halfam. “She’s given up the secret base and all Over-Splitter secrets!”
“You’re kidding!” gasped Lensarn, his mood brightening.
“Get a load of this!” Malnar pulled out a newspaper, the All-Realm Times, and displayed the headline. “Over-Splitters now smashed!” He then read the article explaining that, last night, after being identified and turned over to police custody, former Mermaid Over-Splitter, Halfam Malfee, revealed that Oltor was planning a two-person assassination attempt on the Kings of the Coliamdii Kingdom. Thanks to her cooperation, their base and arsenal was found and all data relating to the attack was unlocked. Given light of this turn of events, and that Halfam only acted as a spy and actively mitigated the damage the Over-Splitters had done, the police were pushing for a lighter sentence. When asked why she did that, she had said that she only joined because she was taken in by lies that it was an Out-realmer who killed her parents and she only discovered the truth that it was Oltor himself who did the deed because they were top diplomats that brought ideas from other cultures into the Over-realm.
“Well,” mused Roolpam after she and Lensarn read the article, “I suppose that’s a mercy.”
“How did she get past the weaponized conversation?” asked Lensarn.
“… ‘Weaponized conversation’?” repeated Malnar.
“Oltor has an ability where he can literally talk a person to death,” explained Roolpam. “Pretentious sounding, yes, but he can modulate the timbre of his voice so it falls into step with the listener’s heart and then, by gradually lowering his voice, he could eventually coax the heart into stopping.”
“…Yeah, definitely glad I haven’t met him.”
Over in Rentir’s house, Rentir stirred from his bed and yawned. He figured it was another day, another gold for him. He got up from his bed and made his way to his wife’s hammock. His wife, Glanfu, was a Drider from the Under-realm and preferred sleeping in hammocks. She snored peacefully, but loudly. Still, Rentir slept well, he was a deep sleeper. He lightly stroked Glanfu’s hair before heading to his closet and putting a bath robe on. It was his turn to make breakfast and he had an idea in mind. He then went downstairs to the kitchen and found Oltor at the table. “…You DO know you’re a wanted man, old friend,” muttered Rentir.
“Have you seen the latest polls?” asked Oltor as he looked at the newspaper. “Looks like the people want you to be our new Prime Minister.”
“I wouldn’t bet against me.” Rentir headed to the coffee maker.
“No, it wouldn’t be prudent.” As Rentir started the coffee, Oltor continued. “I want you to understand something, Rentir; although my current hatred for you over betraying the Over-Splitters is enough to make Oyed fear me, what I’m about to do is impersonal.”
“What are you babbling about?” Rentir continued showing his back to Oltor and kept his gaze fixed on the coffee pot’s usual area. Knife block, coffee pot, mugs, potholders, they all rested in their usual place.
“Everything that exists has a specific nature. Each entity exists as something in particular and has characteristics that are a part of what it is. ‘Fam’ is ‘Fam’. And, no matter what he does, ‘Rentir’ is ‘Rentir’. If I’m to save the Over-realm from the evils of the other Realms, you and your wife’s existence must come to an end before you approach the Kings with your election petition.”
“You’re going to kill us and give your usual speech that diversity is hollowing out the Over-realm’s morals?”
“I live up to my name’s meaning. I’m a soldier of purity and am dedicated to spreading purity across the Over-realm.” By this point, Oltor had pulled out a garrot wire.
“Interesting plan. Unfortunately for you…it’s not really an option, neither is using a trick I had taught you against me.” Rentir grabbed a knife from the block, held it in a grip so the blade ran parallel to his arm, then turned and slashed upwards, slicing the wire in two and cutting Oltor’s muzzle. Oltor yelped and backed into the table, touching the wound and drawing his hand back to see his blood on his fingers. The commotion caused Glanfu to wake up and scurry downstairs to see the whole altercation.
“Rentir, are you all right?!” she asked.
“Better than Oltor right now,” replied Rentir. “He tried to talk me to death.” He then blocked Oltor’s punch and slashed across his chest. Oltor stumbled backwards as he drew in a breath and covered the wound. The cut only scratched the surface of the skin under his fur, but the spread made it look a lot worse. “Prime Minister?” scoffed Rentir. “That would mean my wife’s talents would be overlooked, she would have been reduced to a trophy wife!” He then slammed the knife’s handle into Oltor’s eye. “Prime Minister? Foolish Cousin Fornicator! My campaign is a sham! A better way to observe the culmination of Dr. Borg’s research!” He then grabbed Oltor’s head and drove his knee into his opponent’s chest. “Prime Minister? Do you know how much power I’d have to give up to be the Kings’ Prime Minister?” He then slapped Oltor a few times, then threw him over the table. “Tell me, did you ever wonder how those assassins even found your wife and son?” Oltor’s single good eye went wide when he started putting two and two together. “That’s right, and I chose my insult carefully. I looked through medical records before you joined the Over-Splitters and noticed that your wife was your cousin on your mother’s side! You two brought an inbred monster into the Realms! That’s why I’m so determined to enforce diversity! When I heard you had joined the Over-Splitters, I decided that I needed a safer place to observe the experiment, so I turned myself in and gave up the location of the base! After that, I was granted amnesty as a Sheriff and made sure to funnel the money I had taken from you lot and put it into my campaign.”
“Ex…periment?” strained Oltor.
“Experiment, auditions,” remarked Glanfu, “whatever flies your skyship. We wanted to prove to Dr. Borg that we were worthy to join her cause and she approved, saying we could even become Revenants if we ever died.”
“And the chance of having a child would still be there,” continued Rentir. “We witnessed a Revenant and a Live One give birth, as well as two Revenants! With the Revenant/Live One Blenders, the child’s dominant traits are the Revenant ones.”
“You mean…this whole thing…!” gasped Oltor in pain.
“That’s right, old friend!” laughed Rentir as he hoisted Oltor up by the neck. “I spent 95 million golds, from the Over-Splitters’ coffers to my pocket, on a fake Prime Minister Campaign, all just to see you go mad!” Oltor then head-butted Rentir and dashed around trap lines Glanfu had laid down so he could escape. Glanfu then tended to her husband as he steadied himself. It was then that the two heard beeping.
Oltor was a good distance away before the explosion engulfed the house. Given its remote location, rescue crews couldn’t get there in time to save Rentir and Glanfu Ental. Oltor howled to mark that the architects of his wife and son’s death were dead. He then dashed away.