The Grandmaster's Mansion, Forgotten Hollow, 2031
Alex followed Paris into the main room. His eyes glittered when he saw Toni and Edith.
"Oh, is this an 'enemy get-together' Paris?"
"You. May. Take. A. Seat," The Grandmaster snarled.
Alex sat down and Paris sat next to him.
"So," said Alex, eyeing Edith and Toni, who were still recovering from the shock of his unexpected visit, "what's all the goss? Did I miss anything juicy?"
"I'm going to take a wild guess here," said Alex, "Cas and Victor?"
Edith's knuckles tightened and Toni glared at him.
As for Paris, her face remained thoughtful and mildly suspicious.
"You know," said Alex, "I think the two are lovers..."
Edith's knuckles went white.
Toni glared harder.
"Oh yes," said Alex, "I really do think they are. You want to know why?"
"Yes," said Edith, but Paris and Toni were silent.
"Well," Alex began, but his gaze moved to Paris, who avoided his gaze, then to Toni, who did the same.
"Second thoughts." said Alex, "why doesn't one of you two explain?"
He pointed at Paris and Toni. They both went pale.
"Oh come on!" said Alex. "You can't hide that you know something!"
"What do they know?" growled Edith.
"Uhm..." Paris started, but Alex cut in.
"I was actually just teasing when I suggested they were lovers, but," he chuckled, "by the looks on your faces, I'm now wondering if you know something we don't?"
Paris shut her eyes. Well done Alex, she thought. You are a master at ruining everything, aren't you?
"A few years ago at Christmas, I confided to Toni that I was worried about Cas and Victor as I'd seen them dancing together... flirtatiously, in the school gardens."
Edith gasped and Toni clenched her jaw.
"And you didn't think to tell me?" cried Edith.
"Why do you think Paris didn't tell you?" said Toni. "You would have killed Cas and then I would have killed you!"
"Not if I killed you first!"
"I'd like to see you try!"
"Okay, all of you!" said Alex. "I will find them and bring them back if you like. Oh and if I'm completely honest, I need Cas to help me defeat you Sweglords. Her brains and agility, are beyond any of us," apart from mine of course. Alex smirked. "And the fight against you won't be nearly as fun without Victor amongst your ranks. He's a very... entertaining individual."
Edith glared at him. "You have no idea what he's capable of, do you?"
"Now," said Alex, ignoring Edith, "none of you, I assume, has given much thought to where the two lovebirds are?"
Toni frowned. "Hang on a minute... I told Cas about the debt MorcuCorp owes us, so I think she may have sought refuge in Al Simhara..."
"Right," said Alex, getting out his phone, "number please?"
"Uhm... 008 662 133?"
Alex typed away, then held the phone to his ear. Paris shuffled closer to listen.
"Oh, hello, Al. I'm king Alexander of Simsland and I'm just wondering if Cas Fowl is available for a chat?.... mmhmm.... mmhmm... right, thank you, bye."
Alex put the phone away.
"Oh yes, they're definitely there," he said.
"How do you know?" said Toni.
"Because the MorcuCorp receptionist hung up," said Alex, simply.
The three frowned. "Really?"
"Yeah," said Alex. "I thought I ought to say 'bye' anyway, even if he won't be hearing me."
Alex stood up. "Anyway, now we know where Cas and Victor are... although I can imagine they won't stay for long, now they know that we know their whereabouts. So," said Alex, aware that his enemies were struggling to keep up, "we need to know MorcuCorp's connections, both in business - associates and such like - and physical in terms of other sites. That will give us a clearer picture of Cas and Victor's routes out of Al Simhara."
"I think they'll be going to The Lotus Oasis; which is just on the outskirts of Al Simhara." said Toni. "MorcuCorp's closest other base is there."
"Right," said Alex, "we'll head there then, since by the time we arrive, our lovebirds will be there as well, or not far behind."
"We're coming as well," said Toni. Edith agreed.
Alex paused as he mused over the request.
"Alright," he said, "but that means when we find the two young lovers, we shall fight our next battle in Al Simhara."
Toni and Edith looked at Paris, whose face was very pale indeed.
"Okay," she said. Toni and Edith turned their focus onto Alex.
"Also," he said, "if you Sweglords lose this battle, you will let Cas marry Victor."
"No!" said Toni.
"Well, then, you mustn't let me win!" said Alex, with an Evil Genius grin. "Oh, and one more thing... I also intend to wed a Sweglord, so... no pressure, but you're not going to like it if you lose."
"Anything else?" said Paris, ready to separate Alex's head from his shoulders.
"Yes," said Alex. "We leave tomorrow, bright and early."
And with that, Alex exited the mansion.