[Mock-Fiction] II - Memento Mori

Note: Please read the Formal Notice movella. It should be on the list on the right hand side.

The sequel to 'Requiescat in Pace'

Cover by Secrets Unfold

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10. Epilogue - Preparations

Quote removed for fear someone might get offended.

 

 

Justin returned sooner than the other two. His body looked unharmed [his clothes were another issue], but open eyes kept rolling around in his head at a disturbing speed. Hollywood sighed, a little uncomfortable.

 

Richard stepped forward, “The deed is done,” he said, “Lia: Get back to the Da Vinci blueprints. Jess: Round up every thief you have, and scour what you can from all over Syria and Jordan. Vesp: Find out what the word is on the sea. No doubt Lodovico’s forces will be moving in, now that the WD annoyance has been removed permanently. Get all the helpful resources from the other times and dimensions also – God knows, we’re going to need them. Britney, madonna, get all the information you can from the UAF, and send the same order to Lady Letha also.”

They all nodded, and dispersed to fulfill their duties.

 

“Ah,” said Richard, striding up to the window. Rogue was practically falling out of it [but she knew better]. She had one leg out, the other planted firmly on the sill, and her masked face was turned away from him.

She had her mouth open, he could feel it. She wanted to ridicule him.

He tilted his head to a side, sighed, and said, “Not a word, Rouge.”

She turned her head slowly, and gazed at him with her soulless eyes, “What made you think I was going to say something to you?”

…So he couldn’t feel it, then.

“Aren’t you aware of everything that just happened?” he asked.

“I wasn’t even aware you were still here,” she replied flatly.

Richard huffed, “Look, that would have been flattering–”

“Oh, I wasn’t trying to flatter you.”

“Hush!” he said, “Listen, I want you to get all the mercenaries in place, you know–”

“They’re already in place.”

 

Richard bit his tongue, “What?”
“They’re already here. They’ve been stationed at every necessary junction. They’re ready.”

“But–”

“I know I look stupid, Richard,” she said calmly, “But, honestly, I’m not. Smith’s probably on his way to butcher the lot of us right now,” she paused, her voice becoming uneasy, “You think he doesn’t have his own spies running around in Masyaf? Of course he does. He’s a clever bastard, that Smith.”

“You doubt us?”
“No, at least, not all of you,” said Rogue, “But that’s bound to happen. He has his spies. He has his informers. We might be organized, but so is he – and of the two, he’s more organized.”

“I’m glad you have so much faith in us.”

 

“Oh, shut up, Richard!” she was the only one who could speak like that with anyone and get away with it, “You couldn’t pull off sarcasm to save your bloody life! I don’t know how you’ve been doing it all these years!”

“Sarcasm?”
“No, saving your life. But anyway: Of course I have faith in you. If I didn’t have faith, why the hell would I set this place up and have you here? And Lia? And Vesp? And the rest? I don’t want to put your lives on the line for nothing. I don’t want to put those mercenaries’ lives on the line either. But…” she looked away, “it’s necessary. Smith is a liar. A fraud. A phony. That pious façade won’t last long. It won’t be long before he becomes the monster we’ve all been waiting for.”

“I thought you admired him…”
Rogue stared at Marshall, “I can admire Caesar,” she said coldly, “I can admire Mark Antony. Adolf Hitler. A murderer. A coward. A tyrant,” she paused, “But I cannot admire a liar.”

 

“So,” said Richard, leaning against the wall, “what now?”
“What else? We wait,” Rogue sighed, “If you want my advice, I say you get all the people inside the fortress; there’s enough space for them in the underground bunkers. Start rationing food. Add stables to the bunkers so the livestock can be accommodated also. You’ve already got Vesp and Jess to take everything that can be taken from other people…” Rogue paused, as if she’d forgotten something, “My train of thought just derailed… Oh, yes! Cancel any ‘legendary’ exploits you’ve been planning; Masyaf will need all the leaderly attention it can get.”

Richard laughed, “I’ve got no assassination targets for the moment, but you’ll be here, won’t you?”

“What do you mean?”

“Here, in the Bureau?”

“Nope.”

“What?”

“I’m not sitting in this stuffy room with the lot of you, when my men are out there dying,” said Rogue, “I’m going to rush to the frontline as soon as the courier gets word of Smith’s movements.”

“But you’re our best strategist!”

“You have Lia, don’t you? She’s just as good. And if not, then better. She cracked the Da Vinci codes, for goodness sake! And let me tell you something, Maestro, you don’t get any smarter than that. And, yes, I just spoke Italian.”

 

Richard paused for a moment, “Alright, fine,” he conceded, “But I was just – hey! What are you doing?”

Rogue had vanished from the window. Richard looked out of it, searching the ground far below, but couldn’t see a masked blood-splatter anywhere.

“Rouge…?” he murmured.

“Up here!” she called.

Richard turned over and looked up, half his torso sticking out the window, “Get down!” he said angrily.

“Oh, come on!” she laughed, climbing up the building, “I’ll race you to the top. Last one to jump the Leap of Faith is a rotten egg!”

“I can’t believe you!” said Richard, flabbergasted, “You’re turning the Leap of Faith into a childish game?”

“Richard, I turn everything into a childish game. It works for the condotierri quite well.”

Richard scowled, “Get. Down. Now.”

“Let me put it this way then,” said Rogue, climbing higher up, “Last one to jump gets beaten up by the winner.”

Richard growled.

“You know,” said Rogue, “The more legendary they make you out to be, the less fun you become.”

“You are going to hurt yourself! Signora, I demand you come down now!”

“Sorry, madre, but I got this.”

 

“Rouge!” Richard smacked his forehead, “There’s no point in racing with you anyway! Whether I win or I lose, you’ll beat me up, regardless!”

Rogue paused, and Richard slapped a hand over his mouth.

Oh, damn it… he thought.

“Richard…”

“Don’t you dare, Rouge.”

She giggled, “Did you just openly admit that I’d beat you?”

“Ah… I…” Richard pouted, “I… I meant I’d let you win!”

Rogue snorted, “And why would you do that?”

“Because I’m a gentleman!”

Rogue laughed hysterically.

“What?” said Richard, “What are you laughing at?”

“Oh, nothing,” said Rogue, “I just reckoned your boyfriend lying on the Bureau floor would disagree.”

Richard growled, grinding his teeth, “You… He… THAT WAS A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SITUATION!”

Rogue laughed again, “Are you going to climb or not?”

“No.”

Rogue shrugged, “Suit yourself, then.”

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