Two men sat at a table in a richly decorated room. The first was a scruffy looking middle aged man in imperial armor. His name was Captain Ogre, but many knew him by his nickname, "the Demon." The second man was much older, with long white hair and a white beard. His name was Honest, Prime Minister of the Empire.

"This whole affair with Chef Tantalus has caused quite a stir among the city's upper class," stated Honest, before taking a large bite out of a turkey leg. "Granted, his tastes were. . . unorthodox, but his skills in the kitchen made him beloved by all the right people. The capital will certainly be a less flavorful place without him. I for one will greatly miss those delicious man steaks of his."

Captain Ogre rolled his one eye. "To each his own, I suppose."

"I didn't call you here to discuss cooking, Captain. It's the soldier who took Tantalus away from us. Seryu Ubiquitous, from what I read from her file, is quite the idealistic type. Idealism like hers is not appreciated, especially when it causes trouble, like it did yesterday morning. Some have suggested we frame this young woman, as to ensure she doesn't upset the order of things again."

"No!" barked Ogre, slamming his fist on the table. This elicited a stern glare from Honest, reminding the captain of where he was. "What I mean is, Tantalus died because he was stupid enough to get caught. There is an unspoken rule the upper class in the Empire have always obeyed: Do as you please, just keep it quiet. No one, not even us, can flaunt it when we bend the law. That's why people like us always have fall guys ready to use."

Honest considered Ogre's argument before nodding. "Admittedly, Tantalus was careless to store his victims where he conducts business. Even so, any other guard would have known to look the other way or take a bribe. That new guard, Donner, certainly understood that. Now, here we are, having lost the Empire's most talented gourmet."

"Losing Tantalus was hard for the elites, I'm sure. But losing a soldier like Ubiquitous would be just as bad. If her bond with that living teigu proves anything, it's that she has great potential to be useful. And then there's her passion. If directed in the right way, she's a force to be reckoned with."

Honest sighed as he wiped his chin. "Since you have so much faith in this young woman, I'll deprive the offended aristocrats of their retribution. Just make sure this Seryu doesn't cause trouble for us again."

"She won't. I'll make sure. If that's all. . ." Ogre said as he got up to leave.

"One more thing," said Honest, making the Demon freeze in his tracks. "My understanding is that Seryu's father was quite the idealistic type himself. Like most guards in that village."

Ogre nodded. "A lot of guards in that garrison refused to play ball, so we had to stage a little rebel attack to clean house," Ogre said.

"Right," said Honest. "I know you've taken a liking to the girl you took under your wing, but remember, if Seryu learns that inconvenient truth about her father, or if she becomes a nuisance to those who really run the country. . ." Honest's voice trailed off, his order going unspoken.

"I won't hesitate to get rid of her if it comes to that," replied Ogre, though his tone made it clear that he hardly liked the idea.

"Glad to hear it. You are dismissed," concluded Honest as he turned his attention back to his food.

The End