With the ship landing and being greeted by Xavier’s contact, he explains to the crewmembers the basic etiquette of what was going to be happening. In addition, they would need to get some new clothing, which he would provide.
Lords, as it turns out, wore red sashes across their chests. Those in line to be lords wore blue sashes across the chest. Valued aides of lords wore green sashes around their waists. Addy and Kwon would each wear one to participate in the negotiations, while Sebastian and Evelyn would be staying behind to do some engine maintenance to make sure that there were no flare-ups in the near future.
On the ride to the castle-like complex that the group of lords in this region inhabited, they rode through a road that had a tube around it to shelter them from seeing the area outside of it. Through cracks in the tube, they could see that those who lived outside of the complex lived very poorly. Very poorly.
Arriving at the complex, the group was shown to their rooms and were told that negotiations concerning the young lord’s rabbit business would begin shortly. Following the philosophy of the Book of Five Rings, the two lords who would hear the negotiations – Fletcher and Gint – let the group wait another hour in the conference room.
Once the two men and their own advisers arrived, negotiations began with Xavier taking what he’d learned from Tuttle and talking up his product and how the lords wouldn’t want to be seen as unfashionable when lords from other worlds visited and found that they had no rabbit. During the lunch break, Addy even donated a few rabbits to the kitchen so that the wafting scents of the rabbit would drift up to the negotiators, softening them up a bit.
As negotiations broke for the day, Xavier explained that the lords had already made up their minds, but that negotiations would continue through the next day for show. As they walked and talked, the trio found themselves near the kitchen filled with delicious food and malnourished servants, the irony of which was not lost on any of them. Xavier seemed pensive and headed to bed, while Atticus and Lo Shi chose to explore the area outside of the complex.
After questioning some complex guards, they found their way to the nearby village’s town hall, which was also its pub. Immediately noticed, the two decided that it was a better idea to head out rather than reason with a bunch of individuals who were upset with their rich and well-fed presence. They were not wanted there.
Getting back to the complex, both men went to their rooms.
Kwon decided to do a little investigation into Fletcher and Gint, but found little that they didn’t already know. After a little more research, he did find an old wave wherein Lord Winterbourne contacted them directly and told them to take Xavier’s deal no matter what. Finding that information triggered an alarm on the system, so the bodyguard-hacker decided to leave well enough alone.
Meanwhile, as Addy began to settle in for the night, there was a buzz at his door. When he answered it, he found Gregory there asking if he could enter. Apparently, this room had originally been slated for Xavier and some of his items may have been accidentally left there and Gregory was there to collect them.
Asking Addy to search in an area at the far side of the room for one of Xavier’s brushes, Gregory suddenly drew a knife and announced, “Lord Winterbourne sends his regards!” before rushing at the former Browncoat. Addy had enough time to pick up a heavy mug nearby him and throw it at his attacker, but Gregory was already upon him, stabbing him deeply in the shoulder.
Taking a moment to check the complex’s security for his escape, leaving Tuttle writhing on the ground, he performed a quick hack which raised the already alerted security system. Back in his room, Kwon saw the alert and noted that it came from Addy’s quarters. Knowing that something was wrong, he rushed to the room, busted in the door and, once he saw the scene, attacked Gregory, taking him down with several strikes and a devastating arm-bar.
After patching Addy up and stabilizing his wound, they both tied Gregory up. Addy had Kwon leave, explaining that he would take care of things and show the servant-turned-assassin a little prison hospitality, as he rounded up some pieces of fruit and wrapped them in a towel for a makeshift bludgeon.
The next day, Fletcher and Gint broke protocol and announced that they would be interested in investing in Xavier’s business. Looking around with disdain, Xavier announced that he was turning down the deal and that he would do business with the nearby villagers. He would not be rich from this, but he would live at ease with a good conscience.
Both Addy and Kwon impressed and surprised by the turn of events, they left the conference room, explaining what had happened to Gregory. They decided that they would leave him there to face the wrath of the lords of the manor for his decidedly horrible breach of hospitality.
Once back at the ship, good-byes were brief, with the crew wishing Xavier well and the young lord leaving them with several crates of rabbits to make their trips a little more palatable.