123: Edmund Takes Initiative

One day, Edmund heard shouting through the walls.

Peering through a peep-hole, he could see Tunansia and Wislydale arguing. Wislydale was wavering about, his arms cutting through the air, while Tunansia was standing perfectly still, her mouth pursed into a fine point.

“Of course not!” Wislydale shouted. “I doubt you could keep a cracker secret, my dear Tunansia. You haven’t kept a single secret in your life. Why on earth should I trust you to keep this one?”

“I’ve kept just as many secrets as you,” Tunansia spat. “And it wouldn’t matter, even if I didn’t keep this one. That’s why it works. Even if they knew about Whilkins, they couldn’t stop it.”

“Tricknee could,” Wislydale grumbled, swigging a clear liquid from is omnipresent glass. “The old fool could bring the attention of–”

“And would Tricknee trust anything from me?”

Wislydale paused in his wobbling to sway gently for a moment as his eyes began to unfocus. a small smirk popped out from under his lips.

“Well…well now…is our little Tunansia growing up?” Tunansia’s eyes narrowed while Wislydale snickered. “That old goat won’t trust a word you say, anymore, will he?” Wislydale took another swig. “Did you just now come up with this little scheme? Or were you planning this all the way back when you were purporting to be his ally?”

“That’s a secret,” Tunansia said. Wislydale gave an unbalanced nod.

“Well then,” he said, “let’s talk.”

Edmund was about to run off to Matron, when he stopped himself. Why? They had as much as told him what to do. Closing the peep-hole quietly, Edmund moved off to find Tricknee.


When he returned, Wislydale and Tunansia were still talking. Edmund pressed the listening tube to his ear again as he peered through the peephole.

“Kolb won’t like it at all,” Wislydale said, stroking his chin.

“And?” Tunansia smirked. “You wouldn’t love the chance to see that puffed up popinjay get what’s coming to him?”

“Oh, of course, old thing,” Wislydale said through his drink, “only I was planning on talking with him tomorrow…make things a bit harder, you understand.”

“It won’t matter,” Tunansia shook her head. “By tomorrow the letters will have been sent.”

The door to the room opened and slammed against the wall. Tunansia and Wislydale jumped and turned to see Tricknee standing in the doorway, his eyes aflame.

“How dare you!” He shrieked.

“Steady on, old boy,” Wislydale smiled weakly. “We haven’t–”

“She’s my family!” Tricknee walked into the room, leaning heavily on his cane as he raged. “The only family I have, and you’d dare to use her like this?”

“Like what?” Tunansia asked sweetly.

“Don’t think me a fool!” Tricknee’s cane came up and pointed like a sword to Tunansia and then to Wislydale in turn. “The East Lighton line and the Raggleman Engine company! You’d have the whole east of Brackenburg locked up, wouldn’t you? All you’d need is the Whilkin’s Corp, and I won’t let you get it!”

“I say,” Wislydale blinked hard. “I don’t quite know what you’re–”

“I’m sending a letter to Victor today,” Tricknee spat. “Today. They’ll petition the Mayor to lock you out before the week is out.” He leaned closer. “Don’t you ever bring my granddaughter into this again!”

Tricknee left, fuming, leaving a defeated Tunansia, a deflated Wislydale, and behind the walls, a somewhat confused yet still delighted Edmund.


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