"Tell me, Luciano. How are you feeling?"
Olna Grimaldi stared down upon the blonde heir of all Grimaldi fortune, Luciano Grimaldi. She did not anticipate his presence at all, but Damien had failed on that aspect on all fronts. Damien had allowed his grasp on control to slip and now, sitting before them, she wondered whether Luciano was indeed the long Prophesied Valdar Regana.
She could not take a chance. The Grimaldi reign on the island of Malta could not be disrupted, could not come to an end by the young child that sat before her. Grimaldi Rule would not end under her watch. Fortunately, she took the initiative and made the preemptive strike.
Luciano, sitting across from her, began to show the signs of the tranquilizers taking effect. As the tranquilizers worked tirelessly, she would be satisfied once he was out for good. Luke looked up at her puzzled, but when he looked down on his plate, he blinked repeatedly as if he wasn't sure he could see what he saw before him.
She watched as Luciano became woozy and disoriented, pleasing her as every step of the tranquilizers yieled to her will. Luciano looked up at Olna, but she could tell that she was no longer a recognizable image with his eyes.
"What did you do," Damien asked Olna.
Olna looked at him and smiled.
"Preserving our reign on this island," Olna announced.
Luke made an effort to speak, but his voice trailed off. His right hand released the grasp of the knife and went limp. Soon, he could not control the mechanics of his neck and bent his neck forward, all the while swaying erratically in incomplete elongated circles.
"What did you do," Damien repeated.
Olna continued to smile. She had even held her hands up to her, her fingers touched in a way that she had made sort of a temple with her hands. She relished the scene unfolding before them. She stood from her seat and walked over to Luke's side, who remained unable to lift his neck. She removed the plate he had been working on and put it to the side.
"I put horse tranquilizers in his water," Olna admitted happily. "Enough to put him to sleep for three days. Enough time to keep him out of the way. Enough that the 8th Moon will come and go without incident."
"You drugged my son," Damien began to object, "on the basis of stupid superstition."
"Don't fight this with me, Damien," Olna warned. "He may not seem like someone who could bring about great change, but I will not take the risk. He looks the part, but he is definately corruptible."
Luke contined to waver from side to side. She could tell that he fought the tranquilizers, but they were so much that by now the induntation of tranquilizers were taking over that Luke's struggle was a pointless exercise in futility. Finally, Luke slumped over, his left face hitting the table.
"This is not tolerable," Damien advised her.
"You think I care," Olna remarked. "He may be your son, and for whatever reason, that matters to you, but he is nothing to me. He is weak. He is perverted. Who knows what that foul creature has done to him."
"Noah must be dealt with," Damien suggested.
"I agree," Olna concluded. "He will be Romulus' to deal with tomorrow. For the entire day. I'm sure Romulus will not be tame with him as he has been today."
"And my son," Damien inquired. "Are you just going to leave him here?"
Olna went to the entrance of the dining room.
"Romulus," she called out into the corridor.
Olna returned into the room and began to survey the incapacitated Luke.
"Some Savior," she remarked. "I bet the Prophecy didn't see my intervention coming."
Romulus entered the room.
"Take him," Olna ordered the brute man. "To one of the guest quarters. For now, he'll enjoy the comforts of Grimaldi hospitality."
Romulus moved toward Luke. He slumped Luke over his back as if Luke was a five year old child. Olna and Damien followed Romulus down the long corridor and soon found themselves in a room. Damien went over to a table in the corner of the room and lit a gas lamp. Romulus dumped Luke on the bed.
"Thank you, Romulus," Olna said. "Tomorrow, do what you will with the Mayer boy. Take the entire day if you have to, but I do not want him living beyond tomorrow."
Romulus understood and left the room. Olna turned to Damien.
"This worked out perfectly," she remarked.
"He will be angry that you did not honor your compromises," Damien commented. "What will you do about that."
"I am Olna Grimaldi," she declared. "I compromise with no one."
"Then it was all an act," Damien concluded.
"One that had him eating out of my hands," Olna said sinisterly. "Damien, are you excited as I am? When all of Malta wakes up tomorrow, they will find that the Reckoning has not happened. They will believe that their precious saviors have not come to rescue them."
"Saviors," Damien repeated. "Do you think that Noah is the Vybrali Jeden."
"Ignatius and Romulus seem to think so," Olna said aloud. "I am not totally convinced. However, if he is the Vybrali Jeden, I blame you for sealing this fiasco into motion."
"Careful, Olna," Damien warned. "You really want to risk splitting the family again. Now?"
"You think I care about that," Olna asked. "You forget who has ultimate control now of your inheritance, of his inheritance. All of it is directed at my say."
"I will not tolerate you mistreating my son for long," Damien advised.
"Your son, weak as he may be," Olna began to respond, "remains a threat. And until we can get him to Commino Island where they can reverse the damage that Mayer and the Snyders have done to him, I don't give a damn what you say."
"When it comes to my son-"
"Oh, spare me the platitudes, Damien," Olna shouted. "You think I don't see through your lies? You forget who taught you how to spin truths."
There was a brief silence.
"It's a shame," Olna remarked aloud.
"What is," Damien asked.
"He was ready and willing to give over the Foundation money right now," she said. "We could have had the money back soon. But no matter. In three days time, he will work for Us."
"What about the Snyders," Damien inquired.
"They will no longer be a concern," Olna said. "Luke's life belongs to me."
She spread apart the curtains blocking in the morning light. Olna had gone to bed without a care in the world. She woke up the next morning wide eyed and stood ready for all Malta to be disappointed that the Grimaldi's would live to rule another day. She would not let their rule end here. Too many Grimaldi's fought, worked and died to preseve their glorious legacy on Malta.
The curtains were now spread apart. Before, an illuminated sky entreated her black onyx eyes. She could not see the sun, as it had not breached the horizon, but there was light enough to shine on a new day.
The Dalamassia Plain, as far as it could go, was her main view. But then, in the horizon, she saw the moon, the 8th moon, barely a hint of it. It was already fading.
Luke was safely secured inside the Castle, unconscious, and was not going anywhere for another two days. Noah was in the dungeons. Romulus had instructions to see to him this day. Noah would not live beyond this day and whether he was the Vybrali Jeden or not, he had inflicted enough damage on Family Grimaldi that he would be severely punished for it.
She heard a knock on her bedroom door. From the window she did not turn.
"Who is it," she called.
"Ignatius," a man's voice responded from behind the door.
She was not looking forward to this chat. Ignatius was a younger cousin, who acted as the Grimaldi equivalent of a Chief Financial Officer. Ignatius was no doubt coming to tell her of more losses, to recommend reactionary measures, all thanks to Mayer's intervention and Damien's ineptitude.
"Come in," she ordered.
Ignatius entered the room, carrying a briefcase and holding some papers. She did not notice him enter as she remained focused on her window view of Malta's plains. He moved to her joining her to her right.
"Tell me what you see, Ignatius," Olna ordered.
Ignatius looked out the window to see the Dalamassia Plain and a slowly changing lightened sky. He was not sure what the appropriate answer could have been so he remained silent.
"There is no moon, Ignatius," she remarked. "Do you see it. I do not. It has probably faded as the sun is rising. I have seen to it that Family Grimaldi will always remain victorious, especially when it comes to the Rule of this island."
"There may not be an appearance of the Valdar Regana," Ignatius began, "but I'm hear to tell you that we have sustained a major financial hit. We're losing money."
"It is only temporary," Olna assured him.
"Be that as it may," Ignatius started, "For some unknown reason, Air Malta has seen a 85% reduction of sales in the last 24 hours. We do not usually see a drop this severe in the busy season."
"It will correct itself," Ola informed him. "What else?"
"We have no way of financing some of our operations in Western Europe," Ignatius advised. "We were counting on some developments to occur on Damien's end, but since that never reached fruition, well, let's just say, that we will have to close some Remus Hotels down."
"You will disappoint Romulus," Olna commented.
"We cannot sustain any kind of business opperations in all of Portugal," Ignatius reported. "We have lost major business backing with partners in the region. I have begun the orders for withdrawal from Portugal. It should be done within five hours."
"Portugal is only one country," Olna observed.
"Yes, but I think this may be a trend that will be systemac," Ignatius admitted. "It could spread."
Olna looked over to him.
"See to it that it does not," Olna warned him. "Is there any word on the shipping fleet?"
"The fleet will arrive in Gilbraltar later today," Ignatius reported. "They will dock and refuel there. They are expected to dock in the harbor by tomorrow around noon."
"We need to maximize the fleet as much as possible," Olna suggested. "We need to make up for losses incurred recently, and they're one way. I do not like this idea of losing money, Ignatius. No Grimaldi has lost money since our arrival here, and I do not wish to continue this trend."
"Well, then, let me be blunt," Ignatius began. "If we have to make further economic concessions for the sake of continuance, if will not be because of my doing, but...others."
"Even when we are a united family," Olna started, "we're quick to point fingers. I wonder if the Valdar Regana was supposed to fix that."
She laughed maniacally.
"Come, speaking of others' doing," she said to Ignatius, "let's go see Damien."
Ignatius followed Olna out of the room and turned left into a long corridor. At the end of the corridor, they turned to go down a spiral staircase to the next level and exited right into another long corridor. Olna came to a room with the door and looked in.
"I wonder where Damien is," she said aloud. "It is not like him to be up before 7:30."
"Perhaps he is with the boy," Ignatius suggested.
"Ugh," she exclaimed. "The boy who is knocked out for another two days. His sentimality for that child is repulsive. Especially, for the kind of 'life' he has lead. Come!"
Olna beckoned Ignatius to follow her. She walked quickly, Ignatius following behind, down the long corridor to its end, coming to the quarters Romulus had brought Luke to the previous day. They entered the room, but she was puzzled by the empty bed and looked around. She noticed the gas lamp to the side of the best was gone.
"Would he have taken him somewhere," Ignatius inquired.
"He would not make such a grievous error," Olna remarked. "Find Romulus. Ask him if he knows anything. I shall be in the dungeon."
"Where do you think they are," Ignatius asked.
"For the sake of their lives, they should be in the castle," Olna commented darkly.
Olna quickly crossed the room, leaving Ignatius behind. She turned left and walked down the long corridor. She traced the corridor for what seemed like minutes on end, miles on end. Finally, she came upon the central divider of the corridor, that split in four directions..
She turned to the right and went down a series of elongated stairs and enteredhe noticed the hall dip down by way of long stairs. She hurried into the foyer, went the long corridor where she found flags and draperies of the great Grimaldi's of the past - Torre, Raphael, Adilonis - that adorned the walls. And finally, she came to an opening with a set of stairs.
Walking furiously down these steps, she now grew concerned whether she would find Noah. Noah had to be there. She could not lose control. She could afford to allow the Grimaldi Reign under her watch. She would not yield or lose it all to just a boy.
At the bottom of the stairs, she turned right, and she saw the dungeon door before the ramp. It was already open. She removed her gun and approached the door slowly, carefully. But she could already see the empty chair and entered the dungeon to find it empty.
An enraged fury erupted in her.
"Olna," she heard Ignatius behind her.
Romulus had come with him. They entered the dungeon to find it empty and they both had wary gazes upon the demonized appearing matriarch.
"We've received word from Gustaf Memorial," Ingatius began. "Damien has been taken to the emergency room. Gunshot to the shoulder."
"Where are the other two," Olna asked quickly.
Ignatius looked at Romulus. Both of them did not want to answer her. Both of them were wary of answering. She would not like it anyway they phrased it.
"Where are they!"
Her banshee like scream took Ignatius aback. He had heard it before, but it was never directed at him.
"They are somewhere in the City," Ignatius admitted. "We have been told they may be making their way to their Embassy."
"Both of them," Olna inquired. "That's not possible! I gave Luke too many tranquilizers that he shouldn't even be capable of thought at the moment. You're information is incorrect."
Ignatius looked at Romulus stunned.
"Romulus and I heard the same thing," Ignatius advised her.
She glared at Ignatius.
"Romulus, kill him," Olna ordered him.
Romulus and Ignatius both gave her a confused look. But Romulus did not have a conscience. He took out a blade.
"I'm not the one responsible for this," Ignatius responded. "For all of this."
"Yes, but you are closest," Olna retorted.
Ignatius stepped up to her.
"You kill me and you will see hundreds of millions of dollars lost," Ignatius warned. "You need me."
"Fine," Olna relented. "Romulus, go to the hospital. Kill Damien."
"I have a better idea," Ignatius interjected.
"Be mindful, Ignatius, that I do not like my orders being questioned," Olna advised. "Careful where you tread."
"The Salvatore Family," Ignatius suggested. "We should honor our own laws. Maybe if he knew you were after them, as you should be, that may be leverage for him to stay. He is weak, remember."
"Send word to Delphia in Rabat," Olna ordered. "Tell them to begin the cleansing in Nadur immediately. In the meantime, order Valletta police to apprehend the two. And if they do make it to the Embassy, have the government step in and request their release - we need our long lost relatives back"
"What are you going to do," Ignatius asked.
"Romulus and I will pay a visit to our dear ailing relative in the hospital," she answered. "Figure out what the hell happened."
"What if he is responsible," Ignatius asked.
"Then he'll die. Luke and Noah must be captured at all cost. We must get their money back and we must get Luke reprogrammed.
"They cannot be allowed to step one foot off this island!"