Interlude: Excerpt from the reports of Victor Talbot (Part 2)
[Hey. How’ve you been?
It’s been nearly ten days now since I’ve started writing to you like this. Is everything all right on your end?
Over here? It’s like nothing’s ever gonna be the same.
Wait, no. I’m still the same. Now and before, I’m still the man you love. And I’m still the man who loves you.
But I guess from your point of view, I’m just one of a hundred of your toys, aren’t I?
Anyway, this city is changing.
Remember how I told you that the people in Lotto Valentino might as well be lower than dirt?
Well, I went to that one sane patisserie I told you about before. There’s something different about the lady who runs that place. She’s not like those pieces of shit playing innocent on the streets. I hear she just lost all her energy recently, though. This girl rooming at her house--apparently she was almost like a daughter to her--passed away last year. (If this is what she looks like now, just how energetic was she when the girl was alive?)
Sorry, I got off topic again.
Anyway, most of the bastards here are worthless pieces of scum.
Though I can’t say your people here are much better. Seriously, hire some better soldiers, will ya? I’m starting to feel sorry for Carla. There’s only so much she can do on her own; there’s not enough of her to train all the newbies one by one.
Sure, Carla’s still more than incorruptible. But the problem for us is that this whole city’s starting to resent House Dormentaire.
And to be honest, I can’t say I blame them. Explosions go off wherever people trying to suck up to us gather together. Now the people here’re pissing their pants, taking down the Dormentaire crests from their houses.
And on the other hand, we’ve got soldiers on our side who’re convinced that the citizens are behind the explosions. They say they’re investigating, but they’re really just acting like thugs. Which keeps causing even more problems.
I’m starting to think this is what the culprit was planning all along. Turning the citizens and House Dormentaire against one another.
There’s even rumors saying that the Mask Makers are back. You should hear this little masterpiece the kids are singing in the back alleys:
"The demon is coming, lantern in hand.
The demon is coming, wearing a mask.
It’s coming to mask your face.
It’s coming to mask everyone’s faces."
...Or something like that.
If songs like this are going around, then public security here’s probably just about at the end of its rope.
Maybe the members of the Mask Makers hiding here have heard the songs. We’re getting cases of plain old arson, on top of all the timed bombings.
But that’s not the main issue--problem is, we’re finding people who’re talking about how they want to join this bunch, how they’re trying to get a hold of one of those masks for themselves.
They’re probably thinking that, if the Mask Makers really are behind this, they’ll be safe from attack if they join up with them.
Apparently there were hundreds of members in their group during the arson case last year. These Mask Makers are pretty damn eerie.
But the real creeps here are the bastards behind the bombings. I’m using the plural here, but there’s still a chance that it’s being masterminded by one person.
At first I thought it was some sort of call to resistance among the citizens, but recently, I’ve started thinking differently.
In the past three days, the culprit’s started targeting aristocrats’ manors and the libraries, too.
Things are getting pretty dicey here. If the commotion here spreads outside the city, not even the Viceroy of Naples is gonna sit back and let things continue. I wouldn’t be surprised if he decided to wipe this city off the map.]
[I’ve been telling you for a while now that Lotto Valentino is nothing but trouble.
And I think the alchemists here are thinking along the same lines. I’ve seen a lot of them skipping town with all their research material on carriages and carts.
I told our spy ______ that his job’s finished, and that he can leave now, but he says he’s staying behind.
From what I hear, there’s a ship that’s supposed to be making port here pretty soon.
It’s a mid-sized vessel that some Lotto Valentino alchemists scrounged up money for.
‘Course, you wouldn’t be able to get something that big with just a couple of average alchemists pooling money together. But apparently, some foreign aristocrat’s supplying them with funds. It’s gonna be a pretty incredible ship.
According to ______, a bunch of those alchemists are trying to take that ship to the New World.
The New World, huh? Doesn’t that sound great? The Americas!
I think I might want to join them, if I get the chance.
Oh, did I scare you?
Don’t worry, I’m not gonna sail off on a whim.
After all, the alchemists here are suspects, too.
It’d be one hell of a discovery if I uncover something related to them, so I’ll look into things on my end.
Write back if you find out anything, okay?]
[The ship’s called the Advenna Avis.
I’ll try and get some details for you before I send you the next report.