253 The End of the Mission*
"So, do you think he'll back off?" asked Iah.
"I think he'll do what every businessman does," said Falla, "Step back to weigh his gains and losses. Then, when he realises that underhanded tactics likely won't work anymore, revise his plans before he moves forward".
"Is that what you'd do?" asked Iah.
"Probably," replied Falla.
Iah nodded as they stepped back into her office at Moonshadow Trading. They were silent for a minute before Falla asked.
"That thing about Rassa...did you check?"
Iah shook her head, "I didn't want to be disappointed".
Falla hesitated before she took out her Tracking Charm, "We should check. If he is coming back, we'll need to make preparations".
Iah nodded, she knew Falla was right. She had no problems with Rassa taking over Moonshadow again. It was his business to begin with after all, but there was a part of her that couldn't help but think of whether or not he'd be happy with what they'd achieved. If he'd be impressed or disappointed. It was silly really, their growth was unprecedented. But she hadn't known Rassa long enough to be sure of how he'd react.
She took out her own Tracking Charm, and activated it.
Two lines to the south-west, and...closer than they were before. He was returning.
Wait, two lines?
"Aegin," said Falla quietly, "Is he..."
Aegin's line was indeed gone, which would indicate he was dead. He'd been human after all, not an anomaly like Rassa. But then...Ebony's line felt different now, more like Rassa's.
Iah sighed, "Well, I suppose we have our answer now. Any other questions will surely be answered when they return".
Falla nodded, "Should we prepare anything in particular then?"
Iah thought for a moment, "Knowing Rassa, he'll probably want to review what's happened with the business so far and then propose some ridiculous plan again that will end up coming true whether he's here or not".
Falla chuckled, "I thought you hadn't known him long".
"I hadn't, but he doesn't seem like the type to do things subtlety, or in small amounts," Iah admitted.
Falla sighed, "I suppose he never has been". She stood, "Very well, I should probably get back to work if there's nothing else".
Iah shook her head, "I'll see you next week then".
"Sounds good," said Falla, then she paused in the doorway, "Don't tell Jane".
Iah raised an eyebrow, "Are you sure that's wise? You kept it from her once and she didn't seem all that happy with you for it".
Falla sighed, "She's been through his death twice now. I think she's better off when she lives for herself".
Iah nodded, "Very well. Though I don't know how you'll be able to hide it when he does come back in a few weeks".
"I'll think of something," Falla replied.
Falla returned to Port Cresh and reported back to her duties, the tension in her office far less now that the Inktress no longer posed a threat to her business and that of Moonshadow.
Still, the regular stress of running a business was prevalent. Layn reported in to her shortly after she arrived on a few things she still had to take care of as well as the several marriage proposals that had been sent to her, mostly from noble Eldovian families that wanted a piece of the pie.
Falla sighed in disappointment, "They're all the same, thinking that if I marry one of their sons they'll all of a sudden have the right to dictate the business that I built and have invested all my time and effort in. Must I marry, Layn?"
"I do think it best, my Lady," Layn replied, "But you are still young, I'm sure we can hold off for some time yet".
Falla huffed in a very unladylike fashion, "Well thank the gods for that. Anything else to report?"
"Well, Grandmaster Jane is outside asking if you are available for a meeting".
Falla's eyes widened, "Why didn't you say so earlier? Let her in".
Layn nodded and went to do just that.
Falla stood as Jane entered with a warm smile, "Hello, what can I do for you today, Jane?"
"Well, nothing of particular consequence," Jane replied, "I'm actually here to say goodbye".
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Falla paused, "Goodbye?"
Jane nodded, "My Magician Team has been recalled. We've been instructed to return and report to the Imperial Magicians for our next assignment".
"I see," said Falla, "Did you happen to hear about the order you wanted?"
Jane shook her head, "Unfortunately no, but I'm sure if the order is wanted you'll receive the request from somebody soon enough".
Falla nodded in acknowledgement, and a silence descended between the two of them. After so long apart, they'd finally gotten used to having each other in their lives again, now they were to part ways once more for who knew how long.
"Are you coming back to Eldovia any time soon?" asked Jane.
"I don't know," said Falla, "There is no immediate need to go back, but perhaps I shall visit the Pavilion some time in the following year. Iah and I received word that it was attacked by the Inktress".
Jane's eyes widened, "Is everyone okay? If you're concerned I can stop on the way-"
"That won't be necessary, the damage was negligible and as far as I am aware there were minimal casualties. In fact, they were victorious. The Inktress will no longer be a threat to us," said Falla.
"Oh," said Jane, "Then I suppose there truly is no cause for concern in leaving you and Iah here without Magicians nearby to help".
Falla smiled, "We do thank you and your team for your help over the past couple of years though. You were a strong reassurance".
"Thank you, I'd be happy to do it again if it meant keeping my loved ones safe," Jane smiled.
Then she stood, "Well, I better go and finish preparing, we'll be leaving with the tide tomorrow morning".
"I see," said Falla as she too stood, "Then I wish you safe travels and luck on whatever mission you next have to endure".
The two embraced as old friends.
"You too, Falla," said Jane, "You too".
They parted ways with the promise that they would see each other again one day and keep in touch with letters as they always had before.