James’s Note: To paraphrase Terry Pratchet, kings seem like such a good idea. Especially when you picture your self with all the power. But there’s a reason people bristle at that kind of authority. Luckily the Witcher man never walks away from a case.
“So your thought is, why settle for a city, when you could coast around in the shadow of a Methuselah like Cuthbar and just step in to take his power whenever he eventually disappears.”
Anton gave me an appreciative look. “You’re very astute, Witcher man. That’s exactly the idea. Even now, very few vampires in the city have ever even seen Master Morgan. I’m his right-hand, everything goes through me. Someday, it will be a very easy transition for everyone to accept me as the master of not only the city, but all his holdings. With that kind of power, I could correct a lot of what’s wrong with vampiric society. The younger vampires are angry because the Masters have abused their power. The problem is not the power, the problem is how it’s used. Not only would they be better treated under me, they would also be better controlled under me. The world would be safer for them, as well as from them.”
Yep, it was exactly as I thought. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and Anton was driving the road grader. Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand the desire to make the world sit down, shut up, and behave. But free will and liberty are things. Kind of important things.
“While I’m sure you’d make a terrific benevolent tyrant, I’m sure you can see why some people might not prefer that.”
Anton gave a tilt of his head sideways, that seemed to indicate he conceded the point that some people might not like it, and also indicated that he didn’t care.
All of that still doesn’t answer my question Anton. What kind of game is Cuthbar playing at and why are you going along with it?
Anton sighed with a sound that contained a couple of centuries of exhaustion.
“I’m going along with my Master’s plan, Daniel, because it’s for the best. Yes there is information you don’t have. No, I’m not going to give it to you. And if you’re smart, you’ll stop looking for it now. No good comes from you pressing this matter further. I told you what I told you in the hopes that you would believe me when I say that for the good of this city, you should take your money and move on with your life.”
It was my turn to make a noncommittal gesture. “Fine Anton, have it your way. Give me my money and I’m out.”
Anton slid the briefcase across my table and got up to leave. Just as he was walking through my front door, he turned back and looked at me.
“You’re not dropping this, are you with Witcher man?”
“I don’t know what would give you that idea,” I said, giving him my very best innocent look.
He matched my look with one of well-bred discussed, and left.