Chapter 17

Creed put sense before revenge and huddled Toller along back-streets and through a rear entrance of the jail-house. From there, he made sure that this reptile was secured in a cell among unoccupied cells. Even though this man deserved to be lynched, no one needed the backlash and repercussions caused by the arrest of the Governor of Azoria, it was going to be impactive enough. Captain Janus Hax took at least ten minutes to recover from the sight of their latest prisoner and he eventually dispatched Cadet Willus in search of physician Barnabus.

“Try Bard's Tavern first!” Hax shouted after the Cadet. “I'm presuming General Marx will be here soon?” He said to Creed.

“And the rest of the floor show.” Creed answered, filling out his report forms. “I just hope he's not here before General Astrella. Are you wanting to say something, Governor Toller?” Toller had walked over to the bars and was now just staring at the two Captains. “As you just heard, General Marx will be here soon, probably with Administrator Bonetti. It may be wise if you kept your comments to yourself until they're here. How's that report coming along Rowan?” Rowan nodded and carried on writing. Arrangements had also been made for reports to be collected from Roscus, Deputy Vinter, two infirmary staff and physician Nomnia, who all witnessed the atrocity, either visually, aurally, or both.

“Bonetti will have me out of here before morning.” Toller said arrogantly. “I never touched the man.”

“I know. That isn't what you were charged with, remember? Ben, I'm pleased you got here first.” Creed turned his attention to Ben and handed him his detail report, Rowan did likewise. Ben read them and looked at Toller.

“You bloody fool.” He sighed. “Is this the way you wanted your term in office to end?”

“It was ending anyway, Astrella. I'm not in disfavour with my pending replacement, quite the contrary. I exposed a dangerous potential threat tonight. You might not see it yet, but you will.” Toller pointed at Ben.

“Leo is not the source of your situation, Governor Toller, and you'd see that if you opened your eyes. Apart from his initial arrest, he was never mentioned again, don't you see that? Leo could no more embarrass you, or undermine you, than any other person right here could.”

“I don't deserve this.” Toller sat down and sighed. “My political career was being affected by my own behaviour, I know that. Did I deserve it accelerated by other people?”

“Were you exploited, do you mean?” Ben asked. “Absolutely. Your personal, domestic situation is a separate issue entirely, as it should be.”

“Ursus got the first punch in.” Toller smiled sadly. “She'll be a very wealthy woman, Astrella. Don't let the arseholes out there latch onto her like parasites.”

“I don't think she'd allow that.” Ben assured him. “You had a real gem there, Toller, and you didn't even notice it.” Ben shook his head.

“Are you supposed to be questioning the Governor alone?” General Marx was there, and still bore the signs of shock.

“Chatting, not questioning.” Ben said shortly. “Have you read the reports?”

“I have, as has Administrator Bonetti.” No surprise there. “Any fool can tell that was a personal vendetta brought about by the situation with his wife and the librarian.” Marx glanced at Toller who looked panic stricken. “Which just goes to show that he isn't in the soundest of mental health and certainly not fit enough to be Governor.”

“You buffoon!” Toller yelled. “Get Bonetti in here right now! I'm as sane as you are!”

“And that makes it alright? Captain Creed, Will you tell the Administrator that Governor Toller is asking for him, please?” Ben smiled at Creed.

“I have no idea what you're playing at Marx, but I'll see you in the out-plains for this.” Toller snarled. “Bonetti! Get this imbecile out of here.” He waved his hands at Marx, who obediently left. “Now then, you've read those reports Bonetti, as seen from one angle only. May I give you my account of the events?”

“Please do.” Bonetti sat himself down and Ben leaned against the wall.

“I intended to inform Leo that any future references to the false accusations made against him, would be disregarded by everyone. By everyone, I mean persons who could drag the issue up in the future to discredit him too. I didn't get the chance. I do believe the man's partially delirious and I assume that's what caused him to lunge at me, on sight. I was naturally quite shocked and my shock delayed my reactions. By the time it occurred to me to run for help, Lady ... Deputy Vinter had a knife to my throat.” Toller almost choked on his former wife's name and title.

“According to those reports, this alleged shock lasted from when you entered Leo's infirmary room, until Deputy Vinter saw you in there, twenty minutes later.” Bonetti mused.

“Bonetti!” Toller shrieked. “What are you saying? I was in shock, man!”

“He's trying to get rid of you.” Ben muttered and Bonetti spun round on him.

“I am rid of him!” He snapped. “His own perverse behaviour did that job for me.”

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