Absolom sighed deeply as he slumped down onto his green-coated armchair. Galinda's humble attitude had annoyed him as much as it possibly could. There was no way to harm her without lowering his class and making him sound like a monster to the people of Oz. They all loved Galinda, and were starting to trust Absolom as a leader to replace the Wizard. The only chance he had to take advantage of both was to use them... how, though?
The idea simply sparked on his mind. There was a certain click in his brain, accompanied by an internal voice that gave him instructions. He had to turn Galinda into an enemy to the citizens. "Of course..." he mumbled out loud. He jumped out of his armchair with a long grin. The citizens were so flexible and innocent that he could twist and bend them any way he wanted.
Absolom stormed out of his office, stomping on the golden flooring with his heavy wooden soles. He knew the stench and questionable hygiene of the citizens would annoy him, but this was an unpassable opportunity. The citizens would connect with him in an even deeper level. They would feel his loathing for Galinda. They would know what it's like to put up with such a fool. Without hesitation, Absolom pushed the golden doors open with an uncomfortable sigh. A few scattered citizens stood beside it, smiling and cheering as soon as he burst through. "Absolom!" yelled one of them, flinging his arms upwards. "Absolom!"
A force pulled him away from respoding. His stale breath resounded in his mouth as he let out a deep sigh. "Yes... yes. Hello" he said, grinding his teeth. "I... err... could you come in for a while, please?"
-"That'd be an honor, sir. We'd love to" said a second one, grinning from ear to ear.
-"Great, great. Just come in... what's mine is... yours" said Absolom, turning with a spin on his foot and making a dreadful expression as soon as he walked into the building.
The three citizens followed him down the hall, back into the office with the "COUNSELOR" plate. Absolom clicked the door open, remnants of his disgust for the revolutionaries on his face. He plumped down on his armchair, sighing as the three citizens sat by the dark wooden desk.
-"Alright, gentlemen... I... I need a favor from you" said Absolom with a stern expression.
-"I'd be glad to, sir. You've done a lot for us" said the first citizen. He had a naive expression, smiling as Absolom ran his hand through the desktop. The other two staid quiet.
-"Good. Are you two in?" asked Absolom.
-"What's in for us? We can't just proceed without having a deal" said a third citizen.
-"Well, you'll have some... priority around here. We'll certainly think of you when it comes to taxes"
-"I'd have to hear the favor before accepting anything. It sounds good enough, but..."
-"Please... just listen. It's simple, really. Nothing to worry about. I have to reveal something to the people. Galinda is casting a shadow upon all of you. She's... she's tricking you. I know she had to do with the wicked witch"
-"Glinda. I just call her by her real name. Anyways... she has to go"
-"Are you telling us we're supposed to kill her?"
-"No, no. Just hear me out. I want the people to turn against her. She's no good at all. Trust me, I... I know her. All you have to do is spread this. They'll eventually hate her"
-"Why would we hate her? Glinda has done a lot for us, and we're not eager to just... leave her to die"
-"I've seen the way she walks on the street. She's afraid of you. She knows you'll find out about her little secret. Back when she studied in Shiz University, she became friends with the witch. She kept it going until... until the witch faked her death"
-"What? What kind of conspiracy is this? You're insane. The witch melted when that girl came along. She's done for. Everyone she knew is getting killed. There's no way she can slip through our fingers just like that"
-"I know what Glinda is like. She'll do anything to prevail and keep her powers. We need to bring her down. She went on to using all of you to make herself famous. She has no shame whatsoever"
-"This... this sounds way too risky. I'm afraid we can't do it"
-"Aren't you fighting for justice? Isn't your main goal to kick the government down? This is your way to start seriously doing it. It'll raise your campaign's stakes. Trust me. You'll be known as the people who finally had the bravery to slay the system in the Emerald City by simply... knocking someone off. Don't you want that?"
-"Well... yes, but... it's going to cost us a lot. There's still people who love Glinda. She's been giving out gifts and promises for the people, and... they love it"
-"I'm not asking you to kill her. All I ask of you is to spread the word about her past. You deserve to know"
-"I'm in. We have to do this for our own good" said the first citizen. "I'm Aglaé, by the way"
-"Good. You'll be receiving your reward soon"
-"Aglaé, come on... you can't just sell yourself out like that. This is extremely risky. We need to think it through" said the second citizen.
-"Why? Our freedom is a stake here, Athenaís. Haven't you noticed? Every step we take is dangerous. By taking this one, we'll finally put an end to all of this. Glinda is the piece that'll break the system"
-"No, I... I can't. This is way too much. I'd rather have the war rage on beside me than have the weight of the whole city on my shoulders"
-"You'll be paid very well, sir. It's an opportunity you don't face every day-"
Before Absolom could finish, Athenaís was gone. The whole scheme worried the poor man, threating his life and actions. There was no way to look back. Through the gap between the door's wings, Absolom could see him walking down the hall with his head dropping and his hands flying behind him.
-"Alright. I understand why he would be upset. It's a very serious matter. You two need to promise me you won't tell anyone, alright? It'll be kept a secret" said Absolom.
-"Why is that?" asked the third citizen. "Is there something you need to tell us?"
-"No, not really. I just think your peers will be very shocked if they're told Glinda was a traitor and a freeloader all along. I hope you understand my point"
Both men nodded.
-"Uh... I'm sorry, but I did not get your name, sir" said Absolom, looking up at the citizens.
-"I'm Arnau. I'm glad to be able to help you"
With this, Absolom shook his hand and sent him on his way. There was no time to lose. Both men grinned and left the room, whispering to each other about the pay they would receive. As soon as the doors shut, Absolom wiped his hand on his trousers. The sight of those citizens simply disgusted him. They were so foolish, so very innocent that they trusted a politician who wanted them to knock down his own goverment.
"Bampots..." mumbled Absolom, sitting back on his armchair.
- First appearance of Arnau.
- First appearance of Athenaís.
- First appearance of Aglaé.
- This issue was the second to have Absolom as its main character, giving him a full protagonism and POV.