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July 17, 2012
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(Contains: sexual themes, violence/gore, strong language and ideologically sensitive material)


"Orange, it's good to see you."
"You as well, old friend. I came as soon as I heard."

Orange had come to visit me at one of my smaller homes in the Manehattan suburbs. He was one of many visitors over the last six days. Clemency had disobeyed me, going to the police about my daughter: now the search was on to bring her back, and the news had hit the streets of Manehattan as a tidal wave strikes the shore. It could not have come at a more inconvenient time. I would have found her myself, given time; but now I was forced to deal with the backlash of the mainstream media. It was just one thing after another at the moment.

I greeted him and removed his coat, hanging it on a nearby stand. I invited him into the living room, where he stretched out upon the crimson chaise longue. "Drink?" I asked, and he nodded. I dropped four cubes of ice into a glass, added three goes of gin and a lemon slice, and let a ten-ounce tonic void build up. In foaming gulps I swallowed it, and then made up the same mixture for Orange; he took it and drank it in a more reserved manner than I.

"Ghastly business with young Farleigh," he said with a worried frown. "I offer my sympathies. If there is anything that I can do to help, I will provide all the resources in my power, old friend."

"I thank you, old friend," I replied. "Farleigh is a smart girl. I am sure that she is quite safe."

"I have no doubt," Orange said, stretching his legs out upon the chaise longue. I sighed, making myself up another drink.

"Do you have any idea where she might have gone?" he questioned.

"Even if I did, right now it's out of my hooves," I replied. "The police are looking into it. They've been barking at my doors for almost a week now."

"Surely they just wish to help you find her?" Orange asked.

"When they are not suspecting me of murdering her," I replied coldly, which alarmed Orange. He always did have a weak stomach. "-With my chance absence during the night that Florence was killed, and now with the sudden disappearance of Farleigh, I am a prime suspect in the case."

"I imagine that taking this long to report her absence to the police only served to make them more suspicious?" he asked matter-of-factly.

"Yes..." I sighed.

"Why did it take you so long to report it, old friend?" he questioned. "If I had a daughter – which, as you know, I don't – I imagine that I would have wished to bring her back right away."

I took a seat opposite him with a third drink, having finished my second. I took out my pipe and tapped the bowl. "-Do you mind if I smoke?" I asked, and Orange invited me to go ahead. I offered him a pipe, but he declined; he explained that he wished to keep a level head, which was admirable, I suppose.

"The election is coming up," I said. "The position of Mayor of Manehattan is at stake."

"Ah, yes; the election," Orange mused. "I had forgotten all about it."

"I would never be elected with a missing daughter. My opponents would accuse me of being too pre-occupied with finding her to be able to run the city."

"And now your opponents think you to be a child-killer and a wife-burner?"

His words took me by surprise. He was never one to give graphic details about anything, being a composed and cordial individual. But the ferocity of his words then troubled me, as I had never heard him speak in such a blatantly flippant way before.

"Unless Farleigh is found and proves my innocence, I risk far more than losing the election," I admitted. "Now that the news has come out, I pray that they find her quickly."

"How did the news come out?" he asked me. "Did Gazette sell you down the river?"

"No, not Gazette," I grumbled. "I haven't been in contact with him for a while."

"Since the Rarity affair?"

"Since the Rarity affair."

"Goodness me. That feels like such a long time ago," Orange commented, and I agreed.

"It was Clemency who went to them," I explained.

"Clemency?" he asked curiously, thinking to himself. I remained quiet as he contemplated, until I could see the root of a thought implanting itself in his head. "Oh, yes! Is she the gorgeous blonde one?"

"No," I said, "you're thinking of Harmony. Clemency is an entirely different sort of creature."

"Say no more," Orange chuckled. "Mares have a habit of complicating things."

"I explicitly told her not to go to the authorities about it. I said that I had everything under control," I admonished.

"Did you scold her for disobeying you?" Orange asked. "You should always punish insubordination and disrespect."

"She was punished," I said. "She won't be walking again properly for a few days."

"Limping, is she?"

"You could say that," I smiled. "Before I did it she told me that she missed Farleigh so much that she couldn't wait to bring her back. That was why she went to the authorities, apparently."

"How touching," Orange said.

"How untrue," I replied. "Clemency loathes that my attention is divided between her and Farleigh. She wants me all to herself, and when we moved in together I imagine that she believed I would be entirely focused on her. She hadn't taken into consideration that Farleigh would be with me."

"Why do you think that Farleigh ran away?" he questioned.

"She's been through a lot recently," I sighed. "I heard from the fire department who tended to the manor on the night of the fire that Farleigh pulled her mother from the wreckage. When they arrived, Florence was already dead, and yet Farleigh refused to leave her: she pounded at her chest and attempted to resuscitate her as if a mad fever had overcome her. She was deranged. It is a huge tragedy to befall a young mare. Add to that the fact that she dislikes Clemency, and Clemency dislikes her, and you cannot blame her for wishing to get out."

"I see," he said simply.

"I suppose it's one of the reasons why I didn't try and get her back sooner," I said. "I didn't want to force her to stay in an environment that she clearly detested. Going off on your own and clearing your head of all thoughts can be healthy. For a bright and fearless girl like her, I knew that keeping her contained was a bad idea. She's a great kid, and nobody would hurt a Cross, at any rate. I am sure of that."

"I hope for the safety of your daughter," Orange said, passing his glass over to me.

"Would you like another drink?" I asked, but Orange declined. I decided against another myself, at least for a while, and set about puffing at my pipe. Realising that conversation had been dominated by me, I questioned him on his state of affairs. It was always interesting to hear of his business escapades, and it was wise of me to keep up-to-date with his dealings. We may have been old friends, but Orange was still a rival of mine. "What have you been up to?" I asked. "How is business?"

"Business is as usual," he answered quickly. "Same old, really."

"What about the wife?" I questioned.

"Ex-wife," he said. "She's suing me for every penny that I have. Luckily, I have a legal team that will destroy any case that she thinks she has. I may have also made her sign a contract a long time ago entitling her to nothing should our relationship turn sour."

"Clever," I smiled, "and a little devious, might I add."

"You can't take any chances in this world, Friesian," Orange shrugged. He was right there.

"Got any little pieces on the side?" I asked him in a slightly quieter voice. "Clemency has some friends, if you're interested."

"You know me," he shrugged, waving a hoof. "I'm not one to kiss and tell."

"You never tell anything; that's your problem," I jested. "You'd need a map and a compass in order to even attempt to navigate your mind, old friend."

"Oh, I do have some news, actually," he said rather suddenly. "I have been working closely with Mr. Lusitano Dorimant. His friends in Canterlot seem to be a good bunch to befriend."

"They are," I replied.

Lusitano Dorimant was a wealthy Trottingham-born stallion, although he had many friends in high places in Canterlot as well, where he currently lived and operated. He was a close friend of mine, and he had always bought jewellery for his wife – a mare of fine tastes – from my stores. His many daughters – seven, I believe – were also big fans of my Glass House range. I was disappointed to hear that Lusitano had been doing business with Orange, however; I had rather hoped that he knew better than that.

"What work have you been doing together?" I queried.

"He's interested in teaming up for a little project of mine. I may know all there is to know about Manehattanite fashion, but I still have much to learn when it comes to Canterlot. He can help me there," Orange said. "I forgot to tell you: I'm getting back into the dress-making business."

"Didn't you learn your lesson with that Rarity mare?" I asked dubiously.

"Now, now, Friesian; we may have come to blows about that whole business, but I have an entirely new strategy this time."

"You found another dress-maker?"

"Certainly," he replied with a grin. "She's just starting out, but she'll be ready for the big leagues in no time."

"What's her name?"

"Old friend," he laughed, "you should know better than to ask such questions. I would be a very poor businesspony if I gave away the secret identities of my workers. A lesser pony might think that you would attempt to steal their expertise."

I had, perhaps, been overly optimistic in attempting to get anything truly meaningful out of Orange. No doubt his new dress-maker was some sort of bloated Manehattanite fashion designer with a silly accent. She would hardly pose a threat, especially as I was currently out of the dress-making game.

"You should watch out for Lusitano," I said. "He doesn't like sharing, and his dress range is well-established. Do you mean to compete with him?"

"Eventually," Orange shrugged. "But for now, I occupy a policy of keeping friends close-"

"-And enemies closer?"

"Precisely," he smiled.

I finished smoking my pipe and left it to rest on a silver tray beside the bottle of gin. Orange sat up, glancing towards the front door. "It must be terrible, living in this small home, when you once lived in a large manor," he said snidely. "At least the view is nice."

"This is only a temporary living arrangement. Once I bounce back from all of this and become Mayor, things will change," I retorted. "You should see my plans for Old Manehattan. That cesspool will be wiped off the map, and in its place will be rows of industrial buildings. Manehattan is one of the three biggest cities of production in Equestria: I wish to make it the industry capital of the world. And I'll be there, Orange: sitting on top of it all, victorious and grand."

"It will remain a pipe-dream unless you find your daughter, old friend," he said. I found his words to be conclusive, and with that arose from my chair and bid him farewell.

"Good luck to you finding her," Orange said. "I will let you know if any information arises, of course. We can't have innocent youngsters roaming the streets. It would look bad if the Mayor couldn't keep the youth of today in line."

"Quite so," I said. "I look forward to your next visit, Orange."

"It will be at the exact same time, whenever I choose to visit again," he said, slipping back into his coat and taking his leave. I waited until he had left the building entirely before moving. I had work to do. I fetched a quill and a pot of ink. I set about writing a letter to my good friend, Lusitano Dorimant. I had no time to lose. After quickly scribbling the letter and adding my signet at the end, I read back over it:

"Lusitano,

Orange has been at my home speaking of business negotiations between the both of you. I know that you would never do business with him under regular means, and so I have to ask what in Equestria you are thinking. Our families have long been friends; do not risk tarnishing such a fruitful friendship by working with Orange. I see through his game easily enough. And now, in order to maintain my popularity in Manehattan, I feel obliged to step back into this fashion game. Whatever transaction you have arranged with Orange, cancel it: I will be your representative in Manehattan. Orange will only stab you in the back.

In addition, no doubt the news has arrived in Canterlot of my daughter's missing state. I ask that you inform me right away should any information from Canterlot arise as to her whereabouts. I must find her, you understand, and I cannot afford to linger. I ask also that, should you know any pony with the capacity for it, you monitor the actions of Orange carefully. I know that you would never work with him unless there was some greater plan behind it. Please, enlighten me as to what you are planning.

Kind regards,

F.C
"

I slipped the letter into an envelope and sealed it. I then locked up the house and took my leave, deciding that it was about time that I returned to Clemency at the apartment that we still shared. On the way I posted the letter with a first-class stamp; I needed Lusitano to receive this information quickly. After sending it off, I let out a sigh: it was time to punish Clemency again. Back at the apartment I let myself in; Clemency was nowhere to be found at first, and I wondered if she had gone out. However, I found her in the bedroom, curled up between the sheets, writing something onto a pad of paper. She set the pencil and pad down on the bedside table when she noticed me, sitting up in bed.

"I didn't hear you come in," she said quietly. "Had I known, I would have made myself look more presentable. You like me like that, don't you?"

"Save your words, woman," I said, removing my suit and placing it over a chair. I unbuttoned my collar and tie, removing them as well, and then slipped my shoes off. Clemency watched my movements nervously, gulping with each item of clothing that I discarded.

"Are you going to fuck me again?" she asked, pretending to be her usual confident self. "You bruised me last time."

I said nothing, removing the last of what I was wearing and then climbing onto the bed. She recoiled a little, but realised that there was nowhere she could go.

"You know, Friesian," she said, her pace of talking quickening when she realised that I wasn't going to hold back. "You can be gentle if you like. You don't have to hurt me. I was thinking only of Farleigh when I went to the police-"

"Be quiet."

"I-I'm sorry," she panicked. "I apologise again! You know how sorry I am! I would never want to hurt you! I would do anything to please you!"

"Silence."

"Friesian!" she exclaimed, but I moved my hoof in front of her mouth, jamming it inside to silence her. She bit her teeth into my hoof as hard as she could, but I kept it there, applying greater force as I prevented her from objecting. I pulled her back by the mane and entered her where I shouldn't have, which caused her entire body to grow stiff and tense. She was sobbing now, but she would be wailing by the time I had finished with her. Disobedience had to be punished, and Clemency's actions had cost me the election, forced my daughter to run away, and incriminated me in the eyes of the law. I could lose everything because of this whore. Marriage material, she had wanted to be; she was disgusting and depraved, and good for only one thing to me. I fucked her, hard and fast, hurting her more with each thrust, and when I had finally finished and she thought she would be released, I set about hurting her again in all kinds of ways.

When she found breathing easier again – I had removed my hoof from near-enough choking her – she fell against the pillow, motionless and silent. She was facing me, but her eyes were empty.

"What do you say to your master, Clemency?" I asked bitterly. "What do you say to me?"

She lifted her head weakly, barely able to support herself on her hooves. I had done more damage this time than the last, and I was fearful that she wouldn't respond. She settled cold eyes upon me, frowning as water formed in them. "T-Thank you...master..." she spoke in no more than a whisper. "I really am sorry..."

"You will be punished no longer," I said. "A lesson has been learned here. But you will never disrespect me again, Clemency. You live upon my order and do as I tell you."

"I will," she said without any semblance of expression. "Thank you for forgiving me."

I nodded and she curled up, turning to face away from me. I assumed at first that she fell asleep, or maybe she just fell silent. Hearing her talking irritated me, and so I was content to avoid the sound of her speech. And yet part of me felt guilty for inflicting so much pain upon her, and I set about brushing her back with the tip of my hoof. "Clemency," I grumbled. "I believe that I may have taken your punishment too far."

I heard her crying into her pillow. "What is done is done," I sighed. "We both made mistakes. I was frustrated and I took it out on you. I will do my best to avoid letting it happen again."

She continued to cry. I stroked her back in softer motions, doing my best to silence her bawling. As she began to fall into a lull, I looked across to what she had been writing. I picked up the pad and scanned it. It appeared to be a poem of sorts, and she had titled it 'Cross'. She quite often busied herself writing poetry. I thought poetry to be nonsense-words jumbled together in no particular order, but it obviously made her happy to add rhyme and reason to things.

"This will cheer you up," I instructed. "I will read out this poem of yours."

She rolled over to face me, staring up with beautiful eyes; life was returning to those crystalline orbs once more. I cleared my throat and began:

"A decent chap, a real good sort,
Straight as a die, one of the best,
A brick, a trump, a proper sport,
Head and shoulders above the rest;
How many lives would have been duller
Had he not been here below?
Here's to the whitest stallion I know.
"

I smiled at her compliments. However, beneath the seventh line was an eighth that had been crossed out with a line through it. I narrowed my eyes and turned up the light on the bedside table to read it. I grew angry when I read the final line, and Clemency knew it; she began to tremble once again.

"Though white is not my favourite colour."
Chapter 7 of My Little Pony: Orange-Cross Empire, (OCE), entitled Sympathy in White Major.

OCE is the spiritual successor to Hospice, which can be found here: [link]

While it is not required that readers check out Hospice first, it is advisable, simply for the fact that it establishes a lot of what will be elaborated upon in this narrative. However, it is still very possible to view Hospice as a singular work, as its particular themes are concluded by the Epilogue. In addition, efforts have been made to ensure that OCE can be enjoyed by its own merits and content.

OCE follows the lives of two very different individuals, and how they are brought together through a common interest. In addition, the corporate world around them begins to spiral out of control, consuming all of Ponyville and, ultimately, Equestria in its wake.

Artwork by *Polar59
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:iconrated-r-ponystar:
I love the meeting between Orange and Cross. You know they just want to kill each other, but can't. It's like a mafia meeting in a way.
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:iconcuddlepug:
Indeed it is. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
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:iconturkeysm:
TurkeySM Jul 20, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Ok, sorry I'm late with this comment, but here it is! I'll skip the pleasantries and dive into good stuff!

The title. It's musical...but that's all I can get from it. If you would like to explain to me again, then I'd appreciate that a lot!

I don't know if you watched the most recent Sherlock Holmes movie, the one with Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law concerning the conflict between Holmes and Moriarty, but this chapter was very reminiscent of the events in that film. Orange and Cross would be Moriarty and Holmes of course, though who is who is up in the air for me. There was this one scene (apologies if I am spoiling) where Holmes first meets Moriarty in Moriarty's study and they're talking civilly while having an undercurrent filled to the brim with conflict and dark intentions. The dark intentions would be on Moriarty's part of course. Anyway, Orange and Cross do give off that vibe. Just chatting away nicely and waiting for a moment to strike. Not at the moment of talking of course, but at a later time. Orange has Cross' daughter working for him, and Cross has perhaps some, if not a lot, of influence in how Lusitano might respond to Orange's offer. With this in mind, both have bargaining chips against each other, though in my opinion, Orange has the upper hand at the moment. Regardless of what happens, we have two villainous characters interacting, and that's always something interesting to see. Backstabbing and betrayals are almost to be expected.

There is much irony concerning Orange in Cross' point of view. He is, of course, not so flimsy and weak as Cross thinks, and I think in the future that Orange will spring one, if not many, nasty surprises on Cross. There is already that other irony of Cross insulting his daughter without realizing it. "Nobody will hurt a Cross"; pfft, that's just doubly ironic because not only is Farleigh in a position to be hurt by Orange, Cross himself has already harmed her in his poor parenting and marital choices. That certainly got quite the laugh out of me. Anyway, both Orange and Cross do seem to share that disregard for mares; Orange with his cruel divorce and Cross with his..."Crossness" in general as shown in his later interaction with Clemency. Orange saying how he doesn't kiss and tell does bring to mind Rarity's possible "dealings" with him. Also, Orange does surprise Cross with his violent rhetoric, and that's kind of sad seeing as how Cross sees Orange as an "old friend". To not see that in someone you've interacted with for awhile is not exactly surprising, but one might think that Cross could avoid surprises if he pays more attention. Then again, Orange is a slippery fellow, and probably does not reveal things about himself unless need be. In sum, I guess I'm saying that I'm just waiting for Orange to pull the rug out from under Cross. But of course, things may turn out very different from how I imagine them to be.

I noticed the difference between the two in how they drink. That was something interesting to note. I also notice that "dominating" rhetoric Cross has; it certainly fits his character. I also noticed how Orange doesn't smoke. I suppose that makes him quite different from both Cross and his lackeys.
I'm not sure if Lusitano's name has some sort of meaning. Then again, I probably should have asked long ago if the names Friesian, Farleigh, Clemency, etc. had any meaning to them as well. Anyway, Lusitano seems to be an interesting fellow. I'll just have to wait and see how you portray him. But before I completely move on, I must say that Cross being disappointed in Lusitano reminds me of you being disappointed in that one fellow who turned out to work with clop. Just an interesting observation in my opinion.

As for Clemency. Hmm...to tell you the blunt truth, I care not too much about her fate. If anything, I find it rather amusing that she's so broken after her period of haughtiness back in Chapter 5. As I said regarding Orange, I enjoy seeing the great and powerful fall, though Clemency was never great or powerful I suppose. Then again, something interesting may come out of this violence. After all, she still throws in that jab in her poem, so she has some resistance left in her. Perhaps a thrilling tale of her vengeance and betrayal against Cross will happen in the future. Or perhaps not. It seems like Cross will break her even further judging by his current anger. Anyway, the poem is certainly out of place with the rest of the chapter, and perhaps especially with the letter Cross wrote earlier. It does bring back to mind the lyrical bits of Artemis and maybe even Hospice.

Oh yes, a small bit of nitpickyness here before I continue. In this sentence, "You'd need a map and a compass in order to even attempt to navigate your mind, old friend.", I think there's an extra space between the word "order" and the word "to". It may be just my own computer, but it's something I did notice.

Before I finish up, there are some things regarding the story in general I must ask about. Will you be bringing in any fashion characters such as Hoity Toity? It's certainly an avoidable idea, but if things get busy in Canterlot, I'd be intrigued to see how you might work with characters established there. Also, the elephant in the room, at least for me, that I must address is how the monarchy will deal with this issue(s). Your description does say that "the corporate world around them begins to spiral out of control, consuming all of Ponyville and, ultimately, Equestria in its wake", and I expect that the government will not simply ignore a problem like this if it is on a nation wide scale. But of course, you may write it so that it's all very discreet and underground, so the government may avoid finding things out completely in the first place. It's just an interesting thing I'm curious about.

Great work again as always! I shall comment again in the next chapter.
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:iconcuddlepug:
Hey bud,

The chapter title, Sympathy in White Major is the title of a poem by Philip Larkin. I liked how the connotations of the poem gel with what happens in this chapter. For a start, the 'sympathy' in the chapter that Orange shows towards Cross is clearly fake, which is a theme of the poem. In addition, the 'whitest stallion' part fits with Cross really well - Clemency's poem is a slightly altered version of the last stanza of Larkin's - as it reveals that she can still disobey Cross, and that even though she can't physically resist him now, she can still disobey him through writing.

I have seen the Sherlock Holmes film, and I know the sort of interaction that you mean. It's a fairly common trope of exchange between enemies acting civil around one another. I agree that Orange's remark about not kissing and telling brings up ideas of him and Rarity together; that was certainly a possible implication of Hospice and it can be seen again here. You'll have to wait and see about who ends up having the upper hand: Cross or Orange. At the moment Orange is in the dominant position, but we'll see what happens!

The drinking and smoking differences are also a good clue into how their characters behave. Both vices were designed to be representative of their personalities: Orange is reserved and doesn't personally like getting his hands dirty, while Cross is more indulgent and impulsive. As for name-meanings, a lot of thought does go into the names. Some, such as Farleigh, are there because they sound unique and unusual. Others, such as Friesian and Lucitano, are breeds of horse. However, Lucitano was chosen because it has an almost Italian sound to it, and I like the idea of a business world with multiple ethnicity amalgamation. As for Cross' disappointment in him, I didn't personally think of the person in question who you mentioned, but I can see where you're coming from. I guess you're calling me Cross in this situation: I'm not sure if I should take that as a compliment or not!

With Clemency, at this stage she's not meant to be a very likable character. In general, none of the cast are likable, bar, perhaps, Farleigh: some are more sympathetic than others, but most of them are selfish and greedy in their own ways. Naturally, there is more to Clemency than meets the eye, and her significance will gradually increase. Oh, and as for the additional space, that's a formatting error in the program that I use: it always happens when I paste into DeviantArt. Thanks for pointing that out.

As for the future of the story, I prefer to avoid canon ponies when I can, simply for the fact that I don't like to portray someone else's character as much as my own. If I bring in Hoity Toity, for example, I have to mediate my language and style based on how he behaved in that episode. Moreover, I risk irritating people if I portray him in a way that they don't like. You may, however, be seeing at least one more pony from the show in a role, so keep your eyes out. As for the monarchy, all of this is happening on the underground: the only reference so far to the monarchy was Gazette's article about Princess Luna that he became famous for in Hospice. I have no plans right now to bring them in, but we'll see where the story takes us!
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:iconfredafkth:
FredAFKTH Jul 18, 2012  Student General Artist
I'm truly amazed with this chapter.

We've seen both Farleigh and The Secret Stallion have narrating chapters, we also saw Clemence once, but I never thought that you would have a chapter with Cross as the narrator. And it was absolutely perfect.

Your story is turning into one of my favorite movie generes, a battle of witts. As much as I like action or adventure, seeing people plan out and device against one another for control (like Mr. Orange, Mr. Cross and maybe Lustiano are starting to do) is what I really enjoy, and if you can write a story where that happens, and still mantain the humanistic side of the story by giving the characters development, then this may be your best story yet.

From Hospice , I've learned that every action each character takes, has a repercussion later on in your story. Here, we see how Clemence was punished, and eventually becomes "obedient", but what I think is the most impressive (and probably important later) is how she still "stands up" to Mr. Cross with her poem. How this will affect later on, well, I'll be really looking out for it.

The story moves greatly with each chapter, and I don't feel it drags on on one particular point or event, rather, you make the narrative alive and makes each chapter great to read, great work!
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:iconcuddlepug:
I'm glad that you enjoyed seeing Cross as the narrator in this one. It's also good that you're enjoying the creative avenue that OCE is going down: rest assured that the story will twist and turn, but it will always retain the heart of the characters that we love. I plan for Hospice and OCE together to create an excellent package, and I would hope that this will ultimately be the best story that I've written so far.

Certainly, every action, point of interest and piece of description has a wider significance, often the kind that takes a few chapters to figure out. Looking into the conflicting relationship between Clemency and Cross will certainly continue to remain a significant part of the story. Thanks for the feedback as always.
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