Soul Searching: House of Dragons


            “….and as we go out into the day, Heavenly Father, please let us find an adventure.  These things we ask and pray for in the name of thy Son, our beloved Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.”   Elder Rimbaldi opened his eyes and unfolded his arms as he sat back on his heels, feeling the warmth and glow that follows morning prayer.

“Elder, we talked about that,” Elder Holloway warned, immediately getting to his feet while straightening the razor-sharp pleats in his cotton slacks.

“What?”  Rimbaldi rocked back on his feet and rose with little effort.

“What do you mean, what?  I said no more adventures.  It took me three weeks to get that smell out of my jacket last time.”  Holloway was about 6’2”, blond with golden highlights.  He had cupid bow lips, smooth complexion, and perfectly angular and symmetrical bone structure.  His confidence radiated from a deep sense of commitment to his call and a firm desire to return with honor.

Elder Rimbaldi chuckled.  That was an interesting adventure.  Holloway got sprayed by an amorous water buffalo.  It was a defense against the aftershave Holloway wore as a second skin.  On really warm sticky days, it would give him a sick headache.  “I told you not to wear that much perfume in the country.”  Rimbaldi ran his fingers through his still wet hair.  The chestnut waves fell into their normal unruly place, framing his oval face.  The sun brought out his natural Mediterranean glow.  He had long, refined fingers with a Duncani CTR ring on his left hand, joking it meant

‘Corrupt the Righteous’ to any other missionary that tried to correct him.  He was slightly shorter than Holloway but his shoulders were broader and his legs longer.  He had olive green eyes with brown flecks, and they sparked when he smiled.  He had a laid-back style that made him approachable, and his quick wit kept even the stuffiest shirt off guard and at ease, with the exception of his present companion.

“Aftershave,” Holloway growled.  It was a birthday gift from his baby sister.  He picked up their breakfast bowls off the table and took them to the chipped porcelain sink that was older than both of the young men combined.  He sprinkled his homemade antibacterial soap over the bowls and spoons.  It would keep the six-legged critters out of them until he could wash them when they got back from tracting.

“Whatever.”  Rimbaldi looked out the rough-hewn window of their small bungalow at the

end of a quiet street and saw the palm fronds were already drooping from the weight of the humidity.

It was going to be another day in paradise.

The elders were in a small hamlet a few hundred miles from Ho Chi Min City called Cao Ngang.  It was in the center of their branch which made it that much farther away from contact from other missionaries.  They didn’t get along well when they had to live together, but when they were out working, they worked as a well-oiled machine.  Each considered the other a Laman or a Lemuel while fancying himself an Ammon.  Their accommodations were spartan, lacking any comforts of home.  The furnishings were cast-offs from generous families in the branch.  The table was taped together with three-year-old duct tape on one leg, and another had old planners under it to keep the table level.  The chairs were from a café that closed.  The beds were cotton ticking filled with dry moss that local branch memebers gathered from trees.  It was what the members had, and the Mission

President was adamant the missionaries live no better than the people they were called to serve.  Rimbaldi had a feather pillow he brought from home while Holloway trusted the Lord would provide.  He learned to push the moss up into a pile under his head for a pillow, and he had never slept better.   He had a quilt his grandmother made his father for his mission, and his father put it away for his mission after his mother reinforced a lot of the stitches.  That was the only homey touches Holloway allowed himself, the only thing to distract him from his mission.  The only thing that really distracted him was Rimbaldi’s irreverent sense of humor contrasting with his own tenacity for exactness to all mission rules.

Rimbaldi, on the other hand, had his side of the cottage covered with pictures of San Francisco and the different natural habitats he had visited in the Bay Area.  There were pictures of his mother, the girls from his singles ward that were avid fans of his charm and smooth dance steps.  His best picture was an extended exposure of the Oakland Temple during a blackout.  All the temple lights were out and with the extended exposure it caused the stars to move while the temple stood implacably still.  His prize possession was nestled between the rumbled sheets, a teddy bear made by the Relief Society President of the Skyline Singles Ward with the signatures of every member of the ward wishing him well.

The bathroom and shower were outside in a cinderblock cubicle that was covered on all sides yet open on the bottom and top so when they have gastro-anomalies from the local cuisine, it couldn’t invade the living quarters.  It was a strange concept for them both to have to wear shoes to the bathroom just in case there were snakes or rats hiding in the small space.  Of course, that didn’t keep the little rodents from coming up through the pipes just as they were sitting down.

“We have Zone conference on Saturday.”  Holloway reminded as he was flipping through the pocket-sized planner supplied by the mission.

“Yea, got that.”  Rimbaldi picked up his Franklin day planner and started to lazily leaf through the few pages left in the month.  “Do you have the DA with the branch president?”

“When did we get that?” Holloway began to write it in.

“Today,” Rimbaldi assured him.  “Friday night?” he asked.

“Did he talk to you?”

“No, but I thought I’d ask today when we stop by to pick up our Books of Mormon for tracting.”

“We can’t invite ourselves.”  Holloway was shocked.  “They can barely afford to feed themselves.”

“You’re just afraid they’re going to serve brain again.”  Rimbaldi cackled.  His companion was sick for a week just thinking about it.  It didn’t help to have Rimbaldi reminding him about it every time the opportunity presented itself.

“No, I’m not.”  Holloway objected unconvincingly.

“You know what happens to liars, Elder.”  Rimbaldi penciled in the branch president for a dinner appointment for Friday.

“We should be going.  We’re already ten minutes late leaving.”

Rimbaldi grumbled under his breath.  Holloway was such a martinet, keeping him and the little world he lived in on a strict timetable.  Coming from the East Bench in Salt Lake City, as he kept thumping his chest about, must mean things ran on time.  Rimbaldi never really got over San Francisco time.  Basically, when he arrived, that was on time.  He grabbed the scriptures off the table that separated the beds and his tie off the bedpost. He lassoed it over his head and began to fasten the knot more appropriately under his chin and collar.  It was his only tie; he saw no need to have more than one.  He was going to have to burn something that night in honor of hump dayii, and he figured he’d pick up a new tie in the market place and burn his dark blue tie in effigy of his commitment to his mission.

Rimbaldi and Holloway looked over their house before they left to make sure they had everything and then began the mile-and-a-half walk to the branch president’s house to pick up the ten Books of Mormon they needed for their day of soul searching.

“Elders, sit, sit.  Would you like some water?”  President Nang offered.  He was a rather young man, possibly in his mid thirties, yet the demands of his farming life had already bowed his back and made his knees grind with each movement.  Gray specked his short black hair as well as the Fu Manchu beard he sported.

“No, we just need the books.”  Holloway said simply.  His language skills were the superior of the two for casual conversation, but Rimbaldi was the more passionate and the more persuasive in his heavily accented simple statements.

“How are things, President?”  Rimbaldi took a seat at the teak table and looked up at his peeved companion.

“Very good, Elder.”  President Nang went to the kitchen and took down one of the few cobalt glasses that didn’t have a chip in it and filled it with cold well water for the smiling elder.   He placed the glass down in front of Rimbaldi and looked up at Holloway to see if he wanted water, but it was obvious his resolve hadn’t changed.

“The farm is doing okay?”  He knew the President was worried about the lack of rain.  The President had been spending his days watering his crop of boc choy one bucket at a time.  His wife and three daughters were out there working with him when they weren’t working in the rice paddies for exportation to the rest of the world.  It was enough to keep the family teetering on the bleeding edge of poverty during the off-season.  It was obvious the President was tired and needed a distraction from the toils of his life.  Rimbaldi felt his exhaustion clear to his bones.

“I’ve been praying for rain, but Heavenly Father isn’t ready to open the skies yet.”  President Nang shook his head and took the chair across from the smiling elder.

“He will,” Rimbaldi promised.  “We’ll pray for rain.”

“Good.  Heavenly Father will listen to you.”  The President smiled at Elder Rimbaldi’s confidence.  It renewed his hope.  “You make it rain, I feed you dinner.”

“How does Friday sound?”  Rimbaldi looked up at his irritated companion.  In his mind, he drew steam coming out Holloway’s ears and his eyes rolling in their sockets.

“Good, good,” President Nang nodded.  “You need books.”  He got up and went into the bedroom and came out with only seven.  “Sorry, I’ve not got the new box yet.”

“I’ll contact my stake back home,” Elder Holloway reassured him.  His ward provided a case of books for each missionary for every month of their mission with the instructions to report each month on where the books had been placed.

“That would be good.  But I ordered a case.  It is at the post office, but I haven’t had a chance to pick it up.”

“Oh, we can do that for you.”  Rimbaldi offered before consulting with his senior companion – something that was often the top of the agenda during companionship inventory each week.

“Elder, we should be going,” Holloway growled in English.

“Okay.”  He stood up and took the books from the Presidents hands.  “We’ll burn the box later today.”

“Bring, Elder.  Not burn,” President corrected with a smile.  He was always correcting the young man’s words, but it was a treat to see an elder that was so eager to speak a language he barely knew.

Rimbaldi flushed slightly and smiled.  “Sorry.  Bring,” he enunciated perfectly.  Rimbaldi and Holloway left the Presidents house and walked towards the bus stop.

“What have we talked about?”  Holloway snapped at his junior companion as they walked.

Holloway took three of the seven books and placed them in his bag in a flourish of anger.

“No adventures,” Rimbaldi poked.

“You are frustrating,” Holloway grumbled.

“Yea, but you love me anyway,” Rimbaldi joked.

Holloway didn’t respond.  He did love Rimbaldi as he loved the people he served.  When his father, the stake president, set him apart, he was promised to have love for all that he served.  He knew he was sent to that area at that time with Rimbaldi as his companion to build the kingdom from a small branch to a beautiful and fruitful tree in the Lord’s Garden.  Rimbaldi needed to be pruned to make him a better servant in the garden, and he felt his example would accomplish the Lord’s work

in that regard.

“Dude!”  A seven-year-old boy came running up to the Elders.  “Dude.”

“Dude!”  Rimbaldi called back.  He made friends with the small boy who was the only child of a single mother living in the village.

They weren’t members, and his mother was devout in her practice of Buddhism.  Holloway wouldn’t allow them to visit because she said no, and the little ‘dude’ wasn’t old enough to baptize.  Nor were there any fellow-shippers to take over after he was gone, and President Hinkley was adamant that the key to retention was fellowshipping.

Rimbaldi dropped to one knee and picked up the boy when he flung himself into his arms.

As the elder swung him around the little boy squealed in pleasure.  “Dude, you should be in school.”  He put the slight child down on the ground and straightened again.

“Mom is sick.  She’s sleeping, so I thought I’d go get some water.”  Tran grabbed Rimbaldi’s

tie before he could stand completely erect and pulled him down to eye level.  “Got any candy?”

Rimbaldi reached into his pocket and took out a roll of lifesavers and gave them to the boy.

“Do you have fool for your mom?”  Rimbaldi thought about what he said.  “Food, I mean food.”

“Our bus is coming,” Holloway said in English so Rimbaldi would know to break it off with

his little friend.

“What did he say?”

“Our bus is coming.”  Rimbaldi took off his sunglasses and put them on Tran while he reached into his pocket and took out a few coins and gave them to the boy.  He took the glasses back, then reached into his backpack and took out a Book of Mormon.  “Would you like a book?”  It was one of the two English books he brought with him when he was sent to his chosen field.

“Cool.”  Tran loved the English language and wanted to learn more of it, but his school

didn’t teach it.

“If you read the yellow parts by next week, I’ll give you more candy,” Rimbaldi promised.

“Right on!”  Tran tucked the book under his arm.

“Now, go buy your mom some food, and tell her we hope she feels better.”  Rimbaldi followed Holloway to the stop and watched as the boy trotted off into the morning toward the local market.

“Bribing him to read?”  Holloway was incredulous at Rimbaldi’s ploy.  “We don’t have the books to just hand them out to children.”

“Machiavelli, Dude.  The ends justify the means.”  Rimbaldi closed his satchel and slung it over his shoulder again.  “Besides, it was one of my English ones.  It doesn’t count against our stats anyway.”  Rimbaldi didn’t like Holloway’s dedication to the statistical achievements of a mission.  He knew why he was sent to that mission, and part of it was to teach all things with the spirit, including his rigid companion.

The elders climbed aboard the converted bus left by the Army.  The holes where the stretchers used to hang were starting to rust through to the outside.  It made for personal ventilation for the passengers.  The windows were either welded closed or couldn’t be closed at all.  Both elders were amazed the bus was still running at all, so having fresh air truly was a treat.  The elders sat next to each other, one fully upright, shoulders squared, seeing in his inner eye the image of a Stripling Warrior just as he mother always told him he would be when he was a missionary.  Elder Rimbaldi was far more relaxed, trying constantly to catch the eye of any passenger on the bus, hoping to make some contact before they reached Soc Trang, the city Holloway had chosen for their tracting that week.  No one looked at the well-dressed American boys with black tags and short haircuts.

The Elders were pushing into their fourth hour of tracting and had only placed two books.

Holloway didn’t want to stop for lunch until they placed three.  Most of the residents were business people rushing from one appointment to another; very few wanted to take a moment to discuss their eternal salvation.  One man snapped that if salvation was eternal then he had plenty of time to hear about it some other day.  Rimbaldi chuckled while Holloway groaned at the futility of tracting.  It would be better to get the members involved in finding the people to teach so they could focus on teaching.  He thought by going to Soc Trang it would be easier to place books because the residents wouldn’t be as rushed as the poor farmers in the communities around their cottage.  However, instead of rushing around farming, they were focused on chasing the rabid economy like a dog and his tail.

“I say we break for lunch,” Rimbaldi suggested as they came to the middle of the village where most of the eating establishments were.

“No, Elder.  We need to place the third book, then we can eat.”  Holloway was firm.  He felt it was the right thing to do, and he knew the sacrifice of lunch would bring forth the blessings of placing all seven of the books that day.  A late lunch would be a small price to pay for such a righteous goal.

“Fine.”  Rimbaldi reached into his satchel and took out his camera and handed it to his companion.  “Take my picture.”

Holloway sighed.  He was always taking silly pictures for Elder Rimbaldi to send home to his mother.  “Of what?”

“Wait a minute.”  Rimbaldi went over to an elderly rickshaw driver and his rig.  “Hello.”

“American want ride?”

“No, I want to give you a ride.  I want to take a picture to send to my Mom back in San

Francisco.”  Rimbaldi knew that was a magic word to a lot of the residents of his mission area.

“San Francisco?  My nephew moved there.  He likes it very much.  Why are you here and not in San Francisco?”

“I’m on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.”  He pointed to his badge that was secured on the pocket of his thin cotton shirt.  The man read his name and name of the church intently.  “What does Elder mean?”

“Elder is a position in our priesthood.  Any man that lives well and keeps the commandments

that God has given him can be an elder.  It’s an honorable thing to please God, don’t you think?”

“Yes, very honorable.”  The man nodded his head seriously, honestly.

“Do you practice any religion?”

“No, no time.”

“Well, my companion and I would love to come and talk to you more about our church.  We have some lessons we would like to share with you and your family.  After you have had the lessons and have prayed and received a witness that what we have taught you is true, will you be baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?”  Elder Rimbaldi was known for challenging for baptism on first contact, but he only did it when he was prompted.  Only this time he couldn’t tell if he was being prompted, or if he was just hungry and wanted to get the book placed as soon as possible.

“It is the honorable thing to do,” he agreed.

“Wonderful.”  Rimbaldi took out a Book of Mormon and handed it to him.  Quickly he took out his Franklin Day Planner and worked out a schedule for them to teach him.  It turned out he lived only one village over from theirs.  He commuted on the same buses they did, only he was on the first bus coming into the city and the last one going home.  They made arrangements to meet with his family on Saturday evening and then Lau-shay allowed Rimbaldi to pose for his picture.  He put the old rickshaw driver in the rig and took the position of the driver and made it look like he was struggling to pull the rig alone.

“Okay, what do we want for lunch?” Rimbaldi waved goodbye to their newest investigator.

“I thought the President talked to you about challenging for baptism on the first contact.”  Holloway was making mental notes for his weekly letter to the President.

“He said to only do it when the Spirit was present.”  Rimbaldi looked around the street and saw a noodle house where they could get lunch.

“I didn’t feel the Spirit,” Holloway informed him pertly.

“Sounds like a personal problem to me, Elder.”  Rimbaldi pointed to the noodle house.


Rimbaldi and Holloway had a strange tradition for lunch after tracting.   They would tell the other how much money to spend, and each would order the other’s lunch.  Holloway had a problem reading handwritten signs where Rimbaldi learned all about the exotic foods by visiting every Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco, Berkley and Milpitas.  And to really, really learn about the food and culture, he consulted his best friend at U.C. Berkeley and institute study partner who had already completed her mission in Vietnam.  She told him all about the fish eye soups, the eel intestines and dispelled the rumor about hot dogs – real hot dogs.  Holloway had no stomach for spicy food, so Rimbaldi wouldn’t order that for him, but noodles and pig intestines, mushrooms, and okra – slimy, crunchy okra would send the appropriate message.  Holloway normally ordered the strangest sounding fish on the menu cooked in the most disagreeable spices he could think of.  This was their compromise instead of arguing.  They could force each other to eat something totally disgusting or something delightful depending on how the one felt about the other during the course of the day.  Today, Holloway ordered Rimbaldi a large helping of noodles with sardines, anchovies and a large smattering of fish sauce and chili sauce for color and true texture.

“Oh, I need to buy a tie before we head back home.”

“There’s a haberdashery over there.”  It was a London-esque tailor shop, a place where

Holloway would feel at home.  “Why do you need a tie?”  It seemed odd to him that the one-tie elder would suddenly want a new one.  Holloway came onto his mission prepared with fifteen ties; one for each of the twelve apostles and three for the First Presidency.  He chose the color and style based upon the last time he saw them in conference.  Today he was wearing his Elder Scott tie.

“Hump day.  I need to burn something.  I figured the tie has to go.”

“I thought it was a family heirloom or something,” Holloway scoffed, not understanding his strange fascination for the dark blue faux silk tie.  As often as Rimbaldi used it for a napkin, he was amazed at how well it held up.

“No, got this at a thrift store in the Mission.”  Rimbaldi didn’t point out the obvious pun to his companion about shopping in the Mission for his Mission.

“Isn’t the California way to recycle?  Shouldn’t you pass that on to the next generation or something?”  Holloway thought it looked behind the styles, but the concept of style was a capricious thing.  What could be in style in California would be completely inappropriate in the East Bench.

“Yes, it is, but I don’t think this is made out of recyclable materials.”  Rimbaldi wiped his mouth with the end of it and let it drop back down to his grayish white shirt.  Unlike his companion, he did his own laundry, not utilizing the local washing lady to do his work.  “Ummm, that was good.”  He pushed the white bowl away.

“Really?”  Holloway had a hard time deciphering Rimbaldi’s sarcasm from true statements.

“Yea.  I think you’d love it if you take the chili sauce out.”  It was horrible, and it was the best way he knew of getting even with his companion.  Vengeance may be of the Lord, but indigestion is something to be shared.

Rimbaldi took the dirty dishes up to the counter, effectively bussing their table.  The cook and owner was very busy with other orders, and Rimbaldi wanted to be helpful.  He grabbed the damp rag on the other side of the counter, wiped down their table and returned the rag to the counter.  Before leaving, he placed a small article of faith card on the counter next to the rag.  Without a word he joined Holloway at the door, ready to finish their first day in Soc Trang.

“Let’s get your tie.”  Holloway looked at his watch.  They still had twenty minutes left in their lunch hour.

The search for the perfect tie was arduous for Rimbaldi.  Ties weren’t something he thought about, much less shopped for on a regular basis.  He never knew what was right, and his mother never was one for conformity, and she was the only one that had any influence over him.  The different bishops over the years tried to show him the way, grooming him to be the next BYU ZooBee from San Francisco, but he chose Berkeley for their science, law and social liberalism programs.  The only ties you wore at Berkeley were the ones that secured you to a two-hundred-year-old redwood to keep it from being cut down for kitschy modern and unbelievable expensive furniture.   He finally settled on a Florentine print predominately yellows, reds and just a touch of pink, something his mother would wall paper her bathroom in.  He knew he had the right tie when he saw the disdain in Holloway’s eyes.  It wasn’t something he would pick out to wear, which was even more reason to buy it.

As they were leaving the store, they literally ran into another American.  His head was low; his chestnut brown hair was streaked with gray.   “Sorry, please excuse me.”

“Watch where you’re going, you old fool.”  The child behind him snapped.  She was taught not to accept incompetence from servants.

“You’re supposed to show respect to your elders,” Rimbaldi chastised.

“How dare you speak to me like that!” She turned to the man she had just barked at.  “Do something about it.”

“What would you have me do?” the man asked softly, truly the subordinate in the


“Slap him.”  Then she called him a name that could roughly be translated as the dung of a Thai prostitute.

He raised his hand to slap Rimbaldi, but Rimbaldi grabbed his wrist to stop him.  “Please don’t.”  He looked at the man in his soft gray eyes, trying to engage his spirit on some level.  He saw a man defeated and completely beaten down by the life he was living.  Prompted by the Spirit, he addressed him in English.  “Where are you from?”

The man was shocked.  It had been so long since he had been addressed in English or even thought in English. It had become a foreign language to him.  “I-I-I-I’m from-“ then when he was at a loss of words, he reverted back to Vietnamese.  “the Long Plantation.”

“Stop talking,” the girl snarled.  “I’ll tell Grandfather.”  At that statement, the man lowered his head and walked passed the two elders.  She was probably ten, even though she was the size of an eight year old.  She was dressed in American jeans and a Ralph Lauren polo shirt.  Had they looked closer, they would have seen that it was a knock-off that her Grandfather made in one of the outlaying villages for export to the bigger cities and neighboring countries.  Rimbaldi would have recognized them as the goods sold along Second Street in SOMA, his favorite place to buy knock-


“Maybe we’ll stop by,” Rimbaldi promised in English.  He didn’t know why, but he was drawn to that man.  It was as if he knew him from somewhere.  His first instinct was to think the preexistence, but it was a more temporal sensation of knowing than a spiritual one.

“Go!”  The girl pushed the man from behind into the haberdashery.  They were there to buy presents for her grandfather’s birthday, as well as pick up a package the haberdasher had for him.

“Nice kid,” Rimbaldi sniped after the door shut.

“She’s a child of God,” Holloway reminded tersely.  Even he had a hard time imagining her spirit came from heaven.

“Yea, well so was Hitler,” Rimbaldi jibed playfully.  “Where to now?”

“Well, we did the northwest quadrant, let’s try southwest.”  Holloway suggested.  It felt right.

“Sure, why not.”  Rimbaldi had no idea where southwest was.  He had the general idea that he was in Southeast Asia but that was as good as his self-orientation skills went.  He always had to rely on Holloway to lead him.  It was a point of constant irritation to him to have to rely on Holloway for anything.

It took another three hours before they placed the last of their books and were settled back on the bus to go home.  Rimbaldi remembered his promise to the Branch President and picked up the case of books he had ordered.  Holloway let him carry them by himself, hoping to teach him a lesson about volunteering their services without consulting him first.  If anything, it served to egg Rimbaldi on to do it again.

The night was balmy, putting a stopper in the process of sleep for the both of them.  Both laid in bed waiting for some relief from the sticky, sweaty hand that seemed to hold the province in its grasp.

“Who do you think that man was?”  Rimbaldi asked Holloway without even asking if he were awake.  Their cottage was as dark as pitch, the humidity making it an almost palpable darkness.

“Do you think it was her father?”

“If I treated my father that way, I would be in so much trouble,” Holloway informed him.

Rimbaldi never had a father to speak of, and if he ever did meet him he would probably yell and push him around too.  “He seemed really old.  You know, older than his years.”

“I thought that too.”  Holloway felt drawn to the man, if nothing more than to protect him

from the rapacious child that hounded his steps.

“I was wondering how you would feel if we spent part of the day tomorrow looking for the Long Plantation?”  Rimbaldi was hesitant.  He had never asked his companion for permission to go into an area before, but he knew in his heart he had to go and find that man.  He didn’t know why, he just knew he had to.

“I’ve already added it to the list,” Holloway assured him.  He too felt the same urge to find the man.  “You forgot to pray for rain,” Holloway pointed out playfully.

“I planned on fasting tomorrow,” Rimbaldi offered.

“Are you sure?  You get kind of sick if you miss lunch.”  Holloway often had to pick him up off the ground when he would get too weak to walk because of his hypoglycemia.

“The Lord will see us through.”

“Are you sure?  He didn’t provide you with an adventure for you today.”  Holloway chuckled, thankful he didn’t get sprayed by another water buffalo or something worse.

“I was thinking that too.  Yet-“ Rimbaldi yawned and turned to his right side, turning his

back to his companion’s side of the room.  “I get the feeling it has just begun.”

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