The office was empty, with only the soft ticking of Lona’s timepiece to break the silence. 9:07 in the evening–7 minutes behind schedule. Lona narrowed her eyes, lip curling as she regarded the timepiece.
Her claws traced restless circles over the expensive finish of her desk, leaving tiny furrows in the scarred wood of its surface. She counted another 3, 4, and 5 painful minutes before the phone finally rang, and the receiver was instantly in her claws.
“Yes, Madam–the results of the test you ordered have come in… I… well–”
Lona bared her teeth, her voice cold. “Just spit it out, you blithering baboon. Stop wasting my time!”
“Yes, Madam! Of course! Based on the sample you provided us, our tests indicate a 93% chance of victory… for him.” Lona’s talons twitched at the news, digging deeper into her desk.
“Thank you. That will be all.” The tech was still trying to stammer out an apology when she slammed the phone back into its cradle.
If it was possible for her scowl to become any more intense, that’s just what it was doing. Inhaling slowly, Lona clenched her fists, her perfectly manicured talons cutting into her palms until blood dripped between her knuckles.
“Mace…” She barely breathed the name. The only Bramble Claw strong enough to best her in the coming election.
With a deep breath, she recomposed herself. These results weren’t especially shocking–simply a minor setback. Mace had always been the favorite to win the upcoming challenge for the Presidency–he was easily the most powerful of the three candidates that had been presented by the Clans, once it became clear that old President Rask wasn’t going to last out the year. The idea was aggravating to be sure, but Lona hadn’t gotten this far to lose to someone whose only strength was brute force.
The answer was simple; it was one she’d already considered. Mace would have to be dealt with before the election after all.