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[Norway] Our Trip to The Top of The World

Odinson

Kingdom of Norway
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The following is the personal and private experiences of the people involved known only to them.

A royal courier walked down the hallways of the royal palace in Oslo at a brisk pace. He zigzagged through the corridors until he was outside of the King and Queen's private lounge which was actually one of many libraries in the palace. The courier held his breath and knocked three times on the door. The 19 year-old waited patiently. He could hear some movement in the room as someone got up, walked to one side of it, and then made their way to the door. The brass doorknob turned, and the heavy wooden door opened to reveal the feminine figure and face of the youngest Queen in Europe. Sophia was wearing a pair of blue jeans and a white and blue sweater that hugged the frame of her body. The courier had never seen her in anything other than a dress or gown before.

Sophia began to become worried when the courier didn't say anything. "May I help you?" she asked.

"Um..." the courier took off his cap that had the insignia of a Royal Courier on it. He pulled a letter from his satchel that had the seal of Prince Ingvar on it.
The courier looked at the Queen and tried to look past her for a moment. Sophia, thinking it was quite rude, pushed her body in the way of the man's gaze. "Is His Majesty here, perhaps? I have a message for him from the Minister of Defense," he said.

Sophia shook her head, "The King went fetch us some coffee. Why don't you just give it to me?" she asked.
The young man took a step back and said, "I um... I can just wait for His Majesty... here, if you don't mind ma'am... I'm suppose to hand this directly to the King."
Sophia fake-smiled, took a step forward, and put a hand on the man's shoulder. "You must be new at this job... Don't worry, just give it to me and I'll pass it to him. I promise. Okay?"
The courier's face was red as he noticed he was pushed up against the wall behind him. He swallowed a few of his words as he tried to speak. He raised the letter and offered it to Sophia, "Of course, Your Majesty," he said.

Sophia snatched the letter, said "Thank you very much," and then swiftly went back to the room whence she had come from, never turning her back throughout the entire series of motions. The courier took a few moments to collect himself and then left. Sophia curled up on a the couch she was sitting at, and broke Prince Ingvar's wax seal. She read the note, which was brief, and let out a sigh of relief. Just then, Enoch opened the door to the room with a silver platter that had a kettle of coffee and two cups, along with a small container of cream for Sophia. The King struggled to balance the trey as he opened and then closed the door, but he managed it. He was also dressed in more casual clothes than normal. It was a Friday, but they had been up for most of the previous night in Akershush Fortress with the High Command. Sophia didn't have much to contribute, but she felt it boosted Enoch's morale to have her nearby in those long, stressful situations.

"I don't see why we need all of these servants," he joked before almost tripping. He set down the coffee on the short table in front of the couch and saw the letter in Sophia's hands. "What's that?" he asked.
"It's the most marvelous news," she said with a warm smile. She offered the note to Enoch, who read the few words at once.


King Enoch,

Peace between Argentina and France is imminent.

Sincerely,
Prince Ingvar


"Wow..." was all he managed to say. He forgot about the coffee and sat down next to Sophia. He grabbed her shoulder and scooted her closer to him, and then squeezed her tightly. "That's... that's the best news I've heard all month.." Enoch said. It took a minute or two for him to notice the broken seal.
"Did a courier give this to you?" he asked.
"Well..." she admitted, "I may have put him in a corner... so to speak."
Enoch stood up and approached one of the windows which were frosty from the freezing temperatures outside. He moved one of the curtains and looked down at the palace grounds. "You know," he said, "I bet if I made a call to the roof right now, it would be just enough time to have that courier shot by one of the snipers up there..."

Enoch let his thoughts roam his head for a moment before he actually approached the encrypted landline in their room and picked up the receiver. Sophia looked concern, "You're not actually going to do that, are you?"
"Of course not," Enoch said as he dialed a number, "I'd need to have you shot too - because you know, no witnesses. Everyone would expect me to find a younger wife, but if I got one much younger than you, I'd be a pedoph- oh hello Dr. Holt. How are you?" Enoch said after he noticed that the Prime Minister had picked up the line. Sophia poured herself a cup of coffee with some creamer and sipped it.

"Yes, Dr. Holt. Everything is alright. Have you heard the news from Akershus Fortress? Yes.... Excellent. Well, in that case, Operation 'Bonnie and Clyde' is in effect. Would you mind telling the few people that need to know?... Yes... Yes I spoke to Kripos about it, they got what I need. I.... Yes, thank you Dr. Holt. Congratulations to you as well." Enoch hung up the phone and started going through a checklist in his mind.

"What's that all about?" Sophia asked. Enoch looked at Sophia and let his eyes dart across her body for a few moments. "Hm... Could you stand up darling?"
Sophia stood up. Enoch signaled with his hand that he wanted her to make a twirl. She smiled and twirled for him.
"Damn," he said. "We're too hot for this to work."
Sophia giggled curiously, "For what to work?... Are you going to tie me up again?"
The fun that could be had with handcuffs and rope crossed Enoch's mind for a moment, but he shook it free. "No no… well not yet, at least. We need to be disguised. Come with me, let's go get changed," he said.

The two walked down the hallway to their chambers where he picked out some clothes for Sophia to wear first. Her outfit didn't change that much, though she was now wearing a wool hat and he asked her to braid her blonde hair - something that she rarely did. Enoch, meanwhile, found a pair of sunglasses and a golf hat that he could wear. He also put on blue jeans and a nice, but nonchalant, sweater. Now, except for his height, they looked quite normal.
"This is perfect... okay, now pack your bags. We're going on a trip. Pack enough for a week, oh and bring a nice dress. We're going somewhere nice tonight," he ordered. Sophia wasn't sure whether he knew it or not, but she loved it when he had a plan.

Ten or so minutes later, once they were packed, Enoch threw down two passports on their bed. Sophia picked them up curiously because, she knew very well, they did not have passports. "What are these?" she asked as she opened one of them.
It had a picture of her, along with her physical description and a fake travel history. "I am... Evy Engen..." she set down her passport and picked up his, "And you are... Ivar Engen. Why do we have fake identities? Will these actually work?"

Enoch zipped up his bag and sat on their bed just for a moment to rest. "We're going to New York City for our trip - less than ten people know that we're going. Unfortunately, a few Royal Police have to tag along with us, but other than that we'll be on our own. I had lunch with the Director of Kripos, and he had these passports made for us. Jakob Vinter had real ID numbers made for us and everything, I mean these are real passports. Isn't that cool?" he said, so proud of himself.

Sophia picked up her suitcase which she only held for a few moments before Enoch held it for her. "It's very cool," she said, smiling. "Do we jobs? What if someone asks us that?"
"I thought about that," he said. "If someone recognizes us, we say that we're going to New York to audition for a movie to play as the King and Queen of Norway - that's why we look so much like, well, us. But it's America, they don't know what we look like there. The biggest trick will be getting through The Netherlands. We're going to fly to Amsterdam, and then take a trip on one of the Dutch airlines to New York, that way we're not flying Norwegian. If anyone else asks about what we do for a living, just tell them that we're in finance."

Sophia nodded, "So when do we leave?"
Enoch checked his watch, "We should have left five minutes ago, come on, come on!" he said. This was the happiest she had seen him in weeks.

The two monarchs snuck out the back of the palace with their plain-clothes Royal Police officers. They went to Oslo International where a private commuter aircraft took them from Oslo to Amsterdam. While on the flight, Enoch made a secure call to Jakob Vinter.

Jakob, who had been the Norwegian ambassador to Canada, had been to New York plenty of times. He knew the city quite well. "Jakob, can you hear me?" Enoch said, "This is.... Mister Engen. Listen, there's something we didn't think of. Where are we going to eat dinner? It's a Friday night in New York... I'm guessing we can't just show up as two nobody's and expect a table right? We'd like it to be a nice place. Do you think you can pull some strings?" Enoch asked.

Jakob, who was about to leave his office, sat back down at his desk and smiled, "Yes, I can pull some strings, Mister Engen. By the way, you're speaking to a Minister of The Crown. You ought to call me Minister Vinter…" Jakob said.
"Cheeky bastard," Enoch said under his breath, before he listened to what else Jakob had to say. "Thank you, Minister Vinter. I never heard of the place, but I'm sure it'll be wonderful."

Enoch hung up the phone and laughed, "It's great to have connections."
"Where are we eating tonight?" Sophia asked.
Enoch set down his phone and shrugged, "Jakob said a guy in New York owed him a favor. It's some place in Manhattan called 'Windows on The World.'"


::::::::::


The private plane requested clearance to enter Dutch airspace and would land at Amsterdam's international airport without a hitch. Enoch and Sophia made their way into the airport, and headed to security with their bags. Behind them were three Royal Police who were in plain clothes. It just looked like they were a group of friends travelling abroad. All five of them had tickets to fly on Royal Dutch Airlines from Amsterdam to New York City, and they had VISA's to enter the United States as well. If they made this flight, they would make their restaurant reservations in New York in time to see the sunset, which would be absolutely perfect.
 
Last edited:

Dutchy

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DutchMil would guide the plane through Dutch airspace before handing the flight off to the Schiphol Tower would would ensure the flight landed safely and taxiied to it's stand in Schiphol-Oost. Upon arrival a bus would be arranged for their transfer to the main terminal in order to allow their transfer to the KLM flight. Since the flight had originated from Norway, there was no passport or customs control for their transfer due to the freedom of travel between the two nations.

At the gate their tickets would be checked to ensure they corresponded with their passport before they were allowed to board the flight which would depart on-time heading to John F. Kennedy International Airport.

@Odinson
 

Joe

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Khang Ngo really decided right then and there that he loved flying, he loved planes. His dreams of becoming an Air Force pilot were only solidified. However, he firmly decided that he could handle the long 15 hour plus flights, the cramped seats, the lack of movie selection, the mediocre food, but he hated the people that traveled along with him. The strangers who kicked up a fuss when they didn't get their peanuts. The ones who took the armrests. The ones who were rude to the flight attendants. Each and every single one of them.

"Will you stop fidgeting?" His sister, Elena Ngo, asked exasperated.

"The line is long," Khang whined.

"Blame Mom for that," Elena grumbled in response. "We could've breezed though Customs... but nooooo."

"Sorry." Inspector Nguyen shrugged, speaking in Vietnamese. "Safety first."

The trio blended quite well into the crowd of travelers at the Customs line in John F. Kennedy International Airport. As a matter of fact, to the average American domestic traveler, one would wonder why they were even in the International Foreign Arrivals line. While Daphne and Khang Ngo shared the European roots of their mother, they were obviously Asian enough, with the exotic looks and dark looks of their father, President Ngo. Both children spoke fluent English with California accents and had the mannerisms to back it up. They both had U.S. citizenship, courtesy of their Mother being from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. As a pair, they would've been able to breeze through the U.S. Citizens arrival line, had they not been given a handler from the Ministry of State Security who was a foreigner.

Handler... more like babysitter, Elena thought. She was thirteen, not six! She didn't need a babysitter. Neither did Khang and he was eleven! They didn't mind Inspector Nguyen though. He was one of the younger Inspectors at the M.S.S. As a result, he was cool. Instead of the Inspectors who treated the two of them like glass, Inspector Nguyen actually took the time to get to know them. He picked them up from school on a motorcycle (which totally wasn't kosher but what Dad doesn't know won't kill him), took them on midnight runs to McDonald's (which Mom would totally freak out about but what she doesn't know won't kill her), and gave Khang advice about the cute girl in his Maths class. He was a cool older brother.

"Do you have your violin?" Inspector Nguyen asked, lugging along Elena and his carry-on. He had insisted on carrying it.

"They made me check it in back in Hanoi," Elena scowled. "I'm half expecting it to be broken."

"Thus is the issue with T.S.A," He laughed. "I'm sure the Symphony will replace it if it is broken."

"Elena," Khang said.

"Yes, but that one is special to me. Mom gave it to me," Elena muttered, ignoring her little brother.

"I'm sure it'll be fine." Nguyen said.

"Elena," Khang repeated.

"I hope so," Elena said, continuing to ignore Khang.

"ELENA!" Khang said.

"WHAT?!" Elena snapped, turning on her little brother, who was staring at a couple in line about six meters in front of them. "What could you possibly want?!"

"Does he look familiar?" Khang asked, gesturing towards the couple as discrete as he could.

Elena squinted. Speaking of which... they did look quite familiar. They were both Norwegian from the looks of them. The man was really tall and handsome, and the woman was beautiful and elegant, like some kind of princess or queen. Elena flipped through photo books in her head, trying to place the pair until she realized where they were from. Elena had placed where the women was from first; after all, Elena had read all about her: about her calm ruling, her easy demeanor, her kindness, her excellence at ruling, her intelligence. Elena had done a paper on her for her eighth grade political science class, speaking of her praises up and down for her calm and cool leadership as the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces in Trondheim.

"Queen Sophia," She gasped quietly.

"King Enoch," Khang agreed in silence. His eyes were absolute saucers. The tales of Enoch's deeds in the Norwegian Special Forces spread even to Vietnam.

"You're both dumb," Inspector Nguyen laughed. "No way they're the King and Queen... they look like them, for sure, but he's a King. He wouldn't be in the same line as us. He'd have gone in the diplomatic line or had his own private flight."

"We're in the normal line when we could've flown with diplomatic passports," Elena pointed out.

"We could've flown first class too!" Khang piped up. "But mom said no."

"For a very good reason," Nguyen said. "So you guys learn what it's like to be normal."

"We have to follow them," Elena hissed. "I have to meet her!"

"And I have to bring you two to the hotel so you can rest before you both perform at the Youth Symphony tomorrow," Inspector Nguyen frowned. "They sold out a month in advance... you don't want to disappoint them, do you?"

Aside from being mature beyond their years, both Khang and Elena were talented musicians. While relatively unknown in mainstream music, Elena was known internationally among the music community for her classical renditions of Paganini and her own compositions of pop, catchy music. Likewise, Khang was a phenomenal pianist who had an affinity for music ever since he was five. He was the Family's best kept secret, able to entertain guests , workers, and diplomats alike on the Steinway piano in the lobby of the Presidential Palace, where he practiced for hours on end. The both of them shared top positions in the Hanoi Symphony Youth Orchestra and were selected as a part of an international brigade of the world's greatest young musicians to perform together in New York City.

"Besides," Inspector Nguyen continued. "That probably isn't even them."

"Then prove it," Khang challenged. "It's only the afternoon... let's just... see where they go?"

"Yeah! If they're not, we can just go back to the hotel and be in bed by eight. Then we can perform tomorrow and go home!" Elena begged.

"Guys," Inspector Nguyen mumbled before pausing. In all actuality... he was a bit curious to the identity of the couple and the President's children did have some logic in their words. But, he was already on a short leash from his escapades with the kids and he wasn't sure if his bosses would agree to him running around the city of New York following two complete strangers on an adventure... but....

"Fine," He decided. "The Embassy is giving us a car... once we get out of Customs, we'll just throw everything in it and see where they go..."

"Yay!" The two kids responded, eagerly moving forward in line and excited at the prospect of their new adventure.
 

Odinson

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Enoch, Sophia, and the three Royal Guards boarded the Dutch flight in business seating which meant that they were luckily one of the first groups to board. Enoch's exceptional height of over 200cm made him a site to behold almost anywhere in the world, but luckily one of the few places in the world that it wasn't exceptional was The Netherlands. Still, boarding the aircraft was a challenge. Enoch had to bend down considerably to get inside and find their seats. Even Sophia, who was about six feet tall, felt slightly uncomfortable during the boarding phase. Luckily they were both much more comfortable once they were seated n the soft possibly-leather chairs that had ample leg-room and were able to recline. Enoch let Sophia have the window seat partly because he knew she wanted it, but also because there was more headroom above the an aisle seat. Within half-an-hour they were airborne and running ahead of schedule to make it to New York City. The two monarchs slept on the aircraft for most of the flight, and the three Royal Police officers took shifts so that they could keep an eye on the King and Queen.


::::::::::


It was as if they had time traveled. They were now in American airspace. The captain had announced that they were beginning their approach, and that there would be some turbulence because the city had some heavy afternoon cloud-cover. This obscured the view of the city for Sophia and Enoch who were somewhat disappointed, but the pilot assured everyone aboard that the skies would probably be clear by the time they left the airport. Once they landed, Enoch led Sophia out of the aircraft. On the way, he gave a friendly nod to the pilot.

The King and Queen stepped into the terminal with the three Royal Police following directly behind them. They went through whatever security that was required, and then went on their way to claiming their bags. Their wintery-clothes would give away their identity as Norwegians to anyone who was cultured. Enoch's sweater in particular had the Norwegian Coat of Arms embroidered onto the side of it, though it wasn't flashy. Sophia clutched his left arm and walked beside him as he escorted her through the mass of people. Here, unfortunately, they both drew looks for their unusual height, especially Enoch. Luckily, however, it seemed that no one recognized them as Norwegian Royalty. Although they were dressed in more casual clothes and were among the masses, the way they walked even looked regal. Both had excellent posture and kept their heads up and eyes focused in front of them.

The Norwegian entourage went to baggage-claim and waited patiently. Two of the Royal Police (who were still in plain clothes like the King and Queen) went with Enoch to try to fetch their bags, while the female officer stayed next to Sophia who was trying not to draw attention to herself. Enoch, meanwhile, hadn't felt so... human since he was in the Royal Navy. He reached out and grabbed both of his bags, as well as a travel-case for his tuxedo. The Royal Police officers helped him grab the rest of their things, as well as Sophia's. The fact that they were flying with so many bags made it apparent that they weren't worried about money, and the way Enoch or Sophia would occasionally ask one of the Royal Police officers to do something made it obvious to someone paying attention that the couple was in charge. Regardless, Enoch and Sophia both carried some of their own bags.

As they walked out of the terminal and to center of the airport, about five or so people who also appeared to be Norwegian approached Enoch and Sophia. The man gave a short bow to the royals.
Enoch smiled, and spoke in Norwegian, "Hello, are you Mister Fred Berge? I was told a good deal about you in my briefing, but they couldn't manage to get a picture for me. It's nice to meet you. I'm... Evar Engen, and this is my wife, Evy Engen," he said.
Sophia smiled, and added, "It's very nice to meet you, Mister Berge. Will you be helping us this evening?" she asked.
Fred Berge was the head of the Norwegian Consulate General in New York City. He was wearing a suit that had a small lapel-pin which were crossed Norwegian and American flags. With him were some other high-ranking people from the consulate that he could trust. Luckily, since the consulate wasn't an embassy and he wasn't an ambassador, Fred was anything but a celebrity.

"Yes... Mister and Misses Engen, it's nice to meet you both as well. I spoke with our friend in Oslo over the phone," he said, referencing Foreign Minister Vinter. "We'll be happy to take your bags to your hotel," he continued, "I was told that you wanted to eat dinner before the sunset. If you don't get to bed too late tonight, the jetlag wont be so bad - I can promise you of that."

"Excellent," Enoch said as he handed both of his bags to Fred who wasn't nearly as strong, but managed to hold them long enough so that he could gently set them down on the ground. Enoch remained in possession of the case that contained his tuxedo and shoes, while Sophia did the same for the container that had her dress and shoes. Some of the diplomatic aides handed over some bags that had dress clothes for the officers so that they blended in that evening.

"I don't suppose that you know a place here in the airport that we could change, Mister Berge?" Enoch asked.
"I'm afraid not Your Maje- Mister Engen. You and your friends could come to the consulate and change?" he offered.
"No... we wont have time. I think I have an idea, just make sure our bags get to the hotel. Thank you, Mister Berge. We owe you one," he said.

Enoch and the three Royal Police continued into the interior of the airport. It wasn't until then that Enoch had forgotten that there wasn't a motorcade waiting for him at all times. He walked up to one of the front desks, nearly giving the receptionist a heart-attack when she turned around to face him.
"How may I help you?" the older woman asked. She had a thick Queens accent.
"I need a limousine for my friends and I that could take us to Manhattan. Is that possible?" he asked. He had a Norwegian accent, but it wasn't bad.
"Um... let me see sweetie..." she clicked a few times on her computer, "I could get one here in about... thirty minutes?" she said.

They stared at each other for a few moments before Enoch reached out of his pocket and pulled out two crisp $100-bills. "Could we get one right now?" he asked.
The older lady smiled and said, "Oh would you look at that? We have a driver arriving in just a few minutes. I'll tell him of the name-update Mister...?"
"Engen, Ivar Engen. E-n-g-e-n," he said with a smile as the woman slyly took the money.
"What's your destination?," she said with a bit more pep than before.
"Masonic Hall in Manhattan, and then the... 'Windows on The World' restaurant? Do you know where that is?" he asked.
The old woman just smiled and typed in the information, "That's a bit of a ride sweetie. Make sure you tip your driver. He'll be walking in any minute, just wait over there," she said as she pointed to a spot that had ten or so other people ranging from businessmen to tourists waiting for their rides.

Enoch, Sophia, and the officers waited in their designated places for maybe five minutes. A man in a black suit and dark-blue tie walked in with a sign that had, Engen, written on it. Enoch walked up to him and said, "Hello. I am Mister Engen, do you have room for five?"
The limo driver smiled and nodded, "Yes sir, it's a limousine. Please, follow me. Can I get those bags for you two?" he said. Enoch and Sophia both gave him their clothes bags. The five of them stepped outside where there were plenty of people roaming about, with the occasional person yelling out for a "TAXI!" All five entered the limousine. Enoch took out his phone and made a few calls. He gently tapped his gold Masonic ring on Sophia's knee as he waited for someone to answer.

"Hello?" and unfamiliar voice said on the other line. "Hello, Grand Master? This is Enoch... Am I catching you at a bad time?" he asked.
There was silence on the other end of the line for a few moments, "No, of course not Your Majesty. I um... I thought it was a prank until Oslo gave me a call. How can I help you?" he asked.
"Please, I can't stress this enough, keep it a secret that I am here. It's not official - no one knows. My wife and I are here are on a vacation... We are trying to get to Manhattan for dinner, however we need a place to get dressed. Do you think we could stop by at your Grand Lodge building? I know it's in Manhattan," he asked.
"We would be happy to help you out," he said. "Head on over, I'll be there in five minutes," the man said.

The limousine took them into Manhattan and then to the Masonic Hall. Waiting outside was a middle-aged man in a button-up shirt and sports coat. The five of them got out of the limousine - after Enoch asked the driver to wait for them - and then Enoch approached the middle-aged man and shook his hand in a unique way.
"Please, come with me. We'll get you in and out in ten minutes," the Grand Master said.
All of them walked into the building and disappeared from street view, however the limousine was out there waiting.
 

Joe

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"I wonder if this is what the General Intelligence Directorate does all the time," Elena said, leaning over the front seat.

"Buddy," Inspector Nguyen said, looking at Elena and back at the road in front of him. "Let me tell you... you don't want to know what the GID does... and put your seat belt on. Don't make me say it again."

The General Intelligence Directorate were the Republic of Vietnam's first line of defense, it's national intelligence agency. Shrouded in mystery, their inspectors were sworn to protect the Republic of Vietnam from enemies abroad as well as within. They were nothing but efficient, leaving nothing in their wake but covered up lies, disappeared enemies, awkward press conferences, and a quietly thankful President. They were a public secret in Vietnam, and a boogeyman to those that would wish harm.

Elena sat back down next to Khang, sliding on her seat belt. "Pfft, you're just mad that I was right when I told you that was the Queen and King!"

"First of all," Inspector Nguyen said. "We don't know that for sure yet. Just because Khang saw the coat of arms on the King's-..."

"HAH! So he is the King!" Elena said triumphantly.

"Man's sweater," Nguyen corrected himself. "Doesn't mean he's actually the King."

"If he's not King Enoch, then why are we following them?" Khang pointed out.

Inspector Nguyen crinkled his nose. "We're not following them. They're going to what looks like Manhattan... Lincoln Center, the place you're performing... is also in Manhattan. Get the picture? No one's following anybody."

"I wonder if we can ask them if they want to attend the Symphony." Khang wondered, giddy with excitement. "We can give them front row seats!"

"That'd be super cool," Elena gasped. There were three people she ever wanted to perform live in front of. One of them, Eleanor Roosevelt, had passed away decades ago. Two of them were still alive, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Sofia. But, if she was really telling the truth, she really wanted to perform in front of Queen Sofia. Not even just perform live, she'd be content with being able to meet her. To say hi and to completely fan girl and say she was her hero and that she wanted to grow up just like her and if she could get a picture and maybe a number and maybe text every now and then-...

"What are you doing, you're going to lose them!" Khang exclaimed.

"I'm not going to lose them because I'm not even following them," Inspector Nguyen replied, slowing the Lexus down to let another car pull into the space in front of him. "Besides, I know what I'm doing. You're supposed to stay a few cars away to avoid being seen. We're not even going to lose them, they're in a limousine."

He peered up accusingly at the rear-view mirror. "Whatever happened to being tired and wanting to go straight to the hotel?"

"That was before the King and Queen of Norway went to New York the same day as us. It's fate... it was destined for us to meet! Don't you want to meet them too?"

"Not particularly, no." Nguyen grumbled.

The car continued to inch forward in traffic, heading towards Manhattan. The First Children of the Republic of Vietnam watched in anticipation, waiting for the limousine to make any discerning moves. Inspector Nguyen proved to be quite deft at surveillance, keeping the car as inconspicuous as possible. It wasn't until the limousine headed off towards an exit did the kids pipe up.

"They're exiting!"

"Thank heavens, our exit is just a few miles away."

"We have to follow them!" Elena cried.

"No, we don't." Nguyen snorted. "My job is to take you to the hotel, to the Lincoln Center, then back home again. There wasn't any of this stalking, creepy, paparazzi crap in the briefing."

"Think about it," Elena urged. "The Norweigan government never came to Vietnam. We could kick start Vietnamese-Norweigan relations right off the bat! The three of us! You could have any job you want!"

"I like this job." Nguyen said back. He refused to budge. The limousine entered the exit ramp and the window was rapidly closing. Elena saw her dreams of meeting Queen Sofia disintegrating into thin air before her eyes. She did the last thing she could. She unbuckled her seatbelt and leaned forward, coming into the view of Inspector Nguyen, opening her brown eyes and pouting. Like mother, like daughter. They both had the same eyes, the big doe-like eyes that could melt any man.

"Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease!" She begged. "Just one picture! We can go to the hotel after one picture... and we won't tell anybody!"

Inspector Nguyen swore, turning the car and following the limousine to the cheers of the two children. They stealthily continued to follow it to a nondescript building. Khang looked at the writing: MASONIC HALL. He was confused. Was this the hotel that the King and Queen were staying at? Some chain hotel? He knew it was a chain hotel because there was a hotel in Hanoi that had the exact same name: MASONIC HALL. Oddly enough, he had never seen guests there either. The hotel here was devoid of any traffic what-so-ever, and what quite bland from the outside.

"This is where they're staying?" Elena asked, as Inspector Nguyen put the car in park. "Why is it so shit?"

"Watch your mouth," Inspector Nguyen said. "I don't know why either. The MSS gave us a list of the top thirty hotels in New York City and Masonic Hall was not on there. I wonder why they're-... wait, where's Khang?"


::::::

Curisoity had killed the cat, but it would never have killed Khang Ngo. He slipped out of the car quietly just as it was coming to a stop, his older sister and handler too focused on the building to notice him leaving. Walking around the back of the car, he approached the building and walked up the steps, peeking around. The more he approached the building, the more his opinion of the hotel dropped. No glass doors? Tinted windows? Come on. These buildings were supposed to be inviting.

He went to the front door and tried it. It was unlocked. Curiosity getting the better of him, he pushed it open and walked in-...

To an entirely different world. He marveled at the interior of the building, looking around at the lobby in fascination. He could see himself in the polished marble floors, where intricate patterns were etched into the stone. A crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling, giving off ambient light, with a fountain in the center of the lobby shooting up water into the air. To his delight, he saw a Fazioli piano in the corner that was currently unoccupied.

Khang and Elena usually accompanied their parents when they met with diplomats and VIPs in Vietnam. They had often stayed in the most expensive hotels in Hanoi and Saigon, the ones that the 1% of the 1% could enjoy on a recurring basis. Those were nothing compared to what Khang saw. What Khang saw now was a whirlwind of color, gold, marble, stone, expensive glass, expensive food, expensiv-...

"Can I help you, young man?" A middle-aged man walked over to him, his dress shoes clicking off the marble stone. The man was fashionable, wearing a button up and a sport coat that was tailored to his slim frame exceptionally well. "A little young to be a Brother..."

"Um-... uh... um..." Khang stammered.

"Are you lost?" The man raised his eyebrow. He extended his hand out for Khang to shake.

"Bathroom!" Khang sputtered. "I need to use the bathroom!"

The man sighed. "Just down that hall past the dressing room."

"Thank you!" Khang said gratefully, quickly walking off in the direction that the man said. He was moving quite quickly, not looking where he was going. "Oof!"

He bumped into a man, nearly bouncing off what felt like concrete but what was actually pure, toned muscle covered with expensive fabric. Khang apologized and stepped back, looking up... and looking up... and looking up, even more. He craned his neck, gasping quietly.... for he had just ran right into his hero, King Enoch.

"Holy shit." He said.

"Khang, where are you?" A voice came behind him. His sister hurried down the hall. "There you ar-... oh my god."

The two children had hoped for a sneak picture of their two heroes... now, they were breathing the same air.
 

Odinson

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Enoch, Sophia, and the Grand Master were about to head to the elevators when Enoch felt something small run into him from behind. He turned around, and saw nothing, until he looked down and saw a small Vietnamese boy. Sophia noticed Enoch stop, as did the Grand Master. "Um... Hello," Enoch said as he towered over the child.

The Grand Master couldn't get past the irony that the boy appeared to have come from the west. "Young man, are you lost?" the Grand Master asked. The three of them noticed as Khang's sister hurried down the hall as well and stopped dead in her tracks as well.

Sophia was worried that there was something on her sweater or in her hair since the two children were staring. "Can we help you?" she asked.
 
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Despite the half-American blood, Elena prided herself on being a full Vietnamese woman. She knew when to sit down and shut up (so she could listen and read people like a book), had her own personal bamboo umbrella to ward off the Sun (and use like a baseball bat to bash skulls in), and was used to being the background character (so her subterfuge could be overlooked). Many foreign dignitaries attributed this to maturity or simply shyness, but Elena was anything but shy. While Elena was subdued and quiet in the public life, she was quite animated and chatty behind closed doors... she loved talking about things she loved: politics, the cute players in the Vietnamese Hockey League (go Saigon Sharks!), gender inequality, income inequality, social inequality, she was so chatty that President Ngo, her father, warmly coined her chattiness as "word vomit". Once you put in the quarter in, you had to hear the whole song.

Elena stood a mere two yards away from her hero, her mouth opening and closing like a fish.

Khang cringed. Oh god, here it comes.

"Oh my god... OH MY GOD! Oh my god, ohmygodohmygodohmygod. Queen Sofia, it's an honor!" She quickly bowed, as was tradition in Vietnamese culture to show deference to your elders and respected individuals. Rising up, she was giddy with excitement. Gone was the cool, older sister facade. This was the demeanor of a girl who met her hero. She continued speaking, her voice like a machine gun. "You have no idea how honored I am to meet you. How honored my BROTHER is to meet all of you, especially you King Enochs. My name is Elena Ngo and this is Khang and we're the kids of President Ngo of the Republic of Vietnam, I'm actually not sure if I'm supposed to tell you that but ohmygod all the girls in my class are going to be so jealous. You're literally perfect. I did my final class paper on you and how you took control during the Norwegian Crisis you're literally so perfect mom kind of tries to be like you and I definitely try to be like you but we're totally not as good as you, let me tell you though, the only thing that I have a problem with is why you don't have kids, I mean like you're both super good-looking and super young. Granted, your kid might be like 7 feet tall but they'd be totally awesome. Oh my goodness, I'm totally freaking you out aren't I? It's just that I always wanted to meet you but you never came to Vietnam and Dad would never let me study abroad in Europe because they think I'm too young but when we saw you two at the airport we didn't believe it, but you're literally our heroes and we had to follow you here. That sounds weird doesn't it, but don't worry, it was all Khang's idea-.."

"OI!"

"because Mom said we're naturally curious and like I hate to say it, but this was totally destiny and I really really want to take a picture with you and be able to talk to you, because you don't know this but alot of people actually look up to you. I look up to you. You're literally amazing and ohmygod i'msosorry i'm kindofwordvomiting rightnow and i'mreallyreallyreallysorry. I just get reallyreallyreally excitedwhenImeetcoolpeople... oh and beforeyouask, we're in town because we're performing tomorrow in a concert and you should totallytotallytotally come. It'll be absolutely awesome because I reallyreallyreally want to play for you."

Elena took in a deep gasp of air to continue talking, unable to stop, but Khang quickly clamped his hand over her mouth. He looked at the King guiltily. Like it or not, he too had his own fantasies of how he'd meet the King. It had all come about when Khang got word that his father, President Ngo, had awarded a medal to a Norwegian military officer for bravery during the Kosovo Crisis. Although his mother would never allow it, Khang had dreams of joining the Republic of Vietnam Air Force Pararescue and meeting his hero, King Enoch, by performing some heroic act of duty... so heroic that he would himself be knighted by the King.

And now his older sister mucked it all up by spouting off like a fire hose and fangirling. Khang said the only thing that could come to his mind.

"Sorry." He said guiltily. "She talks a lot."
 

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"Oh um... You must be mistaken," the Queen tried saying as she took a step back, "We just um... look like them..." she said. Sophia wasn't a very good liar. Enoch sighed and put his head down for a moment, but ended up being quite amused with Elena's splatter of several hundred words, which made Sophia blush.

"What... an incredible coincidence that you found us here," Enoch noted. He had a somewhat confused but interested smile on his face.
"It's alright Sophia..." he said, indicating she didn't need to keep up the charade.

The Grand Master was about to say something, but Enoch cut him off, and came clean.
"Thank you for your kind words, young lady. I... I'm afraid I've never met your father. The last few weeks have been very hard on me, and the Queen. I had promised her a vacation to New York, but we had to rush home because of the conflict between Argentina and France. Luckily, it was resolved peacefully..." he said.

Sophia looked up at Enoch and embraced his arm, gently leaning against him. "And he was true to his word," she said, "and surprised me with a visit here to New York. But... we're not officially here. It's a secret," she noted. "I really hope that you haven't told anyone else? It would be a shame if we had to go home early."

Enoch may have asked a few more questions to the two children, to ensure that they were actually the children of the President of Vietnam, or may have even been bold enough to ask for an I.D. if they had it, just because he didn't want to be duped. He was, however, always happy to entertain the family of people that could potentially be friends of Norway. Not to mention, it was sometimes nice to talk to common folk, or kids, who just wanted to talk and didn't have an agenda. That was a large part of the reason that they came here in secret, anyway.

Enoch handed his tuxedo case to the Grand Master and pulled out his inkpen and a small piece of scrap paper he had in his breast pocket. "The Queen and I are actually on our way to dinner in Manhattan. I tell you what..." he said, and then paused for a moment. He looked at Sophia, who was able to read his mind. She smiled, indicating that she wasn't against it.
"Why don't you join us for dinner tonight, and we'll come to your recital tomorrow? Go home, put on some nice clothes and meet us at... um..." he looked over at Sophia. Sophia pulled out a peace of paper and handed it to Enoch.

"Ah, I'll write this down for you," he said

Windows on the World
One World Trade Center,
New York, NY 10048

-Enoch

"We actually have a reservation for five at this restaurant that a friend recommended to me, so you two and... a guardian, if you have one with you here? Can join us. I imagine we'll get there an hour or so before you two, but we're in no rush to leave. I just know how much the Queen loves sunsets and the sun goes down so early here...." he checked his watch, "Speaking of that, we need to go... We'll be waiting for you two, alright?"

If they were satisfied with this, Enoch and Sophia were escorted by the Grand Master to one of the anterooms upstairs where they could quickly get dressed. Enoch swiftly put on his black tuxedo and tied his bowtie himself, while Sophia helped him with his cufflinks. Sophia slipped out of her blue jeans and put on a Navy-blue dress. She let her hair down and took ten minutes or so to fix it while Enoch made sure he was presentable as well. As quickly as they were in, they were out. The limousine took them down to Manhattan.

As promised, they arrived to the destination at least an hour before Elena and Khang would. Enoch paid the driver, handsomely. The driver left the limo running and jumped out to get the door for Sophia. She stepped out first. Enoch scooted over to her side, and got out as well. He could see that she was staring up. Enoch struggled for a moment to get out, because of his height, but finally managed to do so. Sophia was practically shaking as her blonde hair became slightly ruffled in the breeze as a few snowflakes landed in her hair. She dropped her purse on the ground and said in a stunned voice, "Enoch..."

Enoch got out of limo and stood next to her, taking maybe two seconds to do so. It caught him off-guard as well. She grabbed ahold of his arm as they both stared up.
"Oh my God..." he whispered as his wife embraced him. They continued to stare for a while. The driver decided to let them have their moment, and then politely said, "Madame, you dropped this," Sophia turned to the driver, with watery eyes, and took back her purse. Enoch was transfixed on the view. They walked past the other WTC buildings and into the heart of WTC Plazza, and were even more amazed as they got a better view of the towers.




"I... I have to get closer," Enoch said. He escorted Sophia through the plaza, past The Sphere sculpture. He walked up to one of the massive corners of Tower Two, leaving Sophia five or so feet back. Enoch's love for his kingdom was immense. He knew in his heart that Norway was the best country in the world, but when he placed his hand on the edge that incredible 110-story steel monolith and stared up, he realized he had to be standing in the greatest country in the world. For the first time since he was a young boy, the nearly seven-foot tall King felt so very small. Moments later, Sophia approached the tower, and touched it as well.



"This is Tower Two..." she noted. "Our restaurant is in One World Trade Center... the other tower. Come.." she said, pulling Enoch away. Enoch walked with her. They entered into the lobby of the correct tower, and looked around for a moment. They walked around together, Sophia practically attached to Enoch, for about a minute, until Enoch approached one of the information desks. A young blonde woman looked up at the incredibly tall man in a tuxedo who was next to his very tall wife, "Welcome to One World Trade Center sir... Can I help you?"

"Yes, we're looking for the Windows on The World restaurant? Is it here, in the lobby?" he asked. The young lady, who was probably only a couple of years younger than Sophia, smiled because she could tell they were still pretty awe-struck. Neither Enoch nor Sophia had ever been to New York City. Enoch knew of the World Trade Center, but he never imagined it was this incredible, this tall. Sophia still didn't believe something like this was even possible.

"Yes sir, Windows on the World is here in Tower One, but it's not in the lobby. It's on the 107th floor..." she said. Enoch's jaw dropped. "At the top?" he asked, nearly baffled.
"You can take the express elevator right over there," she said, and then pointed.
"Thank you," Enoch concluded.

He and Sophia walked over to the express elevator, and activated it. They waited for the doors to open. Sophia checked Enoch's watch, and sighed. "It's 5:30... It looks like we've missed the sunset," she said sadly. The elevator doors opened, and a handful of people walked out. Enoch and Sophia were the only ones waiting to get on the elevator, which was unusual, but would be a treat. They stepped inside. Enoch almost pressed the button, but looked at Sophia. "Would you like to?" he asked with a smile.
She giggled and pressed it. The doors started to close, but they heard someone yell, "Wait! Hold the elevator!"

Enoch reached out with one of his long arms and stopped the doors from closing. A tall, blonde man in a black suit and pink tie stepped in.
"Hey thanks, that almost never works," the man joked as he walked inside. A woman with brunette hair and also in a nice dress, presumably his wife, stepped in as well. The doors closed, and the man pressed the 107 button as well, just to make sure.

"You're a tall guy aren't you?" the man said. He had one of the most American smiles that Enoch had ever seen, and seemed to have Queens accent, but Enoch wasn't sure.
"So are you," Enoch said, "That's a nice suit."
The man smiled. It seems that he really liked to receive compliments. "Thanks, I appreciate that... Are the two of you," he said, eyeing Sophia, "also going to Windows?" the man asked.
"Yes, we have a reservation. Do they have good food?" Enoch asked.
The man laughed and quickly said, "They say no one goes to Windows for the food, they go for the view. But yeah, the food's alright. People say they have a good bar too, but I don't drink..." the man said.

The man extended his hand to Enoch and said, "I'm Donald Trump, and this is my wife Melania."
Enoch shook the man's hand and said, "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mister Trump. I'm Enoch, and this is my wife Sophia."

Enoch was impressed by how strong Mister Trump's handshake was. It lasted a bit longer than it should have, but it ended.

"Oh I know you," Sophia quickly noted. "You... you build buildings, and you have a TV show, don't you Mister Trump?" the Queen said.
Enoch raised his eyebrows. Trump looked at his wife and smiled as he shrugged his shoulders, "Yeah, yeah, The Apprentice. Fantastic show, trust me. Tremendous ratings. We film it in my building, Trump Tower. Always a blast," he boasted.

"We were hoping to see the sunset but... it looks like we missed it by maybe a minute or so..." Sophia said, a bit sadly.
Mister Trump's wife, who appeared to be a soft-spoken person, said, "Don't worry, you will see it again at the top... New York is a magical place," she smiled.

They all heard a Ding and the doors opened. Trump and his wife walked out first, and up to a receptionist who looked star-struck. "Oh Mister Trump! You're ear- you're right on time! Right this way!" she said. Trump turned around and gave a friendly wave to Enoch, which Enoch returned.

"Well that was something..." Enoch noted. Sophia nodded as they approached the desk. A man looked down at his list and said, "Hello, welcome to Windows on The World. Do you have a reservation?"

"Yes," Enoch replied. "Five for Mister and Misses Engen. Might we have a table together, next to the windows? The rest of our party will be here in about an hour - I hope that isn't a problem?" he asked. Normally, that would be somewhat of a problem, but because he saw the man talking to Donald Trump, he didn't want to take any chances.
"Certainly not, Mister Engen. We are happy to accommodate," the man said with a smile.
"They'll be two... Vietnamese children, and possibly their Aunt or Uncle. Just send them over to us, alright?" Enoch asked.
"Of course, Mister Engen. Please, follow me to your table."

The host brought them to a table right next to the windows which had seating for five. "Your waiter will be right with you," he said before walking away.



With an incredible view of New York City, the two stared outside in amazement.

"The sunset..." Sophia said with a smile, "Look!"
The two towers were so tall that if one took an elevator right after sunset to the top, they had the chance to see the sunset again.

Enoch and Sophia ordered a bottle of wine and an appetizer. They chatted and had more conversation in that hour than they had in the past week. It was a marvelous time.
 
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The trio, after having left the Mason Hall, were astounded that not only did they actually have a conversation with King Enoch and Queen Sofia, but had actually been invited to dinner. For the two children, it was literally a dream come true. Realizing that the dinner reservation wasn't for a few hours, Inspector Nguyen managed to convince the two to return to the hotel to check in, drop off their luggage, and do a preliminary inspection on all their instruments, clothes, sheet music, and setlist prior to the recital tomorrow. Khang had it easy. The grand piano at Lincoln Center had probably already been tuned and inspected countless times by technicians, ensuring that the delicate and elegant instrument was acoustically sound. All Khang had to do was lay on the bed that was far too big for him.

Elena's inspection was definitely more intimate and personal.

Laying everything on the floor, she unbuckled her weathered violin case and opened it slowly. She always let out small sigh of air when she saw it. The shined and varnished wood shone back at her, polished so heavily that she could see her own reflection. The 1740 Carlo Bergonzi was a masterpiece and belonged in a museum. It was certainly destined for that route until a young, American businessman by the name of Horace Clark bought it for his wife in 1802. For two centuries, the Bergonzi was passed down from generation to generation through the feminine side of the family, mother to daughter, aunt to niece, older cousin to younger cousin, until Kristen Ngo, nee Clark, passed it onto her beloved daughter.

Elena picked up the violin, turning it delicately in her hands so she could read the back.

CLARK FAMILY
CARLO BERGONZI
DoM: 13/5/1740
"Family, Duty, Honor"

Family, Duty, Honor, the Clark Family motto. The four lines of gold had remained there unblemished until they were joined by a fifth line once Kristen married the President of Vietnam. The Ngo Family motto, translated roughly into English:

"Here I Stand."

No matter the cost, the Ngo Family will stand for their values and principles, their honor, duty, and family. It was all quite fitting. She turned it back around, plucking each string to ensure their integrity. She ran her bow across them, testing the volume to make sure that nothing had been damaged during the flight to America. Satisfied that everything was in working order and she had not ended a streak that lasted over 200 years, she went to replace the violin but looked at the en-suite computer and printer. Thinking of her hero, Queen Sofia, a grin slowly spread on her face as an idea manifested inside of her head. She was so going to get in trouble for this... but she so didn't care.

::::::

"I still can't believe it," Inspector Nguyen grumbled, steering the Lexus through Manhattan traffic. "I really cannot believe it."

"Well, you better because we're about to meet them," Elena replied giddily, flipping through the sheets of paper on her lap. Satisfied that they were all present and accounted for, she turned around and gave Khang his half. "Here you go. Study that."

"Than-... holy shit," Khang whispered, looking at the sheet music in his hand. "I need five hands to play this!"

"Oi, language." Nguyen said, looking into the rearview mirror. He turned and looked at Elena, frowning. "You really shouldn't change the setlist at the last minute... you'll get in trouble."

"The Queen and King of Norway are coming. They deserve the best," Elena retorted before turning back to Khang. "It's in G Major so you don't have to worry about complicated key signatures. You can improvise it and jazz it up if you want... it'll be a duet for our heroes!"

"Gotcha," Khang muttered, studying the sheet music. Him and Elena were fiercely competitive in everything they did. One of the things that Khang prided himself on was his ability to pick up concepts. He could watch something and immediately get to work doing it. It was all about pattern recognition... and it spread to music as well. Khang easily sight-read some of the most complex pieces, a skill that musicians used to read along to music as they played it instead of relying on practice and muscle memory.

He continued to examine the sheet in silence until the car finally pulled up to the two towers. Khang looked up and out the window, immediately gasping in shock. An avid lover of theater, he was taken aback to the iconic quote from one of the most boring plays he had ever watched.

You’re not in Kansas anymore.

Towering over 1,700 feet, it was taller than Vietnam’s tallest building Landmark 81. However, this building was special. It was a symbol of resilience, that no matter what, terrorism would not shake the foundation of a nation and that tragedy would never halt it in it’s tracks. Landmark 81 was simply the result of political bureaucrats pointing at the sky. This was something much, much, more special.

He mutely got out of the car once it was parked, the three Vietnamese staring up into the sky so much that their necks hurt. The three, after taking it all in, went to walk inside, guided by signs and polite workers.

While he was in the elevator, for the first time, Inspector Nguyen noted that the two kids weren’t chatty or adorably obnoxious. They were quiet and subdued. Having been their guardian for a considerable time of their lives, he knew exactly why. They had the same demeanor when they went to worship at the Buddhist Temples. They were on hallowed and blessed ground.

The elevator dinged as it arrived at the restaurant and the three stepped out. Elena looked around, looking at all the pretty women and handsome men, the dutiful servers. She self-conciously smoothed out her dress, keeping an eye out for the queen. It didn’t really travel well and the color looked horrendous. She looked and felt out of place.

“I’m sorry, do you three have a reservation? We’re all booked out.” A host asked, cocking his head.

“It should be under the name Enoch and Sofia,” Khang piped up.

The host burst into laughter. “You meant to tell me that the King and Queen of Norway eat here? Don’t make me laugh, kid.”

Khang immediately reddened and sputtered in embarrassment. He made for a snarky response, but was gently pushed aside by Inspector Nguyen. While he was shorter than the host, Nguyen was stocky from his time in the Army Rangers. The host who poked fun at his little brother wasn’t quite laughing now.

“Norwegian couple,” Nguyen scowled. “Taller than the building. Both blonde. They should be expecting us.”

“... Engen?” The host squeaked.

Nguyen shrugged. “That’s them.”

“Right this way, sir.” The host immediately picked up three menus and lead the trio through the meandering path of the tables.

“Now, I’m not going to say it… I’m really not. I’m not going to say if I’m going to run or not, but if I did… IF I did, it’d be tremendous, let me tell you. I’d be the greatest president there ever was. Absolutely the greatest, no doubt in my mind.” A blonde man was saying at his table with exaggerated movements. “It’d go down in history. President Trump would be the greatest… the absolute greatest President of all time. Now, I’m not saying I’m going to run, but if I ran.. I’d win. Absolutely. By far.”

“Do you think he’ll really run for President?” Khang whispered.

“Don’t be stupid,” Elena grunted. “Some schmuck blonde businessman? No chance. If you ask me, the next President is going to be a woman. No doubt in my mind.”

The host brought them to the end of the restaurant where the conversations melted away. This area was more quiet… more intimate. Elena wanted to gasp as soon as she laid eyes on the King and Queen of Norway. Between them was a half-eaten plate of seafood starters and two glasses of wine. Sofia was replying to something Enoch was saying, but the words that came out were whispers compared to what she was saying with her eyes.

This was a couple truly in love.

The image that she saw before her was eerily similar to her parents back home in Saigon. Sometimes, when Elena was unable to sleep, she’d go down to the kitchen for a snack. More often than not, she’d bump into her parents sharing a bowl of ice cream at the kitchen table, alone and protected from the world. Sometimes, she’d join them. Most of the time, she’d simply smile and turn around to return back to bed.

Instantly, Elena regretted having agreed to dinner. It was like with Mom and Dad. They often spent the day dealing with whatever was on the menu, never truly having time for each other other than the odd kiss on the cheek and the love-note left behind. The private, intimate moments were far and far in between… moments to be cherished and enjoyed.

And now, she and her brother were going to third wheel the absolute hell out of the two.

“Your majesties,” Inspector Nguyen said politely, bowing. “I present to you, Elena and Khang Ngo.”

The two children, unable to get out of it now, bowed in sync out of both respect and admiration for the King and Queen of Norway. Elena, upon standing, spoek first. She was the oldest and had that right and responsibility despite her brother being the first son. She said softly, "It is an honor to meet you both. Thank you for inviting us out for a meal. We are sincerely appreciative and in your debt."
 

Odinson

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It wasn't until the three were close to Enoch or Sophia that either of them even noticed. The monarchs were too enthralled with talking to each other. Enoch saw the inspector when they were just a few feet away, and stood up to greet them. Sophia kept her seat and just smiled as Enoch introduced himself again.

"Hello," he said in a softer voice than usual. "It's nice to see you two again. I don't think we've met, Mister? My name is Enoch, and this is my wife Sophia," he said, offering his hand to Inspector Nguyen.

"Please, the three of you join us here at our table," he said as he took a seat. There were three other chairs available at the table. The waiter briefly came by and took their drink orders. By now, it was mostly dark outside. The lights of the city down below were stunning.

"We didn't actually consider it earlier, but I hope we didn't take the three of you away from anything important? I suppose we put you in a position that may have been hard to refuse..." Sophia said.

Enoch sipped from his glass and said, "Norway only has about five-million people, we're not very well known. Depending where we are in the world, we can sometimes get away with going out, like this, and just pretending to be normal people. But the two, or three, of you recognized us, so I guess our disguise wasn't up to par this time. Anyway, we only meant to invite you all tonight as a..." he paused for a moment, trying to find the right word in English, "gift. I hope that you followed our directions, and kept the fact that we're here secret?" Enoch concluded.

The waiter came back and brought the kids and Inspector Nguyen their drinks, along with some menus.



Sophia smiled at Elena and said, "That's a wonderful dress you have."
 
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Inspector Nguyen shook the hand of King Enoch, bowing his head in deference. "Tien... Tien Nguyen, your majesty. I'm the Ministry of State Security babysitter for these two little tornadoes." Rising his head up, he eyed the King. Even though Enoch towered over the slight Inspector by over a foot, the former Socialist Republic of Vietnam Marine sized him up. Nguyen was actually quite fascinated... the Norwegian Crisis, being influenced by communists, drew quite the audience in Vietnam... especially the dramatic arrival of the King to put down the communists and end the threat to Norway. As a result, while King Enoch was not a household name in Vietnam, he was certainly a notable one.

Tall for a frogman, Nguyen noted.

"Unfortunately, I won't be joining you for dinner," Inspector Nguyen said regretfully. "I have a... erm... duties... and commitments."

A.k.a., the bar, Khang wanted to pipe up.

In truth, it wasn't his affinity of alcohol that made him want to leave the two alone with the King and the Queen. Far from it. Whether Khang and Elena knew it or not, they were the future of Vietnam. Unlike most street children who never got the chance to even have a glimpse of the President, the two children were always meeting foreign dignitaries, rich domestic businessmen, military leaders, and the most intelligent of scientists. They weren't props that President Ngo used to impress those visitors. Rather, he intended for those visitors to impress the children. Sooner or later, the beloved President of Vietnam, the Iron Man, was going to either be voted out, resign, or die in office. He intended for his successor to have at his disposal two young, popular, and beloved adults who spent the majority of their lives studying good public service, who would advise the next President to the best of their ability for the good of the Nation.

The two wouldn't have been able to do that here with Inspector Nguyen breathing down their necks and holding their hands. They needed to see for themselves what good leadership looked like.

He winked at Elena and Khang, turning around and heading out of the private area to stand guard at the bar. Be good.

Khang and Elena, flabbergasted that their dreams had finally come true, sat down at the table at rapt attention.

"Of course, we didn't tell anyone," Elena said. "Not even Mom or Dad... although they'd absolutely freak out at us for playing detective instead of going straight to the hotel. Let me tell you though, this is the greatest gift that we ever got by far... well, except for Mom's violin, but that's a different story. Anyways, don't sell yourself short, your highness. You're really popular in Vietnam... we studied the both of you in our political science course."

"Yes," Khang agreed. "We studied how you strolling up to Parliament and kicking everyone out was something not to do."

Khang realized what he just said as soon as the words left his mouth.

Oh... shit.

"Khang!" Elena gasped, scandalized.

"What? I mean... I totally respect that. Sometimes, you just gotta take control of the situation," Khang backtracked. "And those constitutional reforms you put in afterwards? Absolutely fantastic!"

Elena pinched the bridge of her nose. Give it up to her baby brother to muck it all up. Thankfully, they had a brief reprieve with the menus coming out. Contrary to the belief of much of the public of Vietnam, as Buddhists (with Kristen Ngo being a Catholic), the First Family were not traditional vegetarians. They were omnivores simply chose to limit their intake of meat. Elena was compassionate for animals and loved them, having a few pets at home, but knew that they were limited in being able to pick and choose what to eat due to the scarcity of food in Vietnam (of course, that was changing now too).

When Elena finished ordering, her heart nearly burst in half from the compliment given by Queen Sofia.

"Oh... thank you!" Elena effused, looking down at her yellow dress. It went down to her knee and was both chic, trendy, while having a taste of tradition in it's use of silk sleeves to resemble the tunic of an iconic ao dai. "It's home made... well, not home-home made... but Mom held a competition in Hanoi calling for every home tailor to design a dress for her and I for last years' Presidential Gala. I think it was an elderly woman who lived in a hut that made this dress. When I saw it, I just fell in love with it. It's nothing compared to what you wear all the time, though! You should definitely come down and visit Vietnam during the Gala... it's on Tet and the entire country just throws one massive party. I'm sure my mom would really love to meet you!"

Meanwhile, Khang was looking up at King Enoch. Up close, he wasn't quite so intimidating. As a matter of fact, his easy-going smile and calm demeanor made him more like a cool older brother (Sorry, Inspector Nguyen). Having looked at King Enoch through video and photo, there were a plethora of questions that he wanted to ask him, but in all actuality, Khang only had one conversation starter that was really eating at him... something that he really wanted to know.

"I know you were in the military of Norway and I really want to join the military, but my dad always told me that before I sign up, I have to ask myself... why do I want to do this... why do I want to put my life on the line? I guess, what I really want to ask you is, why did you sign up?" Khang asked.
 
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