["Perhaps this discrepancy could distract him from his anger," Cautaa types. "Get him thinking about anything other than Ironcastle."]
Xu and Huitlapan look doubtful, but before they can intervene, the negotiations continue.
>"So you've finally decided to contribute to our investigation," Mountain says. "But that's an alarming accusation to hear leveled against us. Do you have any facts to back that up?"
Mogao raises his comp. "The prosecution presents its evidence."
The AR monitors on Mountain's side change their displays. It's a bit hard to see from your position, but you can make out the events on the screen anyway. They begin to play recorded footage, timestamped from nine years ago.
The footage begins just outside of what you presume is Agatecastle. A small retinue of skiffs and their AI gunship guards passes through the Palisade Eternal – the protective, auroral barrier of light which surrounds every Castle, Agatecastle included. The ships enter the outer docks under the watchful gaze of hardlight gun turrets.
In the next scene, a great group of souls passes through the shipyard entry system, a long tunnel of scanners and purification chambers. The cameras are too far away for you to see clearly the number and kind of the personnel passing through.
In the third scene, the group finally enters Agatecastle, emerging into the Eighth Layer, the home of the Warrior Stratum. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jG-3jOZ-0Js
Almost all of the members wear plain grey suits. They are of myriad races, and yet all of them are equally unremarkable. Were it not for their matching uniforms, they would be completely indistinguishable from any other random passerby whom you might see, and then immediately forget. These "grey men" are the Lux Deorum of Ironcastle, her principal intelligence agency, and rumored secret police.
The Lux Deorum surround a group of three figures, as they walk. Two of the figures appear to be quadrupeds, but as for the third, the one in the very center, you cannot tell. The reason being – in every frame of every shot, a veil of static has folded over the figure in the very center, rendering them completely unreadable and unrecognizable. Though the static is centered around this mysterious figure, the static flows outward from them, like ink dispersed underwater, and surrounds their two quadrupedal companions, obscuring them as well, though not to the degree as with the figure in the very center.
The footage continues. A retinue of Agatecastle delegates, representatives from every Stratum except the Commoners, greets the group, going up to shake hands and hooves. The cameras follow them as they walk to the nearest elevator.
From there, the footage becomes almost unwatchable. The source changes constantly. Storefront security cameras, magicomp recordings from passerby, even photographic stills. All of them, focused on the three obscured figures, who supposedly came from Ironcastle. And yet, in every single shot, the figures remain hidden from the cameras.