86 Little Brother
"No, but logically speaking, why would people in the energy industry care about the professor's work? They won't throw money into his research. This probably won't affect us."
"That's good to know. I'll tell the others."
"You called me because of this? What time is it in Malaysia?"
"It's not that late over here. Besides, what is sleep when millions of credits are at stake?" Tanner's reply was smooth as silk and I wondered if he had missed his calling. He should have been a politician. He continued. "That's not the only thing I need to speak to you about. The Scandinavian council knows you are there, and they requested a meeting."
That was surprising. "Oh, why? I thought everything been worked out already."
"It has, but a member of their council requested for a personal meeting with you. She's supposed to be an up-and-comer over there. I think she just want to hear the plan from the horse's mouth."
"So, it is a woman. Okay then. Sent me the time and location. I'll meet the beautiful lady."
"Stop trying to be cute Tobias. You don't have the looks for it."
The line cut abruptly, and I was left in shock. Did the bloodsucking magician just tried to make a joke? At my expense? Then, the message from Tanner came. I opened it and cursed.
"What happened?" Howard asked.
"Someone from the Scandinavian council wanted to meet and I just said yes."
I sent the message from Tanner to both my bodyguards. They both saw the time and place of the meeting and immediately noticed the problem.
"The meeting is in an hour." Howard said. "You're going to have to skip the next representation."
"I know. I should have asked for the time before agreeing to it."
"Can you postpone it?"
"Probably not a good idea considering these guys are our partners." I sighed. "Well, at least I know the following representations aren't going to match Professor's Wang's."
"That's your way of consoling yourself?"
Salma decided to interrupt our banter at this moment. "I just checked. The location is a small cafe on the east side of Gothenburg. It would take us about twenty minutes to get there. Do you want to leave now or look around first?"
I reread the message from Tanner and decided. "There's still time. Let's look around the stalls first."
There was a long list of academics who wished to represent their research at important conferences like the Conference of New Energy and Technology. There was also no way the organizers could accommodate everyone. The conference was held over just three days, so only academics with the international renown of Professor Wang, or the financial backing of the councils, would have a proper timeslot to represent their research. For others, there were the stalls.
Like most international science conferences, the Conference of New Energy and Technology had an area for academics to represent their research. Although widely considered to be an area for bottom-feeders, it was still a chance for less well-known academics to reach a wider audience. Occasionally, you would even find a few gems among the muck.
That was not the case this time.
There were a few stalls showcasing some interesting research, like one researcher who had a theory for malware mechanics, but I couldn't get into any of them. Maybe it was because of the representation by Professor Wang, but I found the research at the stalls to be less than stimulating. I recognized that this maybe a little unfair, but I couldn't help it. After sitting through a masterpiece, everything else seems dull by comparison. I browsed through the stalls for half an hour before calling it. We headed to the cafe.
Salma drove us to the cafe and as first impression goes, it was great. The cafe looked classy with soft jazz music playing the background. The walls of the cafe were dark, but the soft lighting complimented it nicely. I looked around and saw that the cafe was empty saved for the barista at the counter, and an old lady seated at the far end of the cafe. The barista greeted us.
"Welcome. You must the guests Mrs. Karlsson is waiting for. May I know which of you is Tobias Wong?"
I looked at the old lady and saw that she was looking at us. I was a little surprised. When Tanner said that an up-and-coming magician wanted to see me, I thought it would be someone younger. This lady looked to be at least a hundred years old.
"That would be me."
"Mrs. Karlsson requested for a private meeting. Mr. Wong, if you please. Your friends need to stay here for the moment."
I nodded my head and walked towards the old lady. As I approached the table, the old lady waved me to the seat opposite her. I gave her a smile and sat down. I looked back and saw that Salma and Howard had taken a table near the entrance. It did not escape my notice that my two bodyguards picked a table that gave them a clear view of me. I wasn't afraid for my safety but there was no reason to take chances.
"Mrs. Karlsson, right?" I began. "I was told you wanted to meet me."
"I do." The old lady picked up her cup of coffee and had a sip. "Call me Anja. Tell me little brother, how has your system been treating you?"