The Laid Back Hero of Atlas – Chapter 5: The Meeting

Booking a room for the night I insisted that Charles wife, and son stay the night with us. While they were getting cleaned up I put my Night Armor on. This equipment was unique in that I could severe my presence from people’s sense effectively making me invisible. Being Vorima Black, which was a special color used by special forces here, I could easily work my way around town at night without fear of getting caught. There was a downside to the armor though. Should the wear be caught out in sunlight with it on there was a chance their body might instantly be burned to a crisp. Apparently it was a side effect from the suit trying to hide itself in broad daylight. Taking the cutlass, and two daggers with me I left the girls in charge of our two guests safety.

“I will be back later this evening. Make sure that they have what they need for the night.”, I said before leaping into the night.

Running across rooftops I wanted to confirm some information Charles left me. According to some of his reports the demi-human population here were under the thumb of guards, and royal family. As I gave Charles my word to protect the people that included the demi-humans here as well. Reaching the poor end of town I severed my presence so I could watch things silently. Making my rounds around the area I came across some guards having a bit of fun with the locals. Beaten to the point where a husband was unable to move even a finger he struggled as his wife, and daughter were being dragged off.

“A shame you couldn’t pay for their safety.”, the guards said licking their lips, “We will show them that paying for protection is very important for one’s health.”

Drawing both daggers I took aim.

“You scum aren’t welcome in this city.”, I said in a deep voice before throwing the daggers.

Temporarily stunned while looking for the source of the voice the men failed to see the daggers. Piercing their throats the men weren’t able to even call out for help. Dropping to the ground dead I appeared in front of the two women. Pulling my daggers out I wiped the blood off. Thanks to the black hood, and mask that came just above my nose the women could identify me. Walking over to the man on the ground I help him up, and gave him a healing potion.

“You are to be commended for protecting your family as best you could.”, I said disguising my voice, “Not many men now a days would go so far for their families.”

“Thank you for saving my family. We have been struggling to make ends meet, and since I was injured last night I didn’t earn any money today.”, he said hanging his head, “I wish I could pay you for your help, and this potion.”

“The only thing I ask of you is to keep them smiling because that’s all that matters in this life.”, I said pointing to his family, “If you can do that consider that debt paid in full.”

Wiping a few tears from his eyes he swore to keep them smiling as he hugged them tightly. Dragging the men away I vanished into the night dumping the guards in an alley on the human side of town. Since no one had seen me haul the bodies here they should think that the men were slacking on duty. Renewing my search I found several more instances of corrupt guards forcing the citizens from the poor areas to do things for them. In each case I dealt swift judgement with no jury needed. Stripping them of armor I feed them to the Glutton Pigs in town which ate them without a second thought. With no bodies to be found it was as if the guards decided to leave town, or they abandoned their posts.

In disposing the bodies I took the men’s names down so I could make sure the money the items would fetch would go to any family they had left. I may be in the business of killing, but even I was fair enough to stop the punishment at only the source. Selling the items on the black market through a trusted friend I distributed the money before dawn. Changing back in at the inn I fell into bed with my two beautiful women. Happy to have me back both of them snuggled up close to me smiling. A few hours later some guards showed up at our room, and searched the room thoroughly.

“May I ask why my privacy is being invaded?”, I asked.

“Several guards went missing last night, and your appearance may be why.”, the captain of the guard said.

“I have been here all night with my two beautiful women.”, I said, “The innkeeper can vouch that I didn’t leave the room at all last night.”

“We will see about that.”, he said before calling the innkeeper up.

“Yes?”, he asked showing up at our door.

“Did this man leave his room throughout the night?”, the captain asked.

“No, the bastard didn’t have the common courteous to come buy some beer last night!”, the innkeeper said, “I charge such a small fee expecting the man to buy a boat load of beer, but he hasn’t had even a mug!!”

Frustrated the captain asked the guards if they found any trace of blood. Using magic they confirmed no blood was present in the room. With no evidence I demand that the city guard leave me in peace. Stomping out of the inn the innkeeper smiled like a child.

“Those bastards thinking their all that, and mug of whiskey!”, he said in an irish like accent, “Can’t say I blame them though. With your Jack-of-All skill it be easy for you to pull off such a feat.”

“I wonder where the guards could have gone?”, I chuckled.

“Who knows maybe they went hog-wild last night.”, he laughed.

This man was Charles brother, Nathan. Unlike Charles Nathan had no interest in the military so he ran his own pub here in the capital. Knowing all about me from his brother he was happy to help me out in situation like this. His wife was a Cat Sith which was a race of cat people the same size as humans that walk on their hide legs. Unlike Cat people the Cat Sith look exactly like cats in every sense except for them walking on their hind legs only.

As his wife was a demi-human he knew all to well the treatment they received from the guard. Hearing that the guards who had disappeared were all known offender against demi-humans he knew it was me. Smiling ear to ear all he could do was laugh, and say “you are just like Charlie described you!” Having made arrangements with Nathan Charles family would move in here with his family.

“So what did you do with the gear?”, he asked.

“Well if I was the one who would have done it I’d have sold for a profit.”, I said, “However I am sure whoever did must have a conscious since he defended the demi-humans. I am sure the profit will drift towards the families of the runaway guards.”

“Oh I see.”, he laughed.

Leaving us in peace he closed the door behind us. Snuggling up extra close to me both women were in an extra good mood. Whenever I help out the demi-humans by removing scum, or helping them out with food they got this way. Both of them were happy to be with a man who respected all races equally, and only judged them person to person. Giving me several kisses they burrowed themselves into my chest ignoring that the other was doing the same. These moments were an exception for them so they allowed each other to do so. After enjoying the moment for a bit we got ready to meet with the royal family. Parting ways with Charles family I handed his son a small dagger.

“Your father told me to give you this should something happen to him.”, I said with a warm smile, “He told me to tell you something very important as well.”

“What…”, the boy asked holding the dagger tightly.

“Take this dagger that my father gave me as a boy. Protect your mother, and one day the woman you will fall in love with as well. As my son I have no doubt that you have the strength of character to make me the proudest father in the world!”, I repeated from memory.

Tearing up the young boy promised to protect his mother with everything he had. As we walked out Amber asked where I got that dagger from.

“It was Charles personal dagger.”, I said.

“I thought you weren’t sure if he had a family or not.”, Almina said.

“I wasn’t till we arrived here yesterday.”, I said, “He left it for me at our usual dead drop point with a letter attached.”

“Oh…”, Amber said looking a bit saddened, “That poor family.”

“What’s done is done, and nothing can change it.”, I said clenching my fists, “I will make sure that I keep my promise to him in honor of him.”

Running to the castle at the center of town we gained entry without issue. Guided to the War Room we met up with the remaining generals, royal family, and the other Heroes. Everyone glared at Almina, and Amber till I shot them a nasty look.

“They stay, or I leave to do this without giving any credit to Atlas.”, I said narrowing my eyes.

Begrudgingly they allowed it, and went on to explain the current situation. There were currently twenty thousand Atlasian troops stationed on the former border with Flamoria. According to scouts the area I was planing to take back had roughly ten thousand Decay in it, and counting as the nests continued to pump more out weekly. Currently the ten thousand were split into three groups of three thousand, three thousand, and four thousand Decay.

“That should be easy enough to handle.”, I said already formulating a plan, “I assume I won’t have issues crossing into Flamoria, correct? I realize once I am across it will be a different story.”

“Yes, the troops stationed there are aware you will be there.”, the King said, “Do you need supplies for the trip?”

“No, this venture is self-funded.”, I said, “However, I hope you will make sure the remaining seven Heroes can finish the remaining two-thirds after I finish.”

Nodding he said they would go whether they were ready, or not. Taking him at his word I started asking about land formations, flora, and fauna in the area to get a good idea of the area. Sure I had been there before, but it wasn’t like we had time to stop to smell the roses. Once I got the information I needed I was about to leave before the King stopped me.

“My youngest daughter wishes to speak to you…”, he said biting his lip.

As the youngest daughter of Atlas’s royal family Princess Hesta was forced into summoning us Heroes. The process for summoning could sometimes cost the caster their life so that was why they used her first as she was the youngest. After summoning us she tried to get close to us like a mother spoiling her kids. The other seven had an extreme dislike for her, but I liked her well enough. She wasn’t like her other siblings who were all about appearance. Her viewpoint was always to treat other with respect like her grandparents before her did.

Walking down to her quarters as soon as I opened the door the world became warm, soft, and very chatty. Mashing my face into her breast Hesta wasted no time in trying to cram her life over the past four years into a five-minute speech. Before she could start though I asked if she would get off me.

“Absolutely not!”, she said, “You said when you left four years ago that when I was eighteen you would take me with you if I still loved you.”

Feeling a pinching sensation on both arms I heard the two ask what she meant. Explaining that when she was fourteen I made that promise to her thinking she would forget me. Apparently the promise was very important to her so she had spent her time practicing swordplay, archer, magic, and battle strategy. In addition, she also spend her time trying to match the body description I gave her of my ideal woman. Blindly patting her down I could tell she was almost the ideal look…but way off on the personality scale. As any man would in this situation I motorboated the hell out of her rack. Sliding down to look me in the eye she asked if I was going to uphold my promise.

“So long as you get written permission from the King I will do so.”, I said.

Producing a signed scroll from her father I was apparently officially engaged to Hesta. Reading this the two women immediately became infuriated. Before I knew it a three-way argument broke out, but at least Hesta released me. Walking outside the room for a moment I found the seven Heroes waiting for me.

“You think your better than us, don’t you?”, the red-headed female team leader said.

“I don’t think it…I know it.”, I said defiantly, “If you were really Heroes you’d have tried to fix your screw up a while ago. Sadly you seven seem to like to use your authority to get your way instead of using it for training. As it stands I could kill the seven of you without breaking a sweat.”

Before she could speak again at guard arrived. Telling the Heroes that a lone Decay had been found in the forest nearby they were sent to deal with it. Swearing to beat me next time we met they ran off to actually do their job. Looking behind me three heads popped out asking when we were leaving. Informing them I wanted to leave as soon as possible Hesta brought her luggage out so we could store it in the magic bag.

“These suitcases, and travel trunks won’t fit in the bag. I will have to store them in my pocket dimension.”, I said.

After stowing them away we went back to the van.

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