The Laid Back Hero of Atlas – Chapter 36: When Life Gives You Lemons…

Sitting down to eat after a warm bath everyone was in disbelief of the change Diana had undergone. Instead of acting like a bitch like she normally did she was acting cool, calm, and casual with everyone. Looking at me they asked what I did. Explaining without so many details what had occurred they looked at the five daughters for an explanation. They shrugged not knowing what the heck happened to her.

“He did it to us as well, and…while it was amazing we didn’t change at all.”, Brittany said.

“Is she broken?”, Ruby asked.

“That’s rude!”, Diana said sternly, “I found a capable man is all.”

“Please don’t say that in front of Darius…it will open up a can of worms I’d rather not have to deal with.”, I said with a sigh, “The only thing apparently bigger than his lust is his pride. If he heard you say that he would want to fight, and you remember what happened last time…”

“I think he still remembers that.”, Brittany said, “I think that is why he pushed all of us on you.”

“Enough with that for now.”, I said changing the subject, “How many bombs do you think we are going to need? It isn’t like we have a map of all their special locations.”

No one wanted to guess so we did some calculations. It became apparent that making a bomb for each location, if we went with the math, was far to unreasonable.

“Is it possible to overcharge it enough to where it would explode?”, I asked.

“That would require a massive amount of magic.”, Hesta pointed out, “Even if all of us pitched our magic in it wouldn’t be enough for something causing that much damage.”

“What if we took out the central spell?”, Joan asked.

“What do you mean?”, I asked.

“Well if it was accidentally triggered one would assume it would only go off in that location. Since that isn’t the case doesn’t that mean all the magic has to come from a central point?”, she asked.

“Did you see it in a vision?”, I asked.

“No, I can’t pick what events I want to see. It just randomly happens.”, she responded, “I just remember learning about a situation like this many years ago.”

Thinking about it the most likely place would be where magic naturally accumulates. If that were the situation the system would be self-sustaining. After dinner we all gathered in my study going over the map. Using an enlarged map of the continent we took a look at possible locations based on magic intersect points, known magic crystal formations, and the few ruins we had locations for. Laying them out on the map something popped out to me. Over laying the image of the magic circle I had taken things came into focus for us.

“Look at this!”, I said, “The ruins line up almost exactly with the magic circle. If memory serves the spell core happens to be dead center, right? If that is the case the magic absorption point should be in the middle.”

“That’s right!”, Marianne said, “In the magic I learned we were taught to gather the magic in the center of the spell.”

Looking at the map Laura didn’t look to happy.

“What’s wrong?”, I asked.

“Look at where the center is…”, she said, “Smack in the middle of disputed territory between Rainford, Dredmoria, and Frostmore. Getting into such a tense area will be tricky let allow dropping one of your bombs.”

“Is it that bad?”, I asked.

“It isn’t uncommon for hundreds of people a day to be raped, killed, or sold into slavery.”, she said, “Each side hates the other with a passion. The humans, and elves aren’t to bad though. Those two its more of a don’t like the leadership than human’s and elves hating each other.”

“I see.”, I said, “According to the map though Dredmoria owns the land.”

“Rainford claims they bought the land several years back, and Frostmore says the demons stole it from them two centuries ago.”, Laura said.

“Are there any ruins there in the first place?”, I asked.

“We’d have to check.”, Crystal said, “The demon’s there are going to be far more aggressive than the last time we met with them.”

Taking that into consideration I suggested Crystal, Joan, and I investigate the matter as it would be safest with them. With everyone in agreement now the trouble was getting the van out of the federation, and to Dredmoria. Returning to the van we took off for the time being back across the border with Rainford. Driving through as quick as we could Crystal, Joan, and I returned to the only warm part of the continent. Sitting down with the local lord again we explained our idea.

“You want to blow it up?”, he asked.

“Is that an issue?”, I asked.

“To my knowledge it holds no strategic value, nor any sentimental value to us…but I am not the one allow to make that call. Our King would be the one to allow, or not allow it.”, he said.

“How do we go about setting up a meeting with him through official channels?”, I asked.

“HAHA!!”, he laughed, “Your ignorance is comical. Our King has a great hatred for humans, and would more than likely kill you on sight. My suggestion is to leave it alone.”

“I can’t do that. Three hundred miles in any direction from the fort above you the snow is still falling. Your people may be safe, but what of your countrymen? Do they deserve to die of starvation?”, I pointed out.

With a sigh he saw my point. As it stood most of his land stood to be converted to farmland if things didn’t change. While it meant goods would flow again it meant he wouldn’t see much tax from the people as the land would become solely for farms. In this country farmers were viewed as public servants, and therefore paid lower taxes in exchange for a portion of their crops.

“I will send a request in for you…if he accepts the rest is up to you.”, he said, “The only reason I am even considering it is because you have been nothing, but a benefit for the people under my care.”

Thanking him we stayed the next few days in the inn spending the majority of our time with the other women back home. Five days after the request was sent we received a response that the King would see us. Setting our sights on the capital we headed further inland ending up two hundred miles from the border with Rainford.

Built like a fantasy capital city the layout was tiered. Working your way up you had the General Workshops where the blacksmiths, carpenters, pottery makers, and various other trades set up shop. Above that was the worker sleeping quarters where as the name said the workers from the shops made their homes. Next came the specialize market area, and tourist areas. This area was the home of auction houses, fine dining, breath-taking art, and where travelers usual booked their rooms. The second to last level was where the nobles lived also known as the Aristocrat Quarters. To get into this area you had to know a nobleman to get in the gate. Their fancy homes, and lavished gardens were where they spent their time. Lastly, you have the Royal Quarters where the King, and any Dukes lived.

In Dredmoria in order to become a Duke one had to be directly related to the King via blood or marriage. Currently the King had two brothers only sharing the same father. Both ran different Duke houses under their mother’s names. According to Joan though the children of the Duke would fall to the next highest rank, Earl, after their father passed as they wouldn’t be directly related per say as they would fall to relatives. As such the political atmosphere in the Royal Quarters were quite tense. The current King had a son, and daughter both of whom were currently with their parents. The son, age twenty-three, was currently in recovery from the latest clash with the Decay from what I heard. The true status of him hadn’t been released to the public as of yet. What was known though was the children from the Dukes were actively pursuing the King’s two children as marriage candidates.

“Is that incest?”, I asked Jona on the ride to the palace.

“Yes, it is quite a common practice in some countries. Here though it rarely if ever happens.”, she replied, “To my knowledge it hasn’t happened in nearly five generations. The previous king was very much like you actively making a rather large harem.”

“How didn’t he end up with more children?”, I asked.

“There are many more, but only the first, second, and third child get any status. The rest get a small amount of money as an apology before being pushed out.”, she said.

“Oh, that sucks.”, I said.

“It had to be that way, or we’d have a lot of people claiming to be King.”, she said.

Arriving at the palace we were immediately patted down for any weapons before being allowed inside. It was obvious that I wasn’t welcome judging by all the stares I was receiving. Arriving at the lavishly decorated throne room we took a knee in front of the King and Queen. Given permission to lift our heads I got my first look at the ruler of this country. Sitting on the throne a massive man easily sixteen feet tall, muscles the size of a big block V8, and skin as dark as coal sat there looking at me with his glowing red eyes. Next to him sat a rather good-looking succubus whom seemed a bit disappointed for some reason.

“So you’re the one who freed a small part of our country from the endless winter?”, she asked.

“Yes…”, I said politely.

“You seem troubled.”, she said.

“Forgive my rudeness, but I was to understand it was customary to introduce themselves before going into conversation.”, I said carefully.

The guards seemed to get irritated till the King waved them off with his giant hand.

“Forgive me for forgetting proper etiquette. Your kind doesn’t always hold to noble protocol.”, he said in a deep voice.

“If I stepped out of line I do apologize.”, I said.

“It is reasonable to point that out.”, he said, “Allow my to introduce us. I am King Drakken the Third, and this is my wife Queen Esteria.”

“It is pleasure to meet you, Your Highness. I am the Hero James from Another World, and these are two of my fiancée’s Joan, and Crystal.”, I said.

There was a moment of silence that occurred before he spoke again.

“You speak as if there are many more.”, he asked, “How many do you have?”

“Last I checked twenty-eight.”, I said, “I had a rather complicated situation happen recently that ended up giving me more than I bargained for. I am hoping nothing will have changed back home when I return.”

“Are they all human, aside from these two of course?”, he asked.

“No, I have human, elf, dwarf, beastman, and demon fiancée’s including these two.”, I responded.

“I see. You hold no ill will towards them coming from another world.”, he said nodding his head, “That explains why Nepa sent a request for you.”

“I assume you mean the noble lord we asked to send the audience request?”, I inquired.

“Correct.”, he said, “He mentioned you thought you may know how to end the winter completely.”

“It is only an educated guess at this point.”, I said, “The issue is to test this theory…we’d end up destroying an ancient druid ruin.”

“So you came to me to ask for permission?”, he asked, “Where is it located?”

“About that…”, I said bracing for the backlash, “…it’s in disputed territory.”

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