After a long discussion with the women about their rude prank they swore not to do it again. With a sigh I slumped back into my chair with a sigh.
“Alright, a message arrived after I left yesterday from King Drakken.”, I informed them, “He wants to meet with all of us today. I am not thinking of bringing everyone as we have the grand opening today as well.”
“If business calls-“, Clarissa said hesitantly.
“No! I will be there for the opening come hell or high water. You are my future wife the same as everyone else. This means a lot to you so I intend to be there for you.”, I said with a smile, “If we leave shortly we should easily make it back by 1pm. Crystal, Joan, Sara, and Alivia are coming with me.”
With everyone nodding I got ready to leave. Alivia, and her Aunt Sara met up with my first as they were already ready to go. Wearing matching ruby-red formal dresses their assets sent shivers down my spine. Seeing my reaction both of them gave me smug grins.
“See, you almost lost out on us.”, Alivia said.
“Whose fault was that?”, I asked.
“Nevermind…”, she quickly said.
Crystal and Joan joined us shortly afterwards in blue dresses of the same style as the other two. Asking me how they looked I gave them two thumbs up with a big grin.
“Some of us like verbal gratification…”, Crystal said crossing her arms.
“Very well. Both of you look very stunning, and the four of you together will definitely be the starts of this meeting.”, I said a pleasant smile.
“Much better!”, Crystal said with a big smile.
Returning to the inn we checked out, and then went to the castle. Before entering the four women straightened up my tie, and suit. Apparently they wanted me to look perfect, but I felt like a fish out of water. My idea of formal was black jeans, polo shirt, and nice shoes. I hated having to get dressed up for these sort of events. Once I was cleaned up to their satisfaction they walked with me into the throne room. While it was a special occasion the nation was still fighting back against the Decay. As such the King, and Queen were in more military clothing like items.
“Thank you for coming. I see you dressed the part this time.”, he teased.
“Please don’t start. I hate this suit because its itchy, I can’t move easily, and I feel like I am being strangled.”, I complained.
“Very well, I will make this quick for you.”, he said, “I would like to officially hire you to assist us in reclaiming our land.”
“I figured that would be your question…again.”, I said with a sigh, “Like I said before I will help you.”
“My wife is really the one who wanted to clarify that with you again…”, he said, “Anyways about payment…”
“Do you happen to have a weapon piece call the Fragment of God?”, I asked.
“I don’t, but one of my noblemen does.”, he said, “Do you have a use for it?”
“I am sure I don’t need to tell you what that weapon was for, right?”, I asked.
“Sadly all I know is it was made by a Master Smith many years ago.”, he said, “Anymore than that I am not sure of.”
“The weapon is one of only a handful that can deal damage to demigods, and the gods themselves.”, I said, “I don’t know the details, but apparently the weapon is in pieces. I currently have one fragment.”
“I understand.”, he said, “A weapon like that would prove quite useful to you. Is that what you want in exchange for your services?”
“That plus access to the royal library. I don’t want into your forbidden section just the area’s involving maps, history, and other such topics. Nothing security, or military wise.”, I said.
“Any particular reason?”, he asked.
“I don’t know the location of all the fragments. I am hoping to locate them through research, and legend.”, I said.
“In that case consider the library open to you. As for the fragment it will take time to organize its transfer to you.”, he said.
With a nod the Queen, and my four beautiful women left to chat over some snacks. Joining Drakken in the War Room I joined in the discussion with his generals, and his brothers.
“I think we should hit them head on with a frontal assault!”, Duke Redmond said.
“That’s a suicide run, and you know it!”, Duke Marigold said, “Not only do we have to compete with Decay we have Snow Elves, and Humans to deal with as well. They may not actively be coming after us, but it would their dream for us to be caught up in a bombardment.”
The men in the room started arguing as I looked over the map. The borders on both sides of the area in question had mountains along the narrow bit, and plains further up where the demon territory widened. There was no clear way to fight them in these conditions because they would overrun us one way, or the other. Thinking about it though since Atlas was in the Northern Hemisphere like Dredmoria normal winter was approaching soon. No matter who won this fight all sides were going to starve. That’s when something hit me.
“We should give up-“, I started to say.
“That’s easy for you to say human! You have no stake in this fight!”, Duke Redmond said.
“Would you like me to finish the job of killing you?”, I said shooting him a death glare, “If you’d let me finish I was suggesting we give up on the land for now.”
“You have a reason for saying that?”, Duke Marigold asked.
“Yes, the normal winter cycle will begin in less than two months.”, I reminded them, “Have you thought of food for the upcoming winter? Food for the men? What are your food stores at?”
All of the men became silent as they hadn’t even thought of the food shortage.
“As it stands neither Rainford, the Federation of Glenmore, nor Frostmore has the supplies to feed their people. What do you think will happen when the cold returns? Those men are going to be completely cut off from supply lines. If we focus our energy into increasing the food supply here when winter comes we can recapture your land with a fraction of the deaths we would otherwise have.”, I suggested.
“What of the Decay?”, Drakken said.
“Those men have to continue fighting regardless of the situation. They are stuck fighting them till the end. Since they will continue to fight it will be fewer enemies for us to fight as we retake the land you lost. On another note as your men will be well fed you could technically retake half of both ranges making it impossible for future attacks in the narrow strip you already own.”, I stated.
The generals liked the sound of it, but Redmond was still skeptical.
“What about when spring comes?”, he said.
“What of it? Their men won’t have the supplies they need till at least mid next summer. Are you saying that you couldn’t build a few forts in that time to keep them back?”, I asked, “While the plains area will be more difficult to hold you can lockdown the bridge between your main country, and the more fertile farming grounds you need.”
“I see your point.”, Drakken said, “Marigold, do you see an issue with this plan?”
“It minimizes our losses, and would greatly boost public moral. I can’t see any issues with it. The problem is finding a food source that we can grow in large quantities before winter hits.”, he said.
“For that I have a suggestion. I gave the people of Atlas that lived far from the capital this staple food so they wouldn’t be starved to death by the former king.”, I said setting a potato on the table, “This food is very good for people to eat, and can grow in almost any environment. Taking advantage of this trait you could easily grow them in large quantities. After planting them they can be harvested in a months time. So you could effectively triple the amount I give you before winter.”
Listing off the different items I knew off the top of my head that potatoes made they seemed quite shocked. Handing over half my stock, ten thousand potatoes, they thanked me before I left the room. I would return to the palace in two months so I could march with them. Calling the women to me the five of us left returning the van. Setting up camp in the van a mile outside the city we returned home. Greeted by Darius when we arrived he looked like he had a run in with the grim reaper.
“What the heck happened to you! You look like you have one foot in the grave!”, I said.
“I heard something happened to Dola!”, he said, “I thought maybe you had made a move on her, but I come to find out they tricked you into thinking you had. My heart hasn’t had that much strain on it since my first son was born.”
“You, and me both!”, I said with a sigh, “I wanted to disappear when I saw her.”
“Did I do something wrong?”, she asked us.
“Of course not!”, we said with a smile, “Everyone else did.”
“Hey!!”, the women said puffing their cheeks out.
Leaving us Darius returned home to his wives while we sat down for dinner. As we ate together I informed everyone of the plan that would happen in two months. After explaining that to them Amber informed me something else had changed.
“Due to the food storage appearing to be at an end the tournament that I told you about got moved up to celebrate it.”, she said, “It happens in little over a month.”
“Oh well that works out nicely then. I assume the tournament takes place in the Regulos Empire?”, I asked for clarification.
“Yes, why do you ask?”, she inquired.
“I was thinking a vacation was in order.”, I said, “I think all of us could use a break-”
Before I could finish the whole room was looking at me.
“Is that bad?”, I asked.
“NO!”, they said with excitement, “We like the sound of taking a family vacation!!”
“So if I said we’d leave in two days would that be acceptable? As the van is in Dredmoria we will take a few carriages there.”, I said.
“That’s fine. I think it will be far more comfortable for the five pregnant women among us.”, Almina said.
They nodded in complete agreement. So two days later the women beat me up as they wanted to me to move faster. Bringing the staff with us under the pretense of assisting us the real goal was obviously to make them marry me. Riding with the eight children, and the pregnant women we were in the front of the group setting the pace. Enjoying the scenery as we went along the children were quite lively. Pointing at everything from their seats I had to watch them to make sure eight of them didn’t fall off the seat. After two weeks of travel we made it across the border to the town where the tournament would be held. Booking the largest condo in town for a month everyone made themselves at home.
“Such a marvelous view!”, Susan said looking out the massive bay view windows.
Over looking the view of the crystal blue ocean everyone stared at the view with sparkling eyes. Kicking back on the couch I had a marvelous view of the happiness they all had. Deep down I regretted the fact that four special women to me would never get to see this view it. Thinking about it depressed me a bit, but with a total of nine children crawling all over me I had priorities to think about. These children deserved a father who always had their best interest in mind. Joined by the people I loved most in this world we snuggled together watching the sunset.