As he stared out at the massive crowd that surrounded the Finja, seemingly waiting for them to unboard the ship, Julius made a mental note to never tempt the universe again.
The crowd itself wasn’t that much of a problem, since it wasn’t unheard of for the Heroes to receive a large welcoming party in places that knew they were coming. However, considering that the current head of the Rosvord Company, Natalie Rostel, also seemed to be waiting for them, he was pretty sure it wasn’t just a simple greeting.
Much like the faction she was a part of, Rostel had vibrant pink hair that fell to the small of her back. The hair framed her face as her straight cut bangs kept all strands out of her eyes. Even in the rather relaxed and jovial state of the crowd, Julius could see she stood straight up, her left hand resting near the shaft of the spear she had slung on her back.
“…So what’s with the crowd?” he muttered as he stepped up next to Douglas. Their students seemed more interested in the crowd; Adrien, Sue, Serge and Maria were all looking over the edge while Sophia, Mask, and Sylsa hung back, though they were still staring curiously at the crowds.
“Seems someone caught wind of our arrival, and it’s likely Ms. Rostel down there is interested in seeing what we can offer this ‘fine’ nation.”
Julius raised an eyebrow. “You sound annoyed.”
“I’m not especially fond of how they run things in this region, no, particularly the unspoken ‘sixth faction’ that I noticed you didn’t mention.”
“I didn’t go into details about the Rosvords yet either. We were landing,” he explained, irritated and frowning to himself at the reminder of those assholes, “Besides, the Black Shells, or ‘Black Rose’ or whatever they want to call themselves, aren’t a ‘faction’ here, they’re just a group of dumbass contract killers from Orin playing at being fancy ‘assassins’. They’re only successful around here because all of the backbiting in Rosian politics means they get plenty of work. Besides we’re delisted.”
“I’ll explain later. Point is, we won’t have to deal with them.”
Sighing, Douglas rubbed the back of his head. “They’re still bound to be a problem the longer we stay around here, so let’s just get this over with.”
Leading the way off the ship, Julius made his way to Rostel as a smile appeared on her face.
“Greetings heroes old and new! On behalf of all of Hulthemia, I welcome you with open arms!” She actually did spread her arms as she spoke. Now that they were closer, Julius could make out her appearance a bit better. Dressed in a fine blue doublet with pink rose designs across it and a pink cravat at her neck, along with black pants and calf-high boots, the head of the Rosvords would’ve been easy to mistake for a simple noble, were it not for her naturally rigid stance and the spear on her back.
“Oh, uh, thanks?” Adrien responded, obviously overwhelmed by all the attention.
Walking up to the group, she began to personally greet everyone, paying attention to the new heroes first. Once it came to him, Rostel extended a hand and a smile to Julius.
“It is a pleasure to meet you, Julius. I have heard much about you from many of the blacksmiths here.”
“Hm… I hope it was good things.” Shaking her hand, Julius smiled back. As she stepped back, Rostel addressed the group.
“Now, I am sure all of you have your own tasks you wish to attend to now that you’ve arrived, but I humbly request that you accompany me to Fort Rosvord. I have many things I wish to discuss with all of you, and I assure you, it won’t take long.”
“Well, I mean, you did come out to meet us, so we should, right?” Adrien glanced at his fellow students and received a number of nods.
“I don’t see any problems with it.”
As his students began to agree to her request, Julius could feel Douglas moving up close.
“Thoughts?” Douglas muttered, keeping his eyes on atalie.
“Well, she was sizing us up, so whatever she wants from us must be important.”
“I wonder if her position stops her from doing it herself. She likely could easily beat you up, so it’s not a matter of strength, at the very least.”
“Don’t be a dick,” he muttered back, slowly glancing around the airfield. Douglas was keeping an eye on her, so he didn’t need to worry too much.
There were far fewer airships around than in Tramontava, and the crowd of eager onlookers did make it difficult to see too much, but there did seem to be something going on further down the airfield. Some kind of projects covered by tarps.
Whatever was down there seemed to be important, given that there were guards stationed around them, but his attention was drawn back to Rostel as she clapped her hands together, still smiling calmly. “Now, please, follow me! I hope you enjoy the wondrous sights our city has to offer on the way!”
Her eyes flicked towards Julius for a second, before she turned on her heel and started walking. Following in silence, Julius looked around Hulthemia as they traveled through its streets. While they were way more packed than the last time he’d been there, the city looked just like he remembered. The hustle of the place was never ending and the sounds of hammers clanging against metal from nearby blacksmiths easily reached his ears through the clamor of voices.
As they walked, Julius could hear Rostel happily conversing with his students, a cheerful grin on her face as she seemed to speak earnestly about the sights and monuments in her beloved city. As far as he could tell, she seemed genuine, and the fact that the people of Hulthemia seemed to be able to easily call out and talk with her as if she was a close friend only helped serve this idea.
Really, he normally wouldn’t be suspicious of her, but given how nearly every meeting with someone in a position of power involved them wanting something from him, or even just humiliating him, he couldn’t help but feel a bit wary.
At the very least, he would probably be able to stay out of whatever she wanted, given his lack of armor and sword. Although, if it was too dangerous, he wouldn’t feel good about leaving his team on their own…
Thankfully, it didn’t take long for them to arrive at the fort that marked the center of the city. The old building looked weathered, but still well-maintained, a symbol of a multicolored rose proudly displayed above its doorway and on the flags set up along its roof.
“So what exactly is this place?” Mask asked as they stared at the symbol.
“This is the Fort Rosvord, our grand capital building!” Rostel explained as she gestured up at the rose, a wide grin on her face, “Even if it may not look like much, it was decided centuries ago that our forebears would establish the new capital of Rosiava around it in order to honor The Saint that so valiantly laid down her life for our newfound nation! Even if some of our current leaders may wish to change where we meet, citing that a seat of government should be in a more proper setting, I am honored to sit where the Rose God once resided!”
Rostel looked like the image of a perfect noble in that moment, her hand over her heart as she spoke with a kind of sincerity and conviction that sounded just close enough to real that Julius really could see why people would fall for it. For a man that grew up around thieves, fraudsters and con artists though, she might as well have been trying to sell him a bridge.
His students definitely seemed to buy into it, so clearly he needed to go over how to see through a scam again. Douglas outright snorted though, and Julius elbowed him in the side. It wouldn’t do any good if he gave away their skepticism before Rostel even told them what she wanted.
Her eyes flicked towards Julius again, and her lips twitched upwards for a moment before she gestured towards Adrien. “Now, honored hero, I would like to ask that you and your esteemed mentors come with me, please.”
Adrien blinked in some surprise, but Douglas stepped forward before he could speak up, a ‘polite’ smile on his face, “Oh, just us three?”
“Yes, unfortunately. While I don’t wish to exclude any of you, my office isn’t that spacious, and I’d rather not leave the doors open while discussing private matters,” she said as a pale-scaled nereid in a rose-pink tabard and white platemail walked up to them, a morion helm covering his head. “My assistant, Dane, will be with the rest of your team while we discuss these matters.”
“Hm, interesting. Adrien, you’re fine with this?”
“Uh…yeah, I think so,” he replied, shrugging. “It’s just a short meeting, right?”
“Quite short, yes,” Rostel answered with a smile.
“Then it should be cool, right?” He glanced at the rest of his team and received a chorus of ‘sures’, ‘fines’ and ‘yes’s’ in return.
“Oh hey, can Dane take us on a tour of the city while you’re busy?” Maria suddenly asked, grinning.
“I don’t see why not,” Rostel replied, still smiling.
“Hm. Well, if it’s all fine, there’s nothing I can really do, now is there?” Douglas’s smile didn’t reach his eyes, and it dropped completely when he glanced at the rest of their team. “Syl, do keep an eye on everyone while we’re gone, everyone else, remember, make sure to stick together; you’re in an unfamiliar place, so groups of at least two at all times, three preferably.”
Julius blinked, genuinely surprised by Douglas’s apparent concern and by how his students were nodding along like they’d heard something similar before, before a sudden thought hit him and he turned to Rostel’s assistant. “Dane, right?”
“Yessir.” Hm. Professional.
“While you’re out running the tour, could you stop by Redforge and let Zari know I’ll be stopping by later? I have some stuff I need to repair.”
“Of course, sir.” The nereid nodded an affirmative, his tone clipped and professional. “Is there anything you wish for me to specifically say?”
“Just that Julius is coming by for some repairs.” At his request, Dane nodded again and headed towards the team, ready to take them on the tour.
“Now that that is settled.” Rostel bowed slightly to the remaining three, then straightened and gestured to the fort. “Please, feel free to enter.” And so they went.
While not overly extravagant, the inside of the fort had been well-maintained, various images of previous leaders lining the walls, and in the center of the foyer was a statue of the rose god, standing tall with the four leaders who joined and supported her forces bent at the knee around her.
“Oh wow, doesn’t she kinda look like you?” Adrien asked as he turned to look at Rostel.
“You flatter me with your words, young hero,” she said, smiling happily, “While it is true I may bear some resemblance to this statue, I am certain it is simply because whoever created it couldn’t create a work that matched her true beauty.”
Despite her dismissing his compliment, her humble words seemed to have an effect on Adrien and he looked away, slightly blushing. “S-So, um, what was it you needed?”
“All in due time.” Great, so she was being mysterious.
Rostel turned and walked towards a stairway on the right side of the foyer, leading the three of them further upstairs into some narrower, less decorated hallways. While not vacant, the fort did seem to be surprisingly sparse in terms of occupants. There were only a few people around that Julius could see, mostly clerks taking down notes or moving boxes around.
There did seem to be a few soldiers out in the training yard, which he could see from one of the windows, but only about eight or so. Definitely far fewer than he’d think a military installation would have around.
“…Where is everyone?”
“Hm…for simplicity’s sake, I’ll say the other four leaders are currently occupied looking over a secret project that we have underway, and most of the Rosvord forces are aiding them with the endeavour.”
“Oh really now? And are you allowed to tell us that?” Douglas asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Indeed I am. If you would like, I could further discuss the details with you at a more proper time.”
“Meaning when we get to your office then?”
“Indeed! Quite astute sir!” She grinned back at him, not slowing her pace at all. Douglas snorted again, irritated, but he stayed quiet for the rest of the way to Rostel’s office.
Said office was a pretty nicely decorated room. A wide window behind the rosewood desk in the center of the room overlooked the training yards inside the fort, two smaller, marble statues of the Rose God flanking it. There were some nice paintings on the wall and three chairs were already set up in front of the desk.
Honestly, Julius was starting to have flashbacks to Graves’s office. Which wasn’t exactly a good thing…
“Please, take a seat.” As they sat down, Rostel cleared her throat. “Now, if you will, please allow me to speak before I ask my request. I have much to say.”
With no complaints coming, aside from an annoyed frown from Douglas, she continued.
“Now, as you must clearly know, the creation of skyships have undoubtedly been a grand help to the world of Estus. Even if they aren’t as wide spread, the fast travel of supplies has helped an uncountable number of people. However, despite those benefits, it does come with its flaws.”
“Yes, if not properly maintained the ropes could snap, sending the ship plummeting, and it’s generally preferred to have sailors–or perhaps ballooners would be a better word based on the etymology?–who can fly work aboard the ships, so non-flyers don’t have much of a chance within the airship job market. Not to mention that the Frost Lands, and, in some places, the Sun Lands have extreme temperatures that can mess up the air balloons,” replied Douglas, apparently not caring at all that he was spelling out all the flaws in his ships, “And while the height the current ships can get to are impressive, it’s not impossible to attack them, particularly for wild aerial predators such as griffins, larger wyverns and even turuls that drift far enough south, and since most ships don’t have much in terms of protection aside from some wards, they’re essentially crippled ducks in terms of their chances of survival.”
“…Those are all correct, yes.” Rostel stared, wide-eyed, at Douglas, seemingly stunned at his candid answer, before she collected herself and cleared her throat. “Now, we at Hulthemia have come up with an alternative for skyships.” She reached into her desk and pulled out at large rolled up paper. Once she unfurled it on top of her desk, the three of them were greeted by the sight of a large, cylindrical vessel with a drill on the front.
“Rather than go up, we propose going down,” Rostel explained, tapping the center of the design.
“Excuse me for interrupting,” Douglas spoke up, glancing from the paper to her, “But may I ask why you want to create this? I have no intention of being rude here-” Sure he didn’t. “-but going through the earth seems rather slow.”
“Yes, that is indeed true, but a direct route, particularly once fully established, would be faster than traveling on top of the land. And while we would use them for travel and transport, those are not their main function.” Rostel abruptly stood up and moved to the window, staring out of it. “This world is beautiful, is it not?”
“…Yeeees?” Julius answered after a few seconds of silence, glancing at Douglas for a moment. He was frowning for some reason.
“So beautiful, and yet, despite all of us living on it, and with how long we’ve lived on it, there’s so little we know. Yes, we have the knowledge of outworlders and how their world is, but fundamentally, ours is different. Our species, our gods, the very existence of magic itself.”
“Yes, our world is quite vast,” Douglas agreed, sounding weirdly thoughtful, “The more we search, the more we find out is still hidden.”
“Exactly!” Rostel turned on her heel, a bright smile on her face, then walked forward and tapped the design again. “And that is why we designed these ships. We wish to travel below and see what there is to be discovered! Perhaps it could be nothing, but think of the possibilities! Forgotten civilizations! Rare ores! Entirely new species living below the very ground we live on!”
“…If this works we can discover lost magic, cultures, and possibly even tools and technologies that were created, but lost to time,” Douglas muttered to himself, seemingly swayed by her words. He kept muttering under his breath for a few seconds, his eyes narrowed in thought, before he beamed and said quite possibly the dumbest thing he could’ve. “Whatever it is you need, we’ll do it!”
The idiot actually held up a finger to silence him. “This is not the time to argue, Julius!” Oh gods he had his ‘new quest’ grin on. “This is the time for action!”
“Yeah, he’s got a point, old man. Something like this could really help people,” Adrien very very helpfully pointed out, grinning too. Why was everyone smiling right now??
“Can…Can we at least find out what she wants from first?” Julius requested, already feeling a headache coming on.
“Yes, it is only right I tell you that,” Rostel, thankfully, agreed. “Now, the main problem with our ships is finding a reliable power source. Mages, while useful, cannot sustain continuous power for an extended period of time. We’ve also tried steam gems, but after some time, it becomes unbearable at best to be inside the ship with steam gems powering them.”
“Well, the constant heat of the steam can heat up the metal of the ship, causing it to burn those inside. The general temperature of the interior often becomes completely unbearable too. And even if the occupants are resistant to heat, the glass becomes nearly impossible to see through. There’s also the fear that the moisture of the steam can make the tunnels unstable from prolonged exposure.”
“And what about other power sources?” Douglas spoke up, his fingers steepled in front of his chest. “Heat, fire, and wind, all easily found and transported in elemental stones, do have their uses.”
“None that work for what we’re looking for, unfortunately. Heat and fire cause similar problems to steam, often to an even worse degree because they’ll melt through the hulls under prolonged activation, and wind stones don’t operate well underground. The differences in elemental domains weakens them severely. In addition, lightning has a similar issue, despite some outworlders insisting it should work fine.” She sighs. “Overall, steam stones are our best option due to their availability in Rosiava, and they simply don’t work in this situation.”
“Have you tried dungeon cores? I know some places extract those to power things.”
“Yes, we have attempted that. However, the problem there is that, while powerful, they would only be useful if we directly built the cores into the earthships through specialized equipment to properly channel their unique type of magic. It is certainly viable, but as is, we only have three within Hulthemia. Not to mention, they are a tad unstable, so we fear what may happen if they went off while traveling below ground.”
“Good points,” Douglas mused, rubbing his chin, “I imagine there’s also the concern of a core establishing a domain inside one of your ‘earthships’, which would likely result in it forming monsters right in among the people…”
“Yes, precisely.” Rostel nodded, then smiled again. “Thankfully, we do have a potential solution in mind.”
Julius suddenly felt a pit in his stomach as he realized what was about to happen.
“Now, to preface this, we have already gotten permission from Augant.” Oh gods please no. “We would have already retrieved the core ourselves, but traditions, and restrictions on the door, say only the heroes may go in. So, what I wish to ask, is that you retrieve the temple core from within the metal temple.”
Of course. Of course, why not?
“Of course we will! Heh, why not, right?”
“Douglas yes,” he replied automatically, then blinked. “Wait, why no? You stole one, this one we have permission for.”
Julius pinched the bridge of his nose to stave off his building headache. “Because we’re talking about just giving away a temple core-”
“Which you did.”
“…Yes, I did, which is why I can say that this is a bad idea.”
“It really isn’t,” Rostel said, “Lord Arancoda of Ebkai has seen nothing but positive benefits from utilizing her obtained core.”
“Okay, but…how does having a temple core help your earthships thing? You can’t power all of them with one core.”
“I would say that remains to be seen, but in the hypothetical scenario where it can’t, the core could further aid us in providing materials and devices to further our production capabilities. Potentially even including more tenable power sources. There’s even the possibility that if we provide the core with our current designs, its more sophisticated powers could provide us with fully developed versions of them, which we could then disassemble to understand how they work properly.”
“These sound like a lot of maybes…”
She shrugged, still smiling. “We must all take a leap of faith sometimes, Mister Goldforge. I’m sure you can agree.”
“Yeah, maybe,” he reluctantly conceded, frowning as a thought came to him. “Can we backtrack this a bit? You said you already got permission?”
“Yes we did. After some words with Augant through our pontiff, it was easy to convince him…I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, but,” Leaning forward with a small smile, she whispered to the three, “Given Rosiava’s young age, and the location of the temple, Augant didn’t have a particularly large number of followers for a very long time. So he was more than ecstatic when he was offered gifts.”
…Did they bribe a god?
“Huh. So we just have to get the orb and bring it to you?” Adrien asked, apparently completely fine with that.
“Yes, and please, do not be mistaken, this request is not something we are asking you to do as a price to enter the temple. In fact, we are more than willing to pay you for your services.”
“…Really?” Okay, good, he could still be a little skeptical.
“Yes, and as a show of goodwill, we’ll give half upfront. So five thousand now, five thousand upon completion.”
Julius and Douglas both blinked as a little strangled squeak slipped from Adrien’s mouth. “U-Um, two payments of f-five thousand?”
“Indeed. While this venture may prove fruitless, the possible rewards far outweigh the payment.”
“Just to be sure,” Julius cut in, leaning forward. “This is five thousand gold, right?”
She nodded, smiling. “Of course. Would you prefer fifty-thousand silver instead?”
“I’ll admit, I am tempted to ask for five hundred-thousand nickel now,” Douglas muttered, stroking his chin again, “Or even five million copper-”
“No, we’re not doing that, shut up.” Julius sighed, rubbing his temples. Five thousand gold…that was five times what he’d make in a year, and he lived in a capital city doing commissions for the wealthy, and if they did go through with the job… “…You’re seriously willing to pay us ten thousand gold overall?
“As I said, yes. It’s what was decided between the five leaders of Rosiava, myself included. If you wish, I can bring it to you right now.”
“Y-Yes, please. Ah, I mean, we just want to make sure everything is in order,” Julius replied, trying not to grin too much.
“Of course. Would you prefer it all in one bag?”
“Actually, if you can, in ten different bags. It would make distributing easier,” interjected Douglas, holding up a finger again.
“Very well. Please, remain here, I’ll be back in just a few moments.” Rostel stood up and left the room, her hands clasped behind her back, and as she did, Douglas smirked at Julius.
“You sure changed your tune fast,” he teased.
“It’s ten thousand gold, Douglas! Do you have any idea how long it’ll take me to make that much money normally!?”
“No. Also, you’re only getting a thousand.”
Julius blinked, then narrowed his eyes. “What.”
“We’re splitting it ten ways, a thousand for each of us, and the remaining for any funds we may need for the rest of our trip.”
“Oh. Oh, right. Yeah. That makes sense.” Well, that was significantly less money than he was thinking of, but it was still a substantial amount. Hell, if he was lucky and managed to survive this quest, he could have a vacation to the Sun Lands! …Actually, no it would probably be better to keep it saved up. Though he could probably splurge a bit on his workers…
As he continued to think on how to use his share, Julius missed Rostel’s return until several purses full of gold landed right on the desk.
“Everything should be in there. You are more than welcome to count them if you wish.”
“I’d rather not waste your time.” Douglas stood and opened one bag, his eyes scanning the contents. “We’ll count these back in our ship.”
“If that is what you wish. And, if there is any problem, you are free to come in whenever you wish. I have already instructed everyone that you heroes have open access to my office if I am in.”
“You are much too generous.” Douglas handed some of the bags to Adrien and Julius, two to Adrien and two for Julius, then smiled as he took the last one. “We’ll make sure to retrieve the core as soon as we can, but I hope it won’t be to much trouble if you could allow us to take the day to prepare?”
“Take all the time you need. Even if all of you are immensely skilled, rushing in will do you no good.”
“Precisely, I couldn’t say it better myself.” Douglas grinned again, extending his hand. Rostel shook it without hesitation, smiling back as Julius adjusted his grip on the bags, fitting the straps over his shoulders. They were on the small side, but there were plenty of enchantments out there to make even a small coin-purse hold up to a hundred coins. Some of the fancier one would even convert coins based on value.
Still, probably not the best to focus on all of that at the moment. He and Adrien said their goodbyes to Rostel too–well, Julius just kind of mumbled ‘bye’ and raised a hand in her direction–and then they were off again. Nice of her to trust them to leave the base properly instead of wandering around looking into things, though he did need to grab the back of Douglas’s shirt to keep him from wandering past the staircase.
“What? I can’t explore now?”
“No, because we’re being responsible adults and getting this money back to the ship before you somehow piss someone off into trying to attack us.”
“That only happened once.”
Julius raised an eyebrow at Douglas as he led him down the stairs. A glance behind made sure Adrien was actually following them, the younger hero trying to hide a smirk at how Douglas was being manhandled, and he turned his skeptical gaze back to his friend. “…”
“…Okay, fine, seventeen times. Septetonce, I suppose, if I have the etymology right.”
“It’d be octotonce. You’re forgetting the training hall in Sollamava-” He lightly shook Douglas before he could interrupt. “-Which, yes, is still your fault because that entire trip was all because you decided to take a detour just to see Tisma’s hometown.”
“…That particular incident was mostly Cyrus’s fault though.”
“I’m not disagreeing with you, I’m just saying the initial fault lies with you and you do deserve part of the blame there because of how you escalated things.”
“How’d he escalate things?” Oh, right, Adrien could hear them. “Also, who’s Tisma and will I be meeting them?”
“Minotaur, she was part of our team, and maybe. And Douglas here wanted to ‘partake’ of the various foods and drinks from her homeland, even though she told all of us it’d be too strong for us. Now Adrien, what do you think happens when you make a bard who is more than willing to sleep with anyone who consents get shitfaced drunk?”
“Well, Douglas, would you like to tell Adrien what happened as a result of Cyrus’s actions?”
Douglas squirmed slightly, pouting. “He…isn’t legally allowed in Sollamava.”
“And the only reason we can still go their ourselves is ‘cause Tisma vouched for us!”
“…Wait, that happened in the training hall?” Adrien asked.
“Yes! So when the leader walked in on Cyrus with his son and daughter you can understand why he wants to kill him!”
“Woah wait, what? I think you skipped a few things there-”
“Right, so, it went a little something like this,” Douglas began as they reached the ground floor, “We went to Sollamava because of reasons that are really no one’s fault-”
“Bullshit,” Julius firmly stated.
“-and while there, I may have become…overly curious in one specific instance-”
“-annnnd then, perhaps, suggested that our bardic friend, Cyrus, have some drinks. Though, in fairness to me, Charlie and Yuli were fine-”
“Charlotte’s a goliath, Yuliani is half-bear, and both are frostlanders. They’re practically raised on alcohol up there.”
“-and then Cy may have, possibly, decided to, say, fornicate with Coridan and Laria, the son and daughter of Duke Umberto Cotilla, whoooo may have been the half-brother of the reigning king at the time and also may have pushed for Cy to be permanently banned from the nation for certain exaggerated charges like, say, seduction, sexual misconduct, public indecency, destructionofmajorculturalartifacts, and rudeness to a host.”
“Wait, what was the second to last one?”
“…Hm. I can’t try to misinterpret that, your wording was too specific…Right, so, he may have used certain things he shouldn’t have as bedding and that is all we shall speak on the subject because I need to get you and your friends to that temple and Julius needs to fix his sword in the meantime.”
Julius blinked as Douglas abruptly started walking away, before tugging him back into place. “You forgot I was holding onto your shirt.”
“I forgot you were holding onto my shirt, yes.”
“What was that ‘meantime’ thing?”
Douglas glanced at him, raising an eyebrow. “You need to fix your sword, correct? So I’ll take this one. I’m sure I can be a very useful guide to our mutual students!”
A silent stare was his only response.
“Okay, different tactic. It’s gonna take a few days for you to repair your sword, and chances are there is a general in there. Wouldn’t it be best if you focus on repairing your stuff, while we go make sure that general doesn’t take the core?”
“…I hate when you make sound arguments.” Sighing, Julius hefted Douglas over his shoulder. “Let’s just drop everything off before we decide anything.”
“H-Hey! Put me down! Why does everyone insist on lifting me?!”
“Shut it, or I’ll drop you face first.”