Laying Plans
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Maya had relaxed on my lap once more by the time a maid had lead the queen of the forest into my study.

Arith was busy examining the bear up and down, not too sure why, and it appeared that the bear was inspecting her in turn. It was actually kind of endearing, like two alley cats who just noticed each other.

I idly pet Mayas soft purple hair, "So, Queen, you bring all the rocks you can here understood." I call to her.

Breaking eye contact with Arith seems to be quite the challenge, but eventually the cute little bear cub manages it. "Yes, my king!" She says simply. Your queen will make sure to bring all the pretty rocks she can to king!"

Something about the way she said that....eh it's probably no big deal, "Good girl." I praise her with a simple smile.

A sudden odd thought occurs to me. Living in Ravvins' house is not a bad plan for now. It is warm and well furnished, but it doesn't really scream 'a druid lives here'. Mulling the idea in my head I quickly tune out from whats going on around me.

I already know that I have enemies, and they know I'm here. Changing location is definitely viable given how much money I have, but given the easy access to resources... It would be far more beneficial to be able to stay her.

So then, how can we manage to stay here? The obvious answers would be to eliminate my enemies before they can reach me, or two fortify my defenses so that an attack is not able to penetrate.

Going over to kill a king would be a really fucking dumb decision. The mere thought of the repercussions from even a failed attempt are enough to leave me sweating! No, it would make more sense to fortify where we are right now.

That cock sleeve Ravvin managed to destroy the existing merchant network, but that could be remade. Perhaps they can even be made stronger, if I were able to make something with magic that could be used to fight.... Then that would generate revenue, given that I'm the lord here I should be able to take a tax, with a tax I can build walls!

Yes, that is step one, I need more money. Heck with enough money I could just by an army! I wonder if the Carthi....fuck

I shake my head roughly coming back to a chaotic reality. In the short interim where I was in thought I'm fairly certain a war has broken out in my study.

Both Arith and Maya are now in my lap looking quite protective. Their chests nearly manage to smother me, not that I would mind too much.

"Wh..what?" I manage to spurt out.

Maya and Arith both look at me, eyes fierce. "Did you marry her?" They ask in twin fury. I shake my head firmly.

"There you see that he said you weren't his queen! Ha!"

Judging from the look on her delicate little face, it seems the forest queen has been getting yelled at quite a lot already.

"Enough." I call. All three of the girls freeze where they stand looking at me in varying degrees of anger, or shock.

I let the room be silent for a few seconds as I collect my thoughts. For now I just need to get people doing things. I can iron out delicate emotional issues as and when they are relevant, but right now I need to separate these three.

"Little Queen, go defend the forest. I expect your first delivery in a week. Do not disappoint me." I command her solemnly. She seems hesitant to leave, like she has more she needs to say. "Go. Now." I command her, and beats a hasty retreat.

"Arith compile a report from your spy's, I want to know everything the king of the humans has been up to, especially any attempts on my life."

Arith looks at me curiously, but nods her head. "I'll be right back....king..." she smiles briefly at the term.

"Now then, Maya I have a question for you." Maya rests her head on my shoulder, and glares at me briefly, "Not right now, I'm tired from being mad at you."

I laugh and pull her in close to me. "No not that, well maybe later, do you know anything about a race of people called the Carthi?"

I ask her, and her eyes fly open at the mention of the Carthi, "Yes...did you happen to meet them as well?" I nod at her and her eyes go wide. The thin slit of a snakes eye nearly dilating to a round pupil. "You didn't sell your time to them did you?" Maya's tone is panicked and I make sure to advise that I never did. "But, we did make a deal and I gave them some of my rocks. The problem is they promised to let me hire some people through them, but I never did. Think they will be mad?"

I finally ask the question that was weighing on my mind. The Carthi would be great partners right now, and I don't want to destroy the good relationship we may have briefly had.

Maya is smiling one of the biggest smiles I had ever seen. "What?" I ask her, but just as I do there is a loud knock on the study.

"Master, some.....thing is here to see you!"

Maya says nothing, but buries her head in my shoulder and starts laughing as quietly as she can.

"Yeah, let them in." I say confused.

The thing that enters is large with a chitinous black exoskeleton and a sponge where there should be a face.

Oh, now that is interesting. How could they have possibly found me...I"m certain I never said where I was going when I left town though...

"Carthi hear call. Carthi come!" It announces at me. I'm not sure, but I have a feeling that this isn't the same Carthi that I originally spoke to.

"Is King ready to finish deal?"

Staring at this thing, I feel at a loss. I mutter under my breath so that only Maya can hear me. "Just what the fuck are the Carthi?"

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