“I’m sorry, what?” I stared at Prince Edward.
“It started about a week after we heard announcements of your death. We can still contact Deeksville, but we haven’t had any news from Chalm. The traveling guild portal was cut off. We’ve sent several envoys, but none have returned.”
“What about my girls?”
“Carmine is the only one I was aware of. She came to the Capitol. Before news of you got out, Mary had sent her on some kind of mission. You’ll have to ask her for the details.”
The ones who had remained in Chalm were Celeste, Elaya, Astria, and Xin. Well, Elaya, Xin, and Astria couldn’t leave even if they wanted to. As I thought about it, I started to get a sinking feeling. What had Astria done the last time she had grown upset? What would she do if I died? My connection to everything was severed. That included my dungeon. I had thought that Elaya, Xin, and Astria would have kept things under control, but what if they hadn’t.
As I considered the possibilities, I felt my heart clenching even more. “I need to get to Chalm immediately.”
“I thought you might say that.”
“You can wrap things up here?” I asked, hesitating.
The past me might have just run off to the city without a word. However, I had responsibilities, and I couldn’t just take off before things were settled here. If I did so, I would be wasting everyone’s time.
“I will negotiate Ost Republic’s surrender.” The general declared. “Take care of your home.”
“Deek, are you going to be okay?” Otto asked, looking a bit awkward. “Should I… um… and brother come to help.”
There was an expression on his face like he wanted to help. I wasn’t the only one who had changed these last few months. Otto had once been a selfish lad only concerned about himself. He had no clue what to expect in Chalm, but he was still willing to go, even though he knew that he wouldn’t be much help. He had only added Octius in there because he knew he didn’t have the strength.
“I’d be willing to come.”
“No, you won’t.” General Tibult spoke up. “Your duty is here on the border with me.”
“Ahhh… d-dad…” Octius blushed.
“I’ll go!” Octavia declared.
“You’re going back to our territories. Your mother must be lonely all alone. It’s about time one of us returns.” Octin ordered.
I smiled and patted Otto’s shoulder. He was a very short man, only coming up to my chest now that I had grown taller.
“It’s fine, this is something I have to do on my own. In the past, I was only building Chalm passively. I let them use my name and my power, but for the most part, I let them develop on their own. I realize now that I have a responsibility to these people. It’s time that I stepped up and truly became the lord that they call me.”
“Then, good look.” He patted my hand.
“Besides, I won’t be completely alone.” I patted my sword.
“M-master…” Alysia’s voice vibrated in the air.
“You’re going to have to tell me about that when you have time.” Prince Edward sighed. “In fact, we have a lot of important things to discuss. Once you’ve settled Chalm, please come to me.”
“Speaking of which, when is that?”
“Delayed.” He sighed, looking tired. “I won’t be setting a date until we talk.”
“I see… then I won’t take too long.”
I ended the conversation there, lifting my hand and forming a portal. I decided to make it on the outskirts of the city, around the area where we fought Lord Aberis for the first time. I assumed with my blessings, I could force past whatever prevented the Capital from going to Chalm. However, if there was something up, it wouldn’t be good to pop up in the middle of town.
I picked up the unconscious Xin, pulled Alysia into my body, and then entered the portal to see what happened to Chalm.
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