Chapter 20: Set Out to the Mystic Realm
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After weeks of planning and preparation, the day finally arrived. Today, me and my party would set out for the Paganish Realm to find Louis' lost colleague. We have Lost Fang as our bodyguards, Dr. Louis Moulin as our official on the Paganish Realm and guide to his colleague, Rana as our expedition benefactor and merchant, Lanie as long distance combatant and Artificer, and me, Aiden Ortega, as the expedition leader. There were some unexpected occurrences, meeting the Cheraneura, battling the Swamp Boss, meeting the God of Fate, Kyu-Ra, and the guardian angel he sent me, Bow-Wow, and me falling in love with and marrying Lanie. The first obstacle was planning, now it's time to act.

"Ready to set out!" I asked everyone in attendance; my entire party gave me the thumps up. "Then get packed and loaded."

Our method of transportation was made possible thanks to mine, Louis, and Lanie's knowledge of magical engineering. Working out the diagram, manufacturing the parts, and paying for additional help in building, we were able to construct three magiktech RVs for our journey. The design was simple, basically small, insulated houses that were carried on rubber tires; each one powered by a top quality magic crystal. We would be traveling in a caravan situation; me, Rana, and Lanie would traveling in the leading RV, Louis would be driving the middle one carrying most of our supplies and his equipment, and Ra'sh would drive the tailing one with the rest of Lost Fang.

It was lucky I could teach Louis and Ra'sh to drive in the last week, now we can move out with as little effort as possible. I thought to myself.

We finished loading up and got into our designated vehicles on the outer limits of New Darwin City.

"You sure you can drive this?" Rana asked, concerned.

"Don't worry, I've driven long distances for school." I eased her worries. "If we go a continuous speed on the route we have mapped out,  it should take a little over five days to reach the boarder of the Paganish Realm."

Our route was made with help from Louis' maps, turns out there is an old dirt road that goes from the city to the Paganish Realm but nobody knows about it and there is risk of bandits, monsters, and exposure, but if we take it we should reach the boarder of Analia and the Paganish Realm in a little over three days if we're lucky.

At a quarter to nine in the morning, we set off; before he drove out off the city, we were presented with a pleasant surprise. Gathered along the side of the road was all our friends, comrades, and supporters waving us luck on our trip. There was Old Man Bill from the Snoozing Guard Inn, the A-Rank mercenaries Linda and Ocellus, our go-to blacksmith Bennett, and many other supporters from the Mercenary Guild, Louis' former co-works from the university, and even some random citizens wishing us luck.

Leaving New Darwin City felt like a send off by parade; when I left the Tunu clan Snowstriders I felt a similar feeling, sad to leave but also excited by what lies ahead.

From the moment we left ND City to now, close to sunset, we haven't stopped moving. We've covered a sizeable distance down the rural road thanks to the RVs without gaining much attention from the few people we've passed. Setting camp in a field by the road, I decided to take the first watch while everyone else unwound after a day of travel.

"Having trouble sleeping?" I heard Louis ask me as he sat down by my side at the fire. "I could take the rest of the night, if you need the rest?"

"No." I turned him down. "I'll be fine, I've just had a lot to think about."

"About my old friend?" Louis guessed correctly. "I hope we do find him, not just to finish our work. I want you to see your family again... I understand the pain how being forced from them."

I looked at Louis in concern. "Louis... I don't think you ever told me much about your friend, or yourself. Who are you?"

He looked at the fire in concern. "I... I have no clue."

"What do you mean?" Louis wasn't making any sense.

Taking a deep breath, he continued to stare at the fire as he explained. "Most of the information I have about myself is from records found about me. I recall information on topics like countries and the like, but my episodic memory is complete blur. I recall that I had people I cared about, but I can't recall who or what they look like; I know about my colleague and our work, but I can't recollect what he looks like." He turned to me and pulled out the compass. "I wanted to join you to help me rediscover who I was and what happened to me. I know if we follow this compass to the Nevermist, I be able to find him. Trust me."

Part of me was furious he kept this hidden for so long and allowed me to bring my wives and friends into this, but then I remember that he's my only clue to getting home and the look in his eyes screams "I will not let you down".

"I trust you, but it would be nice to at least have some clues about who were looking for." I poke the fire.

Louis pondered. "I do have some recollection of him, but it's like looking back on a dream. He had clean shaven face, a light complexion with dark hair... and he had this symbol on his arm band. I think it's in my stuff in the RV. Oh, he also told me he was from a place called... By-Rin? Ber-Rin?"

I tried to figure out the name. "Berlin?"

"Berlin!" Louis shook his head. "That's it, he was from Berlin."

"I know that city, it's in a country in my world called 'Germany'." I yawned loudly. "I think I'll turn in for the night. Talk to ya in the morning."

Going to sleep in my RV with Lanie and Rana, I was able to get some much needed rest. The next day, we all got up early and got ready for what lies a head. Cleaning up after eating breakfast, we were all ready to embark again when Louis came out to speak with us.

"I have great news everyone, I was looking through my things and found something that might help us find my old colleague." He handed a piece of paper to Ra'sh. "Pass this around. We're looking for a clean cut man who wears this symbol on their right arm."

When they gave it to me, I nearly choked in astonishment. "This is it?" To my horror, the symbol of this colleague we were looking for was a Nazi swastika. "This is the symbol he wore?"

"Yes, the memories are fuzzy, but I think he said it was from a party, maybe of mercenaries?" Louis didn't understand.

"Everyone." I gathered their attention. "If we find this man, I'm not so sure he would help us."

"Why say that?" Jo-se questioned my reason.

Because this was a different world, they wouldn't know the reasons for my suspicion. "The party, the one Louis' colleague is apart of, is called the Nazi Party. In my world, they were in control of a country called 'Germany', they helped restore the country, but their policies were... merciless towards certain people."

"How?" Tuca asked.

"Simply said, they actively sought the genocide of millions of people who didn't conform to their ideal human, and... my people are not their version of the ideal human." This caused prominent alarm in my group.

"I had no clue." Louis apologized. "Maybe we should find the prototype in the Nevermist and see if we can find any of the runes there. If he's as bigoted to you as kind I've seen, I doubt he'd want anything to do with us."

Some part of me agreed, but there was a voice telling me it was a bad choice. "No, we have to find him." My decision spooked everyone. "He may not help us, and we might find the runes we need on our own, but he is also a man trapped in this world. If I leave him here, away from the people he cares about, I would be a disgrace as a man."

Supporting my choice, they all nodded in agreement and we got to our vehicles.

Buckling into the driver seat, Lanie came over and spoke. "Are you sure you want to find this man?" She asked, worried for me. "I know you're both from Earth, but he might be an enemy."

Taking a deep breath, I explained something my father told me as a kid. "'Having good character means doing the right thing even if body thanks you for doing so', that's something my father used to tell me. If I return home but leave him here, I will never be able to forgive myself."

Lanie pecked my face, proud of my integrity. "Your father must be a good man."

I smiled, thinking of all the fun times I had with him; taking me to my first scouts meeting, taking me to get ice cream after every last day of school, giving me his old car after I got my driver's license, and the hug he gave me when I left home to start college. "Yeah, I hope I be as good as man as him one day." It was a comforting dream, but now I needed to refocus on our mission. Find the colleague, get to the prototype in the Nevermist, fix it, and if we're lucky, return home.