Chapter 6:

Chapter 6 "Brave Or Stupid?"

America Stranded In A Fantasy World

 “Brave or Stupid?”

June 24th, 2040: The White Palace, Hoffen City Capital, The Ruppriecht Kingdom

Gazing at the city below the white palace, King Heinrich leaned against the marble balcony, his long, aging white hair and long beard waving in the wind. But he hadn’t come here to admire what his forefathers had created, but to clear his head from the near-constant bickering of the nobles over the crisis that was looming over the kingdom--nay, the whole continent. With last year's harvest failing across the land, many had come up short of the food needed to feed their respective kingdoms. The few larger kingdoms and empires demanding what little food there was from their neighbors to feed their own. And now, the Autoriario Empire had come knocking on his door demanding food. Heinrich looked to the clear blue sky.

“What have we done to anger the gods?” He wondered. Was this a test for the realms to see who was strongest? Perhaps they saw the land being abused and sought to punish them. His focus was broken when the wooden door to the balcony was opened by a servant who stepped forward before kneeling.

“Your Majesty, a report from Händluf.” The servant kept his head facing the ground, waiting for Heinrich to respond.

“Read it.” Heinrichs scruffy old voice commanded.

“A fleet made of steel vessels from a nation hailing as the United States of America has made landfall; sending someone going by the title ‘Ambassador Aaron’ to open diplomatic talks with us. They have expressed their utmost desire to discuss with you in particular. From what the report has stated, they will be arriving here with their own flying mounts sometime today.” Heinrich turned to the servant.

“And what have they demanded so far?” He inquired.

“According to the report nothing. Ambassador Aaron did express an apology on behalf of their ruler ‘President John Dresdon’ as they had fired on one of our vessels which sailed out of port to confront theirs. To their credit, they did warn the ship numerous times to change its heading but the captain refused to.” The servant kept his head lowered, with Heinrich becoming more confused by these actions.

“Just how many vessels were in this ‘steel fleet’?” He asked.

“From what could be counted, around fifty; with six of them towering over the city. According to the report, the vessel Ambassador Aaron arrived on, they had to use a net to reach the dock as their ship was too tall.”

Heinrich's mind tried to process what the servant said. Steel ships that were so tall they had to use nets to climb down? Just now big were these ships, and to have fifty of them! Did they make the near-suicidal trip across The Great Ocean? If only he was there to see this for himself.

A low and quiet buzzing noise started to fill the air, causing Heinrich to turn and face the city again. At the farthest gatehouse, he saw faint black specks on the horizon. With them getting closer he recognized two of them being wyvern knights but the other three contraptions he didn't recognize; and the noise they made was nothing he had heard in his lifetime.

The formation landed in the courtyard, with the three black contraptions opening up their sides to allow what appeared to be soldiers to create a circle around the middle black contraption from which a more well-dressed man stepped out holding a silver case.

“I suppose I should greet them.” Heinrich turned away from the developing scene and headed inside the palace towards his throne room.

Arriving at the spacious throne hall, his Queen had already seated herself with a smile in her silver and white gem-encrusted throne.

“It’s not every day we get visitors from other countries.” She said pensively.

“Indeed my Queen, and for them to have such unique items with them is even stranger.” He added while sitting on his own silver-covered throne.

The hall quickly filled with other nobles and aides who were in the palace and wanted to see what was going on. With one of the great doors at the end of the hall opening a single royal guard dressed in thick silver-lined armor and halberd stepped in.

“Your Majesty. I present to you, Ambassador Aaron, hailing from the democratic republic of The United States of America.” The guard announced, having it echo around the hall for all to hear.

With that, Aaron stepped into the hall with his protection detail in tow. His classic black and white suit was a clear contrast to the apparel of the nobles and even the royal family. It seemed to emanate importance yet it held none of the normal colors and features a piece would normally have. Upon reaching the shallow stairs that led to the King and Queen, Aaron put his right hand over his chest and bowed.

“Thank you, your majesty, for allowing this meeting to happen on such short notice.” Aaron held his bow while saying this before raising his head. Immediately, a noble from the balcony above exclaimed.

“You dare raise your head before the King permits you so?” The man shouted. But to everyone's shock, Aaron gave a cold stare at the noble.

“I believe I wasn't directing my attention to you.” Aaron stated, his abrasiveness getting the better of him. “Your majesty, I do hope I can be forgiven if I do acts that are outside your culture. The United States has never had a king so we don’t usually behave like this.”

“Hmm.” Heinrich mumbled. “Very well, but since we don’t have much daylight left why don’t you tell me why you are here. We shall discuss it over dinner and tomorrow you shall have my verdict.”

“Yes your majesty. My government has sent me to establish a diplomatic link between our two nations and to discuss the possibility of a trade agreement. The continental United States has much to offer to those who wish to do business with her.” Aaron made a few hand gestures. “Please do tell me what your kingdom needs, and I have no doubt we can deliver; for a price of course, nothing is free.” There was a short silence before Heinrich answered.

“As you may or may not know. This land is under threat from a famine caused by a poor harvest the year prior. There simply isn't enough grain to go around for everyone.” Hearing this Aaron put his right hand to his chin.

“Hmm… Well if it’s food you need we can most certainly provide it. We produced about two billion bushels of wheat with about fifty percent being able to go into the international market.” Aaron smiled.

A pin could have been heard hitting the floor the room was so quiet, Aaron looked around to see bewilderment on most faces, even the King's and Queen's eyes widened slightly at his statement.

”Though I should state that if needed we can offer more. Corn is another food that we produce--numbering around eighteen billion bushels based on last year's number.” Aaron couldn’t stop himself from smiling while watching the reaction of the nobles who all had their eyes ready to leave their heads. Recovering from the initial shock Heinrich cleared his throat.

“Well, Ambassador Aaron. I’m quite sure that you know how ludicrous these numbers are. Tell me, just how large is the United States to boast such a statement?” The King questioned.

“Your Majesty, the continental United States is three and a half million square miles with over three hundred and seventy million people living inside its borders. We do control our own continent after all.” Aaron answered.

The King simply sat in silence. This was a mountain of information to take in. The fact that this supposed republic controlled its own continent and only now had it revealed itself was absurd; not even mentioning they were most certainly more advanced than any kingdom or empire he had ever heard of.

“Hmm, well. This has been quite the first impression, Ambassador Aaron, but I must put this on hold for tomorrow. Would you care to join us tonight?” Heinrich stared at Aaron with gasps echoing around the hall.

“I would be honored to, your majesty.” Aaron gave another bow with the King standing from his throne.

“Then it is settled! Ambassador Aaron of America shall stay with us for the feast. Have his needs attended to and any questions answered promptly.” Heinrich declared.

“As you wish, your majesty.” One of the servants to the side bowed before turning to Aaron. “Please sir, follow me to where you will be staying.”

Seeing that the chances of being attacked here were now slim to none, Aaron ordered his protection detail back to the helicopters where they already had tents set up for themselves. With Aaron being led out the hall and the nobles returning to their original activities. Heinrich sat with a pensive look on his face, his fingers tapping the arms of the throne.

“Something wrong my dear?” His Queen asked.

“Something is off about these people. At first I thought it was because they are not from this continent but… They don’t seem to have a drop of magic inside of them. And for all of them to be schooled in concealment magic is nigh impossible.” Heinrich pondered over this again and again.

“Yes they do seem rather strange but they mean well. If what they are offering is indeed true; it could very well save our people from famine.” She placed her hand on his. “We need not worry my dear.” But the king didn't seem reassured.

Elsewhere in the White Palace:

“And here is the west wing of the palace.” The servant motioned while opening yet another door to a lengthy, red-carpeted hallway, the walls adorned with priceless paintings and other pieces.

“By God this place seems to never end!” Aaron chuckled “Just how long did it take to build this?”

“Hmm, I believe the original portion was completed about two hundred years ago with it being expanded ever since. The expansive garden you most likely saw on your way here is the newest addition.” The servant answered

“And for reference. How old is this city?” Aaron asked while looking at a painting of a previous King and Queen who wore a much older style of clothing compared to what he had seen Heinrich wearing, but what really caught his attention was the yellow feline tail and ears the Queen had.

“Leiststark is over six hundred years old, being the founding city of this kingdom I would suspect it to be much older however.” The servant stood next to Aaron.

“King Luidolf II and Queen Judith. If my memory serves me right, they were the ones to give birth to the kingdom we have now.” Aaron turned to the servant

“Through conquest I presume?”

“How else?” The servant smiled. “Queen Judith was of lion blood with King Luidolf II having minor wolf blood from an old ancestor I believe. This made them a formidable foe on the battlefield.” Aaron raised an eyebrow at the statement.

“Women serve in your army on top of royalty?” Aaron was perplexed by the idea of sending your ruler to battle.

“Of course. A lioness is worth a hundred pure-blood human lives and much more if trained.” The servant answered. “Doesn't your nation do the same?” Aaron shook his head.

“The only time a President was on the battlefield was during our founding. After that they never went near it, preferring state crafting and leaving the fighting to generals. Though we have had our fair share of Presidents who weren't afraid to throw a few punches at their political opponents.” Aaron smirked.

“Interesting… and what about your current President?”

“President John is…an interesting case. He was a lieutenant general when he left the army to become a politician of all things and a republican to boot. But as fate would have it we experienced a crisis that someone with this experience would be a massive advantage. He won the presidential campaign with the promise of protecting our country's interests.” Aaron chose his words carefully so as to not divulge they were from another world, not yet. The servant seemed confused by his words though.

“We elect our president with them serving a four-year term.” Aaron clarified.

“What an interesting way to rule a nation. I’ve heard of the beastmen kingdoms to the south forming a republic but usually, the kings and queens put on the councils are there for life.”

“Sounds more like a shared dictatorship than a republic.” Aaron corrected but the servant seemed once again confused. “Nevermind; seems even though we speak the same language we have different words.” Aaron continued walking down the hall.

An orange glow started to flood the hall with the sun setting, giving the place a warm coloring against the gray bricks and brightly contrasting colors of the paintings and other decorations. But as Aaron and the servant continued the impromptu tour while walking to his room; their ears were filled with the musical charm of a harp or something similar.

“Ah, it seems the first Princess is here also.” The servant spoke, making Aaron quickly check over himself, quickly fixing anything out of place.

“I wasn't aware the King and Queen had children.” Aaron felt rather ignorant for not asking such a question.

“Yes, but they have kept it quiet so not as to bring the attention of any noble or prince from the Autoriario Empire.”

“This ‘Autoriario Empire’ has been mentioned a few times since I’ve arrived here just today. What are they truly?” Aaron took out his notepad and pen in preparation.

“They are one of the more powerful forces on this continent. Mostly thanks to their slave workforce doing the majority of their hard labor” The servant stopped and looked away, leaving Aaron to stop writing mid-sentence.

“...I was once a slave from that hideous place. They treat anyone who doesn't worship their god poorly and any non-pure-blood humans with such cruelty I…I” The servant tightened his fists.

“My apologies for asking, I didn’t know it was this bad.” Aaron genuinely felt bad for asking but a fire had been built inside of him. He knew damn well once Washington heard this, war would be easily justified.

“No, I allowed my emotions to get the best of me.” The servant started walking again but stopped when they noticed Aaron standing outside the door where the music was coming from.

“I feel like I am required to meet the first Princess if I am to be properly-versed in this kingdom's culture.” Aaron smiled.

“If you insist, sir Aaron.” the servant walked to the door.

Opening the door revealed a rather simple room. A few pieces of luxurious furniture were placed around but what immediately caught Aaron's attention, was the woman with her back turned to them playing a large harp. Her snow-white hair seemed to reflect the orange light from the sun with two white glowing orbs slowly orbiting her leaving a light glitter trail behind them.

Hearing the door open she spun around to see the two watching and Aaron’s eyes widened at her beauty. Blue eyes seem to penetrate past his politically hardened heart. After a few seconds of gawking Aaron cleared his throat and bowed.

“Evening Princess. I am Ambassador Aaron from the United States.” The Princess smiled before standing up and returned the bow.

“Weiss Keitel. Heiress to the throne. You are the one that arrived on those strange contraptions are you not?”

“Indeed. I was being taken to my room when I heard your stunning performance and hearing that it was the first Princess, well, I thought it would be rude of me not to introduce myself.” Aaron smirked, his charm working faster than usual. Weiss' cheeks gently flushed.

“Why thank you, it’s not often people listen to me play, and please, just Weiss.” Aaron was caught off guard by the informal language but didn't dare argue.

“In that case, just call me Aaron. May I ask why I didn’t see you when I met the King and Queen? I seemed to attract quite a few nobles with my attire.” Aaron examined himself with exaggerated care, and to his credit, Weiss did try to hide her smile behind her hand.

“I would have if I knew a daring man such as yourself was presenting in front of my father. I heard from some of the maids how you swiftly made Earl Conrad shrivel.” Aaron looked back, now fully realizing what he had just done.

“What can I say? American politics either make or break you. Luckily the former happened to me.” Aaron boasted, he wasn't technically wrong.

“Excuse my interruption but sir Aaron, the feast will be beginning soon and I still need to show you to your room.” The servant stepped forward from the door.

“Ah right. Will I be seeing you there Weiss?” Aaron turned to the Princess who was taken back by the question.

“Why do you ask Sir Aaron?” Weiss formed a cunning smile across her face, and she was right; why did he ask that? Realizing he was digging himself into a hole, Aaron quickly rebounded.

“Well I thought about asking you for some information about this kingdom. Having multiple opinions never hurts does it?” Aaron stated, though Weiss seemed a bit unimpressed by his answer.

“I suppose you're correct in saying that. And to answer your question, yes I will be attending.” Weiss ended the conversation by turning back to her harp. Returning to the hallway, Aaron walked with the servant but his mind was elsewhere.

“Why was she so upset over my answer?” Aaron thought, but shrugged it off as royalty being royalty.