Chapter 167:

A King’s Duties

Atk 0 Crit All ~My attack stat is negligible, so I can't help but rely on critical hits to succeed!~

After about 30 minutes, Katalina decided that Koujiro’s punishment was enough. She redirected the portal high in the sky toward the open sea. The next time that Koujiro fell into the bottom portal, he was launched horizontally, skipping a few times on the water’s surface like a stone before going ‘kerplunk’. Fortunately for him, swimming had become a natural skill from living on an island nation.Bookmark here

Minutes later, a water-logged warrior trodded heavily along the water’s edge. His eyes looked dead to the world. A fish comically wiggled out from between his armor and flapped back into the water. Approaching me, he hung his head down wearily.Bookmark here

“Claude, why are women scary, no matter where you go?”Bookmark here

“Trouble with your harem, I take it?”Bookmark here

Koujiro’s face bolted upright with bloodshot eyes. “The girls, I thought I could handle after a certain point. What I didn’t anticipate was all the kids raising hell!”Bookmark here

‘Oh, right. After I returned from Macali, Katsys and Eryn told me that his harem girls were all pregnant. Had it really been almost a year since that time? Guess it was.’Bookmark here

“The crying and screaming, the wretched diapers, the general craziness of not being able to do anything I want – I got so sick of it!”Bookmark here

“So… you just ran away?” Katalina asked in a menacing voice. I turned around to see her brandishing her guns with a dark expression.Bookmark here

I mean, I couldn’t blame her since it seemed particularly scum-like to just leave your wife – or in this case, wives – to your kids and run. ‘Sorry, Koujiro. I can’t defend you on this one,’ I thought.Bookmark here

“No, no.” He shook his head and defended himself with his arms, anticipating another bolt of magic shot at him again. “I plan to go back! I just needed a break of some sort. An excuse to be away from it all!”Bookmark here

“So, you decided to randomly drop by here? I find it hard to believe that they’d let you do that without a good reason,” I poked at his fragile mentality.Bookmark here

“That is-“Bookmark here

Just then, something buzzed in Koujiro’s armor. He paused and took it out, his face shifting to a look of panic. A voice echoed from the device in his hand.Bookmark here

“My King, have you arranged for an audience with the new Queen yet? I’m eager to find out if you can really be trusted to conduct yourself properly as one that represents the Isles of Macali. You’re not slacking off instead, now are you?”Bookmark here

Koujiro’s motions grew stiff and jittery at the accusation.Bookmark here

“No! No! J-Just fine! Everything is great, Liruru! I’m actually here with the Queen of Sistina and Sir Claude as of this very moment!”Bookmark here

He looked over to us, almost begging us to play along.Bookmark here

With a sigh, Katalina raised her voice.Bookmark here

“Yes, Queen Katalina of Sistina here. How wonderful it is to hear from you once again, Liruru. Everything here with your King is under control. We’ll take ‘good care’ of him.”Bookmark here

Koujiro and I couldn’t help but laugh nervously at how her intonation shifted near the end of her statement.Bookmark here

“Oh good. I’ll leave things to you. Do keep my dear husband in check. Fushi, Riza, Zeni, and Pika are taking their naps, so I had time to contact him for a status report. Have to grab Myucel because it’s her turn to watch over Chiko, Baku, and Wani, but they are all doing good without their daddy. I’ll check in again later.”Bookmark here

As the communication was cut off, I stared at Koujiro blankly.Bookmark here

“Those names for your kids. They kind of ring a bell… Aren’t they-“Bookmark here

“Um, no, nope! I totally didn’t name them after the starters of a popular monster-catching game!”Bookmark here

‘Uh-huh.’ Koujiro’s denial was all that I needed to convince myself that I was right.Bookmark here

“Anyway, rather than ducking out on your fatherly duties, couldn’t you have hired some maids or something? You are King, after all.”Bookmark here

Koujiro waved that suggestion off with a sigh. “Macali’s traditions. The man is required to impart their guidance to the young ones in order for them to grow up strong or something. If I had known about that, I wouldn’t have been so gung-ho with my own flow!”Bookmark here

I clapped him on the shoulder. If I hadn’t been thrown into so many difficult situations myself, I wondered if the same carelessness would have stung me. Actually, I was told that my lack of observation was often covered by the others. It was good to have people watching my back.Bookmark here

“Anyway, now that you are here, I suppose that you have an agenda of sorts for meeting with the Queen of Sistina.” I shifted topics before Koujiro felt the need for more alcohol.Bookmark here

Koujiro explained that he was trying to re-establish the friendly pact between the two nations, now that his ‘acquaintances’ were in charge. However, not knowing the proper procedure for it, he simply hopped onto a trading ship, rather than arranging for a formal visit.Bookmark here

Although the merchants of Sistina were fine with taking him across the seas since they were paid, he failed to mention that he was Macali’s king. Few people aside from us even knew his identity, which had been kept a secret outside of their borders. The ship crew dismissed him as some entitled noble that was best left ignored. As a result, the port guards were in for quite a shock when they approached him asking for his travel papers.Bookmark here

“Travel documents? I’ve never heard of such a thing. Am I not free to roam like the adventurer I am? I am a king after all!”Bookmark here

Koujiro’s statements didn’t help his case, as the guards immediately labelled him as a madman. They were even more surprised when apprehending him resulted in an overwhelming counterattack.Bookmark here

“You’ll not touch me! I go where I please!” Koujiro yelled before he marched towards town. The guards could do nothing but call for backup, continuing to keep an eye on the dangerous person. Even a large regiment of guards had ended up failing to do much against the mysterious man’s battle prowess.Bookmark here

Thinking about it now, I found it rather silly that a small slip of paper could get one out of so much trouble. When we ended up in Sanshiro, my companions and I had tried to blend in with the locals, so no one approached us about our origins until the incident with Chrys. On the other hand, we didn’t stick out like a shining crown among a sea of pebbles. Koujiro only had himself to blame for the self-insistent gaudiness of his armor.Bookmark here

“And thus, I am here, hoping to extend an offer of peace and support between Macali and Sistina.” Koujiro bowed at the end of his explanation, a rather striking difference from the tirade that he went on against the same person not less than an hour ago. Despite the fact that we weren’t in any royal chamber, but a quiet stretch along the coast, Koujiro tried his best to be regal in his audience with a foreign leader.Bookmark here

“The girls made you practice that, didn’t they?” Katalina started chuckling at his flagrantly forced theatrics to win back some favor from her. “If only you had done that from the start.”Bookmark here

“I apologize. Stress and alcohol bring out the worst in me.”Bookmark here

“As long as you behave like your wives wish you to, you are more than welcome to visit here. Just notify the right people ahead of time. Unlike my brother, the previous king, I hold no hesitation in letting the trading companies in each nation work out the details.”Bookmark here

It appeared that Katalina had ‘mostly’ forgiven Koujiro. Also, it seemed like getting some ‘air’ sobered him from his drunken aggression. With the official work taken care of, it would be nice to hang out with him for a bit.Bookmark here

“Oh, wait. Before you go, I have one question.” Katalina stopped the two of us as we started walking off. “How does that communicator work? For it to operate at such a long distance…”Bookmark here

Koujiro took out the voice communicator that he used to talk to Liruru, who was all the way in Macali. I recalled that Katalina and I were just discussing methods for long-range mana activation.Bookmark here

“Not sure. It has a type of special stone, I believe. Something that I helped gather from the Divine Isles.” Koujiro scratched his head as he tried to remember the important details. Since that wasn’t enough, he let Katalina examine the device with her magic.Bookmark here

Within moments, the inventor girl’s eyes lit up. “I see! A Resonance Stone! I’ve heard about them in stories, but this is the first time I’ve handled one. You obtained this at those Divine Isles?”Bookmark here

Many questions came up in my head, since I felt out of the loop. Interrupting them, I asked them what it was all about.Bookmark here

According to Koujiro, there were a set of islands to the northwest of Macali where these Resonance Stones could be found. However, much of the island was a rather treacherous place, filled with powerful golems that guarded the area. The Divine Isles were heavy with mana, which supplied them with endless energy. However, no one knew how they were created or for what purpose. Hardly anyone was able to set foot upon it, much less have the time to harvest any Resonance Stones.Bookmark here

“However, I – the champion hero of this world – found it to be a promising challenge! How strong could they even be for one such as myself?” Koujiro struck a pose of bravado.Bookmark here

“I take it that you managed to beat them since you got ahold of this stone?” I chuckled at his confidence.Bookmark here

However, Koujiro suddenly deflated and rubbed his head nervously. “Ah, I managed to smack back some of them and snatch a few small ones in a cave near the sea, but there was hardly anything I could do when they called for backup. I mean, a single blow nearly shattered my best armor, and their defense was so high that I could barely dent their bodies.”Bookmark here

‘Ack, that didn’t sound promising.’ If it was a place that not even Koujiro could handle, then the golems were certainly more fearsome than anything I had ever faced. On the other hand, their defense may not matter quite so much with my abilities. There was no way to know unless I faced one. Looking over to Katalina, who was still studying the device, it became apparent that finding one of these Resonance Stones would be necessary to take her own inventions to the next step.Bookmark here

“Resonance Stones of this size only have a small mana output. While they can effectively serve as mana relay points, there is a ceiling to it.”Bookmark here

Koujiro and I gave a mutual wave of ignorance at her explanation, which we, uneducated in the same spectrum of her intelligence, couldn’t interpret.Bookmark here

“Resonance Stones serve as locations in which a resonant signal jumps between each one. The texts say that symbols were magically infused to connect those bearing the same mark. Mana sent through a resonance stone is converted into a signal. As a result, information imbedded in the mana is not lost, like in the case of normal magic stones. The mana is reconverted upon arriving at another Resonance Stone.”Bookmark here

Trying to understand what it meant, it made me think of cell phone service and reception towers. When I tried to explain that otherworld technology to her, Katalina noted that it seemed pretty similar to how the Resonance Stones worked. Thankfully, my dumbed-down explanation made sense to Koujiro, who was also an otherworlder.Bookmark here

“In any case, a stone of this size wouldn’t be enough to sustain the portal spell. I would need… something of about this size.” Katalina made a motion with her hands, palming an imaginary object the size of a cinder block.Bookmark here

“Ehhh? Why did you need one so big? Isn’t your portal gun powered by a small magic stone?” I replied.Bookmark here

“In that case, a magic stone only acts as a medium between a magician and the tool. It doesn’t need to be particularly large. However, a standalone set of portals is a two-way connection, unlike Koujiro’s device which sends a signal one way. This requires self-sufficiency in magic – the capacity to operate without a user on the other side. There is no way to control a portal that is completely out of sight, so it requires self-activation. The standard magic stones for the portals in Macali are the same way too. However, they were daisy-chained in between the islands, rather than relying on a Resonance Stone to bridge the connection. A long-distance leap won’t work the same.”Bookmark here

Well, she likely knew what she was talking about despite the rest of us being lost, so there was no choice but to find ones to her specifications. There was only one problem.Bookmark here

“I never saw any stones of that size at the island’s edge. Supposedly, we detected much larger ones deeper in, but the resistance was too much…”Bookmark here

Right. The golems were going to be a major hurdle. However, Koujiro had been alone at the time.Bookmark here

“Is it possible with 2- no, 3 Electi?” I couldn’t help but ask.Bookmark here

“Maybe… you have others as strong as us on hand?” Koujiro asked, a spark of adventure seeming to light up in his eyes.Bookmark here

“Someone comes to mind.”Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.