“Yuri, do your thing.” As I spoke, the pink dryad was already fondling the mutated Lamia with her many tendrils and reconnecting the dismembered or amputated bits when necessary.
“Oh, Michael, you’re back way sooner than I expected. Welcome home.” Before Morneth could get a word in, a transparent and naked Wood Elf suddenly appeared, floating in the air between us.
I snickered, murmuring “I guess a few months or years is nothing to people like us…” Then I said “Anyway, Morneth. Can you take her away for me? There should still be some Snake Tribe around that can understand their ancient tongue. You’re probably the only one here that can physically take her away. Maeleth, can you spread the word that I’m back?”
“Not my job anymore.” She giggled and asked “I guess you haven’t heard yet? Ailyn created this amazing device that can help people send messages across the whole forest without even needing magic to operate. She named it a ‘radio’… It’s really amazing! There are these talk shows and music channels-”
“Okay, well can you go and let some radio journalist or whatever the hell they’re called, go and announce that I’ve returned? Umm, they should probably use some fancy title like Michael, the Spirit of Eternal Suffering. Also, make sure to let them know that I’ll be in Angren for the time being, since there are probably people who want to meet or kill me.”
There comes a time when you finally need to settle down… For a while at least. Angren was going to be my new home. It wasn’t the geographical center of Lorthon, but it was the heart of everything that existed in the country of Alfirin. It was even in the middle of the continent, if you included all the extra bits in each direction. Like the giant dragon head to the west or the huge desert in the east. Most importantly, it was on the edge of the Forest of Corruption and one of the only places where dangerous creatures from there could invade the country. If anything happened, and I wasn’t able to teleport for whatever reason, I could have used various other methods to get to the emergency. Anyway, I should stop rambling on about that now.
Once the I finished chatting with Morneth and Maeleth, I led those that could actually fit through the doors, into Angren Tower. Also known as the Lorelei Watchtower. The whole thing was built like a really thick skyscraper, about a fifty meters tall back then, but they were already working on making it much bigger. There were artillery and flak cannons on the building, which went off at least once a day, to deal with various threats. Fortunately, the building was pretty well soundproofed.
It wasn’t just black mithril and enchanted glass. There were all kinds of beast hides, bones and other junk glued to the outside. Not intentionally though. That was just the consequence of being a priority target for a lot of demonic creatures. Slimes would occasionally try to climb it and start eating at the black mithril, only to dry out and turn into a sticky glue that actually helped hold the thing together under all that stress.
The two massive doors that let us enter the tower from the coliseum were five meters wide and tall, each. It had to be that big in order to fit such huge materials and corpses into the building, but it actually led downwards, into a really wide and tall basement. Down there was basically an open marketplace, where adventurers and merchants would barter. Not just buying and selling. People actually traded certain items for others and there were no taxes in Angren. At least not in the normal, monetary, government fucking you in the ass at every turn, kind of sense. Everything was privately owned and operated, including the maintenance of various facilities.
Obviously it would’ve been impossible to be completely unregulated, since if someone was making bombs in a residential building and accidentally blew themselves up, it would have been a serious problem for everyone in the vicinity. A lot of really dangerous biological weapons tests were also banned, within the entire forest. That kind of stuff needed to be done in the desert or somewhere that an accident wouldn’t kill too many people.
Yuri got a pass though, since no one could really stop her anyway. Just like no one would be able to stop me if I really wanted to destroy the planet, that’s just how things are. Sometimes you have to hope for the best, because you have no way to prevent the worst from happening, regardless of what you do…
“Michael?” I heard a vaguely familiar voice calling out to me, and then I saw a little harpy girl, who looked way more like a giant Seraphim. By that, I mean that she was about five feet tall, with many humanoid features: Her feet weren’t birdlike at the very least. Blonde hair and blue eyes, with pale white skin and wearing a fluttering black dress. Four fluffy white wings on here back, along with the normal ones on her arms, though she seemed to be floating in the air with wind magic rather than the slow flapping of those wings.
I sighed, wondering “Is this some scheme, Lucy? Why did you bring everyone I care about into one city?”
She giggled, fluttering over and poking my helmet, while asking “Michael~, you’re so paranoid as always~… Why do you think I needed to do anything? Isn’t everything that’s happened, including my own birth, because of your actions? Hehehe~, should I call you Daddy?”
“Alright, let’s not create a scene. Lori, where’s the elevator?” I could tell exactly where the ‘others’ were, because they had my mark on them. But it was really crowded and chaotic in that huge open room, so it was hard to tell where a lot of things were. There were obviously signs on the ceiling that pointed towards various locations, like the many different types of bathrooms that various races required. However, at a glance, I couldn’t see anything that said ‘elevator’ or ‘stairs’. Not even an emergency exit.
Lorelei was sitting on my left shoulder, so she had an even better view than I did. After looking around a bit, she muttered “Ummm, I’ve never actually been down here before…”
Fortunately, Lucy volunteered to be our guide. Yeah, definitely not a trap at all.