The Origin Of Mount Woe Chapter 8
Opening the door to the conference room, Vigo was surprised to see Karak was there already.
"Hey man, the sun isn't even up on the ground yet."
"Huh. I haven't been thinking about the ground lately. I'll have to go back sometime."
'You may get the chance sooner than you think.' Vigo thought to himself.
"Anyway, I hope you don't mind me being here early, but I didn't sleep well last night. Say, where's Zeal? Or should I say Queen Zeal?"
"Uh... The Queen... hasn't been feeling well in the mornings... lately..." Vigo gulped. Karak raised an eyebrow. "I'll tell you more later, if you're still willing to talk to me." Vigo was glad when Belthasar stepped in the door, flanked by two advisors.
"Good morning, your majesty. Gaspar should be here with the research in a moment. I regret to say, he would be here now if I had helped him, but I had a great idea last night."
"Oh? Tell, tell!"
"Well, I believe it may be possible to construct a vehicle that will fly. Not magically powered, mind you. I have been studying the wing designs of birds, and I think it would be possible to recreate the basic system, on a much larger scale."
"Where did you ever dream that up?" Vigo had never considered the possibility.
"I actually came up with the original idea a while back, the night we found you and Zeal lying in the snow outside of Sun camp. But then-" He was interrupted by the sound of Gaspar, Melchior, and dozens of advisors crowding their way into the counsel room, most with cheerful good mornings.
"Okay everyone, sorry to get you up so early, but this is rather important." Vigo waited for a minute, while all the advisors figured out that he had spoken, and eventually quieted down. "Gaspar, do you have the information?"
"I do, your majesty, and its not good." Disturbed murmers ran through the crowd. "We have been monitoring the energy levels of the Sun stone, and they are dangerously low."
"Why?" Karak was confused. "I thought the Sun stone could just absorb more energy from the sun."
"That is technically true, but only while it is not being used."
"So, to recharge, we would have to land Enhasa?" Vigo asked, worried.
"I'm afraid that is correct."
"If we land, we might not get back up again." Vigo frowned, remembering their harrowing ascent. "I'm afraid that is not a viable option."
"Well, if things continue the way they are, the Sun stone can only provide power for five more years." Melchior spoke up. "And if we use up every last drop of energy, it can basically never be recharged."
"However, we can improve the situation." Gaspar leaned forward.
"Well that's good." Karak was relieved. "What do we have to do?"
"Our readings seem to show that only living things drain the Sun stone of it's energy. So, up here, only the grass, the few animals, and we people use energy. Now, recent research suggests that only those people who can't use magic actually use the energy."
"How much longer would you have without them, er, us?" Karak asked, suddenly sensing himself the spokesman for the magic-less.
"Nearly one hundred years. That would safely give us time to find other energy sources."
"So what exactly does this mean?" Karak demanded.
Vigo sighed. "It means, Karak, that you're the new king of Allegan."
"Allegan? No way! You're not sending us all back to the ground!"
"Until we find alternate energy sources, I'm afraid so. All right, let it be known that everyone who can't use magic must return to the ground. Every woman who does not have blue hair must return, unless she can prove her magical skills. Every man must prove his magical skills, no blue hair dye will be accepted!" Almost everyone shared an uneasy chuckle.
"Man, I can't believe you're doing this to us." Karak growled.
"We have no choice." Vigo reminded him.
"Oh yes you do. Its just that you high and mighty enlightened people can't bear the thought of going back to the ground yourselves, so your just sending all of us back."
"Our going back to the ground would serve no purpose." Melchior tried to reason with him.
"Not to you people. But I've been scouting on my own often enough to know how hard it is to survive without magic."
"Then what would you suggest we do?" Vigo looked him in the eye.
Karak shook his head. "Just forget it. Fine, I'll tell everyone that we've been banished back to the ground, to live under the shadow of Enhasa." With that, he stormed out of the room.
"This won't be good for morale." Belthasar sighed.
"Not for them, no." Vigo frowned. "But for us, it will be." Belthasar gave him a questioning look. "I'm afraid we really have just been split into two kingdoms. Not worrying about the Sun stone will be a big plus for those staying here. Well, since we have no further business, this disastrous meeting is adjourned."
Vigo sighed as he entered his glowing chambers. He sat down heavily in his favorite chair, looking at the special Dreamstone dagger Melchior had forged for him. Whether Karak believed it or not, he really did feel bad about sending them back to the harsh surface world. But then, the door opened and Zeal walked in. Vigo could worry himself over a situation that couldn't be avoided later; this vision of pure beauty required all of his attention.
Zeal smiled as she saw Vigo's admiring gaze. It was nice to know he was still truly in love with her, even though right now her hair was disheveled, and she was still a little pale. "Well Vigo, I've just consulted with the medics."
Now he looked a little apprehensive. "Really? I was wondering where you'd gone."
"Aren't you the least bit interested in what they had to say?" She asked, looking demure.
Vigo rubbed the back of his head. "Oh, well, of course!" He said nervously.
"You know how I've been getting sick in the morning..." He nodded. "But I seem to have a bigger appetite then ever..." He nodded again, gulping. "And how I've been getting a little, er, fat..."
"Yeah..." Zeal smiled inwardly. This was really driving him crazy.
"Well Vigo..." She walked up and put her arms around his waist. "I'm pregnant."
"Oh." Vigo sank back down to his chair. "Oh my." He stared, dumbstruck, at the floor.
"What? Didn't you say that you wanted no other woman to have your children?"
"Yes! I just wasn't quite expecting... children... so soon." He was still staring at the floor.
"Why wait? Its not that there isn't enough to eat, or that its too cold even during the day, or that there wouldn't be time for a proper education. This isn't like Allegan, you know."
"No... It sure isn't." Zeal stared at his face. It was obvious that he had already been distracted from thoughts of the new life growing within her.
"All right, what exactly happened at your meeting this morning?"
"I had to give an order to send - how did Karak put it? - oh yes, the "unenlightened ones" back to Allegan, to conserve the Sun stone's energy."
"There was nothing else we could do?"
"No. Not in the short term anyway. We have to look for more energy sources while they're on the ground. But they won't be there forever. We just have to get them to understand that."
As Vigo had predicted, they did not understand. Nearly everyone put up a huge fuss. They acted like it was a death sentence, not an inconvenience. Finally, Vigo had to shout, "Look people! You can either let us teleport you down, or have the royal guard push you off the side, and hope atmospheric conditions are in your favor!"
Then, the crowd quieted down, and slowly people were teleported back to their old homes in Allegan. The work went quickly and efficiently, until only Karak was left. As he approached the edge of the plateau, Vigo was disturbed to see he was armed to the teeth. "What are you-?"He asked warily.
"Like I said, the surface world is a cruel place without magic, I want to be prepared. I also know that your word isn't going to mean bear turds down there, so I need to assert my authority."
"So you're okay with this?"
"Hell no!" Then he sighed. "But if you ever really need my help, I'll be here."
"Same here. You know I don't really want to send you all down there."
"Yeah, I guess not. Well, farewell, King Vigo."
"Farewell to you, King Karak."
Later that morning, Melchior was walking along the far edge of the plateau, trying unsuccessfully to monitor the progress of the people below. He was about to give up and go back to Enhasa, when he heard an odd roaring sound. Looking straight out instead of down, he saw a large projectile was about to crash into the mountain 100 feet below the plateau.
It closed the distance amazingly fast, pulling up at the last second. It carved a deep gouge in the grassy plain as it skidded to a stop. Melchior ran up, wondering what this thing could possibly be. Suddenly, a hatch opened in the side, and three figures stepped out. "What's going on? There wasn't any floating island the last time we were around this way!"
"We haven't been this way in a while." Another voice said. "I told you these guys were smart. So should we make contact now?"
"Yes, I defintely think so, because their lousy mountain damaged our ship!"
By this time, Melchior had made it to where the ship had skidded to a stop. "Greetings. I am Melchior, head Blacksmith of the kingdom of Enhasa."
"Looks like we don't have to make contact after all Masa." One of the figures giggled.
"What strange visitors! Welcome to Zeal!" - Anonymous
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