"Is there a problem? Kimberly asked me nervously.
I looked back only to realize that I had entered and walked through the room without worrying about who was in there. Currently only Kimberly and Hope were present.
"Yes, but not something that can harm us." I replied.
"Any way I can help?" Kimberly asked politely.
I looked back out the window at the park for a moment. "Just a question of priorities." I replied to her.
"Priorities?" Kimberly asked curiously.
"With practice I can make the haven that we need to be safe, or at least safer. However out there is something that seems like it would make a better haven. Do I go after it before or after I make a haven?" I asked though I wasn't really expecting an answer.
"Before of course." Kimberly replied.
I turned to look at her hoping she would elaborate on why she chose that answer.
"It is somewhere dangerous right?" she asked then answered for me. "Of course it is, if it wasn't you would just go and get it with your space thingy. Since it is somewhere dangerous you are going to need to take people with you. If you take people with you then you leave the rest of us with less defense. How would you feel if you were out there getting something to make a great home for your family just to have some of them die because you didn't use what you had to make a normal home for them to be safe in first? We can always move later." Kimberly told me.
I hadn't thought of it that way. It made sense. We could always move later, and we were likely to move eventually anyways. Neither the flood dragon scale or the item out there were capable of supporting a tiny world haven, I didn't need anything that big yet, but with time I would probably want to even if I didn't need too.
"Thank you." I told her giving her a smile.
"It's fine, you can't be expected to think of everything. Asking questions and being willing to listen, even when it isn't something you want to hear, is part of what makes someone a good leader." Kimberly told me.
I nodded, made sense even if I had never really thought about it. Honestly I had always thought a leader was the guy who got everyone to do what he wanted no matter how stupid his ideas were, he just had to be convincing enough. That was how a lot of the novels I read seemed to portray it, sure some of them had people whose opinions they asked, but they usually ended up ignoring it anyways. Maybe I had been reading the wrong novels.
I took my leave and headed back to my room only to find a few distractions inside, in the form of Megan, Karen, Calidia, and surprisingly Grace.
"Figure it out?" Megan asked me.
I nodded. "Yeah, found another focus that is better than the one I have now, but Kimberly convinced me it would be better to get it later once we had somewhere safe to keep everyone." I replied.
"Mother is pretty smart. Dad wouldn't have done so well if it wasn't for her." Grace replied with a smile. "Though he will never admit it."
"Are you going to set up the haven now?" Karen asked me.
I shook my head. "Can't I need to wait a bit for my mana level to rise, I used to much practicing." I replied.
Calidia nodded knowingly. "I thought that would happen." she told me.
"Did you?" I asked.
She nodded. "And since you can't do anything until it regenerates I thought you might be bored." she told me with a smile.
I had an idea where this was going and I couldn't say I minded. Waiting by myself for my mana to regenerate would be awfully boring. I smiled at the four of them. "I wouldn't mind the company." I replied.
They smiled back then Calidia got up and guided me to a chair. After she pushed me down into it she returned to sit with the other girls. "So what did you want to know?" Calidia asked me.
Obviously my confusion showed on my face making the four girls laugh. "You wanted to get to know the other girls better before the bond is restored. We agree with you. Grace and Caly are here to get to know you better, with your clothes on, since they seem to be the most determined to regain the marital bond." Karen explained to me.
I can't say I wasn't disappointed, all of my girls were incredibly beautiful. Even without the raging lust of the previous martial bonds I only had one real thought when I was around them. Well, two actually, one was to loudly declare my claim on them the other was what I had been expecting to do the moment I found the four in my room. Hardly romantic, and I even questioned why I was so focused on that now, especially when I had spent years celibate, even if it was unwillingly. Was it simply the hormones of young man newly indoctrinated into the pleasures of the flesh? Or was there more to it?
I relaxed back into the chair and thought. They were right, I had wanted to get to know the girls better, though that was more an excuse to give the girls time to adjust to the idea and give them a chance to accept reestablishing the marital bond willing. I wouldn't force it, no matter how much I wanted too. Though I wasn't above seducing them, or at least trying too, I had no experience with that so I had no idea how capable I could be. There was the possibility that in trying to seduce them I could frighten them away.
"Who is the old hag Annitte was talking about?" I asked Calidia finally.
Calidia sighed. "You don't know much about the havens right?" she asked me.
I nodded. Calidia was my sole source as my parents didn't discuss the active havens.
"There are thousands of havens. Among the thousands of havens ninety eight percent of them can be divided into four factions. All the havens in a faction are interconnected. As you might have noticed after learning about the havens, they need to be connected to the Great Realm." she told me.
"Each faction has havens called pillars. They are the haven's that are connected directly to the Great Realm and take all the risk of invasion. The strength of each faction is mostly determined by the number of pillars in the faction. If you sister is who I think she is, she is the leader of one of the pillar havens of one of the two strongest factions, the Bonded. My grandmother is the leader of a pillar haven of the other strongest faction Freeborn."
"Do the factions get along?" Megan asked curiously.
Calidia nodded. "For the most part. Fighting isn't uncommon but it is controlled, insults to a pillar of any faction isn't permitted by anyone as it takes a gold core of significant strength to establish and defend a pillar haven. Problems between pillars are rare and the most frightening possibility among the havens."
"Why?" I asked.
"Even if you aren't supporting the haven with your own power the magic array is still tied to the creator. If the creator dies the magic array powering the haven will fail. Opening a gateway into the pillar havens to support all the havens with mana is dangerous, the bigger the gateway the greater the risk of invasion. Knowing that the pillars are very tolerant of each other because the loss of even one of them could cause the death of thousands if not millions of people, not only because of the collapse of their personnel haven, but when the mana supply is reduced because the other pillars are unable to risk increasing the size or number of their gateways, other havens will collapse until a new equilibrium is established."
Everyone turned pale at that. "Because of that, even if they don't like each other, the pillars are polite and tolerant of each other. Potential pillars are highly treasured and groomed with great care. Normally my grandmother wouldn't want me to associate with any of the members of the Bonded, but with you being the younger brother of the Bonded Core leaders you will definitely be considered a potential pillar, and she couldn't ask for a better match for me." Calidia explained.
"Is that why you couldn't take Daryl with you the first time we met?" Megan asked.
Calidia nodded. "Only golds have the strength to become a pillar, which is why he couldn't come with us if there was a chance his silver core could become a gold core. Our need for more pillars is so pressing that we are willing to sacrifice all the silvers we find in hopes of gaining one gold core with the potential to become a pillar. Though becoming a gold core doesn't mean that you will be a pillar, we have hundreds of gold cores in the havens and less than twenty pillars." she told us sadly.
Before we could continue our conversation and ask more about Calidia and her family then Grace, there was a knock at the door.
Hearing it Megan and Karen frowned unhappily, Karen moved quickly and pulled the door open to reveal a teary eyed Tracy. Seeing her in such a condition Karen didn't attempt to block her instead she stepped aside and let her in a worried look on her face.
"What is it?" I asked getting to my feet and moving to her side.
Tracy sobbed. "I know you are busy but I..I….I can't get through to any of them!" she wailed.
Tracy's family! I had completely forgotten about them after facing the dragon and my worries about everyone here!
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