The Runaway Magician and the Lost Prince

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Chapter 24

According to records, the mysterious fog surrounding Atlantis had been there for at least 15,000 years. The mist killed all life that tried to go near it, making direct travel from the peninsula of Echo to Ali’i Island near impossible. Adventuring teams never returned from Atlantis, and ships were said to disappear if they got too close. For 15,000 years, nobody knew what the miasma was or how to get rid of it, leaving Atlantis the source of myth stuff and legend. But now, Mira finally had a solution.

If it truly was a kind of fog, then theoretically, with enough power, it should move with the wind. As of now, it was stuck slowly rotating around Atlantis. But with enough manpower, the mages of Poseidos could speed up the rotations using wind magic and send the smog up into the stratosphere, where the strong magical particles there could completely destroy it.

Mira figured this out by studying how rare minerals got up to the surface in the Bannaanka Weyn. The plains sent them up with their digging and rotating jaws, where they washed into the rivers. They were dissolved by the moving water, then returned to the earth when the bison drank the water and then released their feces. If the mist around Atlantis was preserving the life on there, then there might be prehistoric species from 15,000 years ago still living on the island. Mira had to figure out a way not to damage the ecosystem, and this wind magic method was the best she could come up with, as it only affected the outside environment of Atlantis. With enough precision, they wouldn’t have to touch a single grain of sand on the island itself.

Looking at the plan on paper was one thing, but actually putting it to practice was something entirely different. Poseidos had the greatest navy in all of Eyuth, but it was severely lacking in the magical department. There were a good number of court magicians, but whether or not they would be up to this massive task was up for debate. And the budget allotted for the Atlantean Restoration Project was only so much. If they actually managed to dispel the miasma, they still had to venture on to Atlantis. Soldiers were in consideration but maybe mercenaries were better? There was too much to consider.

Luckily, Serena had a good enough understanding of wind magic to be able to help out with the fog dissipation. It wasn’t her specialty, but the magic necessary was surprisingly simple and easy to do. The main concern was how to replace quickly lost mana during the procedure, which Mira was figuring out with the head magician. Kakane volunteered to be a part of the exploration team if Serena and the other magicians were successful. He was accepted, under recommendation by Mira. Now, they had to hope that everything would turn out alright.

Morale was now running high, and Mira intended to capitalize on that. On ships from the Poseidon navy, the court magicians would sail out near Atlantis. There, they would perform a miracle… Or not.

The end goal was finally in sight, so the Momi Hale Palace was full of hustle and bustle. As he was lost in his own thoughts, Serena had to push Kakane out of the way of several different servants. He seemed awfully distant lately and was constantly absent-minded. He occasionally touched his scar, but Serena wasn’t sure what it meant.

“Kakane, are you alright? You’re really starting to worry me.” No response. “Hello? Is anyone home? Kakane!” Serena jostled his shoulder and he started rapidly blinking, looking at her in dazed confusion.

“Huh? Oh, what is it?”

“Are you okay? You’re bound to get hurt at this rate,” Serena said in concern. “Are you sure you don’t need me to brew that tea for you?”

“I’m fine, really. I’ve just been thinking about stuff lately,” he said, rubbing his scar. “You should focus on the Atlantean Restoration Project. Don’t let me interfere.”

“But…”

“It’s gotten quite lively, hasn’t it?”

“Princess Megrez!”

Both Kakane and Serena bowed their heads. Megrez giggled.

“I heard the two of you are assisting Mira with the Atlantean Restoration Project.”

“Are you also participating, Your Highness?” Serena asked.

“Yes. In addition to my duties as the princess of Poseidos, I am also one of the court magicians. Just like my fellow mages, I will be helping Mira.”

“I see. I am also on that team, so I look forward to working with you, Your Highness,” Serena said. The two girls beamed at each other.

“And you, Sir Kakane?” Megrez asked. “Are you also helping the court magicians?” He flinched.

“P-Please, just Kakane is fine. I ask that you do not refer to me so formally,” he said, holding up a hand. “It makes me uncomfortable. And to answer your question, I’m not on the mage team but on the expedition team. When you succeed, I’ll be accompanying you onto Atlantis.”

“You seem rather confident in this operation,” Megrez noted.

“Both Mira and Serena are on the team, and I trust their abilities. Especially Serena.”

“I’m honored you think so highly of me,” Serena said. Kakane shrugged his shoulders.

“What can I say, you’ve gotten me out of some sticky situations before in the past. I can’t not give you credit for that, can I?”

“I mean, I guess, but that was mostly you, though! You were great back then, at the Bannaanka Weyn. I’m not sure I helped out too much…” Kakane gave her a long, hard look and then shrugged.

“…Whatever you say.”

Serena was slightly dismayed by Kakane’s aloofness. If he were acting like his normal self, he should have at least praised himself some more. He didn’t even react when Serena complimented him! There was something very wrong with him, but Serena didn’t want to pry, lest she insulted her friend.

“I’m gonna go take a nap,” Kakane said, stretching. “Holler if you need me.” Serena nodded. She did think that was a good idea; Kakane had been looking like he needed more sleep as of late.

“Okay.”

“Worried?” Megrez asked.

“Yeah… He’s been acting really weirdly lately.” Serena wondered if something had happened after Kakane’s talk with King Kai. Whatever it was, it was undoubtedly affecting Kakane for the worse. Megrez smiled and placed a hand on Serena’s shoulder.

“He seems like a strong boy. I’m sure he’ll be back on his feet in no time,” she said reassuringly. Serena offered her a weak grin.

“Yes, I do hope so.”

“I know! Why don’t you come with me for some tea in the royal gardens? It’s such a lovely day out, and being among all the flora with a cup of hibiscus tea always relaxes me. We have such amazing specimens there, too. I’m sure you’ll love it.”

“I think I’ll take you up on that offer, Your Highness. Thank you very much.”

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