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In the intervening silence, there wasn’t much else to say. I turned and walked away, leaving those below to grumble amongst each other and decide their next course of action on their own. If they got rowdy, the turrets would turn on and slaughter them. Of course, if they organized and attacked the turrets, they could easily overwhelm us, but these were a divided people and I had to believe that they didn’t have the organization or wherewithal to mount a resistance.

Part of the reason I left immediately was to seem confident and mysterious. I couldn’t show these guys any weaknesses at all. I had to seem like I had them in my hands, just like Randall did. As much as I hated that guy, I wasn’t so foolish that I wouldn’t use some of his strategies myself. If I did, my dream could be destroyed in an instant, just like when I was captured by Ascension initially.

“Are you really sure you want to call yourself Ascension?” Raven asked nervously.

“There is no one living who would otherwise use that name.” I shrugged. “Besides, I like what it signifies. A rising up… I want this place to be a means of ascending this world out of the wasteland. I believe that I can help people pull out of their current hardships and become a regular society once again.”

Raven gave me a sidelong look. It suggested that he wasn’t buying my words at all, but it didn’t matter. As long as I had the extra protection and muscle, that’s all I needed from him. In the end, he didn’t say anything more on it, but he did make an offhanded finger at my shoulder.

“What do you want to do about that?” He was glaring at the murder dragon.

“Hmm?” I reached up and stroked its neck. “What about it?”

As I scratched it, it put its neck out and closed its eyes, seemingly liking this kind of petting.

“You’ve seen its parents,” Raven responded. “It’ll get bigger. You probably should let it go, or kill it.”

“Have you ever seen someone tame a murder dragon?” I asked.

“Tame… how can you tame this monster? It’s a threat. Once it grows old enough, it’ll just turn on us.”

“I’m not so sure.” I shrugged. “For the time, leave it with plenty of food. I’ll decide if it starts becoming a problem. I see it being a rather useful guard dog.”

“A dog…” He let out a breath and then shook his head. “By that order, you’re planning on leaving?”

“Yes… um… I’ll need to bring more supplies,” I responded awkwardly. “For, um, next week. The girls can attest, my journey takes a week. Do you know what I need you to do?”

That wasn’t true at all, but I wasn’t going to explain things to Raven about another world. I had told him about the mirror, but not about another world. As far as he knew, it had been a communication device, and that device was now broken. Why wouldn’t it take a week for me to make a round trip to the home base and back? At least, it was believable enough that he wouldn’t ask questions.

“Yes.” He responded to my question. “You want us to fetch that generator and get it loaded here. You want us to contact the Rink and let the mayor and by extension, the caravan know our new location. You also want the courtyard cleaned out and all the miscreants removed.”

He called them miscreants, even though they were raiders just like he had been only a short time before. He seemed to almost say the name with a bit of disdain as well. For a group of raiders, he certainly seemed to dislike raiders.

“In that case, defer to Katarina if you have any other questions.”

He stiffened at that but didn’t say anything. “Fine.”

I knew he didn’t like her. At some point, I’d need to find out what that was about. For the moment, it was fine if they were pushing things along. I probably should stay in this world longer and help them set everything up, but I had been gone long enough from my old world. I had to swing down below and get the dinosaur bones, and then bring them to Lily. I also needed to talk to Mizuki about setting up a business on Earth’s side of things, not to mention I needed to find time to study for my high school exams so I could graduate early.

Just thinking about it all made me tired. I bid Raven farewell and then escaped back to my room. The murder dragon didn’t seem like being in small rooms and had jumped off my shoulder as soon as I opened the door. When the door was closed, I leaned against it and let out a sigh.

“You’ll be leaving soon?” Katarina’s voice came from the bed, sounding a bit like Raven a moment before.

I opened my eyes and raised an eyebrow. “You’re still here?”

Katarina blushed, turning her head. “I didn’t want to get in the way. How did your speech go?”

“They only tried to kill me once,” I responded, pushing off of the doorway and tiredly walking to the bed.

It was the afternoon at this point, but I had been up the entire night before and even when I went to bed, I had spent some of that time naked with Katarina. Remembering such a thing, it was my turn to blush. Katarina was still naked as well, although she had a sheet covering her body. Just remembering the previous night was incredibly stimulating and hard to believe. Yet, as Katarina sat up and moved up to me in the bed, wrapping her arms around me and pressing her delicious chest against my back, I had to accept that what we did the previous night had really happened.

“You didn’t answer my question.” She whispered into my ear.

“I have things I must do back there,” I said dryly, although feeling her there, I felt regretful saying this.

“Do you… have a girlfriend there?”

“I don’t!” I spun to look at her, causing her to look surprised a second before she burst out laughing.

“Daniel, you don’t need to worry so much.”

“You wouldn’t get jealous?”

Katarina tilted her head, looking at me from the side. “I wouldn’t say that. I’ll naturally be jealous of any time you spend away from me. When you do decide to tell Kiera, I’ll be jealous of your time with her too. I just want you to be open about it. If you do find someone over there, don’t keep it from me.”

I nodded slowly. “I won’t.”

Of course, I didn’t have anyone over there. For some reason, when she had asked that, Mizuki had appeared in my mind, but even calling her a friend at this point would be a hard sell. There was Lily, of course, but our relationship was all business. My sister clearly didn’t count, so yeah, I had no one on that side.

Katarina continued to stare at me for a few more moments before finally pulling back. Her hands came out and started to rub my shoulders. It wasn’t until she rubbed them that I realized out tense they had been.

“We’ll be okay,” Katarina spoke up. “Kiera is still recovering, but we have the Fire Raven’s here right now. We’ll be safe. Just do what you need to do.”

“Are you certain the Fire Ravens won’t turn on your guys?” I asked.

“No, they want.”

I turned to her, startled by the conviction that I heard in her voice. “How can you be so sure?”

“Raven…” Katarina stated, and when I continued to stare at her, she continued uncertainly. “T-they won’t betray you. I’m certain of it.”

I didn’t know where Katarina’s sudden bout of confidence was. We had ended up being tortured together, so I had some strange feeling of comradery with the guy. Plus, he seemed friendly enough and had never intentionally harmed me. I didn’t worry that they would take advantage of the three girls, which is why I had Cecelia back a command into the turrets. I gave Katarina the ability to turn the turrets hostile with a command. If they did turn on them, she could retaliate severely.

“Alright… then I guess I should get going then.” I stood up and dusted myself off.

There really was no special thing toward transportation. I could now move back and forth from this world to that world without any pretense. I still wanted to be reserved about it though, as the ability still required crystals, but as long as I was holding crystals it would work. I had crystals in my inventory, and it seemed to just take them from there. I wasn’t sure if that was Cecelia’s tinkering or what.

However, I needed to visit two places before I could disappear. I needed to speak to Jeri about her meds, and I needed to get those dinosaur bones from the museum. I was a little worried about leaving the safety of the museum, especially while the people outside were still making their decisions, but thankfully there was a plank connecting this building to the museum without having to leave it, so I didn’t need to go far.

As I walked to the door, there was a knock. It opened a second later as Raven glanced in. He was breathing rather hard and looked a bit worried. For a second, my heart fell. Did they attack?

“It’s Dragon’s Claw,” Raven said worriedly. “Their leader has requested a meeting.”

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