Once he arrived in the communications center, William was brought the phone connecting to Commander Louis in the Western Cruonian Isles. “Commander Louis?”
“Speaking. I am glad you have arrived so quickly.”
“I was told a new ship showed up?”
“Yes, my king. I had them lay anchor nearby while we contacted you… they’re elves.”
“Elves…” William paused, “That’s better than human ships we didn’t know about, at least. Have you been able to communicate much?”
“Aye sir, they speak dwarven. Sorta. They have a funny accent, but they understood it in return well enough.”
“Have they said what they want?”
“They say they are on a diplomatic mission. They want to land on the shores of Cruonia and travel to the capital to converse with you in person.”
“They seem peaceful?”
“Aye, sir. Their ship is equipped with ballistae, but that just means they aren’t completely insane for sailing through the surrounding waters. They’ve taken no aggressive actions.”
“Then… send a ship to escort them to the nearest port. Make sure the commanding officer speaks dwarven.”
“In that case, I might go myself… pretty calm here most times. I could bring the phone in case something happens at sea…”
William thought for a few moments. His first thought is they should have kept up higher production of phones, since the Western Cruonian Isles should have had more than one for safety reasons. There were always so many other things to do with that money, however. Now… “Well, that’s probably the best option. I’d like to leave a good first impression on the elves… and that involves their diplomats arriving safely.”
Even if the elves weren’t coming to declare they wanted peace, at least they were coming to talk. William didn’t want to think how many lives were at stake if he missed the chance.
William paced around his office, practicing elven. There was no point to it, he was just worried. He didn’t even know if this elven would be anything like the elven they spoke, and they already spoke dwarven just fine. The idea that they might secretly converse in elven and be understood by him was nice… but not his reason for practicing what he had. He hadn’t even heard anyone else really speak it, which was an important part of fluency.
He just didn’t want to mess up. Sure, the elves were even further away than the dwarves, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t go to war if they really felt like it. Perhaps that would encourage the dwarves to do so as well, and then more people would die. William knew there would probably be more wars at some point, but he wanted to avoid it if at all possible.
William had no basis for interacting with the elves. What he knew about them was limited. He had physical descriptions of them. Tall, thin, pointy ears. That didn’t say much but that they were elves. They wore clothes that looked like plants, and those clothes were clearly magical. Some had staves, and some carried blades. William wasn’t going to deny them weapons for their personal defense. Besides, in the worst case scenario… elves were only worth a few trained humans each. That still put them below gevai in terms of combat prowess. They could be dealt with if necessary. He just hoped it wasn’t.
For the sake of his floorboards, William went to talk with Lorelei. It was good to take his mind off of the elves traveling, and he wasn’t getting much other work done. Good assistants helped with much of his duties. There were still things he had to attend to personally, but they could wait. None of them were as important as the elves, and they wouldn’t be done correctly at the current time.
“What are you up to, Lorelei?”
She waved her hands over the blueprints on the table, “A little of this, a little of that. Pondering about the cheapest reliable method for long distance communications. Laying wire everywhere just seems so… inefficient. However, it allows for very cheap receiver devices. Meanwhile, more than two objects linked by the traditional phone design results in more noise, and all devices are always connected.” Lorelei walked over to a large metal box in the corner of the room. “Theo made this thing and sent it here. It’s… it’s not even magic! It produces a very unclear sound, but it’s cheap. Well, it could be cheap. Can you guess what it is?”
William looked over it. It was a box. It had a few dials… but not much else to distinguish it except a long thin wire sticking out of it. An antenna? “A radio?”
“That’s it! Just like he said, a radio. Theo has been on a big no-magic stint lately. Low magic, anyway. It really makes me wish I could have been to ‘Earth’.”
“Yeah, but that’s… probably not possible? I’m not sure if this is even the same universe. Magic and all. On the other hand… maybe there was just no mana around Earth for some reason. But…”
Lorelei shook her head, “Theo said he doesn’t recognize any constellations, and that at best we’re not likely even in the same galaxy. That puts any hope of contact… well out of reach. It would be easier to reproduce everything by hand here.”
“That’s for sure. Anything else of interest lately?”
Lorelei shrugged, “Not that much. I wish we had dwarves around still… I had all sorts of tests in mind. I want to know what makes them different from humans and gevai. Stupid Demon King…” Lorelei sighed, “A few autopsies on soggy and decaying dwarven bodies wasn’t exactly the most enlightening.”
“People aren’t exactly fond of autopsies anyway. It makes them think about necromancy.”
“It’s stupid. Necromancy is highly impractical. Might as well try to make golems or something… but magic armor is better because gevai recharge for very cheap.”
“Yeah I-” William turned and looked off into the distance.
“I…” William sighed, “I can feel someone coming. That can only mean…”
Chris glowed red, swinging himself a few times in mock battle.
William frowned, “Damn. I knew it was too good to be true.”