Merlo's ship had landed in the docking bay of Alcalra's capital city of Kalrone. I was relieved that I didn't have to spend any more time aborad with Corra watching my every movement.
Luckily, Merlo put her in charge of the crew to finish unpacking crates of supplies that the crew had gotten from the outposts that were no longer active on the way back.
Merlo and I were the last out of 59 other crew members on the Galxalis getting off. As for pets, Arlus was the only one. He obediently followed behind me. Thankfully, no drool dripped from his mouth onto my forehead.
"Feels good to be back at headquarters," Merlo said as he stretched his arms out.
Merlo stopped stretching and stared forward in surprise. Something had caught his attention. I looked towards the end of the ramp of the ship to see another Krona. From here, he looked around the same height of Merlo.
When both us walked towards the stranger for a closer look, I realized two things. He was much taller then Merlo and that it was Lieutenant Lorta.
Of course, Lorta was a lot taller and lanker than any other Krona. The most noticeable thing about him was the cloth that was wrapped around his eyes.
I had heard he had put himself in harm's way to save a cadet. Although he was hailed as a hero, he was could never be able to see again. Since then, nobody has ever seen the injury that made him go blind.
Most would retire from the federation with such a devastating injury. But Lorta was quite different. He wouldn't let his lack of sight stop him from helping other people.
I've only interacted with him a few times since bounty hunting didn't let me see a lot of important people.
Lorta was by far the kindest member of the federation, he was more direct then Merlo. But both of them shared the same sense in humor. From what I knew, he had always been a close friend to Merlo, despite their differences.
"Lorta! I wasn't expecting you to be here to greet us. How have things been doing at headquarters?" Merlo asked.
Lorta grinned. "Nothing too much, there hasn't been any reports of any Howler intruders. Guess they're finally afraid of me," Lorta joked as he came in to give Merlo a hug. "It's good to know your back from your mission".
"Yeah, I'm glad to be back and still kicking," Merlo repiled.
It didn't take long for Lorta to sense I was close by. He turned towards me and embraced me with a hug. "It's good to see you as well, Lady Elamile".
"Same for you, Lieutenant Lorta," I responded politely. I didn't mind that he called me Lady Elamile, I wouldn't want to disrespect him. He was second in command after all.
Arlus barked happily and tried to get past me. Despite my best efforts to get Arlus to stay behind me, he couldn't help but greet the lieutenant with his slobbery tongue.
The lieutenant smiled again and petted the space wolf's furry face. "Arlus, it's been a while since I've seen you. If feels like you've grown so much!"
All three of us, including Arlus, walked away from the ship and out the hanger all together. With only my few personal items with me, I walked behind Merlo and Lorta as all of us entered a hallway that had walking conveyor belts.
Normally I would be more inclined to walk a different hallway that didn't contain any conveyor belts, but today I was just too tired. I was mostly glad that I was finally home.
This particular hallway had one side completely made of bullet-proof glass. While Bullet-proof glass may not always save someone, it would at least take a couple of hits before shattering. It would give the person stuck in the hallway a chance to escape.
From outside of the glass window, I only see the familiar skyscrapers that lit up the city. A few of the smaller ones had a few rooftop gardens.
It was mostly the rich nobles that got to enjoy the best view in the city.
If I wasn't working for the federation morning tonight, I would have been more jealous of the riches of the nobles. Having a life of wealth can both be a blessing and a curse. You could either have everything you had ever wanted or you could let your wealth and power get into your head.
I looked back to see both Merlo and Lorta looked so pleased to be around each other, it really showed from the deep conversation they were having.
"I dropped by to see good old Silver before picking up Elamile. He has his paws full with his niece and nephew," Merlo said.
"I can imagine, it's not an easy task keeping Artimas and Natsu out of trouble. Let alone raising them all by himself. There are adventurous after all, just like their father," Lorta repiled.
Merlo nodded. "Yeah...I just hope he can handle it. It hasn't been easy for him or kids when their parents perished two years ago".
Just before I could speak up, all three of us had reached the end of the hallway.
Upon opening the doors to the hallway, all three of us knew that we had arrived at the federation's headquarters.
Most of the building looked just futuristic as the regular buildings used for residents to live in. The only big difference was the garden in front of the building. A beautiful one had been planted on the front lawn.
In the middle of the pathway, there was a round fountain that had a miniature statue of the federation's founder, King Raflos Rinenge Krim. It was made of dark black marble, a type of rock that was starting to get even rarer as time flowed forward.
The statue itself had seen better days. There were countless scratches all over it. One of the ears had long been chipped away. Leaving only one remaining.
After walking around the fountain, we found ourselves at the doorway that would lead us inside. The door slid open when Lorta got close.
Before any of us could get inside, someone ran to greet us. I recognized at once who this was. It was Merlo's newest apprentice, Halroa.
"Your back!" she said upon seeing Merlo and hugged him. He blushed slightly, making Lorta laughed under his breath so no one could hear him.
"I told you I wouldn't belong, I did promise to train you after all," Merlo repiled.
While the two talked, I heard another pair of footsteps racing down the hallway. When he finally reached us, he was out of breath. When he looked up, I was surprised that I recognized his face, "Jordus is that you?"
He blinked and then smiled. He looked quite pleased to see me. "What. Gave it. Away?" he huffed, trying to catch his breath.
"You're a lot taller then I thought you would be by now. Have you graduated yet?" I asked.
"As a matter of fact, I have," he repiled and took out a piece of paper from his uniform. Showing me the document, I could clearly see that it proved he had succeeded in his course to becoming an offical captain of the federation.
"I'm so proud of you!" I said, hugging him proudly, "You'll be a great captain".
"Really? Do you mean that?" he asked, a bit unsure of himself.
"If Merlo can, then I'm pretty sure you can," I repiled.
Without warning, Arlus tackled the young Krona to the ground, licking his face. Jordus tried to get him off himself but to no avail.
"Arlus, get off of him," I ordered and the space wolf obediently got off of him. I pulled out a treat from my small duffle bag and gave the treat to Arlus. He happily ate it less than 10 seconds.
"Sorry about that. Arlus hasn't seen a lot of familiar faces in such a long time," I said.
"No worries," Jordus repiled, "I'm sure anyone could get as excited as Arlus to see an old friend that you cherish".
Before I could speak again. I could hear heavy footsteps making their way down the hallway. "Captain Merlo!" a voice called from down the hallway. I looked down it once again to see that it was another face I recognized. It was Gonchom.
The big difference was that he was no Krona, he was an android. Robotic humanoids of any kind were quite rare to find on Alcalra.
Most were made from a mix of iron and gold. But what made Gonchom truly special was that he was almost entirely made gold. There were not many androids around who were as glancing as he.
"Gonchom, is there anything I can do for you?" Merlo asked.
"As a matter of fact, there is. KingDalrus has tasked me with finding you, Lieutenant Lorta, and Elamile. You are needed in the meeting hall".
I was very confused. Why of all people did the king need me for? I wasn't even an important member of the federation!
Merlo looked just as baffled as I was. "The king? What does he need all three of us?" Merlo asked.
"I don't know. But he says that he would like all three of you at the meeting. He is currently talking with the leaders from across Delemorus have come today to talk about our current problem, the Howlers".