Before too long, it came time for winter, and a flurry of communications demonstrated that the proper support for Lisbeth’s proposal was to be expected. When it came time to travel to the Southern continent, she traveled to the capital airbase with her dinosaur as well as with Hephizbah and her dinosaur companion. When they arrived they were let onto the imperial scout craft and told that they were waiting or two more passengers. Lisbeth wondered who they would be, until a friendly and self-assured teenage boy entered the building along with his dinosaur. The dinosaurs present made their bows to the dinosaur and the two women looked at each other before making their bows as well.
“Your highness?” Lisbeth asked.
“At ease. Yes, I am the crown prince, and father sent me on this mission because he thought it would be easier to recruit unreached tribes if they were aware that this project is something that was supported at the highest levels,” the crown prince said, almost in one breath. “Besides,” he added. “It would be great to do something that grampa did and talk with some new tribes. It’s exciting.”
“Pleased to meet you,” the two women said to the prince as everyone got in their proper place and the scout ship prepared to take off and take them to the southern continent.
“I take it these missions aren’t very common?” Lisbeth asked.
“Not really, but we are hoping they become a bit more common in the future,” the prince replied.
“Why is that, unless it’s a state secret,” Lisbeth continued.
“It’s not a state secret. We believe that the safety and well-being of our empire would be better secured with a broader range for the korinthidons, and that they would be safer if they were more broadly and widely spread throughout our empire. Of course, there remains the problem that so few of us are bonded together, which remains a difficulty,” the crown prince continues.
“That is a problem that we have had in researching,” Lisbeth agreed. “Right now, for the most part, korinthidons and human beings live in parallel in the same areas, and there is little interaction between the two, and certainly little mutual friendship, and the result is often a certain fear when one sees a full grown korinthidon in an enclosed office or classroom space.”
“That is a problem we have noticed in the palace as well,” the crown prince agrees. “How is it that you came to be connected with your korinthidons?”
Lisbeth let Hephizbah begin, and she said. “I’m not sure how well I can explain it, but I was working in the fields of my family one summer when I was about ten years old, and she decided to bond with me. We had a group of korinthidons who tended to live pretty close to us, but as far as I knew no one in my family had bonded with one of these noble creatures before. Once we were bonded, I noticed that the local dinosaurs looked at me differently, and so did my own family members and neighbors. It wasn’t a bad thing, and they didn’t look at me negatively, it’s just that they saw that I was going to interact with a larger society than most of my community did.”
The crown prince looked at her with some interest. “I’m pleased to see that the Amish folk and the royal korinthidons of the area are starting to more closely get along, though it’s hard to know what it is that leads them to choose most people. What about you?” he said, turning to Lisbeth.
“I was a teenager when my korinthidon bonded with me. It was during the time of the attempted antifa coup and my father was then the local security officer for Cherry Hill, and this dinosaur and I were both teenagers, and she was trying to escape from the people who had kidnapped the rest of the korinthidons in our city.”
“Oh, you were involved in that?” the crown prince said. “You and your dinosaur bonded on the same day as my dinosaur and I then, I imagine.”
“Really?” Lisbeth replied.
“Yes, earlier that morning, before my grandfather died, he bonded with my father, and then my father bonded with me, and immediately after that happened dinosaurs who were a part of the same dynasty of korinthidons bonded with us both. It was quite a dramatic day, I’m sure,” the crown prince said.
“Yes, that it was. The dinosaur bonded with you as soon as you were bonded with your father and grandfather,” Lisbeth asked.
“That’s right, it was as if the bonding with them clued the dinosaurs that we were a part of their network and that it was safe to bond with us. It was as if they were waiting for that–and with my father, they had been waiting quite a while I imagine,” the crown prince said.
“That’s very interesting,” Lisbeth said. “I must admit few of us bond together.”
“I can’t think of ever having bonded like that with anyone else,” Hephizbah agreed.
“Nor I,” the crown prince continued.
“Perhaps it would be easier for us to bond with them if we bonded more with each other,” Lisbeth said.
The crown prince had a gleam in his eye, but he said nothing.
It was not long before the scout ship, which was sailing low over the sea at a very high speed, had reached the southern continent. It did not take very long at all, upon reaching the southern continent, before they found a meadow where an unreached tribe had combined together.
“Do you mind if you let me do the talking?” the crown prince said to Lisbeth.
“Not at all,” she said, with Hephizbah nodding her assent as well. The door to the craft opened and the six beings exited the scout airship, with the prince and his dinosaur companion in the lead. Upon their exit, the dinosaurs made polite bows and stood around the group to welcome them.
The crown prince warmed up a bit and then began a short speech. “Greetings, dear subjects. I am __________, son of __________, son of __________, who was the first emperor of the Multipians. Though we have not previously visited your particular tribe, I trust you have remained loyal citizens and servants of the empire.”
The dinosaurs nodded their consent.
“We are pleased to hear that,” the crown prince continued. “We are currently facing a problem where loyal farmers on an island of ours near here have had their crops robbed without known thieves, and it is thought that you may be of assistance in protecting their crops, while also providing an increase of your range so that your tribe may grow and expand.”
The dinosaurs looked positively happy at this, not only to be spoken to by the crown prince, but also to be of service and to enjoy an expansion of their range. Even Lisbeth and Hephizbah could sense the happiness of the tribe, just as they believed the dinosaurs could sense the kindness that all of them felt for this tribe.
“So therefore we would like to ask how many of you wish to be volunteers to set up a new home on Maddon island and to help us secure the island’s farming and to deal with the thieves that have afflicted the island. How many of you are willing to travel with us on our craft?” the crown prince continued.
After he had finished, there was some friendly chatter among the dinosaurs and then half a dozen dinosaurs approached the group, nodding and waving happily. The group bowed to the dinosaur tribes and returned to the scout vessel, now with six additional dinosaurs on it.
“I think that was a successful mission,” the crown prince said, “though I might have preferred having a couple more dinosaurs at least.”
There was a slight pause, and then the crown prince continued. “I thought it would be interested if we all bonded together. I don’t wish to force it on you.”
The women looked at each other. Lisbeth continued, “Perhaps it would be best for all of us to bond with each other,” she said. Since Hephizbah and I know each other best, let us begin. Lisbeth placed her forehead against that of Hephizbah for a period of several minutes and their electrical systems connected together and became aligned with each other. Their dinosaurs looked at each other with considerable interest. After that the crown prince bonded with Lisbeth, and then the crown prince did so with Hephizbah. After it was done, the dinosaurs in the vessel all looked at each other and there was a relatively general tendency to bond. Lisbeth noted that the bonding generally occurred between male dinosaurs and other male dinosaurs and between female dinosaur and other female dinosaurs, which she figured was the usual order of things. It must have interested the dinosaurs to see that human beings could bond in broader fashion. Before too long they had arrived at the settlement near the port, which was inevitably titled Port Maddon, and landed with a crowd of local leaders around them. The ship landed and the doors opened and the crown prince, Lisbeth, Hephizbah, their dinosaurs, and then the volunteers all filed out of the craft, to the general shock of the people, who were unused to seeing people and dinosaurs on such friendly terms.
Lisbeth announced, “Your highness, _________.” At this call the dignitaries properly bowed and the chief magistrte of the area introduced himself and the others there, including a small group of farmers who were there to see about their crop protectors. The chief magistrate commented to the group that the farmers had struggled for years with thieves and that all previous means of protecting the crops had met with failure thus far. There were appropriate expressions of sympathy, and then it was time for the two ladies to introduce themselves.
“I’m Lisbeth Zambrano, and I am a graduate researcher at the Imperial University in the ways of korinthidons and their connection with people,” Lisbeth said.
“And I am Hephizbah Schmidt, of the simple farming folk of the capital Deutsch,” Hephizbah said modestly.
The town representatives looked at the group with a sense of wonder. Before too long there were invitations to pass out and the conversation between the locals and the visitors from the capital went on all night, with a discussion about the crops of the island and the ways of the dinosaurs. Meanwhile, before joining the festivities Lisbeth and Hephizbah made sure that the dinosaurs all had good accommodations as well, and were given the freedom to roam and see what they may discover. It did not take long to figure out that the island itself was strangely isolated from the capital in an unexpected way given how close that it was. Lisbeth, as might well be imagined, was quite curious to uncover what was going on.
“Does all of your island’s trade come out of this port?” Lisbeth asked, somewhat curious.
“What do you mean?” the magistrate asked.
“Well, this island looks like it could support a relatively large agricultural trade, but the wharfs here are very limited. I just wondered if there was another way that the trade from this island would move to the capital,” Lisbeth continued.
“As far as I know all of the trade is going to the capital through here,” the magistrate sputtered. “Where else would it be going?”
“That is at least part of the mystery,” Lisbeth replied.
“Do you think that someone could be smuggling?” the crown prince said, picking up on the hint. “That would be an act of considerable interest to the imperial administration.”
The magistrate and the other local politicians gulped a bit, not wanting to be of particular interest to the imperial administration, seeing as how they liked their autonomy and their low profile. Still, having confessed to a thievery problem, it would be expected that a smuggling problem would be expected. It was in a sober mood that the party broke up, with dinosaurs out looking for crops to munch on and to gather an understanding of their new home, and with the people lost in political thoughts. It was agreed that they would all tour the farms the next day, and with that everyone went to get some sleep in the government house in Port Maddon.