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"Joseph," said his father, as his mother sat at the table, looking over the selection he had made for her . Stella was busy telling her what each thing was .
"Yes, father?" Joseph said, stepping over to his side .
William was holding a stack of papers, where his careful handwriting could be seen in tiny neat rows .
"Son, you don't need to worry so much about your mother . I know that the system can't do anything about her magic null, but that doesn't mean you need to stop everything to try and change her . She's a human, so what? We were all humans only a few months ago . If it's a year before you get the time to figure it out, she's not going to age that much . "
"I know that I have a lot on my plate right now," Joseph conceded, looking back at his mom as she was happily digging into a chocolate cake, while Stella was telling her about all the people they had saved .
"She's surrounded by a nation of mages that would die to keep her safe . We have a lot of things that need your attention as the king of a nation . We need a home . And you have a lot of people that need guidance . "
"I know . " Joseph sighed and closed his eyes . Nikmesh was dead but his mind was still stained with rage . Things made him so angry, so easily now, and he didn't know how to fix it .
"Joseph, are you going to join me?" asked his mom, looking up from the fudge she was devouring .
"Mom," he said with a laugh . "You should try to eat real food instead of just sweets!"
"Why? These things taste delicious!"
"But if you only eat sweets, they will cause your body harm . Your teeth will go bad and you will develop health problems . "
"Oh, Joseph, don't be silly! These taste really good! Are you going to join me, or not?"
"Sorry, mom, but I probably need to deal with some important things," he said, glancing at his dad .
"Oh, yea, you were going to have some big kingly meeting . Well, go ahead . I'm going to enjoy this stuff and probably go to bed . "
Joseph gathered Stella and his dad, then teleported them to the meeting location . They arrived a full twenty minutes early, but already a third of them were there .
"Your majesty, we are having a lot of problems with the laws you have dictated," said his father, sitting at the table .
"I figured there would be some problems I didn't foresee, but we shall wait until everyone arrives to discuss them . I don't like to repeat myself . "
His father nodded and went back to going through the papers he had brought with him .
As each person arrived for the meeting, Joseph was amused by the variety of names they used to refer to him . Stella seemed annoyed by it, and kept glancing at him, as if trying to make a point about him needing to choose only one honorific t.i.tle .
When it was time for the meeting to begin, he stood, signaling the quiet talk to cease .
"First of all, I am going to be out of contact for a while after this meeting . I have been invited to visit with the Mother of Dragons, and feel a need to accept the invitation . I honestly have no idea how long I will be gone, but I a.s.sure you, I will attempt my best to see to each of your reports before I leave . I am sure that I will need some time to think before responding to some of them, but I will try my best . "
He watched as they all seemed to accept that, with the understanding that he didn't have a choice about visiting the Mother of Dragons . None of them really knew who she was, but the t.i.tle was impressive enough, that they understood his dilemma .
Holding up a thin book, Joseph handed it to Stephan . "I have several new spells that will be good for all incoming students to learn . Please make sure they make it to the required schools . "
"Yes, my king," said Stephan, taking the book and setting it beside his reports .
Turning to the council in general, Joseph said, "I understand that the initial laws I made will need to be adapted to issues that have undoubtably popped up . Would someone please give me a report on that?"
A fox-kin stood up and picked up his report nervously . "Your majesty, the restriction on physical harm is a little vague . There was an issue where someone refused to pay rent, but no one was sure if evicting them would const.i.tute physical harm by denying them shelter . "
"No," said Joseph, rubbing his head . This was going to be a long meeting . "Evicting them for lack of paying rent is not physical harm . "
"Physical harm seems to be a very broad term, your majesty," said the fox-kin, anxiously . His nose wouldn't stop twitching and his report was getting crumpled as he waited for Joseph to answer .
"Malicious intent is typically present when physical harm occurs . The law was intended to cover most situations . "
The eagle-kin, from the previous beast-kin council, stood and the fox quickly sat down .
"Your majesty, a lot of progress has been made in establishing the courts . You are obviously the highest authority in the land, but lesser cases are able to be settled without your intervention based on the guidelines you have established, however, there is a special case I need to bring up . "
"Go on," said Joseph .
"There was a bunny-kin who attempted to turn down the amorous advances of a dragon-kin, but her intentions failed to bring about the intended results, and she feels she was a.s.saulted . "
"What do you mean? How can a no be misinterpreted?" asked Joseph .
"Well, the culture of bunny-kin is vastly different from that of dragon-kin . The refusal for a bunny-kin, is exactly the same as an acceptance for the dragon-kin . He believes he is not at fault for any a.s.sault charges . "
"Shavist, I never took into consideration different cultures," groaned Joseph, rubbing his face before turning back to the eagle-kin . "What happened? I am to a.s.sume it has already been settled?"
"They are happily married," said the eagle-kin, consulting his notes .
"Well, apparently, a bunny-kin's first s.e.xual experience causes a bond with their s.e.xual partner, that cannot be removed . "
"I find that difficult to believe . "
"We had to investigate this ourselves, and the bunny-kin population confirmed it . Apparently, the deed is synonymous with marriage itself, for them . That seems to be why they are so picky choosing their mates . "
Joseph sat there stunned, rolling the information around in his head .
"What of the dragon-kin?"
"He was horrified when he was informed, but he seems to be a very attentive husband . "
"We need to investigate to see what other cultural characteristics there are . We have too many different species to leave this one alone!"
"We have started a cultural awareness group; whose sole purpose is to catalog such particulars for our awareness . "
Joseph nodded, still having a hard time understanding how this one could have gone unknown among the beast kin . Then a thought occurred to him .
"Wait, weren't the bunny-kin a popular among the human wh.o.r.e houses in your realm?"