Atlantis was something out of a story. A giant domed city deep underneath the sea, lit by old magic and Atlantean science, its smooth modern-looking architecture and tall structures were combined with magically preserved ancient ruins from when the city fell millennia ago.
Severus and Cynna had not had much time to look around, however. The soldiers had taken them directly to some sort of government building where diplomatic things were sorted out. It was an older structure, and the façade was crumbling. In contrast, the inside was polished stone and coral, obviously put in centuries later.
"We have no record of your intent to travel and we're not willing to risk our treaties with Jotunheim by opening a portal." The woman in front of Cynna and Severus shook her head and shuffled greenish papers on the counter. She had a tall gold hairdo and earrings that swung as she shook her head.
"It's my home!" Cynna burst out, outraged. "I'm not an outsider!"
"I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do." She leveled a look at them. "Feel free to enjoy your stay in our great city."
Severus made a frustrated noise. "My wife was taken by one of their representatives. She had no choice. Retrieval is imperative. I'm here on behalf of the Ministry of Magic."
"A kidnapping?" The woman's forehead creased.
Severus repeated his story about the titan and the escape to Jotunheim.
The woman sucked on her teeth. "You need a diplomatic exemption to pursue this further."
Severus opened his mouth, but Cynna kicked him.
"How do we get this exemption?" Cynna asked patiently.
"Fill out the proper paperwork," the woman said as she shuffled papers around on her desk. Her fingers were lightning fast as she snatched up forms. Once she had a sizable pile, she handed it over with pens. "There's a table over there and when you are done, a lawyer will be appointed to represent you."
"Thank you," Cynna said as she wheeled Severus around before he could say anything.
The night passed without incident. The field was full of fireflies at night, and there were the usual night sounds of small field creatures and other bugs. Harry and Ron took turns keeping watch all night, leaving the others the opportunity to rest.
In the morning they decided to head out over the grasslands. Nicolai and Nyssa had prepared a simple breakfast of berries in flatbread so they could walk and eat and wouldn't waste any more time having to sit for a meal.
Hermione watched as Harry and Ron climbed up on the cart so they could rest as they travelled. She felt envious as Ginny kissed Harry good night and climbed out of the cart.
"How long until we find the road?" Ginny asked.
"If our maps are correct, within the day," Mikhail said, scratching one of the unfamiliar tips of his ears.
"Do we want to travel by road?" Nyssa asked.
"I don't want to stray from the path. Perhaps it is a test," Mikhail suggested.
"Perhaps it is a trap," Nicolai retorted.
"I think we should trust our map," said Hermione nervously. "There's a village on it as well, isn't there?"
"A village of what, I'd like to know," Nyssa said with a sniff.
"It sounds risky," Ginny said. "Is there any way to go around it?"
"Of course, but it would mean leaving the road, Nicolai said.
"We have a magic cart for a reason," said Harry from the back of the cart. "I say we go around the village."
Hermione and Ginny poured over the map while everyone else prepared to leave. The detour looked simple enough, and they wouldn't have to leave the road immediately.
"I don't think we should take the road at all," Ron piped up. "Just find it so we have a landmark and then travel nearby."
"I think I should trust my future mother-in-law," Mikhail said firmly. "There are easier ways to get rid of us than sending us off on a quest."
"Isn't that the way they do things, though? All the tales say—" Ron started.
"The tales say Asta should have killed me," Mikhail interrupted. "She should have killed all of us, but she didn't. Mithrax could have taken custody of her and brought her home, but he didn't."
"We should take the road," Hermione said suddenly. "Asta trusts her mother. She would have said something if she didn't."
"So that means the village as well?" Nicolai asked with a sniff.
"We weren't told anything about the village. It could be marked as a warning," Harry said.
"We must assume they will have scouts or enchantments that will notify them of our presence," Nyssa offered. "Avoiding them may give the wrong impression and we can't afford to cause diplomatic incidents that could affect our world."
"We'll cross that bridge when we get to it," Harry said. "We find the road first."
The open plain was peaceful and beautiful, but it made it easy for Hermione's mind to wander.
She was trying not to think of him or what he was doing. Causing trouble, no doubt.