Well, there's a lot to unpack here. Why a hot spring trip, you might ask in the middle of a journey? Call it a nod to Japanese culture that inspired my story, but it is customary to have a nice relaxing bath before all the tension. For fans of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, either Anime or Manga, you know exactly what I mean as the main character would enjoy a relaxing soak after a fierce battle. It's a bit indulgent, but fun nonetheless.
As to the heart of the story, we meet Oberon and Titania in this chapter. True to their characterization in Midsummer Nights' Dream and French myths around their demeanor, I wanted to mesh the concepts. Also, my universe/multi-verse is by nature somewhat rational and scientific up to a certain point, I wanted to add a steam-punk sort of feel to the fair folk. Their technology is approximately close to the late 19th century in terms of material knowledge, but I must caution that it has remained that way for over eight hundred years. Why has technology stagnated since the 8th century AD? For one thing, the facility may be a stronghold, but it cannot house a large population, so fair folk even those with special knowledge and abilities cannot all live there. Additionally, unlike Eli with his perfect memory recall, the others have to apply their ability on a single subject or object to gain modern information. Technological innovation is based around cooperative work between various fields of research and industries, if you cannot have a large enough base of talent, materials, and research space, then the best that could be achieved is maintenance. That was one reason why Medieval era saw relatively few improvements on Roman technologies up to the Renaissance period. The fair folk may have a lot of knowledge, but they were hindered by various limits.
As for the reveal about their connection to Camelot, in 1542, an English poet named John Leland made an astonishing claim that the ruins and decaying fortress on top of Cadbury Hill was in fact Camelot. Situated just a few miles from the River of Cam, it was an unsubstantiated belief that has in modern times become a local among the inhabitants of Somerset County in England that their land was the home of King Arthur. As an avid Arthurian legend buff, I took the idea and added it into my story. Cadbury Hill is a limestone hill that overlooks a wide plain that once had settlements and ruins, so I imagined a civilization creating a bunker like fortress within the hill.
As for the truth about Merlin, let's be honest, I've mentioned Eli's partner Jack enough to make him a background character in this story. He had a lot of influence on what's happening in the present time. History is organic and can be malleable with different changes in certain events or patterns of events. The mystery is why and how did Jack do all of this? If it were to bring back Eli, he could have had other ways of achieving it without so much work? There's also the other side currently installed at the head of the Catholic Church with their advanced military weapons, how did they come into play?
A few answers and a lot more questions.
This weeks law of power: 19th law of power according to Robert Greene "Infection: Avoid the unhappy and unlucky". This rule applies to several people in this story: the Seymore brothers would be two obvious choices as their games of manipulation for power ultimately led to their deaths, which in turn caused someone like Catherine Parr, Queen Dowager, who allied with them to lose all hope in any future and die. Additionally, there's the case of Lady Jane Grey and Guildford Dudley, two star-crossed teenage lovers with a horrible fate ahead of them. They're unlucky people who Eli knew could not be helpful for his goals. Is it cold that Eli avoids helping these two? From a romantic standpoint, yes, but from a realist standpoint, there was no other choice. It's a lesson on judging the appropriateness of help based on circumstance.
1. Yes, the City of Bath is well known for their hot springs and during the time of Elizabeth I, it regained its former glory as a major English tourism spot, being one of the best spas in the area.
2. Cadbury Hill is located in Somerset county, was land formerly under the control of Edward Seymore, Duke of Somerset. The Arthurian legend from an English poet in 1542 cemented the idea in my mind to use it as a launch point. This area is in southwestern England, so it is far away from the center of power in London.
3. We learn a few new things about abilities:
a. Only Eli can use memory recall on his own knowledge to continue various lines of thoughts with advanced knowledge (Consider it my version of "Uriel" skill from That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime")
b. Eli can assess knowledge and historic information from our world, but he has certain limits when it comes to this parallel timeline. He cannot access information about Jack's time as Merlin, while Francis could.