Azhure: So basically, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (Kominfo as the abbreviation in our language) of my country, Indonesia, for some reason decided to create a new regulation mandating websites, web applications, and anything providing service over the internet considered as ‘electronic system operators’ (abbreviated to PSE in Indonesian) to register themselves on a list or else they’ll get banned after the deadline.
Azhure: From what I’ve read, the regulation was made back in 2020 but it seems the ministry decided to enforce it this year. I haven’t researched it too deeply, so I might be wrong – try to find it out yourself though you may need translations if you don’t know Bahasa Indonesia.
Azhure: But long story short, Paypal, Yahoo, Epic Games, Steam, Dota 2, Counter Strike, and Origin got banned just because they’re not on the list, screwing a lot of people.
Azhure: Well, the Paypal ban is the one I want to talk about. My Ko-Fi account’s donations go straight to my Paypal account which I’m pretty sure you get the idea of it. The good news is when I logged into SociaBuzz, it got a new update saying it now supports local payment methods of over 50 countries and also global payment methods which includes Paypal, ironically.
Azhure: Actually, the update only mentions the local payments, so the global payments might have always been there – I only had my account for less than a month by the time this was written. But basically, it means I no longer need my Ko-Fi account anymore so I’m turning off payments from it.
Azhure: So, all donations can be sent through one place which is my SociaBuzz page from now on and I appreciate any support you give me for my work. Try checking the list of payment methods the site supports, and thank you again for any donations you can give me.
Azhure: By the time this sub-chapter is uploaded, the ban on Paypal has already been lifted along with a few other sites. Again, I don’t need my Ko-Fi page anymore since SociaBuzz can accept payments from overseas. Frankly, I don’t even know how am I supposed to transfer money from Paypal to my bank account in Indonesia.
Azhure: Anyway, thank you, and enjoy the next lore dump on Spiri Raia.
“But, as the greater spirits became comfortable with their new positions,” Ronald said. “They happen upon a few… interesting interactions between humans and spirits in their territories that will change everything once again.”
“Hey! What’s that cliffhanger-y ending all about!?”
“Oh, I just felt like it,” Ronald quipped ever so casually at the complaining pixie.
“Uhn?” Rin tilted her head in confusion, the sling of the cylindrical bag carrying her missing brother’s Cherished Armament she brought everywhere slackening from her shoulder to which she promptly pulled it back up.
At least, that was what Owen thought she was doing because all of it was being done under her robe. Rin slung her bag first, then put the robe on – Owen doesn’t know why she doesn’t feel uncomfortable having a long bag sticking out inside her robe.
“Uh, can we continue from this cliffhanger-y ending thing?” Layla inquired with an unsure tone about what Voice remarked.
“Apologies, Layla. Voice can be, well, Voice,” Alicia smiled wryly.
“Er, right, lady Alicia.”
William rolled his eyes in mild annoyance at this unnecessary banter, silently saying “Can we go now?” to the rest.
“Ahem, from where we left off,” Ronald continued with a fake cough. “The greater spirits happened upon some interesting interactions between humans and spirits that the greater spirits could not ignore.”
“Just get to the point,” William deadpanned, having enough of it. He may have already known the answer being privy to the information, but the principle was still the same.
“Come now, Will, everything needs to be in a good narrative,” Ronald said cooly much to the Air Guardian’s annoyance. One thing Owen knew was that William no longer held back when he’s ticked off. “Now, the greater spirits have discovered that humans intermingling with spirits were asking the latter to cast magic for them.”
“Spirit arts used to be called just ‘fae magic,'” Layla interjected. “So we do know some of the terms you are using.”
“The fae rarely interact with humans before the war, just with each other. That’s how the greater spirits were together when they were fae,” Ronald then explained. “So seeing the spirits lending their power at the humans’ request was intriguing to the greater spirits. But, when they looked closely, they found something out with the spirits’ magic done at the behest of humans.”
“What is it?” Rin asked curiously.
Ronald simply eyes Layla who then listed off, “Well, we found out that our ‘magic’ became ‘malleable.’ Aqua told me that fae magic was done with rigid spells that are very limited with what it can do. ‘Spirit magic,’ on the other hand, can seemingly do anything within its element.”
“It’s similar to our Orders, actually,” Ronald pointed out. “We can order almost anything we want with our Maneg Souls’ understanding of the Order and our imaginations as the limit.”
“And the problem is, while we spirits can cast our ‘magic’ on our own, we sorely lack that imagination department to take advantage of it,” Layla lamented. “Spirits were too ingrained with fae magic where you can only cast A, B, and C and that’s it. The next generation is only a tad bit better than the oldies – I can’t even think of anything beyond basic.”
“Uh-huh,” Neptune nodded.
“But when humans ask spirits to do ‘magic,’ they can?” Rin suspected where this was going.
“Precisely,” Ronald nodded. “As the world of Spiri Raia was born in the aftermath of the war against the cursed dragons, much was needed to be rebuilt. As humanity began settling in the new borders, the greater spirits had sent their spirits to aid humans in reconstruction.
“This has caused humans and spirits to interact like never before. One thing leads to another and the humans began to give instructions on how the spirits should cast their ‘magic’ in ways the latter never knew, aiding the reconstruction effort.”
“Ooh! And that’s when Aqua and the others took notice?” Rin wondered.
“Indeed,” Ronald confirmed. “And what the greater spirits discovered with the partnership was controversial.”
“…Uhn?” Rin blinked, confused with the sudden contrast.
“You see, the greater spirits have observed that some of the instructions humans gave to the spirits had some of the finer details stuck in their minds and yet the spirits were still able to cast those details,” Ronald explained. “After some investigations, and what one spirit figured out, the greater spirits concluded a startling truth.”
“Basically, we can read your minds,” Layla revealed.
“E-Eh!?” Rin gasped in surprise.
It shouldn’t be surprising, we can use [Telepathy] we’re using right now. Direct mind reading isn’t anything new. (William)
Eh, cut her some slack. Rin’s still new to this.
I’ll take your word for it. (William)
Still mad with the manager huh? Same.
Hmph, mister Bell is also still dragging this longer than necessary. (William)
“Naturally, no one likes to have their mind read, and yet it was too useful to forgo,” Ronald continued. “So, the greater spirits came up with a compromise: a formal system by which humans request spirits to perform what the former have in mind, the ‘spirit art system’.”
“Ooh!” Rin perked up. It was here after all of that backstory.
Afterwards, Ronald pulled out a pen and paper from his pocket as if he knew this was going to happen and began to write in it on the low table. “A ‘request’ is a formal invitation by the human to ask the spirit to peer into their mind. The request itself verbally chanted thusly.”
Ronald rotated the paper 180 degrees and slid it to Rin. It read, “Oh, (rank) (element) spirit/s (or/and given name/s of spirit/s), lend me your (relevant noun for precision)!”
“You first say the ‘rank’ and then the ‘element’ of the spirit or spirits plural,” Ronald started. “You may call upon multiple spirits of different ranks by listing them off and the same goes for element though what spirit art that can be done with that is rare.”
“Uhn? Is rank what Layla and Neptune are called? Greater spirit heir and greater spirit candidate?” Rin wondered. While the element was self-explanatory, the rank was not.
“Yes, it is a categorization of the spirits by their maturity,” Ronald explained before listing off. “‘Lesser spirits’ are like wisps flowing through the air; ‘spirits’ spirits start from being infants to toddlers at the end; ‘intermediate spirits’ are at kids age; ‘greater spirit candidates’ are at the age of teenagers and as the name suggests, it is the rank where the spirit can be chosen to succeed a greater spirit.”
“So that’s Neptune?” Rin asked, leaning forward from her seat.
“Yep!” The greater spirit candidate nodded happily.
“And when a greater spirit picks a candidate, they become a ‘greater spirit heir’ like me!” Layla added proudly before deflating. “Well, it’s the same as a candidate, just a different name being first in line as the new greater spirit.”
“And speaking of ‘greater spirits,’ it is the final rank that you are all aware of,” Ronald finished. “And as you know from Aqua, greater spirits all have the maturity of full adults and it comes with certain authorities towards other spirits.”
“Uhn? Like what?” Rin tilted her head in curiosity.
“For one, Aqua can completely shrug off fire just fine,” Layla interjected. “All of the greater spirits are strong enough to resist opposing elements completely.”
“Specifically, each increasing rank of spirits has increasing resistance against elements they are weak to, reducing the dampening effects on their spirit arts and selves,” Ronald explained. “And the greater spirits at the top still have access to their full powers even under strenuous environment.”
“Yeah, it usually takes the… entire house on fire around us greater water spirit candidates to get weakened really bad,” Layla explained, but not without the slight pause going unnoticed. “Huge fires are still enough to scare us though.”
Was she reminded of when the Illyer mansion burned down? Alicia sent a [Telepathy] to Owen, not wanting to interrupt the lesson.
That could be the only context, Owen replied.
I see. Anyway, is that why Aqua is the Fire Guardian? Alicia sent another [Telepathy] to Owen.
Probably, he replied again.
“Ooh!” Rin listened on in interest, ignorant of the deeper secrets between her mentor and partner. “Is there anything else the greater spirits can do?”
“Hm… Oh, right!” Layla remembered. “The greater spirits can also tell us which humans we shouldn’t perform spirit arts for,” she said. “Aqua usually have us older spirits tell the younger ones of someone who got punished to be denied of spirit arts.”
“Like bad guys!” Neptune added. It made sense if the greater spirits had the chance to deny unscrupulous people to misuse spirit arts, they’d take it.
“Yep, we do know evil people when we see them, but the more juvenile spirits usually don’t so we need the greater spirits to tell them,” Layla shrugged. “But more often than often, we are good at gauging humans’ characters and know not to answer their requests since we can also perceive their souls.”
“Oh?” Rin perked up. “You can perceive our souls?”
“Spiri Raian spirits are beings of pure souls, it is natural that they can sense other souls among other aspects, both good and bad,” Ronald explained. “And that includes our souls, our Maneg Souls.”
“Our Maneg Souls?” Rin tilted her head with a surprised look on her face. “Is it because they’re our souls?” she wondered, going by her knowledge of Court Wizards, before and after being one, the former’s source being from her missing brother most likely.
“Precisely,” Ronald nodded.
With the confirmation, a look of discomfort was seen on the two water spirits’ faces. If there were other spirits in the lobby, which there weren’t any for the likeliest reason, they’d adopted it too. Ronald looked like he was going to sigh as if he knew why, and Owen knew too.
“Um, Layla, Neptune,” Alicia called on the spirits with unease. “Is there something wrong?” she asked.
“…Argh!” Layla suddenly groaned. “Forgive me, lady Alicia, but yes! There’s everything wrong with your Maneg Souls!”
“Yes! Everything!” Neptune supported.
“Uhn!?” Rin almost jolted from her seat by Layla’s outburst.
“Right now I’m seeing all of your souls being fractured in two pieces! One big, one small,” Layla started her rant. “The bigger one feels like it’s fake as if it’s there to fill in the gap because the smaller one feels like your real souls squashed down into absurd proportions! How could there be souls like that!? It’s blasphemous!
“I’ll have you know that I’ve personally witnessed the first of you lots barging into our lovely world, blaring their fractured souls for all of us to see, and one of them, I believe, was your grandfather!” She soundlessly banged the table with her hands showing an angry face in front of Alicia.
“I-Is that so?” Alicia smiled wryly.
“As you can see, spirits can sense disloyal and loyal maneg within us, with the description that best describes them,” Ronald presented as if nothing’s wrong, much to the spirits’ irritation. “That said, they don’t seem to be able to sense ambient disloyal maneg.”
“But I have loyal maneg only,” Alicia raised her hand, pointing herself out.
“Oh yeah, yours is better, lady Alicia,” Layla calmed down before bursting out, “if not for that thing!” while practically shooting her finger at Voice innocently munching cookies on the low table throughout the whole exchange.
Wait, where did the cookies come from? Owen stopped to think with the pixie almost falling backwards. Has she been eating them the whole time?
“Huh? Is there something wrong with Voice?” Alicia asked in concern.
“Something wrong!?” Layla spat. “No offense, lady Alicia, it’s almost a third of your soul floating out of your body!”
“Huh? …Oh! I get what you mean,” Alicia figured out what Layla meant. “Do not worry, Layla, even if Voice looks like she is detached from me, she is still a part of me. She usually stays inside of me when things get dangerous, so no harm will come to her, to me. We will not be separated, not even worlds apart.”
“Erk! Uh! I mean, yeah!”
Was that a flashback of Amelia’s experiment with her? Owen thought as the pixie did a spit-take before her joyful outburst. It is, he concluded looking at Ronald holding a grim expression. Well… It’s understandable…
Amelia had gone overboard with her experiments with Alicia, likely because she got too excited with the first Court Wizard to have only loyal maneg. That said, that overeagerness of hers had resulted in Ronald actually beating her up which Owen was sure he could get arrested for.
But really, from what Owen heard, Voice got distraughted by one of the tests Amelia conducted. The pixie gave her the ‘Evil Mad Scientist Lady’ moniker because of that which was not a laughing matter when Alicia could have genuinely been harmed in some of those experiments.
And Owen knew just how protective Voice was of Alicia.
“Ugh! Fine, I’ll take your word, Alicia,” Layla grumbled. Looking at Ronald. “Well? What are you waiting for? Let’s move on already!”
“Alright then,” Ronald chuckled in amusement. “Anyway, there are still a lot more benefits and responsibilities as the greater spirit, and we’ll be here all day if we were to discuss it all. So, we’ll top it off with the most relevant one to us; that spirits are the eyes and ears of greater spirits.”
“Uhn? So spirits tell greater spirits anything happening in Spiri Raia?” Rin guessed.
“Correct. It goes to say that spirits are everywhere and observe intently the activities of human society and report anything unusual to the greater spirits,” Ronald explained. “This will allow greater spirits to know if humans, or even other spirits, took a step too far and step in to rectify it.”
“Yes,” Layla nodded. “Aside from performing spirit arts for humans, we’re also on the lookout for anyone up to something that warrants Aqua’s attention.”
“Like really bad people!” Neptune helped in the exposition.
“Additionally,” Ronald continued. “Spirits have the innate ability to phase through objects and go invisible, preventing humans from knowing they are being watched… if not for it being common knowledge that they took it with stride.”
“But if humans want their privacy, they can set up ‘wards’ which are markers politely telling spirits to not snoop into the general area,” Ronald informed. “That said, they’re still suggestions and can be ignored.”
“It’s also why Aqua and the rest of the greater spirits take neutrality very seriously,” Layla added. “Since humans know the greater spirits know what they’re doing, they should at least get comfy in it.”
“Uhn? But we see a lot of spirits passing by,” Rin pointed out the journey to this Bell Branch. “Are they not invisible?”
“Oh, they are certainly invisible alright, but not for us. Our Maneg Souls negate that invisibility for us,” Ronald casually explained. “The benefits of the Maneg System dictating what it gets to do in a new world.”
“Ooh! It can do that?” Rin asked in surprise.
“Did I mention why we spirits are frightened of you all?” Layla deadpanned with a grumble. “Or that we’re afraid you all in that matter?”
“My condolences,” Alicia apologized, feeling the need to do so.
“Of course, the greater spirits are also capable of this,” Ronald continued. “That also means Aqua, being an origin thereby have full access to her species’ abilities, can just about conduct any sort of espionage undetected if a world has no means to counter it.”
“Uhn?” Rin tilted her head in confusion. “Oh, right! Aqua is the Fire Guardian!” She actually forgot the greater water spirit was a Court Wizard for a moment.
“Well, all the talk of Aqua being the greater water spirit does distract us of her other responsibilities,” Alicia consoled the embarrassed Rin.
“Urk!” Layla suddenly cringed. “Please, don’t remind me that.”
“Hm? Why, Layla?” Alicia asked. “Wait, is it because…?”
“Could you imagine,” Layla hunched down and broke into a monologue. “One day, you’re training under Aqua as her successor and suddenly, she started to turn red like lord Ignatius. Then, once the color change is complete, I sensed the same fractured soul coming from my lady the greater water spirit.
“Could you imagine the horror when you then hear your greater spirit became one of you!” she shouted, banging the table though it made no sound.
“Exactly!” Neptune crossed his arms.
“I-Is that so?” Alicia chuckled sheepishly with Layla’s frustration. “My condolences.”
“Well, if there’s anything good out of it, it’s that we have access to Aqua’s water spirit information network from then on,” Ronald smiled as he informed the brighter side of things, on the Court Wizards’ side.
“That doesn’t help at all,” the greater spirit heir grumbled.
“Not when Aqua seems to cut us off from that network for the past few days,” William suddenly interjected in a low tone. “Or maybe even longer than that.”
“I, er…” Layla choked, feeling the aggression coming from the Air Guardian.
“You still mad, Celery Stick!?”
William turned his glare at the pixie unamused. “Shut up, pixie.”
“Celery Stick?” Rin repeated the name in confusion.
“It’s Voice’s nickname to him,” Alicia explained.
“Yep! And Owen’s a Short Cream!”
Owen gave the offending pixie his deadliest glare, silently. Especially when he saw Rin holding a giggle.
“Ahem,” Ronald fake-coughed to get the kids’ attention. “Now, as I said before, being a greater spirit comes with many benefits and responsibilities to match. As we cannot possibly discuss them all, we’ll end this segment right here. So, from the history lesson as well, any thoughts?”
“Uhn, I didn’t know Aqua can do all of that,” Rin expressed her thoughts in the simplest terms. “Fighting against the dragons’ injustice, rewriting Spiri Raia, having powers and duties as the greater spirit all while being a Guardian at the same time. It’s amazing, really.”
“Yeah, and I’m going to have to shoulder all of that once Aqua passes away and her title is given to me,” Layla remarked, looking to the side.
Probably because it’s common knowledge and accepted at this point that Layla could casually say it. This was true even on the Otherworldly Court’s side of the story. But for a little girl like Rin who’s only been in this for a few months, it’s an ugly truth that came out of nowhere.
“It is unknown if the greater spirits decided it or it was a natural consequence, Aqua never told us,” Ronald began. “But a spirit’s lifespan in Spiri Raia is about a thousand years regardless of maturity or element. That means, at the turn of the new millennia, all of the greater spirits will pass on and their mantles will be taken by their successors.”
“So when you guys are talking about Layla succeeding Aqua, it’s that?” Rin muttered in disbelief.
“…Er, I thought you knew,” Layla said in a strained tone.
“It is true, Rin. Aqua told me herself that she does not have for long” Alicia confirmed solemnly. “I guess she does not give that impression since she does not look elderly.”
“But still…” Rin muttered.
“I guess Master Pierre hasn’t told you yet.” It was Owen’s turn to speak, refusing to call the Light Guardian by his preferred honorific. “But the Mother Souls always pick Guardians who have the remaining lifespan of an average modern human.”
“Ah… So the Mother Souls chose Darc and Zenya when they also don’t have long?” Rin realized with a gasp.
Because they were not pure elves of either kind in Rakarok-Earth World Merge, Darcassan and Ilezenya Erith, the Dark Guardian and Nature Guardian respectively, would only live to their three-hundreds instead of much longer.
“Pretty much. It’s always been the case for Guardians who are supposed to live very long,” Owen nodded. “They’re only picked when they’re relatively at death’s door. Mother Souls never pick vessels who’d stick around longer than that.”
“Power corrupts no matter how virtuous you are, so it’s better that we die first before it gets to that,” William said nonchalantly. “Even if we somehow kept ourselves clean, the older we are, the more cautious we get. The Otherworldly Court can’t beat around the bush, it needs rapid responses to internal and external threats to worlds.”
“Ooh…” Rin hung her head in melancholy, still cupping her unfinished tea.
She may be perceptive for a young girl, but she was still a young girl nonetheless. She may have known the world wasn’t a wonderful place with the death of her parents to terrorists and her time as a Court Wizard, but she was still a child who grew up being taught that the world was a wonderful place regardless, just as any child would and should have.
“That may be so, but it still does not deny the fact that they have still lived a long, fulfilling life, Guardian or not,” Alicia then said. “Aqua herself told me she was content with her life and would not have it any other way. I am sure Master Darc and Master Zenya both feel the same way.”
“So cheer up, kiddo!”
“Yes! Don’t be sad, Rin!” Neptune encouraged.
“Uhn! Thank you!” Rin smiled warmly.
Azhure: I still have a lot more lore that I need to fit into context, so it’s better I cut off this sub-chapter here.
Voice: Oi! You didn’t even finish talking about spirit arts after you trailed off who knows where! Some of them aren’t even Spiri Raia lore!
Azhure: Don’t blame me, I found out just the chant alone lets me bring up a whole lot of topics, so I’m taking advantage of it until it runs out.
Azhure: By the way, as for the last part, I already mentioned More About the Otherworldly Court 1 which should be slipped inside book ‘Alicia’ and I decided to repeat it here.
Voice: Hm…! Didn’t you plan on rewriting it!?
Azhure: I’m planning to after this. I’ve added a new fact in this sub-chapter that runs contrary to what I’ve written before. That and I want to make it better as well.
Voice: Then the next sub-chapter’s gonna have to wait!?
Azhure: Pretty much, I’ll upload it on both book ‘Alicia’ and this book for more exposure, except the WordPress version that gets its own book. Anyway, you can find more chapters of Court Wizard trivia which may be brought up again in future chapters on the WordPress version.
Voice: Stay tuned!
Azhure: So, what you do all think of this sub-chapter? Is it good? Are there any problems with it? Any reviews or feedback is appreciated as long as they’re not plain insults meant to blow off your stress.
Voice: Don’t do that to people! Not even on the internet!
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