“So essentially,” Albert, the first prince of Kirash, pinched his nose bridge. “You two belong to an organization from another world with its members, including the both of you, coming from numerous other worlds including the world where your base is.”
“It still sounded preposterous,” Allister, the duke, frowned.
“Well, wanna go to our world to find out?” Joshua offered. “It’s in the table if it means to convince you guys we’re for real.”
“No need,” Allister stopped, lifting his hand. “Your demonstration is enough to explain that you are of not this realm. Especially with Neptune and Layla confirming it as well.”
And speaking of the named spirits, in the entire explanation about Ronald and Joshua, they were still scared stiff, but they had warned the Illyers and prince not to interact with them at the start. But…
“Perhaps this ought to dispel your fears.” Ronald rummaged his breast-pocket to pull a pendant of sorts, it has a water-like symbol that glowed in blue.
And in just a glance, the named spirits widened their eyes. “…T-This is lady Aquarius’ seal!” Layla gasped.
And it caused an uproar.
“L-Layla, what does this mean?” Irene demanded.
“Well,” the greater spirit candidate examined the seal carefully. “The message in this seal says lady Aquarius approves this meeting and me and Neptune shouldn’t be wary of them.”
Afterwards, the spirits stopped hiding behind their namers gave their cooperation, confirming every word Ronald said, albeit still with stiff hands.
“Additionally,” Allister continued. “You also proved your apparent ability to perceive every spirit in this room despite them hiding themselves.”
“Yep,” Joshua interjected. “We don’t follow the rule saying spirits can be invisible to humans, the perks of being a Court Wizard.”
After the somewhat cooperation from the two named spirits, Ronald and Joshua took the time to point out every water spirits hiding in the corners of the dining room as well as their appearances with said named spirits confirming it, all to prove their claim as beings of another world.
Naturally, each hidden spirit gave a fright when exposed, according to the young men and named spirits.
“Ah yes, you called yourselves Court Wizards?” Albert inquired.
“That’s correct,” Ronald nodded.
“Huh,” the prince uttered. “It is certainly foreign to my ears, but I cannot help but feel that it is… generic when I say it.”
“Because it is,” Joshua interjected.
“And why call yourselves that then?” Albert asked.
“Because our group’s called the Otherworldly Court,” Joshua explained. “Gotta go with the theme.”
“I see, I will not pry further into that.” Albert continued, “moving on, your organization, the Otherworldly Court’s mission is to ‘ensure the balance of worlds.’ Then what does it have to do with helping me ascend to the throne?”
“Because to us,” Joshua said. “If the world is ruled by one tyrant and the people live like crap, it’s dead to us.”
“And it’s better to have multiple kingdoms in good relations than united as one where the ruler could become corrupt in power,” Ronald finished.
“That is… interesting,” the prince muttered.
“To elaborate further,” Ronald added. “We aim to prevent the war the second prince wanted so badly with the Fichs empire. And considering how powerful this kingdom has become, he would probably try to conquer more, which would become as Joshua said.
“Sure it’s probably just the entire greater water spirit territory, but that’s no excuse not to do something just because it doesn’t concern this entire world. Besides, a united territory with a warmonger as the leader could be the grounds for an inter-territory war.”
“I see, that is a probable reasoning,” the duke uttered. “And I suppose I am partially to blame with my overwhelming victory against the empire.
“Many countries made diplomatic ties to our kingdom after that, bringing trade and tourists that enriched our nation. Not to mention the surge of spirit arts users as of late.”
“Well, there is no use brooding over it, duke Illyer. So in conclusion,” Albert faced the Court Wizards. “You want to support my cause to prevent my half-brother from becoming king and invade other countries, yes?”
“Correct, and one of the next phases of the plan was to have this meeting with you,” Ronald said bluntly. “But it’ll be less fruitful if we simply show up in your mansion out of the blue, so we decided to wait until you sent the invitation to mister Arnald.”
“Indeed,” the manager nodded.
“And speaking of the Bell Branch manager, one of the methods to achieve your goals is the Bell Branches acting to gather information,” the prince iterated.
“It was my father’s idea to put the Conglomerate into the effort,” Ronald confessed.
“And I still do not like the fact that a wealthy merchant in my city was spying on us for an organization from another world, even if their intentions were pure,” Allister complained. Well, who wouldn’t be displeased with the fact that a mercantile company was making a huge profit off of their land while spying on them at the same time?
“Don’t worry,” Ronald assured him. “They won’t pry into your darkest secrets, we do that ourselves.”
“And that would explain why some items in my office were shifted last week.” Allister deadpanned.
“It was our friend who did that,” Ronald defended, but also confessing to the crime at the same time. “Both of us don’t have the expertise to break into houses unseen.”
“But your group still infiltrated my mansion,” Allister narrowed his eyes.
“Forgive them,” the manager interjected. “They, the Court Wizards, held great distrust against the nobility, so they wanted to know your integrity beforehand. They even spent the entire day finding someone who held a grudge against you, which they didn’t.”
“Hm, I can see where you are coming from,” Allister sighed, clearly speaking from his experience with his former allies jumping ship to Van’s faction when the prince bribed or blackmailed them to his side. “And none of this mansion’s possessions were stolen anyway, so I will let this slide considering your apparent support and the approval from lady Aquarius.”
“The approval’s only for this meeting and alliance, nothing less nothing more,” Ronald reminded. “The greater water spirit wished to remain neutral, though she did wish you good luck.”
“As expected of lady Aquarius. Now, as to the former, what can you offer?” Allister inquired. “Despite all the lengths you went through before this meeting, we never heard of your organization until now – though lady Aquarius seemed to know -, that means you have limits in acting here.”
“You are correct, we tend to make ‘ripples’ to achieve the change if we can.” Ronald began, “but as to what we can do to help you, you might want to sit down.”
“And the tea’s getting cold, by the way,” Joshua added, sipping the said drink.
To be fair, one would forget the nice beverage they have when engrossed in such an exchange.
Looking out to the window from the living quarters, Irene watched as the Court Wizards and Bell Branch manager leave the gate.
“Well, I certainly did not expect that coming,” Albert mused, scratching his chin. “Right, Elaine?”
“True,” the prince’s fiancee, Elaine, nodded. “To think that other worlds exist and there were a group of people who would use their ability to travel between them for good. It certainly aroused my tiredness.”
“But I still find it hard to believe.” Irene’s mother, Marisa, cupped her cheek in disbelief.
“Indeed,” Allister added. “And there I was contemplating whether to add our favor from lady Aquarius into the table, but it appears that she has somewhat already done it for us.”
“Still scary people…!” Neptune, who was dangling off of his namers back, cried.
“Now, now, you will be fine, Neptune.” Allister gently patted the spirit he named, and for some reason, the intermediate spirit dozed off. Sighing, the duke gently laid him on the couch.
Seeing this, Irene turned beside her, where Layla was clasping her hand tightly. “Uuh…” the spirit murmured.
“All you alright, Layla?” Irene said. Honestly, she had never seen the happy-go-lucky spirit this frightened since naming her.
“Yesh… I’m good…” Though the tone Layla gave wasn’t promising.
Irene could only sigh. “What makes them so frightening to you anyway?”
“Well, if you’ve been living comfortably for centuries knowing that humans can’t see you unless you want to and then those Court Wizards showed up from a rainbow light immediately spotting you,” Layla narrated, trembling in her words. “That flips your worldview upside down. Especially when I looked at their soul and see it all fractured yet complete at the same time, I don’t know a word to describe that nor do I wanna know how that works!”
“Huh? What do you mean?” Irene asked. Layla’s rambling was so fast that she couldn’t keep up.
And Layla ignored her question. “And it’s all the more frightening when those Court Wizards appeared for the first time, lady Aquarius herself came down to confront them!” the spirit continued. “Getting into a scuffle where the Court Wizards stood toe-to-toe with lady Aquarius before one of them convinced her to calm down!”
“Really!?” Irene gasped, forgetting her initial inquiry. The greater water spirit actually went down and came into conflict with the Court Wizards and they gave her some trouble? Everyone else shifted their gaze to the spirit in reaction.
“I’ll have you know I witnessed the whole thing myself!” Layla huffed, crossing her arms. “And come to think of it, one of them looks like Ronald, but younger. That was thirty-six years ago.”
“Could it be Alan Bell in his younger days?” Allister speculated, rubbing his chin.
“Whatever. My point still stands!” the spirit scowled.
“But even so,” Allister said. “Their intention are good, lady Aquarius would not have a truce with them otherwise. And what they offered to us was very promising too and with what you have said, Layla, I am inclined to trust that they could uphold it.”
“Ergh…” Layla grunted, realizing if the Court Wizards survived encountering the greater water spirit who assumed hostility, then they must be competent.
“But it still seems too good to be true,” Marisa mooted as she caressed the sleeping intermediate spirit. “What they give us as support far exceeds what people would be willing to do.”
“True,” Allister agreed with her wife. “They did mention that they still have their lives in their homeworld which, by their rules, takes priority. Though they had promised to send other Court Wizards in their stead when they could not.
“But, I had primarily hoped for their financial support in exchange for privileges after it was done, but it ended with a better deal in our favor.”
“Too bad they ain’t assassinating Van!” Layla interjected, having regained her composure.
“Layla, please do not say something so sinister,” Irene politely scolded the spirit.
“Yes,” Elaine added. “Even if prince Van is a horrible man, I would not want him assassinated.”
“And it is best that it does not come to that,” Albert interjected. “It could be seen as me murdering my own half-brother for the throne. All the nobles at his side will certainly use that propaganda in an attempt to take me down and seize power for themselves.”
“And I do not want to be bothered thinking of such ramifications if it comes to that,” Allister added. “Even if it was disguised as an accident.”
“Right,” Marisa sighed. “So, all in all, the Court Wizards are the best chance we have to win this succession war?”
“Yes, we have to put our faith in them.” Allister sighed, palming his forehead. “The war with Fichs decades ago was much easier than this.”
“Is that so, father?” Irene chuckled.
“Quite,” Allister huffed, facing his eldest daughter. “And on another note, what do you think about them, Irene? I did not exactly give you many opportunities for input, given the development, so I would like to know your thoughts.”
“What do I think about them?” Irene mumbled. “Well…”
“Because to us, if a world is ruled by a tyrant and the people live like crap, it’s dead to us.”
Despite Joshua’s crude words, it did show that the Otherworldly Court has heart.
“And it’s better to have multiple kingdoms in good relations than united as one where the ruler could become corrupt in power.”
That statement aside, when Ronald said it, it felt like it spoke from experience when she heard it. Can’t say if it’s right or not.
And so, this was her conclusion.
“I believe they are good people,” she smiled.
“Now that I said it,” Allister murmured. “The name Court Wizard does sound… common.”
“Right?” Albert smirked.