Azhure: Huh, first time in a while I updated at night. Last time I did was when I was in the early stages of Alicia when I’m just uploading in Wattpad.
“Well, let’s go save them.”
“…What?” Willow murmured in confusion.
After all, Joshua, who had previously prevented the maid from killing the duke coldly and frighteningly, just casually stated that they save her orphanage from its captivity, the reason she tried to do it in the first place.
“What do you mean?” Allister, the duke, asked. By his tone, it’s as if he’s trying to confirm it.
We’re are telling them that we’re saving Willow’s orphanage, right? Why are they confused? (Ronald)
Well, it was sudden. We should repeat it to them.
“Exactly as Joshua says, we will help you save the orphanage,” Ronald repeated Joshua’s statement. “You are going to send your troops to deal with the bandits running around your land, right?”
“Well, yes,” Allister nodded. “I will send my own men to liberate the village, though it will take time to organize them and march to Willow’s village.”
“But by that time, the captives will be killed,” Joshua pointed out.
“Ah!” Willow gasped, reminded of the crisis that would befall her home.
“Yes… that will be unfortunate,” the duke somber, further despairing the maid.
“Which is why we will help you with that,” Ronald iterated. “Along with us, we will use our transfer, how we are able to come to this world, to instantly transport your men to Willow’s village. So get your men ready.”
“Truly?” Then, the prince widened his eyes in realization. “Wait, you mean for us to commence the rescue now?”
“Of course,” Joshua retorted. “We can catch the bandits by surprise, the sooner the better.”
“But why would you go that far?” The duke asked as if he never expected something to come out from Ronald. “The orphanage, whether the captives survive or not has nothing to do with your mission, right? I will have my head guard lead the charge, I will not participate myself if that assures you.”
“Y-Yes…” Willow, much to the Court Wizards’ surprise, agreed with the duke. “Y-You don’t have to be concerned over something so little as my orphanage…”
The duke’s rather heartless words aside, looking at the others, they seemed to agree with the duke, much to the Court Wizards’ stupefaction. While the Illyers will rescue Willow’s non-blood-related family, they seem to deem it… trivial for the Court Wizards to share the burden, even Willow agreed and it was her orphanage that’s being threatened!
It was as if they thought this was something… beneath us. (Ronald)
Hearing Ronald’s message through [Telepathy], Joshua noticed the last two words he said and…
“Right, it’ll be faster if we show you…”
“…your organization, the Otherworldly Court’s mission is to ‘ensure the balance of worlds’…”
“…proved your apparent ability to perceive every spirit in this room…”
“We’re from another world.”
I think it has to do with their impression of us, Court Wizards.
What do you… Ah, I get it. I guess I did gave them the wrong impression. (Ronald)
It was because they were Court Wizards of the Otherworldly Court, beings from another world wielding great unknown powers with the altruistic purpose of keeping the survival of worlds, that was true.
In that context, the Illyers must have seen them more in the lines of deities, like their greater spirits, especially after that demonstration, who, while benevolent, watched from above, only stepping in when a world crisis that mere mortals couldn’t handle on their own appear.
And when they do, all they do to fix the crisis were only means to an end, which in this case, revealing themselves and their operation to the Illyers, to prevent a destructive war by a tyrant dead set to unite the water territory and perhaps even more because, in their eyes, a world under the yoke of tyranny was no better than destroyed.
So the notion of the same Court Wizards offering to help the rescue of some orphanage and even offering to use their sacred art of world travel as an instant teleporter was ludicrous to the Illyers.
The orphanage was under hostage to force Willow into betraying her lord, but that was no more, so the orphanage’s survival was no longer be relevant to the Court Wizard’s mission to prevent Van’s war. In other words, there’s no reason for Joshua and Ronald to save the orphanage.
So the Illyers and even the maid, who perhaps even thought it was a fitting punishment (which was not, dragging innocence to it and all), felt the aid was on a whim and unnatural. After all, the Court Wizards should only care about the world as a whole, the masses instead of a few individuals which was ironic for the Illyers who received favor from the greater water spirit.
And Ronald and Joshua knew how to counter that. After all, that wasn’t entirely true for Court Wizards, because they never followed the example of the First Guardians – even they couldn’t keep up their rules in the end.
Heck, both boys can even sum it up to four words.
“”Because we wanted to.””
And it was delivered with a serene smile, at least they think it was based on the Illyers’ reaction.
Then Ronald quickly explain it further, “Tell me, duke Illyer, why did the greater water spirit take favor of your family, specifically the first Illyer who received it?”
“Hm?” The duke raised his eyebrow and pondered. “Because he was a humble and virtuous man that lady Aquarius decided to give him her blessings that brought this kingdom to greatness,” he answered like reading it off of a textbook.
“And there are a lot more people like him, so why didn’t she give them her favor too?” Ronald then asked. “Having more favored people would surely make the kingdom greater unless the people of Spiri Raia were that corrupt.”
“Of course not,” Allister retorted. “But… I suppose lady Aquarius does not want to give too many favored individuals to a kingdom.”
“Then does the greater water spirit favor one family in every nation in her domain?” Ronald then asked. “To at least balance out the powers?”
“…Actually, no.” The duke gave the look of realization on his face. “It is just us…”
“Then why is that?” Ronald pressed.
“Better yet, why did she even choose to like you guys,” Joshua interjected. “Greater spirits are supposed to be impartial, right?” Like how you think we are supposed to be. And judging by the Illyers’ silent expressions, he was right.
Waiting for an answer, the entire household couldn’t come up with one, however. Internally sighing, after spending a full minute, Joshua glanced at Ronald, nudging him to just spell it out to them. But…
“I think, it is because lady Aquarius wished to.”
And the person who answered it was none other than Irene, the eldest daughter of Allister al Illyer, who became the center of the attention.
“Elaborate,” Ronald said so that she can knock some sense to her family, especially since her father had named a spirit like her.
“Well,” Irene looked behind her, at the greater spirit candidate Layla cowering behind her. She gently pulled the spirit, while struggling, and eventually got Layla to the front. “Layla told me the reason spirits wanted to be named was not because they want to have names, but rather the person who named them, to have a familial bond together.
“I wonder, does lady Aquarius, who did not receive her name from a human but has always existed within her ever since she and the other greater spirits created this world wished for that sort of relationship as well, just like her subordinates?” she continued as she stroked Layla’s blue hair with the spirit resting her head on Irene’s lap.
“I see… Well praise the greater spirits,” Allister muttered before looking back to the spirit he named Neptune. “I suppose you too as well,” he softly said to Neptune with the spirit wordlessly taking his namer’s rub on his bald head with a smile.
“The favor to the Illyers was the best lady Aquarius could make with her status as the greater water spirit,” the prince assumed. “And her analogy can be applied to you Court Wizards, though not necessarily her restrictive position. Is that what you are telling us?”
“Exactly,” Ronald huffed, considering the time wasted to get it to their heads.
“Then it was not a part of a grand plan we could not fathom nor to cause a ripple that which corrects the balance of tomorrow, but because you wished to do it. Nothing less, nothing more,” Albert concluded before chuckling. “You are both just as human as we are.”
“Of course we are,” Joshua groaned. Seriously, considering spirits, being the only other sapient race in Spiri Raia, are clearly different than humans, the Illyers really ought to know a human when they see one.
“And as to whether we’re breaking our rules,” Ronald continued. “We did say we can, just think of this as one of them. Our leaders will understand we are trying to save innocents.”
“Noted,” the prince nodded.
“So you see, Willow.” Getting off his seat, Joshua turned to the maid, who was agape with the sudden drama that dragged Aquarius into it, and slowly approached her as he spoke. “We don’t care if you just tried to stab the duke we’re supposed to protect, that’s water under the bridge. We’re saving your orphanage because we want to and we’ll be damn if we do nothing about it when we can. So I…”
“…so no one will…”
“…you will submit to Van’s bidding no more, Willow,” Joshua finished, putting his hands on her shoulders with a smile.
“I-I…” This time, his hold on her was gentler than previously. With tears falling, Willow softly cried, “thank you…!”
And such was the second meeting with the Illyers.
“They are truly good people.” Among the crowd, Irene murmured with a smile.
“By the way, I was hopping from the tree branch, where I knocked the assassin standing on it, and to the window when you started the [Telepathy]. I almost fell, you know,” Joshua coldly stated.
“Oh, my bad,” was all Ronald said along with a shrug.
“Grr, I’ll get you for this someday,” the brushed aside victim grumbled.
In the countryside of the Kirash kingdom, there was a village, far from the great pond where the capital resided but not near to the border with the Fichs empire. Despite being in the crossfire during the Kirash-Fichs war decades ago, it was a peaceful village if not for the dozens of so bandits occupying the place.
One bandit, dressed in leather armor and carrying various weapons related to his real job as a mercenary though his current job made him a brigand, came out from an orphanage and approached his leader, a middle-aged man, staring to the great pond over the distance with his arm crossed on a fence.
“His highness’ lapdogs ought to come back soon, right boss?” the bandit asked as he put his arm on the fence.
“It’s about time they should,” the leader gruffed.
“Finally!” the bandit huffed in relief. “We’re stuck here for two months already and it’s getting boring here! The booze tastes like crap and there ain’t anyone to have fun with, just a bunch of snotty brats and an old geezer.”
“A job’s a job. And as we are right now, we’re pretty much holding up the entire village, not just the orphanage,” the leader remarked, eyeing his other men loitering around the village with its inhabitants locked up in their houses. “That prince is very generous for us to just hold up some kids, while his men assassinate duke Illyer.”
“I know,” the bandit mooted. “But it’s still unbelievable that we’re assisting the duke’s assassination, he’s a war hero! …Our client didn’t tell us he wants him killed, right?”
“Yeah,” the leader nodded. “But with the whole succession war those posh people are waging, it’s pretty obvious the second prince’s our client with what those fanatics are doing in the duke’s city, especially when they said the threat to the little lady in front of us as we held the kids up.”
“Speaking of those fanatics,” the bandit continued. “Don’t you think they’re a bit too loyal to their boss? They can’t stop raving about how great their liege is, it’s annoying.”
“Aye, something to do with ‘we wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for him’ kind of thing among all their preaching. Pretty loose-lipped for assassins, if you ask me,” the leader rolled his eyes, not exactly wanting to recall the rest. “Well, if his highness is king, we’ll get more jobs seeing as he wants to invade Fichs.”
“You got that right, boss,” the bandit chuckled. “But still, the brats are annoying, whining and crying all the time.”
“Yeah,” the leader cringed. “If it weren’t for the old man shutting them up, we might shut of them up ourselves… for good, which could blow the job.”
“Hah… too bad that wench is way too cooperative,” the bandit sighed. “We’re only ordered to make ‘warnings’ if she doesn’t.”
“Speaking of that wench, she-”
“Boss! Boss!” Suddenly, another bandit rushed to the bandit leader, interrupting him. “It’s an emergency!”
“What is it?” the leader turned to the other bandit.
“It’s the duke!” the other bandit exclaimed. “The duke’s knights are attacking us!”
“What!?” the leader cried, alarmed by the unexpected report. “Why are they here!?”
“‘Cause we are here,” a flat voice said.
The three bandits jerked their heads to the source of the voice to see a tall figure in a light-blue cloak and a mask to cover their face, right in front of the orphanage.
“W-Who in the greater spirits are you!?” the leader screamed, as he and his men brandished their weapons and pointed them at the figure.
But the figure did not answer as the sound of ice spirit arts filled one’s hearing with an elegant ice-blue dagger manifested in the figure’s hand.