Year 1397 in Manegia
“Is that your village over there, Willow?” Joshua asked the maid as he pointed towards a settlement over the distance as they got around the small hill where they transferred behind it to mask the kaleidoscope.
“Y-Yes, it’s there,” Willow confirmed.
“By the greater spirits, we really are near miss Willow’s village!” a knight, about a dozen and half years younger than his lord, beside them exclaimed, the other knights, shared his sentiment. His armor was different from the other knights the Court Wizards transferred, marking him the leader.
“We told you we would, sir Oswald,” Ronald said to the head knight named Oswald.
“Right,” Oswald nodded. “And miss Willow’s orphanage should be there.”
“While we wait for your troops to assemble,” Ronald said. “I wonder, why is there an orphanage in a rural village? Does it have to do with the war against Fichs decades ago?”
“Yes,” the duke, Allister, nodded. “We were still outnumbered, so casualties were significant. Furthermore, Willow’s village is near Fichs, it did get in the crossfire, so I built an orphanage there. But I believe there would be few orphans left as the ones orphaned from the war have grown up.”
“Y-Yes, that is true,” Willow confirmed. “I was the only orphan of my age when I was little. The orphanage was mostly me and the director until I’m older. The director was very kind and treated me like his daughter.”
“And we can assume the villagers there were mostly former orphans,” Joshua deduced. “So they’re also attached to the orphanage, especially the director who took care of them before. I assume he was the same director as yours, correct, Willow?”
“Y-Yes,” Willow confirmed again.
“And so by proxy, the villagers dared not to stand up against the bandits as well,” Ronald concluded. “Though based on what you said, Willow, the number of bandits would have put them all in captivity anyway.”
“You seem very determined, sir Oswald,” Ronald commented, looking at the head knight.
“I was an orphan too,” Oswald replied. “My mom died when I was young, then my dad, a knight under the duke, died valiantly in the war.”
“Ah,” Ronald uttered. “My condolences.”
“It’s fine,” Oswald shrugged. “The duke made sure we who lost our parents have somewhere to go to instead of being left defenseless, so seeing the orphanage being threatened like that makes my blood boil.”
“So is that why you became a knight?” Ronald asked. “To protect the defenseless?”
“That,” the head knight answered, waggling his index finger, “and going after my dad’s footsteps, I decided to lend my sword to duke Illyer when I’ve grown to an adult to give my gratitude to him as well, especially when I can request spirit arts though I have yet to name a spirit. Then after a decade of service, I was suddenly the leader of my lord’s knight order.”
“I see, so we’re quite similar in regards to taking after our dads,” Ronald commented which Oswald did not deny. “And with your ability to cast spirit arts, you’re called a Spirit Knight, correct?”
“Yes, that’s the term,” Oswald nodded.
“Right then, time to take out the cohorts of the assassins taking advantage of you, Willow.” With the small chatter finished, Joshua punched his fist to his other hand before looking at Willow. “Stay here with the knights hanging back, we’ll clear out these scum real soon.”
“Okay, thank you…” Willow smiled.
“You know, how did the assassins get in here, anyway?” Joshua wondered. “Even if Willow guided them, the guards should check them before letting them in, right?”
“Indeed,” Ronald nodded. “We were stopped by the guards before coming into your city.”
“Hah…” the duke sighed as if he had made a blunder. “Shamefully to admit it, I told the guards to let my servants after coming out of the city back in without fuss. That includes any entourages they bring.”
“Y-Yes, I told the guards that the assassins were with me and they let them in,” the maid confessed with her head down.
“I see, so that’s why they needed to coerce Willow,” Ronald said before turning to the duke. “You need to check everyone coming in now, duke.”
“Yes,” Allister sighed again, rolling his eyes. “I suppose I do.”
We got visual, there are two bandits including the leader just outside the orphanage. The building and every house have no bandits inside, just all the villagers. The other bandits are at these locations, thirty in total. (Operator)
Got it. (Ronald & Joshua)
Emotion suppression on.
“Alright, we just got the positions of the bandits,” Ronald declared in monotone. “I’ll guide you where they are.”
“How do you know?” Oswald asked as he looked at Ronald only to be unnerved by his lack of emotion.
“And I’ll go ahead to secure the orphanage,” Joshua added in a similar tone, ignoring the Spirit Knight’s question since it’s to Ronald as he bent over and let his maneg boost him…
…as he lept.
Hopefully, Willow doesn’t have PTSD of my suppression, Joshua thought, considering the maid’s first run-in with it.
With his last [Eject], Joshua looked over the village still in the distance – the Order was still loud and only air maneg can absorb it.
There were bandits on the perimeter, but like where most of the bandits were, playing cards and getting drunk while the sun was up, these lookouts were lazing about not doing their jobs properly. After all, they wouldn’t think that the knights will come all the way here, some rural village in the countryside and straight if the knights did, it’ll take too long for them to arrive.
So it was easy for Joshua to slip past the bandits, especially when he got the Transporter Room operators guiding him as he still carefully navigated through the bandit-infested village and came upon the back of the orphanage.
“You got that right, boss. But still, the brats are annoying, whining and crying all the time.”
“Yeah, 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.”
Overhearing the two bandits by the shadowy side of the orphanage, with one of them being the leader, talking, the orphans seemed to be safe. Good, Joshua thought as the bandits then talked about Willow, calling her a wench when another bandit ran to the other two from the other side, so Joshua’s wasn’t spotted yet.
“Boss! Boss! It’s an emergency!” that bandit exclaimed.
“What is it?” the bandit leader asked.
“It’s the duke!” the bandit exclaimed. “The duke’s knights are attacking us!”
“What!?” the leader cried, surprised as expected. “Why are they here!?”
Joshua, we’re beginning our assault. (Ronald)
Got it, I’m moving in.
With the confirmation from Ronald, stepping out from the dark, Joshua stood in front of the door to the orphanage and said to the bandits, catching their attention, “‘Cause we are here,” in a flat tone though it did take some effort to stress ‘we’ under the suppression.
With the bandits turning their backs to see the Ice Court Wizard, the bandit leader screamed, “W-Who in the greater spirits are you!?” as he and his cronies brandished their blades.
Observing these bandits overall, their equipment were too good for their occupation. So they might be mercenaries, but their currently acting as bandits so Joshua will still refer to them as such as he willed his Cherished Armament, [Emilia’s Right Dagger], Emilia’s favorite blade with its icy-blue ornaments in its glory. He couldn’t figure a better name for the Armament than the fact Emilia always held this blade with her dominant hand, as with Ronald’s.
I order you, coat lower left limb 50cm thick, thus is my Order, [Gauntlet]. [Eject]
Bending over, Joshua launched himself towards the leading bandit as ice maneg materialized around his left arm. He hasn’t memorized [Gauntlet] yet as it was a new Order he’s trying since inheriting Emilia’s Armament…
Besides, traditional ordering for flexibility was supposed to be the norm, not making multiple memorized versions of the same Order just because he and Ronald mostly modify the first steps of Orders in missions.
Though [Eject] was a different story. By default, [Eject] can be given with its name only, it’ll launch the Court Wizard to the direction they are looking at and the maneg expelled all at once from their lower back, their center of gravity specifically.
“So fast!” the bandit leader exclaimed as Joshua swung his ice-coated limb first, batting away the sword the bandit leader held diagonally across his torso. The leader was surprisingly almost as tall as Joshua, so the taller man imagined the bandits unperturbed by an even taller human.
Not letting up, Joshua pulled back his dagger and…
…thrust it’s bottom to the tall bandit’s left temple. Joshua doesn’t kill, like any other modern era ‘Earth’ Court Wizard and so simply knocked the bandit leader to the fence unconscious.
1 bandit subdued, 29 remain.
“”Boss!”” the other two bandits screamed as their leader was taken down ever so suddenly.
I order you, form sphere 30 cm diameter 5 cm above my head, travel to head of messy hair man with sword, Order break, repeat first step of first Sub-Order, travel to head of lanky man with sword, thus is my Order, [Iceball].
But Joshua will not give them any time to avenge their leader as a ball of ice maneg formed above his head that then shot itself to the forehead of the bandit to his left in frightening speed.
“Gah!” the bandit who could use a haircut groaned as he was met face first with the [Iceball], sprawling to the ground.
Then, the second [Iceball] came, targeting the bandit to Joshua’s right, who looked ill-fit to be a fighter.
“..!” and the lanky bandit with a sword didn’t make much of a reaction with how fast it was.
3 bandits subdued, 27 remain.
Standing over the unconscious brigands, Joshua dismissed his Cherished Armament as his [Gauntlet] expired soon after. Then, he looked in the direction where the lanky bandit came from, to see the Illyer’s knights plus Ronald engaging the bandits caught off guard and without their leader.
I’ve secured the orphanage.
Right, I’ll inform Oswald to hurry up on our end. Guard the place. (Ronald)
“Sir Oswald,” Ronald called out in a flat voice with his Cherished Armament, [Emilia’s Left Dagger], a red patterned dagger with splotches of ice blue in his hand. “Joshua had secured the orphanage, he’ll be standing guard there.”
“Truly?” Oswald raised his eyebrow, stunned but still unnerved by how Ronald said it without color in his eyes. “Then we must make haste. Everyone, their leader has been defeated, charge!”
Upon Oswald’s rallying cry, the knights rushed in, their swords and shields clashing with the bandits’. Though their adversaries were experienced mercenaries, they were wholly unprepared for the properly trained knights’ assault, especially when some of the bandits were mildly drunk and the demoralizing declaration that their leader was beaten.
“W-What!? No way!”
“He’s lying! The boss is invincible!”
“But where’s the boss!? He should be here, right?”
“Oh, water spirits.” Ignoring the cries of the shaken bandits, Oswald made his request as he pointed his sword at the bandits, “lend me your power and precision!”
And Ronald saw the numerous water spirits dancing in the braving themselves in his presence, seeing as the Court Wizard was on the requester’s side, and shot out beams of high-pressured water systematically targeting the bandits.
“””Big sis! You’re alright!”””
A bunch of kids tackled Willow’s poor body to the ground right in front of the orphanage door. The orphans were too excited to see her.
“Yes, I’m alright, Ricky, Marco, Sophie, Abby,” Willow softly cried as she hugged them back as she got herself back up, though sitting on the floor with the children. “I’m alright.”
“Welcome back, Willow.” Within the orphanage, an elderly man with a cane approached the orphans with a gentle smile. “Thank the spirits you are safe.”
“It’s not your fault, Willow,” the director cut her off, patting her head. “What matters is that you are all safe and sound.”
Joshua and Ronald stood by the fence, coincidentally the part where Joshua beat down the bandit leader, who, with his minions were rounded up by the Illyer’s knights, and watched the warm reunion as they felt a familiar remembrance with this scene.
“Yes, the Beast is gone, so no one will get hurt anymore.”
“Ah, that’s what we want to see,” Joshua murmured.
“…Yes,” Ronald nodded. “Indeed.”
“Big sis.” One of the girls rummaged her pocket to pull out a flowery trinket, which Joshua couldn’t make out the details but the color fitted Willow’s hair and gave it to Willow. “Here, this is for you!”
“Oh?” Willow raised her eyebrow as she received the gift with her two hands. “What’s this, Abby?”
“It’s a brooch we all made together!” the girl, Abby, explained. “We wanted to give it to you when you visited, but then those bad men came,” she pouted.
“I see…” Willow pressed the brooch to her chest. “It’s lovely, thank you.”
And thus was the first day, the start of the ‘Open First Prince Faction Support Operation.’ From a peaceful alliance to saving the family of a young maiden, the unlikely first step to wrest the war-maniac second prince Van of the throne.
“Hello, tall mister.” Suddenly, Joshua glanced down as he heard a voice down below, it was Sophie. Joshua looked back at the orphans to see them dumbfounded and looked back at the little girl who just approached him and nonchalantly said, “are you big sis’ boyfriend?” with an innocent smile.
That was twenty-four years ago.
Name: Ronald Bell Age: 19 Sex: Male Species: Human World: Kaomagi Earth Element: Fire Element Color: Red Cherished Armament: Emilia's Right Dagger (dagger) Rank: Grand Wizard
Name: Joshua Ruze Age: 23 Sex: Male Species: Human World: Kaomagi Earth Element: Ice Element Color: Light Blue Cherished Armament: Emilia's Left Dagger (dagger) Rank: Grand Wizard
Azhure: Somehow, the perspective of the entirety of chapter 4 was Joshua’s. Chapter 5 should go back to Ronald’s, being his Collection.