Azhure: I stayed up all night writing the last part of this Chapter. College is starting soon so I want to finish this.
Year 1241 in Manegia
“No, we did not transfer ourselves multiple times in groups,” Ronald denied, cutting his dinner. “We transfer all at once, the circle is big enough for that.”
It was another night in the Bell manor when Alicia decided to bring up the story of her mother and her family’s rescue when she asked about the transfer.
“Really?” Alicia, Ronald’s daughter, tilted her head. Then she recalled what she has always seen in the Transporter Room. “Ah! The circle was bigger than the size it was used, and the courtroom and chambers too! The infirmary is the smallest but it is still large in comparison.”
“It is,” Irene, Alicia’s mother, said in a slightly annoyed tone, sipping her tea. “In fact, the entire castle and everything inside easily dwarfed any castle in both worlds. I never understood why you Court Wizards never noticed it unless someone points it out.”
“Hm, yes,” Ronald smiled wryly. “It’s still an architectural mystery as to how the First Guardians were able to build the castle in that way. But as to why they did, I suppose it’s to prevent us from getting overwhelmed by it, though it only worked for us Court Wizards.”
“But why build the Otherworldly Court so large though?” Alicia wondered.
“Oh, that’s because it had to accommodate for one of the First Guardians who was a non-morphing dragon,” Ronald answered nonchalantly.
“A dragon?” Alicia perked.
“Ah yes, that. To think that the age-old enemy of the spirits during Spiri Raia’s formation was a leader of your organization…” Irene sighed, nursing her head.
It would’ve been a surprise to hear but Alicia already met Blaze and Luna who were dragon-morphs… “When you mean non-morphing, the dragon Guardian cannot turn into a human form?”
“Precisely,” Ronald praised. “And because of that, the dragon Guardian would’ve had trouble navigating the Court if it were to be less spacious so it had to be built ‘dragon friendly’.”
“Like the cases openings, stair width, and rooms?” Alicia figured it out. “Ah, but what about the doors?”
“Oh!” Ronald quipped. “If you hadn’t noticed, all the doors are actually a part of much larger doors for the dragon Guardian. The doors we used are basically its pet door.
“Even in the courtroom, the podiums for each Guardian are separated enough for the dragon to fit in.”
“I see,” Alicia nodded in understanding. “But what happens if there was a Court Wizard larger than the dragon Guardian?” And then she was met with a pregnant pause.
“…Well, it seems the First Guardians decided to cross that bridge when it happens, which so far didn’t.” Ronald shrugged with a smile.
“I-I see…” Alicia smiled wryly. “But it is thanks to that mother and everyone was transferred safely, correct?”
“Yes, and we are all here because of it. Right, dear?” Ronald smiled at his wife.
“Yes,” Irene smiled back at her husband, however, “and yet, we are allowed to return… Not that I would wish we did.”
“We didn’t allow it.”
Ronald sighed as he explained, “You see, Alicia, we-“
“What do you mean we cannot return, duke Brzask!?” Allister fumed, though in a rather polite way in front of the Ice Guardian, Isaac Brzask, being a much older nobleman.
When the emergency mission to save the Illyer household was given out, it was Isaac who was the first Guardian to respond and direct the entire operation from the Transporter Room
moments after Ronald and Joshua transferred first as he quoted it, “I sensed a good noble is being threatened in this very moment” all the way from Alternate Earth Euracia.
With his helming, the Court was able to not send in too many Court Wizards in a panic and carefully guide Ronald and Joshua after their messy entrance to locate and transfer the Illyers with the minimal chance of anyone knowing. Overall, Van will not even hear a hint of rainbow light coming from the burning mansion.
However, this also meant that the people of Spiri Raia, as far as they were concerned, thought the Illyers were dead.
“I mean what I said, duke Illyer,” Isaac firmly tapped his cane to the floor. “All of you are not allowed to return to Spiri Raia as you are all ‘dead’ there, burned in the Illyer estate.”
When the Illyers first arrived in the Transporter Room, they were obviously amazed by the futuristic technology adorning be dimly lit room. It was the same manner when Oswald and his knights when they transit there. However, the two named spirits were freaked out being in the ‘dangerous people’s’ base.
After that, the Illyers were given one of the numerous rooms on the first floor meant to house visitors from another world like them temporarily, which they reeled in what happened and mourn those who did not make it, until whatever business was settled.
And it was after a whole week that when the business was not being settled, Allister finally took notice.
“Hm, I see what you mean, but the fact is you have saved us,” Allister pointed out. “We are still ‘alive’.”
“And that was enough interference already!” Allister tapped his cane to the ground with a BAM. “We have strict rules when intervening affairs of other worlds, and this has pushed it to the very limit! Pardon my cruel words.
“It is only because we are not heartless machines that we, Ronald and Joshua, saved you with the last resort.”
“But is prince Albert on the throne is what you want?” Allister retorted. “This seems counterintuitive.”
“Our goal was to prevent the war Van intends to wage. To prevent that, we aim to ascend prince Albert to the throne which we failed,” Isaac firmed, nonchalantly announcing that the Otherworldly Court had been defeated. “As your faction was supposed to be decimated were it not for us, by our fifth rule, the natural order of events is for Van to become king. As much as we hated the outcome. we will have to find another way to achieve our original goal.”
It was intense, with two old aristocratic men locked in a fierce debate, everybody else – Ronald, Joshua, and the Illyers -, in the common room where all of it was happening dared not to speak a word. Not even prince Albert, who was one of the core subjects in that argument, interjected, and instead just comforting his fiancee watching her father getting this frustrated for the first time in a while.
“But why do you insist on limiting your interventions!?” Allister demanded. “You can do more good in any world if you help more!”
“That is because we do not deserve to.” Isaac smashed the bottom end of his cane loudly yet his tone did not match that.
Naturally, this reply confused just about everyone but the other Court Wizards in the room. Ronald noticed Irene taking a glance at him, wanting to know what was that all about, to which he only gave her a turn away with a scratch on his neck. Joshua simply looked up at the ceiling with a frown.
Isaac, in a dramatic fashion, looked away and silently cleared his throat before he elaborated further. “We were not always… united in an Otherworldly Court. In fact, this organization is only founded three hundred and twelve years ago.”
“That is younger than Kirash!”
“Seriously!? I’m older than this place!?”
The non-Court Wizard listener murmured in shock. They had the impression that the Otherworldly Court was this ancient order with a millennium of history to its name, not a comparatively fledgling group. That was to be expected when Ronald and Joshua didn’t tell them this and just let their imagination run wild.
“And just as you have multiple elements of spirits in separate territories,” Isaac continued regardless. “We were once split between each of our Elements. However, while your greater spirits all coexist without problems, we… do not.”
There was a sense of dread permeating the air around them. By the tone the elderly Guardian took, it was something he does not like to talk about, a piece of a dark history that one would like to forget yet would be foolish to do so.
“…What happened?” Albert, prince, or by this point former prince of Kirash, was the first to speak up.
“We called it the Eleven-Century War, a war that had lasted eleven centuries,” Isaac declared, turning his body around for an unnecessary effect other than to set the listener to a desirable mood, which was an actual protocol.
“A-A war that lasted eleven hundred years!?” Allister did a spit-take. What kind of war lasted so long!? Everybody else was naturally shocked as well.
“Ten centuries and eighty-six years to be precise,” Ronald corrected. Having a frugal businessman mindset meant he cared about accurate numbering.
“Which still gets rounded up,” Joshua added.
Of course, anyone can see that ‘Ten Centuries and Eighty-Six Years War’ was not as memorable as Eleven-Century War…
“Yes, pardon the… minor error with the naming by our founders,” Isaac silently coughed. “But we have passed the point where correcting it is… unfeasible.”
“What do you mean?” Allister raised an eyebrow. “Is it because you have written too many records with that name?”
“…Yes,” Isaac nodded. “Let us leave it at that.” A sentiment shared by the other two Court Wizards.
And if someone did fix and overhaul the archives that never got much attention, the Court Wizards collectively felt they wouldn’t bother fixing that error either and would instead find it amusing to joke at.
“Anyway,” Isaac continued, though the tense atmosphere was broken rather comically courtesy to two Court Wizards he silently glared at. “In that period, we called them Maneg Users and we were extremely factional by our Elements and are in constant war with each other, from engaging in skirmishes to full assaults.”
A look from the duke and some others showed their ticks noticing the discrepancy in the words the Ice Guardian used, that Maneg User wasn’t what pre-Otherworldly Court Wizards really refer to themselves as.
“However,” Isaac continued, as namings were irrelevant. “As you all know, we were never limited to a single world and even more so during the war. Simply put, the sources of our power, the Mother Soul of Elements were capable of world travel along with its respective Maneg Users. I believe you can imagine the rest.”
With audible gasps and tensed eyes, it was clear the Illyers understood the implication.
And so, Isaac continued, “We do not know how it started, but the Maneg Users’ main objective in the war was to destroy the other Mother Souls than their own. With their world-traveling ability, Mother Souls travel worlds to recruit more Maneg Souls from them, willingly or not, dragging many worlds into the long war.
“Even though they do not stay long in one world for too long, no, perhaps because of that, we committed many atrocities to those worlds, all to get an edge on the rival Mother Soul.”
The Illyers could only imagine what it had been during those times. With the war with the Fichs Allister fought, they were familiar with what went around in war. But they could only dread what Maneg Users did knowing they will leave the world for eleven centuries.
“You mention from the beginning that your war was about destroying each other’s source of your powers, Mother Soul was it?” Albert asked. “Did it happen?”
“…Yes,” Allister answered. Closing his eyes, ignoring their reactions, he then recited, “once there were fifteen Elements, fifteen Mother Souls of Elements.
“Then Earth absorbed Metal, taking her authority; the same for Air towards Melody; Herba and Beast fused equally to become Nature; but Null was destroyed completely, ceasing to exist altogether with her Maneg Users.
“Thus, the Elements became eleven. And they were not left unscathed either. By the end of the war, they were all damaged, weakening them, and lost some of their power including the ability to travel worlds on their own – that constrained us to the Transporter Room.
“But their weakened state does not only extend to them. Once, the Mother Souls were able to recruit thousands and thousands of Maneg Users into her fold, but nowadays they can only recruit a fraction of the Maneg Users’ successors, us Court Wizards, every generation. Not only that, the powers the Mother Soul gave to us are also much weaker compared to our predecessors.”
“Wait, what!?” Layla, the named greater spirit candidate, screamed for the first time as she quickly realized what Isaac said. “So you’re all supposed to be stronger!?”
“Yes, you are correct, young spirit,” Isaac nodded. “Such is the price we paid for the Eleven-Century War to end.”
This shuddered the Illyers. They had seen the powers Ronald and Joshua could demonstrate throughout the year. To think that all of them were actually weakened sent shivers down their spines, on top of formerly being able to travel worlds more freely. Just how powerful would they have been?
Then, in regards to Isaac’s final remark, “Then how did the war end?” Allister inquired.
“Eventually,” Isaac began. “All Maneg Users gathered together to this very world, where it had all started, to do one final battle, the most brutal one that saw most of them perish and the world torn asunder. This was where our founders, the First Guardians, met, and when the battle was finished, they rose from the ashes to form the Otherworldly Court.”
“I see,” Allister nodded in understanding.
Though streamlined, he and the Illyers were horrified and amazed by the elderly noble’s story. Even though a war that lasted more than a millennium seem outlandish, there was little room to doubt considering everything they have experienced.
“So your founders created the Otherworldly Court for redemption,” Allister concluded. “But that is not so simple, is it not?”
Seeing as the younger duke was starting to understand, Isaac continued, “If it was any other war, reparations and reconciliation are possible, but our war had gone extremely longer than any war should. We have torn apart countless families, homes, and nations in our squabble, causing misery everywhere – your world was fortunate to be spared by it. That to say, we have meddled other world affairs far too much.”
“Ah!” Allister widened his eyes, so did others. The last sentence had pretty much spelled out the mindset the Court Wizards took.
“Even if it was for good intentions this time around,” Isaac continued. “The First Guardians still believed too much interference just like the days of the war will do more harm than good and in a sense, they were probably right.”
There was a sense of dread hearing it. Regardless, Allister pressed on. “What happened?”
Isaac simply sighed. “In the scant few times the Otherworldly Court has gone against this philosophy and revealed themselves to a world in order to resolve an issue, the results were… debatable.
“The first-ever instance this has happened was in Kaomagi. There, the First Guardians and the first generation of Court Wizards openly intervened in the aftermath of a racial genocide that ended with a Lord of Vengeance rising at the turn of every century threatening to destroy the world.
“This forced the remaining races to unite under a common enemy and it was effective. With cooperation with the local deity to pass down encouraging teachings, conflict and discrimination between sapient races of Kaomagi have been reduced to a minimum, creating a sort of utopia with the threat of extinction every hundred years.”
“What!?” The Illyers, naturally, were horrified by this. “That is like the dragons returning to destroy the spirits every period!”
Hm, dragons? (Ronald)
Apparently. Should we tell them we had a dragon for a Guardian, the first one at that? (Joshua)
Well, not now at least. (Ronald)
“That was not all,” Isaac simply continued. “After the altercation, people in Kaomagi have seen us in a mix of awe and fear, but mostly the latter for what we did. Recruits in that world had stated being given the same treatment once people realized it was not Kaomagian magic.
“In fact, while lesser if they have similar powers like ours, most worlds we reveal ourselves to tend to react this way even though we try to limit our exposure to them afterwards. Only people we share a personal connection to break that notion.”
True, although the Illyers had seen the excessiveness Ronald and Joshua conducted with their powers holding back (which assuming all Court Wizards do so didn’t quite help their infamy), they got to know them a lot to shatter most of the tensions.
“And in worlds affected by the Eleven-Century War,” Isaac continued, his tone grimmer with every word. “This is coupled with hostility and xenophobia with the only saving grace being our great Elemental rivalry was so famous that they pause seeing two Court Wizards of different Elements together.”
The Illyers understand this, suddenly seeing who were once an ancient tormentor coming back with better intentions was very suspicious, even with the appearance of hated rivals working together – they’ll probably think it’s a ruse. And even then, it wouldn’t wash away the deep-festered scars of the past so easily.
“So really,” Isaac closed his eyes, tired of speaking for so long. “With every attempt to break our mold has only strengthened it, the mold to protect worlds in the shadows.”
“I see…” With this, Allister understood.
Eleven hundred years of sin had trapped them into thinking they were undeserving for atonement, feeling that they were too guilty for redemption. Coupled with their own experience with open help and the deep hatred of those they had once crossed, it had fostered into a stance that they should only send small ripples to alter the courses of worlds as their only way to pursue their goal.
That was what Allister had concluded. Glancing at his family, some of them had arrived at the same conclusion. It was perfectly understandable that the Court Wizards acted this way.
“Yes, I know what you are thinking,” Isaac interrupted, raising his hand to stop him. “We had that argument frequently. Rather than that, we will show you something else if it means to convince you all starting with what miss Evelyn had found among the tyrant prince’s arsonists.”
Azhure: I decided against Isaac telling the Illyers about the Mother Souls being inside him as I find it difficult to have it fit into the Chapter.
Voice: Unlike the little joke you made!?
Azhure: I had to address that error in a mainline story. Anyway, let the Illyers assume the battered Mother Souls were kept in some high-security vault or something to keep them safe and Isaac also not clarifying what happens to Court Wizards if their Mother Soul Element is completely destroyed.