Azhure: Got exams after this, so…
Voice: Stay tuned!
“I must say, this palace of your organization easily dwarfs Kirash’s,” Allister remarked as he strolled through the hallway. “Almost three times larger, I believe.”
Somewhere, Gertrude sneezed.
“Hm, really?” Isaac quirked his eyebrow. “This place is just about the same size as any castle, albeit on the larger side. Why do you think otherwise?”
“Huh?” Allister blinked and pointed up. “Duke Brzask, the height of the ceiling here can easily fit another floor. Quite a waste of space, to be honest.”
Isaac looked up, stared at the tall ceiling for a bit, and then back to the younger duke. “Ah yes, you are right.”
“…Not to be rude, but why have you not noticed?” Isaac asked, dumbfounded.
“It has… something to do with how our founders, the First Guardians, built this castle,” Allister coughed. “Because one of them was a dragon.”
Allister did a spit-take. “A-A dragon!?”
“I see you know what they are,” Allister remarked. “Then this should make things simpler.”
“What do you mean simpler!?” Allister exclaimed. “You are telling me that those accursed dragons were one of the founding members of your organization?”
“Accursed?” Isaac blinked. “Ah yes, I recall dragons were a scourge in your world of some kind. Do not fret, our dragon was not like yours, he was much more civil.”
“…I see, I will take your word for it,” Allister conceded. Being in an entirely different world, he shouldn’t be too narrow-minded. “But it is still uncomfortable to hear a dragon was involved in your organization’s creation.”
“You will not be in due time,” Isaac carried on. “Now, back to what I was saying, as our dragon Guardian was not able to transform into a human form, yes there are dragons capable of that but not ours, the First Guardians had no choice but to make everything… bigger, so to speak.
“They also took great care creating the illusion that this castle was not that enormous in size, though it seems to not extend beyond us Court Wizards.”
“I see, that would certainly explain the door within the larger door,” Allister pointed at the library door which was a part of a dragon-sized door like a pet door.
“Sir Ronald?” Irene called out. “I cannot help but notice that you have not been wearing that suit of yours ever since that breakfast. You too, sir Joshua.”
“Hm?” Ronald raised his eyebrow.
“Yeah, we do.” Joshua shrugged.
After that fateful breakfast a year ago in Spiri Raia, Ronald and Joshua have obviously worn different clothing other than that sweltering suit underneath their robe and cloak for every mission protecting the Illyers. Usually, it’s just whatever’s the most comfortable they picked off their closets, colorful t-shirts and the like.
Right now was no different either, a collared red shirt for Ronald and a blue hoodie for Joshua, and jeans. Being in the Otherworldly Court, they didn’t wear their robe or cloak which was why Irene noticed it and pointed it out.
“Why is that?” Irene asked.
“Um, lady Irene?” Layla spoke up. “I don’t know about you, but those fancy suits those guys wear have got to be stuffy on top of their cloaks.”
“Yeah, what she said,” Joshua backed it up.
“I see, I have not thought of that,” Irene blinked. “My apologies, you two.”
“It’s fine,” Ronald said. However, there was also another reason he didn’t want to talk about.
“Ronald!” Alan, Ronald’s father, screamed. “That suit is expensive and you’ve just ruined it! Joshua, you are so innocent of this either, young man!”
“Yeep!” Layla yelped as the lower half of her body phased out of a podium in the courtroom.
“Huh!? What happened, Layla!? Are you alright!?” Irene, broken out of her marveling over the place, went over to the spirit she named in concern.
“I’m fine, lady Irene,” Layla reassured her namer. Looking at the podium. “For some reason when I pass through this thing, it gave me the jolt.”
“Again? This must have been the tenth time since we arrived here,” Irene said. “How did this happen?”
“Eh, it must be the whole place made out of some evil material or something,” Layla sneered. “No worries, lady Irene, I just need to avoid phasing through objects and I’ll be fine, okay?”
Over the distance, the Court Wizards looked at this seemingly comedic exchange with worried looks.
“She will not be fine,” Isaac shook his head.
“Yes,” Gertrude, the dwarf Fire Guardian, said in concern. “Manegia does not support the existence of spirits, they will have to fall to the closest part of the Fantasy Law here.”
“True,” Isaac nodded. “The spirits’ ability to phase through objects is similar to the Power of Ignorance, an ability shared by Maneg Amalgamations. My only speculation is that those two are connected.”
“If that’s true, I shudder to think of the ramifications of such a thing,” Gertrude grimaced.
“What is this place?” Irene widened her eyes at the ashen grounds taking the sight of the fire chamber’s balcony.
“It’s the Training Grounds,” Joshua casually replied.
“What!?” Layla exclaimed. “It’s a freaking wasteland over there!”
“It is,” Ronald confirmed. “That is what happens when you have free reign over your Orders in a specific area.” As he said this, explosions of maneg were set off upon the already beaten down plot of land.
“Good thing the Training Grounds are soundproof,” was all Joshua had to say eyeing at both lady and spirit with gaping mouths in amusement.
“So this is the Transporter Room head knight Oswald talked about,” Albert, prince of Kirash, analyzed the cylindrical room with the blue projections as its light source incredulously, now that he got a good look at it, unlike last time.
“Quite the sight for sore eyes, eh prince?” One of the operators, John, swirled his swivel chair, another unique piece to the prince, around, turning to Albert.
“Yes,” the prince nodded. “I could only imagine how you were able to bring people to different worlds with these contraptions.”
“Well, if you’d believe me that we used to have an AI inside this thing to help us pinpoint where to that is,” John replied.
“What happened?” Albert asked. While he doesn’t know what this ‘ay eye’ was, he’ll find out about it later, he still got the general idea that the operation of these blue lights was much easier in the past.
“The Court Wizards got into a civil war between themselves,” John said. “Not a pretty sight. Lots of Court Wizards died, half of the Court got destroyed, and the Training Grounds was reduced to, well, the Training Grounds. It also fried this thing,” he patted the desk of the holographic monitor. “It’s a miracle they got it back up and running.”
“I see,” Albert nodded. A civil war that tore down nearly half of this gigantic castle and their means of world travel? That was certainly unexpected.
“The Court Wizards don’t like talking about it,” the operator continued. “Going so far as to call the incident nothing related to what it is, so don’t go around asking them about it, we don’t know much either.”
“This is the most comfortable bed I have ever slept on,” Irene muttered as she sunk into the pure white bedsheet, savoring its softness.
After the Illyers’ initial astonishment of the dark circular room, seeing it for themselves instead of just hearing it from the head knight, then every hallway they come across, the Court Wizards had ushered them to their temporary lodgings where Irene had a small room, smaller than her old burnt room, all for herself and Layla.
“Yeah,” Layla, the spirit Irene named, said as she bounced up and down on the bed by her butt. “But that bathroom’s infernal. How the heck does that metal tube thingy pour out water!?”
Of course, Irene wouldn’t dare to plop herself in this bed if she was still covered in soot from the fire, so she had cleaned herself in the bathroom connected to this room. Like everything in this place, the bathroom had many contraptions she has never seen before and it would have been confusing for the young lady if not for the paintings on the wall attempting to teach her how to use them.
“At least we were able to use it. Those paintings on the wall were cute though, I wonder how they were able to stay there without being washed off by the water,” Irene closed her eyes, recalling one of the paintings being clearly wet from the ‘metal tube’ and was still fine. “The soap was very nice too. I can smell its fragrance from my body.”
“I guess that’s one good thing,” Layla pouted, rolling her eyes.
It was a lot of new experiences for the young noblewoman: having to stand up while bathing, luckily figuring out that the water’s temperature can actually be adjusted; another metal tube pouring water onto a ceramic bowl which was supposed to be for washing hands according to the painting along with what came on the bowl and the clearest mirror she has ever seen and; the latrine, Irene felt she could never go back after using it once, even though it had given her the jolt spurting water up to her rear the first time.
Naturally, after all of it was said and done, she wore a new nightwear provided in the closet, throwing her dirty one in the basket, and here she was right now.
“But I still can’t help but think all of these pictures on the wall are here ’cause they’d think we’d be a bunch of dummies not knowing how to use these stuff!” Layla sneered, looking at a painting that explained the vase thing with a hat that could shine light when its rope was pulled.
“Well, I am guessing this room is meant for other people like us, having to escape like that,” Irene supposed. “They might not be so lucky as we are at using these tools.”
“Yeah, I guess there might be some guy acting like a total bumpkin so those guys had to paint all of these,” Layla agreed.
Ignoring Layla’s remarks – she’s probably in a bad mood having to inside the Court Wizards’ home base -, Irene looked up at the glass ball which shone like light spirit arts. “Still, these are all very fascinating, I wonder what Mia would think…”
“…Lady Irene?” Layla asked her namer in concern.
“Yes, I know…” Irene sighed sadly. “Mia, why…” she cried.
“However, I must say, these are very accurate illustrations,” Allister remarked the photographed evidence. “Send my regard to whoever painted these.”
“…Sure,” Isaac darted his eyes away from the younger duke who was confused by this.