Azhure: I had no idea how am I going about writing this, hence the very late upload.
Year 1421 in Manegia
“You said there was a group you had migrated into Manegia before mother’s group, father,” Alicia said. “I am a bit curious, who were they?”
“Ah yes, I would like to know as well,” Irene joined in. “You never told me, dear.”
“Come on, te~ll us!”
For some reason, sweat trickled down on Ronald’s forehead. Clearly, he didn’t want to bring it up, but since his wife, daughter, and his daughter’s pixie (and the servants from Spiri Raia) pressed on the information, he had to relent.
Voice: Wait a minute! You haven’t been putting me the entire time!
Azhure: Sorry, I forgot up until now.
Year 1398 in Manegia
“Group seventy, you’re up!” Edward Rhaims shouted. The middle-aged man with green eyes and a combed brown hair wearing respectable clothing gestured to the clearing as the operators over in Manegia gave him the clearance.
In an orderly line, the next batch of sea otters marched past the sailor while carrying their belongings. “Thank you, human,” one of them in a snazzy suit said.
“Group up around this circle,” Joshua waved to the marked ground, his sleeves dripping seawater over it.
Ready the transfer, Ronald messaged to the Transporter Room after the sea otters huddled together inside the circle.
Then, the kaleidoscopic light of the transfer flared up, engulfing the latest group of sea otters in it…
…and transfer them to Manegia.
“Okay…” Joshua panted. “How many left?”
“Sixty more to go,” Edward counted.
“Alright, we’re almost done,” Joshua stretched his arms. “How the heck did we end up rescuing a bunch of talking sea otters, anyway?”
“I don’t know either,” Ronald shook his head. “This world is just absurd.”
“It’s not that bad, you two,” Edward smiled, taking a sip from his Teacup of Infinite Coffee and returning it on its Floating Teacup Saucer. “I mean, aren’t they straight out of those cartoons of your world’s?”
“I do not recall one that has otters in it,” Ronald deadpanned. “Nor sea otters in that matter.”
“Hm?” Joshua raised his eyebrow. “You have a television in your mansion, Ronald?”
“Of course we do,” Ronald retorted.
“I see, I see,” Edward chuckled. “But they could have made for a good show, better than what my son had watched,” he scowled at the end of his words.
“Right,” Ronald smiled wryly.
“Yeah…” Joshua muttered awkwardly.
“Seriously,” Edward grunted. “He’s already a grown man and he still talks like a child playing pretend a criminal profession. Just because I am one doesn’t make it any less bad.”
That was the mission Ronald and Joshua completed before the night the Illyer mansion burned. There were tens of thousands of sapient sea otters evacuated to Manegia, though the Court Wizards only elaborated the tens of thousands part to the Illyers.
“We are wholly unprepared to house the Illyers,” to put it simply by Isaac.
“No kidding,” Joshua cringed.
“And I assume we cannot stay in the guest rooms for long either?” Allister guessed.
“Yes,” Isaac nodded. “We needed it vacant in case another one comes after you.”
“I see,” Allister furrowed. “That is certainly troublesome…”
“Then what’s going to happen to us?”
“After all of us had resolved to leave our world…”
The Illyers had the right to worry. After narrowly avoiding death thanks to the Court Wizards transferring them to another world only for them to bar their return, the Court Wizards saying they couldn’t let them live here was the last thing they need to hear.
“We will need to find another way,” Isaac stroked his chin, contemplating. “But how?”
“How about we bring them to our world, Kaomagi Earth?” was what Ronald proposed.
“And why should we migrate the Illyers to an ‘earth’ that is not even their original world’s sister?” Isaac narrowed his eyes.
It took a good couple of minutes for everyone to comprehend what Ronald suggested. It was unheard of and definitely too much of a breach in the Otherworldly Court’s conduct, so naturally, the Ice Guardian’s reaction was as such.
“Why not? It’ll solve the problem at hand,” Ronald reasoned as if it was the most casual thing to do. “And besides, we’ve already rescued them, so we might as well go all the way.”
“You know we cannot have denizens of a fantasy world living in a scientific earth,” Isaac deadpanned. “With incompatible Fantasy Laws at that!”
“And it’s not like it will disrupt the balance of Kaomagi Earth,” Ronald countered. “The Illyers can’t cast spirit arts without spirits with them anyway.”
“Even if they do migrate to Kaomagi Earth, how will they survive modern society?” Isaac asked. “Who is going to take care of them?”
“I will,” Ronald answered, much to everyone’s surprise. “I am the one who suggested it so obviously I’ll take responsibility too.”
“And what makes you think you can support all of them?” Isaac pointed at the Illyers that numbered almost a few dozen.
“I am the heir of a conglomerate spanning multiple worlds,” Ronald merely stated. “And said conglomerate is also a crucial part of the Otherworldly Court.”
“…You did not just flaunt your status like those ‘nobles,’ did you, Ronald?” Isaac spoke with venom behind his words.
“At least it’s for a good cause,” Ronald reasoned.
“He’s got a point, you know,” Joshua remarked.
“…Alright, I give up,” Isaac sighed, raising his hands in defeat. “I will allow it… but only if the other Guardians hear about this.”
“The vote is two-to-one in favor of the spear,” Isaac grumbled, palming his head as he slumped on his stand. “The Illyers may migrate to Kaomagi Earth…”
The rusted scale in the middle of the courtroom lit up with the start of the discussion. There, the Guardians who gathered would set the terms of the spear and shield before proceeding to discuss how an incident or mission should be carried out, revising the spear and shield as it went on.
At the end of it, the decision will be decided through a vote on either the spear or shield, one for each Guardian and one collectively for all the Court Wizards watching above the courtroom, twelve votes in total. Should there be a tie, the decision of the yielder shall be taken.
At least, that’s how it’s supposed to go. In reality, barely half of the Guardians would attend a discussion and even more so to any Court Wizard who showed up for work, so it had to make do with the votes procured.
As implied, discussions happened frequently so it would be impossible for perfect attendances – a Court Wizard still has their private lives stated by the sixth rule. For similar missions or incidents, the decision of the previous discussion was recycled unless otherwise.
This time of the day, in particular, only Isaac and Gertrude, the Fire Guardian, attended along with Ronald and Joshua as the lesser Court Wizards, just four people. Ronald and Joshua managed to convince Gertrude that Ronald’s idea was a good one, tipping the scale to the spear’s favor.
“Thank you, master Isaac,” Ronald rubbed it in. “Master Gertrude,” which was much more respectful.
“You’re welcome, dear,” Gertrude smiled warmly, ignoring the snide at the elderly human.
“Heh, never thought you’d do that, Ronald,” Joshua smirked.
High up above all of this, the Illyers were understandably confused as to what just happened; being told they couldn’t live in Manegia, then Ronald suggesting his world, a bunch of terms they don’t understand, and the ensuing banter leading to a kangaroo court. They were lost for words, to say the least.
Sensing this, Isaac turned up to the Illyers with a frown. “Well, duke Illyer, it appears that you and your group are to migrate to Ronald and Joshua’s world. You should start packing your belongings.”
That left the Illyers even more confused.
“Are you doing alright, Irene?” Ronald asked as he entered the guestroom Irene was in.
After the discussion, the Illyers had laid down a while to let the decision to migrate to Ronald and Joshua’s world sink in. Although they were relieved they have somewhere to go, it was still overwhelming nonetheless.
Knowing this, Ronald, being more acquainted with the eldest daughter of Illyer, decided to check on her.
“I am alright, sir Ronald,” Irene replied, sitting on the edge of the bed. “It is just a bit too much to take in.”
“I figured,” Ronald smiled wryly.
“Honestly,” the noblewoman huffed. “I am sure Layla would have a field day if she was still here to see this. ‘What is the big idea?’ is probably what she would say and I am inclined to agree.”
“Well, to be honest, I did it on impulse,” Ronald scratched the back of his head. “But really, we have been through a lot, I am not going to let it end like that.” Never again.
“I see,” Irene smiled. “I was very anxious for the past week, you know? I woke up to see the mansion burning down to just barely escape by the skin of my teeth, then twiddling my thumb as to what would happen to us and the kingdom only to hear the news we cannot stay here.
“We would not be here if it were not for you, sir Ronald. In fact, it should go as far back as to when we have first met a year ago, not just protecting us, but also opening my eyes to a wider world. Hehe, it was quite an adventure for the past year, is it not?”
“Hm, I guess it is,” Ronald chuckled.
“Yes,” Irene smiled. “So, thank you, sir Ronald,” giving a bow.
“Y-You’re welcome,” Ronald stuttered. Averting his eyes to the clock, “anyway, it will be some time before we go, shall we have lunch at Some Food Court?”
“Sure,” Irene nodded. “But I still cannot fathom why it was named as such.”
“Whoever chose the name probably did it for a momentary joke or something,” Ronald replied as he let the lady out of the room first.
Unfortunately, had they been to the food court much earlier, they would have seen the sea otters.
“So that’s why there’s a bunch of talking sea otters running around!?”
“They are very polite though,” Alicia remarked, recalling the first time meeting them. “And very adorable.”
“I wished I had seen them,” Irene pouted.
“Hey Willow, how are you holding up?” Joshua asked.
The large room where the Illyer servants stayed was particularly empty, for some reason. It was just the tall Court Wizard and the frail maid. However, quickly spying the various doors in this room has Joshua seeing a pillar of heads peeking out just as they did back in the Illyer mansion.
Ignoring them, Willow replied, “I’m alright. It’s just…”
The maid relaxed her hands on her lap, letting Joshua see what she was holding. “Is that the brooch the orphanage kids gave you? I haven’t seen it after all this time.”
“Yes,” Willow nodded. “I was afraid if I damaged it while working, so I kept it in my pocket at all times.”
“I see…” Joshua uttered.
“…You miss them, don’t you?” Joshua said.
Uncaring of the onlookers spying on them, the other maids have always done this ever since she met Joshua, Willow confessed, “I do, and now that I’m coming with you I will never see them again,” as she caressed the brooch.
It was a feeling shared with the rest of the servants and also the knights, as seen by the pillar of maids’ sad expressions. The Illyer family have each other and the prince his fiancee, but the servants and knights all have people left behind in Spiri Raia, their families, friends, and loved ones. The only thing they could be relieved of was that because they have ‘died,’ no one would waste their lives looking for them.
Even though they had pledged to follow wherever the duke will go, that fact still remained.
“Yeah, it’s tough leaving behind people you know,” Joshua tried to console. “Even more so for us knowing we’re responsible for it, and we can’t go back at it, not when we don’t deserve to and already having gone far enough bringing you guys to my world, a different world entirely.”
“Oh…” Willow downcasted. It wasn’t much encouragement, it didn’t help her to have closure in the slightest, but the Ice Court Wizard did his best.
“Well, at the very least we can make sure your orphanage is taken care of…” Joshua continued before stopping. Come to think of it, Van might get petty and target the place, better put it on the list, he thought and it’s better not to say it out loud in front of the anxious maid.
“I see, thank you, sir Joshua,” Willow smiled. Fortunately, she did not pursue Joshua’s momentary pause.
Just to be sure, though, “You know, you should probably try that brooch on at least one time,” Joshua said.
“Hm?” Willow raised her eyebrow.
“I mean, it’s from the kids from the orphanage, right?” Joshua continued. “It’s essentially the memory of them, your cherishment of them in physical form. It ain’t good hiding it from the world, you know.”
“Really?” Willow looked up at Joshua’s genuine face. Then, after some contemplation, she decided, “okay,” and attached the brooch on the side of her hair.
“See? It looks good on you!” Joshua praised.
“So this is it, huh?” Allister muttered.
The actual migration took place a few days after the agreement as Alan Bell, Ronald’s father, the current leader of Bell Conglomerate, needed to be informed of his son’s stunt and prepare for it. The Bell patriarch surprisingly agreed to the migration so the transfer was set to the Bell mansion grounds.
“Yes,” Isaac nodded. “With this, you will come to your new world.”
The Illyers have once again gathered in the dimly lit Transporter Room, huddled together along with Ronald and Joshua being from Kaomagi Earth.
“We’ll be transferring right in front of my house,” Ronald explained. “My dad should be home.”
“I see,” Allister nodded, looking forward. “This will be the next chapter of our lives. From the ashes of our failures, we will be abandoning them all to move past them.”
“Dear…” Marisa, the duke’s wife, clutched him as he said his overly dramatic line.
“Father…” Irene muttered.
“Well said, duke Illyer,” Albert, the former prince of Kirash, praised with his fiancee, Elaine, by his side.
“We are ready to go, duke Brzask,” Oswald, the head knight, reported.
“Very well,” Isaac nodded. Turning to the operators, “set the transfer to the Bell mansion grounds.”
“On it, sir,” John, one of the operators, replied. The operators then proceed to prepare the transfer.
“Will you be alright, Willow?” Joshua asked the maid in concern. “With the transfer, I mean.”
“Y-Yes,” Willow answered. “I will be fine.” With her frail body, she might get disoriented by the transfer, but she has experienced it before so she should be fine with this one.
“Right,” Joshua let it go.
And the kaleidoscopic light engulfed them once more.
Year 1398 in Manegia
The light came down as the group transfer was completed. Regaining their bearings, the Illyers marveled at the sight that was the Bell mansion.
“So that is the Bell mansion,” Allister muttered, looking up at the mansion. “It is rather… small?”
“The garden…” Marisa looked around. “It looks as if it was never maintained,” she commented, observing the wilted plants and molded statues. “Where is the gardener?”
“The paint is also fading,” Irene added. “There are vines all over it too.”
“There is no one guarding the front gate,” Albert said, looking behind.
“Yes,” Oswald nodded. “It could pose a serious problem with burglars.”
“This place looks abandoned,” Elaine concluded.
Already the Illyers weren’t impressed by the state of the mansion grounds, so much so they were voicing their displeasure. Ronald simply let it slide, those were the usual reactions when a guest came upon the mansion.
“Sir Ronald,” Allister turned to him. “Are you sure this is the right place?”
“Yes, it is,” Ronald confirmed, going over the front door.
“I see, your mansion has a rather… unique aesthetic,” Allister smiled wryly, trying to justify his and their natural reactions.
“Well, follow me inside,” Ronald put his hand on the doorknob. “You’ll be seeing my dad behind these doors.”
Filing in, the Illyers were given a glimpse at what’s inside the mansion. Much like outside, the interior of the mansion could use more work; lack of decorations, peeled paint jobs, and the amount of dust in the room.
However, what the Illyers paid most attention to was at the bottom of the double staircase, where a middle-aged man with dark-red hair wearing a white shirt and red pants with a ragged handkerchief strapped on his mouth was sweeping the floor with a broom and duster.
“Hey dad, we’re back,” Ronald casually greeted the man with a wave.
“Ah, you’re home pretty fast, Ronald, Joshua, and with the guests too,” Alan Bell, Ronald’s father, leader of the largest conglomerate spanning multiple worlds, smiled. Raising his hand holding the broom, “thought I’d do some cleaning before you all arrive.”