Voice: Woah! That was fast! Usually, you upload every week.
Azhure: Yeah, I figured it’s time to try to update faster. But it depends, with a week being the limit to how long I update.
“Spiri Raia,” Ronald muttered. “And we’re even going back to the same Bell Branch for my first mission.”
“Yeah, wonder if it comes to a full circle or something,” Joshua mused.
It has been five years since Ronald had become a Court Wizard. And much had happened, for better and worse. One of which was obvious.
Both willed out their respective Cherished Armament. They both held an identical dagger, curved as it was designed for slashing in mind. The only difference was the colored pattern each had, it was respective of their Element Color. Though Ronald’s still has the lingering light blue of its previous owner, Joshua has the same color.
Recalling it back to their Maneg Souls, Joshua said, “Let’s get this over with.”
“Yeah,” Ronald agreed in a solemn tone.
And the two Court Wizards ventured forward towards the town of the Illyer noble household. Though Spiri Raians would call it a city, it was town-sized to the two modern city boys.
“You know,” Ronald narrated as they walked. “I recall father telling me how he and his team were the first to contact this world, in this kingdom even. And apparently, they got attacked by the local deity.”
“Oh that,” Joshua said. “I believe it’s the greater water spirit, First… Greater Water Spirit Aquarius… of Spiri Raia or something. Damn, what a mouthful,” Joshua groaned, struggling to remember the greater water spirit’s name.
“True. The water spirits around this kingdom had seen their arrival and reported to their matriarch. Then she just came down and attacked them out of the blue, thinking they were alien invaders or something.”
“Hey, our predecessors were alien invaders.”
“Oi, we don’t talk about that,” Ronald snapped. “Anyway, one of father’s partners somehow convinced Aquarius that they were good guys trying to keep worlds alive and even made a working relationship.”
“Yeah, but that doesn’t stop her spirits from spying on us.”
And the two eyed on a nearby puddle, where a bunch of water spirits, one glowing blue-skinned baby surrounded by tiny glowing blue wisps, were peeking their heads out of the water. As they saw the humans they were observing spotted them, they immediately scrambled into the puddle, fumbling into each other.
“Even though they could let themselves be seen if they want to, these little guys are really used to their invisibility that they don’t know how to react to us,” Joshua smirked, “Court Wizards are able the see them thanks to the Maneg System screwing around his world’s Fantasy Law.”
“True,” Ronald added. “And by now, every spirit knows about this, and apparently the greater spirits told them to just run away if they saw our uniform and we see them.”
“Yeah, sucks that we can’t interact with them,” Joshua said. “But on the bright side, we’ll never get trouble fighting a spirit art user since all the spirits would already skedaddle out of the battlefield.”
“Yes,” Ronald nodded. “Though ‘named spirits’ might stay their ground for their contractees, but it’s otherwise a good advantage for us.”
The two looked back at the water spirits cowering in the puddle. They were peeking their little heads out to just above the eyes.
“Boo!” Joshua spooked.
The water spirits made a fright and sunk themselves deeper into the puddle.
“Heh,” Joshua chuckled. “Emilia always finds them cute…”
They went silent and carried onward.
“Speaking of those water spirits back there,” Ronald said. “I remember they have a hierarchy we can tell by their size. What were they again?”
“Uh… Let’s see.” And Joshua began, “those wisps are ‘lesser spirits’ that follow a regular ‘spirit’ that’s basically at least baby or a toddler at most. Then there’s ‘intermediate spirit’ that has the size of a kid and ‘greater spirit candidates‘ that are teenagers. The greater spirits themselves are adults.”
“Wait, why are the greater spirit candidates called greater spirit candidates…” Ronald wondered before realizing. “Oh, right. The greater spirits are gonna kick the bucket by the end of the millennia.”
“Yeah,” Joshua nodded. “And the greater spirit candidate they choose will be called a ‘greater spirit heir,‘ the rest are backup if the one they chose refused or something.”
“By the way, did Spiri Raia got hit by the Eleven-Century War?”
“Hm… No, as far as I remember.”
The city… town which the Illyer duke household resided. Where they lorded over their territory in the Kirash kingdom. And as the kingdom was in the greater water spirit’s domain, water was the prevalent theme in these lands.
As such, when Ronald and Joshua overlooked the Illyer’s town from the distance, they smelled the same fresh scent of water as they did half a decade ago. The territory lied in the northern part of Kirash, facing the capital to the south where there was the vast pond between them. The capital was smacked dabbed in the middle of the pond on its little island with three bridges connecting it to the nearest land in the southeast, southwest, and south.
“You know,” Ronald began. “Despite being the greater water spirit’s territory, this kingdom barely has any ships.”
“I know right?” Joshua replied. “This kingdom’s landlocked by the other kingdoms, ironically, so they don’t need battleships.” He pointed at the vast pond. “That pond is like Kirash’s only large body of water they have.”
“Yes,” Ronald nodded. “And there isn’t strong wind blowing over the pond so sails were useless, they were forced to row their boats,” he remarked looking at one particularly transport ship with oversized paddles slowly approaching the dock. “Or use water spirit arts, and maybe wind spirit arts if they used sails though few would wander here.”
“And from the capital, I heard,” Joshua added. “You can see the whole pond, so they didn’t bother having patrol ships and just send out spirit art users on a boar to deal with pirates stupid enough to sail there.
“And by the way, did other kingdoms invading this place tried hauling ship parts to build it onshore and rowed it to the capital?”
“It would sound plausible,” Ronald remarked. “But I imagine the costs would be expensive…”
“Hah…” Joshua sighed, facepalming. “Of course you’d think about the money…”
“But of course,” the merchant’s son shrugged. “And also, I heard the greater water spirit didn’t like her water filled with dead bodies, so…”
“Yeah, pretty much,” Joshua chuckled. “If you wanna take over this kingdom, you’d have to capture every town around the pond before sieging the capital through the narrow bridges. Otherwise, one of the towns will keep sending ships to keep the capital stuffed.”
“And with the relatively short distance, peaceful waters, and the fact Aquarius forbids bloodshed over water means that they could afford to not build many vessels as they can have them sail back and forth with the knowledge that it wouldn’t be attacked, even if it’s a single town’s ships supplying,” Ronald concluded. “That’s the idea, but I cannot help but find it flawed.”
“Well of course it is,” Joshua remarked. “Having two or three ships rowing back and forth to supply the relatively huge capital doesn’t seem plausible. But hey, this kingdom’s got many powerful spirit art users, they never get to see if it works. It’s no wonder they called it the strongest kingdom in this territory.”
“Arrogance much, I presume?” Ronald asked.
“Yeah, pretty much,” Joshua agreed. “By the way, if the capital did get sieged, what of the dead bodies that would fall off the bridge? Do both sides try their best to not let that happen lest angering their greater spirit?”
“Now that is something worth thinking about.”
Entering the streets, the two Court Wizards could see that the town was bustling with life. There were lots of people passing through and fro.
“””Hello mister guards!””” a couple of children playing waved at the local guards as they passed by.
“Hey, now don’t stray further,” one of the guards replied. “Your parents might get worried.”
Then, at an intersection, the Court Wizards saw some guy in a bizarre outfit that couldn’t be described in words other than it was blue in color gathering a huge crowd. He must be a street performer or something.
“Step right up!” the performer announced. “You’re gonna look at the most spectacular water spirit art by yours truly!”
“Ooh, a Spirit Bard, eh?” one of the onlookers commented.
“Correct!” the performer, called a Spirit Bard, said astutely. “And now I shall show you!”
And he took a stance, clasping his hands together.
“Oh, water spirits, lend me your beauty!” And then the Spirit Bard spread his hands wide to the sky.
One second. Two seconds. Three seconds. Four seconds. Five seconds. Ten seconds.
“Um… water spirits?” the Spirit Bard muttered meekly, lowering his arms. He was like a deer stuck in headlights.
No matter how much he begged, the water spirits still did not listen to him for reasons unknown. But Ronald and Joshua, however, knew what actually happened.
Because as they approached the spirit bard, they saw the water spirits around the Spirit Bard scurrying away upon seeing their standard Court Wizard attire just as he made his request and so couldn’t heed his request.
But of course, everyone else was none the wiser.
“Lady Aquarius ought to punish you for faking your relationship with her children,” one of them in the gathered crowd scowled.
“No… Wait… Please…” the Spirit Bard’s voice was weak as he fell to his knees, reaching out to the disappointed crowd leaving him.
Now, the two Court Wizards would feel bad about indirectly sabotaging his performance, but they couldn’t care less. At least, they’re supposed to, which was what they did.
Though that didn’t stop Joshua from tossing a consolation coin when they passed by the poor man which he accepted graciously.
After the unfortunate event for the performer, they entered the shopping district where numerous street vendors were trying to pawn off their wares to every passerby.
“Hey, you sirs in the robe and cloak!” One of those merchants called out the Court Wizards. “Have you traveled all the way to Kirash? Then why don’t you grab some souvenirs? I got lots of things here, like- hey! Where are you going!?” The merchant fretted as his potential customers didn’t even bat an eye.
Turning right, Ronald and Joshua stood in front of a three-story building. It was not grand, it was made cost-effective in mind. The only thing that stood out was the large crest above the signboard above the door, the rusted bell with a tinge of gold left covered by a light blue cloth. And the name inscribed on the signboard, in the language of this world, was called The Bell Conglomerate.
Incidentally, there were more buildings with the same crest and much more aesthetically pleasing too. But that was for attracting consumers, this building wasn’t built for that. After all, it was the Bell Branch of the Illyer territory, the central control for every other establishment it held.
Entering the Bell Branch, the two Court Wizards was met with the relatively same lobby that they were accustomed to. It was empty right now, save for the receptionist behind the front desk which they went towards.
“Welcome back, sir Court Wizards,” the receptionist bowed. “The manager has been expecting you. I will escort you to the office.”
“Thank you, Mary,” the manager said. “You may leave.”
As the receptionist, Mary, left, the manager faced the two Court Wizards. “Thank you for coming, young master Bell, mister Ruze. And where is miss Willows?”
But all he got was a solemn frown from the two young men. It was enough to give him the idea. “A-Ah… Apologies…”
“It’s alright, mister Arnald” Ronald sighed. “You wouldn’t be informed anyway. Now, shall we get to business?”
“Right, ahem,” the manager, whose surname was Arnald, cleared his throat. He then produced a bundle of paper beneath the desk and an opened letter. “From your request via your other colleagues months ago, I have found the opportunity to arrange a meeting with duke Illyer by this letter of invitation he conveniently sent to me. He will expect me to come next week.
“Also, I have compiled everything about the Illyers I could find in this stack of parchment.” The manager handed over the parchments and letter. Afterwards, he asked, “but may I ask, why would you want information about duke Illyer before meeting him? He is a wonderful man, I cannot imagine him being corrupted.”
Name: Ronald Bell Age: 19 Sex: Male Species: Human World: Kaomagi Earth Element: Fire Element Color: Red Cherished Armament: Emilia's ??? 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 ??? Dagger (dagger) Rank: Grand Wizard