Azhure: I got exams for two weeks and I’ve been hanging up on this chapter until the last day, so…
Voice: Stay tuned! Once again!
“Are you sure you want to come with us, Rin?” Alicia asked in concern as they were about to enter the Transporter Room.
“Uhn!” Rin nodded her head reflexively. “I’m going and there’s no changing my mind, big sis Alicia!”
“Yep, stubborn like her brother,” Owen commented, to which the little girl took it as a compliment. But because of that, he…
“Okay, then…” Alicia sighed. Knowing her, she knew there was no stopping Rin from going out of her way to help them find Owen’s father once she heard it. “If you say so.”
“Uhn!” Rin smiled in satisfaction.
And just in time, the operators have just finished transferring in Alicia’s father, Ronald, who wanted to participate in the rescue and…
“Oh my! This brings back memories!”
“Quite. This feels like when we were brought here for the first time.”
“And I see nothing has changed in this room.”
“Mother? Grandfather? Uncle?” Alicia widened her eyes.
Because inside the Transporter Room, virtually the entire Bell-Illyer-Kirash family was here, even the maids and butlers.
“Uhn!? Uhn!?” Rin was flustered, overwhelmed by many people she must have already figured to be Alicia’s relatives.
“Whoa! Everyone is here!”
“Alicia! My granddaughter!” The first to respond to the three Court Wizards among the crowd was Alicia’s grandfather from her mother’s side, Allister Illyer. “So good to see you!” he smiled as he went to Alicia to hug her.
Owen heard from Ronald’s story that Allister used to be a duke whose family was saved by him from Spiri Raia, which was how he and Owen’s father met Alicia’s mother and his mother. Also, he heard that the former duke was a war hero giving him enough political clout to keep the first prince, Albert Kirash, Alicia’s uncle, in the competition for the Kirash throne by his lonesome. How that worked was beyond him.
But looking at the former duke now, Owen can only see him as your average grandpa, with his blonde hair turning grey, doting on his granddaughter with his wife, Marisa, joining in… and Alicia’s mom, Irene, too.
“Oh! It has also been a long time, Owen!” Allister’s attention now went to him. “How are you doing?”
“Eh, good,” Owen decided to reply with a shrug.
Then, the grandfather turned to Rin, “And who might you be, young lady?”
“Uhn!?” Rin startled. In hindsight, she should’ve seen it coming. Quickly bowing, she frantically greeted, “m-my name is Rin Fujiwara, I-I’m big sis Alicia’s friend. Nice to meet you, big sis Alicia’s grandfather!”
“Oho!” Allister chuckled. “What a polite child!”
“Big sis?” Marisa, Alicia’s grandmother, perked at how Rin addressed her granddaughter. “Oh my, that is sweet of you!” she cooed as she went to the little girl to coddle her.
“Uuhn…” Rin muttered in embarrassment.
Before they get sidetracked by the big family gathering even further, Owen immediately shot his eyes at the culprit. “They’re not coming with us, are they?” he demanded Ronald accusingly.
“They are coming with us,” Ronald immediately nodded with a totally-not-a-fake warm smile.
“Huh?/Uhn?” Alicia and Rin blinked, having now realized what the entire family in the Otherworldly Court meant.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, that ruined the mood, just as Owen intended. At this point, he felt irritated by all of this, for some reason, and no longer cared if he knocked down the atmosphere, again for some reason. “Why?” He then narrowed his eyes to Ronald, unamused by his attempt at a humourous reply as well.
“…I admit, it was a spur of the moment when I relayed the news and it has certainly broken several rules,” Ronald confessed. “But, it is simply too cruel to deny them the opportunity to revisit their original world it arose.”
Now while one would retort to Ronald’s statement, Owen knew it was a sound argument in their context. It was Ronald and Owen’s father’s mission to protect the Illyer family and the first prince to prevent the second prince from starting a war and they had mostly failed with Aqua having to create an ocean to stop the war from happening.
Because of that failure, Ronald and Owen’s father had to take the Illyers away from their homeworld as a last-ditch effort to save them from the fire. It was their every right for the Illyers to come back to their world when they had the chance.
Also, if it wasn’t for Ronald abusing his Conglomerate’s position of writing every Court Wizard’s paycheck, he may not have married Alicia’s mother and given birth to the red-haired girl. Subsequently, Owen’s father may not have married his wife and had Owen if it weren’t for Ronald’s insistence.
But if dad never married mom, Owen thought. Then…
Shrugging with a smirk, Ronald continued, “Besides, their migration to our world was already a breach of conduct, to begin with, so we might as well go all in.”
And that ruins it, Owen frowned, and with that in mind, he had found a point of objection. “And is it a really a good idea to do that now?” he asked. “With the situation in Kirash right now?”
By the others’ reactions, Ronald had informed them about the deaths of many people in Kirash in tandem with Owen’s father’s Orders. It was for obvious reasons that Ronald had to tell them the potentially volatile situation over Kirash coupled with possibly foul play by their greater spirit, Aqua, and the Bell Branch manager giving no news to this day.
“Yes, because of the circumstances in Kirash, Spiri Raia, they will wait here while we go down there to assess the situation,” Ronald explained. “Fortunately, the new apartment complex has just been built and properly furnished, so the room in the Court can stay empty.”
At Ronald’s explanation, Owen did recall an apartment being built in Court territory and now Ronald wanted the Illyers to try it out while waiting for them to clear the coast of whatever mess was in Spiri Raia. Also, was that a hint of disappointment in Alicia’s mother’s eyes?
Wait, no, he’s getting distracted. Damn that merchant! “Then why have them wait here instead of back home?” he asked.
At that, it was Albert Kirash, formerly the first prince of Kirash and Alicia’s uncle, along with his wife, Elaine, Alicia’s mother’s younger sister, stepping forward to answer. As Owen recalled, the two of them got together after Allister transferred the prince’s engagement from Alicia’s mom to Elaine, and it was somehow a peaceful transition. Now that he thought about it, it was surprisingly wholesome.
“Well, we could,” Albert mused. “But my wife and I would like to have our daughter to be acquainted with this world,” he smiled as he and his wife have her step forward.
“Maria?” Alicia muttered agape.
Between the husband and wife was their daughter, a young woman with long wavy hair that was blonde like her parents, wearing very casual clothing meant for traveling. This was Maria Kirash, Alicia’s older cousin by several years.
“Um… hi, Alicia, Owen,” Maria awkwardly waved her hand at them. “It has been a while, huh?”
“I guess, it is…” Alicia smiled wryly.
“Yo,” Owen raised his hand as a lazy wave. He doesn’t really have anything else to say.
“So, you guys are mages,” Maria went to the elephant in the room.
“Court Wizards, actually,” Owen corrected her. “But basically yeah.”
“Then, can you show me a magic spell or something?” Maria asked for the obvious.
“Sure,” Alicia obliged and lifted her hand facing up. “Voice?”
Then, a small formation of Alicia’s loyal maneg burst from her open hand.
Alicia then proceed to spin the formation around reminiscent of when her father showed his demonstration on that evening months ago.
Afterwards, Alicia closed her hand and returned the loyal maneg to her Maneg Soul.
“It’s called Orders, by the way,” Owen corrected the blond-haired girl again.
“Whoa…” Maria blinked in awe. Afterwards, she turned to the other elephant in the room. “Also, is that, like, an actual fairy!?”
“Yep! I’m Voice! Nice to meetcha!”
“Voice is well, uh, a part of me,” Alicia explained, giving further confusion to her older cousin. “It is complicated,” she gave an apologetic smile.
“…My goodness, this is so surreal,” Maria metaphorically shivered, processing what she has just seen. “So what my parents told me is true.”
“Ain’t that obvious already!?”
“I thought my parents inhaled something funny when they suddenly told me they are from another world, and that you guys and your fathers are wizards,” Maria retorted like any normal young adult would in this situation. “This is one bizarre college break…” she sighed.
“I see…” Alicia chuckled wryly.
Owen, on the other hand, was unamused. He turned to Ronald… Maria’s parents… whoever was responsible. “And why are you telling her this now?” he asked in an annoyed tone. “I thought you guys don’t wanna increase the chance of her being a Court Wizard?” At least, Owen assumed it included Alicia’s cousin.
“Huh?” Maria perked at Owen’s statement. “Increase my chance of being what?”
“We will talk about that later,” Alicia said to her cousin, sensing now was not a good time for it.
Albert and Ronald looked at each other, silently communicating with one another. After a brief moment, Albert stepped forward.
“Well, after your father informed us of your… recruitment, Elaine and I began to debate between ourselves whether we should tell our daughter the truth as well, seeing at it is pointless to keep hiding it from her,” Albert began to explain. “We were not able to come to a conclusion until sir Ronald told us that… your father had been found.”
No one tried to interject upon the last part of what Albert had said, not even at the passing note of how he had called Ronald – Owen and Alicia had already known, but not Maria probably. Owen took a glance at Voice to find the pixie looking serious which didn’t bode well, actually.
Afterwards, it was Allister’s turn to speak. “We do not plan to come back to Spiri Raia just for sightseeing. It was and is still our home, and with the situation over there, we worry about it enough that we wish to see it for ourselves. Our unexpected departure from our home was unfortunate, yes, but not regrettable.
“Yes, sir Ronald and your father were supposed to protect us until prince Albert reach the throne to prevent prince Van from starting a war and they had mostly failed, requiring lady Aquarius to salvage the failure. Nevertheless, had they never approached us on that fateful day, a far worse fate would have befallen us.
“And more importantly, if they had instead succeeded, we would have never been here today.”
Everyone was silent hearing Allister’s speech. While he seemed to be your friendly old grandpa, he was still a former duke and a war hero who defended his kingdom. And he was right, if Ronald and Joshua had succeeded with their original plan, the Illyers would have never migrated to Kaomagi Earth, Ronald and Joshua would have never married their wives, and most importantly, Alicia and Owen would have never been born.
Now, he delivered the last thing that struck Owen home. “And that is why we also worry for your father’s well-being as he was as much of a benefactor as sir Ronald was.”
At that moment, Owen realized the irritation he has been feeling and why he felt that way. It was not too complicated really, since this was the moment in Owen’s five years of being a Court Wizard that he has finally about to find his father only for his father’s friend to bring a bunch of people as if they were on a tour.
Deep down, Owen realized, he felt Ronald’s action seemed as if he was making light of the situation. Well, the Bell’s trollish behavior didn’t help either. And naturally, Owen would have reservations against it.
But now that Allister explained everything, that feeling was gone and was replaced with understanding…
…and guilt for feeling that way.
“I see…” Owen muttered dejectedly.
“Hm, well then, in that case,” Before Owen could say his thoughts further, Ronald went to him first. “I want you to hold onto this,” he said as he stretched out his hands to give Owen an item he pulled out from his pocket.
“This is mom’s…” On Owen’s hand was a brooch made out of dried flowers of various colors. Its craftsmanship was stellar as he knew how old it was yet the natural materials have only yellowed ever so faintly.
“I took the liberty to retrieve it from your apartment,” Ronald explained – obviously, the Bell owned that apartment along with the master key, though Owen doesn’t remember if it was built by him or he bought the whole building. “Thought it’d be a good idea to bring it to its original world.”
“…” Owen looked at the brooch silently. As he remembered, his father told him his mother’s friends made it for her. Knowing more, those friends of his mother’s were from Spiri Raia, the kids from his mother’s orphanage as Ronald later told him. He didn’t know why Ronald broke into his apartment to retrieve his mother’s brooch nor how it related to his feelings right now, but for what it’s worth, he appreciated the sentiment. “Thanks…” he muttered.
“You’re welcome,” Ronald smiled.
“Anyway, that’s good and all, ladies and gentlemen,” John, the senior Transporter Room operator, suddenly spoke up. Calmly and sensibly, he shouted, “but would you all please step off the circle already! We don’t know when the next guy’s transferring in!”
“Wait, father told me that he was a prince and mother was a duke’s daughter, well… grandfather was a duke,” Maria recalled before making the realization. “Does that make me, like, a real princess!?”
“…Actually, you’re not wrong.”
Yes, if Ronald and Joshua had succeeded with their original plan, Maria would have been born in Spiri Raia as a princess of the Kirash kingdom.
Azhure: As for making Maria a Court Wizard is still up for debate.