“I thank you for saving us. We do not know how we could repay you.” A young woman wearing a yellow dress bowed to a man in a beat-up cloak. This was the princess of Coastline, Alyssa von Coastline. Beside her is Mia, her handmaiden, also bowing though seem slightly nervous.
The man, however, said nothing.
“Though I may ask.” The princess cleared her throat and looked at the other Court Wizards. “You did not come just to save us, did you not?”
“No,” one responded. The hood was lifted to reveal a young woman with red hair. “I should first introduce myself, my name is Alicia Bell.”
“I am Alyssa von Coastline, princess of Coastline,” Alyssa responded soundly. “Are you related to Ronald Bell?”
“I am his only daughter as well as the heiress,” Alicia answered.
“I see, so the founder of Bell Conglomerate does exist. Is your father also a Court Wizard?”
“Yes, my family was actually associated with the Otherworldly Court since my great-grandfather.”
“I see, well then, what do you want?”
While the Bell heiress was explaining the entire situation leading up to this point, other things were being addressed.
Out of the thirty guards consist of twenty-five knights, three mages, and two healers none of them lost their lives. Two knights were heavily injured, but it was manageable, Darc has superior healing magic than the healers so he was in charge of healing them. Ten or so knights are only lightly wounded thanks to the healers constantly put healing magic on them as they fight, the healers will handle them.
The mages were exhausted after firing the last Fireball round which took out a huge chunk of the bandits, a good rest and they will be back in shape. The magic replenishing potions were focused on the healers since they still have a job to do.
Five bandits were charred from the blast of the Fireball spell. They were lightly healed to prevent them from dying from the burns unlike the other four.
Now let’s address the captured.
Forty-five bandits were captured which still outnumbered the other party.
Thirty-five of them were mercenaries including the leader who are all still knocked out cold. Owen ended the Progressive Order and began tying them up with the help of some of the uninjured knights. The other ten bandits were from their employer directly it seems. This included their commander and the five injured ones. The leader, in particular, looked frightened as he was being tied up.
“Doug von SaltWaters, I suppose he would try to do this,” the princess muttered.
“We would like to seek an audience with the king,” Alicia told her. “We can discuss further with him.”
“My brother? Sure,” Alyssa answered. “Alfred, tell the knights that we are going now.”
“Yes, your highness!” the knight captain said. “Men! Onto your horses, we are leaving for the capital!”
“Wait,” Alyssa halted. “How are we going to bring all of the prisoners?”
“We will handle it,” Alicia responded.
“There’s another ambush!” The beastfolk knight exclaimed as he drew his sword. The other knights did the same.
“Do not worry,” Alicia assured. “I called them.”
Five horses came to view.
Three horses are pulling a wagon that could fit ten men. Two horses are pulling a carriage. The carriage itself is red in motif and carries the rusted bell embraced by a light-blue cloth, the emblem of Bell Conglomerate.
The carriage opened and an old man stepped out of it.
“Miss Bell, I have brought the wagons as requested,” the old man said. “Also, greetings, your highness.”
“Thank you Mister Davis,” Alicia then turned to Alyssa. “I figured we would need to transport prisoners, so I had prepared this.”
“You really have prepared everything,” Alyssa praised.
“I had help from everyone.”
“I see, you are quite humble.”
“Hey,” Will interrupted. “There are only three wagons. They won’t fit all of these guys.”
“True,” Jonathan uttered. “We have captured more than we estimated…”
“…Just squeeze them in,” Owen shrugged. “They’ll fit.”
“I see the royal flag! Open the gates!” A guard at the walls of the capital shouted at the others. The gates were opened wide and several guards including the head guard were in the vicinity to welcome the returning royal family member.
They were met by the captain of the royal knights that accompanied the carriage.
“Sir Alfred!” the head guard greeted, kneeling down. He then looked forward. “What are those? Wait, is that the Bell Conglomerate carriage that left this morning?”
The head guard then saw three horse-driven wagons filled with tied people more than the wagon could hold.
“They were bandits that tried to attack us,” Alfred, the knight captain, explained.
“B-Bandits!?” the head guard exclaimed.
“Yes, I want to keep quiet about this so please take these bandits away quickly,” Alfred ordered. “The princess wishes no fuss about this.”
“Yes, sir! Guards!” the head guard turned to the others. “We are taking these bandits to the dungeon!”
More guards came in to round up all forty-five captured bandits and took them away.
“Please notify the king of our return,” the fox knight continued.
“Right away Sir!”
The head guard then sent a messenger to the royal palace to tell the king that his sister has returned.
“We will enter the palace shortly after this,” Mia, the princess’ handmaiden reported.
“It was quite the journey,” the princess said. “Allow me to express my gratitude once more, Alicia.”
“Please, it is not necessary, Alyssa,” Alicia replied.
The princess had invited the Bell heiress to her carriage and quickly call each other on a first-name basis.
Otherwise, Owen and Will entered the Bell carriage so there would be a use for it. Darc sat on top of the carriage. Jonathan rode a spare horse and had a conversation with the knight captain. Though the Nature Court Wizard did not say much.
The royal carriage’s driver stopped in front of the gates of the royal palace.
The gate was opened and the stagecoach hopped off the carriage and opened the carriage, sticking his hand out to help the princess off the carriage. Then the handmaiden and the Bell heiress stepped out as well. The other carriage followed suit.
Two rows of maids and butlers lining up along the pathway to the palace entrance gave her highness their salute.
As they walk to the entrance, a man can be seen in front of the entrance. He wore a yellow-themed garb and mantle that would fit a royalty.
“Brother!” The princess picked up her pace.
Her brother ran towards his sister and they met and hugged each other. “Alyssa! I heard you were attacked. Are you hurt?”
“No,” the sister shook her head. “I am fine. It is thanks to them.”
The king then looked at them. “And you all are?”
“Greetings, your majesty.” A red-head gave a lady-like bow. “I am the daughter of the owner of Bell Conglomerate, Ronald Bell. My name is Alicia Bell.”
“So the rumors are true. And the others are…” The king looked at the others before widened his eyes upon looking at one in a beat-up cloak.
“Jonathan!” He rushed to the Nature Court Wizard. “How long has it been? Three years?”
“Probably,” Jonathan huffed.
“Where have you been?”
“Here. I live in this country.”
“Oh… Well, we should go inside. There is no need to talk outside.”
“I am the king of Coastline,” he introduced himself. “Albert von Coastline.”
He has the same name as uncle!
Yes, what a coincidence.
They were now in a huge balcony where the garden, on the back of the palace, which was still growing, can be seen, having tea on a huge table.
The tea party consisted of Alicia, Albert, Alyssa, Darc, Jonathan, Owen, and the Bell branch manager. The princess’s handmaiden, Mia, along with another servant served them tea. The beastfolk knight captain, Alfred, was there standing guard, his helmet off to show a pair of fox ears.
“May I hear your names?” the king asked.
Everybody else took turns introducing their names.
“I see,” Albert nodded. “I thank you all for saving my sister and all of her knights.” The king bowed at his sibling’s saviors.
“P-Please,” Alicia flustered. “Raise your head.”
“Alright, alright. Alicia was it? Call me by my name, same goes for all of you.” The king looked at Jonathan. “Especially you, Jonathan.”
“I refuse, your majesty,” Jonathan simply replied.
“That is an order.”
“Good.” The king sipped his tea. “Now then, no need to be tense. Let us keep this casual. Tell me what happened.”
“Doug von SaltWaters,” the king muttered. “I guess he would try to overthrow me considering I executed his father…”
“You executed his father!?” Alicia exclaimed.
“Him and a couple of others, they have done heavy crimes against the people of Coastline.”
“Five years ago, my father, the former king, passed away along with the crown prince, my eldest brother. That had left a huge war for the throne with me and six of my other half-brothers.”
Sipping his tea, the king spoke again. “As you can see, I have won and became king. Jonathan here assisted me because of my ideals.”
“I was forced to do it,” Jonathan said, visibly upset.
“Now don’t say that. So then, was the Bell Conglomerate one that helped me take the throne? I still do not know who my benefactor is even now.”
“Correct, but not accurate.”
The Court Wizards then explained about the Otherworldly Court. The king took this with an open mind. After everyone expressed their astonishment, the king sipped his tea again.
“Now then, I will tell you my story,” the king continued. “I purged the entire nobility, executing those who have abused their power too far. I have also issued laws to limit their power, but I suppose it did not work very well…”
“He did have time to hound the Bell branch while formulating a coup,” Alicia grimaced.
“He must be quite confident in his plans to spare his attention to someone who had driven him out of a dining house,” Alyssa said.
“Anyhow,” Alicia said. “He made a mistake to mess with my family business.”
“And the Bell Conglomerate is pretty much an extension to the Otherworldly Court at this point. He is attacking our very organization,” Owen added.
“And I will not sit by as he does whatever he wants as heiress,” Alicia continued. “I will see to his plans foiled.”
“Well said, truly the heiress of a wealthy merchant,” the king praised. “Though, I still feel awkward with the Bell Conglomerate in here gathering information about my kingdom. Even if it is for the betterment of this world.”
“We knew about you because of that,” the Wind Guardian retorted. “Don’t complain, we pretty much made you king.”
“And I am thankful for your assistance in my crowning,” Albert said. “Now then, how shall we tackle this problem now?”
“Well, we have piled up quite the evidence and there are still the captured bandits sent by SaltWaters,” Alicia said.
“Alright then, let us see it.”
“How horrible,” the princess grimaced. “Not at the scale of what those executed nobles did, but still.”
“Ah, I still did not stop them from committing such atrocities,” Albert sighed. “I have failed as a king…”
A hint of anger was seen in the fox beastfolk knight captain’s face when he heard what the noble did to those half-animals he had kidnapped.
“I thought he would not be like his father, so I gave him a chance. Looks like I was wrong.” The king looked at Darc. “What was it?”
“A cow is a cow, a rooster is a rooster. A cow is not a rooster, a rooster is not a cow. This cow is not that cow, that cow is not this cow. The father is not the son, the son is not the father. The elder brother is not the younger brother, the younger brother is not the elder brother. The man of one race is not the other man of the same race, the other man of the same race is not the man of one race.
“One of the three philosophies that we follow,” Darc said. “Yes, two people are not the same, but ‘similar’ and ‘same’ are still different. If you don’t understand that, this philosophy could do more harm than good.”
“I see, though it is a very long statement.”
“But, perhaps you are not wrong to give him a chance. Let’s say he was separated from his father for most of his life and was taken care of by someone else, maybe he would grow up to be a different person than he is now. I assume you get the idea?”
“Yes, I do,” Alfred said, his expression going up a bit. “Anyway, are there other nobles in this as well?”
“As far as I can see, no.”
“I see, that is a relief.”
“What are you going to do with him?” Alicia asked.
“Obviously, he will be arrested for treason,” Albert answered nonchalantly. “With all of the proof and the prisoners, he will most likely receive a death penalty. We will apprehend him. Though I worry about his security details.”
“Well then, prepare his arrest by tomorrow, we will assist,” Darc told the king. “Our second rule, never use more than you need, means we also don’t have much time to assist you.”
“I see, we will discuss our plans to arrest him.”
Later that night, Alicia sunk into the bed in her given room. The king let them stay for the night.
“That was tiring…”
“You were so awesome, Alicia!” the pixie praised her.
“Oh please, this entire mission is stressful,” Alicia mooted. “It was only thanks to mother that I know how to act around important people. Thank goodness I did not stutter at all.”
“Don’t be so lame like that!”
“Oh! She’s asleep! Goodnight then, Alicia!”
Pulling the blanket over her master, Voice then turned off the lights and end the day.