Two weeks after the mission regarding the Otherworldly Court’s eyes, the Bell Conglomerate branches aka the Bell Branches, which escalated into preventing a rebellion. Alicia once again was back in the Otherworldly Court.
After enjoying tea time with Rose and Jill, she was called in by the Fire Guardian, Aqua.
“Today,” Aqua said. “You will explore Manegia. We got a request from the Southern Kingdom to have some Court Wizards visit and so you will join them, to get experience. You do remember what I taught you last week, correct?”
“Yes,” Alicia nodded. “I do.”
Apparently, the Otherworldly Court wasn’t alone in this world. From what Alicia was told, during the time of the first generation of Court Wizards, the Otherworldly Court had basically propped up four countries aptly called: the Northern Empire, the Southern Kingdom, the Eastern Dynasty, and the Western Republic. Together, they were called the ‘Four Nations’.
There were smaller nations like principalities and such, but they were only on the side of the Kingdom, where Alicia will go today, as vassal states. The Empire and Dynasty usually made sure upstarts nation weren’t long-lived while the Republic never had that problem. Otherwise, you get small nomadic tribes and such splintering from the Four Nations as they couldn’t fit into any of the societies.
Usually, the Four Nations don’t mess with the Otherworldly Court’s operations. Evidenced by the Southern Kingdom’s call for assistance, they do need the Otherworldly Court for problems they couldn’t handle.
Furthermore, people from the Nations actually worked here, the operators of the Transporter Room were from the Four Nations – refugees living just outside the Otherworldly Court couldn’t comprehend its operation, so they usually compete with the ‘Manegians’ in the food court.
“Good, you can head to the Transporter Room now,” Aqua continued. “You will get your mission from them.”
And since the Transporter Room was able to transfer people between worlds, it should be obvious that it’d be able to transfer to places within a world.
“Also,” the Fire Guardian added, “take your cloak, people here would not recognize the robe.”
“Hello, my name is Fujiwara Haruto. Haruto is my given name and Fujiwara is my family name.”
Just before they transfer to the Southern Kingdom, Alicia was introduced to another Court Wizard.
He was 171 cm in height with a short black hair and eyes. His attire was covered by the ceremonial cloak of the Otherworldly Court which was primarily white in color. Given his name and how he introduced himself, he seemed to be Japanese.
And as always, Owen tagged along, making it a group of three Court Wizards.
The sound of some kind of metal struck four times with a pause after the second was heard upon entering a town in the Southern Kingdom.
They were on a stone pedestal in a circular shape of the similar diameter of that of the wooden circle of the Transporter Room. Four stone pillars were erected around the perimeter of the circle with equal distance to each other. It was a designated spot where it was agreed upon between the Four Nations and the Otherworldly Court that the Court Wizards can transfer to.
Looking around, a medieval-like town was observed. Medieval-like because of the architecture as there were vintage automobiles roaming about. Quite a strange combination and Alicia could feel fire maneg coming from those vehicles.
The townsfolk nearby turned around to look at the Court Wizards’ arrival and talked amongst themselves.
“Look, mommy! It’s the Court Wizards!”
“Now what kind of commotion that required their presence?”
“Is that Haruto?”
“Who is that red-headed girl? A new recruit?”
“She is quite pretty.”
“Mommy, why is that lady’s hair so red like an apple?”
“Hush dear, that’s rude so don’t say that in front of her.”
Suddenly, the lady with a red hair akin to an apple was in front of the little kid. Alicia bends down to the child who had become nervous upon seeing her, smiling.
“My father had red hair and my grandfather too,” she explained. “But their red hair is much darker, mine is brighter because my mother has a bright blonde hair like yours.”
“Really?” the child asked.
“Yes,” Alicia smiled. “Do you want to touch it?”
“Yes, you can.”
After hesitating for a bit, the child gently caresses Alicia’s red hair.*
“Waah, so pretty!”
“Thank you, I am glad to hear it.”
Alicia, your hair will get dirty!
It is fine, Voice. That is what a shower is for.
“Can I ask your name?” Alicia asked.
“It’s Alisha!” the little girl exclaimed.
“I see, my name is Alicia.”
“Wah, they sound the same!”
“Yes, I suppose our names do sound similar.”
“Alicia! We gotta go!” Owen called.
“Oh, I need to go, farewell. I am sure we will meet again.”
“I am sorry for taking your time.” The child’s mother apologized to her.
“No, it is fine. I do enjoy their company.”
As Alicia went back, she looked back to see the little girl named Alisha waved her hand saying, “Bye-bye!” Alicia waved back at her and carried on.
It was the inscription of the plaque, decorated with a sword and rifle.
Haruto opened the wild west saloon type door and let the other two Court Wizards in.
Inside, there were a bunch of people with weapons and armor. It was like those ‘adventurer guilds’ in modern Asian fantasy novels. People picking up quests and go slay monsters or other adventurer stuff. Although in this case, they are called hunters. However, when they looked at the Court Wizards who had entered, the hunters seemed tense, as if they were wary of them.
Then one guy raised his beer.
“Yo, Haruto!” he yelled with a huge grin.
“Hello,” Haruto greeted back, waving his hand.
This seemed to break the weird tension. So the hunters went back to their business, which was loitering around.
One woman in a uniform, looking at all of this, simply sighed. She bowed to the Court Wizards.
“You must be the Court Wizards,” she said. “I will escort you to the guildmaster’s office immediately.”
“Ah, Haruto you came! Sit, sit! Same goes for you two.”
He’s way shorter than Short Cream!
Though the pixie was right. The man who invited the Court Wizards to sit down on the sofa was an unbelievably short elderly sporting a goatee. He was just under Alicia’s hips.
“Let me introduce myself to you sir and madam,” he said. “I am the guildmaster of this Hunting Guild in Southwood, the name’s Rudolf.”
Alicia and Owen then took turns to introduce themselves.
“Oh?” the guildmaster raised his eyebrow. “Ronald’s daughter and Joshua’s son, eh? I remember those lads and…” Then for some reason, he stopped speaking, a sweat flowing to his chin.
“Ahem, excuse me.” The guildmaster quickly recomposed himself. “All I gotta say they made quite the pair. How are they?”
“My father is doing fine, but…” Alicia replied, but she felt uncomfortable explaining the rest.
“I’ll tell him,” Owen said.
“I see, sorry for the predicament,” the guildmaster said. “I’m sure you’ll find your father.”
“Right,” Owen replied.
To a brighter note, the guildmaster looked at both of the Fire and Ice Court Wizards and chuckled, giving question marks to the two.
“You both took after your fathers,” Rudolf explained. “Really reminds me when they came here twenty-five years ago.” He cleared his throat, “well now, let’s get down to business.”
The guildmaster hopped off his seat, tottered towards a desk, and picked up a piece of paper. He went back and place it on the table between the two sofas.
“This here is a quest for an A rank wolf-type ‘Maneg Beast’ commissioned a week ago,” he explained. “I’ve sent the one of the best hunter team in my guild to exterminate it, but the beast had turned into an S rank and they had to retreat.”
“Whose team did you send?” Haruto asked.
“It’s Emile’s team. Fortunately, they have survived, though most of them sustained serious injuries and are out of commission for at least a month.”
“I see, that’s a relief.”
“I’ll call Emile here. He was only lightly injured and has recovered.”
Meanwhile, Owen whispered to Alicia, “You remember what I told you about ‘Maneg Amalgamations,’ right?”
“Yes,” Alicia whispered back. “Otherwise known as Maneg Beasts, it is more like a phenomenon where two or more maneg of different Elements of high concentration, called a ‘Maneg Pillar’ for its shape that we sensed it as, collide with each other, which is where the formal term ‘Amalgamation’ comes from.”
“Yeah, and unofficially, we usually called it a ‘Maneg Geyser’ ’cause it usually forms by bursting from the ground like a geyser. Anyway, Maneg Geysers after it’s formed can move around far from where it came from which was how they could even mash together, creating a sort-of-a Maneg Soul and mostly takes the shape similar to animals except even then are still nightmare fuel. And because they’re pseudo-Maneg Souls of different Elements, they’re unstable and attack anything that moves.”
“And this phenomenon only happens in Manegia.”
“It’s only because maneg in this world is higher than other worlds, being the origin of maneg, so Maneg Pillars only exist here. Furthermore, a fully formed Maneg Beast can still take another Maneg Geyser and become more of a problem. And remember that we Court Wizards can create Maneg Beasts if we get our formation Orders to crash into each other; hence we usually take turns giving Orders, keep our Orders far from each other, or just use creation Orders.
“Also, remember what I told you in order to not feed a Maneg Beast another Element since at the end of the day, the best way to fight a Maneg Beast is with maneg, ironically.”
“Right, use Orders starting with the creation command, fight Maneg Beasts with my Element, or not striking them with equal amounts of maneg.”
The Hunting Guild was Manegia’s international establishment primarily to combat Maneg Beasts. There, they classify Maneg Beast into categories based on the number of Elements mixed which also correspond to their threat level:
D rank, two Elements.
D+ rank, three Elements.
C rank, four Elements.
C+ rank, five Elements.
B rank, six Elements.
B+ rank, seven Elements.
A rank, eight Elements.
A+ rank, nine Elements.
S rank, ten Elements.
S+ rank, eleven Elements.
Consequently, hunter teams are graded with the same ranking, just without the ‘+,’ to directly correspond their strength with the Maneg Beasts. However, rank A was the absolute limit a hunter team could achieve.
The leap of the strength of Maneg Beasts going from A rank to S rank was of a league of its own compared to the lower ranks, though S+ rank still maintains the same curve. So, whenever an S and S+ rank appeared, the Court Wizards were always called in.
The door was open and came in a blonde-haired man with a light-metal chainmail and greaves. By his hip was a sword. He also had a bandage around his head, covering his left eye.
“Hey, Emile,” Haruto greeted. “You alright?”
“Yeah,” Emile replied. “I’m good, Haruto.”
“You lost an eye.”
“There are a couple of guys with eyepatches.”
“Yours is a bandage.”
“Whatever,” Emile shrugged. “I should introduce myself to your two friends. I am Emile Woodford and I lead the hunting party Little Red Riding Hood…”
Wow! Their team name’s Little Red Riding Hood and they got done in by Big Bad Wolf!
Voice, you should not add salt to the wound.
But it really fits, you know!
Also, I am pretty sure the Big Bad Wolf was in the Three Little Pigs.
“…An A rank team and one of the best in this town,” Emile continued. “Though we just failed an A rank quest.”
Alicia and Owen exchanged their names.
“Good,” the guildmaster spoke. “Now can you sit here and tell us what happened.”
“As you know,” Emile began. “A week ago, a village spot an A rank wolf-type Maneg Beast. However, they were only able to report it two days ago.
“Since my team, the Little Red Riding Hood was the only A rank team on this guild, guildmaster Rudolf forwarded the quest to us.”
“That’s true,” the guildmaster confirmed.
“After that, we head straight to the site and got to work. And well, it was going pretty well until it suddenly gained another Element, everything went downhill after that. So we opted to lure the beast far away from the village.”
“Right,” Haruto muttered. “Guildmaster said you guys survived, but I assume you didn’t go off unscathed.”
“Yeah, Harry’s arms’ are basically dead; Jess got burned, particularly her hair; and Rufus’s staff got destroyed, splinters stuck on his arms. And I lost my eye.”
Hearing this, Alicia winced at the Little Red Riding Hood’s wounds they sustained.
“Well, those injuries ain’t gonna stop you guys, anyway.” However, Haruto seemed to downplay it.
“Yep,” Emile agreed. “Moving on, we told the villagers that we will call the Court Wizards and hurried back to the guild, and here we are right now.”
“I see,” Haruto said. “You guys did well to keep yourselves alive. We’ll handle the Maneg Amalgamation.”
“Right. Take me with you, I want to get back at that wolf.”
“You sure? You just lost an eye.”
“Fine… you were always this stubborn…”
“Excellent,” the guildmaster spoke. “I would like the Beast to be exterminated as soon as possible. We will make preparations immediately.”
Name: Haruto Fujiwara Age: 18 Sex: Male Species: Human World: Rakarok-Earth Merge World Element: Light Element Color: White Cherished Armament: ??? Rank: Grand Wizard