After the encounter with narwhals that could grow human limbs and speak in binary codes, the Court Wizards had lunch in Manegia and resumed their mission.
At the 13th Bell Branch.
“Ice Boy, eh? ‘hoy, mate!”
“You again, and stop calling that,” Owen grumbled.
Ice boy!? Hihihihihi!
They were leaving for the next branch when some man in the middle of the road called Owen. He was in his thirties, 193 cm tall with curly brown hair and bright green eyes under a black tricorne and sporting a pitiful excuse of a shaved beard. He wore a blue trench coat that looked like it was never ironed with a white undershirt, brown trousers that was slightly torn, and a wet pair of brown boots.
“Woah, he’s a pirate!” Rin beamed.
“Why yes, I am! Name’s Jake Rhaims. Captain of my own ship, the Kraken. A hand me down from me pops. Named the ship after killing a kraken with his ship and crew alone, then used its skin ta decorate the Kraken’s hull. The ship’s been the best vessel of all Osianicd for decades!” He said with pride.
“Wow!” Rin gasped.
“How does kraken skin reinforce a ship?” Alicia asked.
“Why krakens here got scales as hard as diamond,” Jake explained. “It’s only weak on the inside. Me pops ordered the crew ta blast it with everything they have right as the beast was about to swallow the ship whole on side. Took some trouble ta skin the thing.”
“I see…” Alicia nodded.
“Ooh~,” Rin said in awe.
“Even a kid here knows what krakens are here and Ice Boy’s with ya. So that means you two fine miss are Court Wizards.” Jake deduced.
The two girls were startled by this pirate’s show of deduction. This guy just showed up and said they were Court Wizards after conversing a few sentences.
“No need to be scared. Me here is a fellow Water Court Wizard.” Jake said, relieving the girls. “You girls new? Never seen ya before.”
“Yes, my name is Alicia Bell, please to meet you.” Alicia gave a small bow.
“My name is Rin Fujiwara!” Rin gave a bow whilst giving a smile.
“So you’re Ronald’s kid!” The pirate exclaimed. He then looked at Rin. “And you’re Haruto’s sister. Heard what happen to’em. He’s the toughest guy I met, me here is sure he’s fine.”
“Uhn! Thank you!” Rin said.
“A fine lass you are,” Jake complimented. “That Heroic Bastard really loves ya!”
Rin frowned on her brother’s nickname the pirate gave him.
“Can we go now?” Owen said coldly.
“Egads!” The pirate cried. “I almost forgot. Me needs to hurry to see the queen!”
“Why?” Owen glared at the blue trench-coated man.
“We’re being invaded.”
Surprisingly, the guards simply opened the gate letting a pirate captain and a bunch of strangers, save for a certain Ice Boy, inside. On the notion of what the pirate had said, Alicia and Rin agreed to go with him, Owen dragged along.
They strolled through the castle halls where servants passing by even greeted him.
They then reached the throne room just as when a discussion was concluded according to the guard in front of the door to the throne room.
Opening the door, they saw an old man in a red robe. That guy’s irrelevant. Sitting on the throne is where the queen sat. A young girl who could have only been a year or two older than Rin with a white tiara on her platinum-green long hair.
“My queen.” Jake kneeled, head straight.
“Sir Jake!” The queen exclaimed, but then the mood turned sour. “Why are you kneeling?”
“Judging by your action, something serious happened.” The old man in the red robe said. “What’s happening, my boy?”
“Aye,” Jake said. “Me and me crew were sailing the seas hunting Wet Wolf hide and me hawk saw lots of Laegar ships full of armed men ready for war. A scouting ship going ahead saw and fired at us. Pretty obvious they want ta invade this place. Obviously, we sank that ship and sailed straight back here, but not before me hawk tossed oil all over the water and light it up ta slow those bastards.”
Alicia flinched hearing ‘Wet Wolf’.
What does he mean by his hawk, Owen?
He has a pet hawk that learned to speak human languages, so it could relay messages. Also, it’s five times bigger than an ‘Earth’ hawk. (Owen)
This world has a very weird fauna…
Alicia, in Osianicd Archipelago, this stuff is normal. (Owen)
I will keep that in mind.
“Me also risk me limb snatching a Laegarian helmet off a soldier if yer skeptical, old man.”
Jake pulled out a metal helmet of a unique design and show it to the very young queen and the red-robed elderly, the former covering her mouth in fear and the latter wearing a grim expression.
“I’ve told the navy general ta get ready. Now they just need your word. My queen, your orders?”
“Y-Yes, I will allow it.” The queen said.
“Brilliant!” Jake stood up. “Now we talk war.”
But before that, some names need to be introduced.
“I am the queen of Celeste, Stella Orion Celeste.” The queen, Stella, said.
“I am the prime minister, Obex Stryat.” The red-robed man said. Again, this guy’s irrelevant.
“My name is Alicia Bell, a pleasure to meet you.” Alicia gave a small bow.
“Are you Ronald Bell’s daughter?” Stella asked. She knows about what Bell Conglomerate really is from her late parents and they were fine with it, and so is she.
“Yes, I am,” Alicia answered.
“My name is Rin Fujiwara, nice to meet you!” Rin gave a bow too.
“Fujiwara?” The young queen muttered.
“Aye, she’s that Heroic Bastard’s little sister he always bragging about. He’s right about how sweet she is.” Jake yapped. Rin’s cheek was rose-red hearing his compliment.
“I see, where is Sir Haruto now?” Stella asked. And the atmosphere turns sour.
“Considering his… Personality, something happened to him, is he not?” The irrelevant side character said.
They then explained what happened to Haruto.
“My goodness…” Stella mumbled.
“Don’t you worry, my queen,” Jake said. “He’s a tough guy, he ain’t kicking the bucket. Besides his sweet little sis’ will look for’em. Even if none of us here got any clue where his hide went to.”
“You are right,” Stella composed herself. “I am sure you can find him, Rin.”
“Uhn! Thank you.”
“Brilliant!” Jake exclaimed. “Now we talk war!”
In some war room, generals were discussing the defense against the invading Laegarian army. Actually, there was only one navy general in command of the entire army of Celeste, the rest were captains of the Celestian vessels which totaled ten ships. Celeste was a small kingdom.
The queen, prime minister, and the Court Wizards were there as well.
There was also a blue marble sphere on top of a pedestal.
“Now then,” The navy general spoke. He was an elderly man with a fit body, an experienced warrior in war. “Sir Jake’s hawk will now carry the mirror to transmit the image to the Ball of Scouting. Sir Jake? Will you please explain the situation for now?”
The Ball of Scouting was that blue marble sphere which is an artifact that lets the user see images based on what its ‘mirror’ extension sees. The ‘mirror’ functions like a camera and the ball show the footage.
“Aye,” Jake began to explain.
“Me hawk told me it saw at least fifteen ships filled with at least twenty Laegar bastards manning the boat, not counting the scouting ship we sank.”
“That’s at least three hundred soldiers, not counting those inside.” The navy general said grimly. “Not to mention we are already outnumbered in ships.”
A sound came out from the Ball of Scouting. It resembles the noise of a bird.
“Everyone,” One captain interrupted. “Sir Jake’s hawk has reached the enemy.”
And so everyone surrounded the Orb of Scouting.
“George, fly higher. We’re countin’ all the ships.” Jake commanded his hawk, George, through the Ball of Scouting.
AYE AYE CAP
The hawk squawked through the Ball of Scouting, the image zoomed out.
There, an image of many ships bearing the Laegarian flag sailing across the sea, besides a long and wide sea of oil burning, lighting the water on fire. Farther from the fire, there are a couple of ships that had crashed into each other and sinking.
“27… 28… 29… 30. Thirty ships coming ta invade us.” Jake reported grimly. “Not countin’ the suckers that crash into each other and sank.”
“That’s three times our forces!” One captain cried.
“There are over fifty soldiers in each ship!” Another captain exclaimed. “And we don’t know how many are inside the ship!”
“Can we win?”
“Simmer down, you lots!” The pirate smacked the table repeatedly. “The queen’s here with us, you chickens are giving her a spook!”
They see Stella on a more designed chair looking frightened. She was just a child, a little older than Rin who was still an elementary student.
“And you call yer’ selves captains? So simmer up!”
Jake’s ranting had calmed down the panicking captains.
“We’re here ta discuss how’ta kick their asses out’f our land. Even if it ain’t lookin’ good, we’re still doin’ it!”
Owen, what should we do to help them?
Was what Alicia wanted to say, but for some reason, she had a feeling that it wouldn’t end well. Rather, she knows it would not end well.
“Ruze-senpai, what do we do?”
But Rin knew otherwise. Asking an innocent question, silencing the room.
“Rin,” Owen said. “We are not doing anything about this.”
“Huh? Why not?” Rin was surprised by the unexpected answer.
All the natives in this world remained silent as if they knew this was going to happen.
“We cannot interfere with other world’s affairs if it doesn’t affect the world entirely,” Owen said bluntly. “Celeste is just a minor kingdom and so is Laegar. Jake can interfere since he’s native here, but he can’t use maneg.”
“Then what about back at Qantasia? Big sis Alicia said you guys saved a kingdom from a rebellion!”
“That was different. We were supposed to solve a problem the Bell Branch has which escalated to stopping some coup.” Owen retorted. “Besides, rule number five: Maintain the flow of the natural order. We let whatever happens as it is as much as possible; if that coup went through, we will do nothing to revert it. Maybe just evacuate some people like the royal family to Manegia, if Jonathan wants to.”
Alicia had been a Court Wizard for two months. During that time, she learned of that rule which was why her and Owen’s fathers just gave up after the burning of the Illyer mansion, letting her uncle’s younger brother take the throne; the burning of that mansion should’ve killed everyone. So to Spiri Raia, they were dead. Nothing will be done about it.
In a sense, she somewhat agrees with this stand. Court Wizards probably were never meant to interfere with otherworldly affairs, yet they did. Quite ironic when her birth was the result of her father’s meddling.
“He’s right, lass.” Jake agreed. “Me could’ve blast those Laegar bastards with some Orders, but me duty as a Court Wizard tell me no. Me will bring the Kraken ta defend me country. If Laegar conquered Celeste, me will just bring queen Stella to Manegia and the Kraken will just haf’ta find new hunting ground.”
“We can’t do anything?” Rin begged, her face looked dejected. This was her first mission and she had to let a kingdom fall and do nothing.
“Aye,” However, Jake had a grin on his face. “But that changes today!”
Even Alicia wasn’t expecting that.
He approached the queen. On his right hand, a blue parchment appeared.
“Queen Stella, me would like to offer you the Contract.”