Azhure: This story shall conclude in the second week of July, the last chapter concluded in the second week of June. I was considering a post-modern world chapter, but it would ruin to build-up. I’ll do that as a side story.
“How is Rin faring?” Rose asked, sitting in her wheelchair sipping her tea.
Alicia gently put her teacup on the saucer and answered, “Well, Rin still needs time to sort out her feelings and what she was told. But she is doing fine, she is going to a karaoke with her friends in her world.”
“I see, that is a relief,” Rose sighed. While not as perceptive as the Light Court Wizard, Alicia could notice by the vampire’s words that she was having grim thoughts on how it would end.
Well, based on her experience, she has the right to be cautious.
“Well, she still needs to find her older brother,” Jill huffed, putting a teaspoonful of chocolate cake. “She will never abandon her idiot brother, not that I expect her to do so.”
“Yes, you are correct.” Rose agreed as she pours another cup of tea.
Because what matters is what Rin will become after she comes back, giving up her brother’s ideals she gave to him or continue on that recklessness.
“Anyways,” Jill continued. “When will the discussion be finished? We have no time to be twiddling fingers.”
Rose pulled out a golden pocket watch buried between her cleavage – her red summer dress with puffs on the shoulder did not have pockets, and her handbag which contained her smartphone was inside the chamber. The other girls hid their frown at the sight of it. She opened the pocket watch and said, “In about fifteen minutes.”
Alicia happened to show up to the Otherworldly Court earlier than usual.
After what transpired last week, she woke up from bed five o’clock in the morning; treated herself breakfast as she did not want to bother the chef; dragged the half-awake Owen with her; transfer to Manegia and then to Rakarok-Earth World Merge to see Rin. There, she went to the Fujiwara household to check on Rin. After hearing her status, Alicia transferred back to Manegia, satisfied. She had explained and got permission from her parents the day before. It’s seven hours and thirty minutes currently.
“Really?” Jill complained. “They are definitely going about an hour already.”
“Be patient.” The vampire retorted.
Right now, the court was in session, except it’s not a trial of someone or anything. The Guardians, that showed up for work today, were in the Courtroom, the grand hall when Alicia first leave the dark corridor passing by the Infirmary, having a discussion.
Because this organization is called the Otherworldly Court, things like long-winded discussions are included.
The whole thing can be put into n simple points:
One, a Court Wizard staking out (living their usual life) in their native world discovers (stumbles into) a ‘world-changing’ event. Minor events are usually ignored or addressed in the same way as previous similar events.
Another way is for an operator discovering unnatural readings when skimming through a world represented by a pond, or a Bell Branch sent an emergency [Telepathy] via a Catalyst (which was a typewriter with the Order name [Telepathy] carved to it, and it apparently worked) to the Otherworldly Court. A Court Wizard will then be sent to investigate the matter.
Afterwards, the Court Wizard then reports their findings to the Otherworldly Court.
Then, on the same day, any Guardians present gather in the Courtroom for the ‘Discussion.’ First, they review the report to judge the severity of the issue. Then, they set up two broad radical main options, which are drastically different from each other, to the problem. From there, they will argue on the solution, using the two options as guidance. To not waste time, the session is limited to one hour and if time runs out, the outcome is determined by voting on whatever solutions proposed.
Afterwards, the mission is formulated and given to the Court Wizard(s) capable that would usually show up in the Otherworldly Court when the mission would happen, and also the newly recruited ones to get experience. The respective Guardian will personally assign them.
This was the usual procedure whenever there is a problem in some world.
By the way, any Court Wizard and even the normal staff can participate and vote (which its weight is very complicated and should be discussed later), though the latter never did. The reason not to for the former is that they don’t feel like it, which the Fire Court Wizard girls are right now, while the latter felt like they shouldn’t be involved in the ‘sacred duties’ of Court Wizards.
Alicia decided not to participate as she just got back from the trip to Rakarok-Earth World Merge and needed a rest. She will pass the opportunity to meet other Guardians.
Alicia, Jill, Jonathan, Owen, Richard, we have finished our Discussion, please come to the fire chamber in ten minutes. (Aqua)
“Finally,” Jill sighed. “I was tired of waiting.”
“It appears I am not included in the mission,” Rose commented. “But I will listen to it regardless.
“Come on everyone, Aqua must have given the [Telepathy] to others as well. We need to prepare the room.”
“I see everyone is accounted for although I see an extra guest,” Aqua stated. Alicia, Darc, Jill, Jonathan, Owen, Richard, and Rose are present. “Anyway, let us begin.”
The machine conceptualized in the 17th century of ‘Earth’ blared up to illustrate the portable curtain of cotton and polyester by bathing it with a kaleidoscope of chromatic electromagnetic waves within the visible spectrum.
Voice: Wow! That much artistic paragraph just for a turning a projector on!?
Azhure: I am quite proud of it.
It shows a dingy tomb-like room lit up with green torches with an altar in the middle. There were dead bodies of people in green robes, most of them died from stab wounds.
Only one person slightly flinched upon witnessing the carnage. Slightly.
I am getting used to this, is it bad, Voice?
But the pixie stayed silent on her right shoulder with a contemplative look on her tiny face.
Not getting an answer, Alicia simply listened to the Guardian’s briefing.
“Two weeks ago, a Bell Branch in Qantasia, specifically in the capital of the kingdom called GrassPlains, gave a call to one of our operators telling about a suspicious activity involving men in black robes doing ‘suspicious activities.’ We will call these guys ‘cultists,'” Aqua explained whilst holding her hand up in the air and bend her index and middle fingers of both hands up and down. Pointing at the Nature Court Wizard, “Jonathan here was sent to investigate the manner. This picture was taken by him as well.
“As you can see here… Jonathan had already eliminated everyone before taking this, and any injuries he sustained in the conflict had been healed. Jonathan, please convey your reasoning to others for accuracy.”
Jonathan sighed as he carried out his explanation.
“I wandered around the capital using some leads given and a day ago, I spotted some of the cultists and followed them.
“I followed them into that room.” Pointing at the picture. Focusing on the altar. “They gathered around the altar and the lead cultist led a prayer for a god named Abyss to give them ‘release’ of some kind.”
“Then why risk killing them all?” Rose inquired. “The wounds you have received are grievous, those cultists must be formidable mages.”
“They were sacrificing a child.” Jonathan deadpanned.
“Here we go again…”
“Not the first time hearing it.”
Aqua clapped her red glowing hands to silence them. “Settle down everyone,” she said, “Jonathan, continue.”
Jonathan cleared his throat. “Some cultists came in and brought a little boy tied up and gagged. They put him on the altar and the lead cultist continued his speech while brandishing a crooked dagger. I decided to let him deliver his speech before killing the boy, there was useful information so I risked it.”
“The boy,” Alicia spoke up. Don’t tell me he let the boy die. “Is he?”
“He’s fine. I have prepared the position for [Thorn] to immediately incapacitate that cultist the moment he raised his dagger.” Jonathan zoomed to showed a severed bloody hand still holding a crooked dagger. “Besides, sacrificial rituals in my world always brought disaster. It is common knowledge to stop such rituals when seen.”
“I see, that is a relief.” Alicia sighed for a second and then realized, why would I think he would do that?
Regardless, the Nature Court Wizard continued, “The lead cultist explain the ritual will summon the Abyss’ army to take over the capital. He also spouted how there are other bases in the capitals of each kingdom and the next base will perform the same ritual after the ritual and invasion in GrassPlains and so on.
“Coastline is the next base expected to carry out the ritual.”
Some audience gasped. After all, around two months ago, a group of Court Wizards had been sent there to address a problem of one of their collaborators.
“After more prayers, the lead cultist started to sacrifice the child and I took action. The rest is what happened in this picture.” And so Jonathan concluded his explanation. “I captured the lead cultist and gave him to Master Darc before handing him over to the GrassPlains adventurer guild.”
“Thank you, Jonathan.” The Fire Guardian turned to her fellow Dark Guardian. “What did you learned from the lead cultist?”
To that end, the Dark Guardian reveals a scroll from his motor jacket and opened it on the low table to reveal the map of the capital of Coastline. “The base in Coastline is here.” He circled a particular alleyway between two buildings that is three streets across the street where the Bell Branch building is located. “We will address the other kingdoms later, the lead cultist said that the cultists in Coastline are ordered to immediately procure a sacrifice and carry out the ritual if they did not receive news from the GrassPlains branch via magic within,” checking his pocket watch, “twenty-four hours which would be two hours, forty-four minutes, and… twenty-three seconds from now.”
“Then are we striking the base before then?” Jill suggested.
“No,” the dark elf replied. “Raiding the base now will only let the cultist outside the base escape.”
“Then what do you suggest?” The female knight asked.
Darc pulled out a photo of a little boy no older than Rin.
“The other information from the lead cultist is the ‘qualities’ of the sacrifice,” he said. “A child below nine with black hair as it represents the Abyss so he says.
“Also, they also have to kidnap the child during the day of the ritual.”
“You mean to let this child be taken in order to have all of the cultists gather in one place.” Jill grimaced as she stood up.
“It is the conclusion we have reached,” Aqua explained.
The knight sighed in resignation and backed down to her seat next to Richard, also gazing away from him with a huff.
One second. Two seconds.
“Then what will happen to the child?” Alicia inquired.
It was, of course, just a simple question with no hint of anger or desperation, unlike Rin. She is not questioning the morality of the plan.
Alicia knew that Aqua is a spirit, a spirit worshipped as a deity in her and Alicia’s mother’s former world. If any of the books she read comes by, the spirit lacks the understanding of humans as she is a deity, not a human. And Aqua is the member of the Otherworldly Court that leans to the many over one, so long as it is not a fellow Court Wizard as indoctrinated by the Maneg Soul. She would let a child suffer the experience of being abducted and almost being sacrificed if it means to uproot the cultists. Alicia assumes she is confident that the child would not be killed.
The Dark Guardian, Darc, is definitely the pragmatic type and would agree to this plan, despite the previous action back in Qantasia two months ago. If Alicia were to guess his mind, it would probably traumatize the child for a while and recover soon after.
She will not inquire about others’ opinions as they didn’t even react to it. The only two Court Wizards who wore full-plated armor seemed rather annoyed but did not complain further.
To that end, Aqua calmly answered.
“The child will be protected, well he has to be protected. Preventing the ritual is also a part of the mission.”
Hearing it, Alicia thought it out for a moment. It could work out as she intended. But a part of her worries that it could go wrong going by Murphy’s Law.
Voice, what do you think?
Relax, Alicia! We’re doing this with a bunch of professionals here! Absolutely nothing could go wrong!
Alright then, if you say so.
After the mental conversation, Alicia said, “I see, I have no further questions.”
Azhure: As much as you might think, the sacrifice will not go through, as much as it makes the story better. That meant a failure of a simple mission. A mission that is handled by multiple, professional Court Wizards. It would be illogical. The notion previously is enough.
“Alright, make preparations and gather to the Transporter Room in ten minutes,” Aqua ordered.