Azhure: The end is near. I thank you for reading this so far.
Voice: But don’t think it’s over yet!
Azhure: True. Also, I’m putting off the Extra chapter thing, for now.
Owen strode through the relatively unkempt corridor of the small mansion. The Bells never aesthetically furnished their abode, just the bare essentials. It was something that the new Bell matriarch from Spiri Raia, Irene, berated on. So Ronald brought out the cracked vases, torn paintings, and the like that were there when the mansion was first bought, stored inside the attic, and used that.
The old Kirash household caretakers made it their pet project to try restore all of them damaged decoration – their numbers were way more than enough to maintain the mansion, even when some of them were sent to the mountain villa, so most of them didn’t have anything to do and felt useless.
Oddly, it fit the Bell Conglomerate’s theme, looking worthless, but not in terms of products and services, despite being the richest company. What a contradiction.
It was late in the night, Alicia was already soundly asleep, with her mother, for some reason, and much earlier than usual.
It was a pretty hectic day, for her anyway.
A quarter of a day before, Alicia had been thrown in the situation where the enemy got the upper hand.
There, she definitely pieced together Jonathan’s story through the confrontation.
Furthermore, the mission itself entailed using a child as bait.
Even though Alicia was open-minded and could somewhat accept the idea as necessary, a quality Maneg Souls seek, it’s not as if she could bear with it. The work of a Court Wizard is bound to slowly break the pure and innocent, the kind of person Maneg Souls liked to merge with and the kind of person Alicia is.
Sure, the missions she went through weren’t that bad, but they were getting more depraved and ended on a bad note. It was only a matter of time. Owen knew this firsthand, and he just wanted to find dad, damn it.
Frankly, Owen had subconsciously forgotten to inform Ronald that his daughter had a Maneg Soul trying to merge with her soul. The reason was, like Ronald, Owen hoped that Alicia did not become a Court Wizard.
But she did anyway and in the most dramatic way possible.
Heck, Owen didn’t use Orders on those kidnappers from the beginning since the Maneg Soul may not successfully merge with Alicia and he does not want to show Orders in front of her. Though seeing your only friend getting stabbed thirteen times on the back definitely worked against it. Alicia said that she heard a voice in her head, telling her to ‘take its flame’ and go rescue him like in some Japanese Shounen scene.
Damn that obnoxious pixie.
Voice: Hey! I heard that, Short Cream!
But, like the story that inspired the Otherworldly Court’s crest, a part of him was glad that Alicia did and so does her dad.
While Owen was simply there to find his dad, he had also found irreplaceable memories there and admittedly, friends. The Otherworldly Court has a very… sociable workplace.
Hence Ronald and Irene were delighted to hear his daughter told about Rose and Jill, who became her friends. Owen too since that meant Alicia won’t have to be stuck with a kid with a cold exterior like him all the time (Voice: Hah! He admitted it!), a high school girl like her, if he dares say, needed more friends of her age and gender.
Speaking of Ronald, while passing through a Spiri Raian servants, maintaining a shattered urn glued together that was dripped in rainwater leaking from the ceiling, who bowed at him, Owen stood at the front door of Ronald Bell’s office room.
“Yo, old man,” Owen called as he entered the room.
“Ah, you’re here, Owen,” Ronald said while sitting behind his desk with a cheap laptop on. “Sit there.” He pointed at the old couch.
After getting comfortable on the other couch, Ronald cleared his throat with a cup of coffee, it is going to be a long night.
“Now then, how was today’s mission? Alicia seemed tired after all of that.”
And this was what they did on the night after every mission. It started when Alicia was nearly killed during the Maneg Beast mission in Manegia that made Voice go berserk, and also made Alicia start to be afraid of the orphanage’s pet dog. Since then, Ronald had made Owen report what happened on every mission since and giving advice to Owen on how to keep Alicia safe.
What a doting father.
And so, Owen talked about how the Guardians concluded with using a child as bait (he spoke with difficulty on that). How the cultists blew up a shop as a diversion to abduct the kid, and Owen and Jonathan jumping in to save the victims inside while Darc brought Alicia to follow the cultists (Ronald became tensed that the dark elf touched his daughter). And finally, entering the cultists’ base.
“Do you remember Gray Seagull?”
Half-animals in Qantasia used their race name as surnames. Human commoners from villages like Jonathan don’t even have one save for the chief.
“…Ah, that grey seagull half-animal mage in Albert von Coastline’s faction?”
“Yeah, he’s a f*cking mole.”
“It is what I said. That bird was a part of the cultist from the beginning. Six years ago, he saw Jonathan in battle and joined Albert’s army to get close to him. That’s how he knew about us and set a trap for us betting that we’re gonna raid them. And also… he killed Melaine.”
“And Gray also admitted being responsible for the other things that happened to Jonathan.”
Owen didn’t need to explain what Gray did. After all, Ronald was Albert von Coastline’s secret supporter of Albert von Coastline with Jonathan as the messenger in the war, so the Bell patriarch knew exactly what happened to Jonathan. “I see, what happened to that wretched bird?”
“He’s dead, Jonathan snapped and brutally killed him.”
Then Owen described the entire process of how it happened. From getting trapped in a magical glass cage filled with anti-magic stones, the Iron Knights, Jonathan massacring the cultists, and finally the late reinforcements from Alfred Fox, head knight of Alyssa von Coastline’s personal knight guards.
“I see.” Ronald rolled his eyes. “Then good riddance to him. Well then, was Alicia uninjured?”
“Yeah, Alicia’s okay. Heck, now that she got a Catalyst, that damn pixie thought it would be a good idea to not allowing her from giving Vague Orders and just use to stick.”
“I see.” Ronald chuckled.
“But, Alicia wasn’t completely fine.”
Owen told Ronald that Alicia learned how Court Wizards either die by getting backstabbed by a native through a surprise attack or get killed by another Court Wizard in a tragic play. Another ugly truth of the work of Court Wizards.
“And she got that look, I hastily said how I never saw a Bell Branch manager backstabbing us,” Owen admitted.
It was the truth, what Owen said was a spur at the moment. Even so, it was genuine, the motivation and that fact.
Alicia had learned how Court Wizards either die by getting backstabbed by a native through a surprise attack or get killed by another Court Wizard in a tragic play. Another ugly truth of the work of Court Wizards.
So when Alicia got that contemplating look, Owen knew he had to say something before her mind comes to a dark conclusion. Fortunately, Jillian Speris had also voiced her encouragement regarding the other piece of information, something that was quite rare.
“I see, good work,” Ronald praised. “However, what you have said to her may not be true…”
“Well, about the Bell managers, it’s… related to the mission that could be commenced next week, Master Aqua gave me the plan. It’s on the desk.”
“Prrretty interesting stuff!” Voice chimed, mouth full of cookies.
“What the?” Owen almost choked his coffee.
“Hello daddy!” The pixie greeted, facing Ronald looking at her – the pixie is like Alicia herself being composed of her literal soul.
“What are you doing here, Voice?” Ronald asked the pixie who suddenly appeared on the low table between the two sofas, munching cookies that weren’t there before. “Shouldn’t you rest with your master?”
“We~ll!” Taking another bite, the pixie continued, “Alicia’s sound asleep and I got bored, so I followed Short Cream to here!” Putting the cookie down. “Also, I want to know what will happen next week. I will listen, quietly.”
Owen was irritated with Voice calling him ‘Short Cream,’ but he only said “…I see.”
After all, Owen definitely noticed her sudden shift in tone. It was the tone when the pixie was being serious, not being her annoying usual self.
So Ronald, having realized it a few moments later than Owen, decided to take Voice in the same matter. “Very well,” he replied. “Though I must ask why?”
“You know what she has been through. I want what’s best for her, I dragged her into this in the first place. I don’t want what could happen to Rin happen to Alicia.”
True, Rin Fujiwara had to take a break right after her second mission, another subtle blow to Alicia’s mental state. Both missions had directly attacked her ideals, the promise she imposed on her brother, Haruto, and adopted, to save people so that those who cared for them wouldn’t grieve their peril.
The first mission didn’t break her immediately since it was saved by the bell by Jake Rhaims pulling the Contract. The second, however, did not enjoy that; the Green Deity was still alive and despite Timeless Hero butting in, Hanz Huber stopped the Wanderer partly out of irritation of the guy.
And that was the last straw for Rin, especially Hanz’s parting words. Granted, she’s still eleven.
It was fortunate that there were people like Rose to support Rin. She had explained to Rin how half of the rules, or guidelines as the vampire called it, was there primarily to keep Court Wizards alive. That part was true, recklessness will get you killed, but she had omitted the other reason for those five guidelines, or rather all ten of them.
Court Wizards simply don’t deserve to protect the ‘life’ of worlds. Even if it’s for repentance for the Eleven-Century War.
Though regardless of whether Rin was told this or not, Owen was sure that she will no doubt come back because, similar to himself, she still needs to find her brother.
“I see, we’ll then.” Ronald stood up and took a file on the desk. “Well then, this would be the next mission next week,” he said, putting the file on the low table.
And thus the long night continued.
“Now then,” Ronald said. “It’s getting late. Please stay here for the night, Owen. I insist.”
Owen was reluctant but relented. “…Fine.”
“And go back to your master, Voice.”
Just before Owen opened the door with Voice in tow.
“And remember,” Ronald reminded. “No matter what, don’t ever leave Alicia’s side and be ready to support her when ‘that’ happens.”
“Yeah, I know.” Owen turned his gaze back. “After all, Alicia has always looked out for me. I’d kill myself if I didn’t do the same.”
“Of course,” Voice chimed. “I love my Alicia, after all!”
Ronald gave a sigh.
He stood up, walked to his desk, and opened the drawer to take an item inside.
It was a small portrait. A flash photography taken in a night-blue sky, a hill with a tree on top. There were three people inside the photo standing in front of the tree, two males and one female, they looked very young. One of the boys from the photograph had a dark red hair while the slightly older male had white. Between the two teenage boys was a young woman with light blue eyes and hair tied to a braid resting on her shoulders.
“Emilia…” Ronald muttered, holding the portrait tightly.
He opened the window inside his office and gazed at the night sky tainted black due to light pollution.
“Joshua, wherever you are, I just hope that the tragedy that fell to us does not happen to our children.”
Real talk (it will be worth reading).
Azhure: You know, as I write this story, it subtly gets darker with each chapter.
What I initially planned for were random adventures to the next, ultimately leading to finding Owen’s father, Joshua Ruze. Where he is, I will not tell, but if you read too many novels then you should know where he ended up. Also, about finding Owen’s father, I decided to put that in the next book, with Owen as the mc.
Voice: Azhure! Spoilers!
Azhure: Anyway, as this story gets more developed, the whole point of this book had shifted more to emotions, as contradictory as it seemed, and what I could describe it as… regression.
What I mean is that the regression of the woman named Alicia Bell; an innocent, yet open-minded, caring young teenage girl who stubbornly refused to leave her childhood friend which meant her own solitude, and also frequently visit orphanages with said childhood friend; as she performs her duty as a Court Wizard.
Sure, Alicia is open-minded to not be a stuck-up idealist, lashing out at ideas opposing her views such as using a kid as bait to gather lunatic cultists to be taken out to one place. But performing it is a different story.
However, one of the themes of Wizards of the Otherworldly Court, contradiction (as established in the epigraph) meant that I couldn’t swing to either side, i.e. going dark all the way. The Otherworldly Court may be cruel to its workers, yet it cared for them. What it entails, just continue reading.
So even though Alicia may have to go through dark events, she still had support from her new-found friends. Heck, she’s not allowed to kill and as stated in this chapter, Owen wouldn’t want to kill in front of her.
Voice: And I thank you for that. For not doing bad things to Alicia.
Azhure: Getting serious, huh? Still, your welcome.
Anyway, that’s enough from me. See you next week, but there will be no new chapter.
Azhure: I plan to rewrite chapters 2 and 3.
Voice: Oh yeah! It’s a mess!
Azhure: Yeah, I know.
Voice: Are you gonna still use ‘an’ on those chapters!?
Azhure: Yep. Otherwise, that skit in chapter 18 would be ruined