“Aah!” Irene screamed as burning wood fell upon her.
“Irene!” her relative shouted in despair.
However, another flame in the shape of a sphere flew towards it, destroying the would-be end of the blonde woman.
She looked to where the fireball came from. “S-Sir Ronald!? Sir Joshua!?” she gasped, seeing the familiar men. “What are you doing here!?”
“There’s no time to explain!” Ronald shouted. “We’re getting all of you out!”
Ronald reminisced for a moment before looking back at her daughter, Alicia, with her mouth agape and in shock. Well, it was how you expect her to react.
“Hmm,” he hummed. “Where to begin?”
“I believe you should explain to her about my homeworld first, dear,” Irene, his wife, said.
“Right.” Ronald faced his daughter and paused in awkwardness.
“Um…” Alicia too was a bit embarrassed after shouting in surprise.
Owen simply sipped his tea, waiting for the long night silently.
“You know your grandfather, Allister?” Ronald asked.
“Yes,” Alicia answered. Her grandfather, Allister Illyer, was her mother’s father. “…You mean?”
“Yes,” Ronald nodded. “He’s a duke from a world called Spiri Raia in a kingdom called Kirash.”
“Kirash?” Alicia muttered, not repeating the last word her father said but because she has heard that name before.
“Now, there’s a complicated situation happening in that kingdom. But long story short, this Kirash kingdom was in a political war as the king at that time was about to pass. There were two princes that were heir to the throne, the first prince Albert al Kirash, and the second prince Van va Kirash.”
“Wait,” Alicia stopped. “Albert… Kirash… Uncle!? And what is with the ‘al’s and ‘va’s between their names?”
Albert Kirash was Alicia’s uncle who was a part of the family for marrying Alicia’s aunt, her mother’s younger sister.
“Yes,” her father nodded again. “Your uncle was a prince. Also, nobles and royalties in Spiri Raia have two or three letters of their first name as a middle name, no capitals.
“Anyway, simply put, the first prince, your uncle, was the good guy while the second prince, his half-brother, was the bad guy.
“Now you do know your uncle correct?”
“Yes.” As far as Alicia remembered, her uncle was a good, hard-working, and honest man.
“And that’s the problem,” Ronald deadpanned. “He was too good.
“The second prince, Van va Kirash, was the opposite of your uncle, unscrupulous and manipulative. However, that made him quite the schemer too.
“In the battle for the throne, he managed to coax a lot of nobles taking your uncle’s side to him be it bribery, blackmail, promises, and the like. Those who refused suddenly found their household ‘mysteriously’ destroyed.
“And that made Albert’s power to claim the throne weaker as his number of supporters diminish. To make matter’s worst, the king preferred the second prince over the first – as he favored the mistress who gave birth to him-, so that didn’t help him either.”
“So what does grandfather have to do with this?” Alicia asked as her father catch his breath. “Was he uncle’s main supporter or something?”
“Well yes,” Ronald said. “In fact, it was the reason Albert’s held out for so long.
“For some context, the Illyer duke family started by the brother of a king many generations ago. Meaning they have royal Kirash blood.
“Now, that isn’t the only thing that made the Illyer’s powerful. They also happen to be very accomplished. A couple of decades ago, the Kirash kingdom was at war with the invading Fichs empire, and it was three to one in Fichs’ favor. However, your grandfather happened to lead the defense and was able to push them back.
“And that made the Illyer family more powerful and popular with the masses. Unrealistically enough to shoulder an entire faction.”
“And I am assuming that grandfather did not fall into the second prince’s tricks?” Alicia deduced.
“Correct,” Ronald said. “In fact, I recall him openly expressing his dislike for the man.”
“Why yes,” Irene nodded. “In fact, I never remember father bringing me or my sister to the palace. He said that a ‘big bad wolf’ was out to get us there. And usually, Albert comes to our home himself.”
“I-I see…” Alicia smiled wryly. “Then Van must have tried to get rid of grandfather.”
“Yes,” Ronald nodded. “Even though the Illyers were very important to the Kirash kingdom, it seemed that the second prince decided to remove them as they were uncooperative. And it is here where we open the second can of worms.”
He then took out his smartphone and showed this picture, the logo of Bell Conglomerate.
“Huh?” Alicia tilted her head. “What about the company?”
“My father, your grandfather, Alan, thought it would be a good idea to set up the company in not just Spiri Raia, but other worlds as well.” Ronald deadpanned.
Alicia blinked. “…What?”
“Because as we,” Ronald explained, “the Otherworldly Court, discover more worlds, we found it harder expending the resources we have to gather information in all of those worlds. And that was when father had the idea.
“The plan was to install a ‘Bell Branch’ in major towns or cities in a world. Then, we hire a manager, and anyone else necessary, native to that world that we can trust our secret with and sympathetic to our cause.
“As a mercantile business, it wouldn’t be strange for the workers to gather information, though nothing too sensitive – we’ll gather those ourselves-, and then give it to their superior unknowingly that they’ll compile them and hand it over to us.
“It was a bold idea, but we always welcome such things if it meant to pursue our goal and so it was approved.
“Besides, it also meant we can obtain those world’s currencies so we don’t have to keep paying Court Wizards gold bars or jewelry – but not too much taken that it would collapse the economy. And yes, we are paid for doing Court Wizard work.”
Well, Alicia had the impression that being a Court Wizard would risk your life, so at least compensations should be given. “But then what does it have to do with grandfather Allister, father?” she asked.
“Because we decided that Albert should take the throne. You see, we have observed that Van wanted to go to war with the Fichs empire, and long story short it could cause consequences that go against our tenet.
“And conveniently, the Bell Branch I set up in the Illyer territory happened to thrive really well, so much so that Allister invited the manager. And me and Joshua invited ourselves as well.”
“It was surprising,” Irene added. “We all expected the old manager, but then you two came as well, introducing yourself as the heir to the company and the branch’s true purpose. Then you scrambled to make a follow-up before father gets a bad impression. You must have not thought it through.”
“Well, I didn’t realize revealing yourself being a member of an organization from another world would be very suspicious,” her husband smiled wryly. “Even with good intentions.”
“Well of course!” Irene snarked. “You offered support for Albert’s faction and protection for my father with absolutely nothing in return. Why it sounded too good to be true.”
“And we still held our end of the deal, right?” Ronald tried to reason. “We did repel those ‘bandits’ and assassins Van sent. And we even saved Allister after he was poisoned.”
“Yes, and I am thankful for that.”
“Anyway.” Ronald turned to Alicia. “What do you think?”
“It was… very surprising. But uncle is here,” Alicia remarked. “And all of you as well. Does that mean?”
And all were silent as she said the crux of this conversation.
Ronald spoke, “We were… caught off guard.”
“What do you mean?” Alicia asked.
Her father took a deep breath and said, “He burned the Illyer mansion.”
“He even ordered his goons burning the mansion to dress up as Fichs soldiers to give himself an excuse to declare war on the empire. Heck, even Albert’s there. So that’s three birds in one stone.”
“Yes,” Irene nodded. “It was very frightening. I almost died from falling debris when you showed up and destroyed it. Then, you got all of us teleported to the Otherworldly Court.”
“It was unprecedented,” Ronald said. “Me and Joshua were at other businesses when the operators told us that the mansion was burning.”
“That is horrible,” Alicia grimaced. “But then what happened after that. As I said, uncle is still here, so that means Van won. Why did you not send them back to Spiri Raia?”
And then another silence occurred before Ronald revealed,
“We didn’t allow it.”
Ronald sighed as he explained, “You see, Alicia, we-“
“We explained it to your grandfather and your uncle and they reluctantly accepted,” Ronald finished. “They lost, he won. They were supposed to have peri- died in that burning mansion. We cannot intervene further.”
“I see…” Alicia nodded solemnly, though the slight change in words her father did pique her interest, but there were more important questions to be asked. “But if that is the case, what happened when Van took the throne?”
“Well, fortunately, the war he was looking for didn’t happen,” Ronald said in a joy-er tune. “You see, Spiri Raia, if the name didn’t suggest, is a world of spirits and there are ‘greater’ spirits that essentially ruled the world like deities. One of them, the greater water spirit, favored the Illyer greatly. So she was furious when she found out the ‘fate’ that befell them.
“So, just for that instance, we sent back Allister to tell her that they were alive Otherwise, she would have destroyed the kingdom in rage. But since we were trying to prevent the war and doing it by getting Albert to be king failed, we decided to ask the greater water spirit to do it for us in the least destructive way.
“She accepted and proceeds to split the kingdom and the empire by filling the border with an entire ocean.”
“She created an entire ocean!?” Alicia exclaimed.
“Yes,” Ronald nodded. “And the Kirash kingdom was landlocked so they didn’t have ships to cross the ocean, effectively preventing Van from going to war – not to mention the bad PR he got from angering a greater spirit.”
“I see… So that is what happened…” Alicia muttered. She was astonished, to say the least. It was an incredible story that’s for sure. “Then what happens next? How were grandfather, mother, uncle, and everyone else here?”
“Well, you see, since your mother, Allister, your uncle, and everyone else was ‘dead’ in Spiri Raia, they would have to live in the world where the Otherworldly Court is based in which we called it ‘Manegia.’ But, we… didn’t have the housings ready, we just had another batch of refugees before them.”
“And so you offered to let everyone stay here?”
“Precisely! It took a bit of throwing my name around, but I managed to convince my superiors to have everyone to migrate here.
“After that, we got everyone their identifications and such, quite a hassle since there were a lot. Then comes getting them appropriate jobs, but that wasn’t before getting necessary degrees and qualifications through proper means first.”
“Ah yes,” Irene interjected. “There was so much studying that I could still remember all those complicated material… And kids much younger than me learned these.”
Alicia could only smile wryly at her mother’s complaint. Coming from a presumably medieval-aged world, knowledge of the 21st century would shock her.
“Anyway,” Ronald continued. “Remember chief Oswald? He was the head Illyer guard along with the subordinates who were always with him.”
“I see…” Alicia nodded in understanding. So that’s why her father was particularly ‘close’ with the police. “Are there any problems with the migration?”
“Well, the Illyers have too many servants. Even when some of them went to the mountain villa, where your grandparents are, there’s still too many that they don’t have enough shares of work. But you already know that.”
True, peering at the open entrance to this dining hall, some of the many house workers were eavesdropping behind the entrance to the dining hall. That was fine since there were already a bunch of maids and butlers standing inside watching them eating – they really had nothing to do.
Then came the important question, “That was… very incredible, to say the least. But why would you go through all of that, father?” Alicia asked.
“Simple,” Ronald rolled his eyes. “Because I have fallen in love with Irene ir Illyer ever since I’ve met her at the Illyers.”
“Oh, stop it, dear,” Irene clasped her rosy cheek. “You are making me blush.”
And the ever-increasing gloomy atmosphere turned its head around.
“But,” Irene continued, rolling her eyes and then opening them. “I will never forget the first time entering this mansion; seeing a middle-aged man sweeping the floor with a broom who turned out to be your father. And he even dressed up for the occasion!”
They then talk about a lot of other stuff like how skewed Ronald’s sense of purchasing is when the husband and wife were dating before Ronald finished with, “Tomorrow, you will go to the Otherworldly Court. Owen, please guide her as according to the custom.”