“The Mother Soul is the entity that creates Maneg Souls,” Owen explained. “Each of the eleven Elements has its own Mother Soul.”
With Alicia’s first training completed, they went back inside the Otherworldly Court.
“Is it a bigger Maneg Soul that is stored somewhere in this place?” Alicia asked.
“Yes and no,” Owen replied as they went into the large double door at the back of the main hall, the courtroom. “At some point, they got damaged that they could get destroyed.”
“And what happens if they get destroyed?”
“Every Court Wizard with that Element dies and all maneg with that Element gets turned to another Element and can no longer become that Element.” He deadpanned
“What!?” she exclaimed. While his answer was confusing with the use of the same word four times, she still understood how grave the consequence if it happens.
“Yep, and so their solution was to create a Maneg Soul that it takes residence in and have it merge with someone. The result, you get a Court Wizard that carries the Mother Soul in their Maneg Soul.”
If you were to use the glass of water analogy, the Mother Soul would be the jar of coloring inside the glass of water – the coloring is the Maneg Soul that turns the water, the soul, into maneg.
“And these Court Wizards are called Guardians,” Owen continued. “And they also act as the leaders of the Otherworldly Court.”
“I see,” Alicia muttered. “I wonder what they look like.”
“You already met one.”
“Huh?” Confused, she recalled the Court Wizards she met so far, Alice and Russel. Russel does not look like one, given how Owen interacts with him, she thought and so concluded, “Alice?”
“Yeah, she’s the Guadian of the Mother Soul of Ice, Ice Guardian for short. In other words, my direct superior. She didn’t tell you?”
“No, she did not.”
“I see. So she didn’t even introduce herself as one,” he mumbled quietly.
“How is she a Guardian?” Alicia asked, breaking Owen’s deep melancholy. “She is so young.”
“Well, about how she became a Guardian, it’s complicated. We don’t have time to explain it and well… it’s a touchy subject.”
Seeing his demeanor as he explained it, “Ah, sorry. I will wait when you feel like telling me,” Alicia apologized.
“It’s fine,” Owen brushed. “Anyway, you’re gonna meet the Fire Guardian.”
As they walked through the corridor, they seemed to have entered the middle part of the first story, a cross-shaped hallway.
There, Alicia saw the steps to the next story of the castle and it was the most beautiful piece of architecture she has ever seen. It was a spiraling staircase with a crystal-like transparent structure in which the hallway’s lighting reflected a kaleidoscope of colors inside. It was supported by a pillar decorated with a mural of some kind, depicting what must be the history of the Otherworldly Court.
Stepping through each step invoked a sense of-
“Alicia, over here,” Owen called.
Alicia faced to her right to see him in the right corridor of the hallway according to her perspective. He pointed his finger at something on that wall.
And as she got to where her childhood friend was standing, it opened.
“Oh,” Alicia reacted as she saw it and entered it before Owen.
Inside, Owen pushed a button labeled ‘2’ among the myriad of its kind.
A seemingly automated sound came from a speaker of some kind after the shutter closed to bring its passengers up to the second floor.
Yep, it’s an elevator.
Alicia could feel Voice inside her Maneg Soul either seemingly laughing until her stomach hurt or in a scowling mood as if her expectations were shattered or both at the same time.
SECOND FLOOR, THANK YOU
Alicia and Owen stepped out of the elevator.
By how long the elevator ride was and other things she observed, she noticed that each floor the castle of the Otherworldly Court was unnecessarily tall, tall enough for two stories if the courtroom and the circular room were anything to go by. This floor was no exception, she gazed upwards to see the ceiling was as high as two floors.
“The second floor is the chambers where the Guardians live,” Owen explained as they walked. “Though only a few actually live there. Also, it doubles as the office where you report to, which only a few of the chambers actually serve that function.”
And then they came upon an ashen-red door with a hanging sign saying ‘Fire Guardian’s Chamber’.
“Come in,” a feminine voice was heard behind the door even though it wasn’t knocked. “I have been expecting you both.”
Opening the door, Alicia was greeted with a red-themed room, or perhaps a fire-themed. Passing through the short corridor as to her right was a set of stairs (so the high ceiling wasn’t wasted), a bathroom, and a kitchen; she saw a wide room with an office desk, a red carpet in the middle that is slightly burnt, a slightly singed pair of sofas between a low table. It was, minimalistic at best, giving a sense of a wide room.
Then, she saw the Fire Guardian. She was a middle-aged woman 170 cm tall with a slender build. She has a long wavy red hair that looked like it was liquid, glowing red eyes that’s very observant. Around her are red spherical shaped fluids floating about her red glowing skin under an attire similar to a roman toga which was also glowing red as if it were a part of her body.
“Greetings,” the Fire Guardian said. “I am the Guardian of the Mother Soul of Fire.”
However, she stopped after that and just stared at Alicia intently which unsettled her. “Um…” Alicia mumbled nervously, wondering if she did something.
“Teehee,” suddenly, the Fire Guardian chuckled. “You looked just like your mother, only with red hair and…”
Again, she stopped mid-way and gazed Alicia at some part of her. But it was what she said earlier that got Alicia’s attention. “You know my mother?” she asked.
“That is right. Oh, I forgot to introduce my name. You may call me Aqua. Usually, we are addressed with ‘Master’ first, but I do not like the sound of that, so just Aqua is fine.”
“Alright then. My name is Alicia Bell, nice to meet you, Aqua.”
“Pleasure to meet you too, Alicia.”
“And I’m Voice!”
Surprised by the pixie’s sudden intrusion, Aqua inquired, “Who is this?”
“I see,” Aqua nodded. “Well, good to meet you, Voice.”
“Your welcome, ma’am!”
“That said,” Alicia said. “How do you know my mother?”
“I am from the same world as your mother’s, Spiri Raia.”
And considering her appearance, Aqua must be a fire spirit of some kind. But her name doesn’t match for some reason.
“By the way,” Owen interjected. “She’s a water spirit.”
“Huh?” Alicia looked back at Aqua. “But…”
“Yes,” Aqua chuckled again. “My formal name is First Greater Water Spirit Aquarius of Spiri Raia. I am the greater water spirit that rules over the water spirits in Spiri Raia.”
“But why are you the Fire Guardian?”
“I know right? Maybe it is because the Mother Soul of Fire saw the potential of a vessel with the highest grade of water spirit arts could work in tandem with fire Orders or it did it just because. And it also turns my body red like the greater fire spirit, he really teased me to no end about it.
“Frankly, I did not exactly give a warm welcome when Court Wizards first entered my world, before I became the Fire Guardian. I was simply minding my own business when my subordinates saw a flash of rainbow light and a bunch of humans in brown robes appear, they are in my territory. I appeared before them personally and ended up in a fight.”
“What happens next?”
“I was surprised by their Orders as I have never seen anything like it outside of spirit arts. In the end, we got to an understanding and I let them do as they please considering their objective.
“And then, a few decades later, fifteen years ago, I became the Fire Guardian.” The greater water spirit sighed.
“I see. But you have not explained how you have known my mother,” Alicia said. By Aqua’s monologue, she must not be a Fire Guardian before Alicia’s father rescued her mother and was simply just the greater water spirit…
“Realized it now, dear?” Aqua said. “I have known the Illyers since its founding. Long story short, the first Illyer had done an extraordinary service that I decided to give him my blessing. That made the Illyer family so great as I, the greater water spirit herself, favors them.
“However, it appears that fact was forgotten with the flow of time when that little brat of a prince thought he could snuff out the people I gave my blessings to by burning their estate with them inside. He even used an artifact to prevent my subordinates from performing spirit arts to douse the flames!
“I was at a meeting with the other greater spirits and only received the news after it was over, I was beyond furious. I was considering between causing a drought on the land or just flood the whole place until your father showed up with Allister alive and well, I am quite thankful for that. And I agreed his proposal to split Kirash and Fichs to deny that little brat’s war.”
“So that is what happened,” Alicia muttered. That said, she was quite on edge with how Aqua casually speaks about bringing forth extinction on the Kirash kingdom and calling the second prince a little brat.
“Right,” Owen interrupted. “You do know why she’s here, right?”
“Oh right, I got carried away there. Come now, Alicia,” Aqua beckoned. “We will need to give your ID.”
Name: Alicia Bell
World: Kaomagi Earth
Element Color: Red
Cherished Armaments: -
Rank: New Wizard
A red metal sheet was presented to Alicia. It had a text bearing Alicia’s information in white carved into it. But from the process, it could be recarved as much as she likes without ruining it.
“Right then,” Aqua said, running her finger over the sheet. “The first four should be obvious.
“This,” Aqua pointed at ‘World,’ “is the world where you are born in.”
“Then what is this ‘Kaomagi’ in it?” Alicia asked.
“That is because there are a lot of worlds called ‘Earth’.”
“As in multiple parallel Earths?”
“…Sort of. So, we had to differentiate each of them. And this does not apply to other worlds as far as I am aware.”
“I see…” So apparently, multiple Earths was a thing.
“This shows your Element and Element Color is the color of your maneg. A Maneg Soul of an Element can have a different color. For example, Hanz, who you know by the [Explosion]s he set off, actually has a ‘rainbow’ colored maneg, but he usually sticks to red.”
“Wow! He’s certainly a colorful guy!”
And they all stared at Voice and her bad joke.
“Anyway,” Aqua continued. “Cherished Armaments are weapons based on objects holding a significance to the Court Wizard in which the loyal maneg possesses and modify for combat. Since you do not have one, it is written with a dash symbol.
“Finally, this shows your Rank as a Court Wizard. The order is from the lowest: New Wizard, Wizard, Grand Wizard, Duke or Duchess.
“We Guardians are also subjected to this though they will be a bit higher than the fourth rank once they’re there.”
“I understand,” Alicia nodded.
“Right, usually, you will report directly to me as your Maneg Soul came from me. Though I should tell you that in reality, Court Wizards usually goes to whoever Guardians are present at the time, I happen to have a timetable that complements yours.” Aqua explained. “And me along with your mentor, Owen, will teach you everything you need to know over the course of a year. Also, I am in charge of giving you missions in which you will be accompanied by Owen when available.”
“I see. Are there any missions right now?”
“Well yes. I was going to give it to Hanz but since you are here, I will give it to you.”
“Wait, if you are going to give it to Hanz, that would mean this mission is something that he handles, right? Would that not be too much for me?”
“Oh, do not worry, it is not that dangerous. Besides, our way of things is that recruits like you are to be thrown into the action, you need experience. This is why your mentor, Owen, will be with you, doing most of the leg work.”
Aqua took a file of paper that laid on the desk. It was already there the whole time. “Well then,” she announced. “This is your first mission.”