The rainbow light died down and Alicia was met with the usual dark cylindrical room.
“Hello, you two,” one of the operators said. “Back so soon?”
“Yes, John,” Alicia replied. “We will go ahead.”
After the events of last night, Alicia felt like she needed some closure. And so, she decided to come to the Otherworldly Court first thing in the morning. Owen, naturally, tagged along.
As the two teens from Kaomagi Earth left the Transporter Room, the operators struck a conversation.
“You know,” a female operator said. “Alicia got back here right after what happened yesterday. I’m worried.”
“I know,” a young male operator spoke. “She looked like a wreck after she transferred back yesterday. Rin hasn’t gotten back here for two weeks.”
“Ah, don’t fuss about that,” John, the senior operator, ordered. “Just get back to work.”
“What do you mean, John?” the male operator asked.
“Well,” John began. “I’ve been working here for half of my life, transferring three generations of Court Wizards in and out. And from my experience, this is the moment where Alicia will define where she stands in the Otherworldly Court.”
“Um…” the female operator mumbled.
“To put it simply,” John put it in layman’s term. “This is usually the time where she’s gonna quit or stay.”
“Then will she-”
“And that is something out of our hands,” John interrupted. “This is what most Court Wizards from Earth Base kind of worlds go through. Those kids’ fathers also went through that crisis after one of their- ‘that’ incident happened.
“And we have no right to be involved with it, so stop worrying over Alicia. Our job is to give her the final transfer back to her homeworld if she decided that being a Court Wizard is too heavy.”
“Also, we’re getting another transfer request.” John then held the microphone on his desk and spoke into it, “yes, who is it?”
Aqua had seen when the red-haired girl came back to report, despair had taken over her. At the time, the greater water spirit couldn’t understand why; she was all fine and accepting when Aqua dropped the fact that the child of the Wolframs was to be killed, so why did she come back like that.
Then, after the report, when Alicia left Manegia, Amelia Rickens of all people showed up. The scientist apparently wanted to sign the report on the archiving of the new Vague Orders as apparently, her older brother, the Light Guardian Pierre, procrastinated on the necessary procedures for almost an entire week. Those Vague Orders in question were Alicia’s, [Mundane Ordering] and [Avatar].
Suffice to say, Aqua now had the gist of the reason for Alicia’s state after the mission. Alicia has the innocence similar to Rin Fujiwara, but unlike the latter, she did not try to object or rebel when presented things that went against her principles. However, there was still a part of her that told her otherwise, which she actively suppress; that, apparently, manifested itself as the Vague Order [Avatar] aka the pixie Voice.
But regardless, that habit of Alicia led her to suffer internally and her last mission struck the nail in the coffin. As a spirit, a greater one at that, Aqua would be indifferent to these sorts of things, but her Maneg Soul altered her otherwise.
The Otherworldly Court was akin to a family, the Court Wizards of Elements as the children, and the Guardians as the parents. And Aqua failed to see her ‘child,’ a Fire Court Wizard’s suffering and this made her feel like a failure as a ‘parent,’ a Fire Guardian.
This was why the Fire Guardian was surprised to see Alicia, with Owen in tow, back the very next day. Rin was befallen by a similar fate – though she has at least spoken out the attack on her sense of justice – and wasn’t even back for a month. Jill, sitting at the couch had a similar reaction.
“A-Are you alright, Alicia?” Jill asked worriedly. She wasn’t one to honestly show her feelings, but in these regards, she wouldn’t try to hide it.
“Yes,” Alicia assured. “I am fine, Jill.”
Aqua glanced at Rose to see the oldest active Court Wizard looked calm, sitting on the couch simply drank the last drop of her tea as if she knew what was going on.
“What brings you here, Alicia?” Rose asked with a smile.
“Well,” Alicia started. “I heard that you are the best person to talk to.”
Settling themselves down, Alicia confided the turmoil she went through last night. Everyone in the room sat quietly, listening to every word she said.
“So I do not know, Rose,” Alicia said. “On one hand, I cannot take it anymore, and yet I could not bear to leave you all. What should I do?”
Pouring another cup of tea for herself, Rose calmly answered, “I see. I will keep it brief.” Taking a long sip, the oldest active Court Wizard laid down her cup of tea on the saucer and said this, “do you really have to either resign or force yourself to continue participating missions?”
“Huh?” Alicia raised an eyebrow “What do you mean?”
“Let me tell you a story. It is not my story but someone else that you know.” Taking a sip, Rose began the story, “there was once two Court Wizards joining us, a brother and sister. Well, the story revolved around the sister, the brother was mostly irrelevant.
“Anyway, when I first met them, the sister was all timid, hiding behind her older brother’s cape. She was really cute, she-”
“Rose,” Jill interrupted. “Please focus on the story at hand.”
“Oh, right,” Rose cleared her throat. “The girl had an inferiority complex. She was overshadowed by her brother, who was accomplished by the time they became a Court Wizard; there is no bad blood between them, the brother doted on his sister actually.
“Now, this feeling of inferiority was dragged further because of how she underperformed in missions in the first year in duty. She was almost killed in every mission if not for her brother. Comparatively, she performed worse than you, Alicia.”
“I see…” Alicia muttered. Looking back, she had a small contribution to the eight missions she went to. Ultimately, for every enemy she defeated, others defeated ten times that number. Apparently, this girl was even worse. “Then what happened?” she asked.
“Well, she found another path,” Rose said, Alicia was intrigued. “You see, she is a bright and curious child, she wondered the Maneg System and effortlessly finding its secrets. Long story short, she advanced our understanding of maneg several decades ahead and invented many Catalysts that even the four nations surrounding the Otherworldly Court use.”
“Ah,” Alicia clicked. “You mean that girl is Amelia?”
“What a surprise!”
Rose continued regardless. “And over time, she has gained confidence in herself and a very… unique personality, just like her brother. Yes,” she nodded. “That is the story of Amelia Rickens.
“She has found her own path within the Otherworldly Court. Not by giving up nor continue to risk herself, but by doing something she does best.”
Absorbing what Rose said, Alicia touched the main part of the necklace Catalyst around her neck, the Catalyst Amelia created to ward off against indirect attacks that Court Wizards with disloyal maneg are able to resist. So even if the scientist doesn’t fight in worlds, she still contributed in her own way and found her place in the Otherworldly Court.
Then what does it mean to me?
“I will let you think about it,” Rose put her sight on the door. “Because we have an unexpected guest.”
Hearing this, Alicia focused her sense of Maneg Souls behind the door. Her eyes widened in response to who was behind it.
“Come in,” Aqua called.
“Excuse me,” Rin said as she closed the door behind her.
“Hello, big sis Alicia,” the little girl greeted her.
After half a month, the younger Fujiwara has finally returned. The girl who Alicia promised to find her brother, who meaninglessly saved her from that rupture in dimensions in the form of a vortex just to uphold his sister’s promise. The girl whose ideals were attacked by the very organization her brother worked for.
Alicia has lots of questions for her, like whether she’s alright or not, or if she came here for the same purpose as she did, but it was stuck in her throat.
“What brings you here, Rin?” Aqua asked.
And there was the crux of this happenstance. Everyone kept their silence, anxious about what Rin would say. Then, Rin spoke,
“I want to register a new Cherished Armament I got, but Maestro Pierre isn’t in the chamber,” Rin explained. “I went up to ask Amelia, but she told me only a Guardian should register it and here I am.”
The Court Wizards were taken aback, slightly. They were expecting something in the lines of Alicia’s reason for the visit. Regardless, Aqua, the Fire Guardian, still carried her duty as a Guardian.
“You do not need to address Pierre Maestro, but it is your choice,” she commented. “Anyway, can you show me the Armament?”
“Sure.” Rin stretched out her hand.
With a glow, Rin’s loyal maneg slowly gathered around her arm. Then, the Cherished Armament showed itself.
A metal discus of some kind, a circle attached with eight evenly spaces tridents protruding outward, fell under Rin’s hand. She was holding the long chain attached to two parts of the discus. As Rin’s Element Color was white, the Cherished Armament had a white color scheme too.
“Oh, and I can change it into this.”
The eight tridents sticking out around the circle then dissipated and in its place was a hammer. It has intricate carvings throughout the structure.
“It’s a pendant big brother gave to me on my birthday,” Rin explained as she willed the Cherished Armament back to its true form, a pendant with both symbols attached to the same bait rubbing together side by side. “This one is really special to me because of what these symbols mean.”
“Mjölnir and Aegishjalmur,” Rose said. “Both Norse symbols meaning protection, and I assume the former was meant for that.”
“Unh,” Rin nodded. “Big brother couldn’t decide which one to pick, so he bought both and made it into one pendant.”
Alicia noted it observantly and then asked herself, Why Norse?
Rose, as if she read her mind, nudged and whispered to Alicia, “Rin’s world, Rakarok-Earth World Merge, is a Norse world merged with its Earth sister.”
“Really?” Alicia tilted her head slightly to Rose. “Come to think of it, Rakarok sounds close to Ragnarok, the event that causes the end of the world in Norse mythology, correct?” she murmured.
“Yes, but instead of the world getting destroyed, both worlds fused together.”
“Then why was it called Rakarok?”
“Yeah!” Voice chimed, yet also whispering. “Sounds like it’s butchered!”
“It has something to do when naming the new world. They did not like naming their world after what was supposed to be the ‘end of the world’ event but it was still the event that caused the merging. Then, someone twisted his tongue, and, well, Rakarok-Earth became stuck. The World Merge part is ours.”
Meanwhile, Aqua noted Rin’s Cherished Armament. “I believe you know our naming convention. So what do call it?”
The whole chamber snapped back into attention. They looked at Rin, waiting for her answer. Then, Rin gave the name.
And everybody instantly knew what it meant. “Rin,” Alicia asked, “does that mean you?”
“Unh,” Rin nodded. “Big brother risked his life and broke rules to keep our promise I made. So, it is time that I uphold it too.”
“…I see,” Alicia smiled.
Owen, however, facepalmed at Rin’s response. He knew just what it meant.
“Oh no,” Jill grimaced, having similar thoughts to Owen. “She became like her brother.”
“Fufu,” Rose, however, chuckled at the sight. “It will be quite interesting.”
“Well then.” Regardless, Aqua carried on like a professional. “I suppose that will be your decision, correct?” she asked.
It was both a question to Rin’s reason to obtain the Cherished Armament and her resolve to follow her brother’s footsteps, the footsteps she created.
“Unh!” Rin hummed with no hesitation. “I-”
“Are you sure about that?”
However, a voice interrupted everyone inside. They turned to the balcony and saw a man in a red uniform squatting on the railing.
“Hanz,” Owen muttered as the red soldier stepped down from the railing and walked into the chamber.
Azhure: This chapter is supposed to continue on for much longer, but I couldn’t finish it in time. So I will upload the rest in the next chapter, expect it to be shorter. I suppose I’ll put the first epilogue in there as well. There are two epilogue chapters by the way.