Azhure: And magically, I made what I planned to be a one thousand chapter, which was supposed to be a part of the previous chapter, and doubled the word count.
“Were you here all the time?” Aqua inquired.
“No, after I felt her Maneg Soul, I only got here when Rin declared she’s gonna be like her hero brother. Now, I’ll say it again,” Hanz repeated as he marched. “Are you sure about your decision, Rin?”
Everybody else was confused by the soldier’s statement. But then, remembering the aftermath of that failed mission…
“I stopped the Wanderer because he doesn’t deserve to, nor do we…”
“…that world where Timeless Hero, it was already dead when we got there.”
“…I hate his guts for him playing the hero.”
…it made perfect sense. Hanz hated heroes, not just extreme ones like Timeless Hero but all of them in general, and would hold a grudge, which seemed petty sometimes, over their very existence, especially Timeless Hero, which was ironic that he has to work with them, be it from the shadows for a hero like Rei Furuta or with a fellow Court Wizard like Haruto Fujiwara.
“Hanz, what do you think you are doing?” Jill, who was informed of this before, growled. She got up from the couch and stood firmly in Hanz’s way. “Rin has a brother to find, do not try to stop her!”
“This has nothing to do with her finding Haruto nor her staying a Court Wizard,” Hanz declared. “Just her hero syndrome, she can do without it.”
“Stay out of this, knight,” Hanz warned coldly as he simply stepped aside from the red knight. He turned his back around and taunted, “And since when do you care?”
“I do care!” the knight defended. “Since when I do not!?”
“Whatever.” Hanz shrugged.
Then, the sounds of maneg came from the Training Grounds. It was Crea and Alice, [Eject]ing themselves to the same balcony.
“Aah!” However, Alice did not propel enough force to even grab the balcony’s railing. She tried to order [Eject] again but it didn’t happen.
“I got you!” Fortunately, Crea, safely on the balcony, caught the Ice Guardian’s hand.
“Thank you, Crea,” Alice thanked as Crea pulled her up.
“Are you alright, Alice?” Owen asked in concern. Everybody else also had similar reactions, even Hanz which broke his tense build-up.
“Yes,” Alice answered as she dusted off her dress. “I am fine.”
Back at the situation at hand, Crea approached her partner, “Hanz, why did suddenly you leave us?”
“Because she’s here.” Taking back his composure, Hanz pointed at the younger Fujiwara, who was strangely facing all of this with a calm mind.
Then Crea and Alice were filled in on the situation, Hanz too since he didn’t show up at the beginning.
“And now you’re confronting Rin on her choice?” Crea deduced. “Do you have to, Hanz?”
“Yeah, I do,” Hanz answered without hesitation.
“Could you think this through?” Alice pleaded.
“No,” Hanz answered again. “And I started it, so I’ll finish it as well.”
“But-” Alice was about to say further when Rose gave her a stop gesture with a calm smile.
“He is right,” Rose said. “The path Rin is going to take should be tested first.”
“Doesn’t matter,” Hanz said contrary to Rose. “I’m beating that out of her.” And he came face to face with Rin.
Rin on the other hand seemed very composed. “I’ve made up my mind a long time ago, mister Huber,” she said, still holding her Cherished Armament in its original form. Tilting her head to the side. “At least, that was yesterday but it was after two weeks making my mind up.”
“And why would you want to do that?”
“I made big brother promise to save people others wouldn’t cry, to be a hero, so I should too.”
Hanz clicked his tongue, irritated by that one particular word Rin emphasized. “Oh really now? You’ll be breaking our Rules of Engagement.”
“Rose said that it’s too keep us safe. Well, I don’t need it,” Rin bluntly declared, earning an intrigue from everyone. “Big brother risk his life for it, so I am willing to risk my life too. After all, I’m the one who made that promise.”
“And because of that, your brother was missing.” Hanz then pointed his arm at Alicia. “When she, who got a hundred percent loyal maneg, would be fine in whatever world she got sucked into by the Rupture.”
Alicia lowered her face in downcast, not knowing Owen’s scowl for Hanz to drag his childhood friend into this. However, before Owen intervene, Rin said this.
“Then I find him.” A simple and blunt answer. “That’s also why I’m here, right?”
Clicking his tongue again by such a straightforward answer, Hanz gave his next rebuttal. “I bet Rose didn’t fully tell you about the Rules of Engagement, right?” He turned his head to Rose.
Rose did nothing but drinking her tea. Her face plastered with a gentle smile.
Taking that as a yes, Hanz continued, “Back then, the First Guardians created the Rules of Engagement primarily for two reasons. The other reason was because of everything the Maneg Users done in the Eleven-Century War.
“We were invaders, wandering into one world to another; imposing our Law, the Maneg System onto them. Then they murdered, robbed, enslaved, and trampled over the people living in those worlds, using their Maneg Souls to commit many atrocities as if they owned the place; it’s so bad the First Guardians opted to rename everything that made up their identity: the Maneg System, Court Wizards, Maneg Souls, Orders, Catalysts, all of them are renames! Only the Elements and its names were spared.
“The civil war, the reason that it’s called the Eleven-Century War, between the Maneg Users of Elements was just one of the things that happened albeit the biggest thing.
“This is the first reason why the rules were made by the First Guardians; after all maneg has done,
“We don’t deserve to.”
Upon finishing, the room was quiet.
“And?” Rin smiled.
Hanz stood there, registering the single word she said before going to a sequence of confusion, realization, flabbergast, and finally, irritation.
By then, everybody else had also figured out what Rin meant and was in shock. Hanz just went all the lengths to go through the sins that their predecessors made for eleven centuries and she had basically said “So what?” in his face.
“Y-You…!” Hanz growled.
“Besides, it was the Maneg Users in the past, not us,” Rin continued, earning scores from others for dragging the founders of the Otherworldly Court into the argument. “We have the power, so why can’t we use it? Wouldn’t that be better in atoning the sins of our predecessors? I, Rin Fujiwara, for one will use the power I was given to change things that should not be possible, whether you like it or not.”
“…Tch!” Hanz grunted, turning his back on Rin and walked to the door, utterly defeated.
“Wow! Talk about a beatdown!”
“Ah! Hanz, wait!” Crea yelled as she followed. But beforehand, she gave a slight bow to Rin. “Sorry about that,” she apologized, “Hanz means well, he really does. It’s just, he couldn’t keep it… non-personal when it comes to ‘heroes’.”
“Uhn, it’s okay,” Rin said. “But did Hanz had a bad experience with heroes? If so, then sorry for digging up bad memories.”
“…Thank you.” Crea looked at Rin silently. Despite Hanz antagonizing her, she still perceived and sympathized with him – what a pure girl. “As for your question… sort of. Also, it’s alright, Hanz needed some time to get over it. Now if you’ll excuse me.” Crea bolted to the door, chasing after her partner. But before she closed the door behind her, she said one last thing with a smile, “your brother is lucky to have a sibling like you.”
A moment later, Rose clapped her hands. “That was splendid, Rin!” she praised.
“And the last statement was quite inspiring,” Aqua added.
“Yes,” Jill nodded. “I did not know you can talk back to him like that.”
“Thank you,” Rin smiled.
“Um, does that mean you are back, Rin?” Alice asked.
“Uhn! Of course!”
“I see. I am glad…”
“Well then,” Aqua smiled to Rin. “On the behalf of the Light Guardian, Pierre Rickens,
“Welcome back, Rin.”
Alicia looked at all of this with a smile. Rin has found her answer to where she stands within the Otherworldly Court, even when it was challenged she stood firm. This gave Alicia the push that she needed.
If Rin had done it, then so can she.
Alicia reminisced for a bit. Five months. It was five months, from the end of winter to the middle of summer, after she accepted Voice’s powers to save her childhood friend and becoming a Court Wizard. Who knew a kidnapping could lead to this? However, she did not regret it one bit.
Sure, she could never go through the things normal Court Wizards have to do, but with the friendships she made she cannot leave them behind either.
And so it was, two contradicting choices that she has to choose. But…
“…you don’t have to choose between just two sides.”
“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.”
And with Rose’s advice, she finally understood what her father said to her, while he probably didn’t understand it himself, and thus, she made her choice.
“Don’t be afraid to speak out and make your own decisions, even if it’s a bit selfish sometimes.”
Although she was still shackled with her inner fears, in due time, she will be freed from it. And this will be the first step.
Alicia looked at Owen, her childhood friend who brought her to this wonderful world, he gave a nod with a smile, knowing her intentions.
She turned to the pixie beside her, the face of the powers that brought her here in the first place, the [Avatar] whom she named Voice.
“I’ll be right behind you!” Voice cheered. “Always!”
And so Alicia closed her eyes, taking a deep breath, and opened.
“Everyone,” she called, catching their attention, and declared, “I have decided, I…”
But a warrior does not fight with two shields nor with two spears, but with a spear and shield.
Voice: Pretty sure there’s some guy who dual-wield spears!
P.S. Don’t leave just yet! There’s an epilogue after this!
Azhure: Voice, don’t ruin it. Anyway, I assume you’re good now, Voice?
Voice: …Hmph! I’ll forgive you just this once.
Azhure: Right… Well then, it’s been a long journey since I wrote this story. Starting from the first draft I published on a free WordPress site, that would be almost two years writing this story. Only on January 2019 did I finally got serious in writing this story on Wattpad. Later, I crossposted on a self-hosted WordPress site (with the old one deleted) and RoyalRoad.
Voice: Yeah, and from the Lost Chapters you put on the new WordPress site you set up October last year, you’re a really crappy writer back then.
Azhure: Yeah, I have definitely improved over the last year. And speaking of which, I would like to share the principles that made the core of how I write my stories:
1. Keep the contradiction theme going. It’s literally the epigraph of this series. And also make the missions dark so as to not make it underwhelming.Even now I still felt the missions Alicia went through were such.
Azhure: Be thankful that I at least didn’t do so, right? Moving on.
2. In regards to the previous statement above, if possible and if it’s appropriate, every story’s main Court Wizard should be in the situation that contradicts their ideals, unless/may not if it’s a story of an event in some world with the main Court Wizard happen to be intervening. If there are multiple main Court Wizards, only the most important main Court Wizard is counted, or all of them if possible.
For example, Alicia’s passiveness being challenged by the missions and Rin’s justice challenged by the fact she couldn’t do anything because of the rules.
3. If enemies are trained people: soldiers, the guards in Beohar, etc should be competent. A lot of the times, I see scenes where highly trained enemies get destroyed by the protagonist without so much of a fight. I want to try to make them make more of a fight, at least after the element of surprise and fear tactics are gone.
4. And finally, make everything direct as much as possible. I’ll try to make explanations by word of a character and not making scenes that are just a summary. Incidentally, I’m going to go back to some chapters to rectify those mistakes.
Voice: You forgot number five: Don’t forget to maintain all those onomatopoeiae and putting them all over the place!
Azhure: You got that right. As far as I’m concerned, I’m the only one doing that. So it’s pretty much my specialty at this point. Anyway, I felt like telling you readers this as a way for me to remember them.
Voice: And also because why the heck not!?
Azhure: Anyway, I once again thank you for reading Wizards of the Otherworldly Court: Alicia; this is the end of Alicia’s story and it is time to move the spotlight to another Court Wizard.
Voice: But before that, stay tuned for two more bonus chapters and the second epilogue/teaser for the next book!
Azhure: And for now, enjoy the first epilogue as promised in the previous chapter.
“Ah, Ronald-kun,” Daisuke Fujiwara greeted. “It’s been a while since we last saw each other.”
“Yes, quite so,” Ronald replied, sitting down on the chair.
“Here you go,” Daisuke said as he poured some tea.
“Thank you.” Ronald picked up the cup and sipped it. “I heard what you’re daughter has decided, or is it grandaughter? Regardless, so she’s going to chase after her brother’s footsteps?”
“Yes, she has always looked up to her brother, even when what happened that day. This time, with more conviction.”
“I see. Anyway, has there any progress with the hunt of those terrorists who killed their parents?”
“Not much,” Daisuke sighed. “They have been awfully quiet lately. It appears they have realized we are onto them, looks like they are laying themselves low while they try to reformulate whatever plans they have.”
“Well damn,” Ronald cursed. “If only we knew where they were even hiding. And Haruto-kun got himself lost into the Dimensional Rupture to save my daughter.”
“Don’t worry, he will be fine. With things going on, I’m sure he will be rescued in due time, Joshua as well.”
“Hm, you got that right.”
“And speaking of your daughter, I heard from Rin that she has made her choice as well.”
“Yes,” Ronald smiled as he breathed in the aroma of his tea. “She has acknowledged that she could never participate in what we usually do although she accepted it as necessary, but she also remembers the precious friends she made along the way.
“So, instead of letting it turmoiling her heart, she has chosen a third path where she does what she does best. Much like Amelia.”
“I see,” Daisuke chuckled. “Looks like the young Court Wizards will be seeing her a lot, providing logistical support as the elusive lady behind the Bell Conglomerate Branches.”
“Yes,” Ronald nodded. “That much I raised her to be. Though with what Amelia told me, she has a long way to go. But, the choice she made was primarily by her own wish, so that is a step in the right direction. As her father, I am proud of her.”
Drinking the last drop of his tea, Ronald looked up to the bright blue sky, “I wonder what will happen next?”
Azhure: Once again, thank you for reading Wizards of the Otherworldly Court: Alicia.