IT was very late afternoon when Prince Makai and two of his companions — his Guardian Leo, and also the human girl Rinda whom he’d been forced to team up with, landed safely on Kingdom of Aquarius. Unlike his sister and her companio...
IT was very late afternoon when Prince Makai and two of his companions — his Guardian Leo, and also the human girl Rinda whom he’d been forced to team up with, landed safely on Kingdom of Aquarius.
Unlike his sister and her companions, the Spirit Prince and his companions had not fallen straight down the well and gotten themselves splashed by the lake. Halfway through the passage, Leo had teleport them all to a safer distance, away by the shore.
Makai pressed the small button on the left side of his wristwatch.
“This is R1. Do you read me, Master Oracle?”
Fye’s voice sounded on everyone’s earpiece. “Affirmative. I can hear you clearly well over here, Your Highness. How’s the condition over there?”
“We’ve managed to land safely on the shore, Master Oracle. So far, no signs of the guards anywhere nearby.” Rinda informed.
“Do you feel that, Prince?” Leo said suddenly, as they began to walk deepened into the forest.
Makai nodded with a deep frown on his forehead.
“The barrier surrounded this kingdom — it’s being infused with magic.”
“Magic?” Fye asked.
“Yes. Magic that’s impossible to be found anywhere in this world. Only the Witches is able to cast such strong and powerful magic.” Leo stated in gruesome tone.
“Even the Witches is involves with this? That’s crazy! Just what the heck does the Spirit Queen wants anyway? Involving everyone in her big scheme!”
Leo coughed, clearing his throat. “Regardless of her true intentions, just as His Royal Highness the Prince had mentioned the other day, the Queen has only thing in her mind — that is to capture Princess Mika and brought her back to the Spirit World for her own personal gains.”
While talking to them, Fye’s eyes gazed over the papers on his hands as he read them out aloud in his small office.
“I have news for everyone. After my unexpected contact with His Majesty King Lewis, I’ve gathered some informations; specifically the time-lines between before and after the First Spirit Invasion had occur. It seemed His Majesty, King Lewis had made a contact with the Spirit World before the First Spirit Invasion ― with a unnamed man only known as ‘H’. Initially, Lord Eden and I had believed that ‘H’ was acting as the Third Party for the Spirit Queen. After digging up some more information from Lord Ranfel himself however, we’ve found out that ‘H’ is actually a lone wolf who had approached King Lewis one day and offered him something valuable in exchange for something else. Three months after the King had made the exchange, the First Spirit Invasion begun.”
“What?” Makai growled over the speaker.
“Did you find out exactly what the exchange items?” Leo asked.
“Yes. According to the sources again, the item of exchange was an old map. In return, the man had promised King Lewis his Kingdom would be protected from the Spirit invasion. We now know whoever this ‘H’ person is, he has a connection with the Spirit Queen. To what extend is still unknown, unfortunately. We’re working on that.”
Makai packed up his speed. “Do that and let us know if you’ve found anything.”
“Roger that.” The link was then disconnected between them.
While speeding ahead at the front, Makai secretly pressed the small button on the other side that would only connected him to the Master Oracle.
“...Your Highness? Is something the matter? Do you need something?”
“Not really.” The Spirit Prince whispered lowly, not wanting his team-mates to hear him.
“Oh. Then, is there anything I can do to help you with?”
Makai was silence for a good one minute, causing the young Master Oracle to worry of his silence.
Just when Fye was about to ask him again if something was wrong, he was interrupted by a soft word spoken by the Spirit Prince.
“...How’s my sister?”
Fye’s eyes grew widened. Even without the need to see him, Fye could already guessed the bashful look on the Spirit Prince’s face as he spoke those simple words.
When the young Master Oracle had informed of the Spirit Prince’s childhood past by Lord Eden, his heart dropped with sadness.
Deep down and despite his cold and reserved appearance, Fye knew the Spirit Prince was actually a very insecure and lonely young Prince who did not know how to express his feelings to others due to his own tragic past.
Slowly, a widely smile appeared across his lips.
“Her Highness the Princess is doing well. She got separated with the rest of her team though, but rest assure, Sir Kazuo is with her.”
Makai grunted. “How assuring, Master Oracle. Knowing that my sister is currently under the protection of the womanizer of her team!”
Fye chuckled lightly. “Sir Kazuo isn’t really that bad, Your Highness. And if it helps, I’ve spoken to them last night, and earlier this morning. They’re heading to the Aquarius Castle now.”
“..I see. That’s all I wanted to ask.” Makai subconsciously nodded. He didn’t bother to ask the young Master Oracle if his sister knew he was coming or not.
“Of course. And your most welcome, Your Highness.”
The link was again disconnected.
MIKA walked in graceful steps as she, Kazuo and the rest of their escorts entered the Castle’s gates. They were being escorted by the First Captain, Captain Ren, and his men to the Audience Chamber to meet with the Ruler of the Kingdom, King Lewis XIII.
When Ren had informed both of them that they were invited to the castle by King Lewis himself, immediately, Mika knew something suspicious was going on.
On the way to the Castle, Mika had discreetly asked Kazuo what’s their backup plan now that they were going to meet with the King heads on instead of sneaking into the castle like they’d thought on earlier.
Kazuo, who had been in deep thoughts, simply shrugged his shoulders and told her to just ‘play along’ until they’ve gathered enough information regarding the situation here in the Kingdom.
After a moment of walking, they arrived in front of the Audience Chamber’s doors, guarded by two soldiers.
Ren took a step forward and the two soldiers saluted him.
“Welcome back, Captain Ren!”
Ren saluted back. “Greetings, men. I’ve bought the Kings the two guests prior to his request.”
One of the soldiers sneaked a peek at the said guests. His eyes immediately fell on Mika who squirmed a bit at his gaze. She’d managed to successfully hid her long pointed ears with her hair using a few hairpins, and her sharp pointed nails with a pair of gloves, to cover up her identity as a Spirit.
Still, that didn’t make any of her worries lessened. Not when Ren and his men knew who she was. The question was; will they tell the King about it?
In any case, as stated by Kazuo earlier, they needed to keep their guards up from this point onward until they could reunite with Shinji and Guy again.
Taking a deep breath as the doors opened, Mika mentally prepared herself as she walked in.
As the doors opened eerily, cold and chilling winds welcomed them inside. While walking, Mika immediately took noticed few unusual things about the chamber.
One, she noticed a faintly smell of blood in the air. The smell itself wasn’t obvious due to the small boxes of charcoals at the furthest left corner of the chamber. Two, there was a none-too-obvious deep Maroon spot on the red carpet before the King as he seated on his throne. And finally, how increasingly nervous Ren’s men were as they were walking closer to the King.
Mika’s eyes shifted from Ren’s men to the shadow of a man sitting on the throne; with his back hunched, with a hand on his chin while the other on the handles, tapping his sharp nails on the handles impatiently.
His green-greyish eyes stared at their every moves.
Ren knelt on one knee in front, with his head lowered, followed by his men behind him. Mika and Kazuo stayed at the farthest back, with their heads slightly lowered as well.
“Your Royal Majesty, I’ve brought you the Honourable Guests who’d halt from a faraway lands. They wish to have an audience with you.”
There was a heavy and uneasy atmosphere around them except for the sound of King Lewis’s fingers tapping on the handles, filled the air.
Ren had not moved from his position, nor had King Lewis said anything.
Only the echoing sound of his nails kept on tapping on the handles grew louder in the dead-silence atmosphere.
Sweats began to form on Mika’s forehead as she focused her gazed on the dark maroon spot on the red carpet. She had heard about King Lewis XIII back in Luyas.
Rumoured on the streets had said that the King was a wise yet a merciless tyrant leader.
Once, she’d even overheard one of the Captains in Luyas said that he had thrown a grenade at the enemy’s base in the middle of the night. The explosion was so huge that it did not left any survivors.
Tap.Tap.Tap.Tap. The loud tapping sound stopped all the sudden.
Everyone lifted up their heads to look at the King.
When Mika did looked up, her blood instantly turned cold, her back stiffened, from the menacing gaze of the King at her.
Mika stole a quick glance at her companion on her right side; Kazuo was glaring coldly at the King. Not a single fear was written on his face. His back was straightened and his shoulders stiffened.
At that moment, Mika suddenly feared a battle might broke out between them.
It wasn’t until a voice coming from the front row, interrupted them.
“Your Majesty, if I may speak, I believe these two have travelled far and long to come all the way here just to have an audience with you. We should show them some courtesy and hear what they have to say, at the very least.”
All eyes were on the First Captain who was no longer kneeling on one knee on the ground. Instead, he stood up straight, facing the two men with tensed eyes.
The King glared sharply at the First Captain. Instead of an apology smirk, the king snarled at him.
The tension in the air increased drastically between them.
“Very well then.” The King finally spoke, in a low and huskily voice.
“May I personally welcome to the Kingdom of Aquarius. Though it is rather a surprise news for me to hear there are people coming all the way here to wish to speak with me... Nevertheless, I’ll welcome anyone who comes to my Kingdom.”
“It is our honour to be able to meet with you, Your Majesty.” Mika bowed her head, followed by the reluctant Kazuo.
King Lewis’s smirked. He held up his left hand.
“Now then, I’m sure the two of you have travelled far and beyond, why don’t the two of you join me for dinner? What say you, Princess?”
As if their airway had suddenly being blocked by an invisible force, both Mika and Kazuo’s faces were turned pale as a sheet and their mouth were left opened, at the mention of her title.
Ren and his men were also left stunned and shock were all over written on their faces. How did the hell did he could possible knew about her title? Even Ren and his men only knew she was a Spirit and not a Princess!
“Well, Princess? What is your answer?” King Lewis asked again, breaking the long awkward silence.
Mika blinked her eyes a couple of times before she recomposed herself.
“It would be my honour to join you for a dinner, Your Majesty.” Mika replied without batting an eye.
Her stance was professional. The way she spoke those simple words were gracious and almost too natural ― unlike the usual slightly awkward Spirit girl whom Kazuo had met and absolutely adored.
It’d almost as if...
“Very good then!” The King clapped both hands happily. He then pointed one finger at Ren and ordered, “Captain, please escort the good Lady to the Guest’s Room upstairs until it’s time for dinner.”
Ren was surprised at the given order. It actually took him for a second to reply back.
Ren lowered his head in a low bow before wordlessly walking toward Mika. He stopped a foot away from the Princess, and offered his hand to the confused looking Princess.
“It is the Aquarius’s custom for a man to escort a lady. May I have your hand please, Princess?” Ren said stoically.
Mika looked at the Captain for a second before she hesitatingly accepted his offer.
Kazuo, on the other hand, kept a close watch as the First Captain guided the Princess, heading toward to the doors as he followed behind them.
Ren’s men followed closely behind him. Almost too close, for the ginger-blonde fighter’s own comfort.
Halfway reaching for the doorknob, all the sudden, the King spoke aloud and clear.
“I’ve invited the Princess for the dinner. I’ve never said anything about her companion.”
With a snap of his fingers, the Ren’s men pulled Kazuo by the neck from behind and tackled him to the ground— with his arms tied on his back, and a deadly blade at his throat.
“Stop! What are you doing to him? Let go of Kazuo!” Mika cried out desperately.Had it wasn’t for Ren who stopped her by pulling her arm in a vice grip, she would have taught the guards a thing or two for attacking her friend like that!
The sound of a metallic boot kicked against Kazuo’s body echoed loudly throughout the Audience Chamber.
Mika’s own eyes widen at the beating her companion was forced to endure. Swiftly, she turned her head to face with the King with an angry glare in her eyes.
“Unacceptable! I will not have you to treat my companion however way as you pleased! Is this how you normally treat your guests? If it is, then what a poor mannerisms that you have, Your Majesty!”
There was a maddening silence right after those words left her mouth. Mika’s own heart was blaring loudly to her ears. Even Ren, who had been stoic and cold to her, was gasping softly the moment those words flew out of her mouth.
Mika could feel all eyes were on her, even from the guards who were guarding on the other side of the door. After all, no one had dared to ever shout back especially to King Lewis XIII, unless they wanted a death wish.
But there was no turning back now for her now. She reap what she sow. Taking a long deep breath, Mika bravely await for the King to answer her.
When King Lewis XIII had first been informed that there were two others trespassers beside the White Wolf Prince and Lord Ranfel’s son, he had expected them to be both men and humans.
He was still angry, but he was no longer furious at the thoughts of the noisy Master Oracle brat for not minding his own damn business.
Not after the secret that he’d been keeping for years was almost revealed to the world by the White Wolf Prince. Oh, how he’d wished he could just ended the latter’s life then and then, had not because of him fearing the Clan’s wrath against his Kingdom.
When the First Captain had bought over the two ‘guests’ to meet with him; King Lewis’s eyes grown widened at the sight of the poorly disguised Spirit Princess.
Two vividly emerald coloured eyes stared back at him with cautious ― eyes that he had not seen for years.
Who could have forgotten the Great and Fearless King Ferid ― the one and only Spirit King who dared to push all boundaries to form an alliance between his own and Mankind, and succeeded at doing so!
The King whom had been haunting him all these years, had finally came in a form of a young Spirit girl before him.
Sweats began to damp his cold forehead and his palms.
The only sound that echoed in the Audience Chamber, was the constant tapping sound of his sharp nails against the throne’s handles.
Finally, when he could no longer take the pressure of silence, King Lewis had said something that was beyond his own belief ― he had invited the Princess to a dinner!
What had possessed him to do so was beyond him. When the Princess had unexpectedly accepted his offer, King Lewis knew he was doomed.
A damage control was desperately needed in the situation.
So, without thinking much, he had ordered the guards to attack her companion. It was a low move, which, the King was fully aware of, but he was desperate. He had hoped now that her companion was pinned down on the floor, she would backed away from the dinner.
Instead of doing just that, the Spirit Princess had bravely challenged him instead!
How dared she challenged his mannerisms!
“How irritating,” King Lewis said in a low voice. “To hear such imprudent words from a child!”
The King stood up angrily from his throne. With his nose flared and eyes glaring sharply at the Princess, he pointed out one finger to the First Captain.
“I want them both out of my sight! Lock the two of them up separately in the dungeon!”
“Yes, Your Majesty!” Ren’s men bowed their heads and quickly dragged Kazuo out of the room, the same goes for Ren, despite the Princess struggles.
As for Ren, he had never once, in his whole living ever since he started living in the castle, seen his uncle looked so troubled and tensed.
The First Knight had to wonder just what had caused such a man known as the ‘Tyrant King’ to be so shaken at the sight of their guests? His mind then travelled to the Spirit girl whom the King had referred to as a Princess.
Swiftly, Ren turned his head slightly to the girl whom he had firmly gripped on her arm, dragging her to the dungeon prior ordered by the King.
Suddenly, he stopped walking.
One of his men at the front, noticed him, and stopped as well.
“Is something wrong,Captain?”
“No.” Ren spoke in a low tone. “Go on ahead. I’ll catch up with you men later. I have... An unfinished business with Her Highness the Princess.”
As soon as words got out of his mouth, the guards each turned to look at one other. None of them had expected that coming from their most respected Captain. Ever.
The Captain was after all, a private man who loved his privacy very much. The respected Captain knew very well to draw the lines between his Castle’s Life and his personal life.
No one would knew if he had a secret lover or if he was already engaged to somebody or even married.
If there was one person who could dig out any information about him, it would be the lovely Princess Medea.
One of the knights, a veteran and also the Vice-Captain of his squad, coughed aloud and the rest blinked their eyes.
“Understood, Sire. We will see that this trespasser to his cell safe and sound until you get back.” The veteran Knight then turned to face the rest and barked an order, “You’ve heard the Captain! Move!”
Within a minute, the guards were out of their sight, dragging the trespasser Kazuo with them, leaving one Spirit Princess and the First Captain.
No one else was around except for the two of them now.
Mika began to feel uneasy. Very uneasy. Cold sweats dripping from her forehead, down to her chin. Emerald eyes stared at the First Captain who hadn’t turned his back around from facing her.
Mika would have made a haste escape, had it wasn’t for the vice grip that was still on her chained arms on her back.
Swallowing the big gulp on her throat, the Spirit Princess waited for the First Captain to turn around.
When he did, it was with such a speed; that by the time he had already turned his face at her, Mika realised his hand was no longer on her arm ― but was on her shoulders.
His grip tightened. Cold pair of turquoise eyes glared sharply at her.
“Are you truly the Spirit Princess ― the one who was said to have gone missing for years and only recently discovered to be found in the Human World?”
Mika swallowed another big gulp. For as long as she could remember, Lord Ranfel had never said anything to anyone about her living with his family in Luyas.
They’d heard rumours ― of how Lord Ranfel was keeping a Spirit child under his care. Unfortunately, without any proofs, not even Lord Eden nor the Young Master Oracle could not take actions against him.
It did not helped either, that Lord Ranfel had always made sure that she would never stepped outside of the Luyas’s Castle gates or participate any activities outside of Luyas.
I have to say something... But will it does me any good? What if he just wants a confirmation of who I am before he proceeds to do anything more worse?
Her thought went straight to Kazuo and the others.
There’s no time to waste. Moreover, I need him to understand why we are here in the first place!
Taking a deep breath, Mika spoke as calmly as she could despite the rapidly beating of her heart.
“I am the long lost Spirit Princess, Princess Mika.”
“I’ve also heard the Princess had lose her memories. So what proof do you have that you are the real Spirit Princess?”
Mika stared at him before closing her eyes. She inhaled slowly and the exhaled in the same calm manner.
“There was once a Great Spirit King by the named of Ferid. He was a kind and humbled Spirit; a commoner by birth, he’d spent most of his life living in the slums. Even so, Ferid had refused to steal anything; even if he had to starve, he’d still refused to steal anything from anyone. His honesty and kindness had caught the eyes of the most beautiful maiden of the land; the Spirit Princess. Because he’d spent most of his life in slum, Ferid knew all too well what the darkness and the worse of the slum. It had driven him to the point where he wanted to become better than most of them. Ferid wanted to make a change. A big change to the place that he’d called as his home.”
Ren listened quietly to her explanation. He had dropped his hands away from her shoulders and back to his sides.
Mika opened her eyes. Instead of looking at him, she stared down on the dark and dirty ground.
“When Ferid got married to the then Spirit Princess and became the King, the first thing he’d done was to propose a peace treaty to the two races in the Spirit World — the Dragoon and the Witches. Of course, the Councilmen were all against it, especially when it comes with the Dragoon race. The Three League War that had happened between all of the three races were still in tense even after more than fifty years ago. Many had suffered from the war and the hatred amongst the three races grown from generations to generations. Ferid had, of course, ignored the warnings by the Councilmen and completely took it by the storm one fateful night. He’d sneaked out of the castle one night, and made a journey to all the way to the South, where he went and visited the Dragoon all by himself without any supports and back ups. He went there alone, with only his sword still in its sheath and said:
I’ve come to you not as a leader, nor as a King. But as a man who only wishes is nothing more but to have the three races to live together in peace and in harmony. My friends, hear what I have to say: Let us be allies and join forces to protect what’s most important to you all. Let us be united and as one. We’ve been at war for far too long. It’s now the time for us to unite and stand together as one. What do you say, my fellow Dragoon friends?′
Of course, it hadn’t been as easy as it sounded like. The Dragon Leader at that time, had been a proud one. He’d challenged Ferid a fight ― a duel till death; One man against his entire army.
One thing about the Dragoon you need to know, is that they were really hard-heartened bastards, all of ’em.
Ferid had no choice but to draw his sword in the end and fought them. He’d fought and fought and fought until the sun rose and the last Dragon soldier fell on his knees, single-handily. The Dragoon’s leader had no choice but to admit their defeat and submitted to his request.
He’d done the same thing with the Witches. Only they were more tolerable. By the time his Second Reign as the King, Ferid had managed to seal the deal of the peace treaty and united the two races to be a force to be reckoned with. By his Fourth Reign, he’d already making his way to this World and offered the peace treaty known to each Kingdoms. On his Sixth Reign as the Spirit King, that was when my twin brother and I were born...”
Mika looked up and met with Ren’s beautiful turquoise eyes in a hard stare.
“My father had fought hard on his ideals and his belief to create peace among us and for us. He’d even fought till his last breath — by not allowing the current Spirit Queen to step outside of the castle. Please, Ren. Something is definitely and obviously going on in this Kingdom, that is affecting the whole world, and not only this nation. Will you help us?”
MAKAI had unsheathed his sword the moment he and the rest of his companions were being surrounded by a group of Aquarius Knights.
They were unlucky to get caught in an ambushed, the moment the Castle was at their sight. Nevertheless, Makai had remained as calm and in controlled as much as he possibly could.
No matter how annoying he thought the humans were, Makai knew better than to judge all of them the same. His obvious example would be Lord Eden and also the Young Master Oracle.
“No one is allowed to come anywhere near here! How you get through the barrier, intruders?!” One of the Knights barked.
“Setting up a barrier for the WHOLE nation makes YOU the suspicious ones! What exactly are you hiding and from whom, hmm?” Rinda stated, one finger pointed at the said guard and with one hand on her hips, foot tapping on the ground impatiently.
Without answering her, the Knights began to charge at them with full speed, all at the same time.
Rinda threw a handful of knives toward them, which the knights easily deflected. As they were about to go for counter attack, a flash of silver streaked toward them.
Leo’s heavy axe almost sliced one of the Knights’ head, but he purposely missed it. Instead, while the said knight was still in shocked of what happened, Leo kicked him on the chest and sent him flying to the nearby tree.
Makai on the other hand, unsheathed his sword as the Knight came up closed to him, and delivered a strong knuckle punch to the Knight’s jaw.
One by one, the Knights were outnumbered. It didn’t take long before the last Knight was knocked out cold and was laying flat on the ground.
Rinda blew the strings of her bangs and shook her head unsympathetically at the fallen Knights.
“They’d asked for it.” She looked at the Spirit Prince with one raising eyebrow. “Frankly, I’m surprised that you’d actually pulled yourself back and didn’t killed them all.”
Makai snorted. “I’m not a barbarian. I simply don’t see the reason why I should waste my time killing them if they don’t provide us any useful information.”
“Not yet.” Leo bended on one knee and yanked one of the semi-conscious Knight by the collar from the ground. “This one seems to be awake.”
He lightly slapped the man’s cheek, waking him up.
“Tell us what we want to know or so help me I will devour you.”
The Knight, terribly frightened by the weak threat, rapidly nodding his head.
“Good lad. Now, tell us what’s going or shall I say, what has been going on in this Kingdom?”
A ringing tone, echoed through their earpieces.
“This is Leo speaking. Master Oracle?”
“Hi, there. Is this a bad timing?”
“We’re just about to gather information. What’s wrong?” Makai quickly asked.
“Oh, then I’ll say right now― Lord Ranfel has finally confessed! He’d confessed everything.”
Fye literally nodded as he spoke over the micro-speaker.
“Yes. Lord Eden has successfully managed to persuade make him talk. Hence, he had confessed to everything.”
“That’s a great news, right? It means we can go through here without playing hide-and-seek any more, isn’t it?”
“Unfortunately Miss Rinda, I also have a bad news. Your Highness, I seem to have lost any contact with your sister and the rest of her companions. My guess is that they too have been captured by His Majesty King Lewis.”
Makai’s whole body tensed at the Master Oracle’s last sentences. Gathering his wits, he calmly asked, “What about the confession?”
Fye was quiet for awhile. He hadn’t expected the young Spirit Prince to express his worry or shock so openly, that his sister might be captured by the King.
Cold and stoic as he may be, Fye knew deep down, Makai really loved and cared for his sister.
Perhaps the only way for him to remain control of the situation was to focus on other important things rather than to worry about his sister’s safety.
“What? Oh, I’m terribly sorry Your Highness! I was lost in my thoughts. Yes, the confession.” Clearing his dry throat, Fye began to speak.
“It seems everything that has happened up until now, was because of an incident that happened twenty-five years ago...”