To The Red Line (Chapter 35: Epilogue)

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SINCE the end of the war and the unfortunate death of the Spirit Queen, upon returning from the Spirit Kingdom, Mika and her entourages had been welcomed and congratulated by people all around Fulaina with an opened arms. They had even threw in ...

SINCE the end of the war and the unfortunate death of the Spirit Queen, upon returning from the Spirit Kingdom, Mika and her entourages had been welcomed and congratulated by people all around Fulaina with an opened arms. They had even threw in a big celebration to celebrate the huge success of their mission.

As for the White Wolf Clan Branch House, they had threw a huge party days and nights to celebrate the end of the war and the homecoming of their heroes. Shinji, for better or worse, had gone wasted from the beginning of the party up until the very end. He had compete with the men in the drinking games, and ultimately won a big time against Milla after all those years of losing to her.

Mika who had been watching the commotions, preferred to stay sober after a long and exhausting months of travelling. She had retreated early to her own private chamber on the first night of the party after hours of chuckling and laughing her head off at her companions’ bizarre behaviours. 

By the second and third night however, Mika had found herself drinking the alcohols away after being pressured and persuaded by her comrade and also members of the Clan to ‘loosen up’.

Mainly by Kazuo and Logg, one of the two Captain Representatives of the Clan.

In truth, there was one thing that Mika could not keep one thing out of her mind since they had defeated Reza and laid her to rest. Now that she was to become a Queen, what would becoming of Shinji? Would she still be his Chosen Apprentice? Would she still get to spend times with her friends back on Fulaina, or will her life now be forever trapped behind the castle’s gates like it was before?

When Mika had told her brother of her intention to return with Shinji and the others and to report back their successful mission to the White Wolf Clan, the Spirit Prince had immediately frowned upon the idea. 

It was through Leo’s kind words and efforts, to finally convince the Prince to grant Mika her wish; with a promise that she would returned home on the night of the moon — in two weeks times.

Upon returning to the White Wolf Main House (after stopping by many places including the town of Islez), Mika and Shinji had once again were treated like Kings by members of the White Wolf clan for their winning victory for days and night up until the very end of her stay at the Clan’s mansion.

Three months had passed peacefully since then.


 

ON the Southern region in the Spirit World, something big was taken place in the Grand Ballroom of the newly furnished and rebuilt Spirit Castle. The once gloomy and destroyed hallways had been decorated with much expense and extravagance, including a few big chandeliers with strung covered in gold and alabaster, making it looked lively and filled with excitement.

For the first time in many years, the doors to the castle were now opened for the public to witness a very special day — The coronation of the new Spirit Queen.

While it was uncommon for a Crown Princess to be coronate as Queen before her coming of age ceremony, nevertheless, the councils had decided not to wait until Mika reached an adult age. Fearing that if they did, there was a high possibility of the Kingdom come under attack by others who wished to overthrow the Spirit Royal Family.

The banquet hall heavily guarded waiting room was filled with people, nobles and commoners mingling casually with each other without status or ranks. 

It was here where one young girl found herself unfortunately surrounded by the male population — most of them were old geezers from higher ranks who not only admired her as the first female appointed Liaison Officer between the Spirits and humans who works under Lord Eden, but also the Spirit Royal family’s honourable and closed friend as well.

Rinda groaned for the tenth times as she forced to bite her inner-cheeks from sputtering insults to the old pervert geezers, who insisted that she spared them each a dance tonight, even after she had told them off, stating she had no interest in them or the dance whatsoever. Stomping away, Rinda silently cursed the good Lord Eden for making her attend the Coronation Ceremony alone.

What kind of an idiot ate roasted chestnuts very late at night and then suffered a terrible stomach-ache the very next morning? Rinda gritted her teeth frustratingly at the fake tears (if they were even his) the Lord had given her this morning as he relayed on the news of not be able to attend the Coronation ceremony. He had asked her to go alone in his stead instead.

“Don’t worry, Miss Rinda! There will be plenty of people from our side who will be attending the ceremony, including Master Oracle Fye himself. Besides, you are an important guest and honourable friend of the Royal Family. I have no doubts that they will take such a good care of you.”

“Damn him for saying that with a cheerful tone and big infectious smile beneath that stupid mask!” Rinda sighed aloud. As she was mindlessly wandering around, trying to find familiar faces (and not get caught by those perverted old geezers), when a familiar deep male voice caught her immediate attention.

“Young lady?” Never before Rinda felt so relief and happy to find the older Spirit whom she fought the war with, standing right in front of her, dotting in a silver and gold Knightly attire.

Leo looked startled by her presence, but recovered fast and bowed low respectfully from the waist.

“Welcome to the Spirit Kingdom — home to His Royal Highness Prince Makai and the soon to be Queen Mika. I hope your trip coming here is a pleasant one, milady?”

Rinda blinked her eyes rapidly, before clearing her throat. “Ah, yes. The portal that you’ve provided for the Master Oracle and me is useful one indeed. Thank you.”

“I’m glad. Forgive my bluntness, milady, but did you come here alone? I haven’t seen Lord Eden around. Aren’t you suppose to come in with him?” Rinda began telling him why the good Lord could not make it to the Coronation.

“Ah, that is unfortunate.” Leo shook his head. “Nevertheless, as he said, for as long as you are under our hospitality and protection, we will be taking good care of you, Miss Rinda.”

“Protection,” Rinda frowned deeply. Now that she thought about it, the place was really heavily guarded for just a Coronation Ceremony. “All right, what’s going on here, old man? Why are there almost troops everywhere?”

Shh!” Leo hushed. Looking around as to make sure no one heard their conversation, Leo subtly pulled the young mortal and headed to the back door. “You’re very sharp, Miss Rinda. Unfortunately, we can’t talk about it here. Let’s go to where His Highness is, shall we?”


 

IT did not take them long to get to where the Spirit Prince was. After the war, Makai had taken full residence if the manor he had stayed since young as his private quarter. While he now had the privileges to live in the castle, the Prince had often feel more comfortable staying in the manor than the castle.

It was there when Rinda and Leo found him, reading an old thick book in the renovated library.

“Your Highness? Ah, I knew I would find you here. We have a guest!”

Aloof as ever, Makai did not even looked up from his book when he spoke. “I thought I won’t be entertaining any guests until the start of the ceremony?”

“My, you’re as arrogant as ever!” There was a hint of playfulness in her remark, that caused the Prince to instantly look up. Rinda grinned smugly, with arms crossed at the door, enjoying the rare sight of the Prince’s startled expression, before the stoic in him returned almost as quickly.

“It’s you. If you’re here, I have no other choice but to greet Lord Eden’s arrival then.” He neatly closed the book he was reading and stood. Dressed handsomely in black and red uniform fit for a Prince, Makai approached the door and stood in front of them.

“Well, aren’t we going?”

“Not so fast, Your Highness.” said Leo quickly. “Unfortunately, Lord Eden couldn’t attend the ceremony due of having an upset stomach. Thus, Miss Rinda will be his representative. The ceremony won’t be start for at least an hour, so you still have plenty time to rest until then.”

“Oh. I see. Then, why is she doing here?” He pointed a finger at her. “Why aren’t you mingling with the nobles? Isn’t that suppose to be your duty?”

Crass as ever. Rinda huffed. “For your information, Your Highness, I’ve done enough mingling with those perverted old geezers who had done nothing but giving me crude looks all day! What about you? It isn’t it strange for the Spirit Prince to be alone in a manor without any guards…” She looked at Leo, who nodded back at her realisation, he proceeded before she could ask him more.

“As you can see, there aren’t any guards guarding the Prince or this place as a matter of fact. The reason is because His Highness is still considered as deemed unworthy in the people’s eyes — despite everything that had happened. In fact, when the ceremony starts, His Highness will be the last person to arrive after everybody has entered the ballroom, even though he is also the member of the Royal family.”

“That’s horrible!” Rinda said, horrified by the unchanging attitudes the Spirits have toward the Prince. While she was full aware of the prophecy of the ill-destined Prince, Rinda had thought after the war, the people would developed broadened mind regarding such matter.

Unknown to Rinda, her small reaction had caused a genuine smile from Leo.

This girl had spunk. Despite not liking them, she had gone beyond measures to help them stopping the war, and seemed not to care much about the Prince’s harsh and mean words at her. She had even willingly healed the Prince’s wounds, on few occasions.

Whether it was her sense of duty or pride, Leo was ultimately grateful there was at least someone whom the Prince could genuinely be himself with and someone who was not feared by him.

“I agree. Which is why, Miss Rinda, I would like to ask you a favour, if you don’t mind?”

The girl blinked her eyes rapidly. “What kind of favour?”

“When the ceremony starts and it is the time for His Highness to make his appearance, would you help me guard him? My main duty is to guard the Prince. But I will also have to keep a close eyes on the Princess — I mean the future Queen to make sure nothing bad happens. That being said, I can’t leave His Highness alone and unguarded. So, will you help me protect His Highness?”

“Sure. I’ll help you guard him.” Rinda smiled genuinely.

Leo returned with the same smile. “Thank you,milady. I am eternally grateful to you.”


 

ELSEWHERE, the servants were especially being kept busy. They had been up and running since dawn for last minutes preparations for the ceremony, that it seemed nearly impossible for anyone to keep up with their paces. By midday, someone was knocking on the soon-to-be Queen’s room that were busily packed with people.

“Your Highness?” The door opened softly with a click. The young servant nearly tripped her foot forward when two children came running out of the room, followed by an angry young male voice shouting at them.

“Toma! Luke! Don’t run around so carelessly and cause troubles for the Queen!” The two children stopped running and pouted at being scolded by their team-leader.

“Sorry, Rom.”

A long soft chuckles coming from the room caught their immediate attention.

“I am not yet the Queen, Toma!” said Mika, who was sitting on a chair, dotted in white robe, facing a full length mirror.

Dressed in a smart uniform he had gotten from Lord Eden as a present, with his hair neatly combed all the way to the back, Rom looked anything but dashing as he rushed back to his soon-to-be Queen’s side. Along with his brothers, they had come for the ceremony with the Master Oracle and his entourages.

Since coming to the castle, Rom was determined to stay on his beloved sweetheart’s side and kicked any men who dared to see him before the ceremony, despite being warned countless times from the Head Servant, that he should be the one being kicked out from barging into a lady’s private chamber.

“Oh, but you’re going to be soon, sweetheart! And you’ll be the most beautiful Queen ever!” His face was in flame, when he sputtered those words but Rom didn’t care. If it keeps his sweetheart happy, he’d be gladly to call her beautiful everyday!

“You’re flattering me too much, Toma.” Mika giggled softly. “But thank you for the compliments. And thank you for the flowers. I really love them.”

“Really? You really loved them? I hand-picked them myself, you know.”

“Thank you, Rom. They’re very lovely.” Mika smiled kindly at him. She let the maid to resume working on her hair as Rom and his brother watched with much fascination. As they watched the servant braided her hair, all the sudden, there was another knock on the door.

“Yo! Anyone home?” A familiar voice greeted them at the door.

“Kazuo!” Mika exclaimed excitedly.

“Heyya, Princess! Oops, sorry. You’re a ‘Queen’ now, eh?” Kazuo walked in, dressed in a casual attire instead of formal, like most of the men attended the ceremony.

“Queen or not, I am still the same old me!” Mika joked, lifting the mood while the servant finishing with her hair. Kazuo smirked, as he sat on her bed. “How was your trip coming here, Kazuo? Did you come here alone?”

“Trip was okay. Nah, I came with Guy and his sister. That girl completely changed since the last time we met. Oh, the Elders in Islez sent their regards and congrats.”

“Thank you.” Mika smiled. She looked at her hair that had been tied up in a lovely bun, and thanked the servant. “I’m sorry, could you give us a few minutes? I need to speak with him alone.”

“Of course, Your Highness.” The servant bowed lowly before taking her leave.

“Can I stay?” Rom gave a distrust stare at the tall ginger-blonde man and crossed his arms firmly.

“I think you should go and see how the guests are doing. We have to let them in soon.” Rom pouted of being send away, but recovered quickly and with a high-spirit, determined not to let down his sweetheart.

Soon after Rom and his brothers left the room, Kazuo began to whistle.

“Are you excited? Nervous?”

“I’m all right.”

“Good. Cause the plan won’t work if you’re getting cold feet now. Though I have to ask; are you absolutely sure ye wanna do this, Mika? It’s not too late to back down now, if you changed your mind.”

“I won’t. This is what’s best for everyone and this kingdom. And besides…” Mika looked at her reflection on the mirror and firmly nodded. “I have something that I can’t get rid it off my mind no matter how hard I tried.”

Kazuo mutely looked at her reflection from the corner of his eyes. He knew that determined look of hers, and knew how stubborn she could be when her heart and mind already set on something. Not that he had any against of this crazed idea of hers.

Kazuo was thrilled, more than anything. He just hoped the plan worked as it should, and not backfired it at them. The consequences would be a huge pain in the arse — something that they all could live without. There were couple of knocks on her door, and the same servant revealed herself behind the door.

“Your Highness, we have to get you ready. The ceremony will be starting soon. My apologise, Sir, but you’ll have to leave. ”

“There’s no helping it then.” Kazuo lazily get up from the bed and stretched his neck and arms. Turning to look at Mika, he winked. “See ye, Princess.”

“Thank you for dropping by, Kazuo. I’ll see you in a short while. ” Smiled Mika as he left the room.


 

BY noon, the crowds were welcoming into the castle and filled in the Audience Chamber as much as they possible could. Dignitaries from Fulaina were presence, including members from the House of Heartlets, Queen Medea from Kingdom of Aquarius, and the newly elected House of Ezcardan, Flynn ‘William’ Ezcardan, and the Master Oracle Fye who was also representing his own Kingdom, the Kingdom of the Rose.

People were anxiously and excitingly waiting for the ceremony to begin. With their beloved Princess as the new Queen, they all have hoped that peace would be an everlasting in the kingdom. As the guards began to settle down the crowd, the coronation began.

Silence filled in the air as a door that lead the Queen’s private chamber began to open.

Rom whom had taken a seat amongst the human dignitaries with his two brothers, gasped at the beautiful sight of the future Queen. Dressed in a beautiful traditional red eastern-style clothes, with her hair being braided spirally into a bun, and a red tiger Lily decorated on her hair, Mika looked anything but the future Queen that everyone has been waiting for.

Mika walked with her chin held up high and with slowly and steady steps down the red carpet, heading toward the Bishop waiting patiently for her with the crown. She stood before her throne, facing everyone; her soldiers and loyal subjects. Mika spotted her friends and comrades at the front rows, standing before her with a smile. And then, she saw him — standing at the further back, before the exit, was her beloved brother, guarded by her favourite Uncle Leo and Rinda, to Mika’s great relief.

Makai watched her, with proud eyes as the Bishop lowered the crown and placed it on top of her head. Finally. After years and years of waiting and hoping, Mika finally became the new Spirit Queen.

As the new Queen be seated on her throne, the Bishop made an announcement.

“Presenting you, Her Majesty Queen Mika of the Spirit Kingdom. All hail, Queen Mika!”

“All hail, Queen Mika!” The crowd chanted loudly and wildly.

Before long, they were clapping excitedly.

Soon, a knight cleared his throat and made an announcement. “And now, dear honourable guests, please make your way to the hall. We’ve prepared fresh banquet for-”

“Excuse me,” Mika suddenly got up from her throne, much to everyone’s surprise.

“Is something wrong, Your Majesty?” asked the knight curiously, to which Mika firmly nodded.

“I would like to make an announcement, if you don’t mind.”

“O-Of course!” The knight bowed his head and stepped aside.

Mika looked at everyone who had remained in their seats as soon as she got up. Her eyes travelled to the questioning looks of her comrades, and especially the utterly confused and ‘what-do-you-think-you-are-doing’ look of her twin brother. A sneaked glance at Kazuo who gave out her a subtle wink, reassured her.

Taking a deep breath, Mika proceeded.

“To my dear Honourable guests. Thank you for your time attending on this special day — that is my Coronation Day. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.” Mika bowed her head toward them, which caused many people to gasp aloud, including her own brother.

While it was rare and perhaps, never heard of for a Queen to lower her head, Mika decided long before today that on this special day, she would do none of what her predecessors would thought of doing.

“My dear Honourable guests, if you would allow me to give a little speech on the special occasion, I’d like to remind you that none of this could be achieved if it wasn’t for the people whom I called as my comrades. These people have helped me in ways which I could never be able to pay them. They have shaped and guided me in becoming the Queen that is now standing before you all. Thank you to all of you.”

Another rounds of applause filled in the room.

“When my father was alive, he was a great Spirit King that had touched many hearts. His name is known to the even the people of Fulaina. He was not only just a King, but a King who had often reached out to others despite their statuses. Which explained why, even until now there are people and Spirits who still mourned of his death. Being a Queen, it is expected for me to fulfil my roles and carry on the duties that he’d left behind by following his footsteps. Yet tragedy hit before I could even fulfil my duty as the Princess.”

“Where is she going with this?” Luna whispered very quietly to her brother, who listened to the speech attentively.

He shrugged. “Who knows. I was only informed by Kazuo to expect the unexpected to happen today. Let’s just wait and see, shall we?”

“For ten years, I had unintentionally abandoned my duty as a Princess. Despite everything that had been taught to me in the past, none of which I could recalled properly. For ten years, I’ve lose myself. My identity. My responsibility. It hurt me so much not knowing who I am, where I came from. Through time, I’d learned to accept that you can’t change the past. You can only move forward and hope that the past won’t come and bit you back one day. Oh, but it did. My past caught up with me before I even realised who I really was. It hurt more than ever knowing how selfish I’d been in the past and how could I have taken such granted of the things others had desperately wished for.”

Her eyes met with Makai who still looked at her, flabbergasted.

“Despite being trained to the bones upon my return to the castle in preparing for my roles as a Queen, I do not think three months of training is ever enough for me to learn what there had been done in the past to avoid the same mistakes again in the future. Hence, I, Queen Mika of the Spirit Kingdom hereby disowning the crown and passed it over to my dear brother, Prince Makai, who is much wiser ruler than I could ever be, political-wise. I know he will leads this kingdom to a better and prosperous life.”

An uproar, coming from the Councilmen broke the tension between them.

“Your Majesty this is outrageous! Surely, you can’t be serious about this!”

“I am always serious, Council.”

“Unacceptable!” Council roared. Without hesitation, he pulled out something from his pocket — a dagger, and began charging toward the Queen.

“Your Majesty!”

A flash of grey was all Mika saw before the sound of blades clashed hit her ears.

“Finally decide to show your true colour, Lord Shumei?” said a familiar male voice behind the Queen.

Lord Shumei gritted his teeth. “Y-you bastard. Where did you come from?”

“Bastard is such an ugly word.” Shinji held his sword defensively, before he moved, sprinting toward the Council in full speed and disarmed him.

Mika had been right after all. There was someone — a hidden mole — still loyal to the previous Queen. It was a good thing he’d stayed in hidden behind the curtains when she had asked him to.

Plum coloured eyes scanned the familiar faces before him until his eyes landed on the Spirit Prince who was being ferociously guarded by his bodyguard, and Rinda.

Mika remained still as the chaos soon died out when the guards took the traitorous council away. The security increased. Some of the suspicious looking guests were asked to leave the Audience Chamber.

“Not even a day and yet, there is already someone attempted to assassinate the Queen.” Mika sighed.

“Good thing we’re well prepared for this. You all right, Mika?”

“Shinji, thank you.” Her left hand reached out a blade that was hidden cleverly around her waist.

“If you’re still going through with the plan, now would be the perfect time to do so.”

“Right.” Mika nodded. “Will the Spirit Prince kindly approach the throne, please.”

Her announcement caused yet another a stir amongst them.

Makai stepped forward along with his bodyguards. The look that he gave her was enough to make the newly appointed Queen to sweat a bucket. Mika would have felt discourage by his cold and icy glare if it wasn’t for Shinji who stood closely to her. His warm presence gave her a bit of comfort.

Mika lifted the crown from her head, and held it closely to her chest.

“I don’t deserve this... Not as much you do, Makai.”

“Why are you doing this? Why now?” Makai asked, bitterly.

When their eyes finally met, it took Mika every inch of her nerves not to lose control over the cold hard glare he was giving her.

Breathed in deeply, she calmly spoke.

“You know this Kingdom a lot better than I will ever be or everyone else for that matters. You know this Kingdom like the back of your hand; it’s history and what’s best for it’s future. No matter how hard I tried pushing myself this past three months, it could not possibly replaced all those years of my life that I was not here.”

“So you are running away again?”

“No.” Mika firmly shook her head. “I am not running away nor am I trying to. I thought about this thoroughly. My dear brother, weren’t you to one who convinced me to take the throne in order to protect this kingdom? I’ve always wondered, what’s stopping you not taking it for yourself?”

“That’s because—!”

“I am well aware and realised that only females born Royalty could take the throne. It has always been us since the first Queen became this kingdom’s Ruler. However, as I was pondering how too solve this conflict, I’ve discovered there is ways for a male Royalty to inherit the throne; one, is by through marriage – which you have to be wedded first before taking a consideration to inherit the throne. Or two; the Queen willingly abdicates her throne in front of witnesses.”

The Spirit Prince looked stunningly at his Queen with mouth slightly agape. Taking his silence, Mika smiled a little. Her fingers fondly played with the crown.

“I would like to be given the chance to become a ‘Princess’, to prove my worth, instead of ‘Queen’. You are the fit one to rule this kingdom, Makai.”

“Do they... know about this?”

They? Mika blinked for a minute, before realising what he meant.

She chuckled lightly. “Oh, yes! Do you think I would make such a fuss without informing anyone?”

Looking at the front rows where the dignities from Fulaina were seated, Makai was surprised to see the look on their faces despite the commotion earlier. They all looked back at him with a confidence smile. When Makai looked back at his sister, he was surprise to see a guard has come forward carrying the King’s crown.

Mika smiled gleefully at him.

“It’s time.”

Getting on one knee, with his head lowered as the Bishop put the crown on his head. Makai took his seat on the throne, still feeling rather surreal about the whole situation. Nonetheless, when the Bishop announced his name and title, all doubts disappeared from his thoughts.

“Presenting you, King Makai of the Spirit Kingdom. All hail, King Makai!”

“All hail, King Makai!” The crowd cheered, and the guards got on their knees, swearing their absolute loyalty to the new King.


 

WHEN night comes, the Coronation party carried on as it should be. Makai sat on his throne, watching over everyone mingling with each other, with ease. Even his sister was having fun mingling with people from the highest rank dignitaries, to fellow commoners.

“How do you feel, Your Majesty?” Leo spoke quietly, standing on guard at his side. He too was keeping a close watch on any suspicious activities.

“I feel content. It’s a nice feeling, for once.”

The older man nodded. “You know Her Highness really thinks highly of you. Handing you the throne proves it. No matter how unprepared she was for the role, if Her Highness had thought you do not have this kingdom and people’s interest at heart, she would never handed you over the throne. Even if it kills her to. So please, do not think for a second that the Princess was simply pitying you. ”

Makai remained silence. He knew Leo had his best interest in heart. For him to say those words really showed that he cared about the new King’s well being and wanted any doubts he had to disappear. With a deep exhaled, Makai arose from his throne.

“Advisor Leo.”

“Your Majesty?” Leo straightened his back.

“Thank you. For everything.” A rare smile finally appeared on the young King’s face, much to Leo’s delighted heart.

Makai knew and well aware from tomorrow onwards, his kingdom would be constantly threatened even more so now that he’s being crowned king. But even so, he was willing to walk in the mouth of fire in protection this beloved land that he loved and cherished so much.

The King knew despite it all, he wouldn’t have to walk that path alone. For the very first time, his world was in peaceful bless.

And that was more than enough for now.

 

THE END.


 

IT’S FINALLY FINISHED! I can’t believe it! When I’d first started writing ‘To The Red Line’ up until now, I did not expect there would be many changes throughout the story. Compare from my very first draft, to my last, I am happy to say that I am very satisfied with how it ended (and undoubtedly sad too^^).

To The Red Line is a very fun story for me to write. Having writing this story at the age of 15 until now (10 years!), I felt a sense of nostalgic and sadness now it has finally comes to an end. That being said, I am very looking forward on writing the next saga! There are many loopholes in this first saga that I would very much like to tell and explore; many questions yet to answer. So far, I have already written a few drafts for the second saga.

As for how many sagas will there be in the future? I can’t exactly comment on that. For as long as my characters still have stories to tell, I, as the Author, would gladly be telling the story.

To the readers and fans who read the story from the beginning until the end, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are my muse and inspiration. Without you, this story would ceased to exist.

Until then, may we meet again!

 

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