Chapter 21: The Kingdom of The Rose

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HEAVY footsteps crushed the dried leaves on the hard ground, immediately caught the attentions of the two figures dressed in black clads stood at the entrance of the Enchanted Forest’s gates. One of the two figures; a female, approached the t...

HEAVY footsteps crushed the dried leaves on the hard ground, immediately caught the attentions of the two figures dressed in black clads stood at the entrance of the Enchanted Forest’s gates.

One of the two figures; a female, approached the tall and huge newcomer, and gave him a salute.

Few steps away behind her, her superior — a small young lad, who just simply stood there, with arms crossed on his chest.

He tilted his head slightly to the side.

“Tal.”

The young Captain peeked through his half-mask to the tall man standing before him.

How amusing. “You came here alone. How rare. Where’s Sage?”

“Sage is away on a mission. Moreover, do you need something? I am quite busy here, as you can very well see.”

Without speaking a word, the young Captain snapped his finger. Nor sooner than that, something fell down hanging upside down from the tree’s branches — it was Sage.

His hands and legs tied up by the tree’s branches. His mask had been removed; revealed soft-skinned, jaw-length blonde hair with straight cut, and a pair of gold-brown eyes.

He looked absolutely terrified.

“T-Tal!”

Lisa walked up to the tensed Sage with one hand on her hips and another hand pointed at him — teasing him in a manner like a mother would scold her child.

“Now, now then, whose fault is it that caused you hanging upside down like this in the first place, hmm?

“Care to explain why I’d found him shooting arrows at the Lord’s daughter and more specifically at the Princess and her entourages, Tal?”

Tal’s cold voice remained as he turned his head slightly to his partner who was lying tied up on the ground.

“Sage. I’ll take it that you’ve failed your mission. How very disappointing.”

“Save your long speech, Tal. I know what you were planning to do, and I’ve already told you that I do not approved of it. Let me remind you that I may have made you the leader of this whole ordeal, but never forget that I can also take it back all in a snap of my fingers. You may be the strongest amongst us, Tal, but do not forget who is actually in charge around here.”

With a snap of his fingers, Sage was released from the branches and fell on the ground, head first.

Tal, who had been silence, finally spoke.

“So it’s fair that you get to kill those Spirits, but not fair for me to start a war? That’s very hypocrite, don’t you think?”

“War is never a part of the plan, Tal. Have you forgotten why we’re doing this in the first place? I’d killed those Spirits because I had to in order to let the Prince and his entourages in. Have you forgotten our main purpose was when we’d agreed to help that vile Spirit Queen? Or does your mind already clouded with hatred and lust for blood? We came to here with a single purpose. Focus on and only that purpose. We’ve got what we wanted. It’s time to pull back and let the Queen deals with the mess herself. Understood?”

“As you wish... Son of Nature.

Tal saluted with one hand on his chest and bowed his head.

“Oh Captain, what should we do with him?” Lisa asked, one finger pointed at Sage; who was already up and about, and was now cleaning the dirts on his face.

“Leave him.”

“Okay. Hey Captain, wait up!”

Tal watched those two walked away before they vanished in the blink of an eye.

His eyes narrowed, yet his facial expression remained calm and collected. There was a deep frown on his forehead.

Sage appeared before him shortly after.

“T-Tal...” he stuttered. “Forgive me. I-I have failed you.”

“You can redeem yourself later, Sage. It appears we have works to do.”

“Yes, Sir.”

Sage watched the man whom he held the utmost respect walked in the same direction as the Son of Nature and his partner, and he sighed.

Without any more words said, the two men left the Enchanted Forest.


“I’M scare, Makai! What will happens to us?” Spoke the young and defenceless Spirit Princess in a frightening voice, hidden behind her twin brother.

The two children had been awakened by the loud alarming shout came from one of the guards outside regarding of what was happening in the Castle at the moment.

When the Captain, who was in charged of guarding them had claimed that they had lost all contact with the guards from the castle during patrols, they all had grown suspicious and feared the worse.

Thus, the Captain had sent out two of his men to go to the castle and checked out what had actually happened.

When they’d returned several minutes later, with reports that all of the guards in the castle had been out cold, and that there had been a large group of the Human’ Army heading toward the castle, as they speak.

All hell broke loose.

Makai had instinctively grabbed his sword, a gift from his father on his seventh birthday, and pulled his sister off the bed, toward the corner of the room. He had then put out all of the candles and stood protectively between the door and his sister.

Waiting for the guards or the enemies to come.

When minutes turned to half an hour and yet, no guards had come in to check on them, Makai started to grow restless.

“I don’t think they’re coming to get us.”

“D-Do you think something bad has happened to them...?”

He looked at his sister, who had been crying up until now, and had reduced to silent sobs and hiccups.

Makai sighed softly as he walked toward her. Gently, he’d patted her head, and caressed her long scarlet hair that he secretly admired so much because it reminded him of their late mother.

The only picture he had of her was in the portrait, hanging on the walls of their shared bedroom.

“Don’t cry, big crybaby.”

“I’m not a crybaby!” Mika wiped the tears away using her long sleeves. She hated it when he’d called her that — crybaby, slow-poked princess.

She’d wished he would just stopped. But knowing Makai, that’s just the way how he expressed his emotions. She knew he loved and cared deeply of her.

Makai smirked a little bit at his red-nosed, mouth pouted sister. At least she’d stopped crying now.

“You know, we haven’t really give each other’s a present for our birthday yet.”

“I’ve given you mine,Makai! You’re the one who still haven’t given me anything yet.” Mika pouted.

“All right, all right. Stop pouting. The reason why I haven’t given your gift yet is because the delivery came in late.” Makai then took out something from his pants pocket.

“Here, for you. Happy belated birthday, Mika.”

On his palm was a small round locket necklace with a Redwood tree on the left, and a maple tree on the other side. Her name curved at bottoms of the trees.

“I’ve read about them in a book about the Human World before. It said that the Redwood Tree means ‘forever’, and the Maple tree means ‘promise’. So let’s make a promise here and now,” He took Mika’s hand and put on top of his palm.

“No matter what happens, from here onwards, Let’s promise that we will always, always stay together.” Makai looked seriously at her when he’d spoken those words.

“By now, you must’ve already be aware of Reza’s schemes to take over the throne if something terrible was to happen to Father, do you?”

Mika nodded her head sadly.

“You and I both know she was up to no good, right? That’s why we need to stand up together. Uncle Leo had told me that if we stand together, nothing could stop us — not even Reza. Because by rights, you are the next in line for the throne the Chosen One. Not even Reza, the current Queen, could surpasses or defies that. So promise me, Mika. That even if we were to be drift apart, we will still find a way to connect each other by all means. I swear I will do whatever it takes to protect you. I’ll even risk my own life for you, the future Queen, until the times has come where you will find and choose a suitable suitor. So promise me, little sister, that you will do the same?”

Mika gripped his hand tightly, to the point that it almost hurt him, before she threw herself at him and gave him a big hug.

“I promise! No matter what, I promise I will always find you, Makai! Definitely!”


Definitely.

Light emerald eyes slowly opened and looked at the very blurred image of a white ceiling in a small yet comfortable room.

Where am I?

The room was somewhat similar like the one in Shinji’s mansion — thought Mika, in her current drowsy state of mind.

Her throat was dry and hurt. Her body felt like its been smashed by huge rock. It’s painful enough to even move her fingers, let alone to move her body from the soft and comfortable bed she’s currently in.

Mika let out a loud painful groan as her head spun with sharp massive headaches. She tried to roll over to her left side, but failed terribly due to the headache. Her stomach was making acrobatic moves so much that she felt like vomiting right then.

The poor girl was in deep pain that she didn’t even realised the sliding door was opened and two people had entered into the room.

All she knew, the pain was too much for her to bear and that she wasn’t getting enough oxygen in her lungs, when Mika felt soft hands adjusted her body into a sitting position.

Two soft soothing voices assured her gently reminded her to breathe in and out.

“It’ll be all right, Milady. Everything will be okay. Just relax and breathe. That’s it. In and Out.”

“Breathe, Mika. That’s it. Clever girl.”

One voice, Mika recognised even in her delirious state, belonged to one of the servants, while the other, belonged to someone whom she had just met not too long ago.

Before Mika could think even further, she felt a sharp needle stabbed into her skin on her left arm, and instantly, her world fell back to darkness.


When Mika opened her eyes for the second time, hours later, she felt groggily and drowsy from the medicines being infused into her. Her eyes instantly caught the sight of two people sitting on wooden chairs, beside her bed.

Four pair of brown eyes looked very much relieved to see her awake even with their lacked of sleeps and red, puffy eyes.

Mika had lost count of how many minutes, hours or days had it been while she laid on the bed, in comatose. To be awaken and back to reality, to be able to see these faces again after such a long time...

A tear rolled down on her cheeks as she was carefully pulled into a hug by the two Luyas siblings.

That very night, a small party was being held for Mika upon her miraculously recovering.

While Shinji had verbally argued and firmly rejected the idea, stated his Apprentice needed plenty of rest for them to be able to continue their journey.

To his great surprise, Milla had put her foot down and insisted of having the party instead. She had threatened to tie and locked him in the closet should he dared to interfere with the party, despite him being her favourite cousin, and the Head of the Clan.


Mika was sitting at the wooden floor, overlooking the garden in the living room. With a tower wrapped around her neck, having just taken a long hot bath, she watched as the men (Kazuo mainly), in a silly competition of ‘who can hold on their breath longer while drinking beers’.

It was a silly game (especially when one of them started to choke and coughed heavily, while water dripping from their noses), but Mika enjoyed watching and laughing at them nevertheless.

It felt so good to laugh out aloud like this! Mika sighed and stretched her neck, arms and legs.

It had been truly a miracle — that she had woken up after being very close to death.

Milla had explained to her when Shinji had sealed her Spirit within her, every part of her body had completely shut itself down. Her mind had especially given up on her.

It was only through the sheer of her will power and determination, along with the help of Milla handiworks, that Mika managed to survive and stayed alive.

Within two hours of her awakened and after meeting with everyone including the two high-ranked Captains, Sigurd and Rogg, her two male companions had since then, been hogging her and had been going on and on about her well-beings.

While Mika was grateful and touched by her companions’ affections for her, by the end of the day however, it became a nuisance.

It all started when Kazuo had offered her a service.

“Do you need anything? Can I help you with anything at all? Just name it!”

It was fine at first. Kazuo had been more than happy to get stuff for her. But when the others saw how dedicated he was to his tasks as he’d went in and out of her room, carrying loads of stuff, they had decided to take advantage of his kind services.

It took the ginger-blonde man a while to realize how much of extra works he’d needed to do, and thus, decided to recruit someone to help him out.

Out of all the men he could recruit, he got his hands on Mika’s adopted older brother, Guy, whom to everyone’s surprised, had whole-heartedly agreed.

How he’d managed to brainwash the latter to be part of his ‘Protect The Princess At Any Cost!’ team, nobody knew.

Things gone from bad to worse when those two men had decided to stand outside of the Spirit Princess’s bathroom door, claiming they were guarding her purity while she was taking a bath.

The result had made Milla and Luna furious and finally put their foot down. They’d yelled at the two men to stop bothering and leave the poor Princess alone!

Milla had even threatened to kick them off her properties and feed them to her beloved pet, an alligator, should they did not stopped bothering the Princess.

After their unfortunate attempts to guard the Princess had failed, the two men then went on their separated ways: Kazuo hanging out with the men, and Guy spent more time with his younger sister.


Mika found herself scratching her head again. Just thinking about all of it made her head felt dizzy. She knew Guy could be an overprotective brother — a papa-wolf, if he wished to be.

Never in a million years she’d guessed he would be that easily persuasive!

Shaking her head again, Mika decided to focus on the current important things at hand. She looked up and gazed at the glowing moon. Her face suddenly fell with guilts.

Should I tell them that I’ve recovered my memories? How should I tell them? How would Shinji reacts to the news? Will he be happy or will he...

“Is something bothering you?”

“GAH!” Mika instinctively got her fists up.

Speak of the Devil and here he comes!

“S-Shinji! Didn’t see you coming. How long have you been standing there?”

Shinji raised an eyebrow.

“Just now.”

He took few steps forward and sat down beside her, before plopping a cigarette onto his mouth.

Shinji let out a long sigh, cracked his neck and stretched his arms.

“What a day.”

Mika remained seated, though, awkwardly for a minute or two. Eventually, she decided to end the silence.

“H-How was the Clan’s meeting? Sorry I’ve been out for,” she counted with her fingers. “two whole days.”

“Don’t worry about it. And the meeting went well, in a way.” Shinji puffed a smoke.

“Before I forget, here.” Shinji handed her something— an old scroll.

“What’s this?”

“It’s a map to our next destination. Open it.”

Mika did as she was told and unfolded the scroll.

It was quite big for a map. When Mika was unfolding it, she had to spread the map on the floor, and was surprised to find that its not just the map of their destination, it was the map of the whole World, including the Spirit World!

“Took me a while to get my hands on this scroll. Had to pull some strings though. Tsk, those senile Elders should just retired for all I care!” Shinji said annoyingly.

“Why do you need this map for?”

“Our next destination will be at The Kingdom of the Rose. See the ‘X’ mark at the East? It’s a dead end. But if you look a bit further to the South, there’s a Kingdom called the Kingdom of Aquarius. That will be our last destination before we can reach to the Red Line.”

“Ah, I see. I never knew your Clan kept this map. It’s not a surprise really. Considering you’re one quarter of...”

Mika immediately shut her mouth with both hands. Her eyes widened. She turned her head slowly to look at Shinji and found that the cigarette that was on his mouth a moment ago, had fallen down on the ground.

He bore the same shocking expressing as her.

Awkward silence filled in between them.

When Mika couldn’t take the silence any more, she hastily stood up and made an excuse to leave.

“I-I’d better go to bed now.Got a long day ahead tomorrow! Goodnight, Shinji. Sleep well!”

“Wait! What were you saying just now!?”

“Nothing! Goodnight!”

“Hey, wait! Hey! Mika!”

Shinji got on his feet but he didn’t pursue her. Instead, he was stunned as he watched her leave hastily to her private chamber, with an opened mouth.

She had said it.

He’d heard her right.

No doubt she had said it.

Besides his family, the high-ranked Captains, and also the Elders, no one else knew about his maternal Spirit’s heritage except for that only person he’d secretly told, years ago...


AS dawn slowly approached the next morning, everybody was already up and awoke and ready to start a new day ahead. They had their breakfast, supplies ready, and were all set to continue with their journey.

One young woman however, had decided to return to Luyas, with the First Aid Squad.

Before leaving, Luna had made a promise to both Mika and Guy, as soon as the whole ordeal was over, she would like to retake the Knight’s Examinations in order to become a proper Knight.

A Knight who protect others, this time.

Luna’s last words to Mika before she left with the First Aid Squad was to come back home safe and sound.

The sun was already high above their heads by the time they finally managed to get out of the forest. It had taken them an hour by foot, even in fast paces to get out of the thick forest.

The good thing was they didn’t encounter any enemies or wild beasts as the path had already been secured for them by Milla’s men.

“Okay, people!” Kazuo said, holding the map and a compass. “From here onwards is just a straight road ahead until we found a big lake, and then turn to-”

“Shh!” Shinji quickly hushed the older man, one finger on his lips.

One hand reached out for his gun. Slowly and as silently as he possibly could, Shinji walked a few steps away from them and hid himself against a tree.

Not far away from where Shinji was hiding, there were a group of soldiers on the opposite side. The soldiers wore black armour with red rose printed on it — The Kingdom of the Rose.

What are they doing all the way here? It’s not even their territory. Unless...

Shinji turned to the others and signalled them to come forward quietly. Once all three have arrived safely, he then told them to climb up the tree.

“What are they doing here? We still haven’t reached the damn boarders of the Kingdom yet!” Kazuo whispered, once everyone had climbed up.

“Perhaps they’re investigating something?” Guy stated.

“Either way, at this rate, we can’t be know for sure if they’re friends or foes. We need to figure out a way to get out of here without them knowing. Mika, are they any more of them beside the ones we’re seeing here?”

Silence.

Flick!

“W-What?” Mika blinked her eyes a couple of times at the sudden flick on her forehead. “Sorry, what was that just now?”

“Oi, I know ye have been dreaming of me since last night, but can we focus on things here?”

“Y-You’re right. Sorry.”

Kazuo smirked lecherously as he lend forward toward. “So, ye were daydreaming about me!”

“Huh?” The Princess blinked her eyes.

"Aha! Ye not denying it! So it’s true after all, eh? Ye, my dear, have finally admitted that ye can’t keep your eyes off me.” His grin widened.

“Feel free to fall for me any time, sweetheart. There’s a song about when a man and a woman sitting on a tree, y’know. In the end, they-”

THUD!

A strong, firmed knuckle hit Kazuo’s jaws, causing the lad to fall back and dropped on his butt on the ground.

Thus, alerting the soldiers nearby.

“Up there! There they are!”

“Do you have to fall down and alert them, stupid?!” Shinji barked angrily at the fallen man.

“I’m afraid it is you who are to be blamed for this, Shinji.” Guy sighed.

“Well, it’s too late for that now!” Mika jumped down from the tree, and landed her feet perfectly on the ground beside Kazuo. She had the twin blades on each hands, ready to rumble.

Instead of raising their swords at them, the soldiers were all saluted and bowed their heads respectfully at them.

“We’ve been expecting you, Her Royal Highness Princess Mika and His Royal Highness, Prince Shinji Karou!” Greeted a man came forward amongst the soldiers.

Tall, sharp-structured, and good-looking young man, approaching them with a bright smile.

“Greetings gentlemen,” he referred politely to Kazuo and Guy, before giving his full attention to Shinji and his Apprentice.

“Your Royal Highnesses, my name is Din. I am the Captain of the Kingdom’s Infantry Brigade. My team and I were sent here by our King to escort you all the way to the Castle.”

“Din, was it?” Shinji stepped forward, and raised his hand for a handshake. “You’re the King’s First Captain, aren’t you?”

“Indeed I am, Your Highness. My King received a letter from Lord Eden to wait upon your arrivals. However, when you failed to show up at the castle on the appointed date, my King was worried something bad might had happened to all of you. Thus, he’d ordered us to search for your whereabouts, and to give you supports just in case you came upon wild beasts, or yet,unwanted enemies.

“I see.” Shinji nodded. He should have known how the young King would always planned three steps ahead of them.

“Something did come up unexpectedly, and thus, had delayed our journey. We’re terrible sorry for the inconvenience to your King.”

“I see. In that case, I assume everything is all right now, Your Highness?”

“Yes. Everything is fine now. We should go and meet with your King at once.”

“As you wish, Your Highness.”

Din turned and barked orders to his men. “Prepare the triangle formation. We’ll leave and escort our guests to the castle at once!”

He proceeded by hopping onto his white steed, and rode toward Mika.

“Princess,” he stated gently, holding out his hand. “As the King’s Honourable Guest, please allow me to give you a ride to the castle.”

Mika looked in surprise at his outstretched arm. She looked at Shinji, who simply nodded, and urged her to take the man’s offered hand.

Without warning, his horse trotted forward. Mika let out a small gasp as Din grabbed her arm, hoisting her up, and finally, seating her in front of him.

“Wow. This is nice...” Mika awkwardly tapped the horse’s head.

“I assure you, no harms will come to you nor to your friends while you are currently under our protections, Milady.”

His arms wrapped around her to hold the reins as they strolled to the direction of the castle.

Meanwhile, the soldiers had offered the three men a ride on their horses as well.

As they rode to the castle, sitting at the back of the horses, Kazuo couldn’t help but to ask Shinji something that had been bothering him for some time.

“Shinji! Are ye sure ye trust Mika with whateverhisname — is?”

“Why, because she’s riding with him and not with you?”

“NO! What the hell that supposed to mean? Look, point is,” Kazuo lowered his voice and said, “We’ve never meet with this ‘King’ before! I haven’t. You, I’m sure as hell haven’t or else I would have known. And Guy’s sure as hell never met him!”

“Actually Kazuo, I’d met with the man before.” Guy interrupted.

“What, really?”

“Yes. I met him during one of the gathering back in Luyas. He was the King’s First Captain after all. Though, we’ve never really speak with one another except for the casual greetings.”

“Oh. I guess we can trust him then...” Kazuo said again, still in doubt.

Guy smiled at his friend. “There’s nothing for you to be worry about, Kazuo. If the order comes from the King, he is someone we can trust. I assure you that the King is a wise and trusted young man. I am however,a bit surprise that you do not know who he is. Forgive me for being blunt, but did they not teach you who the King is when you were a child in the academy, Kazuo?”

The older man suddenly found the ground was very interesting thing to look at. Kazuo scratched his head, looking a bit embarrassed, and coughed slightly.

“Well... I didn’t have the privileges like the others to get educations, I guess...” Kazuo said a a meekly voice. “I-I mean, it was hard enough to find food in the street at such young age, let alone to have a proper education. It’s not that big of a deal now anyway, since I was lucky to have met with Shinji and got our educations together! Right, Shinji?”

“Yes. Even so, you have always been more interested in the young servants of the Mansion than paying attention to the lessons.” Shinji replied, stoically.

While the soldiers were all laughing at Kazuo, and the said man denied everything that was said by Shinji, Guy found himself feeling bad and guilty about his ignorance to the lessen side of the community.

How could I’d be so insensitive? For me, it is necessary for one such as myself to have a proper education so that someday I could take over Father and become the future Lord of Luyas. For a normal civilians like Kazuo, who lives in a slum and could not afford to have a good and proper education, it’s the matter of life and death.

Guy let out a regretful sigh.

Living in luxurious life has blinded me to the people around me.

The horses continued paddling, as they entered the town.

Once they have arrived in front of the Castle’s gates, Guy thanked the soldier for the ride and dismounted the horse. He then approached his best friend who had just dismounted the horse as well.

“Kazuo? May I speak with you for a moment?”

“Yea, sure. About what?” Kazuo answered casually, both arms behind his head.

“Would you like to learn more about the King of the Rose? I’d be more than happy to teach and tell you more about him. Perhaps, you would be more assure once you get to know more about him.”

“Sure thing. Hey, thanks man!”

As Guy jogged alongside with him, catching up with the others as they made their way to the castle’s gate, he began by telling Kazuo the Kingdom of the Rose’s origins and their good King.


FAST-PACED footsteps stormed across the corridors of the castle. One guard rushed to open the two heavy gates that lead to the inner part of the castle.

The King’s First Captain, Din, had just returned to the castle, bringing along with him the long-awaited guests. Din stopped on his track upon reaching the Audience Chamber.

Turning his head around to face with Mika and the others, he said, “His Majesty will see all of you now.”

“Thank you for escorting us, Captain Din,” Mika smiled brightfully.

“There’s no need to thank me, Your Royal Highness. It is my greatest pleasure to be able to have met and served a beautiful Princess such as yourself, Princess.”

His kind words caused her cheeks turned rosy pink, and received an annoying stare from Kazuo.

Din smiled politely at them. When the chamber’s door opened, he entered with the rest.

The Audience Chamber was huge, enough to fit in hundred of guests or even more so. Chandeliers hanging on the ceilings, with long maroon curtains hanging and decorated in the room. Beautiful paintings on the walls.

One of those painting were the pictures of the late King and the Queen.

As Mika and her entourages walked into the room, they were mesmerized by the decorative design that had been carefully put into in the room.

A guard at the door took a deep breath before announcing their arrivals.

“Presenting to the Kingdom of the Rose: His Royal Highness, Shinji Karou of the White Wolf Clan, Her Royal Highness, Princess Mika of the Spirit Kingdom, and their two Honoured Guests.”

A teenage boy at the age of fifteen, sat at the King’s throne. He had flawless white skin, greyish-blue hair with a pair of hazel eyes. He wore a white Eastern-style robe with golden lines around the neck.

Standing beside him is the King’s Consultant, Lord Mathias.

“I’ve brought them in just as you have ordered me, Master Oracle Fye.” Din knelled down on his one knee, and bowed in respect to the young King before him.

“..Oi Mika, Did he just referring the kid as the ‘Master Oracle’?” Kazuo whispered to the Princess, to which she simply shrugged.

She had never once met the Master Oracle but had only heard many great tales about him.

“Indeed you have. Thank you so much for bringing them over here safe and sound, Din. Please raise your head, everyone!” Master Oracle Fye spoke as he rose from his seat and approached them.

He smiled grew brightly upon seeing Shinji and Guy.

“Prince Shinji and Master Guy, it is absolutely a pleasure meeting you both again!”

“Master Oracle Fye, it has been a while since we’ve last met. How do you do?” Guy shook hands with the still smiling young Master Oracle.

“I am good, thank you very much. How are you? How do you do, Your Highness?”

“Good.” Shinji nodded. He too shook his hands with the young King.

Prince Shinji, please have some courtesy while you are speaking with the Master Oracle!” Scolded Lord Mathias, the King’s Royal Advisor, gently at the short and informal answer given by Shinji.

“It is all right, Mathias. We are good friends after all, so there’s no need for us to be formal with each other.” The soft-spoken King replied with ease. “I do hope Lady Suzumi and Lady Milla, and not forgotten Lady Hiira are doing well in this time of crisis?”

“Hey, Just who the heck is this kid anyway? He named all the three women in Shinji’s household! Only I have the privilege to do that!” Kazuo whispered to Mika again. This time a bit louder.

Guy, who heard what the commotion was all about, apologized.

“Kazuo, Mika, I would like you two to meet they young King Fye of the Kingdom of the Rose, and also, the Master Oracle that I was telling you about along the way here.”

As soon as words came out of his mouth, Mika snapped her finger as if something had just clicked in her head. On the other hands, it took a minute or two for Kazuo to register in his head the message that Guy had forced into his brain — the most influential man in that ceased to exist in Fulaina at all times was actually this fifteen year old lad and a lot younger than him.

“WHAT?!”


THE smell of freshly home-made roasted chicken, soups, freshly baked potatoes and vegetables, and other mouth-watering beverages being served in front of them at the dining table, had almost made Mika drooled on the table, had it wasn’t for the sharp glare the man seated on her left was giving her.

Sighed, Shinji looked at the person seated on her right: Kazuo was still in shocked state and had not yet able to accept the fact that the most influenced and powerful man in all of Fulaina was someone a lot younger than him.

Meanwhile, Guy who seated beside him remained calm and collected as he drank a glass of water.

At the end of the table, facing his guests, was the young King and the Master Oracle himself.

“Please help yourselves. You must all be hungry from your long journey coming here.” Fye offered his guests.

As soon as those words left his mouth, Mika and Kazuo both grown overly excited. Etiquette forgotten, they began to fill their plates with foods and ate like they had not eaten for months!

To make things even worse, Kazuo was constantly shoving food into his big mouth one after another, at the same time trying to show his great appreciation by talking — much to their other companions’s dismay and embarrassment.

Fye however, did not seemed to mind even at the slightly of his guest’s lack of manners, and smiled politely at them. His Royal Advisor however, almost choked a bone.

Picking up a big spoon for the soup, Fye began to take a small mouthful of the soup. All the while, feeling very content.


Dinner went extremely well and filled with joyful laughters as they talked about the food and their journey coming here.

When it was time for dessert, there were heavy cakes, lumps of puddings and small pastries.

Shinji and Kazuo had their eyes set on the last same dish; a raspberry puff.

Thus began a small brief fight for the puff. Shinji ended up taking out his gun and threatened to shoot the other man when the latter refused to give up.

In the end, it was Guy who had to ended the fight by taking the dessert for himself and shared it with Mika, leaving the two grown up men gloomy and upset.

The Master Oracle chuckled heartfully at their behaviours, while his Advisor, nearly had a stroke when the White Wolf pulled out his gun out of nowhere.

Mika sighed deeply, rubbing her now satisfied and full stomach under the table.

“Dinner was great. Thank you so much!”

“You’re most welcome, Princess. Are you sure you don’t want anything else? Tea perhaps?”

“Oh, no thank you. I don’t think I can even walk at this point!”

Fye nodded, and resumed with his own cup of tea.

While Mika chatted away with her companions, none of them noticed the look that the young King gave her every time she turned to speak to him — a sad emotion fell on his face but he quickly shuddered and masked a happy face, except for a certain man with very sharp eyes.


“This will be your resting quarter.” Fye had personally brought them to the Guest’s living quarter, on the top floor, after dinner.

The Guest’s Living Quarter was big. It that had a spacious living room, a small prepared kitchen and four separated bedrooms with two bathrooms; one bathroom was in the living room, while the other bathroom was in one of the bedroom.

“If you need anything, please do not hesitate to ask the servants. Have a good rest and good night, everyone.”

As soon as Fye closed the door, the four of them quickly chose their own respectively bedrooms; with Mika got the one with a personal bathroom.

After freshened up and everyone began settled down the night, they quickly went to bed due to exhaustion.

One man however, could not fall asleep no matter how exhausted he felt.

After a long struggle of tossing and turning on the bed, he finally decided to take a night walk.


Guy cannot stopped thinking about what he’d saw earlier during dinner as he made his way to the garden.

The secret glance that he’d caught the Master Oracle gave to Mika was not the least of an attraction, rather, it was more like a longing affection of someone who had lost a loved one.

Those thoughts were what led him to a big garden surrounded with beautiful multi-coloured roses.

Guy inhaled the fantastic smell of the roses as deeply as he could. Enjoying his time by taking a stroll, he hummed a soft tone, which he had learned as a toddler from his late beloved mother as she hummed to him whenever he got scared of lightning.

As he strolled down, Guy stopped when he suddenly reached deep into a secret passage that led a smaller, private part of the garden. There were no guards whatsoever at the inner part of the garden.

Guy moved forward, with extra cautious. He went deep, then deeper into the garden when he halted at the tall brick of stones surrounded by several of Night Flowers.

At the centre of the garden, was the Tombstones of the Royal Family.

Guy carefully examined the nicely curved writing on each tombstones side by side — the King, the Queen, and finally, on the last tombstone, a smaller one compared to the other two had a nice curved writing craved on it:

‘With loving and precious memories of our beloved Daughter, Sister and Princess of the Kingdom of the Rose, Mika Leila De Valentine. May She Rests in Peace.’

Below the writing, was a small piece of sculpture image of a young Lady.

Guy nearly fall backward when he tripped on his left leg at the image of the beloved late princess was none other than the member of his companions!

The only differences between them were the long dark blue hair, a pair of hazel eyes, and the exception of the pointed ears.

“They looked the same, are they not?”

Guy turned around to find the young King behind him. Sad expression filled in his eyes as he approached the tombstone and gently touched it.

“My parents died due to an illness three years ago, which I’m sure you remembered, Master Guy. You and your family attended to their funerals, after all. Since then, I’ve been crowned as the King of this Kingdom, and also carrying on my duty as the Master Oracle. It’s tough, but I’d managed to do it with the helps of everyone who constantly give me supports.”

“I-I never knew you had a sister...”

Fye smiled softly. “She died when I was seven. It has been years since she passed away.” He touched the tombstone. “She was kind and beautiful. To me she was almost the perfect being, a gift from Heavens.”

Guy waited and watched in silence.

“My sister had always been ill. She had a very fragile body, but her mind and personality were strong. Because of her illness, she was constantly isolated by her peers. I remember being her constant companion especially during her bed-ridden days. She’d died when I was ten — a couple of months after the Great War ended.”

The wind blew softly on them. Guy waited patiently as the young King continued.

“Today, was the first time ever that I’ve met with Princess Mika. To tell you the truth, I’d be lying if I say that I didn’t have the urge to hug her. Her appearance, her smile, everything had reminded me of my own sister, Mika.” Fye wiped the tear that ran down his cheeks. “Even their names are the same.”

Taking a deep breath, Fye said, “Before my sister died, she’d told me she had a dream — that one day, the two world; Fulaina and the Spirit World will one day be united as one and we will also be able to live in harmony and peace again. Ever since she’d told me that dream, and later on, her passings, it has become my dreams to do whatever it takes and within my power to achieve that goal — to bring once again peace and harmony between Fulaina and the Spirit World.”

Fye smiled. “It might be hard to achieve that dream, but the possibilities of doing so do exist. Now that Mika is here, we might have actually have a chance. We’ve been at war with the Spirits long enough, Master Guy. Do you not think it is time we put an end to it?”

“I think that would be a great idea, Master Oracle. I’m sure Mika would think so too.” Guy smiled.

“Though, it will be hard to talk with the Councils considering most of them are Lord Ranfel and King Lewis XIII’s supporters. Both of them loathe the Spirits.”

“Indeed. Changing their minds about the possibility of signing a peace-treaty with the Spirits again, won’t be easy. But we must at least try. Speaking of which, Master Guy, I’m pretty sure by now that you are aware of the rumours going on, don’t you?”

Guy nodded his head. “Yes. Lord Eden had me informed they still haven’t found any proof that my father is guilty yet. However, the chances that he is guilty for getting involved with the Spirit’s invasion is high.”

“That being said, what would you do if it appears to be true? That he is involved with the Spirit’s Invasion?”

Guy stayed silence for quiet a while. Letting the chill wind blew.

“Frankly Your Highness, I don’t know how to answer you that. It’s still too early for me to decide. If I could, I’d like to live a life behind the castle’s gates. However, I do have responsibility to the people of Luyas. For now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to focus on what’s important at hands rather than thinking about it.”

Fye smiled sadly, but nodded nevertheless. “Understood. We can discuss about it when you get back.”

The two of them chatted more afterwards enjoying the cool wind blew. Both knew the journey of creating peace between the two different races won’t be an easy task.

It would take them a long way to go before that peace could finally be stored in both Worlds. But it was a step.

A step at a time was what they need to make such miracle to come true.


WHEN dawn arrived, a new day began for the group of four. Once again, a brand new day to start their journey to the Red Line.

After a good served breakfast by the genuine and kind Chefs, Mika and her companions were being escorted to the Audience Chamber to meet with the Master Oracle Fye to thank the young King for his hospitalities.

“It has been my pleasure to have you in my Kingdom.” Fye smiled kindly at them.

“Princess Mika, Lord Eden has already informed me about you going to the Red Line. Therefore, I have already prepared something that may be useful for you.”

The young King called upon a guard and asked him to bring in the present for the Princess. The guard returned a few seconds later, carrying a medium size treasure chest with him.

Fye thanked the guard as he put the chest on the table. He then took a small amulet from his chest pocket, a key, to the chest and unlocked it.

The sound of ‘click’ echoed the silence room. All eyes were on what was inside the treasure chest. Kazuo and Guy had moved from their places and scooted closer to the Princess.

What they saw made them all gasped aloud.

Inside the treasure chest, was a pair of twin blades — beautifully crafted and specially made for only one person who wields it. The different tones and hues of red around the blades; making the weapon looked deadly to the enemies, yet elegant enough to be wield by a female.

Mika gazed at the twin blades before her.

It was beautiful.

Before she could speak, Fye had already answered her.

“They are yours.”

“What? Really?” Mika blinked a couple of times.

“These are actually one of the Legendary Miena’s Weapons — ‘Lucas, the Blades of Balance.’ According to an old Legend a long time ago, there was a well known Priestess by the name of Miena in the old Kingdom of Khulai. One day, while she went out hunting, she’d found several weapons scattered on an abandoned land outside of the Kingdom. The weapons wielded by Miena to fight against evils that once threatened to destroy this world. Miena became the only Weapon Mistress until the day she died.”

“But then.. Why give it to me?”

At the question, Fye smiled again.

“Miena’s Legendary Weapons has been my family heirloom for generations. We’ve kept the weapons safely in the Sealed Chamber. However, on the night before your arrival, the once displayed blades in the sealed room glowed in red after many, many years. They said the blades were from the feathers of the King of the all the Birds, the Great Vulcan, itself. It is also said that when the feathers glow, something great is expected to happen.”

Mika carefully and delicately lift the two blades to take a closer good look. She then looked at the young King and smiled.

“Thank you Your Highness. I will use them wisely!”

“Kingdom of Khulai, huh?” Shinji muttered something to himself, one hand rubbing his chin.

“What’s the matter, Shinji?” Guy asked.

“Though it is only known as just a Legend, but the old Kingdom of Khulai actually did exist, a long time ago. Now, that place is known as the Kingdom of Aquarius. Head straight ahead to South from here. Our last pit-stop.”

Shinji took out the map he’d received from the Elders from his bag and laid it on the floor for everyone to see.

“Aquarius, huh? I think I have a friend living there. Heard the security there was very uptight. It was almost like a big o’ prison. I doubt they’ll welcome anyone with open arms at this rate.” Kazuo stated.

Fye kept in silence before he opened his mouth and said, “If you’re planning to go to the Kingdom of Aquarius, may I suggest you go there in the method of ‘sneaking-in’?”

“Y-Your Majesty! What are you suggesting to them?” Lord Mathia shrieked in great shock.

“Coming from you? What’s going on?” Shinji raised one eyebrow and crossed his arms.

Fye exchanged glances with Mathias who finally gave in after a long unbreakable stare.

“There appears to be a crisis going on in the Kingdom of Aquarius. They’ve been our main supplies for the war. But lately, they’ve stopped communicating not only with us, but with the outside world as well.”

“What?”

Fye got up from his seat. “Maybe it’s best if I show you. Guard, show us the screen, please.”

“Right away, Your Majesty!”

A large big screen popped up on the wall to their right, showing them the scenery outside.

On the South where the Kingdom of Aquarius was, a dark purple-ish barrier was put in place, surrounding the whole Kingdom and its areas.

“We’ve been trying to break into the barrier using whatever means necessary. However, the barrier that has been cast surrounded the whole Kingdom is stronger than it looks. We couldn’t break it. Even our best Mages couldn’t break it.”

“So there’s no other way into the kingdom then?” Kazuo asked, scratching his chin.

The Master Oracle smiled delightful at the question.

“Actually there is! It’s a secret passage that was made for the Royal Family to escape in case of an emergency. Since the Kingdom of Aquarius is our closest neighbour, long time ago, our King and their King had made a pact for a secret tunnel to be linked to both sides should there be any emergency for any of the Royal Family to escape from the Kingdom. Though, I think you people are the first ones to ever use it.”

“Are you sure we can use it, Your Highness?” Guy asked, carefully. "Won't we caused trouble for the Kingdom over there?"

Fye laughed. “Of course! There’s no need to be worry about it. Besides, it is the only way for you to get into the Kingdom. Once you are all ready, we can began.”

The group each turned to look at one another before they finally nodded their heads.

“Fine. We’ll do it. Get the supplies ready and we’ll meet up back in here in an hour.”

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