THE secret place which Captain Ren had been speaking of, was actually a dark spooky swamp located at a small river, hidden in the depth of the forest. The swamp was said to be a dangerous place filled with deadly creatures lurking and waiting f...
THE secret place which Captain Ren had been speaking of, was actually a dark spooky swamp located at a small river, hidden in the depth of the forest.
The swamp was said to be a dangerous place filled with deadly creatures lurking and waiting for any fools who dared to step into it’s lair.
It was also the one and only place that even the tyrant King Lewis would not dared to step a foot in there.
What nobody else knew about the marsh besides the dark and haunting atmosphere it emitting from the outside, the menacing evil-looking trees, that the marsh also filled with magical creatures; both docile and violent alike.
“This is the place?” Mika asked once they’ve stopped at the entrance of the swamp. “I can’t believe such place exist within the kingdom!”
“As do I, before I met Lucy.”
“Lucy? You mean the guardian who protects this place?”
Ren nodded. The two of them went ahead and into the swamp. They had discussed and re-confirmed their plans over and over again.
The plan was simple enough. The first step was to of course, meet up with the Crown Princess and explained to her what had been going on in the Kingdom ever since her ‘so-called kidnapping’ act. Hopefully, the Princess would agreed to the idea of letting Mika to exchange places with her as the ‘Sacrificing Virgin’ for the said Huzzar.
The second step would be the crucial one on both sides. While waiting for midnight to arrive, Mika and Ren would be set up traps all around the marsh to lure the Huzzar in. In the meantime, Princess Medea, under a disguise, would run back to the Castle and warned the guards about the Huzzar’s appearance and sent for backup teams to assist the Spirit Princess and Ren.
Medea would then, confront the King with the truth and tell him to put an end to of whatever foolish deeds he had done in the past that gotten them into this mess in the first place.
According to the First Captain, Medea was their only hope as the King would always listened to her.
While their plans seemed plainly simple,it had without a doubt, had many loopholes. Ren had suggested earlier for them to think further of their plans once they’ve met up with the Crown Princess.
Taking a step forward, Ren bought both of his hands to his mouth in a tight-closed gesture, and whistled a melodic tune.
“I know that tune!” Came a high-pitched female voice, after a moment of deep silence.
Before Mika could blinked her eyes, a fast-paced wind gestured brushed over her,followed by a slender, thumb-size fair-skinned ballerina with a cute smile stood before her.
The fairy had a pair of light red eyes, matched with her unusually dark blue hair which she tied in a bun with a small cute ribbon on top of her head. She dressed in a strapless blue and black tutu, matched with a pair of blue ballet slippers with a big black rose at each fronts.
“Um, hello?” Mika said slowly, with widened eyes and a smile slowly started to spread on her lips, at the tiny creature floating before her.
“Your Royal Highness, I would like you to meet Lucy, she’s one of the inhabitants in the swamp and also, the one person whom I’d put my trust to keep the Princess safe while she’s here.” Ren introduced the two ladies to each other.
“Your Royal Highness?” Lucy flapped her wings rapidly as she got closer to Mika with a very shocking expression filled her face.
“Lucy?” Ren raised an eyebrow at his fairy friend.
No response came from the fairy as she continuously gawked at Mika.
“Lucy, what’s the matter?”
Lucy finally snapped out from her thought and slowly shook her head.
Her voice was soft and quiet as if she was telling a secret to the Spirit Princess when she spoke to Mika.
“Apologies, Your Royal Highness. I-I didn’t mean to stare rudely at you...” Lucy stammered.
“It’s all right.” Mika smiled. “Nice meeting with you, Lucy. Please, call me Mika.”
Lucy looked up at her . “Your father... Was he perhaps the Great Spirit King? King Ferid?”
“Y-You know my Father?” It was Mika’s turn to be stammered.
“Yes,” Lucy’s eyes softened. “You certainly have his beautiful eyes.”
“Oh. Um, thank you.”
A loud cough interrupted them and brought their attentions to the man watching them.
“Ladies, as much as I hate to disrupt your conversation, we need to get moving.” Ren looked from one girl to another with a mildly confusion look, but decided to shake it off.
“Lucy, is Her Royal Highness inside? We’d like to speak with her immediately. It’s urgent.”
“You no need to ask Lucy for that, dear Ren.” Came a calm voice on their right side.
On top of a very large and monstrous creature, a ‘Troll’, sat an elegant, graceful and poised young woman.
The Crown Princess, Princess Medea of the Aquarius Kingdom.
She had a long strawberry-blonde hair that was in a loose braid, and a pair of blue eyes. She wore a dark purple off-the-shoulder floor-length dress with capped short sleeves, made from Chiffon, with a light brown hooded cape she’d put it on upon arrival.
“Your Royal Highness! What the Devil are you doing on top of that Troll? Get down here this instant!” Ren shrieked in pure terror as he made his way toward her.
The Troll lowered down it’s head, and the Princess got off him just easily.
“Oh hush, Ren. Can’t a princess have a little fun?” The Crown Princess scowled to her older cousin, before paying her full attention to look at Mika.
She eyed the Spirit Princess from top to bottom with a mild curiosity before she was being interrupted by Ren’s cough.
“Your Highness, may I present to you, Her Royal Highness, Princess Mika of the Spirit World.”
“How do you do, Princess Mika? It’s an honour to meet you.”
“I am fine, thank you very much. And likewise to you too, Your Highness.”
“I will be frank with you, Princess Mika, I’m very interested to know what the long missing Spirit Princess who had said to be killed by the hands of the humans years ago, be doing in Fulaina, and more importantly, what are you be doing in my land?”
“That’s a long story to tell.”
“Let’s take this matter somewhere private. Lucy, will you do us the honour?” Ren interrupted.
“Absolutely!” Lucy rubbed her hands together in pure joy and excitement. She’d been waiting for this moment to come for awhile.
Taking a stance, she began to play with her fingers on both hands as if she was playing an invisible piano.
That caught Mika’s attention immediately. But before she could gasp, a mildly strong wind began whispering on her neck. Mika’s eyes widened as the water slowly began to move in motion, following the wind, all the way to the centre.
As it went, the water began to move rapidly fast until the lake became a turbulence. From there onward,everything happened in a flash. Not long after that, the turbulence stopped, and along came a staircase at the mouth of the swamp that would lead them to an underground passage.
“After you, Your Highnesses!” Lucy bowed with a proud smile.
Mika smiled back at her, and followed Medea as they carefully went down the staircase, leaving the fairy and the First Captain behind.
Soon after the two Royal Princesses were no longer visible, Lucy let out an unexpectedly long sigh.
“What’s wrong?” Ren asked.
Lucy slowly shook her head. “I’ve made up my mind long before I’d stumbled upon this Kingdom, what had happened in the past was no longer a significant matter to me. Here in the present, is what all that matters now. Seeing the Spirit Princess, who bore the exact same eyes as His Majesty Ferid however... Made me wonder whether I should or should not tell her the truth of what had happened that fateful night..”
Ren gazed on her sadly.
“Out of the three Grand Witches who’d come to assist the late Spirit King, it was you, who’d survived. You had been the one who cast the last spell to put on the barriers around the Castle to seal away the Spirit Queen after the King had...died.”
Lucy didn’t say anything. She flapped her wings and mutely followed the two princesses into the passage.
ONE would usually assumed and expected to find the underground path beneath the swamp would be a damp, foul-smelled place, filled with algae and fungi clung in clumps over whatever walls there was down there.
One would never have guessed there would be a small cottage by the end of the path.
That was exactly what Mika had thought when her eyes first laid on the small cottage.
The cottage looked as if it came out from the fairy tales books Mika had read when she was a little girl. It was made literally of stones. The cottage had few windows and a stoned door.
Mika couldn’t helped but to gasp out aloud the moment her eyes saw the cottage. Truly, if there was anything that she had not see yet in this world, this would be it!
Her moment of admiration was being cut short when a sound of giggling came from the human Princess beside her, who was not doing a good job of covering her giggles at all.
Immediately snapped from her thoughts, Mika let out a couple of an embarrassing coughs and looked away with her cheeks turned bright red.
“You are truly unlike any other princesses I’ve met before. I don’t believe I’ve met anyone as interesting as you who would gawk after something so trivial as this, Your Highness.”
“Please call me Mika, Your Highness. Even though I’ve retained all of my long lost memories, being called ‘Princess’ after a long time, feels really awkward for me.”
“Then you should call me Medea. We are of the same age after all.”
Medea walked toward the entrance door of the cottage and opened it, welcoming her guests to her temporarily home.
“Welcome to my humble home. Please, come in everyone.”
Everyone walked into the cottage and Mika was once again mesmerized by the interior design, while on the outside was made of stones. The interior however, was made by wooden plans that were crafted beautifully and carefully for the floors and also the walls.
A small single bed was seated at the corner of the room, with a small study desk with a chair beside it. Above it, was a window. A small bricked fireplace on the opposite side of the bed and a small coffee table at the centre.
“Please make yourself comfortable while I go and prepare us some tea.” Medea went ahead to get the hot kettle ready and poured some tea for her guests before serving it to them.
Mika took a seat on the rounded chair nearby the coffee table, while Ren sat on the floor with his feet crossed, back lending against the wall, and his sword resting against his shoulder. Lucy made herself comfortable by sitting on the Princess’s bed, while waiting for Medea to finish serving them the tea.
Once everyone settled down and tea were served, it was Ren who spoke up first.
“Let’s us get straight to the topic,” He looked at Lucy. “Lucy, I assumed you’ve updated Her Highness as I told you to?”
Lucy nodded. “Yes.Her Highness already knows what happened, so you can skip that part. But she doesn’t nor why Princess Mika is here, and neither do I.”
“Good. I’ll explain everything as we go on. But the crucial and most significant part of the discussion is tonight.” Ren looked at Medea.
She blinked her eyes and looked back at him. “Yes, Ren?”
“Are you with us?”
“O-Of course I am.”
Ren wasn’t easily convinced by her words. Not with the terrifying looks in her eyes.
“Hey, what’s wrong? I know you’re scared and all, but everything will be all right. I’ll never let anything bad happens to you. You know that, right?”
Medea looked away uncomfortably, and clenched her fists.
“Hey,” Ren got up and walked to her before he seated on the bed beside her, holding one of her clenched fists. “What’s wrong? Tell me.”
Medea bit her lips. “What if...What if the Huzzar is real? What if it is not just an urban legend but a real thing? I mean, you’ve seen how Father been reacting ever since the news of the Huzzar started! If someone such him who’s fearless and known to be a tyrant King throughout the whole of Fulaina trembled in fear at the mention of the Huzzar, then what’s the possibility of it is in fact, a real thing?”
“Wait a minute,” Mika turned to Ren. “News?”
Ren sighed. “Someone had, out from out of nowhere, spread the news about the Huzzar in the first place. Hence, it caused all disaster and chaos that have been inflicted to the Kingdom. According to the legend, the only way for us to ask of it’s forgiveness is to sacrifice a ‘Virgin Maiden’ on the night of the Red Moon. That is, tonight.”
“My Father truly believes in it. He’d told me that becoming a the ‘Virgin Maiden’ is an honourable title, and that I should be proud and honoured to do this for the sake of protecting the people and this Kingdom. When Ren had told me that all of it were bunch of lies, and had proposed of his ‘kidnapping’ plan to me, I’d immediately agreed. I’d trust him. But I don’t want to die either. At least, not like this.”
“Why are you doubting now?” Mika asked, in concerned.
Medea bit her lips again and stood up. She walked in circle, gathering her words while the others just watched her.
“I’d just thought that maybe the Huzzar does exists. Assume it does exists, do we even stand a chance to defeat it?”
For a moment, they were all caught by surprised with her theory. Even Ren, who had been very convinced that the Huzzar was merely an old Folk’s tale, looked unsettled. They hadn’t even discussed that part of their plans yet.
“Huzzar... You said?”
All eyes were on Lucy, who stared blankly in the air.
“What is it?” Ren asked.
“I’ve been trying so hard to remember where I’d last heard of that name Huzzar. ” With her eyes still closed, she concentrated on the word when all the sudden, Lucy clapped her hands in joy.
“I got it!”
“Well, do tell us then! Don’t keep us waiting in the dark.” Medea urged.
“First of all, I’m reluctant to tell you that the Huzzar is unfortunately, real. It’s name came from the Ancient Aspaniac that means ‘Hellmouth’s Gate’. ”
Lucy looked at everyone whose bore an unbelief expression.
“In the Spirit World’s hierarchy, the Spirits is at the top of the chain, followed by the Dragoon and lastly, the Witches. The Huzzars were Ancient Dragoons,that said to live for thousands of years ago in the Spirit World. Since the Three League War occurred between the Spirits, Dragoon and also the Witches, the Huzzar had been ceased to exist. In fact, only a minor population of the Dragoons were left to exist.”
Lucy lifted her magical wand and pointed it at Mika.
“To answer Her Highness’s question whether or not we have a chance in order to defeat the Dragoons, my answer will be, yes. If the rumoured Huzzar turns out to be true, our best chance to defeat it is you, Princess Mika. Only a Spirit with Royal Blood has greater chances to defeat the Huzzar.”
Medea bit her lips and looked back and forth from Lucy to the Spirit Princess. She was no longer scared at the possibility should the Huzzar ended up to be real or not, but right now, she was more of worried and concerned about the Spirit Princess.
To have an outsider, let alone someone as the same status as her own to be dragged into her Kingdom’s mess, was not something that she would normally allowed. The fact that her kingdom and people desperately needed help was what had pushed her to seek helps from outsiders.
With a heavy heart, Medea sighed. “But this is only if the rumours turned out to be real, right?”
Everyone nodded. “Then, let us put that aside and discuss what’s the main plans for tonight.”
“Right. Well then, let’s get to business, shall we? To start of, Mika and I have already discussed to...”
THE sun slowly disappeared below the horizon, indicated the end of the day.
In Andania, a girl at the age of five, with face smeared with dirt, and messy brown pigtails, was running toward her home. In her arms, was a big brown grocery paper filled with apples.
While the girl was running, her left foot got tripped over a rock, caused her foot to miss a step, and stumbled on the ground. The apples inside the bag fell out and spilled over on the ground.
The girl rubbed her eyes; at the small cut on her left knee. Slowly, she got back on her feet, gathered the apples, and put them back into the grocery bag, when a hand suddenly came to her view, holding out one of the dropped apples on the ground, towards her.
With a kind smile, he greeted her.
“Are you all right, little one?”
The girl was speechless and in awed at the young man stood in front of her who was ten years older than her. He got down onto one knee despite his fellow bodyguards against him to do so, and gently placed his pale, skinny hand on top her injured left knee when she’d stumbled and injured herself, and began on healing the small wound.
It only took him a mere second to heal the small cut. Once it healed, the little girl gasped and her face brightened up. Her eyes widened at the flawless skin and she repeatedly pressed a finger on it, making sure it was real. Her face lit up with glee as she looked back at the young man.
“Thank you, Master Oracle!” The girl bowed her head courteously. “You’re most welcome. Be careful on your way home now!”
Fye waved his hands as the girl left running to her home with the bag of apples, happy to know that she’d met the most respected and influential man in all Fulaina.
“Master Oracle Fye.”
Two big and muscular men wearing the White Wolf Clan’s armours approached the young Oracle from behind. Among them was Lord Eden, who stood and guarded by two other men behind him.
“Glad you could make it here safe and sound. Sorry to have bothered you from your busy schedules, Master Oracle.”
Both men shook hands.
“It has been a while since I last visited this place. It’s good to know that the recovering processes are going on smoothly and well.”
“Yes. Well, Andania suffered the most damaged during the invasion. With everyone’s constant supports however, we’ve managed to recover and rebuilt the place as fast as we could, and made it grand than before.”
The two men walked down the streets town of Andania, accompanied by their bodyguards, heading toward to a place in the South.
“Any news regarding the Princess and her companions yet?”
Fye shook his head. “Sadly, I have not yet heard from them. I’d tried to contact them once but the connection broke. I hope nothing bad happens to any one of them. I do received a report from Prince Makai’s team though. Last time I’d heard from them, they said that the weather was too bad and dangerous for them to travel so they ended up camping in a cave somewhere in a forest for the night. This morning, Sir Leo had informed me the weather was better and they’ll continue the mission.”
“Good to know. If something bad does happens to the Princess, we’ll be the first to know. I have my men surrounded outside of the Kingdom and monitored any changes in the Kingdom. That aside, Master Oracle.”
Lord Eden’s tone changed more to business-like. “The reason I called you to come here is to discuss with you regarding the next successor of Andania. Since Lord Andania and his entire family, God bless their souls, have all been executed, who will leads Andania now?”
“Currently, the House of Eden and all the Senators are checking into the matter. There are candidates that came to mind, but we have not decide on it yet. Extra precautions are being taken very seriously especially when it comes on selecting a new replacement. Even since Lord Ranfel’s treacheries made known to the public, many have become wary and afraid of the Authorities. It’s understandable — considering how much everybody suffered for the last months without us knowing it until it was almost too late. That is why we are doing the best that we possibly can to make sure history does not repeats itself with the next Lord. We need to be sure the next Lord of Andania is not only able to earn the people’s trust and supports, but also, to be able to lead this place better in the future.”
“Hmm... Then, may I suggest someone who might just be fit enough to be considerate as a possible candidate?”
Fye stopped walking. He looked at the older Lord with eyes widened. He did not expect the man would say that and hence, was caught by surprise.
Lord Eden called out to one of his guards. “May I ask who is it temporarily in charge of this place while I was absent?”
“Lady Claire Boyce, Sir.” said the White Wolf guard. “She’d came as a volunteer to help out with the place. According to Sir Grants, Lady Claire grew up here, and therefore, it is natural for her to come and helped out.”
“Is that so? Do any of you know where she is?”
“Currently, she’s at Lord Andania’s mansion.” Answered the Black Raven guard.
“Of course. Shall we head there now, Master Oracle? Oh, by the way, everyone’s dismissed. Thank you for lending us your services throughout our journey coming here. Feel free to call it a day.”
“Thank you, Sir!” The guards bowed and saluted before they went on their separated ways.
Once the guards were dismissed, Fye once again looked at Lord Eden with the same questionable look.
“Is there any particular reason you’d dismissed the guards, Lord Eden?” The Lord smirked behind the mask at the question. He then gestured the young Master Oracle to come along.
“Let me tell you a story while we’re heading there...”
The Grand Mansion, once belonged to the deceased Lord Andania and his family, had became deserted mansion after all of its residences were executed.
Blood stained were on the walls and on the floor of the dark empty living room. Broken Chandelier lied on the ground, book shelves were half-broken, with the books all were torn apart and tainted in dried bloods — all of which was seen by a female silhouette standing at the entrance of an opened door.
Claire Boyce stood still with her back straight at the sight before her. Her usually bun long honey-blonde hair was tied up in a single high ponytail. Her attire had changed from her Commanding Officer’s uniform to a simple word-out white shirt, long dark brown pants and a pair of army boots.
She had since longed discarded that strict no-nonsense Vice-Commander persona months ago during the invasion. As for now, she was not the Vice-Commander of the Knights of Luyas, but a human being.
A survivor of a war, a volunteer, and also...
Soft footsteps carefully walked into the room, avoiding the scattered broken glasses as she made her way into the depth of the room that led to another room: Lord Andania’s office.
Claire took a deep breath. Her hands were shaken as she reached out for the doorknob and turned it — opening to an empty messy room filled with messy papers everywhere.
She walked into the room, carefully not stepping on any important documents as she headed toward the broken family frame on the wooden office table. Claire picked up the frame; a family of four were staring back at her.
The Andania’s Family.
However, she was only interested on one of them: Lord Alexander.C.Andania the V.
The man whom she’d barely and hardly knew yet in a twisted way, had a connected with. The man who had been so closed, and yet so far out of her reach. The man whom she had been chasing all these years in search of the truth but was far too much of a coward to ask him that one question.
“Ah, there you are, dearie!”
Claire swiftly turned around, one hand reached out for the sword hanging on her hips. When she realized it was only Lord Eden and a surprised the Master Oracle, she let down her guards immediately and greeted them properly.
“Lord Eden, and Master Oracle.” Claire bowed her head. “ It’s such a surprise to see you both here. Forgive my rudeness.”
“No need to apologize, dear. If anything, it was our faults for startling you in the first place. Now, raise your head so that we both can see that pretty face of yours, Clarence.”
Claire’s eyes popped wide opened. She hadn’t heard anyone called her that name in years! Lifting her head up and looked at the two men in horror, Claire stuttered.
“How did you,” she gulped. “H-How did you know about that name?”
Claire wasn’t stupid. She knew her deepest and darkest secret would come out sooner or later. It was only in a matter of time until someone finally figured out her connections with the late Lord Andania, through her obvious features.
Though Claire had countless denied it whenever people asked of her connections with the late Lord, and had just told them it was just a mere coincidence.
Claire knew a man as sharp as Lord Eden XIII, despite known for his eccentric behaviours, would not let anything such as this, passed by his nose without him knowing about it.
In fact, she dared to bet on her life, that he had known about Lord Ranfel’s treacheries long before the invasion had even begun. The only reason he’d kept it in silence was due to the lack of proofs and records.
So the man simply waited for the right moment to catch him in the act.
Just in the matter of time.
For a minute, no words were said between them. Both of the men were being considered not to jump on her with questions, knowing that they were indeed deeply personal ones.
However, time’s wasting as they waited for her to speak up, Fye decided to break the long silence.
“Lord Eden has already filled me up with the details regarding your... backgrounds. I want you to know Miss Clarence, neither Lord Eden nor I wish to invade your personal life. However, it is crucial for us to need to know and confirm whether the information is true or not. You are really Lord Andania’s illegitimate child?”
Claire bit her lips. Here she was standing with her deepest secret known to of all people, had to be these two powerful men. Well, at least it was them and not anybody else.
Claire took a very deep breath and sighed.
“My name is Clarence ‘Joy’ Frederic. Joy is my mother’s name. Yes, I am Lord Andania’s illegitimate child, whom he never knew about my existence. My mother was an innkeeper in Andania. She’s a true pure-blooded Andanian who’d worked hard as an innkeeper and gained a famous reputation. My father, as we all known, was a Nobleman born into a powerful political family. When my parent were young, they fell for each other and became lovers who were deeply in love. However, due their status differences, my father had been forced to end the relationship in order to preserve the family’s long lineages and honour. He’d married his late wife. My mother, on the other hand, had moved out of the town when she’d found out she was pregnant with me. I came to Andania when I was fourteen years old — a month after my mother died due to an illness. I’d hoped to find my father and to tell him the truth. About us.”
“How old are you now, Miss Clarence?” Lord Eden asked.
“Twenty-three. My first time meeting with Lord Andaniahad been when I’d first came in Andania. Ironically enough, it’d been him who recommended Lord Ranfel to let me enter the Academy of Knights after he’d watched me defeated a bunch of thugs. I can still remember what he’d said to Lord Ranfel, “You won’t regret having her as your Knight. I guaranteed it.” Tears rolled down on her cheek and Claire wiped it away.
“I-I’d thought of telling him the truth so many times, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do so. When he’d been scheduled to visit Luyas before the Spirit’s First Invasion I’d really thought of telling him then. But...”
By now, the honey-blonde beauty could no longer held back her tears. The Master Oracle and Lord Eden could only watched in pity and with heavy hearts as the sound of sobbing and cries at the loss of her estranged father echoed in the empty spaced room.
It did not take long for Clarence to let go of her sorrows and frustration of her ached heart to compose herself again before the trio found themselves standing outside of the mansion.
Two groups of Guards mixture of the White Wolf and the Black Raven were already waiting for them to be taken back to Luyas.
“I know this may sounds a bit out of place, Miss Clarence, but what are you going to do now?” asked the Master Oracle.
“I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin now that all I’ve been hoping for is no longer there. My purpose coming back to my mother’s birth place since I’d been fourteen was to find my father and to tell him about me. But, now that he’s gone, I might just leave this place.. For now thought, I’ll be doing everything that I can to help restoring Andania back to its glory.”
“Then, how about you consider of becoming the next Lady of Andania?”
Claire stared at the man shockingly as if he’d grown another head. “I... I beg your pardon, Sir?”
“Allow me to explain,” said Lord Eden. “Now we know there is a sole survivor of the Andania’s family, by rights, the successor should belongs to you. This place was both of your parents’s hometowns, is it not? And you grew up here as well. We’re absolutely not forcing you to become the next Lady, of course, should you chose not to do it. However, the Master Oracle and I do wish for you to think thoroughly about it.”
“As in right now, choosing a right replacement after your late father is difficult and hard due to what had happened with Lord Ranfel. Many of the people are feeling very insecure and scare that history might repeating itself again with the new Ruler. You, of all the people should know why and how much you had to suffer. That is why we, the House of Eden and also the Senators are being extra careful and take every considerations as we possible can to choose the right one. So far, we have already picked a few chosen ones but have not yet came to a decision. If you were to step in, Miss Clarence, as the sole survivor of the Andania’s bloodline, nonetheless, there is a great chance that you might just win the people’s trusts and secured their insecurities. The last thing we need right now is another a raging civil war between the people and the Kingdom.” Explained the Master Oracle carefully.
“But then, everyone will find out that I am my father’s lovechild! Father’s name surely be sullen!”
“...Be as it may, it will bound to find out sooner or later, my dear. However, if you chose to success in your Father’s legacy, the two of us swore we will do everything in our power to help you smoothing things out with the people. It will be hard for the Leaders of the Fulaina, and the people of Andania to accept you at first, but if you are willing to take the risk, it will all be worth it in the end.”
Claire stayed in silence but subtly nodding her head.
“It will be all right.” Fye said with a warm smile. “Take your time to think about it and follow your heart. We will be having a meeting with the Leaders of the World in Eden soon. You can give us your answer by then.”
MEANWHILE in the Audience Chamber of the Kingdom of Aquarius’s Castle, King Lewis XII sat at his throne, surrounded by tight securities.
The Audience Chamber was still in a messy state. He didn’t even bothered to have the blood stained on his carpet cleaned up.
Dark obvious eye bags kept staring at the entrance of the door. Both of his hands gripped on the throne’s handles tightly, as if he was expecting someone to barge in any moment.
The Night of the Blood Moon, as prior stated in a threatening letter given to him by a man named ‘H’, stated that his lovely Medea, would be killed and her body would be featured in the garden, covered in her own blood, exclusively for him to see.
King Lewis couldn’t help but to feel shaking from the inside and out. At the mere thoughts of losing his one and only daughter would be the end of him.
Oh, why oh why had he done such stupid things in the past? If he’d known it would come and haunt him back in the future, he would have never agreed to do such things no matter how desperately he’d been or how badly in shape his Kingdom had been back then!
Karma was a bitch indeed.
King Lewis glanced at the corner of his eyes at the wooden grandfather’s clock that rang seven o’clock sharp.
Dusk finally settled in.
His fingers kept repeatedly tapping on the chair’s handles, impatiently. King Lewis felt incredibly restless. ‘H’ did not mentioned when or how would he committed the murder. All he mentioned in his last letter was the body of his daughter would be seen in the garden.
Seconds turned to minutes.
Green-greyish paranoid eyes kept on looking all over the place. The guards in the same room had also kept their guards up. Tension and cold air slowly crept behind their spines.
All the sudden, a very loud crashed sound came from above, and landed to the centre of the chamber. Broken glasses from the windows were everywhere, spreading on the Audience Chamber’s floor, followed by thick black smokes that came out of nowhere.
King Lewis instantly got on his two feet, terror was in his eyes. Before he could even uttered a word or two, he was roughly being pushed at the back, toward the end of the chamber by the guards for his own safety.
There was no warning when almost everyone in the room heard a very faintly ‘tick,tick,tick’ sound before half of the place exploded with soaring white light.
The last thing King Lewis remembered seeing before his head hitting on the ground was a silhouette of a girl staring back at him amongst the smoke.
He remembered seeing a pair of blue eyes, deeply in shock, stared back at him before his blacked out.
Medea did not know how long she had been standing at the entrance of the door with her mouth opened, even after the smoke had long dissolved.
She had successfully sneaked into the Castle by disguising as one of the Knights and had come to the Audience Chamber because she knew her father would be there.
The moment she entered the chamber and closed the door however, something had crashed down in front of her! It was someone whom the Crown Princess knew as she had met him at the Castle’s Entrance Gates earlier — it was a body of a Knight guarded at the Castle’s Entrance Gates.
As if someone had just splashed her face with cold water, Medea blinked her terrified eyes for a couple of times, before she rushed toward where her father was.
“Father!” She cried, forcing her way through the debris and rubble. Halfway to him, she stopped deadly on her track when one of the many huge chandeliers hanging on the ceiling, crashed down to the floor, and landed on top of few unconscious and possibly dead soldiers.
Medea then heard loud commotions coming from the opposite door where her father was. Not wasting any more time, as carefully as she could, she continued making her way toward the King until she saw a group of Knights surrounding her father.
“Father!” Medea shouted again and rushed by her father’s side, not caring the shocking looks on the Knights’ face.
“P-Princess!? What are you do-”
“Get my Father out of here! Hurry!”
The Knights, still disbelief with the Princess’s sudden presence, nodded and carried the King carefully out of the room with Medea followed closely behind them.
A doctor was already awaited them by the time Medea and the guards arrived at the King’s private chamber. Just as Medea was about to go in as well, two of the Knights stopped her from entering.
“What are you doing?” Medea glared at them.
“Forgive us, Your Highness. We are under direct order from Captain Ratz not to let you in.”
“You’re insane. My father needs me!”
“Then forgive me for not letting you in, Your Royal Highness.” came a grunting male voice behind her. “Perhaps you would be so kind to inform me just where on Fulaina’s ground have you been, Princess?”
Captain Ratz, the Commander of the West-side Brigade. Tall, tanned-skinned man with the air of an authorities, he was the same age and rank as Ren, but had completely opposite personality.
While Ren was strict and firm with his men, he was also fair and compassionate in judging them. Ratz’s on the other hand, was hard and brash.
‘Only the weak ones lose and the strong ones survive.’ That was Ratz’s motto to his Brigade, hence, earned his brigade the second place in the army’s rank.
As for Princess Medea, she was never a big fan of Ratz or his Brigade due to their arrogance and attitudes. One of the maids had once told her that she’d heard rumours of the said Captain was in the middle of preparing to ask the King for her hands in marriage.
Right now though, the Captain looked anything but how he used to be. He looked awful and tired, with obvious signs of the lacked of sleep. His face was dirty and his hair was greasy. It made the Crown Princess wondered just how long had he been awake.
“Captain Ratz. How nice to see you again.”
Ratz approached her in an intimidating stance. “Do you have any idea what sort of messes have you created for all of us? We all thought you’d been kidnapped by the Huzzar just as the rumours had said!”
“And you believed them?”
“You were gone for three months! How else could you not expected us to believe in those rumours? In any case, Your Highness, you have no rights to speak to me like that after what you’d put me — everyone through hell. All because of you.”
Medea narrowed her eyes.
“You’re absolutely right. I do not have any rights to speak about this more than I should. Nevertheless, I am still your Crown Princess and future Queen. So do not simply talk to me the same way as you talk to your men.” She turned away and prepared to leave.
Ratz sighed, running one hand to his face. “Your Highness, wait—”
“—Captain Ratz!” A Knight suddenly called up to him, panting and out of breath.
“What is it?” said Ratz, impatiently.
The Knight made a nervous salute and as his eyes fell on Medea who had stopped walking the moment the Knight called out to Ratz, he gasped aloud.
“Y-Your Highness? B-But... How?!”
“Martin, what is it do you want to tell me?” hissed Ratz.
The Knight saluted again. “The Huzzar has been spotted,Sir!”
“What!” Medea and Ratz shouted in synced.
“One of our men said he spotted a large figured flying over the clouds, and it’s heading toward the South!”
“The Southern Forest. It is said in the urban legend that the Huzzar created a lair deep in the Southern Forest — in which we all believed it had you captured and held captive there.”
“Mika.” Medea whispered softly to no one. So the Legend was true after all...
Medea had both hands covered her mouth. Deep frowns on her forehead as she thoughts the fate of her new friend and cousin.
“Ratz, do you have men standing by the surrounding area of the Southern Forest?”
Ratz looked at Medea, frowning. “Yes. I have at least three hundred men standing by around the area. We were unsure if the Huzzar was real or not, but I have my men stand by just in case. For all I know, it might just be a trap set by a moron to jeopardise the safety of this Kingdom.”
“Good. Then I need to borrow all of them.”
“What?” This time it was the Captain and the Knight who shouted in synced.
“Your Highness, you mustn’t! The forest is a dangerous place! I don’t know what’s going on here but I will not risk of having to lose our one and only Princess again!”
“Martin, tell the others who are standing by in the forest to cut down some men to a hundred to kill the Huzzar or whatever it was and let the rest return to the castle immediately. Tell them, the Princess is found and she is well and safe.” Ratz ordered.
“No!” Medea protested.
Martin looked reluctantly between listening to his Commander’s order or to the Crown Princess. In the end, he nodded his head and bid them a salute before he made his way out to deliver the order.
The moment the Knight left, Ratz let out another heavy sigh.
“Princess, I don’t know what had happened to you that made you disappeared all the sudden, but the fact you are here right now standing right in front of me, unharmed, is more than I could ever thanked for. And as prior said by Martin, I will not risk of losing our one and only Princess to a scumbag who had nothing else better to do than to jeopardy our Kingdom.”
“The Huzzar is real!” Medea turned to face him now. “The Huzzar is an Ancient Dragoons from the Spirit World. Surely you’ve had heard of them! One of the three main races in the Spirit World?”
Ratz stared at her before he slowly nodded. His arms still crossed on his chest.
“We humans don’t stand a chance to defeat such creatures that are not from this world. If you let those men chase after the Huzzar, they’ll die instantly. The Huzzar can only be defeated by the Spirits. Do you understand this?”
“I understood it very well, Your Highness. If what you’re saying is true, what other choices do we have? We don’t have a Spirit to kill the Huzzar nor do we kept one.”
“The Spirit Princess.” Medea stared seriously at him. “The Spirit Princess is our only hope to defeat the Huzzar. Ren had a plan of using her to take my place to kill the Huzzar should it turns out to be real, in exchange for her companions not to be harmed in any way.”
Ratz sighed heavily.
“Medea...” The mere fact he was using her name instead of her title, meant that she was wearing him out.
“Ratz, please. Princess Mika is at the Southern Forest taking my place just as we speak. If she is to die in my place, what would you think happens to this kingdom that is already near destruction?”
“What do you want me to do, Princess? My plate is already filled up as it is.”
“Lend your men to me for a while just enough for me to rely a message to them and then take all of them out of the place. Also, I want you to give full access of the castle to Mika’s companions while they searched whatever it is that was ordered to them by the Master Oracle Fye. If you can do all this for me, in return, I will seriously consider your marriage proposal.”
At the last sentences of her words, Ratz eyes popped wide open. Gone all the weariness and exhaustion from his face and his legs. He even had to take a step back to his jelly knees.
The rumours about him seeking permission from the King to ask the Princess’s hand in marriage had been kept in secret. Only the King knew that Ratz had always been in love with the Princess ever since he’d first laid eyes on her years ago when she was five and he was eight in the busy market. His first time met with her when he'd enrolled to the Knight’s Academy and the first morning of Orientation Week.
Medea had been there as part of the formal greeting with her father to welcome the new students. It had been a rather special day for Ratz, as well as for Ren who had been there, as a fellow student and also, his classmate.
However, due to Ratz's background; he came from a poor family of merchants and the fact that the Princess was really closed with her successful and brilliant cousin, Ratz truly believed he had zero chances of having a future with the Princess. Hence, the start of his jealousy and rivalry with the First Captain.
Despite his firm belief that he was not able to have a future with her whatsoever, Ratz found himself falling in love more for the Princess as she grew up to be such a beauty, just like her late mother had been.
One fine day, Ratz had gathered enough courage to have a private talk with the King about his deep feelings for his daughter and had been manned enough to ask for the King’s permission to seek her hand in marriage, even when he knew deep down, he would be rejected.
King Lewis had been very shocked to hear about it. His face had instantly turned deep red, and if Ratz had not mistaken, to he thought he saw a smoke came out from the King’s head. But what Ratz had not expected, despite the King’s judgemental and harsh words about his poor family’s background, he did not, rejected his marriage proposal.
“Give it a time, my boy.” Was all King Lewis had ever said to him by the end of the conversation.
“Do you really mean it?” Ratz spoke after a long pause of silence.
Medea looked into his eyes. The man was obviously blushing as he looked back at her.
Decided to break the awkward silence, Medea let out an embarrassing cough.
“Yes. I shall consider the proposal, if you do as I’d asked of you.”
Letting out a long relief sigh after she said that, Ratz held onto her hands and bought them to his chest for a minute.
"Thank you, Your Highness." A minute passed and Ratz hesitatingly took a step back and released her hands. He was back to his former serious Captain façade when he looked at her.
“Very well. We can arranged that. Rather, I’ll make sure it can be arranged. Anything else, Your Highness?”
His quick change of character nearly threw Medea off her guard but she recovered quickly. Straightened her back, Medea firmly spoke.
“No. That will be all for now. I’ll let you know if I need any more of your help, Captain.”
With a final salute and a wink, Ratz headed toward the door where two of his men were waiting for him. He turned around slightly to look at her, and smiled briefly, before he and his men left the place.
Meanwhile, Medea let out a long relieving sigh with one hand on her chest. Her heart was beating aloud in her ears.
Things did not turned out accordingly to the plan, but in the end,she'd managed to gain an ally and possibly, making things easier for the Spirit Princess to defeat the Huzzar.
One thing crossed her mind... Medea turned her head and looked at her father’s Chamber.
“I’m sorry, father. I know you need me. But right now, someone else needs me more than you do.”
Taking a deep breath, Medea quickly moved down the stairs, heading to where Ratz and his men were.