THE sun rose beautifully, indicating the start of a new day as the town started to wake up and the people began their daily routines. At the same time when the townspeople began to start their day, one white Wolf Prince had woken up from his slum...
THE sun rose beautifully, indicating the start of a new day as the town started to wake up and the people began their daily routines.
At the same time when the townspeople began to start their day, one white Wolf Prince had woken up from his slumber.
His long hair was in a messed and tangled. Shinji yawned as he got up from the bed. His eyes immediately fell on his other sleeping comrades one was still peacefully and soundly asleep, while the other was snoring as loudly as a bear.
Shinji deeply frowned. How in Fulaina could that man be sleeping in peace when there was a bear snored loudly next to his bed?
For Shinji, it had taken him few years to finally got used of Kazuo’s obnoxious snores. Yet, this man had managed to sleep throughout the night as if it done nothing to his eardrums.
Shinji continued to ponder whether he’d actually put cottons in his ears. Maybe he did. He was very tempted to check to see if it was indeed the case, that he had put cottons in the ears, but quickly shook his head from that thought.
What an odd thing to think about first thing in the morning.
Grabbing a new clean sheet of towel hanging on the chair, Shinji headed for the door to take a bath.
He unlocked the door and pulled the doorknob, and as he was about to take a step out from the room, his eyes landed on a small brown envelope; with a nice hand-written that had his name on it.
Frowned as who could it be from, Shinji picked it out and opened the envelope. Inside, there was a piece of letter. He took the letter out and read it in silence.
Not long after he’d read it, Shinji rushed outside.
Without even bothered to knock on the door, he turned the knob and felt the blood rushed in his head turned cold as the door was unlocked.
Shinji found the bed was completely untouched. The key of the room was left on the table, and his Chosen Apprentice’s travelling bag was nowhere to be seen or found later on.
THE City of Eden, also known as the ‘Sanctuary’,was a city at the centre of Fulaina. The place was named after a heroic man named Eden Bowyn, who had combined forces among the other Lords in the small regions to protect the lands from being invaded by the Outlanders.
Together under his rules, they had created a city of harmony and peace called ‘Eden’.
In politics, the city Eden acts as a neutral party. They provide shelters for those who had lost their home during the Great War regardless of their races.
While a Lord still remained governing the city, his powers were limited due to the House of Eden – an organisation where Leaders and their Representatives from all around Fulaina came for a gathering to discuss political matters.
A voting system was used amongst them that would decide on who would be the next Lord. However, there was one young powerful man, a young King who held the ultimate power in both Eden and the House of Eden.
He was a significant and influence man who was also a young King in his own Kingdom, a peace keeper in Eden, and also an ambassador of Fulaina.
The young King, who was also the youngest amongst all of his predecessor, was given the title of ‘The Master Oracle’－the highest rank in the hierarchy House of Eden.
The sun was already above them by the time the express train that was heading toward Eden left the boarders.
Mika looked at the scenery outside through the window of her seat. It was a very difficult decision for her to make last night; leaving her comrades behind.
Last night, she’d asked Rom to sneak into the hotel they were staying and left a note in front of the the men’s door and took her bag.
A sense of guilt started to fill in her stomach.
Mika wondered how would Shinji and the others reacted to her letter. Would Shinji be angry at her for ‘abandoning’ her mission? God knew how much the man hate having to delay their mission.
However, Mika reminded herself, that this was something that she needed do－something that she must do.
Even if it turned out later that she wasn’t the Princess everyone had been searching for, she still wanted to at least contribute something for her people.
Her mind wandered on the deals she’d made with Rom after she had agreed to be their chaperone; that as soon as they reached to Eden, instead of living hide-and-seek life, Mika wanted them to have a meeting with Lord Eden, which had upset Rom greatly, when she first proposed the plan.
Eventually, the young lad had calmed down enough and not threw tantrums to listen to her plans before he’d bitterly agreed to it.
From what Mika had heard back in Luyas, Lord Eden was a very sensible and kind man though some may have called him a bit eccentric, who loves children.
As proof, he’d built many orphanages surrounded the city for the children who’d lost their home and family from the Great War. Most of them were humans though.
But Mika was convinced that he would take them too regardless.
Once she had seen how well the management at orphanage was for them to live, Mika had told Rom that she would returned to her companions, not before stating that she would come back after her mission has completed.
Of course, Rom had verbally disagreed with her second plan — stated that she didn’t need those humans.
Mika had firmly scolded him not to badmouth people especially her companions as he did not even knew them personally well to judge them.
“Are you thinking about them?” A heavy body sat on the seat opposite her. Crossing his arms, Rom frowned and stared at her.
“Oh, hello Rom. How are the others?”
“Asleep. They were pretty hyped last night that they’d actually slept late and now exhausted from all of the trip coming here.” Rom let out a long yawn and stretched his arms.
Mika smiled. “Why don’t you get some rest too, Rom? You looked tired yourself taking care of the others.”
Rom’s face and ears turned red as he looked away. “I-I’m fine! I’m used to this, y’know. This is nothing!”
A sound of soft chuckles came from Mika. “You’re a good brother and a considerate leader of your pack. No wonder Luke and Toma are fond of you.”
Rom’s face turned to deep red.
“T-Those idiots drove me crazy sometimes! But someone has to look out for them. And since I’m the oldest, it’s my job.” Rom changed his view by staring at the beautiful scenery outside as the train moved.
“Hey,” he spoke after a short while.
“You...” Rom cleared his throat. “Y-You know, you can still come and live with us. Just forget about them!”
He looked at Mika straight in the eyes. His face was red and desperate.
“You said it yourself – you’ve being mistreated by the humans where you had once lived. Yet, here you are travelling with few of them! Why? I don’t get it! I don’t get it at all! I hate them! I hate humans!”
His body and hands were trembling when he’d shouted those words. His breathing was heavily.
Mika looked sadly at the boy before her.
Poor Rom. He must have suffered more than I’d thought to have such bitter grudge against the humans like this...
One hand gently rest on his head and patted it like a mother would. Surprised, Rom looked up instantly only to find Mika smiled sadly at him. Another hand wiped up the stained of tears on his cheeks.
“I’m sorry, Rom. The things you that had to go through growing up. I-I feel so helpless that I couldn’t do anything to help. Even if I could help out, I don’t even know where to start.”
Eyes widened, Rom shook her hands off him.
“W-What are you apologizing for, sweetheart? It ain’t your fault what’d happened to me!”
“Actually Rom, I—”
An announcement cut in their conversation.
“Attention to all passengers. We will be arriving at Eden’s Express Terminal in five minutes. To all passengers, please do not leave any of your belongings behind. Thank you. Attention to all passengers...”
Rom stood up abruptly. He scratched the back of his head guiltily for making the Spirit worried.
“Look sweetheart, I’m gonna check on the others, okay?”
With a confirmed nod from Mika, the young lad went to the back to check on the others.
THERE were so many things that mesmerized the children the moment they stepped out from the train. Aside from being a neutral land, the City of Eden was known for its advanced technology and developments compared to other Kingdoms.
The buildings were all tall and made from different shapes and sizes. It certainly gave them the vibes of a whole new world!
“Wow! Look at those building!s And that one too!”
“Wow! I’ve never see something as big or tall like that one!”
“Toma, Luke! Get your butts back here! We can sight-seeing ’em later!” Rom scolded his two younger siblings who were too busy running around looking wildly at the expensive streets.
Mika who kept her eyes on the rest of the children, giggled over at the scene: Rom was chasing after the two younger children before he’d finally managed to grip those two by their back collars and dragged them back into their little group.
After he had successfully brought the two children back, Mika and Rom finalised their next plan.
“From here onwards, we ought to be extra careful. The guards here may be softies but they’re extremely sharp, from what I’ve heard.”
Rom’s eyes roamed their surroundings. There were at least five guards patrolling and standing guards in the streets.
“One suspicious moves and they’ll take you out for an interrogation. None of us wants that now. Right, sweetheart?”
Mika nodded. “Right. We’ll be more cautious from here on. Let’s hurry.”
With a confirmation nod from everyone, the team prepared to make their way to the City’s Checkpoint.
There were at least two guards guarding the Checkpoints before they were allowed to go into the City. There were five checkpoints in total; two at the entrance, two more in the middle and one final checkpoint at the exit before the City.
Taking a deep breath, Mika took brave steps toward the guards, followed by Rom and the others behind her.
Mika handed her passport to the guards – Shinji had made each of them their passports in order to get through the check points.
The guards looked at her passport before looking at her and the children behind her.
At that moment in time, none of the children dared to make a sound, afraid of what the guards might do to them should they found out. Before long, the guards handed back her passport and stepped aside.
“You may pass. Welcome to the City of Eden.”
Mika nodded her head and quickly walked in followed by Rom and his siblings. Once they were on a safe distance from the guards, all of them let out a long relief sigh.
“What a relief!” Rom remarked. “For a while there, I don’t know what’s gonna happen!”
“Yeah. But at least we’re in now. All that’s left is to get pass by four more checkpoints and then we’ll have a meeting with Lord Eden XIII.” Mika smiled.
“Aww, do we have to? Okay, okay! I was just joking. Stop with the glare, sweetheart!”
They proceeded with cautious, all the while enjoying the views of Eden.
As the team approached the final checkpoint, they saw a group of soldiers were standing a few feet away from them.
However, unlike the previous blue and white attires, these ones dressed in orange and red armour. One of the soldiers spotted them and began to shout loudly at his comrades while pointing one finger at Mika.
“That’s her! Over there! It’s the Spirit Princess! Get her!”
Immediately, the soldiers took out their swords and charged at them.
Mika stepped in front of Rom and the others. She took her twin blades and blocked their attacks.
“RUN!” Mika yelled.
Rom recovered his shock when he heard Mika shouted at him. He turned to the others and urged them to flee from the scene.
“Rom! Big sis is in trouble! Help her!” One of the children cried out as they were being dragged by Rom.
“I KNOW! Dammit!” Rom took a sharp turned to the left corner, and hid at a narrowed corridor. He saw the soldiers that were chasing after them passed by.
One of the soldiers was about to check on the corridor when something had knocked him out of the way.
It was his sweetheart!
“We’ve received permission to capture and hand you over to Lord Ranfel! Surrender immediately, Spirit Princess!” The Luyas soldier said cockily, before he charged at her.
The soldier fell on the ground, as Mika swung her blades at him and stabbed on the chest.
Mika was breathing heavily. Her robe was now stained of the guard’s blood. Her eyes glanced sharply at the in-coming Luyas soldiers charging mighty at her.With speed of light, the Spirit Princess charged toward them.
Mika got to them first before they could get their hands on Rom and the others. Swinging her blades, she cut them on the stomach, arms, whichever parts of them that she could get first.
More blood began to spilt on the ground as one by one of the soldiers dropped dead like flies.
Rom stood stunningly in front of his siblings. He stood in front, not wanting them to watch any of these.
The painful shrieking sound the soldiers made when they’d been cut still echoed in his ears.
However, none of that ever matter to the young lad as the word said by the guard kept on repeating in his mind.
The Spirit Princess? SHE is the long lost Spirit Princess? The sweetheart? That’s... That's impossible!
His eyes went over to the older Spirit who had her back facing them. By now, she was panting heavily, almost to the point of hyperventilating.
Strange. It’s not like she wasn’t fit for running. So why...
In the mist of chaos, one of the fallen guard had gotten back to his feet. Seeing Rom and the children hiding at their hidden spot, the soldier grabbed his sword, and charged madly toward them.
He charged at them while roaring madly when something stopped him from charging at them at the very last minute.
It happened so fast that it was already over in a blink of a eye.
It was a moment of time that Rom would never forget in his life. He saw something that he didn’t seen before – the heavily trembled hands of his sweetheart’s as she thrust one of the blade into the soldier’s chest after she had parried his attack.
How her eyes widened when she finally realized what she had done to all of the soldiers in order to protect Rom and the others.
City of Eden,
Lord Eden XIII’s Mansion
A man was sitting on atop of a huge rock beside the lake, while having a nice peaceful drink, a cup of tea.
Lord Eden was enjoying himself after a long hard day of never-ending political discussions, when a Knight dressed in white and blue armour came to him in a haste.
“Forgive me for intruding your private moment, Your Lordship. It appears there’s a trouble going on in the city. A group of Luyas troops were spotted in the city. They seemed to be after the so called lost ‘Spirit Princess’. Your orders, Sire?”
The man sipped his tea quietly.
“Prepare to leave at once, Captain Devone.”
“Right away, Sir!”
Mika gasped loudly, pulling her blades out from the guard’s chest whom she had just killed. Half of her face was covered in blood.
Mika fell on her knees as her whole body shuddered and she hugged herself with her hands covered her head. The taste of her enemies’ blood on her lips, the sound of their painful shrieking screams still ringing in her ears.
It haunt her — taunting her.
She never wanted to kill anyone. Them. But she had to do it. She had to do it in order to protect Rom and the others from them.
Mika knew it was the price she had to pay to keep them all safe and unharmed. She knew at that moment, she had to do everything in her powers not to let the guards got to them.
Mika slowly turned her face, hidden behind her hands with waterfall tears running down her blood stained cheeks, around to look at the owner of the small voice.
Rom had his left hand on her shoulders, in comfort. Very slowly, he managed a small smile at her.
“Don’t look at me.”
Rom gently shook his head. “No, sweetheart. Thank you. You did what you had to in order to save us. Even though you had to...”
They were interrupted by the sound of horses paddling toward them.
Before long, they found themselves being surrounded by a group of Cavalry, holding a blue and white Galanthus flag — the National flag of the City of Eden.
One of the Cavalry — a Captain rank Knight, stopped in front of them while the rest of them stood at the back.
The Captain got off from his horse and slowly approached them in a less threatening manners.
Mika was on her feet, posing dangerously while guarding Rom and the others behind her.
Her blood-stained blades pointed deadly at the Captain. She glared sharply and snarled menacingly at the Captain and the rest of his men.
A low growl sound came from her throat.
“Please calm down, Your Royal Highness. I am Captain Devone of Eden’s White Knights Brigade. I have been ordered by Lord Eden XIII to personally escort you and your entourages to His Lordship’s Mansion. He’s waiting for you. For all of you.”
“What? H-how did he know that we’re coming? This is a trap, isnt it?” Rom shouted behind Mika.
“I assured you this is not a trap, young man. The Luyas troops have been on our boarders for days, claiming they are here to capture the long lost Spirit Princess. However, because they have a warrant, My Lordship has allowed them to stay only at the Checkpoints and not beyond. But the fact that they’d attacked and chase all of you inside of Eden’s territories, thus, had allowed us to take actions against them under the act of intrusion. My Lordship would gladly explain the further details, should you wish to know when you get to the mansion.”
“What makes you think we could trust you so easily after being ambushed like that? None of your men came to help out.” Mika barked sharply.
“...Very well then.”
Devone pulled out his own sword from it’s shelter and laid it on the ground – much to his subordinates shocking faces.
“Captain! What are you doing?”
“It’s fine, men. Stand down.”
Devone continued. He removed his helmet and stripped off his protection vest before dropping them before Mika.
“Should I do something suspicious, Your Highness, or if you feel like you couldn’t trust me while we’re escorting you to the mansion, you have my permission to strike me down. I won’t stop you. my men won’t stop you.”
“But-but Captain! That’s suicidal!”
“SILENCE! You’re in the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Mika! Show her some respect!”
The men kept silence.
“Please forgive my men for their lack of manners, Your Highness. About my men earlier, I’ll be sure they would be punished as the Lordship sees fit. I hope you could forgive us.”
Mika looked at the laying items on the ground. She hadn’t let her guards down. A moment passed by, yet, no one made any moves or sound.
Mika reached out for the Devone’s sword using her left foot before she ordered Rom to take all the protective gears.
Rom too had been locking eyes on the rest of the men should they tried to do something.
Slowly, Mika lowered down her blades.
“Take us to Lord Eden’s Mansion.”
“As you wish, Your Highness.”
Devone bowed his head before her. He then turned around and barking orders to his men, for them to make a way for them.
As promised by Captain Devone, Mika and the others were not harmed while they were on their way to the Mansion.
Soon, they arrived safely at the mansion.
To Mika and the others’ surprise, as soon as they got there, there were guards and servants lining up at the sides, and waiting for their arrival.
“Your Royal Highness, Princess Mika of the Spirit World and her fellow entourages have arrive!” The guard announced as soon as the doors were opened.
“Welcome to the City of Eden, Your Royal Highness!”
Mika’s eyes grew widened at the servants who greeted them. They even bowed their heads respectfully at her.
“Y-You don’t need to bow before me! I’m not the—”
“There’s no need for you to be all awkward about it, Princess Mika.”
Devone was on one knee and bowed his head instantly at the sound of a male’s voice coming from stairs.
“Milord, just as you’d requested, I’ve brought with me our dear beloved guests safely to the mansion.”
“Great job as always, Devone.”
“A great pleasure to serve you, Milord. Milady Mika, allow me to take my leaves now.” Devone bowed down to Mika for the final time before he left with the rest of his men.
After Devone and the others had left them, Mika glanced at the mysterious masked-man who was heading toward them.
“It has been a long time, hasn’t it?” His sutry voice caught their wandered eyes from the interior design of the mansion to the man himself.
“You are Lord Eden XII?” Mika asked nervously.
“Indeed I am.”
A loud gasp broke through the mansion.
“No way! You don’t sound old at all!” Rom exclaimed loudly while the others rapidly nodding their heads.
“I’m flattened that you don’t think I’m old. I’m actually thirty-eight.” The older man turned his full attention to Mika.
“Moreover, Princess. I’m sure you have doubts and questions you wanted to ask me. Since I’ve already prepared meals for all of you. May I suggest we talk about it over lunch?”
At the mentioned of food, the children’s stomachs made a loud grumble.
Even Mika couldn’t deny the idea of food was tempting her badly after all the fight she had been through.
THE delicious smell of variety of food filled in the whole mansion. Plates kept on coming from the kitchen and being served in the dining hall.
From soups to load of breads, to pasta finally, to roasted chickens – the life of the Noblemen was a delightful one indeed, especially for the young orphans who were the dear guests of the landlord.
Lord Eden who sat at the end of the long dining table. He watched amusingly as the children, now properly washed up and cleaned, devoured the food on the table.
There were bits of sauces, bread crumbles and slightest of meats around the table. Initially, the Head Maid, a kind yet strict old lady reminded the children to be on their best manners in front of the Lord.
However, Lord Eden himself had allowed them to do as they pleased.
Rom had never felt so happy. Truly!
Never in his life he’d thought of eating marvellous foods that only the Nobles could afford to eat.
Back in that deserted town, he could only afford to feed his siblings whatever his hands could steal. More often, it was fruits, leftover breads and only on a very rare occasion, he’d managed to get his hands on delicious steaks he had stolen from the Noble’s houses.
But these! They could eat all of these for free and without worrying of getting caught!
Rom made a mental note to thank the sweetheart later. Speaking of which, where was she?
“Hey, where’s the sweetheart?”Rom asked. Unknown to him, his innocent question caused great interest for the Host.
Lord Eden looked at the young lad with one eyebrow lifted behind the mask.
“She should be down right about now.”
As soon as those words left his mouth, there were few light knocks on the dining doors before the doors opened.
One maid stepped into the room.
“May I present you, Her Royal Highness, Princess Mika of the Spirit Kingdom.”
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Soft footsteps entered the room.
The children’s eyes grew widened at the sight before them.
The someone who stepped into the room was not the same girl they’d travelled with. Nor was it the same girl who had just a while ago, protected them, defeated and killed several soldiers.
The girl standing before them with her usual, slightly messy middle-length hair tied in a perfect bun that showed her forehead, and with very light make ups on her face, was nothing like the sweetheart whom Rom knew of!
“Wow.” A word came out from the young lad’s mouth, breathlessly.
The food he chewed already forgotten in his mouth.
“You look so beautiful, Big Sis!”
One by one, the children got out of their seats and gathered around Mika, who flushed deeply and awkwardly at her new appearance.
“Now that’s the beautiful Spirit Princess that I’d remembered, long time ago!”
Mika looked up at Lord Eden. Her eyes widened, and gone all the flush on her cheeks when he said that.
“What did you say?”
Lord Eden got up from his seat. He took her hands and kissed it through the mask, and escorted her to her own seat next to him, and before he returned to his own.
The children returned their respective seats as well, and continued ate their meals while still admiring Mika’s new change.
For the first time since Mika left her comrades behind, never once did she felt alone in a new environment even without the constant company of her companions.
A moment after lunch and while all the children were taken upstairs for nap, Lord Eden had taken Mika away for a private chat.
“So, why are we here?” Mika askd when they arrived in a large room filled with framed pictures hanging on the walls.
There were many shelves, filled with old books and texts surrounded the large room, and another row of shelves filled with photo albums.
“This is the Heirloom Chamber. We kept priceless treasures here in this room for generations. There’s something I’ve been wanting to show you.”
Lord Eden went over to one of the photo album shelves. His fingers playfully tapped one by one of the albums before they landed on a thick faded gold covered album.
He took out the album.
“Here.” Lord Eden handed it over to her.
Mika looked at the album curiously before turning back to look at him.
“Why are you giving me this for?”
“Have a look inside.”
Mika looked at the album; her eyes widened as her finger carefully traced the curved title on the cover:
’The Spirits Royal Family’.
They were well-written in Ancient Aspaniac Language.
Lord Eden nodded. He then gestured for the surprised looking Princess to follow him outside.
When they reached by the lake a moment later, there were a couple of seats, light snacks and two cups of tea already being prepared and served by the servants for them.
Lord Eden thanked and dismissed them.
“What are you waiting for? Open it,child.” Lord Eden sipped on his tea, through the small hole for the mouth. His eyes behind the mask watched her every moves.
Mika’s slightly trembled fingers slowly flipped the first few pages of the album.
Old pictures from generations to generations of the Spirit’s Royal Family.
Suddenly, something flashed in her mind; a distance memory: a little girl at the age of five, sat on the floor while looking at the same golden thick album book in a library sort of room.
Just then, someone had come behind her and tickled her suddenly, causing her to laugh aloud before she turned to face the unseen person’s face and reached out her arms for a hug.
Mika almost dropped the heavy album on her hands had it not for Lord Eden who held her hands firmly onto the album.
“Stop calling me that! I-I’m NOT the long lost missing Princess! Just because he had told me I am, that doesn’t means that I am! It doesn’t proves anything! It doesn’t mean I am the one! What proves does he has to confirm that I am the long lost Princess, anyway!” Mika stood up abruptly during her outburst.
Tears began to gather in her eyes and deep confusion was evidently in her mind.
Lord Eden looked at her sympathetically.
“Forgive me, Pri— Mika. I should have said something before handing you the album. I needed to see for myself if it’s indeed true – that you have lost your past memories. My sincere apologies.”
Mika wiped away more tears that threatened to fall on her cheeks, using the back of her hand.
For a moment, the two stayed in silence before Mika decided to ask.
“How do you know so much about me? Have we met before?”
“May I?” Lord Eden asked for the album. Mika nodded and handed it to him.
He flipped a few pages on the back of the album, and pointed out a picture of two young men stood in front of the mansion.
Each of the men held a pair of toddles in their arms; a boy and a girl with the same hair colours and eyes.
Mika gasped at the picture when she looked closely at the man holding a toddler girl in his arms — he’d wore a mask. The same mask that the man sitting beside her was wearing.
Her widened eyes went from the picture to the man in front of her.
“T-This is you?”
Lord Eden nodded his head.
“That’s right. That’s the previous Spirit King, His Royal Highness, King Ferid, your father. In his arms is your twin brother, Prince Makai.”
Mika took the picture out for a better look at the man in the picture; her father, while Lord Eden continued to speak.
“Before the Great War happened seven years ago, we had a great politics relation with the Spirit Royal Family. As the man who is still responsible to keep peace in the two worlds, it had been my duty to serve the Royal Family whenever they came to Fulaina for a visit.”
Mika nodded. Her eyes still looking at the picture.
“Your father, King Ferid, was a great man. He was a man of honour. No other man nor Spirit could defeat him in terms of justice. It was because of him that we had such great relations between the two worlds, filled with different races, backgrounds and cultures combined together as one for many years before the start of the Great War.”
Mika listened quietly to the words spoken softly of the Lord about the man she used to know but sadly couldn’t remember. One tear fell on her cheek. This time, she didn’t bother wipe it away.
“However, there were some of our people who were against his ideals. The Spirit’s prophecy for instant; is a sacred and should only be meant for the Spirits. However, because of humanity’s endless greed, things got out of hands; they’d discovered of the Prophecy and wanted it for themselves. That was the main reason why the war started.”
Mika listened, with her mouth agape in incredulity.
Lord Eden flipped another page and showed her another picture of him, her father and a younger looking man.
“Do you know him?”
Mika shook her head. Which to her great surprise, had the man chuckled at her respond.
“You should be able to remember him! You were his underling back in Luyas.”
“C-Commandant Grants?” Her eyes grew widened.
“Exactly. He was a representative from Luyas; the best knight they had at his time.”
Mika could sense him smiling behind the mask. “How did you know I was coming here?”
“To be honest, I didn’t. I did however received a report and a secret love-letter from Grants stated what had happened in Andania and to you, after you were exiled from the Kingdom.”
“In the letter, he’d told me he was sorry for not being able to protect you like he’d promised me he would, years ago. I’ve been keeping a watchful eyes for you since then, just in case you came. ”
“What promise did the Commandant made?”
“It’d happened a few months after Lord Ranfel had found you in Luyas. You were twelve years old at that time, I believe. After he’d saw how good you’d fought during one of the trainings in the Knight Academy, and how you’d made a very great impression on him. The man wouldn’t stopped talking about you for months! Each time we went out for drinks, you were always on the top of his topic list. Heck, I’d almost thought he’d developed an unhealthy obsession of you!”
Mika laughed heartily at his dramatic hands gestures. Even without seeing his face, he had the charms to make people feel comfortable around him with his silly antics and young-at-heart attitudes.
“Truthfully be told, I’d wanted to take you back with me to Eden on the day that you were found. You would be protected and able to live in peace here – away from the corruption world of our politics. I’d meant to help you to get back to your own world. However, Lord Ranfel had his men backed him up with reasons that were beneficial accordingly to the Court when he’d adopted you. And well, I’d lose you to him. However, I wasn’t ready to give you up. So, I’d proposed an agreement with Lord Ranfel – that after you have reached to a certain age, eighteen, I would take you away from him, whether he likes it or not. By then, he could not stop me unless he wants to pick a fight with the Master Oracle and the House of Eden. And we all know who would lose in the end.” The Lord smirked behind the mask he was wearing.
Mika let out a small smile as well.
“But then,” Lord Eden sighed and gazed down at the picture of the three of them. “Grants had come out of nowhere. That sneaky fellow. He’d said that he had wanted to adopt you himself. It’d nearly gave me a heart attack when he, the famous ‘Demon’ Commandant had one day, came knocking on my door, asking for a permission to adopt a child.”
“A-And you’d let him?”
“Of course not, silly! When he’d mentioned the child was you, I’d refused his adoption application immediately; due to your origin as a Spirit. Also,because of what he’d intended to do with you. He said the reason why he’d wanted to adopt you was because he saw the great potential within you to become a great Knight like him.” Lord Eden sighed heavily.
“Grants meant well. I knew if he had you under his wings, he won’t even let Lord Ranfel lays a hair on you, no matter how differences their status were. However, that would make you their puppet and trophy that they all willing to compete. And I, would never allow such thing to happen under my watch.”
Lord Eden turned to look at her. Even with a mask on, Mika could feel his eyes on her. She didn’t answer immediately. Not wanted to interrupt him.
“If possible, I would like to restore the relationship between the Spirit world and our world. I’m well aware that it is not an easy task. However, we had been in peace with them for decades before the Great War had even started. It’s a great shame if we left things to end this way after all those years.”
Mika kept silence.
This was perhaps the very first time she’d heard anyone talked about restoring peace not just only for this world, but for both worlds as well. Too often had she heard people talked ill about the Spirits.
While Mika understood from their perspectives, after being with them for so long time, however, to hear someone, a human talked about restoring peace back to both worlds made her heart swell in joy.
Those two continuously to talk at the garden until sunset arrived. Lord Eden offered his hand to the Princess and led them back inside to the mansion.
MIKA walked into the hallway with the Lord by her side, when a guard approached and saluted them.
“Pardon me, Lord Eden, Milady. Sir, your guests have just arrived safely. They’re waiting at your office, just as you’ve requested.”
“Excellent! Thank you so much. We’ll be going now.” The guard saluted at them again before returning to his post.
“Well then, shall we go and greet them, Your Highness?”
Mika silently nodded.
Once they arrived, Lord Eden had asked her to open the doors. As she turned the knob and the door’s slightly opened, she was immediately greeted by a loud voice literally shouted at her.
“Mika!” A warm body crashed into Mika and pulled her into a tight hug.
Mika blinked a couple of times while trying not to fall back on the high heels she was still wearing. She looked at the person who had literally crashed into her and gasped.
“Oh, you have no idea how worried I was when you’d left all the sudden!” Guy grabbed her cheeks with both hands before he pulled her into a hug once again while babbling about how worried he had been.
On the other hand, his two other comrades came at the door and simply shook their heads. Each with a grin of his own.
“Ah, there he goes. All those talks about ‘letting her go’ went straight out the window the moment he landed eyes on her.” Kazuo commented, shaking his head.
The tall ginger-blonde fighter approached the two. He stopped dead on his track, and stared at transformed Princess from head to toe.
“Damn, girl.” He whistled. “I’ve been with lots of women before, but ye are definitely one of a kind!” Kazuo’s grin grew widened before he winked at her.
Mika had a hard time fighting off the flush on her cheeks when all the sudden, she saw the blonde fighter got thrown full bodily thrown down to the floor. Followed by one very angry voice shouted loudly at him.
Lord Eden let out a sigh behind the mask and shook his head. It had been a while since his office was this loud.
Approaching him from his right, was Guy. Mika had wandered off to their other comrades in hope to stop them from slaying each other any time soon.
“Excuse me, Milord? I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for taking such a good care of Mika while she’s here. We were informed by the guards that escorted us here about the incident earlier.” Guy said politely.
Lord Eden nodded. “It is my pleasure and honour to be of a service for the Princess, really.”
The loud shouting banters between the two men had awakened the children upstairs from their little nap. Curious to know what happened, they all rushed down the stairs — to where Mika and the others.
When they got there, they were extremely in shocked at the sight of two men wrestling on the floor.
Mika, aware of their sudden presences, mocked a cough loud enough for the men to hear.
“I’m sorry, did we wake you up?” Mika asked kindly to them.
Rom slowly came forward from the room. He wore a nice piece of white pyjamas, prepared by the maids. He rubbed his eyes tiredly. The other siblings followed closely behind him.
Before long, the children ambushed Mika with hugs.
“What’s goin’ on here? Who are these people?” He pointed a finger at each of the strangers.
“They are my companions, Rom. The ones I’ve told you about.”
At the mentioned of her human companions, Rom stopped rubbing his eyes. Instantly, he turned to face them with widened eyes. His face changed dramatically from sleepy to horrified.
“Y-You not going to take her away are you?!”
“You can’t! She’ll be safer here! No one is going to hurt her in here! But if she goes outside, there will be people wanting to hurt her like – like what had happened this afternoon! She had to kill those people to protect us!”
Rom clenched both his shaking fists and teeth. “She was so scared and terrified! Her hands were trembling when she’d killed them! You should have seen it!” He refused to look at anyone but the floor. His bangs covered his eyes.
A soft footsteps came toward him and before he could do anything, a pair of delicate arms had wrapped themselves around him and pulled him into a hug.
Rom’s face instantly turned bright red as soon he realized who did the sweet scent came from.
“What had happened earlier today, has made me realized that I don’t deserve to become a Princess.”
“No! Big Sis, you are a Princess! You are very beautiful!” Luke protested from the side. He and the other children stood before Lord Eden and Guy. They were clamping the men’s legs with their small arms when Mika had walked toward Rom.
Mika smiled sadly at them, still holding the young lad in her arms.
“What are you talking about?”Rom muttered. His eyes were looking on the ground while hiding his blushed face.
Mika slowly pushed herself away from him, created a small distance so that she could finally see the look on his face.
“If I am a Princess, like everybody kept telling me, then I must be a very lousy one.” At this, Rom tried to interrupt but was immediately hushed by a finger on his lips.
“I didn’t even try to protect the people that are matters to me – people whom I should be protecting as a Princess; my people. Instead, I ran and hide – hide behind these strong wall made of people who are stronger than me. I’m a coward. I deny myself and my origin. I couldn’t accept the truth of who and what I am. I ended up depending on others. What kind of Princess does that?”
Rom watched as the beautiful sweetheart in front of him shed a tear with a small smile.
Slowly, he raised one hand and wiped the tear away, while letting her continued to speak.
“But what happened today had definitely opened up my eyes. Killing those Luyas guards, and protecting you children had made me realized that even if I am not the Princess the Spirits are looking for, I still have a duty, that is, to protect those who got left behind. That was what gave me the strengths that I needed in order to fight those Luyas guards back. That’s all I’d thought about.”
Rom lowered his head sadly. He didn’t need her to say blurt it out and say it. He understood it well.
“You’ll be leaving us... Just like the others. Will you be coming back, though?”
“Of course she will!” Lord Eden approached them, bringing the children around his legs along with him. “Her Royal Highness is just simply doing her duty as a Princess. It is her duty to do all that she can in order for her people include yourselves, to live in peace, safe and sound in Fulaina. In order to achieve that goal, she needs to go on this very important mission with her companions — who are also her bodyguards. So you see, she will definitely coming back. That I assure you. Won’t you, Your Highness?”
Mika beaming smiled at him and nodded. “Of course!”
Rom rubbed his nose, looking away. The flush on his cheeks refused to fade.
“W-Well, You’d better be! In fact, you’d better come here straight after where ever it is that you’re going! If not, I... Well, I... I’ll get mad! And you won’t like it when I’m MAD!”
Mika chuckled heartily as she rubbed the boy’s head affectionately.
“I will. Promise. But in return, I want all of you to be on your best behaviour while staying with Lord Eden, you hear? All of you.”
The children saluted and swore that they would be on their best behaviour, caused the office to be fill with laughter.
After everything had settled down, a loud yawn came from Kazuo as he stretched his arms, caught the Lord’s attention.
“Oh my. You three looked really worn out. I’ve already asked the servants to prepare your meals. The rooms upstairs are ready for you to use as well Why don’t you go and freshened up first?”
“That’ll be awesome.Thanks!” Kazuo smirked. He playfully messed one of the children’s hair, before he was forced to run all the way to upstairs when they started to chase him.
“Well then, I’ll be taking my leave too. Excuse me and good night then.” Guy bowed at Lord Eden and quietly closed the door.
“You too, little man. Little boy needs to get his sleep as well.” Lord Eden pulled Rom who had been standing still and couldn’t keep his eyes off the Princess, toward the door before shutting it.
After the door was shut, there were just two people left in the room. For a while, none of them spoke a word. Just an awkward silence filled in between them.
Shinji made the first move by searching his cigarette box inside the pocket of his sleeve. Once found, he popped one cigarette on his mouth and lighted it up.
“Are you angry?” Mika finally decided to ask. The silence was killing her.
Shinji didn’t replied immediately. He took his time by exhaling the smoke before he answered her.
Mika was clearly surprised by his reply. She was fully prepared and half-expected the man to scold her for running off on her own without telling them.
“Because you’ve made that decision on your own. If you haven’t yet noticed, it was your first ever making a decision without having to relay on me or anyone telling you whether it’s the good or wrong thing to do. For that, I’m not mad at you.”
Mika let out a long sight of relief.
“However,” Shinji shut his eyes. “Even though I said I’m not mad about it, you had me greatly concerned and worried about how you would handle the situation on your own. When one of the guard informed us the fight that happened today, how you had guarded and protected those children with your life despite it caused your hands to be stained with blood, that was when I realised, that you have grown, Mika.”
A rare smile appeared on his handsomely face when he lifted his head and looked at her.
Shinji took few steps forward. He pulled her in a hug before rubbing her head gently and affectionately.
There were lots of questions Mika had been dying to ask him. Like did he know about her past? How did he found out about her in the first place? Even the dream that she had before she had this journey about the young boy reminded her of him crossed her mind.
However, none of those questions matter to her now.
Exactly at that moment, Mika knew she could trust him, just as he’d put his trust in her.