Author's Notes: It has been three months since I last updated this story. Funny because this is the last chapter for God's Eye. I had been too busy with my studies. Multiple projects with my final year project. Exams soon afterwards. Now, all of this is done. I can confidently say that I will be graduating as a Mechatronics engineer. This epilogue is the longest one I have ever written in my life. It had taken me two weeks to get it drafted and edited out as thoroughly as possible. I felt at times when my skills were just not enough to fulfill the situation I wanted to write. If it doesn't appeal to you now, I apologize on my lack of skill.
Nevertheless, I thank all the readers for providing their viewership and opinions. This is likely my last work in . Thank you.
Epilogue: The New World
"Where on Brimir did he go?" Alexia fumed indignantly at the troubling problem of finding her husband. She had been looking within the ship. The main cargo bay is crowded with refugees and the officer in charge had not seen him. She scanned around with her annoyed eyes and found a man by the largest mast that probably have the answers.
Julio had his head down. He replied when she called his name. He sounded dark. "What is it?" Alexia posed him the question. "He's performing his duties somewhere. He probably will be away for some time." Julio answered.
Alexia narrowed her eyes at the lack of foresight from her husband to inform another change of plan. "How long would that be?"
"I don't know. For a beautiful flower such as you, I hope that it's fast enough." The priest hoped for the best even if it is very bleak.
Louise woke up. She felt groggy as her vision cleared slowly. She is in a room made of wood. There is only a simple bed. Why am I here? Memory of what transpired hours ago trickled in. She was supposed to be in Rosais. I was getting married... She and Saito had an argument before that. Before that was... Her mission struck her head in the head. She shot off the bed and left the room. She darted across the bulkhead and reached topside of the Redoubtable. The ship is airborne given by the winds along her skin.
Julio and Alexia saw her hurried entrance. He caught her attention in a calm manner. "Welcome back to the world, Sleeping Beauty." His words pulled her head around.
The Academy maid joined her with Scarron and Jessica not far behind and competed for her attention. "Miss Valliere, where is Saito?" She had not seen Saito at all for the past few hours even when she tried to find him.
Louise is at a loss herself. "Saito...where's Saito?" She grasped cold emptiness in her head as she tried to recall what happened. Her mind is yet to be as sharp as it should. There is a blank gap in her memory.
Julio decided to spill the beans. "He isn't here." Their heads turned towards the blonde priest. "Saito has gone to fight the Albion army."
Louise couldn't believe him. "What did you say?" She knew her mission to protect everyone else. What is Saito doing?
Julio repeated. "Saito has gone to fight the Albion army while you were asleep from the sleeping potion." His words are akin to a hammer bludgeoning their heads.
Siesta put her hands to her mouth to hold back a scream. "How could that be...? I had given it to Saito so that he could live on!" To think of how Saito had used it to die had overwhelmed her mind. She fainted and Jessica barely managed to catch her midway.
Louise finally understood everything that had transpired. She realized what he had actually done. "Saito...for the sake of saving me..." She rushed for the railing on the port side of the ship. Her attempts to disembark were cut off by the strong grip of the Fairy Inn's owner.
Scarron had barely predicted her move in time. He tried to calm the extremely petite girl compared to his large size. "Louise! It's too late now!" The ship had already departed for an hour. It's impossible to turn the ship around without dangerous consequences. Even if they did turn around, it would take Louise a few more hours to reach the battlefield. By then, it would already be over.
Louise yelled. "Let go of me!" She will do anything to get to Saito, even if she has to jump off the ship at high altitude, swim and walk across enemy lines and face an army of seventy thousand. Saito's warmth is just priceless.
The gravity of the situation dawned on Alexia. Saito would not be alone. It explained her looked at Julio for the answer. The blonde give a solemn nod in anticipation of her question. Her heart plummeted at the odds of two men against an entire army. He lied. Alexia turned her horrified gaze to the struggling girl. Louise demanded. "I just can't let Saito go and die!" "Let me go! Let me go please!"
In the midst of the struggle, the bottle of Éclair D'amour fell from her pocket onto the wooden deck. Its clatter served to silence the conflict. Louise broke free and ran to it. She was calmed when she picked it up. The bloomed pink flower glowed with life of her significant other. It meant that Saito's alive.
Alas, it is merely the calm before the horror. The flower wilted to death before her very eyes. It could only mean one thing. Her hands shivered uncontrollably as the implication struck into her heart. Louise squeezed the cold glass as she screamed into the sky.
It is dawn. At the hulk of what is once called Saxe-Gotha, the Albion command staffs is confused regarding one and just one particular matter. A brown haired man brushed his trimmed moustache with a finger. "Can someone tell me what in the blazing of Hell did our army fight last night?"
An officer, his armour still coated with sweat and dust from battle answered the man's inquiry. "General. It might be a bit surprising when you hear about it."
The commanding general gestured the man to continue. "Surprise me then. I've been surprised enough with the Tristain's superweapon and the latest mindless Tristain turncoat troops. In fact I've been surprised more in this year alone than my previous thirty years of my life. I think your answer would not change anything very much. Now tell me what did we fight that incurred the loss of a thousand men dead, several hundred wounded and an entire disarray of our lines?"
The officer hesitated before clearing his throat. He answered as dignified as possible. "Given witnesses amongst our troops, it can be effectively determined that it is two men."
The general froze for a second before raising an eyebrow. "You're telling me that just two men managed to put our entire army into a standstill and in disarray, causing us to be unable to finish off the Tristain army in a killing blow?" The officer could not speak, only nod the answer. The other commanders have nothing else to say. The General settled himself down onto a chair in resignation. "I hope this is enough because if only two men could do this, I don't want to face an army of them."
Guiche cast his gaze at the Vestri Courtyard. He had returned to the Academy with his duty done. Albion is in no position to counterattack and thus they are granted a short peace. He had returned with the remnants of his command. His father had been proud of his efforts yet it only served to make him feel worse. He had seen too many people die. He is disgusted by that one fact that describes war, death. He now understood what Saito had to say.
In this short peace, people of from all walks of Tristain grieve and mourned for their lost ones. Some celebrate for those who survived. He frowned at the thought of being happy after so many have died. Maybe it is just him for he is among those who have lost friends. Saito and Jack had not returned with the remnants of the Tristain army. They are presumed dead in combat due to the nature of a given suicide mission to protect the transport convoy. It had made him annoyed to see how their condition can be dismissed as dead so easily by the logistics officer. He had seen death's door once and been near it several times already. Certainly these two whom he felt are superior in their own way won't die that easily. He reflected on how Montmorency had expressed her emotions twenty minutes ago.
While you were gone, dreadful things have happened. Albion had attacked the academy. Colbert died protecting us. Now Saito and Jack are dead protecting a city's worth of people. Why do you boys rave of attacking enemies? How much more death do we have to bear witness to?
While you were gone, I had decided. I will study more. If I was better at water healing magic, I could have done something and saved Colbert. I won't let myself be powerless anymore. I won't let Colbert's sacrifice be in vain.
Montmorency promised a visit to Louise to sooth the girl however possible, the worst victims of the case. He rubbed his weary eyes. He remembered this Courtyard as a bad memory. Saito had bested him in a duel. It served as a mockery for him over the months without end. Now the memory doesn't seem so bad. He noticed how he thought differently of the young familiar.
Saito, you may be a commoner but you are my friend. As for Jack, it's funny how noticeable you can be when I hardly even know you. You would be a good person to discuss topics with.
His thoughts were disrupted by the vibrations in the soil. He looked down as the flat surface is broken slowly by digging paws. A hole is finished with the appearance of a large mole. "Verdandi." His familiar had dull dark eyes with sadness. He knelt beside the mole and patted its head. "You're sad about Saito aren't you?" Familiars reportedly are able to feel the emotions of their master. Guiche had doubts about their deaths but the notion of them being missing for so long have been constantly drilling the fact that they may be really dead. The slow drain of hope is gnawing slowly into the defiance of death.
Verdandi rubbed its nose against his leg. Before he could answer, his senses flared a warning. Guiche shot up to full height and challenged with a hand already reaching for a rose. "Who's there?"
A feminine voice answered him. "You need to relax." Kirche appeared from behind a pillar along the stone path. Seeing her appearance, the former soldier lowered his guard.
Guiche sighed. These corridors are uncommonly frequented. "I guess it will take some time to get used to the peaceful Academy." The war is over for the time being. He enquired. "How are they?"
The noble lady of Zerbst reported. "Louise has isolated herself." The blonde nodded in response. Kirche added her thoughts. "I think that Louise is very prevalent about her thoughts. I'm more worried about Alexia."
Guiche tightened his jaw, seriously considering her words. "You have a point. I agree with you."
Kirche nodded. "She appears fine on the outside. She gets her things done efficiently yet…" Her expression contorted in distaste for what she said. "But I think she's quite hurt as well."
Guiche turned his eyes to the garden of flowers across the courtyard. "While I admit I am concerned for their two being, this is something that I cannot intrude to solve. It would be up to you to help them."
Kirche turned her gaze towards the same flowers. These flowers were freshly planted on orders by the Headmaster in respect for the soldiers lost in the war. "I'm surprised you delegated that role of playboy so conveniently to me." Guiche protested weakly against her idea but it is fruitless. Eventually settling it aside, they saw a need. "We will need to keep a close eye on them for the better or worse."
At the tower of the girl's dormitories, it is deathly quiet. Most of the dorm is empty. For those who remained or are beginning to return, nobody wanted to speak loudly or freely. It had been unanimously decided when they learnt of the news. It is their way of respect for the two girls whom returned from Albion. Louise pulled her knees close. She stared at them as the eyes of her mind went back in time.
He always protected me.
He was my servant.
He was my shield.
He is my love.
The feelings that she have for him had started off slow. She had despised him for being so troublesome. He had been a reminder to her during the first week since the summoning ritual. He had been a reminder of how she had failed. Things began to improve since then. They had taken down Fouquet together. They had been entrusted with a mission from the Queen. They had saved Tristain from Albion. They had saved the Queen from the reanimated Prince Wales. However, she could not have done it alone. Saito had been the partner she needed. He had brought out her potential.
Thinking about Saito had unleashed more memories and emotions that came with it. She could almost recall the exact feeling of her first kiss with Saito. All these memories, it hurts. It hurts so much. The shards of the past jabbed into her rapidly as she remembered and remembered. The actions, the sounds, the sights are all being revived one by one. She yearned for his voice. She yearned for his antics no matter how annoying it was. She yearned for his warmth. She yearned for his laugh. She yearned for his smile. She had lost it all.
Her inner self spoke. "Why am I such an idiot...?" Why didn't she realize that the wine was drugged? If she did….if she did….
The possibility was cut short when the door is opened. Did she leave it unlocked? She didn't give a damn. She wanted whoever is at the door to just go and leave her alone. She huddled as she closed her eyes. Alexia called out her name. "Louise."
Go away! Go away! Go away! She wanted to be alone. She should be alone. Her silent demands are not met as Alexia called her name again. She forced an answer if not she will not be left alone. "Leave me alone."
"You should come outside. You need to eat." Louise did not answer. Alexia stepped into the dark and stuffy room. The windows are closed and the curtains pulled. The blanket is sprawled and messy. Dirty clothes are scattered on the floor. Everything is in neglect.
"That's enough Louise..." Alexia tried to coax her peer. "Don't be sad."
Louise turned away towards the wall. She can't bear to show herself as a mess to her friend. "I can't..." The image of her beloved couldn't be erased from her mind. Sometimes she could hear him. She dreamt about him regularly to be in bliss until she wakes up to the cruel reality. "I…really love Saito."
Louise felt a hand on hers. "I know you do but…it's pointless now."
Louise felt difficult to maintain her composure. Those memories….those memories are really hurting now. "I…really…love Saito…"
Alexia's assurance felt very meaningless. "Don't cry…you won't look good that way."
She couldn't refuse her eyes to shed her feelings. The warm tears trickled down her cheeks as her throat began to clamp up. "I can't…"
Her friend's voice is crumbling. "Just try or...I can't stop crying too." Alexia held herself closed to Louise, tears streaming down her cheeks. Silently yet firmly, the two girls grieved together for their lost ones.
Back in the capital, it is a mix of emotions. There is happiness and there is sadness. Two sides of a coin are occurring at the same time. In the castle, a young woman that needed to rule watched silently over her subjects. The difference in the moods is clear as day and night. It is assuring and yet depressing. She didn't have much to think about the hypocrisy for she was interrupted by the entrance of an aide.
The young man announced news. "Your Highness, you have been invited to the Nations conference in Rosais to celebrate and discuss terms of Albion's future."
The Queen of Tristain did not respond. She stared solemnly out the window. He wanted to repeat the news when the queen answered. "What is there to celebrate?" The young man shut his mouth as she went on. "We are lucky. If it wasn't for Gallia striking at the Albion's head, this war would have taken us down along with it."
While Albion had been busy pursuing the retreating Tristain army, Gallia had deployed its airships and moved swiftly for the capital Londinium. The Albion leadership had no inkling of Gallia's movements since almost all of their airships have been destroyed and no intelligence could be sent back to the capital in time. By the time Albion received reports of movements, the Gallia air fleet is already in position outside the capital with plenty of weapons and fresh troops. The Albion army, out of position and again delayed by the pre emptive strike by two volunteers could not return to the capital to defend.
The Capital Londinium did have a garrison of troops which is essential for a capital at all times. The garrison however is not capable of meeting an army with provided airship support. Walls mean nothing against cannons that shoot above them. Additionally, most of the Albion's dragon knights had been reorganized to join the counterattack army. Seeing no other choice than complete annihilation, Albion folded. Now the fate of Albion and the spoils of war will be discussed in this upcoming conference.
The aide is unsure of what to do. He does the tasks dictated by the Queen or the council. He didn't expect to play advisor! "Your Highness…"
Henrietta relieved him of the need. "Tell them that I will accept the invitation." In return, she requested about the progress by the Finance Minister. "Has my other order been done?"
The aide answered. "Yes, everything has been sold and the money distributed among the families accordingly." The Queen's chamber now is a shell to what it once was. What had painting and beautiful chairs is now empty space. The throne is also gone. The room that once radiated royalty is now dark and empty in accordance with its owner.
Henrietta turned her eyes back to the window. "Good." Her mind is starting to think of other thoughts. "This war is a very painful lesson." Cardinal Mazarin had visited her earlier and forced her to read the list that she didn't want to know. The piece of parchment had listed the names of those whom had died in service of Tristain. It had pained her for the list is a long one. Thirty thousand of all men and women both commoner and noble are dead. Those alone are Tristain's and that did not include the wounded. How many men were crippled from the war or brought undue pain, she didn't know. She couldn't remember every name but she wanted to do something to ease the pain of those families that lost their loved ones.
She however could remember the two names that were listed that saddened her. Thinking about it brought a thought to mind and she immediately acted upon it. She called for a carriage.
Alexia entered the office of the Academy's Principal. Instead of the lecherous old man, Queen Henrietta awaited her arrival. The Queen had arrived only an hour ago. Alexia's presence had been requested after a quick meal to satiate the hunger from travel. She knelt and said. "Your Highness, I apologize for Louise's lack of appearance. She is currently occupied with her sisters."
Henrietta did not appear offended. "That is fine. How are you?"
Her subject answered. "I am fine. What is your will Your Majesty?" Her emotions are hidden beneath a thin veil of monotone.
"Please rise." Alexia rose to full height. "I came here to see Louise and you." The Queen showed signs of regret. "You have my condolences about your husband."
Whatever the young widow might be feeling, she showed no signs of it. "Thank you." Alexia pondered a few seconds before asking. "May I speak freely Your Majesty?"
There is more strength in her free speech. "I'm certain that there must be good reasons for they did what they do there. Their sacrifice had not been in vain. They have saved many lives even in the mess of this war. The choice itself to go to war had been a bad one." Anger strengthened her voice. "I was at the battlefield once. I saw good men die under the bombardment. I myself had been injured but I had been fortunate. Too many lives had been killed all in this bicker of nations."
Henrietta could not refute the girl that is around her age. Politics have made things difficult for a ruler to make proper decisions. For this war, it became a damned if she did, damned if she did not. She wished that things could be simpler than that. She had cried over this when Mazarin showed her that list. Now, she felt cold emptiness. "I can only say I'm sorry."
Alexia retorted. "Sorry is only a word. Mean it. That is what Jack would feel."
Seeing the quiet anger inside the girl of her age, Henrietta's eyes flared with determination. "Don't worry. I intend to."
"As for Jack…I know the odds are suicidal for the two of them. Even so, I know Jack must have a plan. Thus while my heart tells me they're dead, my mind tells me otherwise. There might be hope. I can only wait for them to return."
The ruler of Tristain offered. "I'll see to it that you get reservation for the first ship to Albion." It was then when it happened.
Eleanor declared. "Your familiar has died." Cattleya, the second eldest sister protested on how harsh she had been. Her soft protests are ignored as Eleanor pulled the drapes of the curtains, allowing sunlight to brighten the room.
Louise is not giving her sisters any attention. She only had her eyes on the Éclair D'amour. Its flower had remained wilted since that fateful day. It current serves to strengthen her reminder about the young boy she loved. "It's my fault...it's all my fault that Saito..."
The eldest Valliere snapped at her. "Calm down! It's only the death of a familiar!"
Her words acted like spears to her heart. It caused immense pain and anger. Eleanor was caught off guard when Louise shot up her feet and charged at her. She roughly grabbed her sister's shirt. "What do you mean by a familiar?! He's special to me! Saito is the most important person to me!" Eleanor pulled back in surprise from such an adverse reaction from her little sister. She then noticed tears in her little Louise's face.
Louise released all her pent up rage into her screams. "Get out! You don't have to care about me! Leave me alone!" Seeing their youngest sister so angry and distraught, Catteleya silently encouraged Eleanor to leave. They left the room, the door shut and Louise lost all strength to her legs. She fell onto her knees, clutching the bottle which contained the dead flower.
She closed her eyes and begged to Brimir. "Saito...I love you. Please come back...I'll give anything for you." Even if it is just for a fleeting moment at the cost of her life, she would gladly give it! A light caught her attention.
The flower is alive and glowing! It is supposed to be dead. Otherwise it could only mean one thing! She ran out of her room. Her heart pumped with excitement yet with cold dread. She hoped her intuition is right but she's afraid of it being wrong.
She reached the Academy's gate and beyond. A human shape stood in the dirt path towards the Academy. Louise froze her tracks. The shape had a sword on his back. It is a familiar one. He wore odd blue coloured clothing. The black hair and eyes made the mark. The boy before her very eyes is unscratched. He held a bottle with a glowing blue flower.
Her prayers had been answered. They both ran to each other's arms. They fell onto the ground in a much wanted embrace. The boy said with great relief in his voice. "Louise! Louise!"
"Saito!" Louise couldn't believe her eyes. She couldn't control her tears of joy. "You're really here aren't you? You're not any ghost or figment of my imagination right?!"
Saito gave the widest smile she had ever seen. "I'm back."
Louise started pounding onto his chest. "Saito you idiot! Idiot idiot idiot! I thought you died!"
Saito answered as he stroked her hair. "That's because I was saved by a fairy." Louise's cries were cut short. "A fairy saved me and took care of me for a while." He laughed as he recalled. "Her size is really off the charts."
Louise is eerily silent before she replied. "Size? What exactly do you mean by that?" Saito froze over the slip of the tongue. She stood up and towered over the confused boy. She appeared to be choking from anger. "That's how it is. While I have been thinking you are dead for good, you have been enjoying yourself with that fairy." She pulled out her wand, the glowing sparks showing her renewed vigour. "Then you can just go live together with that fairy!" Saito bolted.
The enraged girl yelled her death threats as she pursued. "I haven't dealt with you regarding the matter of making me drink the sleeping potion!" That made Saito squeal and sprint even harder to avoid his destined consequences. He darted across the courtyard before taking a hard right at a wall. In doing so, he passed by a few of his friends. They were all caught off guard by the sudden presence of once a dead man.
"Welcome back Saito!"
Derflinger in the scabbard on his back commented. "Partner, I feel that it's easier to deal with the enemies of seventy thousand than her." Saito spoke his agreement between much needed breaths.
The Academy had not been aware of what had been happening. Thus, a young maid blinked as a blue figure dashed past her. She thought she had seen something familiar. "Saito?"
Saito backpedalled to talk to her face to face. "Siesta!"
Siesta brightened with delight. "I've always believed that you were still alive!" Despite the urgency of the moment, Saito is transfixed by her plump assets which he hasn't seen in a long time. Another face filled in between.
Louise smiled as she tapped her wand against her palm. Saito felt a shiver at impending doom. He had just killed his own escape. She raised her wand. "Saito...you perverted dog!"
"Saito!" Someone called out, pulling their attention away. Saito turned around to see Alexia. She is panting after sprinting all the way from the top levels of the tower down to ground level. She had seen what had happened outside. She promptly raced down the tower to reach them. Alexia rushed towards him. She grabbed his hand and asked. "Where's Jack? Tell me where he is!"
Saito's panic and doom is lost to the wind for sad realization replaced it. He said regrettably to the floor. "I see…he hasn't come back as I suspected." He looked up and told his answer. "I… don't know..."
Her hopes had been crushed. "What do you mean...you don't know?" She had waited so long for that chance! The chance to that answer had arrived! How could Saito not know the answer?!
"We got separated. I didn't know what happened to him after I was teleported out by Derflinger." The widow gasped as her grip tightened around his fingers. Louise felt the same sadness as the blonde girl tried to keep what little of her composure left. She eventually released it and walked away without a word.
In the capital, it is a dark time for a young boy. Saito took another swig of wine. The taste is bitter but that is what he wanted, pure bitter to match his heart. Derflinger resting on the bar table said. "That's enough sulking around don't you think?" Saito ignored the sentient blade. He regretted his mistakes that cost him. The events of that night went by his eyes again.
He felt his heart faint but still beating. It was extremely noisy with metallic creaking. He opened his eyes. A humongous semi sphere steel shield had been projected above them, protecting them from the devastating blast. The one person keeping the shield intact from the immense bombardment towered above Saito. "Jack…"
Jack clenched his teeth from the strain he just endured. "This really is a stupid decision." He turned his unfocused eyes towards the sentient sword. "Do you have any tricks that can get Saito out of here?"
Derflinger went through his thought process quickly. "I remember now! Yes I can!"
Jack ordered the sword. "Do it."
Saito protested. "You can't survive here all alone!" The shield above groaned in agreement as the bombardment began to die down.
Jack answered, already thinking ahead on improvising his situation. "You are Gandalf. The Void Mages by right are critical to changing this world. You must live to protect Louise. You are her shield and she needs you. You are injured and can't move. You'd just be a liability around here now." He gave a cocky look which failed to be convincing. "I on the other hand… just need to run very fast to the Zero. That's all."
How is Jack going to do that? Saito doubted it. "But!"
Jack cut him off. "Do it Derflinger!" Saito saw orange light glowing around him before it blinded his eyes. He felt weightless for seconds before feeling solid ground. He could not do anything else for the darkness has quickly consumed him.
Saito settled another empty mug onto the table. He ordered the bartender for another. Seconds later, a fresh mug is pushed in front of him. This would be his fifth. He lifted it up but was stopped short from drinking it by a hand to his wrist. It is Julio. "I didn't expect you to be here. Are you going to drink yourself drunk?"
Saito glared. "It's not your business." Julio let go and Saito finished what he started. He felt the bitter taste again. He ordered for another.
"I've heard that you come back and I see you here being all moody. I expected you to be happy to be reunited with Louise." Saito didn't answer, keeping his attention on the reflection of his face in the drink in his hands. Julio speculated. "I see. It's about Jack."
Saito tightened the grip around his mug. "If only I didn't get caught in the arrow barrage I wouldn't have been injured so badly and need Jack to save me."
Julio ordered himself a mug of wine. "What happened in the past cannot be changed. It's pointless to fret over it now. Doing so will net you nothing."
Saito said quietly. "I can't stop thinking about it." His mistake had cost Alexia a very great deal. The silence that came from her after she let him go had struck him cold.
The priest gave his thoughts. "That kind of thing needs time to ease the pain. In the meanwhile, you can turn it to good use." Julio received his order with appreciation to the bartender. "What you can do is to remember him. Live on and remember him. Be the man who will bring good to this world."
You must live to protect Louise...
Saito proposed with his drink raised into the air. "Let's have a toast then. A toast to our friend."
Julio raised his in return. "A toast to the good friends we lost." Their drinks clinked before the two men downed their wine together for the first time among the few for the night.
Meanwhile back at the Academy, Alexia had been more agitated by the recent development. She had been infected with anxiety that's grown back after a full month. It wanted to flood over her like a tidal wave. She tightened her iron grip on to the window sill. She silently asked the full moons outside.
Where is he?
Silence answered her. Alexia started to feel desperate to know the answer. Saito had survived the battle against an army of seventy thousand. He had not given the full story yet but the point is they were separated over the course of the fight and he does not know where Jack is right now. How can she find Jack? There is one way. She began packing her things. She has to find out herself.
Albion is the starting point in this new quest. She now stood before her destination that had taken a week of travel. The city of Saxe-Gotha is still a shell of what it was before the battle of Rosais. Alexia looked up at the city gate. They had defended this very gate to allow refugees to escape the city. The upper section had broken completely, making it uncross able for those on the walls. This is where it all started. She eased her shoulder carrying a rucksack and entered the city.
The streets are still considerably empty compared to the first time she visited Saxe-Gotha. She remembered seeing the young children playing with the Tristain soldiers during that day. The debris along the roads has been cleared up. The buildings that were destroyed are being rebuilt at a much slower pace. Besides the carpenters and the craftsmen at work, there are also soldiers. These soldiers are from Gallia given by the emblems on their armours and shields. She chose to shy away from them as she wandered along the streets.
Business here had suffered immensely as well. There are only a handful of stalls compared to the original dozens. She tried to find the stall that Jack bought the water lily. She couldn't find it, only an empty spot where it was supposed to be. It reminded her of her mission here. "I come all the way here and yet I don't have a clue on where to start."
A group of soldiers marched in three neat lines towards her. They took over most space of the street. The peddlers and the others had to move aside to allow the Albion military to move through. She stood aside a stall that was selling fruits. She was practically forced to overhear a conversation when the column passed by, speaking with excitement. "Have the Dragon Knights tried it yet?!"
Another voice casually spoke back. "I don't know. If a dragon can't do it, then I wonder what can!" She couldn't understand the gist. The soldiers went on and the street returned to normal. It returned to normal except one thing. A spark of flurried conversations started among the townsfolk. A chill went down her spine.
She realized she was being watched. She turned to see an aging man given by the white hair and wrinkled skin. The merchant of the stall had been gazing at her. He spoke. "You don't look from around here."
Alexia answered politely to the old man, grip tightening around her rucksack. "I'm not. I'm visiting."
Her answer had made the merchant balk. "Visiting? What is there to visit in a mauled city?"
She kept it simple. "I have my reasons."
Doubt spawned in his eyes. "Everyone has their reasons. Otherwise they wouldn't bother to be in such a mess."
Alexia narrowed her eyes slightly. She didn't want to get in trouble this far out and alone. Thus she explained a little bit more. "I'm here to find someone."
The old man waved an arm to indicate their surroundings. "That goes for half the city. What kind of person are you looking for if it isn't someone from this city?"
"It's... someone important. That's all." That appeared enough to convince the man. The other people around her, particularly the young men traders started discussing more heatedly about the same topic which she had no inkling about. She gestured to the soldiers disappearing at a turning. "What were they talking about?"
The elder man sighed as though he had been asked this question many times. "Have you heard about the story of Irremovable sword?"
She questioned further. "What Irremovable sword?"
The fruit seller began the story. "Apparently on a hill near Rosais, there's a sword stabbed deep inside a big stone. It has been quite recent, a few months at best. Some soldier found it after some battle and tried to take it for keeps. He found it stuck and called a few friends over. They couldn't either and since they had to depart immediately, the sword had been left behind but the story had been brought here once Albion capitulated."
Alexia had never heard of such a magic property. "What's so special about the sword that nobody could pull it out?"
"Nobody knows. The nobles couldn't. Even those large green giants reportedly couldn't either and it has become a challenge. A lot of the men had from the city went over to try the challenge but has failed so far. Maybe you will be lucky and find the person you want there."
It is something unnatural. It reminds her of Jack's unorthodox abilities. It presented a very interesting head start. She decided to take a look. She thanked the man with a piece of silver and started her way to the Hill of Rosais.
This is the place.
She is at the hill where this rumoured sword is to be. It had been newly named Red Hill of Rosais due to a battle that had occurred last month given by record statements by the civilians of Rosais. Putting her own knowledge together with this, she knew this is where Saito and Jack have fought. There is no trace of what bloodshed that had occurred here except broken pieces of metal and wood. This is where she will have her answer.
Apparently for something that is highly discussed, there was nobody around. She found her target easily in the middle of the hill. It stood out in broad daylight with its presence. A silver sword is stabbed into a small smooth bed of rock. She walked to it and observed it closely. Its blade has lost its shine. It has lost its sharpness, being under a state of disrepair. Even looking in poor shape, it had a strange feel. It felt unnatural as though it is something that is not meant to be there. It is something that is trying...to exist. She reached out and touched it. She felt tingly in her hands and pulled back. Nothing happened afterwards, marking it relatively safe in her mind. Her senses told her to go further. She grabbed the sword by the hilt and pulled.
It came free easily as though it wasn't stuck at all. She held the blade with her two hands, examining the artwork of intertwined curves engraved along the blades' hilt. If it wasn't been left in the open for so long, it would have been a beautiful weapon. The surroundings have become extremely quiet. From afar, a tiny whisper entered her ears. She heard.
When you hear this, I have already died.
I have managed to put my last bits of my strength into this sword. I'm glad that you have found it.
I tried to survive beyond the odds presented against me.
However…I was simply...unable to fulfil that promise.
She felt something trigger before it tingled in her hand. Visions filled before her eyes, returning to that fated day.
Jack took deep and fast breaths for badly needed air. He faced an extremely difficult challenge. Armed with two revolvers, he charged at his enemies in his bid to escape death. The initial dust and smoke from the explosions served to camouflage him from the Albion army are beginning to fade. He'll be exposed and to a massive rain of counterattack. The bodies on the floor are hampering his movement.
He shot in front. He shifted his aim slightly to the sides before firing again. Enemies fall as he darted past them, their robes or metal plating unable to defend against a modern adversary. There're so many enemies he didn't need to aim at all. He fired uncounted rounds, draining his inner strength with each shot. He cleared managed to move a hundred metres through the horde as his guns became empty for the third time. He dodged or bludgeoned his way through bodies as he reloaded. His heart felt like exploding from the amount of exertion he is doing but he can't stop, not now!
I just need to escape!
The Albion artillery troops could not put their full might against a moving target over the risk of devastating friendly fire. Jack ducked under a swinging sword. He twisted his torso to and wedged through two soldiers with large bulky shields. He let his two guns vanish and taking their place is two small brick sized blocks. He let them fall onto the floor, extending tiny threads along the run. He used a bit more energy and lit the threads. The thread burned to return to the brown blocks and it triggered ignition. The two blocks of dynamite exploded, blasting dirt and dust into the air with noise and chaos in its wake. He took this chance to run and get a lead.
He now had no one in arm's reach to stop him. The explosion had let him slipped unnoticed all the way until a hundred metres. Since he was clear, it opened up another problem. It is the rain of arrows. That was what brought Saito down. He put down a shield before him and hunkered down. The ping of metals is countless against the torrential rain. That move pulled a lot of his willpower down to fumes.
Just a bit more…
He could not do anything against the archers and just capitalized on the firing delay by running. There's nothing else that can threaten him. He just needs to get out of range. Rough estimates put him about two hundred twenty metres away from them and standard historical ranges are about three hundred metres on average.
I'm almost there...
He's almost out of their range! A bit more and he'll get away scot free! He jumped over a ridge and...
Jack felt everything stop. His entire forward momentum had been forcibly stopped. He looked down at the perpetrator. A sword had gone into his chest. He looked up at the face of a zombie soldier which showed glee as the sword was pulled free. It had been the one he knocked out with the sakaboto. He returned the attack with a bullet to the forehead. Yet the damage is already done. He felt surprised.
It doesn't hurt...
He clutched a hand to his chest, feeling red warmth in his hands. The red stain in his shirt started to grow. The bleeding wouldn't stop and he had to be realistic. This injury is critical and made worst by his heart pumping at mach nine. He felt a rising sickening feeling in his throat. He spat it out, blood drooling along the side of his jaws.
I must be too numb to feel it...
If I can just get to the Zero...
If he can get to the Zero and hold on, he might be able to get emergency first aid. He moved. His vision swirled. He held tight against his wound, trying ineffectually to stop the bleed. He suppressed every attempt to just stop and rest. His throat felt exceedingly dry now. Then why am I spitting blood? Each breath felt more difficult. His will meant too little to his body, plopping him onto the ground. He looked up towards the bushes where the Zero lay hidden. He stretched his hand out towards the metal dragon.
So close...yet so far.
He felt the irony of having to spare that soldier. He felt tired. His mind wanted him to sleep. To enter the endless dream that is death. A memory of a young girl flickered by his eyes.
I can't give up…
He pulled everything he could out of his limbs. Slowly, his body began to rise. He reached his two feet again and began moving. Each step felt heavy as lead. His body felt nonexistent. His skin felt cold. Blood trailed his progress. It's only several dozen steps more before he reaches it.
He didn't even feel his legs gave way. He fell again to the ground. He felt suffocating despite the amount of breaths he took. Right before him is a large bed of rock. It looked fitting for a death bed.
This is it. It's...too late...
I can't leave her…
Tears trickled down his crawled himself onto his two unsteady feet in a final bid. With all his remaining strength, He made his last will. He stabbed the message that will not break or be freed from the stone that holds it. It will wait in this stone until the right person arrives.
It will not last…
It needed something extraordinary to perform highly powerful effects. His mind started feeling hazy from the lack of air. The message needs a catalyst to exist long enough in this world. He just knew what it will need. That final catalyst is his life. He didn't know how he did it but it just did. He felt his mind turning faint. He felt his heart stop before darkness consumed him.
Alexia blinked her eyes, returning to the present. The noisy battlefield she had seen from Jack's eyes had been replaced with its quiet counterpart of the blowing wind.
I'm sorry…that I failed.
I regret to have met such fate…
I love you…
The sword shattered into pieces like glass. The pieces turned to dust. The wind scurried and scattered it away along the hill on travels that nobody will know. There is no evidence of what happened save for a small crack in the rock. She felt nothing. It felt unreal like a random story. Her heart told her.
Then it hit.
She collapsed onto her knees.
"WHY JACK WHY?!"
She struck at the rock. She wanted the pain in her hands to take away the stab in her heart. Her small hands could not do anything against it. Yet she continued to pummel it with all her might.
"WHY DID YOU LIE TO ME? AREN'T WE SUPPOSED TO BE TOGETHER UNTIL THE END?"
Her hands started to sore and turn bloody red. She refused to stop.
She wanted something to hurt more to take away the pain in her heart.
She wanted to deny that her love's dead.
She wanted to deny everything that she's just seen.
She just wanted to deny everything.
"WHY DID YOU HAVE TO DIE?"
Cold logic refused to grant her sanctuary
"AFTER ALL WE'VE BEEN THROUGH, HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?"
She didn't know how long she went at it. Her hands eventually lost their strength to bludgeon against the red painted rock. Tears streamed from her cheeks to mix with her blood on the stone. The sky had turned dark. Drops of water fell before turning into heavy rain. The cold rain did nothing to ease her. She yelled up to the heavens.
No one could answer her. Thunder and strong winds answered her call. The rain could only cry along with her.
Her disappearance had hardly been noted by the Academy save for a selected few when she returned a week later. Even so, the dullness in her eyes had told them to back off. In the day, she would be in class to listen to lecture. Her hand would write notes. It will pick up food and eat. She appeared normal as anyone can be. Alone in her room, she cried silently. Days went by quietly with this routine. Friends kept a watchful eye but they know they cannot do much about it. They could only bid time to heal.
Some however would try their best. Louise offered. "Do you want to go to the capital for a new show in the theatre? I heard it's very good."
Alexia courteously refused. "No thanks. I need to get some studying done."
Kirche gave a mischievous look. "Ara, studying isn't everything. A noble needs to relax too sometimes."
Guiche posed in pride as he let the sun bask into his face. "She clearly wants to stay behind and accompany me."
"I'm relaxed. Guiche, you have Montmorency to accompany you. Now then, I shall take my leave." Alexia left the class but the others already knew she was lying. Other offered instances would be rejected. On the off chance that it was accepted was usually for something more practical purposes such as getting new supplies or replacements for things. They couldn't make progress at all.
It is night once again for the next week. Alexia entered her room like any other day. Her meal had been mightily grand but it felt emptily simple. She settled her books onto the table. She noticed a scribbled letter. She knew it wasn't hers, thus she read it.
Come to the courtyard in your best dress
Someone had managed to enter her room and left an invitation. She'll need to report this intrusion in the morning. She put the paper aside before preparing to change into a night gown for another attempt at sleeping peacefully. She felt odd about the message. She got unnaturally curious about it. She eventually chose to entertain the mysterious messenger. She reached into her wardrobe and wore her ballroom dress.
The journey to the meeting place had been quiet. She did not feel any prying eyes as she walked down the steps. Why am I being so generous to entertain this person? She entered the courtyard. She scanned across the area. There's no one around. I knew I shouldn't have done this. It was a prank after all. She turned around when her senses tingled. She turned back and couldn't believe her eyes. Standing under the covers of the twin moons, a tall black silhouette announced. "It took you long enough."
She lost all control of herself. She rushed towards the man. "Jack!" Tears stream down her cheeks as she gazed at her beloved. "You're here aren't you?!"
Jack in his tuxedo gave a cold smile. "I wish I am but I am only a figment of your imagination."
Alexia pressed herself to his chest. "It can't be! You're right here! I can touch you! How are you an imagination?!"
Jack closed his eyes as he wrapped his arms around her. "I have already died. As I left my last message, I knew I didn't want to just disappear. It would be too...tragic for my tastes. I wanted to leave you something behind. This is my farewell gift, a last illusion."
She couldn't believe the words of this ghost. "No way..." She felt at his cold skin. How can a ghost be felt? She felt an idea. "Are you like Prince Wales, a living corpse?"
"I am not. I am certain all the energies this required drained everything. There is nothing left of me."
Jack rubbed her back as he soothed. "Mourn for me as much as you need. What has happened cannot be changed. What I hoped from this is it will change the future." He pulled back to meet face to face. "I don't want to see you like this. It's unbecoming of you."
Alexia sniffed her tears away. "It's because of you...stupid idiot."
His face softened "That's much better." He offered his hand with a bow. "Now then, may I have your hand at a last dance?"
She held his hand with a smile. "Very well." He pulled her close and wrapped his arm by her waist and they begin.
Two shapes dance on stage under the moonlight
An accompaniment of violins creates the ambience
And so I shall start
There was once, this pretty girl
I was just a simple man
I wished I could get her eye
But I got more than an eyeful
Things eventually work it out
We hold hands as solid friends
For such a short time, things blossom
Now I am dancing with the beauty of my dreams
In this solemn night
I am all alone with you
How truly quaint, these moons bless us
For I am with you
Your fingers are so gentle
How truly smooth
There's truly, nobody else such as you
I hold you in my arms
I wish I don't have to let you go
All Alas, my wish can only be so long
Never to remain
For it is the last time
I bring my lips to yours
He never returned the next night. The next night moved on and so did the following. A full week later and the shadow she wanted to see have not been seen. It was all only a figment of imagination.
Things eventually improved. Saito, Louise and the others have pitched in moral support. The pain... eased to something a bit more bearable. It is again another night. She did not want to return to her room. It felt too constricting for the moment. Between classes until the night ends, she had been stuck in there for too long. She chose to wander around the Academy to get rid of the weariness.
She first visited the courtyard. The moonlight basked its glow on the open grass. She stopped as she looked at it. It was their first dance and the last. They ate together under the moons. She recalled the joy that night.
May I have your hand at a dance?
She remembered the familiar presentation. Jack stood atop the stage, presenting himself to the crowd. Her hands clapped briefly into the night.
I never said good job to you for that…
He would not be coming. She accepted it and her feet moved on. The next spot was the classroom. Someone forgot to lock the doors for she entered easily. She sat in her regular seat as she looked at the board. Jack played teacher once. The things that he would write and confuse us… It felt nostalgic. She stood up, locked the door with a spell and continued on her journey.
Her feet wandered to the top of the tower. She remembered half a year ago when she summoned Jack for the first time. He had run to the forest and I had to spend my time looking all over for him. It felt such a waste of time…yet…
"Don't." A voice came from her left. She turned to see her blue haired stoic friend with very concerned eyes.
Alexia questioned Tabitha calmly. "What do you think I was planning to do?"
Tabitha appeared to be startled by her calm question given by her widening eyes. She returned to that stoic composure. "Jump."
She gave an assurance with a step back from the edges. "I'm not going to." She thought ironically at the hypocrisy. If it was a week ago, she might already been down there sprawled on the ground in bloody pieces. Fortunately, she didn't get to find out. After she answered, a pair of footsteps could be heard climbing up the stairs. An upbeat Kirche reached the top in a rush.
Kirche breathed a sigh of relief. "Tabitha's here. That's good."
Alexia turned her eyes to their new companion. "Are you all thinking I'm going to jump off the tower?"
The fire girl is slightly surprised from the question. "No but it pays to be careful. We understand your pain, to a degree at least." Louise probably has the best experience among all of them.
Alexia nodded as she turned back towards the two moons. "I understand your concern but don't worry about me. This fight...is for me alone."
Kirche tried to advise her good friend. "I know...even if it hurts, you have to let go."
"I don't know if I ever will." Even in the light of pain, she smiled at her two friends. "Thank you for your support. I will turn in for the night." She headed down the stairs to leave the two close friends alone. They could only watch her leave as they are left in a pickle on how to resolve this problem.
There are no known records of Alexia Idetta De Halcyon ever since that night. She had left the Academy. There is nothing known about the young blonde girl. Time flew with more adventures, troubles and discoveries. The Halcyon family are never asked about her whereabouts and even if they were, they didn't have a clear answer. All they know is that she is out there somewhere in the world of Halkeginia.
Five years later...
This trip has been such a waste. A beautiful woman knocked on the door of a mansion. The door opened and an old butler gazed at his visitor. The man bowed crisply despite his age. "Welcome home my lady."
"Thank you Eirich." Alexia Idetta De Halcyon, age twenty two entered the manor. She had changed much over the time. She had grown slightly taller. Her arms packed a little more strength. She wore a brown and white Bucaneer shirt with a pair of long brown cotton pants and boots. "It's good to be back once in a while. How is she?"
The servant answered as he closed the door. "She's doing well." She handed him the rucksack as she stretched her arms. Frantic loud footsteps announced the arrival of a little girl. She is only a quarter of their height in a yellow frilly dress.
The little girl reached out to Alexia whom crouched to meet face to face. She said cheerfully with beaming green eyes. "Mommy!"
Alexia held tiny hands with a smile. "Have you been a naughty girl?"
"No I have not!" The young girl answered brightly.
Alexia reached into a pocket of her pants. "That's good. Here's a present." She pulled out a small engraved stone. The Glowstone is something that is made only in the northern regions due to the special mineral. It had been used as a good luck charm. She rubbed the child's blue hair. "Be a good girl."
The stone glowed between orange and its original white in a slow pulsing manner. "Yay!" The young child cheered before Bernetta arrived and gently pulled her away for her tea time.
Eirich continued the conversation. "Your mother is currently occupied in the capital. However she did inform me to pass this message whenever you return."
Alexia raised a finger. "Let me guess. She wants me to start searching for another husband. It would be good for the family and for my young little daughter. Am I right?"
The butler gave a nod without any personal comment. "You are correct my lady."
She sighed with hands on her hips. "She never gives up with that. I'll handle that later. Where's my father?"
"Your father is at the garden. Would you like some refreshments while you talk with him?" She answered yes before going on her own. She walked down the hallways with a leisurely pace. These hallways are warming and familiar yet still feel alien after not seeing them for some time. It's clearly a reminder that I travel too much in between.
True to Eirich's word, her father was seen pruning the garden. "Ah Alexia, my darling. You've come home." Her father had not aged well, most of his hair starting to turn white.
Alexia smiled as she hugged the aged man. "How are you?"
Her parent is cheerful. "I'm feeling dandy." A slight cough contradicted that. "Maybe it was a bit too optimistic."
His daughter chuckled in returned. "I guess being positive is a good thing."
Kenneth Halcyon turned his attention back to pruning the roses before him. "How is your trip this time?"
Her father's question reminded her of the latest adventure she done. She fumed. "The Dragon's Skin is nothing useful at all. It is another wreck of an air vessel that aged and rusted."
Kenneth tried to ease his daughter's mood. "Don't worry too much. It's to be expected sometimes when you search for these relics. At least you managed to find it quite quickly this time. Take a few days rest and spend time with Eveline. She needs her mother."
"I am aware of my responsibilities and I do want to spend some time with her. Now that she's a bit older, I'm thinking of doing something relaxing for a change."
An aging man opened the door. A familiar young woman with a very young girl stood at the door with a smile. "Mr. Colbert."
The man adjusted his glasses to confirm what he saw. "Alexia! It's been a five years since we've met. Please take a seat." They entered the laboratory at the Academy. The place had been upgraded in size. Colbert is still teaching at the Academy and so is the old man Osmond. That was how she managed to find out about her teacher.
They took their seats in the main chamber of the upsized shed. Alexia looked at the expanded space of the shed. "Yes, it is." Some things however have hardly changed here in the Academy. Lessons go on as usual. Challenges fret from succeeding their magic or finding their company. Those were the old days. "How are you?"
Colbert said happily. "I'm doing quite well." He turned his attention to the second person. "You look beautiful and who do we have here?"
Alexia introduced the young girl in a white dress. "Here's my daughter Eveline."
Colbert crouched to meet the little girl face to face. "What a cute young girl you are." Eveline smiled in response. "I'm sorry that we are talking in my messy lab." Alexia waved it off with a faint smile. He then realized something important. "The mixture!"
Colbert darted towards the open fire and quickly used a pair of tongs to pull a steaming beaker out of the furnace. Meanwhile Alexia took a better look of the bigger laboratory. The things around looked both recent and old. A particularly large unnatural device just beside caught her eye. She asked as Colbert placed the beaker onto the table with a sigh of relief. "What's this?"
Having defused the problem, Colbert turned to the machine. "This is an electric generator."
The word reminded her. "Is it Jack's work?" There were supposedly designs that he had made but she could not acquire since she couldn't find the blacksmiths involved.
"Yes, it is." Colbert realized his words too late. He added solemnly. "His passing is a sad thing. I'm sorry for such late condolences."
Alexia examined the device closely. Her finger brushed dust off the metal skin. It felt very intricate on the inside. "Has it been useful?"
Colbert confirmed. "It has to a degree but its potential is limited by the knowledge we currently have."
Alexia pulled her hand away from the old device. "I'm sure he will be glad that it has contributed something at the least."
Their conversation is suddenly interrupted. "Mr. Colbert, the runes will need to be changed." A woman entered the room. Eleanor de La Vallière noticed the guests beyond Colbert. "You are?"
The guest introduced herself. "Alexia Idetta De Halcyon. I remember you Miss Eleanor."
The researcher woman recognized her as well, given by the narrowed eyes. "You're the wife of that brute. What are you doing here?" She apparently didn't take Jack very highly.
She didn't take that comment lightly. She said with a raised brow. "I'm here on a visit. Why are you here?"
Eleanor radiated confidence. "Colbert and I have been working on making a device that creates a magic field to improve the quality of crops."
Alexia narrowed her focus in turn. "I see." Sparks fly between them.
Colbert tried to ease off the tension. "Now now, this isn't the time to fight." The two women continued staring. He sighed as he let the two bicker silently. He turned his attention to the young girl who was rather oblivious of the fight. "Jack would have loved to see you." Eveline tilted her head in response.
The name cut into the fight. Alexia eased back, looking down at her young child. "Yes he would have."
Eleanor pulled back as well, giving a serious but nonthreatening glance. "You have my condolences of your loss. Now I shall return to work." The researcher went off to another room.
The situation defused, Colbert took initiative with a bright note. "Now then, where have we left off?"
"It's been a while." Kirche Augusta Frederica Von Anhalt Zerbst settled her cup of tea onto the saucer. She had hardly changed. She wore a red long dress with a corset centre which accentuated her features. The slits along the sides reveal her slender legs. Meanwhile, she is having tea time with her good friends in the garden of the Zerbst manor.
Alexia teased. "Oh great Queen of Gallia, please grant this humble peasant before you blessings." Eveline is playing with the children from the family servant household and the three adults watched them play in the garden.
Tabitha narrowed her eyes. "Enough. I do not want you to speak this way now." In her hand is a book but is held closed for the moment.
Alexia smirked in submission. "Very well. How does it feel to be a Queen?"
The relatively new queen commented. "Busy."
Alexia leaned back against her seat. "That is what I would expect. I'm surprised that you have to time to pay Kirche and I a visit."
Kirche said cheerfully. "That is part of the privileges a Queen is entitled to. Otherwise, why did you think she could postpone her coronation to pursue Saito?" Tabitha looked down with a pink tinge.
Alexia gave a wry smile. "Ah, I sense a long story coming up."
Kirche nodded. "You missed a lot of it." Tabitha merely remained silent and gazed at the children. The little kids eventually got tired of playing and bid farewell for some rest and eventual chores.
A young girl in a green shirt and white pants joined the conversation. Her long blue hair matched with the teal eyes that gleamed with innocence and excitement. "Big sister, I'm hungry!" She turned towards the other guests. "Alexia! I haven't seen you for so long! Kyu!"
Alexia is puzzled at how the blue haired girl was so friendly and aware of her name. She tried to ask in a polite manner as her daughter returned happily to her side. "Who are you?"
The cheerful girl answered. "Illcocoo!"
The name remained elusive to her. Tabitha interjected. "Slyphid."
Alexia turned to the Queen of Gallia in complete surprise. "Wait, she's your familiar?!" How could a blue dragon become a human?! There're really too many nonsensical things that are happening these years.
Tabitha nudged her face towards Slyphid. "Big sis told me to keep it a secret. I can use magic." She apparently has something else in mind now. "I'm going to find something to eat Kyui." She disappeared quickly befitting an agile dragon.
Kirche chuckled as Slyphid vanished. "That dragon has one heck of an appetite. She then asked Alexia. "Who have you visited so far?"
Alexia reported progress of her little tour as she gave Eveline a cup of water. "We've visited Colbert and now you two. We'll be moving along to see a few others in the following week." She took back the happily drank cup and returned it to the table.
The redhead laughed. "That's good. Please do let me know how the others are doing some time." Tabitha added her sentiments with a nod.
Alexia chuckled in response. "Hah...I should be asking you that. I haven't met them for a year at the least. Exploration can really consume a lot of time."
Kirche closed her eyes with a smug. "It's really good to see you. It's been far too long."
Alexia closed hers as well. "So am I."
It is night. The trip back to the Halcyon mansion had been quick with some help from a blue dragon. The fare did cost quite a bit being a very heavy meal. Now, Alexia tucked her daughter into bed. Eveline asked. "Where are we going tomorrow?"
Alexia sat on the side, stroking her daughter's head. "We're going to visit another friend of mine."
Eveline looked unsure about something. She said in uncertainty. "Can I ask a question?"
Alexia said radiantly. "Go ahead."
"How is papa like?"
That caught her off guard. She leaned against a wall. "Hmm…He's a handsome man. He has blue hair like yours. He wears glasses like Uncle Colbert but sharp looking ones. He's a very smart man. He has confidence and pride. He is a bit hard for people to get to know him. He reads books a lot like Aunt Tabitha."
Eveline asked another. "When will he come back?"
Alexia smiled faintly. "He won't be coming back for a very long time." She pulled up the covers. "Now go to sleep. Good night Eveline."
"Good night mama." She closed the door to her daughter's room. She leaned against the adjacent wall, holding back the risen emotions. The scars may be old but they still sting her heart. She sighed as she prepared to turn in for the night.
You are missing out everything
Alexia said cheerfully. "Siesta! It's good to see you." In her hands is a gift basket of fruits.
The maid for the baron of Des Ornieres replied equally happy. "Yes Lady Halcyon. It's been a long time!"
The visitor frowned in response. "Remember what I told you?"
Siesta sighed, "Yes...Alexia. It is always typical of you to do that." Taking the food basket, she led the two visitors into the mansion. The living room appears to be the work office for the extremely young baron. Baron Hiraga Saito is seated at a red leather seat and been reviewing some documents. Meanwhile, Louise is knitting on a chair at a corner of the room in leisure.
Saito noticed the arrival. He dropped his paper and rose to his feet. "It's been a long time!"
Alexia complimented as they took a seat. "You look taller and manlier now." She turned to comment at Louise. "Unfortunately it's not the same for you."
Louise frowned lightly in return. "You hardly changed either." That is true. She had at best grown an inch. She smiled afterwards. "You seem very grown up. Not to say that your fashion has matured."
Alexia smirked. "Thank you Louise. These clothes are more suited to what I do as a matter of fact." She gave her eyes a glance of the living room. It is rather prestigious, being well decorated like the fine red carpet and the top quality from the furniture they seated on. The red Victorian shirt and black pants Saito wore were too made of the top notch. "You have made yourself a fine noble Saito." Eveline on the other hand took a seat on at the sofa.
Saito snorted at her praise. "Thank you. You've disappeared off the map for some time. I wonder what happened."
Alexia took a seat beside her daughter. "I'll get to that eventually. First off, Saito, Louise, Siesta meet my daughter Eveline." She gestured to her friends in turn. "Eveline, here is Uncle Saito, Auntie Louise and Auntie Siesta."
Eveline waved with a smile. "Hello Uncle. Hello Auntie."
Louise waved back. "Hello there." She turned her gaze to her mother. "She's cute."
Alexia smiled as she rubbed Eveline's head. "Yes she is." Eveline giggled in pleasure.
Siesta smiled as she tilted the tea pot. "You deserve another cup of tea for giving birth to such a beautiful little girl." Alexia laughed as Siesta handed her refilled cup.
Saito realized something. "Is she …?" Alexia nodded. He appeared pleased to know the answer, rubbing a finger around his chin. "That's what he was doing that night." That comment served to puzzle her more which Saito ended with a hush.
Alexia enjoyed a sip of tea before continuing. "You also finalized your marriage for real. I'm sorry I couldn't attend it. I received the invitation three months after the event was over." She pointed out to the big lump of Louise's stomach. "How many months is your baby?"
Louise caressed her belly gently beyond the purple fabric of her dress. "It's been six months now."
Alexia nodded. "It's a little late but you have my congratulations. I suppose I can give a few tips along the way as well" She turned to her daughter. "Eveline will have a playmate soon as well." The little girl cheered.
Siesta noted with a huff. "I could always have added another playmate but Saito remained quite adamant about it."
That made Louise's blood boil. "That is totally out of the question!" Saito sighed in response.
He shifted the topic away to save the entire mansion and his child from excessive blood pressure. "What have you been doing?"
"I've been visiting a few friends. I've met Kirche, Tabitha, Colbert so far. I'll probably visit Guiche and a few others within the week."
Saito approved of her plans. "I see. Please send my regards for them. I heard Guiche and Montmorency had a child." The long lasting couple had been married for two years now. "What else have you been doing over the years? I haven't seen you for such a long time!"
Alexia explained her activities for the past four years. "I have been exploring Halkeginia in search of relics. I've covered mostly of the eastern deserts and a little towards the northern borders. I might try to head towards Albion soon enough."
Siesta noted in surprise. "Isn't that dangerous kind of work?" The environment in the desert is harsh and the elves do not take humans lightly which have more prevalent presence in the two described areas. Even after the united assault against the Ancient Dragon, relations remained cold at best.
Alexia shook her head. "I travel alone. As long as I don't make trouble, I tend to get by quite well." The first few times were a bit rough since she didn't have the experience she had now.
Louise questioned. "I didn't expect you to be in an explorer's job."
Alexia crossed her legs. "Naturally I wouldn't have. I've been searching for answers. In a way, I want to finish what Jack started, to find a way to his world."
Saito felt an old guilt return. Her efforts had been rather wasted. He offered. "Ah…you see, we found a way back to Earth. Louise has a spell called the World Door. It can connect between the two worlds."
Alexia is piqued with excitement. "Really? That's great!"
Saito continued on with a nod. "I had chosen to stay here with Louise since we can always go over whenever we want."
"I see." She appeared to have something in mind. "Then is it possible for me to ask a favour from you?"
"Of course you can. What is it?"
"Take me to your world."
The step beyond world boundaries was not taken until two weeks later. A few preparations had to be made beforehand. Time however flies quite quickly at the prospect of such a trip of enormous interest. Her daughter is also excited on be able to go on a trip to a special place. Siesta wanted to go but had been overruled by the baroness. She would be staying to take care of the mansion and manage the Des Ornieres lands if necessary. The portal is formed in the back yard. The shape reminded her of the familiar portal she made years ago. Clutching the hand of her daughter tightly in one hand, the strap of two bags with the other, Alexia made her first step onto Earth.
The travel was quick. She could not understand the words that are written or the sounds that are spoken by the people. The sights and sounds felt overwhelming. The air also smells differently along with the hot weather. Eveline shared her mother's amazement. "Wow…"
Louise caught her husband's attention. "I'll be getting us some clothes for tonight." With a quick kiss, she entered the crowd and out of sight.
Alexia referred to her guide. "What are we going to do?"
Saito had a plan all ready. "I'll find us some transport to my home first. Louise can handle herself fine now in the city." He didn't add the steep learning curve for the first few weeks. He had to fix a few problems that cost him a bunch of his Halkeginian treasury."I definitely missed some of the things in my world." He pulled out a slim cell phone. "I miss this convenience." "If Jack was still around, there might be a chance that it would be available in Halkeginia." He realized his mistake. "I'm sorry."
Alexia assured. "It's alright. I've learnt to accept his passing." With that said, Saito got themselves oriented and began their journey. According to him, it would be a walk to a train station before taking a train. To simplify things for his guests, he merely noted it as metal carriages. The hot afternoon weather though could be felt under his shirt. With that, he had an idea.
He chose to take a small detour to a nearby park. There, he found his target and quickly made a purchase. Alexia remained cautious of the unknown world this is. She didn't like the loud noises that occur regularly with the metal carriages. Saito was done quickly and he handed her and Eveline a cone covered in white cream substance. "Here, my treat."
Alexia paused as she accepted the food. It looked alien but she gave it a try. Her eyes opened wide. "It's cold and sweet!"
Saito told her its name. "It's called ice cream. It's great to eat on a hot day. There're many other flavours than just this as well." The taste is very original. It felt rejuvenating especially given the hotter weather here. Eveline appeared to be enjoying her ice cream given by the squeal.
Satisfied and relieved from the heat, they continued their journey. The train ride has been a new experience. It felt much faster for Alexia than compared to a dragon like Slyphid. Even so, Slyphid can probably give a good run for its money. It was also the first time they encountered air conditioning. Several eyes stared when Alexia backed away only in shock upon attempting to enter the monorail train.
Saito managed to assure her that it was fine and normal before things returned to routine. As the train moved, they get to enjoy the sights. Alexia noticed the moving pictures on several screen platforms. It felt alien but inspiring. "It's really a different world."
Saito agreed. "There's more than it meets the eye."
Alexia raised an eyebrow. "Since when did you become so poetic?"
Saito chuckled at the revelation. "Hmm...I guess Guiche rubbed off me a little more than I expected." The train trip ended soon and they were back to walking. This time though, the crowded streets are replaced with empty ones. Their surroundings have shrunk in scale, becoming rows of simple and standardized looking buildings. Saito introduced an old looking building within one of the rows. "This is my home on Earth. It's not very big but its home." Saito unlocked the door and entered. "I'm home!"
His yell had promptly summoned an old woman. She is a middle aged woman, given by the facial blemishes. Her hair is slightly greyed but black remains strong in its struggle. She appeared highly displeased for she said. "Saito! You should have called ahead! We could have picked you up!"
Her son rubbed the back of his head. "I didn't want to be such a bother."
Saito's mother lectured. "Nonsense! You are my son and it is my responsibility to take care of you even when you are a fully grown adult! Especially isn't that Louise expecting?"
Saito knew he was about to be in trouble. "Yes, it's six months."
She reacted the way he expected her too. She flipped. "That's even more the reason to call me! I wouldn't want my pregnant daughter in law to be suffering by walking around the city on her two feet." She appeared highly disappointed. "Ah, men just don't understand." She turned her attention to the other two guests. "Ah, pardon my manners. May I know your names?"
Seeing the sudden change of moods, Alexia introduced. "My name is Alexia and this is my daughter Eveline." Eveline waved.
"That spell Louise used still works, that's good." Saito's mother smiled before turning to her son with vengeance. "You need to have more sense my boy! You also brought friends along. You should give more hospitality to them."
Saito had already given up on the battle. "Yes…yes…speaking of which, why is there a stack of books outside the store room?"
His mother answered proudly. "That's for your child in advance. While we may not have the chance to give you a full education but at least it will not be the case for our grandchild!"
Saito felt differently. "I think that's still a long way to go."
"Nonsense! You need to plan a child's education years in advance…" She started rattling off constantly for twenty minutes regarding the Hiraga family's education plans made for Saito decades ago. Saito sighed wearily as Alexia gave a faint smile in sympathy.
His mother eventually wrapped things up with a final nag. "You should stay here and finish your education properly so that you can work."
Saito raised an eyebrow. "You know that could be problematic from you know why."
Alexia is perplexed to see his refusal. "Why so?"
Saito gave a simple version. "You see…I had to steal an expensive weapon from the army in order to return to Halkeginia and fight the Ancient Dragon. I don't think they managed to find my identity but I'd like to be safe than sorry." He also noted. "Speaking of which, I think I can supplement an income here with some investment of gold. I had some small practice in Halkeginia."
His mother posed another question. "Where's Louise?" Saito sighed in return. His answer is going to spark off another very long conversation.
Dinner however took a much brighter turn. The dining room is a small room with a television. It still could fit the number of people in the house comfortably. "It's only been three months but I feel as though we haven't met for years! Hahah!" Seiji Hiraga raised his glass of sake and drank. Saito's father is an old man. He had the signs of age, something similar to what Alexia sees in her father. He needed some assistance for his eyes given by the round glasses. Even so, the man remained equally energetic to his son.
Saito refuted against it. "It's not that long Dad." A smirk grew afterwards. "But I won't say no to another glass of sake!" He joined his father in alcohol. They both laughed loudly, threatening to be a public disturbance.
Ayame Hiraga scolded the two men as she brought in a tray of bowls. "Now now, we have children in the house. Behave yourselves!" Father and son laughed some more to her displeasure. That earned them an earful pinch. Louise on the side had been playing with Eveline. Alexia had been giving a helping hand in the kitchen.
"That hurts..." Saito grumbled as he stroked his painful ear.
Louise said nonchalantly. "That's what happens when you don't help your master."
"Right...as if I could interfere with your sister." Saito retorted. The glare from his mother shut him up and the eating could begin in earnest. The peace however didn't last very long.
Seiji Hiraga said to his son. "Feel free to bring more friends of yours here next time. I'm sure we can accommodate them to the best we can."
Saito answered as he leaned on the floor with his arms. "I think they'll be too busy for the time being. I suppose I can arrange things eventually." As Saito had become a Baron, he had chosen to retire from combat for the sake of his wife. Guiche de Gramont had taken over the Knights of the Undine with high prospects. Kirche is already preparing to take part in managing parts of the Zerbst land. Queen Charlotte or Tabitha...is queen. He's sure Colbert will be available anytime though.
Alexia noted how Seiji Hiraga would pick his food from the plates with a pair of tiny sticks. Ayame said as she handed their new guests utensils. "I suppose you don't know how to use chopsticks right Alexia."
Alexia accepted the fork and spoons from the elder woman. "No. Still that's an interesting way to eat."
Louise pointed out as she took a pair of her own. "It takes some practice to learn but nothing that difficult." As she said that, she squeezed too hard, causing the fish ball to slip and plop back onto the table. Eveline laughed. Louise frowned at Alexia who was struggling to hold herself back. "I still need some practice, that's all!" Dinner then went underway earnestly.
After a few hours, the noisy dinner had been cleared. Alexia had just put her daughter to sleep. The elder members of the Hiraga family also went to bed. Louise is in her room, knitting for her expecting baby. Outside, she could see the nightlife in the city. It looked entirely opposite to the night time in the capital of Tristain. The number of lights is uncountable. It made her wonder sometimes how these people can keep awake beyond night. She searched for Saito for she wanted a quiet discussion with him. She found him in a study room which had a shelf of books. She rapped the door. "Are you busy?"
Saito turned his attention away from the computer. "No, I'm not. Come in."
Alexia entered the small study. "Thank you for the hot chocolate. Eveline likes it a lot." He had prepared it for them after dinner, eager to give them something new to try.
"You're welcome. I've been trying to plant some of the cocoa seeds back in Halkeginia. It would be a very lucrative business and nostalgic thing to enjoy."
Alexia agreed with his thoughts. "That's a good idea." The release of this new food would definitely be a hit. Saito would be the only supplier in Halkeginia for years at the least. Monopoly of the entire industry would rake in big funds and turn him into a filthy rich man. She asked. "What are you doing?"
Saito explained his actions for the past hour. "I'm looking for Jack's family members."
She approached closer, settling the cup on the table beside Saito. "How is progress so far?"
"I've found the company which his family probably manages. It's on the other side of the city. Travelling there wouldn't be a problem." Saito had already mapped out a travel plan of using the subway and a bus for the final stretch.
Alexia took at look at the screen. The map is intricately detailed in comparison to the ones in Halkeginia. She saw the arrows that she presumed are their intended path. "How soon can we meet them?"
Saito leaned back against his black leather chair. "I'll give them a call first thing in the morning. It'll save a lot of problems in advance. My guess is that it will need a day or two to get things in order. Meanwhile we can take you and your daughter sightseeing."
Alexia smiled faintly and expressed her gratitude. "Thank you for doing this. I really appreciate it."
Saito waved it off. "It's not a problem. They should know anyway." It was one of the few things he can do.
"Yes they should and I can get a proper closure." She picked up her cup. "It's late. Good night."
Saito returned his eyes to the screen. "Good night."
Arranging the meeting had not been a problem. The Tetsuya family agreed to meet when the point of discussion came to their son. The meeting had been arranged for the next day in the afternoon. That gave Alexia and her daughter a full day to spend visiting Tokyo which Saito and Louise oblige to be guides. For the day, they had visited a shopping mall. It was a good experience for the Halcyons. The air felt cool and comfortable in contrast to the hot weather outside. Saito somehow ended up as a pack mule which he accepted without complaint.
"The world looks so big." Alexia is impressed as she looked at the globe model of the Earth. The model is just a simple version, sold in the bookstore.
Saito explained as he browsed at a magazine in the next shelf. "It's something similar like Halkeginia. It's probably because the entire world hasn't been fully explored yet. It'll be about the size if my science doesn't fail me."
"There's so much to learn beyond magic."
"That's true. I would suggest that you let Eveline study here sometime. She definitely would have a great advantage."
Louise retorted. "Magic isn't something you can put aside and study! It's a slow long going process with a lot of practice and hard work."
Alexia chuckled. "So says the Zero."
Louise's face went red. "Shut up! I have proven myself many times already or is your memory that bad these days?"
Alexia laughed. "As you say..." The rest of the shopping trip was set on getting some more appropriate clothes on Earth for the current time. The concept of cosplay was unheard of to Alexia but took some joy in finding something nice. Saito ended up being stuck outside the clothing store, waiting for the end a man wanted.
Gospel came to him and the three girls came out. Alexia wore a simple white shirtdress. Louise had something more provocative with a purple wrap dress that reached to mid thigh. Eveline is in a blue striped dress with white collar and cuffs. Saito complimented them before making haste. Fortunately for him, the rest of the shopping spree was something more acceptable.
Eventually, they decided to have an early lunch to avoid the lunch hour traffic. Eveline got a bunny doll as a present from Louise. Saito knew the perfect place. "I know a place of valuable experience." Their guide led them outside for a short walk to his recommended restaurant. Alexia waved her hands in a faint attempt to cool down under the hot weather. She could see heat rising from the asphalt. How on Brimir do they live in this kind of world?
Fortunately the walk wasn't far. The place is a small restaurant in the less crowded regions of the city. Everything is a new experience. The roads felt hard. When they entered the restaurant, the cool air gave quick relief. The French maid uniforms stood a very sharp contrast to the streets outside. Alexia had to ask as they were ushered in. "What is this place?"
Saito explained as they took a table at a corner at the back. "This is a maid cafe." It looked like any regular restaurant. It's only the uniforms that stood out. The waitresses wear uniforms that are very alike to a normal maid uniform. Alexia's instincts flared in warning. Something didn't feel right. And indeed it is. Saito asked in a coyly manner. "Does this remind you of anything?"
The answer dawned into Alexia's head. "You mean...that." Yeap, she remembered it clearly now. She remembered his response when she had greeted him in a maid uniform. Ridiculous... She huffed that memory away. Louise snorted before easing back into a more comfortable position for the mother to be.
Alexia looked around with a displeased eye. "This is the how that plan is born." Saito shrugged as he called for a waitress. The maid waitress arrived and enquired for their orders. They were handed a digital menu. Alexia is left amazed as the waitress proceeded to process the order. "This is quite a sophisticated menu."
Saito explained with a laugh afterwards. "It's your first time seeing the Ipad Tablet. Things have become more high tech that even I can get out of the loop at times." He pulled out his cell phone and showed the screen. "It can do many things like keeping memos, checking for directions or even acting as a electronic wallet."
Alexia submitted to his prowess as he flipped screens on the digital device. "I only know a little since Jack's device is the only thing I saw before."
Saito nodded as he returned the phone to its place. "That would be considered old by now. However, its millennia ahead in technology compared to Halkeginia. We do however lack magic so that's a plus for you girls."
Louise said with pride. "Of course! Our world is nothing to be trifled at."
Alexia said as their orders arrived. "I suppose this world has its joys and peace."
The day ended and night replaced it. Tonight's dinner have been equally lively but had ended earlier due to the need to prepare for tomorrow. Now, Alexia sets to put her daughter into bed. They slept in the small guest room that the Hiraga's provided graciously. On two futon beds, Eveline spoke of her troubles. "I can't sleep."
Alexia leaned on her elbow. "Do you want a bed time story?" Her daughter nodded. She settled comfortably on her futon bed. "What story do you want to hear?"
"I want to hear the story about Mommy and Daddy."
Alexia was surprised but she didn't show it. She smiled as she collected her thoughts. "It was before you were born when we first met. He became my familiar at first."
"Then what happened?"
"It didn't go too well at first. We were a bit sour about each other. Your father had that flair for independence and control. He didn't like the fact that he had to be with me. However, things came together and we faced many challenges." Memories of the past returned to mind. "We went to Albion. We went treasure hunting. We had to help Saito to cure Louise from something very bad. We had to save the Queen once too. Later I knew that he fell in love with me. Someone else liked me but he didn't want it that way. He fought for me like a knight in shining armour."
"I didn't realize but I had also fallen in love with him. He won against that other person and we got married afterwards." She smiled at her little child. "Once we got married, a little dragon came to drop you at our doorstep."
She noticed her daughter is already sleeping soundly. She chuckled at how her story wasn't so interesting for Eveline. The amount of adventure and troubles they went through and it is all slept off by a little girl, oh the irony. It was such a long time ago. She turned off the lights and closed her eyes. Good night my angels.
An old grandfather clock worked silently in the background. The relaxing and carefree mood had now been shifted into serious gear. Louise wanted to go but Saito had decided against it. He expected this talk would not be so easy and would like to not have his pregnant wife get involved. Her poor temper had hardly improved throughout the years and will likely be creating trouble. Stress would be bad for his baby, always reminded by his dear mother. Saito sat beside Alexia. He will be the translator between the two parties.
The Tetsuya mansion is large. Sitting across them is the Tetsuya family. The Tetsuya family composed of three. The father is aged with plenty of white hair. A white beard and thin moustache filled up the rest of the wrinkled but sharp face. The mother is equally old yet manages to project an aura of pride. The youngest, the son is much more carefree. He looked very casual with the white open collar and spread arms wrapped around the sofa. Add the crossed legs along in the blue pants and black high quality shoes.
Eveline sat on the sofa obediently as glances went between both sides. The father, Yori Tetsuya began the negotiations. "Who are you?"
She introduced herself. "My name is Alexia Idetta De Halcyon. I am the wife of your son Jack Tetsuya." Saito translated word to word after she finished.
The word wife alarmed the Tetsuya family. The old man with narrowed eyes questioned. "He has been missing for so long. Where is he?"
Alexia felt hesitant to speak of his fate. They deserve to know. "I...regret to inform that your son has passed away."
The family remained surprisingly calm despite being informed of their missing son to be dead. The head of the Tetsuya enquired. "It wasn't out of our expectations. How did he die?"
Even though it may be five years but the last day she met her beloved still remains strong in memory. She bit her lip before giving the best answer. "He died fighting to protect a country."
That answer puzzled the Tetsuya. The mother, Natsuko Tetsuya questioned with incertitude. "Fighting? Which country did he try to protect?" She clearly did not believe the fate of her son. Alexia would have agreed with her if it was the Jack she first met.
Alexia answered truthfully despite fully knowing that it will not help. "The country of Tristain."
Natsuko narrowed her eyes. "I have never heard of such a country." Her doubts have increased twofold.
Alexia remained truthful. "That is because it is in another world." She noticed Saito's hesitation for a second but then he went ahead with her choice.
The answer twisted the elder woman's taut face to a hostile one. "What nonsense is this?" Her husband is also glowering. The son however raised an eyebrow in interest.
Before any of them can intercede any further, Alexia took action. "Let me do something." She pulled out her wand and focused. A small blue ball formed at the tip of the magical apparatus before shooting out in a harmless wave across the room. Completed, she continued. "In my world, we can use magic. That is how we came to this world. What I just did is a translation spell. Does this satisfy you?"
The Tetsuya family could now understand her. It befuddled Yori but did not cause him to believe her, not yet. "I don't know how you did it but you have my interest. Keep going." The son gave the slight tug of a smug of increased interest.
Alexia explained the story. "Jack had been brought to our world called Halkeginia five years ago. I had summoned him as part of a ritual to acquire a familiar in my younger years. We both had been under each other's care despite the short time we have been together. Our country was in a war. We eventually got married and served the frontlines."
"That's one heck of a story." Jirou Tetsuya gave a smile.
Alexia handed the brown bag that she brought. "These are his belongings that he had." Jirou received the bag and opened it. Inside is a small brown case, a book, a file and the laptop. He took the file and read the small stack of papers inside.
Jirou concentrated as he examined the text. "This is his handwriting. There's no mistake about it." He looked at the title of the larger book. "Ah, this was what I wanted to borrow so long ago."
His mother gave a sharp look. "How can you be so sure? It's been five years!"
Jirou countermanded that point. "Precisely because it's been five years that when I read this, I know it's him. His writing is nostalgic and I can clearly feel that it is him."
"Handwriting can be easily faked." Yori looked at Alexia with fierce doubt. "You will need more than just these papers to prove that you are my son's wife even if he is dead."
Alexia felt her brow twitch. "What's the problem about it?"
Saito whispered to her ear. "You see...they think you might be intending to grab the family inheritance. They are a rich family after all."
That made her snap. "Nonsense! I will not be taken as a greedy bitch!" She shot up to her feet. "I intended to return his belongings and inform you of his fate and this is what I receive. I am seriously disappointed." The two elders did not answer. Her face etched with anger, she gestured to the laptop. "Inside this is a picture of him and I. You can see that we have been together."
Jirou turned on the laptop. A password stopped his tracks. He tried once but his attempt was rejected. Seeing this unexpected development, he thought a little before asking. "What is Jack's last happiest occasion?"
Alexia reflected a moment before she answered. "Our wedding." He put an invisible puzzle together before he typed White Rose and the computer granted him access. It surprised her. "How did you know?"
"He takes history to heart and treasures its lessons. He tends to personify facts to create a little of beauty within the path of his life. He may be a bit distant but I know my brother well." Jirou sorted through the folders, finding every secret spot like a brother could. In a minute, he found that picture, the picture of a master and familiar. He smiled warmly at the image. "It's him alright. There's no tampering of this photo."
The evidence remains difficult for Natsuko to swallow. "That still is not enough to..."
Alexia cut her off with her trump card. "Meet your grandchild, Eveline." The little girl uncomfortably stepped off the seat and stood in front of her extended family.
Jirou chuckled. "I see his hair."
Natsuko appeared bug eyed. "I see his nose."
"It feels nostalgic." Yori remains stubborn. "Even so, it still remains to be seen. All these things could just be made up."
Her anger flared black. "What do you mean made up? How could you fake something so sacred as a child? I loved your son. This is not something that is made up!"
Eveline is scared at her mother's anger. "Mommy..."
Alexia's anger dimmed into a cheerless voice. "Hush...it's alright." The sting of her poison had already seeped through to her targets.
Saito backed her up with another point. "If you really want to be sure about it, you can perform a DNA test. It can't lie." Alexia didn't know what exactly it is but it sounded really strong on her side.
Yori is at a loss of any possible counter. "If you put it that way...I cannot deny your confidence."
His wife noted. "We will perform the test and confirm how true your words about her lineage are."
Alexia sharpened her gaze, ready to pounce into the fight. "What is that supposed to mean?"
Jirou laughed, twisting the tension around in the room. "I guess, welcome to the family."
Their goal here has been achieved. Now returned to the back yard of the Hiragas, Saito asked. "What do you plan to do now?"
Alexia hefted her bag onto her shoulders. "I plan to return home for the time being. Maybe I'll let Eveline come here to study but without neglecting her magic education as you suggested." They'll need some planning to make it work but it can definitely be done.
Saito approved of her thoughts. "That sounds good. It will really help both worlds when Eveline's ready." "Will you visit your parents in law?"
Alexia nodded. "I can't deny them that. They already lost their son and I'm sure they will be very helpful for her when she stays here."
Louise focused and created the World Door. The portal formed and stabilized, opening the bridge to Halkeginia. Alexia held her daughter's hand. "Come, let's go home."