CASeries #2: LEGEND
Chapter 7 ♕ Striking a Deal
The walk through the path in the shadowy forest provided a relaxing atmosphere. It felt more like a midnight rendezvous between a very . . . unusual group of friends rather than a mission they’ve been sent out to do.
“Hey. Why is hearing a Celestial Beast not a small thing?” she asked.
Elfre took the liberty of answering her question. “Because not a lot of people can do it,” she stated. “You have to have a special connection to them in order to be able to hear their words. They communicate through an entirely different way. From what I heard, only Direct Controllers have been able to do it—with a few cases of individuals with spirit for an element. Does that answer your question?”
“Yeah.” She scratched her head. “I guess.”
“Now then,” Charles started. “Since I suppose that all our other problems were smoothed out, I think it’s time to discuss the reason why we originally came here, don’t you think?”
“Right. The matter’s been waiting to be solved,” Raziel agreed.
“Lord Lienhard,” Charles began, politely addressing the man. “We have managed to beat you in your little game. As promised, we will discuss of the matter about you fortifying the barrier around the academy.”
The sound of an owl echoed faintly in the background, followed by the sound of heavily flapping wings. Corvan tilted his head to the side ever so slightly, his emerald green eyes narrowing at a faint sound that everyone else seemed to have failed to notice.
“I may very well consider it,” the man answered. “Give me a reason why I should.”
“Because it’s your responsibility?” Keelan said.
“We have already consulted His Majesty regarding the matter before acting,” Charles said. “His Majesty confirmed his . . . incapability of filling the role currently. And his son, Prince Bertram, is currently unavailable due to certain conditions. We request that you step in as per your obligations as a member of the royal family.”
“How tiresome,” he said.
“Dear gods, do you desire demons to infiltrate the only place training knights? If this ever happens, you won’t be able to enjoy the drink in that pub at all!” Aneeka told him in frustration.
He grumbled something incoherent before turning to the Twelve and sighing. “Let’s say I help you. What do I get in return?”
“Are you serious?” Tamara growled.
The members of the circle exchanged glances except for Charles, who kept his eyes trained straight to the man’s.
“We’re willing to do you any favor.”
“Charles—” Tamara protested but was cut off by a hand being brought in front of her face.
“We’re asking something from you. That gives you the right to ask something from us in exchange,” he said.
“This isn’t a favor but an obligation!” the third-ranker continued.
“Shut it, Tamara. I do the talking.”
“Well,” Lienhard breathed, looking very troubled. “If that’s how it’ll be, then . . . I guess I have to. But once I get back, I doubt I can actually escape so easily. I spent months trying to cover my tracks. I didn’t expect my own daughter to turn me in.”
“What kind of favor would you have us do?” Corvan asked.
“Well, let me see . . .” he thought for a moment. After a few seconds, a strange smile appeared on his lips. “Are you aware of the City of Loquin in the Near North?”
“Near North? Prelurésia, you mean?” Charles fixed his glasses. “What of it?”
“The city is currently being overrun by demons,” he said. “The Evereeshas have attempted to aid them by lending manpower, but it seems that the plan didn’t work. They sent the Eighth Knight, Lazaro, but he has not returned at all. No further casualties can be afforded. The loss is too great.”
“That’s terrible,” Valeriana muttered, but she shivered at the thought of demons.
“Lazaro? Celeste Lazaro Sal?” Tamara’s voice sounded skeptical. “That man is as tough as a weed. It’s impossible for him to be taken down that easily.”
“Are you sure it’s alright handing us this task?” Corvan asked.
“We’re just students,” Zevlin said. “What if we die or something?”
“And that. I may label this task as A plus and I’m pretty sure the dangers are of the extreme . . .” he sighed overdramatically, shaking his head.
The Twelve suddenly felt hesitant. Lord Lienhard continued feigning a troubled smile as he looked at each of the members before him.
With taunting eyes, he continued. “With the current Celestial Knights busy handling their own cases, no one is able to lend their time.” He sighed.
“What makes you think we can get out if even the Eighth Knight can’t?”
“Nothing.” Lienhard shrug. “Which is why you should all let me go and we can forget everything!” he exclaimed in a singsong voice.
“We’ll do it,” Tamara said with determination.
“Grea—what?” The archduke’s brows were thrown higher than before. “No. I was just—Kylon and Seraphina will scold the light out of me. Were you taking me seriously—how can I send students into a city of demons, I—”
“You’re the archduke—you’re manage the Celeste Dispatch Division and you just gave us an assignment, in fact, you personally requested us of it,” Tamara enthusiastically cut him off. “Besides, we don’t ever get any exciting missions aside from boring D-classes. We should take this chance!”
Lord Lienhard sucked on his lower lip from worry. “I—oh what have I done? I should’ve expected the brashness of youth, why did I have to invoke . . .”
The archduke ended up biting his own tail. He expected the Twelve to be cowards, wet behind the ears, but they turned out to be the total opposite. If there was ever anything to describe the Celestial Twelve, it was that they never backed down from a challenge.
Charles took out his notebook. “If we’re going to get this mission down, then I’ll be sending Valeriana, Brindon, Keelan, Aneeka, and Rowe back to the academy to escort Lord Lienhard and make sure he doesn’t run away while I and the rest of the Twelve go to the City of Loquin in Prelurésia to do our part of the deal.” He snapped the notebook close and slipped it back into his pocket.
“You don’t trust me going there by myself?”
“I don’t,” he bluntly answered. “After trying to mess with our heads, do you think we will? Besides, we need to keep the first years at a minimum and someone needs to return to the academy to inform the headmaster,” Charles continued, not sparing any of his attention to the man’s remark. “There’ll be a ship leaving for the Central Continent tomorrow around the same time with another that’ll lead to Raubinald. From there, we can head to Loquin and you and the others will start your trip back to the Academy,” he explained.
“How did you know that?” Valeriana asked.
“Don’t ask questions. Where are Aneeka and Rowe?” he asked, looking behind them.
As if on cue, they jumped down from the trees, taking some of them aback. “We’re here.”
“You were following since a while ago, why didn’t you show yourselves?” Corvan asked.
“Let’s just say it was fun to watch you people,” replied Rowe.
“You’re late,” Charles said. “Now, since we’re complete. It’s time to move.”