Chapter 63 : No title
A few days ago.
Reisha who was simply standing by the window, gazing at the small garden, heard a soft knock on the door.
“Princess the party is ready, their leaders would like to meet you.” Said Celine, opening the door.
A man with silver ruffled hair with sharp pointy ears and clear white cotton furs on the inner parts of the ear, wearing a simple mini jacket, revealing his well toned muscles, entered the room with a large grin.
And behind him, was a young female knight in her early twenties, wearing full body armor with a faded pink hair tied to a pony tail. She gave Reisha a slight bow before entering the room. “It is of great honor to meet the twilight princess herself in person. I am Julia Ashfall, your highness.”
“Oh, so we’re doing the introductions.” Said the silver haired man, scratching his head. The female knight shot him a slight glare, making him shiver. “My bad, my bad. I’m Connor of the proud wolf clan. Hope we get along well your highness.” He gave Reisha a wink.
Reisha nodded and looked curiously towards Julia. “ You’re human? ”
“Yes I am.” Said Julia with a sort of pride and nobility in her words. “ But I’m leading a party filled with beastmen so you can rest assure this search will be a success, I have yet to fail. Your highness.”
Hearing her words, Reisha let out a soft sight, somewhat relieved. Connor, somewhat impatient walked closer to Reisha with his hands behind his head showing that he was a somewhat carefree man, spoke. “So what’re we looking for your highness?”
Celine walked over to Reisha and explained. “Before we get into detail, we would need you to know that this is a top secret quest. The reward is a good amount of gold but we would need you to be hushed about the circumstances of this quest. Is that understood?”
The female knight felt a sort of pressure from Celine’s words, she knew very well that if the twilight princess was the one asking for the quest, it might’ve been something serious. But to her horror, Connor spoke without so much as a second thought. “Of course we will! ”
Julia, somewhat taken aback simply gulped and regained her composure. “Y-yes we will.”
Reisha was somewhat hesitant to shed light on her family’s dark past, but knowing the danger that her precious older brother was in, simply made her choose to abandon her hesitation.
She had no choice but to trust in Celine’s personally handpicked people.
After what seemed to be a brief pause, Reisha spoke. “Then. I would like for you to find my dearest brother.”
Julia and Connor looked at one another with slightly raised brows. They assumed she meant Clovis the first prince, that everyone knew was in Gallia so it was a somewhat strange request.
Julia spoke. “Did prince Clovis go missing?”
Reisha, as if expecting her question simply shook her head, her eyes staring into the floor with a sort of distant look. “No… I meant my dearest brother…” She continued in a seemingly soft but heartfelt words. “Lazarus…..”
Connor, unfamiliar with the name couldn’t help but scratch his head endlessly, glancing towards Julia for some answers. The female knight, who was a daughter of a high-noble, spoke. “The infamous Exiled prince…However, princess, would it be alright to tell someone who is not human about this?”
Julia couldn’t help but be concerned, considering the royal decree that the royal family had given the nobles, to never speak about the existence of the second prince. Reisha knowing the gravity of this, nodded with resolve.
“As you wish your highness.” Said Celine. “Connor, you may not know this since you’re of the beastmen and not of nobility but there was a second prince of the Valhearts, young prince Lazarus Valheart.”
Hearing her words, Connor’s eyes widened in surprise. “Y-you’re not joking are you?”
Julia shook her head. He still couldn’t believe it. In an attempt to verify, he glanced towards Reisha who also nodded and confirmed Julia’s story. It was a sort of shock to him and Celine’s next words simply left him speechless as she said.
“He was Exiled to a forest at the age of 8.”
Connor frowned. “W-what the…..a human child...sent to a forest alone?? Isn’t that basically killing him off??”
“He survived.” Replied Celine coldy and casually. “That is why we need you and your people to find him.”
“I’ve heard that it is possible to track down family members with their unique scent.” Added Reisha. “So could your people find my brother with just his scent alone?”
Julia nodded. “Yes, but scent is just one of the tools our party utilizes. We have more means princess.”
As Connor was about to ask more about the circumstances, wanting to know the reason why they chose to exile a young kid. Julia raised her palm slighty, silencing Connor, making him sigh and go quiet, she couldn’t let personal feelings go into this matter. “So where do we start searching for him?”
“In the cities of Kratos.” Replied Reisha. “ I’ve also hired another party to go with me to the town of Lumia where I’ll meet Ana and ask her about brother. So your party will be heading to the City of Garrion.”
Julia placed a hand on her chin as she carefully thought about what else they needed to know, a thought then occurred to her as she spoke. “ Should we subjugate him if we find him or..?”
“No.” Said Reisha, shaking her head. “ If you do happen to find him, please tell him that I’d like to meet him.”
“And do not forget to tell us beforehand, before speaking with him.” Added Celine.
“So we basically just have to tell the guy? That’s kinda easy.” Said Connor. Seeing his carefree nature simply made Celine feel the need to tell him of how difficult the task may be. “I may have forgot to tell you but, he can disappear from the naked eye at will. And he can temporarily rob you of your vision.”
“He can he use magic?” Asked Julia, crossing her arms. She was aware of the reason of Lazarus’ exile so she assumed he couldn’t.
Celine sighed. “I understand why you think that way. However, it is what it is and from the letter that Falon showed us, it seems he actually does use magic. A manaless magic called ‘technology magic’. Keep in mind that you are not to engage him in combat, as he has single handedly defeated one of our top combat maids together with the others.“
Hearing Celine’s warning, Julia just couldn’t believe her ears. “Technology magic…. If he needs not mana to use it. Doesn’t that make him a fearsome adversary?” The thought of fighting an opponent with unlimited magic simple made her shiver.
Considering the circumstances, Connor understood why this was a personal request from Reisha and why it was a high ranked quest. He was more curious about their talk about manaless magic, but he kept quiet seeing as now wasn’t the time to ask.
Celine nodded. “Indeed. Which is why I am telling you all of this so you wouldn’t do anything rash. Just remember not to engage him in combat, and the task will be simple. That is all.”
“We understand.” Said Julia and gave Reisha a bow before heading to the door. “Then we’ll make preparations. Connor have you gotten familiar with the scent?”
Connor snickered. “After being in here quite a while, I’ve practically already memorized it.”
“Good, then let us depart.” Said Julia as she gave Reisha and Celine a bow before leaving with Connor.
It was just another day at the tavern, with Lazarus casually munching on some sandwiches. He was carefully thinking about the design of the engine frames and the transformers he needed.
As soon as he finished his meal, he dropped some coins in the counter and left quietly. He casually headed to the smith’s shop, and upon opening the door, he saw Gallios wiping the wooden table with a dirtied cloth.
“Ah, Rex, morning.”
“Morning.” Said Lazarus. “By any chance, did that Jensen guy leave any messages?”
Gallios glanced up at the ceiling, trying to recall some past event. “Hmm… sorry, but I don’t think so.”
Lazarus knew that sending letters via birds would take a while, an outcome he’d expected. He simply decided to check everyday just in case. “Ah I see...Then I’ll be going.”
“See you.” Replied Gallios before going back to shining his desk.
It was time to head back to the forest to continue on with his little tinkering. By the time dusk approached, he immediately went back to the city to grab a bite after giving Rigel back to the Yuna, the horse caretaker.
Several days passed by, with Lazarus’ routine not really changing.
By this time, he had already finished making all of the interior parts of the the engine from the armature, stator, commutator, brushes, terminals, the case and rest. The only thing he needed to do was assemble the parts together but seeing as it was already getting dark, it was already time to get back.
After traveling back to the city, he casually headed back to the stables, returning Rigel to the caretaker and walking off.
Eve, who had also tended to her horse, saw a cloaked figure leaving. There was a sort of resemblance from the way he looked from behind, so she casually took a whiff and the very familiar scent made her smile, before she ran after the cloaked figure.
“Rex! Hey!” Hearing the familiar voice, Lazarus stopped and look to see Eve smiling happily, waving at him.
“Is something wrong?” Asked Lazarus, wanting to know the reason why he was called out. Eve chuckled cutely, knowing this part of him would never change. “No...Nothing.” She leaned forward a bit, tilting her head slightly. “Is it wrong for me to call out to you?”
“Ahh-..no. I was just thinking you might’ve needed something. Anyway if there’s--”
Eve knowing that Lazarus would’ve left, interrupted. “Would you like to join me and Eris for dinner?”
“Hhmm...” Lazarus thought for a moment, and seeing as he was also going to grab a bite, he had no reason to refuse, he replied. “Alright.”
Eve smiled happily, glad that Lazarus didn’t refuse.
“So where do you guys usually eat?” Asked Lazarus as he knew it wasn’t where he usually ate seeing as he never saw them there.
“Follow me.” Said Eve as she walked ahead.
The two simply walked in silence with Lazarus just two steps behind her. She kept glancing back, not wanting Lazarus to run off, and just to make sure, she slowed down her pace, wanting Lazarus to catch-up.
As Lazarus caught up beside her, Eve smiled happily and began humming a tune. Lazarus noticed her silvery soft tail was wagging side to side gently.
He wasn’t sure why she seemed to be in a good mood, but the humming somehow reminded him of their first encounter. He pointed out. “Wasn’t that the tune you were humming on the ship?”
“Yeah….My mum used to put me to sleep with it.” Said Eve, gazing at the stars as if staring into the long forgotten past. Lazarus wasn’t sure what to say as he doesn’t know if it was a good memory or not.
Seeing his baffled look, Eve continued, glancing back to Lazarus with a sort of teasing smile. “Do you want to know?” She averted her gaze, and despite her subtle smile, a shadow was seemingly looming over her eyes as she continued with a fading voice. “About my past?”
Of course, Lazarus was curious, he wasn’t sure if she was serious or not. They didn’t even know each other that much to talk about this sort of topic, he thought. Before he could even voice out her answer, Eve stopped and pointed. “We’re here.”
It was a larger establishment compared to where he usually ate, the placed looked more grand and imposing with its limestone walls and carefully trimmed plants decorating the edges of the building.
It somehow screamed ‘expensive restaurant’ making Lazarus somewhat concerned for the prices. Eve pushed the door open and went inside without hearing his answer. She timed their arrival perfectly so she didn’t have to.
This only made Lazarus curious if she was just simply joking or if she really did want to talk about her past but hesitated at the end. It didn’t really matter to him, but still, he was curious about the past of the mysterious fox girl.
As he went inside, Eve lead him around the tables, the interior was just as grand as it was on the outside. With chandeliers hanging on the ceiling and carefully arranged expensive and stylish chairs, it was almost as if Lazarus was in a grand ballroom.
To his horror, the people were all dressed likes nobles and aristocrats. The people were giving him questioning gaze and some were criticizing his poor looks under their breaths.
This was what he hated the most, standing out. On the table at the corner was Eris, raising her hand slightly to let them know she was there. Seeing Lazarus with Eve, somehow surprised her, but it was a surprise that she delighted in.
“Ah so those ladies are paying for his meals.” Said a noble with a moustache, leering at Lazarus and somewhat disgusted by his presence. The man, who sat opposite of him nodded. “Quite an unpleasant sight if I may say.”
Lazarus could hear them, though, he didn’t need to use his enhanced hearing seeing as the two wanted him to hear it. Eve looked worried as she also heard the two, but Lazarus payed them no heed.
Eris was just quietly staring at Lazarus for a moment, before speaking in a soft tone with a sort of smile. “Hi.”
“Hi.” Said Lazarus awkwardly, seeing as he wasn’t sure how to respond at all.
Eris was still wearing the same one piece dress with brand new armors attached making Lazarus curious if she ever took them off. The only time he saw her without her armor was when it was destroyed.
A waiter who wore an outfit similar to a butler, with red hair brought a the menu over. It resembled a white folder with golden lining twisting and turning elegantly in the corners making Lazarus think that the menu itself would be worth quite a bit.
The waiter couldn’t help but feel a bit repulsed by Lazarus, but he didn’t say a word as he knew that he was with the two and that it would be rude if he showed it.
“We would like to have the usual.“ Said Eve casually. “ And you Rex?”
“Uhhmm..” Lazarus kept flipping the pages of the menu, trying to find something that’d be payed with bronze but even after reaching the end, he couldn’t find one. “I think I’ll take the cheapest of what you got.”
After saying those words, Lazarus could hear the muffled laughters of the nobles around him. Eve couldn’t help clench her skirt, somewhat frustrated hearing them mock Lazarus.
The waiter, kept a poker face and spoke. “Understood” before leaving the table.
Eris though, didn’t seem to mind as she had the same look she always did. She spoke. “What’re you up to Rex?”
“Not much really….” Said Lazarus, of course it was a lie but he knew Eris well enough to know she wouldn’t ask further. Though he wasn’t aware of the fact that Eris herself enjoyed these brief exchanges.
Eve was just silently listening to the people around them, and hearing all of the nasty things they said simply made her lower her gaze from the guilt of bringing Lazarus over.
Lazarus easily noticed the gloomy look on Eve and immediately realized why she looked that way, every time something bad was spoken about him, her ears flopped forward in the direction of the people talking about him, he could tell from his enhanced hearing.
In an attempt to distract her, Lazarus spoke. “So what about you?”
Eve didn’t respond and was seemingly spacing out. So he repeated. “What’ve you been up to Eve? ”
Hearing her name the first time from Lazarus, made her ears perk up. “Oh uhmm-.. I’m just looking around at some Mystallia crystal and some supplies. Why?”
“Just curious.” Said Lazarus. “So you two often meet for dinner?” Eve nodded. “Sometimes at lunch as well.”
As Lazarus continued asking some questions. He didn’t notice that Eris was just quietly observing him, thinking this was how Lazarus usually is. He doesn’t always show it, but he always seems to quietly try to help even if he himself doesn’t realize it. She thought.
“So how did you and Eris meet?” Asked Eve curiously, for now Lazarus was somewhat relieved that she stopped paying attention to the people around them.
“She was testing adventurers mana capacity and I happen to tried mine. That’s all.” Said Lazarus, trying to dismiss the topic.
It didn’t take long for the food to arrive, and Lazarus was served with a simple yellowish soup, with some mushrooms floating around. He wasn’t sure what it was, but it was good enough.
Eve had a carefully barbecued, honey coated steak with some side dishes and Eris had an assortment of desserts. The two seemed to enjoy their meals. And as they continued to eat, a soft ring could be heard from the door.
The people in the room seem to have gone quiet. Lazarus didn’t really care and continued to take small bits of sips from the cheap soup he ordered.
There was bit of cluttering, chairs moving and footsteps clacking on the wooden floor.
“Good evening sir Jensen.” A waiter spoke.
“Sir Jensen, what a pleasant surprise.” Another man spoke.
The nobles all stood up, greeting the merchant whom their business heavily relied on with smiles and flattery. The moment Lazarus heard his name, he glanced at Jensen who was surrounded by the nobles , with Edge beside him, with the same ice cold look.
The first thing Jensen noticed when he entered the restaurant was the two astounding silver haired beauties. And of course, he also happened to notice the seemingly out of place man, who wore a worn down hood seated with the beauties. After seeing Lazarus, he snickered.
“As much as I’d like to stay and chat, I’d much appreciate if I’d be given space so I could have a seat and a meal.”
Hearing his words, the nobles hurriedly nodded and backed away. “Y-yes of course sir Jensen.” They dared not to anger the man as he could easily destroy their business if he wanted.
Jensen huffed, loosened his tie and casually walked towards Lazarus’ table. “Hello ladies.”
He placed a right arm on his chest, made a gentleman like bow and placed a hand on Lazarus shoulder. “I have some important business with this gentlemen over here, would it be alright if you’d excuse him for a moment?”
Eve and Eris looked at Lazarus, and seeing a sort of snicker on his face made them think that he also knew Jensen. Edge was just behind him, so they didn’t really pay him any attention.
“Did they give you what you wanted?” Asked Lazarus, taking another sip off his soup. Jensen’s lips curved to a smile, giving Lazarus a light nod. “Indeed they have. I had intended to leave my message to the smith, but it seems that it is no longer necessary. I’d like to have a proper discussion with you tomorrow at my mansion, at dawn. Would that be alright?”
Lazarus nodded. The nobles were in awe at Jensen’s treatment towards Lazarus, it seemed as if he was even treated better than they were, making some angry and take note of him. He even got a personal invite from Jensen himself.
Jensen, somewhat satisfied with Lazarus’ reply simply nodded before leaving and seating himself at a vacant table across the room with Edge.
“You friend?” Asked Eve curiously to which Lazarus replied. “No, just an acquaintance.”
Eve’s ears twitched sideways, gazing at Lazarus suspiciously as he never showed such a pleased look from just meeting a person. “Really?” asked Eve with a slight pout.
Even Eris was curious why Lazarus was suddenly in a good mood. Lazarus couldn’t help but chuckle. “I’m telling the truth though.”
“Then why are you grinning like that?” Asked Eve, not believing in his words. They had never seen Lazarus seemingly this excited. He couldn’t help it, after all, he was hungry for the ores.
“Rex. The truth.” Said Eris with brows furrowed in a somewhat demanding tone, as she took a slice of cake, placing it in a separate plate and pushing it over to Lazarus like a sort of bribe.
Lazarus seeing their reaction couldn’t help but laugh softly, holding his stomach.
The two simply stared in annoyance at Lazarus. After finishing up their meal, Lazarus dropped some silver coins on the table to pay for his meal. The nobles was somewhat in disbelief seeing him pay for himself.
The three headed outside, just casually walking with Lazarus in between the two.
“Thanks… for going with my selfish request. ” Said Eve, her tail waving from side to side with a soft smile on her lips.
Lazarus didn’t reply; as it wasn’t something he needed to be thanked for.
Eris was just silent as usual and after walking for a while, Eve stopped in front of a large establishment and spoke. “This is my stop. See you tomorrow.” She waved happily, making Lazarus and Eris wave back slightly before she headed inside.
The two continued walking further up ahead, no words spoken and just the sound of stone clacking between them.
After reaching a small two storey building, Eris stopped and spoke. “This is where I live.”
“Ah I see.” - Lazarus
Eris looked as if she had more to say so Lazarus waited for abit. Eris stroked her hair a bit, tucking some strands of her silvery hair behind her ear. “I’m glad you joined us.” She smiled somewhat before waving her hand awkwardly. “Bye..”
Lazarus had never seen this side of her, she was sort of cute considering she always had a poker face.
“Bye.” Said Lazarus before walking off. After walking for a bit, he arrived at a small establishment with a hay roof and worn down wooden walls, he heaved a long sigh before heading inside.
A hooded figure on top of a tall building’s roof, simply watched him go inside and the moment he closed the door behind him. The figure grinned, revealing razor blade like teeths. “So our little prince has some friends I see. Tomorrow will be fun.”