They dropped, one after another as they squealed in pain; their bodies turning to ashes from the young man’s attacks. Alexis watched in amaze as the imps scrambled for their lives. In a few seconds everything fell silent, all that was left were the piles of ash from the little devils and the stench of burned flesh.
As the young man raised his hand to the door, green aura formed around the door and rose it up, placing itself back into place and locking tightly.
“That should buy us some time.” He looked up at Alexis, still speechless in the corner. “Are you alright, love?”
“Huh? Uh…I…um..y-yeah. Um..” All she could do was stutter as the right words couldn’t come out of her mouth. Her mind was replaying the scene in her head over and over again like a movie.
“We better hurry, others could be coming.” The brit brushed a few dust of ashes from his coat as he began sweeping some away from him, making a clean surface on the floor.
“Others?! You mean more of those things are coming?!” Alexis shook her head, trying to grasp the idea on what was going on.
“Okay. Who are you and what’s going on here?!”
“The name is Arthur, love. As to what’s going on, I’m afraid we’ll have to be at a safe distance first before I can tell you.”
“Safe distance?! I’m not going anywhere with you until you start telling me what’s going on! RIGHT NO-“ Alexis was soon cut short as they heard the front door bust open; the loud pitter-patter sounds of Imps below as they searched the apartment for them. It wasn’t long before they began to hear the imps pounding on her bedroom door.
“On second thought, your right. I don’t think we have ti-WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO THE FLOOR?!” Arthur had finished drawing a magic circle, one with symbols and writings that Alexis had never seen before. As he finished and stepped back the circle began to glow, electric strikes bolted out from the circle as a portal began to form from it.
“Hurry!” Arthur reached out his hand to Alexis, waiting for her to take it. But instead of taking his hand, she just stared him. None of this was possible, it couldn’t be. This could never happen in real life, she thought. Feeling scared she looked away from him and stepped back a bit.
“Alexis,” Arthur spoke in a soft tone, seeing Alexis was frightened. Alexis glanced over at him, surprised.
“How….How do you know my name?” Arthur’s hand didn’t lower as he kept it out to her.
“I know your scared and confused love. But don’t be frightened. It’ll be alright, but I need you to trust me first.” As Alexis looked into his eyes, she saw sincerity in them. She could trust this man.
She jolted a bit as she hurt the banging of the door get louder, the imps becoming more vicious as they were trying to get in. Alexis looked back at Arthur, seeing him still have his hand out to her.
“O-okay. I’ll trust you.” Alexis reached out and took his hand as they both stepped through the portal, leaving the human world behind.
“Are you alright, love?” Arthur asked as he helped Alexis up. The sensation through the portal was indescribable, however it wouldn’t be something Alexis would be willing to go through again. The muscles in her legs still felt like jelly as she tried to regain her balance.
“Just…..trying to stand at the moment.” She chuckle, feeling a bit embarrassed on how she was acting to the portal traveling.
“Perhaps it would be best for you to sit a while to regain strength in your legs before moving on ahead.” Arthur helped Alexis sit down by the oak tree as she laid her head back against the bark. As she laid back against the trunk she looked around to see where they were.
They were surrounded by trees that were filled with beautiful orange and yellow leaves. The air was cool as a soft breeze blew through. The sounds of birds filled the air as well as the rustling of the leaves. Alexis breathed in a bit, smelling the autumn air. After a few minutes she began to feel less light headed.
“Where are we?” Alexis asked as she looked around to view her surroundings a little more.
Arthur didn’t answer her as he pulled his cape coat off of him and knelt down, placing the coat around her.
“Here, it’s a bit chilly. Don’t want you catching your death of cold.” He smiled at her as he wrapped the warm coat around her. Alexis smiled at him, it felt nice to be treated with such kindness from a gentleman, but the thought immediately vanished when she got a whiff of the coat. It smelled weird, as if different colognes were sprayed on making the mixtures of the aroma a tad awful. Alexis tried her best to seem grateful but deep down she was squirming about the coat and its weird stench.
“I’m sure your first question for me would be what I am exactly.”
“Actually my first question was gonna be why your coat smells awful-” Alexis immediately covered her mouth as she soon realized what she had blurted out. “Oh my god I’m so sorry!”
“My coat smells awful?” Arthur arched over as a cloud of depression loomed over him. Almost looking like a complete failure. “Is the stench really that bad?”
“I’M SORRY! I DIDN’T MEAN TO SAY THAT!” She couldn’t lie though. The sight of him, becoming overly sadden and depressed over the silliness of the coat made her think twice about how she viewed him. It was pathetic actually. Here was a man who had single handedly took out those creatures with a brush of his hand, now was mopping about how his coat smelled awful; this man was such a bizarre character. Alexis soon became annoyed as he continued sulking, this was getting her nowhere to the questions she wanted to ask.
“WILL YOU STOP IT ALREADY? YOU’RE A MAN! QUIT GETTING DEPRESSED ABOUT THE DAMN COAT!” She yelled out to him. Finally the brit stopped and straightened himself a bit.
“Y-your right. I apologize, love. That was ungentleman of me to act in such a manner.” Arthur cleared his throat as he stood up; regaining his posture he had before. Alexis sighed as she shook her head.
“Now then, your questions?”
“Oh right. So…what exactly are you?” Arthur smiled as he pulled out a wooden stick that seemed to have star shapes carved onto it. With a wave of it, a few sparks that seemed magical sprouted out. Alexis watched in amaze at him.
“I’m what you might call a wizard.”
“A wizard? You mean those magical beings that have pointy hats and wear star pajama dresses?” Arthur immediately frowned.
“Certainly not! We don’t wear pointy hats and bloody star pajama dresses! I swear, the nerve of people to think of such ridiculous attire for us.” Alexis blinked at him in disbelieve. She must have struck a nerve, she thought, seeing him flare a bit in anger.
“Okay…so next question. What exactly were those things and what were they after?” Arthur’s anger disappeared quickly as he looked at Alexis.
“Those were monsters known as Imps.”
“Imps?” Alexis arched her brow.
“Imps are little devils who are used as minions to monsters of higher ranks then them. They may be vicious but once you show a backbone to them they are pushovers. However, they did not seem like the type of Imps I’ve ever seen before.”
“Wait a sec…..you talk as though monsters exist…..that’s not possible.”
“And why’s that love? You just saw a few moments ago. Did you think that was all a dream?” Alexis thought for a moment, trying to come up with an answer. There were no such thing as monsters, they weren’t real. They were just creatures created through imagination. But moments ago, that was no dream, those creatures known as Imps were truly trying to kill her.
“Alexis, monsters do indeed exist. “ As he said her name again, it puzzled her, bringing in her next question.
“How do you know my name? I don’t remember telling you.”
“Ah yes…..” Arthur sighed as he looked up into the sky breathing in deeply. “I’m afraid I cannot answer that one for you, love.”
“That is,” he continued, “Not until you’ve spoken with him.” Alexis looked at him confused.
“Him? Who’s him?” Arthur pulled his sleeve back to see the time on his watch before returning his attention back to Alexis.
“The person you are late to see. Seems time flew by quicker than I expected. Come along, love.” Alexis frowned at him. Once again he was dodging her questions, not fully answering them.
“No.” Arthur turned his head to her, “Why do I need to see this person? What business does he have with me? So far it seems like you’re hiding something from me and you keep dodging my questions that matter. Besides you didn’t answer one of my questions.”
“What question would that be?”
“What were those things after?” Arthur gave another sigh.
“Alexis, they were after you.” Alexis stared at Arthur for moment. Those things were after her? Why? What did she have that they wanted, she thought.
“I don’t understand. Why were they after me?” Seeing Alexis more confused than before, Arthur walked up to her and gently placed his hand on her shoulder.
“Love, I know you have so many questions you want answered. Your confused, a bit scared, especially with what just happened. But I promise you, your questions will be answered. However, I am not the person who will answer them.” Arthur smiled at her, “I don’t blame you for how your feeling. But as a gentleman I give you my word, everything will be explained.” Alexis looked up at him.
“Now then, let’s be on our way.” Arthur held his hand out to Alexis as she took it, following him to her next destination.
A gust of autumn air breezed in gracefully into the studies as two gentlemen were discussing the affairs of the kingdom.
“They’re certain she’s there?” The man that spoke was known as Anders Wingate. He was in his late 70s and though he was old, he still held intimidating power. He had warm hazel eyes that seemed inviting; however there were times his attitude towards most would make them think twice to approach him. He had a small beard, reddish brown with a few grey hairs, though his head was lacking any hair.
“Ja Anders, they’ve confirmed it. It’s her.” Anders sighed as he leaned back on his chair. The autumn sun that gleamed in shined on his head as he lowered it to think, his fingers tapping on his mouth for a moment. After moments past he looked up at his general.
“Alright, you know what to do, Ludwig.”
“Yes sir. Do you wish for me to join them in the pursuit-“
“No,” Anders said quickly. “I have another task for you in mind.” Ludwig nodded his head.
“Very well.” Anders soon stood up from his desk and stepped towards the window, looking out.
“That is all for now, Ludwig. You may go.” Ludwig came to attention to Anders before turning towards the door. But before he stepped out, he turned his head to Anders.
“Anders……do you think…she will be ready for this?” Anders sighed as he looked down at his ring, seeing the blue stone shimmer and shine against the sun.
“……….I hope so….” Ludwig nodded his head and soon stepped out, leaving Anders in his studies.
Alexis was in awe as they continued walking down the corridor of the mansion. It was open to the outside, bringing in a cool breeze and vines of leaves growing up and down the pillars as well as the ceiling. It gave the place a mystifying feel, almost as if it was forbidden to the outside world but would call out to those curious enough to venture in. Every now and then Arthur would have to stop walking to let Alexis catch up as she would find herself become distracted by the textures and designs the mansion had to offer. She could tell it was not a newly built mansion, as there were a few cracks here and there in places, but it certainly was nowhere near of collapsing either.
“Come along, Alexis, you’ll have plenty of time to view more of the mansions.” Arthur chuckled as she watched her become so intrigued. Her behavior reminded him so much of Danielle in her younger years. Venturing the mansion and getting herself into trouble.
As they ventured further in, they came across the courtyard of the mansion. Grass covered the ground as a few yellow trees stood tall and strong around the yard. However there was one thing that caught Alexis’ eye; a large beautiful decorated fountain that sprouted out cool water. Each side contained small spheres that would have tiny waterfalls sprouting out of them. The center stood tall with a globe on top, and what appeared to be frozen water swirled around the globe as if engulfing it. Water poured out from the bowl the globe was placed in. There were a few leaves floating in the fountain that were blown off the branches. Suddenly a gust of wind blew through as more leaves began falling gracefully to the ground, making it look like an Autumn Wonderland.
“Wow, so cool!!” Alexis exclaimed as she looked out into the courtyard. Arthur couldn’t help but chuckle once more. “It almost looks like something you would see in a storybook.”
“Does it? The king usually takes his walks through the courtyard. With the calm atmosphere it certainly helps to give him time to think.”
“Ah……………………..WAIT WHAT?!” Alexis immediately came to a halt as she looked at Arthur in shock.
“D-Don’t tell me the person I’m about to meet is-“
“The king? Yes.” Alexis’ jaw dropped in disbelieve. She had never once met royalty before and the thought that she soon would made her feel nervous.
“Let’s move along now. Don’t want to keep him waiting.”
“R-right….” Alexis walked a little quicker as she finally caught up to Arthur, feeling butterflies form in her stomach. What would a king want with her? More importantly, who exactly was this king?
“So uh……..what’s he like? The king I mean.” Arthur thought for a moment, tapping his finger against his chin.
“Well he certainly intimidates people. He’s stern as a leader should be, but he has a soft heart, it’s just rarely seen.”
“Oh…” Alexis looked away, feeling more nervous about meeting this king. Arthur looked over at her, noticing her behavior.
“Don’t worry, love. You have nothing to be nervous about. Just be careful what you say and you’ll do fine.”
“So helpful….” Alexis muttered. As they finally approached the door to the king’s study, a tall sturdy man walked out, closing the door behind him. He looked up to notice Arthur.
“Kirkland. Your late.” He spoke with a germen accent; deep and powering. Alexis felt intimidated when she heard him speak, though his figure already made her feel that way. He seemed to be in his late 20s, wearing military attire, though they were ones she’s never seen before. He had sleek blonde hair that was combed back and his eyes……his eyes. His eyes were the most piercing blue Alexis had ever seen. They seemed cold and hostile though she could sense a hint of warmth underneath it all. He indeed seemed like an attractive man, though the thought would never occur to Alexis since she felt afraid of him.
“Terribly sorry, Ludwig. I had some difficulties with imps.”
“Imps?’ Ludwig’s voice rose a bit with concern.
“Don’t worry, nothing my magic couldn’t handle.”
“With you, I’m always worried.”
“Sod off! My magic has never failed!”
“Explain that to Francis then since he had to clean up your mess.” Arthur immediately began giving Ludwig death glares and opened his mouth to respond, but Ludwig turned his attention away from Arthur and his eyes fell on Alexis, making her flinch.
“Is this her?” Arthur soon composed himself as he turned to Alexis to introduce her.
“Yes, this is Alexis Wingate.” Ludwig looked at her for moment, making Alexis feel uncomfortable as she looked away from him, though she could still feel his eyes on her, poking at her like cold daggers.
“………………If you’ll excuse me, I must return to my duties.” Ludwig walked past them and soon disappeared down the hallway, the tension feeling leaving with him as well.
“He sure is……fun….” Alexis muttered.
“Annoying bloody bastard. Thinks my magic is useless! I’ll show him!” Alexis sighed as she stepped over to the door leading to the studies.
“So…..the king is just through here?” Alexis asked. Arthur snapped out of his tantrum as he cleared his throat and returned to his gentleman behavior.
“Yes, just pass those doors.” Alexis looked down at the handles, reaching out to grasp them.
“I’m guessing I’m going in alone.”
“Afraid so, love.”
“…….okay…” Alexis took in a deep breath before turning the knob and opened the door. She stepped in and closed the door behind her.
“So that’s Danielle’s child, right? She certainly resembles her well.” Arthur looked behind him as a young woman approached him. Her black silk hooded dress swaying back and forth with each step as her long old cherry branch staff tapped the ground and echoed down the corridor.
“Mari, where have you been? The king has been looking for you?”
“For me? Whatever for? If it’s to know of his daughter’s whereabouts I’m afraid an Oracle does not work that way. I can only reveal what the Maker shows to me.”
“And what has he shown you?” Mari soon leaned against the wall, laying her staff against her as she looked up to the ceiling with a sigh. Though her face was covered by her hood, it could not hide her worried tone in her voice.
“I hope she is ready for what is to happen.” Arthur looked at Mari with concern.
“What do you mean?” The trees rustled fiercely as an ominous wind blew through, a sign that something was to happen. Mari opened her mouth as she spoke those venomous words.
“War is coming.”