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The Battle of Montrebeau, Day 3«Home»The People of Soleil

Girl from Another World

Hoderdya, Gopaco 25th;

It's been two days since the Battle of Montrebeau ended. The alliance had rounded up the last of the Umdari army on Clairiere Island and set up a temporary interim government with Victor as Military Governor. With no orders yet to move, the army's leaders stayed where they were. As the dead were collected from the battlefield, an empty field to the east was turned into a cemetery for the fallen.

"I still can't believe I caused some of this," Nai'a said as she watched the soldiers bury the dead. "I feel sick just thinking about it."

"Take heart, young one," said a soldier as he hammered a grave-marker into place.

"Nai'a! Come away from there!" Suguha called.

"A hara neo eme! [Coming!]"

"Zelda's about to interrogate Vyrvio," Suguha told Nai'a once they were together. "She wants us there."

"Alright then." The two lunaculi set off for the Governor's mansion. "By the way, I had another dream this morning."

"The same one that's been haunting you for weeks?" Suguha asked, disinterested.

"No! This time it was different."

"Oh?" Suguha now looked interested. "What was it?"

"There was this room, on the floor and back wall were circles covered in strange symbols. All the sudden they started glowing, and a big orb appeared dead center in them. There was some sort of shadow within that orb, but before I could see what it was, I woke up."

"Odd," Suguha commented as the entered the fort surrounding the mansion. "First a battlefield, now a room with odd symbols and a sphere."

"It didn't feel like it was that far into the future. It's possible it happened already."

"What, so now you're seeing things that are currently happening hundreds of miles away? Dawwea nu wgituji wgamewi. [Get real.]"

"Ka nekaneka mao ey o neiqiqi oe'y, [I wish I understood too,]" Nai'a said in Waikikese, and Tiki meowed in response.

The two girls went down to the holding cells beneath the mansion, where several Umdari officers that stubbornly refused to admit defeat were being held. In the largest one, Zelda, guarded by two of her Eden Knights, was interrogating a chair-bound Vyrvio.

"You're late," Zelda said when one of the knights let the two girls into the cell.

"Weto, betewgatexga u aabejo, [Well, excuse us,]" Suguha replied in Yamato.

"The other night, when I tried to assassinate you, Charlotte mentioned something about a Lord Voldrazar. Who's Lord Voldrazar?" Zelda demanded of Vyrvio.

"I don't know," Vyrvio replied at once.

"Zaharia," said Zelda. The knight that let the two girls in drew his dagger and held it to Vyrvio's throat.

"I don't know, honest."

"The papers and talismans we found in your study exposed you as a Chaotic, not that it wasn't obvious the other night. Your allies are gone and won't help you here, and neither will the dark gods you worship, so fess up. Tqiju-ka cu tsaa! [Tell me what you know!]"

"I really, honestly, don't know. I was just a grunt, a common soldier in the order. I was kept out of the loop of such things. All Chaotics learn the name when we're inducted into the order, but that's all we're told; I assumed that he was the primary dark god we worship, but I'm not sure who or what he his. Just after you fled the other night, Lady Charlotte warned me not to delve any deeper unless I was told, or face retribution from the other Chaos Lords. That's all I know about him, I swear."

Zelda was convinced and motioned for Zaharia to stay his blade. "So, you don't know anything about this Lord Voldrazar. Is there anything you do know?"

"I just told you... I was kept out of the loop."

"What about that room we found this morning, the one with the magic circles?" Zelda's question caused Nai'a and Suguha to exchange surprised looks, as both recalled the dream Nai'a had explained. "What were you doing in there?"

Vyrvio rolled his eyes before answering, "I don't really understand it. A few weeks ago, Lady Charlotte introduced me to some Imps. It was something about summoning the lost lunaculus, or some other kind of prattle. The Imps talked to each other in that gibberish language of theirs mostly, so I never got a lip of what they were articulating."

The three lunaculi exchanged confused looks. Zelda thanked Vyrvio for his honesty and led them out of the cell. The two Eden Knights, being assigned as guards, stayed behind while Zelda led the girls back up to the main mansion.

"So, Vyrvio didn't know anything," Zelda said when they were seated in the dining room.

"Couldn't you have bitten his neck to see for sure?" Suguha asked.

"There was no need, the look in his eye was an honest one; he had no reason to lie anyway."

"And what's an Imp?" Nai'a asked.

"Imps are one of the ten fairy races native to the aerial continent, Alfheim," Suguha replied. "They're also known as Dark Fairies. Not because they're evil or anything, they're just proficient at darkness-attributed Magic. Although, admittedly, that alone gives them a bad reputation. Why do you ask?"

"Vyrvio said an Imp was trying to do something in the room with the magic circles Zelda mentioned. Remember the dream I told you about earlier?"

Zelda led them to the said room in the basement. In the room were two magic circles; one on the back wall, the other on the floor in front of it. Against the wall opposite the circles was a workbench covered in books, spell ingredients and the like. As they walked in, Zelda and Suguha's attentions were briefly drawn to a corner of the room, where they sensed a presence.

"There's no mistaking it. This is the same room I saw in my dream," said Nai'a as she walked around the room examining it.

"Great. Where's the great glowing orb?" Suguha asked.

"What Nai'a saw was probably the past. Likely some failed attempt," said Zelda as she examined the items on the workbench. "Shed lamia skin dried and ground into powder, harpy feathers, among other things too." Zelda picked up a book and opened it to a bookmarked page. The book wasn't in Zedylric, or even Zedylo, the written script of Zedylric; the language was Obyrtitani, the language of Alfheimish fairies, and the written script was runes. "This book is in the Alfheimish fairy language."

"What does that say?" Nai'a asked.

"You think I can read Obyrtitani, let alone the runes they use?" Zelda replied.

Suguha snapped her fingers and Zelda handed her the book. "I'm personally acquainted with the lunaculus of Alfheim, a leprechaun named Ricus Steelfern. He taught me a bit of Obyrtitani."

"Your father mentioned him;" said Zelda, "he also said that you two were much closer than acquaintances."

Zelda gave Suguha a knowing look. Suguha blushed for a second but regained her composure, "Anyway, from what I can understand, this here is a summoning spell," Suguha told them.

"Vyrvio said something about the Imp being hired to try and summon a lost lunaculus," said Nai'a. "Lani's mother said that the only unidentified lunaculus was the lunaculus of Nekcroz, who hasn't been seen since she was born sixteen years ago. Hmmmm."

"Jesaija bu doxo e abuu? [Getting an idea?]" Zelda asked in Vampiric.

"Maybe if we perfect the ritual, we can summon him or her! What do you think, Suguha? You can read that, so-"

"No," Suguha interrupted, closing the book with a snap. "I'm an elementeer, not a magician; I can't use magic, I have no affinity for it. Even if I were magic-user, I can't read all of this, so I can't say the spell. And last, and most importantly, even if I could read all of this, only fairies can use fairy magic."

"You heard her. So how long are you two going to stand there invisible?" Zelda asked, looking toward a corner of the room. Then, out of nowhere, the corner began to shimmer, and two pale-skinned, human-sized, fairies appeared. One was a short-haired male and the other a long-haired female, both with purple hair and purple bat-like insectoid wings.

"How did you know we were here?" the female asked.

"I heard your heartbeats. Vampires have much better hearing than most humanoid beings, and being invisible doesn't make you silent."

"Same here. The vibrations you and we were making gave you away. I knew you were there the instant we walked in the room," said Suguha, who had detected the fairies using seismic sense.

"I didn't know you could do that," said Nai'a.

"It's a sub-technique of terrateering."

Zelda turned back to the two Imps and asked, "Why were you two hiding?"

"We'd thought you'd hurt us," said the male.

"Oh, it was definitely on my mind," said Suguha. "Vyrvio told us you two had been hired for this strange experiment."

"'Hired?' We would've been killed had we refused," said the female. "But where are our fygika [manners]; I'm Uryla Shadowik. This is Tretan Obsydion."

"Ajcojsos bu cijetsajso, [Pleased to meet you,]" said Zelda. The two fairies sensed it was safe to come closer and approached. "What exactly did they want with you?"

"They wanted us to summon the long-lost lunaculus of Nekcroz," said Tretan. "Futile in my opinion."

"Why?" Nai'a asked.

"For one thing, we don't even know if the said lunaculus is still alive," said Uryla.

"If he or she were dead, the lunaculus of Nekcroz would've been reincarnated by now," said Zelda. "So, the spell would summon the current one, not the one who was lost."

"Point. On a related note, I can't believe we've found ourselves in the presence of three lunaculi."

"Yes... we've been getting that a lot," said Zelda. "I'm Zelda Tepes, Queen Regnant of Transylvania. These two are Suguha Oda, First Princess of Yamatai, and Nai'a Palakiko, from Hawaiki." The two fairies attempted to bow in respect, but Zelda held up a hand to stop them. "Now that this town is no longer under Umdari control, you two are free to go."

"Truthfully, I want to see this through," said Uryla.

"Imu lguny fa, [Here we go again,]" said Tretan.

"Meczeai Na! [Quiet you!]"

"From what I could read in the book, and from what I see on the bench, you guys are missing an ingredient needed for this summoning," said Suguha.

"That's correct," said Uryla.

"I'm interested in seeing this finished as well; so, what's missing?" Zelda asked.

"We need scales of a mermaid," Tretan told them, and the two royals turned to Nai'a.

"What are you looking at me for?" Nai'a asked nervously.

Zelda and Suguha took Nai'a upstairs, stripped her of her bracelet, and splashed her with water.

"You could've asked!" Nai'a complained, now lying on a sofa in her aquatic form.

"Where's the fun in that?" Suguha asked, now examining the scales of Nai'a's tail with a pair of tweezers in hand.

"I don't find it funny. OW! That hurt!" Nai'a complained as Suguha plucked one of her scales.

"Ejexgen na neleneako jikewea. [Don't be a baby.]"

"How many do you need?" Zelda asked Uryla.

"Seven will suffice," Uryla replied.

"Seven of my precious scales- OW!" Nai'a exclaimed as Suguha just plucked another scale.

Once they had all the scales they needed, to Nai'a's relief, Uryla and Tretan began work on the potion for the summoning spell. It took most of the day, but by evening they were ready.

"I hope this works," said Uryla as she and Tretan set up for the spell.

"So, do I, because I'm not letting you have any more of my scales," said Nai'a, now with her legs again.

"Femoto fu, [Give it a rest,]" said Suguha.

"This is my first time seeing such complicated magic done before," said Zelda.

"It actually our first time doing it," said Tretan. "But I personally think a pair of Undines or Sylphs would be better suited for a summoning spell; especially one of this scale."

"I'm inclined to agree," said Zelda.

Once everything was in place, Uryla and Tretan got in position and held their hands out in front of them.

"It's now or never," said Uryla.

The two Imps took a breath and began the chant in Obyrtitani, which only Suguha understood, though only partially:

"C hudgufutzeayf Oberon e Titania fovkacz, [By the powers of Oberon and Titania the wise,]"

"Fa gyranyaif cufo mikayaimlay n hkulmkyglmni e nkifige, [We call to whom is lost in space and time,]"

"Nikgom'n Patria um vydicu ede sdercu, [Return to Patria from far or near,]"

"Oldalz' gylz hkeran e nikgom'lay laovy! [Hear our call and return here!]"

With the first chant, a large orb of energy appeared, floating in parallel with the two circles.

"What did that mean?" Zelda asked Suguha.

"I couldn't catch everything, but they were calling upon the powers of Oberon and Titania to summon someone lost," Suguha replied.

Uryla and Tretan repeated the chant five times until a shadow appeared in the center of the orb. After the sixth chant, the shadow in the center became more solid-looking, and a second later the orb vanished, the spell complete. On the floor in place of the orb was... a girl. But this was no ordinary girl. Her skin was reddish-copper and her short straight hair was black, traits typical of a Nekcr'zii, the main human ethnicity native to mainland Nekcroz, but that's not what made her strange. She was wearing strange clothing; a black skirt that came to just above her knees, along with a yellow jacket over a yellow vest and white shirt with a black bow. She also had a couple odd-looking bags with her. In her ears were what looked like earplugs, and they were connected to flat object she was holding in her hand with some weird-looking string. But what really caught their attention was her eyes. They were the same as Suguha's, Nai'a's and Zelda's.

"Huczurzi, imu sad olhicz, [Looks like it was a success,]" said Uryla, as the girl took the strange earplugs out of her ears and put them in a pocket along with the flat object.

"Strange clothes she wearing," said Zelda, as the girl looked around in wonder. "Where did they summon her from?"

"How would I know?" Suguha replied.

"Salamdeul-eun dangsin-i nugu-inga? [Who are you people?]" the girl asked in a strange language that none of them understood.

"Ooooookaaaaay. Did anyone understand that?" Suguha asked, and everyone shook their heads. Suguha turned back to the girl and knelt in front of her. "Do you speak our language? Any Zedylric, anything?"

"Dangsin-eun dodaeche mueos eul mal-eulhaneungeoya? [What the heck are you saying?]" the girl replied.

"Apparently not." Suguha reached out to touch the girl's clothes. "These are some strange garments she's- ouff!" the girl kicked Suguha in the stomach.

"Naleul isanghan salam gakkaihaji mal geos! [Keep away from me weirdo!]" the girl yelled before getting up and taking off. The girl ran out of the basement room and up to the main mansion. "Where the heck am I? I was just walking home from school when I was suddenly sucked into this big glowing ball and..." The girl thought but stopped when she got a look at the cloudless sky upon exiting the front door of the mansion and saw the two moons. "DODAECHE MUSEUN IL-IYA! [WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON!]" the girl yelled into the night, attracting the attention of the nearby soldiers. But before the said soldiers could react, the girl was lifted into the air by her ankle, held up by apparently nothing. Behind her was General/Governor Victor, who had his wand pointing at the girl.

"Thanks, Victor," said Zelda once they caught up. "This girl's pretty energetic."

"Issneun il iyeyo?! Naleul eopdeulyeo! [What's happening?! Get me down!]" the girl yelled, dropping her bags from her shoulders.

"What is she saying?" Victor asked.

"We have no idea," Suguha groaned, rubbing her stomach where the girl kicked her.

They restrained the girl in a chair in the governor's study of the mansion and went through the bags she had.

"Nae mulgeonson tte! [Get your hands off my stuff!]" the girl exclaimed, but no one paid her any mind.

"Strange things she has," Suguha commented as they went through her bags. Suguha was currently looking at a couple of strange things that seemed to be made of metal.

"Here's something familiar; a jade eagle-jaguar-snake totem," said Zelda, holding up a three-animal totem pendant made of jade on a fine chain necklace. "These idols are the Jadeites; they're worshiped by the Nekcr'zii peoples in parts of central Nekcroz."

"That must mean she was originally born in one of those cultures," said Suguha as she opened a book that was in one of the bags. "What language is this?" Suguha inquired, but no one answered. Instead she turned back to the girl and showed it to her. "Where... do... you... come... from? What... lan... guage... is... this?" Suguha said slowly.

"Dangsin-eun myeonghwag hangug-eoleul ihaehaji anhjiman, dangsindo malhadeun naneun mal-eulhaji anhseubnida. [You clearly don't understand Korean, but I don't speak whatever your speaking either.]" the girl replied.

"You're wasting your time, Suguha," said Zelda, "she doesn't speak or understand Zedylric. She can't understand us, and we can't understand her."

"If only we could," said Nai'a. "Wherever she was raised clearly didn't speak any language we speak here."

"We can fix that," said Uryla, who just appeared in the doorway.

"How?" Nai'a inquired, and Uryla displayed a ring in response.

Uryla then undid the ropes binding the girl and placed the ring on her left middle finger. A few seconds passed, and then...

"What's the ring for?" the girl asked, and everyone was shocked that she could be understood.

"That fixes that," said Uryla, and the girl was surprised as well.

"I can understand you now?!"

"And we can understand you," said Zelda.

"That's a Language Ring," Uryla explained, displaying a ring on her own finger "It takes the meaning behind your words and translates them into the ring's assigned language, in this case, Zedylric, and allows you to understand the assigned language as well."

"Uh... thanks," said the girl.

"Now if you all will excuse me, I need to clean up downstairs," Urlya said and left at that.

The girl then remembered her things, "Since you can understand me now, can you please keep out of my things?"

"Fine, fine," Suguha replied, as they replaced the girl's things in her bag.

"Do you have a name?" Nai'a asked.

"It's Hwang Hye-won," Hye-won replied. "Just call me Hye-won."

"Hwang Hye-won? That sounds like a Joseonite name," said Suguha. "Are you from Joseon?"

"Where?"

"The Empire of Joseon? One of the empires of Marlakcor? The northeastern continent of Patria?"

"Um... where exactly am I?" Hye-won asked.

"Where are you from?" Zelda asked.

"(sigh) I'm from Earth."

"Earth?" Nai'a inquired.

"That's right," said Hye-won. "I'm from a city called Seoul, capital of an East-Asian country called the Republic of Korea, aka South Korea, aka Hanguk, on a world called Earth. I'm 15-years-old, and a first-year student at Seoul High School of Performing Arts. Although, admittedly, I don't actually look Korean; something I was constantly reminded of and picked on about."

"That's something," said Zelda.

"I don't believe her," said Suguha.

"You don't?" said Hye-won.

"But, Suguha... I think everything she has in her possession is physical proof of her story," said Nai'a, "You can't find anything like these strange objects anywhere on Patria. Plus, Uryla and Tretan said the summoning worked."

There was too much truth in this for Suguha to deny it.

"Now... can I get an explanation? Where am I, and who are you people?" Hye-won demanded.

And so... Suguha, Nai'a and Zelda introduced themselves and explained everything to Hye-won: who they were, where they're from, and their social statuses. Where she was and about Patria; from the seven great lands, to the lunaculi, to the war that was going on as they spoke. And, most importantly, why she had been summoned. When they finished, Hye-won was too overawed to say much.

"So... those... 'Imps'... were made to summon the long-lost lunaculus of Nekcroz. To help them fight this war going on," said Hye-won, still awestruck. "And you three are lunaculi of Eurodon, Aquilonis, and Maritymir. And you two are royalty as well."

"That's correct," said Zelda. "Do you believe us?"

Hye-won hesitated before answering, "It's... a little much."

"(sigh) I suppose anyone not from here would have a hard time swallowing this," said Suguha.

"And... you think I'm the long-lost lunaculus of Nekcroz?" Hye-won asked.

"Well, your strange attire aside, you fit the description," said Nai'a. "You even have the different colored eyes, which mark you as a lunaculus. Also, that jade pendant of yours is clearly of Nekcrozi origin."

"Well... I guess it makes sense. I mean it fits my back-story when you think about it."

"Come again?" said Zelda.

"Although I said I lived in Korea, I was actually adopted and I never knew where I came from. All my life I've been teased and picked on because of how I look; I've never had any friends my own age. My adopted parents said I just appeared in their home in a ray of light one day. When I remember that fact, I guess it makes sense that could be the world where I came from."

"Then I guess that settles it then," said Suguha. "Welcome to Patria, Hye-won."

"Thanks," Hye-won said, just as she yawned.

"Bedtime," said Zelda. "All three of you."

"You can't boss me-" Suguha started, but Zelda interrupted.

"Watch me. It's late, and we have things we have to get done tomorrow."

"C'mon, Hye-won," said Nai'a, taking Hye-won's arm. "You can sleep with me in my room."

Once Nai'a and Hye-won were out of the room, Zelda looked at Suguha.

"I'm sixteen, and a commander of this allied army," said Suguha.

"You're still a kid," Zelda replied. "During the battle, you didn't sleep for three days; you need to rest."

"What about yourself? Even vampires need their sleep."

"I'll live."

In Nai'a's room of the mansion;

"Sorry there's only one bed," said Nai'a.

"That's fine. I slept in the same bed with my adopted sister all the time," Hye-won said as she went through her bag. "I suppose I should count myself lucky I still have my things."

"What exactly is all that stuff?" Nai'a asked. "Like those stringed earplugs you were wearing when you were first summoned?"

"They're called headphones," Hye-won replied. "They're for listening to music on a CD player or smartphone without disturbing anyone."

"Head... foons? Smert-foon? What's a... 'see-dee'?"

"I really am in a fantasy world." Hye-won fixed her headphones to her smartphone and put one of them in Nai'a's ear. "Here, listen. This song is part of a genre called rock-n-roll." Hye-won turned on a song, but Nai'a only listened to a split second of it before yanking the contraption out of her ear. "Sorry," Hye-won apologized as she turned it off.

"My ear is ringing!" Nai'a complained, her hands over the ear the headphone was in.

"It'll stop shortly," Hye-won assured, and a few seconds later, Nai'a looked relaxed again. "See?"

"What was that?"

"I honestly don't think you'd understand. Is there any place I can charge… of course there isn't; no electricity here."

"What's 'ekeltrickity?'" Nai'a asked.

"I don't think you'd understand," Hye-won repeated. Hye-won looked out the window and saw the two moons again. "Two moons instead of one. I really am in a different world. Why are you naked!?" Hye-won exclaimed, looking back to Nai'a and seeing she was nude.

"I'm sleep in the nude. C'mon, Hye-won, it's late, we should sleep."

"A little much." And yet, Hye-won stripped nude too and climbed into bed with Nai'a. "I guess touching skin like this is a bit comforting."

"Sorry we pulled you out of your life so suddenly."

"Not your fault."

"Actually, it kinda is."

"How is it your fault?"

"I'm actually half-mermaid. And since mermaid scales were required for the potion used in the summoning, I provided mine; albeit unwillingly."

"Then it's not your fault," Hye-won said in a tone that settled the matter.

Goddya, Gopaco 26th;

The next day, Hye-won, after being provided with some new clothes to help her blend in more and not attract too much attention, went out to explore Montrebeau with her fellow lunaculi.

"This place is so primitive compared to home," Hye-won commented, wearing a casual dress provided by Zelda.

"Well, excuse us," Suguha replied as she paid for a couple apples from a street stall.

"What is that currency called? My home country uses Wons."

"Soleil's primary currency is called Solis, and the lower fractional denominations are Luna and Sidus. My home country, Yamatai, uses Kobans, Nibubans, Ichibubans and Tsuhos."

"Just like Japan used to."

"Who?"

"Hye-won, let's not compare our two worlds. It gets so confusing," said Zelda.

"Sorry, Your Majesty."

"You can call me Zelda. We might have differing social statuses, but we're all lunaculi."

"Same here," said Suguha. "Just call me Suguha. That goes for you too, Nai'a."

"Got it," Nai'a replied.

"I find it hard to believe this place was part of a battlefield just a few days ago," said Hye-won as a patrol of Soleilian soldiers walked by.

"Well, it was. You saw that cemetery in the eastern field, didn't you?" said Suguha, and Hye-won nodded. "We're in the middle of a war, and things can shift in an instant."

"C'mon, we're gonna miss the fight!" a teenage boy said to his friend as they ran past the quartet.

"Fight?" the four women echoed.

The four of them followed the two boys to a building that appeared set away from the rest. Going in, they found a crowd, mixed of locals and members of the allied armies, gathered around the walls to keep a ring in the center clear. Keeping to the back wall, no one noticed they were there. In the middle was a man who appeared to be the host.

"Ladies and gentlemen, time to begin!" said the man. "Contestants, are you ready to lay down your arms and fight like men? Contestants come forward as you please. Spectators, place your bets and enjoy the show!"

"Looks like a fight club with gambling," said Zelda as a Yamato soldier stepped into the center. "And members of our own army are here."

"It's a good way to let out some pent-up stress," said Suguha, just as she hurried forward.

"Don't tell me she's gonna-" said Hye-won once Suguha was out of earshot.

"I've known her long enough to know she's fighting-type," said Zelda. "I can't stop her. So... wanna make a bet?"

"I have no money worth anything here."

"Me neither," said Nai'a.

"Will you allow me the first fight?" Suguha said, making herself known, to everyone's surprise.

"You're Highness!" said the soldier, shocked by her appearance as everyone was. "We- we were just-"

"Does it look like I'm here to break this up?" Suguha asked, slipping out of the top of her casual kimono, revealing her sarashi-bound breasts. Suguha raised her arms and said, "I just need to let off some steam. Come at me and don't hold back."

"I place 400-Soli on Princess Suguha!" Zelda called, again surprising everyone.

With no reason to refuse, the Yamato soldier got ready, and the bell was rung a second later. The soldier seemed a little reluctant to strike his own princess, so Suguha struck first.

"Ajehon'na wgato! [Come on!]" said Suguha after sending the soldier back. "Enete be betewga u teajitwike. Utuju, un'nenuju nu fu na tetejei. [You're boring me. Fight like a man, girl-man.]"

"Oh-ho-ho-ho. Enete be ujunetto, ame, enete nu konje tu aamewgate. [You've gone and said it now, Your Highness.]"

The soldier began fighting seriously, and so Suguha and the soldier exchanged blows back and forth for ten minutes, but it seemed clear to everyone that Suguha was the better fighter. Finally, Suguha knocked the soldier to his knees with a jab to the neck and stomach.

"Winner, Princess Suguha Oda!" the host declared.

"That felt good," said Suguha when they left the building. She had just put her arms back into her sleeves and straightened her kimono.

"And I won four-hundred Soli," said Zelda. "But please refrain from doing that again. I don't think your father would be too impressed."

"Father doesn't need to know."

"Look! An owl!" Nai'a exclaimed, pointing to the sky.

The bird flew down when they saw them and landed on Zelda's arm. Attached to its leg was a note bearing Tatsuhiko's seal.

"Finally, orders," said Zelda, removing the bird of its burden.

"You use birds to coordinate orders? Really old school," said Hye-won.

They went back to the governor's mansion to discuss the orders with Victor and Asghar.

"What does it say?" Suguha asked.

"You, Asghar and I are to take our forces and rejoin the main force in Lefebure Province to march to St. Croix Province. We're leaving the Soleilians to maintain order on their own," Zelda told them. "We're to be there by next Goddya, the 2nd of Jesoran."

"Those are the names of a day of the week and month, right?" Hye-won asked Nai'a, who nodded.

"Finally, we're going to aide Nadia," said Suguha.

"Who?" Hye-won asked.

"Her cousin," Nai'a replied.

"Will you be alright without us?" Zelda asked Victor. "We'll be taking every soldier we have remaining. Only your army and the Soleilian Knights of Eden with be left."

"You had to leave at some point," said Victor. "The Umdari troops we have in captivity will be unlikely to cause trouble now that their leadership is gone. And Umdar itself will have no business coming back here. While the alliance has them occupied on the mainland, this place is of no strategic value."

"Niqtet eitejgekget, [Point taken,]" said Asghar.

"Nai'a, you and the Yamato ninjas spread word of this to everyone. We leave for the east coast of the island at dawn," Zelda told Nai'a.

Within hours, news that they would be leaving for the mainland was spread to the entire allied army. To make amends for helping the Umdari, even if only briefly, the Imps Uryla and Tretan volunteered to come along as well.

Compared to getting everyone ready for the invasions, organizing for the transfer to the mainland went smoothly. Within a day, the entire allied army, save for the Soleilians, began marching for the east coast, where the allied fleet would be waiting for them at a rendezvous point. When they finally reached the coast two days later, it took even less time to load everyone and all the artillery and cavalry horses onto the ships that were waiting for them. By high noon of the 28th, they were underway for the mainland.

With the help of the Yamato caeliteers and aquateers, they reached their objective, the coastal town of Cailloux, by early morning on Hoderdya, Jesoran 1st, a full day ahead of schedule. Already waiting for them were Tatsuhiko, Heinrich, and Salim.

"Father!" Suguha exclaimed, jumping from the ship and into Tatsuhiko's arms before the ship was even secure.

"Suguha, you shouldn't jump from the ship like that," Zelda called as a sailor threw down the mooring lines to the waiting dockhands below.

"I heard your combined capture of Montrebeau was a resounding success," said Tatsuhiko.

"That's an exaggeration," said Suguha as the walk plank was secured. "We picked up a couple people while there." Zelda sent Hye-won, wearing her own clothes again, and the fairies offboard first so they could be introduced. "This is Hwang Hye-won, the lunaculus of Nekcroz. She was, apparently, sent to another world shortly after she was born and grew up there; until the two Imps there, Uryla and Treton, summoned her."

"Your Majesty," said Hye-won and the Imps while bowing.

"A pleasure," Tatsuhiko replied.

Suguha then noticed Salim's presence. "What are you doing here?"

"I can't come see my fiancée?" said Salim.

"Tenno Tatsuhiko's report said that you were a lousy tactician," said Zelda, who had disembarked with Nai'a and Shiira. "A liability to the war effort."

"That's exaggerated! Where's my general?"

"With your Arabians," said Suguha, before turning back to her father. "Atwi betewgatexga be koto aji nukowi je? [When are we moving out?]"

"Ewgate nu ewemekoko be neji, [Not until tomorrow morning,]" Tatsuhiko replied before turning to Nai'a. "But, Nai'a, I have an assignment for you. Could you please come with me and Zelda?"

Tatsuhiko and Zelda led Nai'a to the edge of the town before talking about the job.

"I know you just got here, but I have a job for you that needs to be done," said Tatsuhiko.

"Name it, Your Majesty," Nai'a replied.

Tatsuhiko took a furled scroll from his pocket and handed it to Nai'a. "I want you to leave ahead of us, and take this to the Soleilians fighting in St. Croix Province. Show it to no one else but Princess Nadia."

"You want me to run to the other side of the peninsula, more than four hundred miles of hostile, enemy-controlled territory, to deliver this?"

"The remains of the royal family and their followers have to know we're here. The reason we're asking you to go to St. Croix instead of Rouen, where Nadia's elder sister Veronica is fighting, is because it's relatively closer," Zelda explained. "You tell Nadia, and some way she's bound to get the message to Veronica. We can't ask you to swim around the Vieillesse Peninsula because of the Umdari blockade. We've received no report that the Silver Arrow Armada has been able to break the blockade without harming the civilian hostages. So, you might get killed before you can get past it; over land is your best bet. We might also run into enemy troops on the way to St. Croix, and moving a three-nation army this large could take us over two months, maybe close to three. A single person has the better chance of getting there in the half the time. When I was eight, after escaping assassination in Castle Tepes, Bianca and I covered two hundred and fifty miles in just a week."

"(sigh) Me hary kyqimi, [Valid points,]" said Nai'a, stowing the letter in her bag. "I'll do it, but answer me this first; where are Manu and Lani?"

"On other assignments," Tatsuhiko said simply. "I assure you they're fine." Tatsuhiko then handed Nai'a another larger scroll and a compass. "This is an enchanted map of Soleil. Like the one Kamila, or whatever her name was, gave you, it tells the holder exactly where they are, so you will know where you need to go and you won't get lost. The compass is just to be doubly sure."

Nai'a thought for a few minutes before speaking again, "Alright then. I left Tiki with Suguha, tell her to take care of him. And Hye-won is new to this world, so be nice to her. And lastly," Nai'a added as she put the map and compass in her bag, "the last solo mission you had me do was dangerous enough, but this is... (sigh) the next time you want to give me a dangerous job, I expect to be paid."

"We thought so, so we'll have your payment the next time we see you," said Zelda as she handed a belt with a small crossbow and dagger to Nai'a.

"What are these for?" Nai'a asked nervously.

Zelda demonstrated loading and firing the crossbow to Nai'a before speaking, "Anything, or anyone, that isn't friendly."

Nai'a understood and put the belt around her waist, nodded, and took off down the road. With her newest journey ahead of her, Nai'a new that failure was not an option.

The Battle of Montrebeau, Day 3«Home»The People of Soleil

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