CHAPTER 6 - Tropes (1)
“Hands off! I just left it at home, I swear. What the hell are you doing?!”
Alex tried to peer from under the canvas at what was going on, but Demetrus shoved him back inside with a shake of his head. Another voice rang out, full of authority.
“Orders from His Majesty. Anyone without a Status Plate is to be detained and brought to the castle.”
“This is bullshit! I paid for a market stall already. Do you understand what you’re doing?!”
“Take it up with His Majesty. Take him away.”
Shouts continued, growing fainter and fainter as Alex assumed the man was being led away by some of the guards he had seen earlier. He considered firing up the full-blown OPTICs spell, but the drain on mana would be extensive, and this felt like one of those situations that couldn’t be avoided forever.
‘I swear to all that is programmable, if you actually are a summoned hero, I quit.’
Alex bit his lip to keep from giggling like a schoolgirl at ALICE’s words.
‘… What, Fenrir?’
‘We’re gonna get to meet a real-life king.’
‘Choke on a bullet, Alex.’
At that moment, the wagon lurched forward, and Alex heard Treya hopping down before conversing with the guard from before.
“Merchant caravan bringing goods for the Maldone Corporation.”
There was a sound of papers rustling for a bit before the guard’s voice rang out.
“Alright, you know the drill. Start the inspection, men.”
As the clanking of heavy metal armor reached Alex’s ears, Treya pre-empted them, and the canvas beside him flew up.
“I will need to stop you there. I saw what happened with the other gentleman. I will not waste your time. This man does not have a Status Plate.”
‘Backstabbing bitch!’ ALICE sounded positively furious.
The head guard appeared stunned for a moment, and Alex remained calm. Something gave him the feeling there was more to this than it seemed. As the guards moved in to detain him, Treya held up a hand and shook her head. She fished something from a pocket and held it up.
“Don’t bother. I’ll be escorting him myself.”
The shiny silver object, roughly the size of a smartphone, glinted in the afternoon sunlight. The head guard reached for it, and after reading for a few seconds, his eyes went wide. He snapped to the position of attention and placed a fist over his heart with the other behind his back.
Alex fought the smile building within him. ‘Don’t tell me…’
Treya waved a hand dismissively and snatched the object back. “Stop that. I’m retired.”
The guard relaxed and peered at her with intense eyes. “It doesn’t appear that way to me.”
‘How the fuck did I not see this coming?’
Treya sighed, and her shoulders shrugged. “I got sick of ceremony. Mercenary life suits me better.”
“As you say, Commander.”
‘It was like this in almost every book, wasn’t it?’
“Conduct your inspection but leave him to me. In the meantime, what can you tell me about this order?”
“Not much, I am afraid. It came down just a few hours ago, and no reasoning behind it was given. There is speculation, though.”
Alex’s mind raced a million miles a minute as he watched Treya. True to form, the first person he met was secretly some super high-tier, OP character with connections out the wazoo. Sure, Treya wasn’t some runaway elven princess, but instead a figure of authority. A high-ranking guard, perhaps?
“I don’t care for speculation. I’ll consult the second princess when we take this man to the castle.”
She was even on speaking terms with the royal family? That confirmed Alex’s suspicions, and ALICE growled.
‘You have GOT to be fucking kidding me?!’
‘I know, right? How awesome is this?’
‘That is NOT what I mean, and you know it, you simple-minded fool!’
Just as he was about to reply, Treya hopped into the wagon beside him as guards inspected the cargo lying about. She cast him an apologetic smile and sat across from him.
“Right then. I suppose you have some questions for me, yes?”
Alex flashed his crooked smile and raised a single finger.
“Just one, really.”
“What’s the second princess like?”