CHAPTER 8 - Tropes (3)
Treya’s face was bright red, even to the tips of her long ears. She stood there, momentarily frozen as the princess hugged her. It wasn’t until Alex cleared his throat that she snapped to her senses and gripped the woman by her shoulders, prying her away.
“Perhaps we might catch up later, Your Highness. For now, I’m here on-”
“You know better. I’m not speaking to you until you do it right.”
“Yes, Your Hi- Celia…” The exasperation was evident in Treya’s voice.
‘Celia’ smiled and clapped her hands together happily. “Very good! Now, my dear Treya, what brings you here out of the blue?” Her eyes passed over Alex, already having a good idea of what the answer would be.
“Yes, right. I bring a man who does not have a Status Plate. This is Alexander Jaeger, and he saved my team and me from a pack of Flare Wolves. It is my understanding His Majesty wishes to meet him?”
“A pack of Flare Wolves, you say?”
Celia nodded, not bothering to hide the fact that she was impressed. She stepped closer to Alex and looked over his attire with careful scrutiny. Her silken black curls bounced as her bright blue eyes began to shimmer with a faint light.
Alex had a thought as he remembered some of the books he’d read. As if to confirm his suspicion, the princess spoke a single breathy word.
Royalty that had no chance of succeeding the throne always seemed to have some extraordinary power. And the most common power was, without a doubt, some form of precognition. Alex nodded at her word. He wasn’t sure just how much she could ‘see,’ but this was going to make his life a LOT easier.
“Yes, Your Highness. I am not from this world, as it seems you’ve noticed.”
“Yes, Your… Celia?”
“You bring me the most wonderful toys.”
Alex took another sip of the tea, wishing he had some whiskey to add to it. It wasn’t that it tasted bad. Quite the opposite, actually. He just felt like he could really use a drink.
After they exchanged greetings, Celia invited them to join her for tea. At the same time, she asked Alex what felt like a million and a half questions. Knowing better than to hide things from someone with an ability like hers, he answered honestly and completely.
From the other chair, Treya listened with as much interest as the princess. She was silent, but her expression showed it was more likely because she was deep in thought.
As far as Alex could figure, the reason Treya thought she’d die from the wolves, despite being some kind of strong person in this world, was that somebody could only defeat Flare Wolves with magic.
The second point he understood was that magic was rare in this world. Like the princess, some people were born with specific gifts but were not necessarily considered to be mages.
Third, and possibly most important, much to ALICE’s dismay, was that the first princess had performed a Hero Summoning.
At roughly the exact time Alex had appeared in Arcadia.
“And yet, the hero did not appear. The ceremony was completed, and the mana was consumed, but perhaps something was wrong with the glyph. As such, we were forced to detain anyone without a Status Plate, since a newcomer to the world would not have one, you see.”
Alex nodded. He had mostly been joking about the hero thing to mess with ALICE. He wasn’t sure how he felt if these people were actually going to rely on him for something tedious. He just wanted to get home, back to his soldiers.
“So, as I explained, I came here through my own magic. At least, I think so. The spell wasn’t supposed to activate like that. Do you have some method of knowing one way or the other whether I really am the hero you’re looking for?”
He wasn’t actually a ‘hero.’ He was a soldier, pure and simple. Sure, due to the MAGES program, he was above and beyond even your typical Special Forces operative, but that was it. He was an average human, modified down to the genetic level to be able to utilize mana.
Celia nodded, a coy smile that showed she had a small streak of a schemer running through her.
“Of course. We make you a Status Plate.”