The magic guild spy did not head towards the magic guilds main office instead he stealthily ran towards a large plain unmarked building.
As if expecting him an older male stood in the doorway with his face shrouded in darkness due to a baggy hood covering most of it.
“Inside now,” barked the old man.
As soon as he entered the door was slammed shut behind him.
“Speak,” ordered the old man.
“Chief, the tip we received was not false. It truly is the person the main HQ has been looking for. What should we do?”
“Why has he come all the way to this city? It really doesn’t matter this is my chance to rise up in the ranks of the magic guild,” mumbled the old man to himself before turning to the spy, “Immediately go and send a high speed message bird to the magic guilds HQ telling them we have found the person they have been looking for. We will take care of him.”
“It will be done,” said the spy.
“Go now,” said the old man waving his hand in dismissal.
The spy bolted out of the building. The door closing behind him with little sound as he went to complete the orders given to him.
“According to HQ, he’s not weak. So we’ll have to use some of the warriors in the enforcement squad,” said the old man.
He thought deeply on many different plans, trying to figure out one that could stealthily eliminate the target without attracting the queen’s attention to the magic guilds secret forces. If she knew of it there was no telling what she would do, due to her unpredictable temperament.
“Tch, such a pain why did he have to show up here.”
The risk was high but the reward for success was just as great as the danger.
Two castle guards were walking through the royal garden talking to each other as they headed towards the front gates to relieve the current guards on duty.
“Do you think that country bumpkin will show up again today?” asked the first.
“He’s an idiot so we’ll most likely see him. He doesn’t know when to quit,” said the second.
“If we see him again I’ll let him know what feels like to be used as a practice dummy,” said the first unsheathing his sword and swing it around as if he was attacking the country bumpkin.
“Haha! He just won’t quit with the lies, saying he’s the queen’s childhood friend. It was funny the first time but now it’s just annoying.”
On a small stone bench, a young girl with flowing blood red hair maybe twenty or so years of age sat near a small pond in the royal garden.
At first, she had paid no attention to the guards passing by but upon hearing the last few sentences her sharp gaze pierced into the backs of the guards. The royal knight standing next to her was her personal bodyguard and servant.
Upon seeing the queen’s interest in the gate guards he called out them, “You guards come here immediately!”
The two guards who had felt someone staring at them were agitated at being stopped. They turned around and looked in the direction of the person calling out to them so rudely.
Before they could let out any curses directed at the person interrupting their conversation their eyes fell upon the young lady sitting next to the knight.
Their faces became pale with fear upon seeing her they immediately rushed forward a few paces leavening a large enough distance between them and knelt down with bowed heads not daring to speak.
“Who is this country bumpkin you speak of?” asked the girl in a cold tone.
“Your majesty there is no need to worry about it,” said the first guard staring at the ground not daring to look up.
“He’s right your majesty we have made sure that you are not bothered by commoners,” said the second guard.
“Who are you to tell me what I should or should not do? Do you want to die?” said the queen icily.
The words were like daggers causing the two guards to start to stutter apologies and beg for forgiveness.
“Enough! Answer the queen!” shouted the knight standing next to the queen.
“A..Akira. His name is Akira, your majesty,” the first gate guard quickly stuttered out the name.
Her sharp gaze lingered on them for a short time judging whether they were telling the truth.
“Thirty lashes. After you receive your punishment you are to wait at the gate for him. When he arrives you better give a sincere apology to him and then escort him to the royal receiving room,” said the Queen without any emotion.
“Thank you for having mercy, your majesty.”
Both guards shouted out in relief. What were a measly 30 lashes compared to losing their life?
Without another word Piet the royal knight, walked over to the gate guards who had taken of their armor and shirts baring their skin.
Piet unrolled a large black leather whip from around his waist and cracked it a few times in the air causing the two guards to tremble in fright.
The queen of Vussia watched unblinkingly as Piet’s whip repeatedly hit the backs of the guards until each had received thirty lashes.
Piet took a rag from his pocket and wiped the blood off of his whip before wrapping it back around his waist and returning to the queen’s side as if this was a normal everyday thing.
After multiple failed attempts Akira felt it was pointless to try and see the queen. He finally made up his mind if he was unable to talk to her today then he would leave and continue his search elsewhere without her help.
Walking down the royal road that led to the castle he could see the two usual guards standing in front of the gate.
“Sigh looks like there will be no chance of getting a meeting. If I keep pushing them they will most likely get violent,” muttered Akira.
“Welcome honored guest!” both guards bowed deeply and shouted at Akira as he stopped in front of the gates.
Akira was stunned by the guard’s reaction. Weren’t these the same guards that had so rudely told him to get lost multiple times over the past few days?
“Honored guest please accept our apology. We are very sorry to have mistaken you for a commoner,” the two guards shouted.
“It’s fine. There is no need to act like this,” said Akira not sure what to do in this awkward situation.
“You are wise. Thank you for understanding,” said the first guard slowly raising his head to stand up straight again.
“The queen has ordered us to escort you to the royal receiving room,” said the second guard motioning to Akira to follow him.
As they walked through the gates and into the royal gardens Akira couldn’t help but notice the guards walking was a bit odd their faces looked as if the were in great pain while walking.
“Are you guys OK?” asked Akira.
“Honored guest, there is no need to worry about us we had an unfortunate encounter earlier,” said the first guard.
They continued to walk through the gardens winding path until they reached a large stone door guarded by four royal knights.
“The queens guest Akira has arrived,” said the second guard informing the knights of their presence.
“We welcome you!” shouted the four knights saluting Akira.
“You can go back to your post,” said one of the knights dismissing the two lowly gate guards.
When the two gate guards were far enough away they hurriedly started to talk to each other.
“Ah! You Idiot why did you suggest we inform the magic guild about him?” asked the first guard.
“Wait! Wasn’t it your idea?” the second shot back.
“You idiot! If the magic guild tries to do something to him and the queen investigates it we’ll be toast!”
“No one knows we told them we weren’t stupid enough to go the magic guild so there is no way to link us to them,” said the second getting more frantic over the idea of the queen finding out they had provided information that could get her childhood friend killed.
“We better hope she doesn’t find out or I have a feeling that we’ll be begging for a quick death if she does,” said the first shuddering from his thoughts.
Akira was lead inside the large stone castle and taken to a large receiving hall. The receiving hall was normally used when the king and queen were entertaining foreign royalty.
“Wait here the king and queen are currently in a meeting with the parliament. If you need anything just ask Fion and she will try to take care of whatever it is,” said the leader of the knights who had escorted him.
Akira looked to see Fion was the female maid who was quietly standing by the door. When she saw Akira look at her she grabbed a fist full of her skirt and performed a deep curtsy.
“I am Fion, I will take care of ANY and ALL things you may need,” said Fion.
The knights left the room leaving Akira alone with the maid.
Akira was unsure what to do, so after he found a nearby chair he sat down and started to wait for the queen to arrive.
He was quite uncomfortable due to the maid staring at him the whole time.
Akira was forced to wait for over a half hour before the doors opened and a young muscular male with brown hair burst into the room. Akira judged his age to be around his own.
“Leave,” the young male said waving at the maid by the doors.
The muscular man studied Akira who was still sitting in the chair, for a few long moments.
“I am Cyrus, The current king,” said Cyrus.
Akira immediately stood up and bowed, “Sorry for my rudeness I did not know that you were the king.”
“It’s fine, its fine,” said Cyrus waving his hand as if telling Akira to forget about it.
“My name is Akira. I came to Vania in order to meet the queen for help on a personal matter.”
“No need to tell me the details right now. The Queen will be here soon. How about we exchange news of current events with each other. I’m sure having traveled such a long distance you have gained some interesting stories.”
Another hour was spent with Akira and Cyrus trading stories of things that happened over the past year.
The door burst open and a stunningly beautiful girl in a red dress with flowing fiery red hair walked into the room searching for someone.
When she saw Akira she let out a scream of joy and ran over to Akira to give him a big hug.
“Akira! It is you! I wanted to see you again so badly but I could not since the distance was too far,” said the beautiful girl.
“Are you really Jezebel?” asked Akira stunned from seeing such a beauty and getting hugged by her without warning.
“What don’t you recognize me?” asked Jezebel.
“No, it’s just last time I saw you were such a shy little mouse. Now you’ve become so big and even more beautiful than I remember,” said Akira.
It seems that her growth spurt had been kind to her as she had grown in all the right places.
Jezebel’s face flushed and she let go of him and swatted his shoulder playfully, “You flatterer.”
Akira turned to see the king was looking at Akira with an unhappy face at being ignored.
While Akira’s head was turned Jezebel’s gaze stared cold daggers at the king telling him not to interrupt her.
The king’s face turned a slight shade of green and turned away from Akira as if he had found something interesting to study on the far away wall.
“Akira, what brought you all the way here?” asked Jezebel as she sat down in a chair next to Akira.
“Well I was passing by so I thought I might come and see you,” said Akira.
He now felt awkward for only coming to ask a favor of a friend he had not seen for many years. He decided it would be too shameless to ask her for help during their first meeting in over 6 years.
“That’s great! So how long will you be staying?” asked Jezebel while staring at Akira with her cute smile and shining eyes.
“A week or at the most two since I still have things of importance to do,” said Akira.
The two continued to talk for a long time about what had happened to them since the last time they had met.