By the time they reached the palace gate the sun had started setting. It was still mostly visible but it wouldn’t be long before dusk. On their way up the path they could already see there was some sort of commotion at the gate. “I hope everything’s alright,” Mana said.
Cobal nodded. “I don’t see anyone with their weapons out so I’m sure it’s nothing dangerous, let’s go have a look.”
They walked up to the gate where one of the guards quickly walked up to them. “Your highness, Lady Mana, thank you for coming so quickly.”
Cobal nodded. “What is happening, why did we get called here?”
“There’s a person here to speak with you, claiming to be a close friend of prince Cobal.”
Cobal and Mana exchanged a look. “Where are they?”
“They’re inside the guard house, follow me please.” The guard turned around and walked towards the small guard house on the outside of the palace gate.
“I wonder who it is, maybe Cassandra?” Mana suggested.
“I don’t know, I don’t think it’ll be her. At least I hope not. If it’s Cassandra I can only imagine that something happened to Ravadier.”
Mana nodded. They stepped through the small door and into the cramped space. Sitting there at a table, with two guards flanking him, was not Cassandra but instead Mirgia.
“I thought you were going to make me wait all day,” the elf said with a big grin on his face.
“Show some respect, you are speaking to his highness, Cobal Blueyerd, third prince of the kingdom of Blueyerd.”
“It’s fine, stand down men. Good work on being careful, but this man is indeed a friend of ours.”
Cobal’s smile faded. “I hope you don’t come bearing bad news?”
Mirgia shook his head. “Luckily, I have no bad news.” He looked at Mana with a smile. Good to see you again.”
“You too.” Mana shivered from the cold, this room wasn’t exactly well heated.
“Please, come inside, we’ll get you something warm to drink,” Cobal said.
Mirgia looked at the two guards who were still awkwardly flanking him. “Does that mean I can go?”
They both nodded.
“Excellent.” Mirgia got up and without looking at the guards again walked out of the small room. Cobal and Mana followed him out and then led him into the palace.
After a short walk they made their way to Cobal’s chambers. The guards gave them an odd look when they came in but since Cobal was with them they didn’t ask any questions. Cobal asked one of the guards to get some food for their new guest and to have a room prepared near Mana’s and Kimi’s. The guard walked off quickly and left the three of them here. There was a moment of quiet before a grin appeared on Cobal’s face. “What brings you here then, friend. I figured I wouldn’t see you again for a while.”
Mirgia smiled back. “I thought the same, but then shortly after you all left, Dionil came to town to share something with the elders that might be of importance for you all. I was sent as the messenger since you already know me and I’m a pretty fast traveler when I need to be.”
“Well I’m happy to see you again,” Kimi said, walking into the room. Cobal has also sent for her when he asked a guard to retrieve some food.
“If it isn’t my favorite musician.”
“You flatter me.”
They chatted a little bit about Mirgia’s journey here before the food arrived. Over dinner the conversation came to why Mirgia was here. “So, you won’t be surprised that we’re curious why you’re here,” Cobal said.
Mirgia nodded. “I wondered if you were ever going to ask.” He crossed his arms. “As I said earlier, I left only a few weeks after you left and took a quick journey here. To make a long story short, Dionil thought of someone who might be of aid when looking for information on magic circles. It’s a personal connection of his so he felt like it was unwise to send a letter in fear of it getting lost on the way. So instead he asked me if I would deliver the information to you personally.”
“Well, out with it then. You’re not going to keep me waiting when it comes to something so important.”
“I’m getting to it, give me a moment to explain myself. It’s been a long journey.” Mirgia sat upright. “To make a long story short, Dionil talked to an old friend of his, who says she has experience with this type of magic.”
Cobal stood up, excited to have a lead. “So, what did she say then?”
“Well, that’s where it gets complicated.” Mirgia took a sip of his drink. “This friend of Dionil is a friend from a very long time ago. They get along somewhat. Apparently getting her to admit she knew about this magic was about all he could get out of her. So he’s suggested you go find her.”
“Who is she and where can we find her?” Kimi asked.
“The person you’re looking for is a woman by the name of Lady Tidescreecher. She’s a pirate off the coast of the Rilodar empire. That’s all you have to go off of for now, unfortunately.”
Mana and Cobal shared a look. An actual lead that could get them somewhere. Sure, it was vague, but having a name of someone who actually is familiar with this kind of magic is huge.
“This is fantastic news you bring us Mirgia.”
“Good, I didn’t rush all this way for nothing then.”
Right then there was a knock on the door. “Your highness, the tailor is here for your suit,” a voice said.
“One moment.” Cobal stood up and opened the door. “Please wait there for five minutes, I’m in the middle of something.”
Both the tailor and the guard gave a polite bow. “Get him something to drink if he wants, it might be a moment.” He closed the door again.
“Busy today?” Mirgia asked.
Cobal chuckled. “I’m a prince, unfortunately I’m always busy.”
“Sometimes I forget.” They all laughed.
“But that’s some very good news for us, we’ve kind of been at a dead end,” Mana said. “Will you join us in trying to find this person?” She added.
Mirgia nodded. “I’ve got time.”
The next couple of days went by rather quickly. Cobal and Mana would spend a lot of time in the library, looking up more information. This time they were able to focus on more specific topics. Things about the Rilodar coastline and pirate activity, the woman called Lady Tidescreecher, and they also continued looking into strange magics. They couldn’t find much about this pirate woman except that she was feared by many and had a long history. Longer than was possible for the average human. That in and of itself was telling of who she might be. Kimi had found a kindred soul in Mirgia as neither of them seemed to enjoy life in the palace all that much. The prospect of possibly leaving this place sooner than expected had really brightened up the spirit’s mood. They would go out to the town and just walk around the place. Mirgia was curious about human culture, to an extent, and Kimi was happy to just not be indoors. And before Cobal realized, it was the morning of the big celebration. The occasion was his safe return to the capital, but there would obviously be a lot of talks about the war and everything surrounding it.
He wasn’t particularly looking forward to it, but he did like the idea of telling a bunch of people about his travels. It was with mixed feelings that he put on his finely tailored suit and did the last few preparations. He had no doubt Mirgia, Mana and Kimi would all look well dressed as well. Cobal had sent Mirgia to town with some money to get a suit for the event. He gave him a quick letter with his seal so they’d know he sent him. Mirgia complained for a little bit, saying that he didn’t like these kinds of big celebrations in the big city, but Cobal had asked him to join them as a friend. He had begrudgingly accepted with the promise that it was only a one time thing. After putting on his tie, Cobal made his way to the ballroom.
Note: I’m not super happy with how these last three chapters turned out. I’m probably adjusting them in the edit, possibly turning them into two chapters so it feels like there’s less filler. If you enjoyed these chapters or have any feedback, please let me know in the comments down below. The Hesitant Hero will be on break next week so I can spend some time on other projects and work a little bit ahead. Thank you for reading!