“Does it have anything to do with the characters that we made?” Himeko asked, looking to James in hopes that he could answer her question.
“Eh… As my father said, we do not know everything about how it works. Clearly whatever force transports you to this world is incapable of transforming your body.”
“Himeko would make a very interesting dwarf,” Bayani comment, giving her a wide grin when she look at him.
“It was the crystal!” Cerys shouted suddenly, drawing everyone’s eyes to her. “That crystal you had on the table,” she explained. “It wasn’t there while we were making our characters. It’s what brought us here, isn’t it? You never gave me a straight answer earlier.”
James nodded. “Indeed it did.”
“But…” she thought for a moment, trying to remember something. “You left it in that cottage back there. What happens if a noir beast gets to it?”
“They can’t,” James told her. “They will not go indoors, and nobody has ever seen them pick something up. Nobody is going to move that crystal unless we want them to.”
“Where did you turn up, exactly?” the baron asked his son.
“It was the old wizard cottage,” he answered.
“The one all the way out by the Elvan woods? That is quite a distance away!”
“It was, father, but–”
“What, you don’t know where you will end up when you use that thing?!” Cerys did not seem pleased to think that such a thing was possible.
“It is not the most reliable relic that we have,” James admitted. “Still, it is the only link between our worlds. The wizard who lives in that cottage is loyal to my father.”
“Near the forest where the elves live?” Peter asked. “Then isn’t that where the prince is?”
“He went to a different tribe of elves,” James explained. “They are in a much more distant place than where we were this morning.”
“Is that crystal in the cottage the only one of it kind?” Himeko asked, worried that it would be. To her, it seemed a moot point to discuss where the prince was; if James felt that he was unavailable, then she would trust his word.
“Not at all,” Baron Lexavier said. “Now, if I could go back to explaining why you are here?”
“Of course,” Peter said before anyone else could get a word in. “Don’t let my sister being so distractible hold you back.”
The baron watched Cerys give Peter a scornful look, and then went on talking. “The other nobles do not know about these crystals or their ability to transport us between Earth and Summerlay. If they did, I have no doubt that they would use them for their own fame and profit. His Majesty knows, and of course my baroness, but as far as everyone else is concerned, you are all native to Summerlay.”
“It’s a good thing I did say anything that would make people think otherwise,” Cerys noted. “I’ll have to remember to keep that part to myself.”
“Oh, good!” Peter scoffed. “What else can you shut up about?”
“Maybe it’s your turn to keep your mouth shut,” Cerys retorted.
Peter was about to make his own reply when Bayani grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him closer to him on the couch. “Both of you stop it. His grace is trying to speak.” He smiled to himself, as though he rather liked getting to use such archaic terms in an actual setting.
Baron Lexavier gave his son a doubtful look.
“Please trust them, father,” James said. He looked between his friends and back to his father. “They can do this. I have gotten to know them, and even though they have their moments, they can also come together to do great things.”
“For His Majesty’s sake, I certainly hope so,” Lexavier sighed.
“What is it that you need us to do?” Himeko asked.
The baron smiled at her as though he considered her to be the only reliable one in the group. “I only hope that you can complete this mission in time… before His Majesty suffers the consequences. You must journey to the capital city and deliver to King Leonars the message concerning what the other nobles are plotting. Once he knows what is going on, he will surely grant you the resources that you need in order to protect him and put an end to the noir beasts.”
“Protect him from what?” Cerys and Peter asked at the same time. She gave her brother another glare before turning to Lexavier, trembling with the fear of what he would say next.