Man, I typed Tales of a Lost World for the title before I realized what I was doing.
Chapter 1 An Apathetic World
An array of images is displayed on the television screen. The bold outlines of the Royal Estates buildings figure prominently in the early morning glow of a rising sun.
We continue our breaking news coverage of the attempted overnight assassination of King Lucida IV. It seems that at approximately 1:00 AM last night, an assassin broke into the grounds of the Royal Estate and attempted to assassinate our King Lucida IV. Although in a public statement the King expressed severe disappointment that a citizen of the Royal Republic of Ossyria would attempt to make a bid on his life, the King was not found to be hurt. For more information, we go now to our reporter on the scene, Edward V. Yulis.
The black-haired youth listens idly as he brushes his teeth in the bathroom of his dormitory. He faces the mirror, glaring into his own dark eyes and prominent features. He spits out the soap in his mouth and rinses it.
Grabbing a towel, he places it in the sink and proceeds to wash his face. Water drips down his sharp jaw lines as he throws the towel back on its rack. He reenters the dormitory room that doubles as both his bedroom and general household. A quick glance at the television displays a reporter fervently speaking into his microphone.
His Royal Highness appears to be extremely irate, and refused to speak to reporters, choosing instead to have his spokesman issue a statement in his stead. At this time, we are told that one assassin, the gunman, has been captured, contrary to earlier reports indicating there might have been more. He is currently being detained in the Royal Prison of Orbis, awaiting trial by the Grand Jury of Orbis, the judges of which are appointed by His Royal Highness himself, of course.
This world is not a bad place to live in. There is plenty to be had for hardworking individuals. Schools and other opportunities exist for the purpose of escaping poverty and promoting general intelligence. The question Ive always wondered then is, why do people continue to refuse this complacency?
A photograph of King Lucida IV, with his pronounced features and air of condescension, appears upon the television screen.
The only answer I could find was somewhere, injustice is being done. Somewhere, one humans existence treads on anothers happiness. That is the human flaw. We cannot be content without destroying anothers happiness.
For further coverage on King Lucidas attempted assassination, we encourage you to
The youth turns off the television. He glances at his clock. Oh crap! Im late!
He runs onward, a piece of toast flapping out of his mouth. Groups of students jump out of the way as he squeezes through them. At last, he skids to a stop at the doorway of a particular classroom labeled 57.
He slides the door open. A chorus of greetings reaches his ears. Ah, hello, Grimey! a cheerful, feminine voice says upon his entrance.
He swallows the piece of bread with one large gulp. Ophelia, the dark-haired youth answers with a faint smile, so you are cheerful as always. You never fail to get to class before me.
Well, Ive got to beat you at something, you smart little bunny, you.
Eh, yes, the youth retorts with a slight blush. He turns his head. A television set is once again reviewing the mornings news, featuring the unceasing coverage of the assassination attempt. Whats that?
Theyre going over the news, a youthful and lively mage with colorful blue hair answers. Can you believe someone tried to kill the king? Scary!
Scary, Arc? the youth laughs. There is nothing scary about an assassination attempt. Lots of people are murdered daily. Why should we care if it happens to be the king?
Arc gives the youth a highly offended look. You may not care about other people, Grim, but could you at least pretend to care when our king is almost killed?
Our king? Grim replies in a puzzled tone. When was King Lucida ever our King? Hes the King of Ossyria. Were in Ellinia. Victoria Island never had a king. The oligarchy was overthrown when Ossyria invaded. He merely usurped power without our permission. And people act like he is some sort of God.
Of course, the only God in this room is yourself, right, Grim L. Wright? a sneering voice interrupts the pronounced silence following Grims heated discourse. A dark-haired, black-eyed youth steps haughtily into the classroom, a pair of orange shades dangling low over his nose. He is dressed in a most unfavorable fashion that suggests the aura of one who spends much time in the criminal underground.
We all know you fancy yourself a God amongst us inferior people.
Grims fists clench immediately upon the sight of this opponent. Darius Thomason. Only an arrogant Ossyrian like you would dare talk up your kings atrocities.
No, Darius retorts with a smirk, I am sure I am not the only one within this room who is satisfied with the way the Empire is run. But thats the beauty of human beings, isnt it? No matter how well or poorly things go, theyll only complain and complain, but they wont do anything about it. Its not my fault that you Victorians got your asses handed to you in the war. If you hate it so much, then do something about it. We Ossyrians personally dont give a damn about your complaints.
Not all Ossyrians think like you! Grim howls, waving his fists angrily. Ophelia!
Please, Grimey, Ophelia whispers, stop.
Darius bursts out laughing. Hahaha! Even Ophelia disagrees with you, Grimey! If only she were a bit smarter, shed throw you to the curb and!
Grim ends Darius outburst by grabbing the collar of his shirt. He glares angrily into Darius dark eyes, so like his own in their contempt for human nature, and raises a fist to Darius neck. Angry blue mana flames leak out of Grims hand, as he presses his gloved fist closer to his enemys jugular.
Say one more word and I cant guarantee you live.
A bell rings from somewhere above as Grim holds Darius in this precarious position. The professor steps into the classroom, impatiently waving his hand for order and silence. He turns off the televised news coverage of the attempted assassination.
Yes, yes, everyone in your seats, please! I must take roll call.
Almost quite reluctantly, Grim relinquishes his hold on his venomous peer. The latter smirks and ruffles his jacket. The two enemies take seats on opposite ends of the classroom, Grim choosing the seat nearest Arc and Ophelia.
Still livid, Grim peers out of the nearby window. The grounds of the once vast Ellinian forests stretch out into the horizon, completely stripped of all trees. Instead, the broad panorama of a modernized city meets his eyes, with towering buildings and intricate subway systems extending as far as the eye can see.
Next to him, Ophelia leans over and begins doodling on his notebook. Grim ignores the happy distraction. Instead, he watches the clouds sail by in a bright blue sky.
Ahh, thats the stuff, the assassin sighs contentedly, redoing the zipper on his pants. He flushes his excrement away. Turning around to face the barred entrance of his cell, he surveys the darkened corridor outside. He sighs again. It certainly is rather unpleasant, this involuntary incarceration.
His voice echoes slightly in the emptiness of the facility. He looks at the palm of his right hand with a pair of shockingly bright brown eyes. Unfortunately, those larcenous rascals deprived me of my mana glove. It would have constituted quite the grand escape indeed, had I at least the pleasure of retaining my glove.
The assassin watches for a moment the corpulent man standing guard nearby behind a desk, perusing the mornings newspaper. Hey, fatty.
Whatd you call me, bastard? the fat guard snaps indignantly, roused from his morning round of doughnuts. He shuffles to his feet and waddles to the assassin.
Listen you, the guard fumes, I dont hafta take no garbage from you. He pats the holstered gun attached to his belt. Ya see this? I could shoot ya to death if I wanted to. Im sure no one would mind, a lowly piece of crap like you. Youre gonna get the death penalty, anyway.
Pray, come closer, I cannot comprehend your mumblings, the assassin answers calmly.
The guard reaches for his gun. The assassin grabs his wrist. An electric blue charge escapes the assassins hand, as mana from his hand escapes into the atmosphere and explodes forcefully.
As I surmised, the assassin sighs, as the guard collapses from his induced heart attack, your clothing is tainted with highly conductive fibers designed by the Empire to track its guards via mana trails. Grievously, even a lowly assassin such as myself cannot help but kill you upon the slightest touch. Still though, I lament over the loss of my beloved mana gauntlet to the Empire! Woe is the mage who is bereaved of his cherished weapon.
Quit your complaining, a voice suddenly interjects on the other side of the brick wall encompassing three sides of the assassins prison cell. Im working as fast as I can.
Ah, does the pulchritudinous alto of Halibel Alumina grace my ears?
A sizable hole in the wall opens up quite abruptly, just large enough for an average adult to crawl through. A woman with long red hair and impatient eyes glares at the imprisoned assassin from the sunshine outside. Shut your trap and get out here before they notice!
Aye, aye, my fair but unbecomingly terse maiden!
The assassin crawls through the hole as ordered; he clambers onto the hovercraft waiting for him outside. I thank thee for rescuing me from those unbearably rustic and unstylish furnishings, Miss Halibel!
One more word and Ill leave you behind, Halibel replies brusquely, flipping on the switch for the engine of her hovercraft. She glances at her companion, who is resting comfortably in an adjoining sidecar.
And please dont call me Halibel out here. We need to stick to our codenames. Im Capulet, all right, Mercutio?
Gotcha, Mercutio replies grinningly. Halibel.
Halibel heaves a sigh as she maneuvers the hovercraft through a glade of clouds. Fayvard, you moron
Yes, please pull out your textbooks concerning the Third Mana War and the Fall of Victoria, everyone. The professor issues his orders in a dull tone, as he stands at the front of the class behind a podium. Today we shall discuss the reasons for the handover of Victoria Island to the Ossyrians.
The class obeys the professors instructions. Grim retrieves his perfectly conditioned textbook, and opens it to the appropriate page. He briefly peruses its contents, noting with disdain the photographs of Ellinia in flames.
Can anyone state the reasons for the Power Transfer of 2152?
Grim raises his hand in response. Yes, Grim?
Due in part to the unprecedented levels of mana consumption that ceaselessly climbed within the boundaries of the Ossyrian Empire from 2010 to 2150, it became evident that the Empires mana reservoirs would rapidly become depleted and insufficient for fueling a massive state.
And because of the abundant source of mana trees in the Victorian Island, the populous but mana efficient island was soon targeted as a vital lifeline of mana for the Empire. However, trade negotiations proved insufficient in satisfying the Empires hungry needs and they quickly fell through.
In 2152, the Ossyrian Empire, officially the Royal Republic of Ossyria, declared war upon the Victorian Union. This in effect became known as the Third Mana War, following in the footsteps of the previous two mana conflicts of which the Empire was involved in the Ariant and Mu Lung regions. The Royal Republic prevailed, and by the terms of the peace treaty, won the rights to extract mana from the independent island. Of course, even the vast Ellinian mana forests would be depleted, and we saw the effects of that exploitation four years ago with the Fourth Mana War.
An informed answer as always, Grim, the professor replies upon the conclusion of Grims summative report. He turns back to the textbook. Can someone else name the terms of the Treaty of Perion, which ended the Third Mana War?
Darius opens his mouth with a sneer. It required the Victorian Union to dissolve its government and write a new constitution certifying the island as a new territory under the control of the Republic. The treaty asked the V.U. to declare its mana reserves open for the Royal Republics use. In return, the Royal Republic of Ossyria promises the absolute protection of its citizens
Wrong! Grim interrupts. While the terms of the treaty specified such an agreement, the Royal Republic of Ossyria has yet to make good on its own terms. The Republic has certainly exploited our island nations mana reservoirs, but it has by no means made the world a better place to live. Every day, injustice prevails at the cost of the Victorian people. Kerning City has devolved into a ghetto. Florina Beach is now nothing more than a resort for the nobles in Ossyria. Even Ellinia even Ellinia has had its forests cut down, all in the name of the king!
If you hate it so much, then go join those assassins and kill the king, Darius answers in a soft tone of arrogance. I hate complainers more than anything.
Its not the government I dislike, Grim replies, shifting his eyes to stare directly into Darius as he continues his rebuttal, its the injustice.
Darius opens his mouth to speak, but the professor interrupts the dispute by clearing his throat loudly. Grim, Darius. That is more than enough. Please sit in silence so that we may resume our studies.
The top two students in the classroom quiet themselves immediately. Grim continues to glance at Darius with dutiful hatred out of the corner of his eyes.
The door into the darkened dormitory opens with a soft squeak. Grim flips on the lights and steps into the room briskly. He shuts the door and takes off his jacket, placing it on a rack. The alarm clock at his bed reads 8:03 PM.
Grim strides into the adjacent bathroom and turns on the shower. He removes his shirt, and throws it on the floor. Passing his bed, he instinctively grabs the remote and turns on the television.
Good evening. I am Gloria Fairweather reporting to you this evenings news as always. Tonight, we update you on the attempted assassination of King Lucida IV in the early hours of this morning. A massive complication has occurred in the pursuit of bringing those responsible for the attempted assassination to justice.
A guard was found dead in the Royal Prison at approximately 11:15 AM this morning. He was apparently killed, and the cell he was watching was cleared. As you might guess, the guard was on duty to supervise the prisoner believed to be the would-be assassin of our King Lucida. The assassin is now believed to be on the run and considered to be extremely dangerous. He may have accomplices. If you encounter him, do not approach him at all costs. Instead, call your local police department.
We will now display a picture of the assassin so that you may recognize him if hes seen. Please note that at this time, the Royal Prison of Orbis has not provided us with a name to accompany this photograph.
Grim turns off the television, right before the assassins face is shown. He lowers the remote in his right hand, clutching it tightly with unpronounced anger.
Next: Nostalgia 2 A Date!