You are Kline Bueller, and you must be in some kind of dream. You swear a green teddy bear was talking to you. "A-Are you real?"
"Maaaybe." The bear grins wildly. "Or maybe you've been bad and you've been sent to live with me! Hehehehehe!"
"This can't be happening." You mutter. You're sure that you haven't been drinking, yet the bear is still smiling weirdly at you. "I must be dreaming. Or in someone's dying dream."
"Or a wet dream!" the bear cackles. He claps his hands and you are wearing Evelyn's nightgown. You quickly cover yourself.
"H-Hey! What the hell are you doing?!" You shout.
"It's just a dream. All you gotta do is wake up, kid." The bear grins.
"What?" you mutter as the strange world vanishes and is replaced with a blurry vision of someone shaking you awake.
"Wake up, kid!" Was that... Claudine? You rub the sleep from your eyes, clearing your vision to see your slightly concerned master looking at you.
"Master..?" You murmur.
"What the hell happened, kid?" Claudine demands. "I told you to focus, not doze off!"
>"I had a vision, master."
>"There was this weird dream, see..."
>"I'm sorry, master."
"I... I had a vision, master." You reply, blinking. "I was in a world were I was in battle with monsters, and I could not find a way out."
"Is that so?" Claudine looks at you.
"Y-Yes. But then a light appeared and I was saved by an angel shooting light arrows at the monsters." You nod.
"...Why don't you go take a break, kid. You've earned it." Your master spits on the ground as you get up and head back to the guild, intent on fulfilling your promise to Elsie.
The guild hall greets your eyes as you enter it, seeing two familiar guildmates of yours, Echerson and Cilus.
"Hey, guys!" You wave at them.
"Hey, Kline." Cilus waves back. Echerson just grunts in repsonse.
"How's business been going?" You ask.
"Well, me and Echer have been doing good, only on our recent mission, we've got our reward stolen by some pesky goblin." Cilus sighs.
"Sorry to hear that," You offer your sympathies.
"It's fine. I heard you had to deal with that noble brat Maria. I swear, she may be a good healer, but her bedside manner is something else." The dark-skinned Fencer sighs.
"Yeah, I swear she's got something inside of her that died." You agree.
Clius looks around, as if he's looking out for someone. "You better not let Maria hear that, unless you want to end up like Herschel." he whispers.
"True." You nod.
"So, what are you doing?" Cilus asks.
>"Taking Herschel's sister on a tour."
>"Taking Evelyn on a date."
"Speaking of Herschel, I'm taking his little sister on a tour of the town." You reply.
"Wait, wait, back up." Cilus looks at you in shock. "The little pansy boy has a sister? Oh, gods, this is hilarious."
"I know, right? I mean, he even got scolded by her." You laugh. "So much for the mighty Herschel."
Echerson lets out a laugh. "I bet Malder must be sulking his ass off somewhere." He grins.
"Well, I'll talk to you guys later. Right now, I've got business to take care of." You wave at the red-haired Berserker and blonde-haired Fencer goodbye as you see Elsie come out with Evelyn in tow. "Here's my girls," You greet them.
"Hello, Mister Kline!" Elsie walks towards you, smiling. Evelyn just rubs her head, smiling weakly at you.
"She's been bugging me about things all day," she says to you in a low voice. "Thank the gods you finally came."
"Worry not, fair maiden. I will take her off your hands and show her the wonders of Grandale has to offer." You proclaim with a cheeky grin as you turn to Elsie. "Where do you wish to go, milady?"
"Do they have a clothes store?" The blonde girl asks you with a pleading light in her eyes.
You sigh inwardly. This was going to be a long day.
>"I will bring you there straightaway."
>"Don't you want to see something else first?"
"Right away!" You take Elsie by the hand and you march off to the clothing shop in the upper part of Grandale.
You hope your have enough strength to deal what was coming next.
A building with a pink roof and a sign with fancy letters saying, "Louie's Boutique" comes into your line of view as the two of you stop and look at it.
"It's so cute!" Elsie gushes over the clothes in the window, particularly a pink dress with flower patterns on it.
"That it is, my dear. That it is." You say in a bored tone.
"Oh, my stars!" A flamboyant, feminine voice rings out, sending shivers down your body. You see the one person that you did not want to see today. "If it isn't my dear Kline!"
Louie, a beautifiul turquoise-haired man clad in a pink shirt and leather pants comes out to greet you both. "And who is this little girl? Is she your sister?"
"No, Herschel's, actually." You reply.
"Oh my, he never told me he had a cute little thing like her! Such a naughty little boy!" Louie wags his finger in a scolding motion.
Elsie just giggles at the sight that is Louie. "My brother certainly is a naughty boy!"
>"So, Louie, got any clothes for Elsie here?"
>"Um, Elsie, want to go inside and take a look?"
You wanted to end this nightmare soon as possible, before you got in too deep.
"Hey, Elsie. Wanna go inside and pick out some clothes?" you offer.
"Of course!" Elsie nods.
"Wonderful! I will be your helpful guide!" Louie exclaims as he ushers you two inside his shop, which smells like perfume. Ugh, you hated the smell of fancy perfume. The scent alone is enough to make your head spin.
As you watch Elsie browse around the ladies clothing section, Louie is giving you a judging look.
"...Is there something on my face?" You ask the fashionable man.
"No, but you are missing something important!" Louie then heads on over to...
Oh, no, not the perfume section! Please, no!
He grabs a few bottles of the horrid stuff and comes towards you. "Now, tell me which one do you think is best for you." Louie raises up a red bottle and sprays the contents on you.
You flinch at the smell hitting your poor nose, the heavy, heady scent of citrus fruits. It was awful.
"And how about this one?" Louie holds up a light blue bottle and sprays you again, this time it was the smell of wild roses. Oh, gods!
"Well? Which one did you prefer?" Louie asks.
>"Don't you have any beer-flavored perfume?"
>"I can't smell anything anymore..."
"I'll just end up sweating it all off when I'm fighting anyway. But I don't suppose you have anything to hide the smell of blood and sweat?"
Do not be losing hope, comrade. Is still possible we may be one day saved. Is still possible.
"Neither of them, really. I'm not a big fan of flowers..." You mutter.
"That is a shame," Louie sighs. "Oh, well, I guess I'll just to get some more that are suited to your tastes."
"You don't-" you start to say, but you're cut off by Elsie coming up to you, holding a blue summer dress.
"Can I buy this one, Mister Kline?" She asks you. "Please?"
"Sure, of course." You nod as you quickly take her to the register and pay for the dress, then you swiftly take you leave, as Louie spots you heading out the door, shouting at you to come back. "I haven't even given you a whiff of my newest cologne!" He cries out.
You and Elsie are walking through the streets where Grandale's rich and influential walk. Elsie is taking in the sights of the fancy stores and homes. "This is amazing! You never told me you lived in such a fancy place!"
"Don't you?" You ask.
"Yes, but it's not as pretty as yours," She insists. "I've never got to see much of my town. My servant keeps dragging to places I should go to." The blonde then sighs sadly.
"Why, is it because you're heir to the family fortune?" You ask.
"Yes, you see, I'm the youngest of six siblings." Elsie sighs. "And my father wants me to learn how to be a proper wife to my future husband."
>"You should tell him how you really feel about this."
>"What does your brother think about this?"
>"You should tell him how you really feel about this."
No one's opinion on this matters more than yours. Whatever he does, your father's only doing it because he loves you. Probably.
"Well, if you don't like being treated this way, I think you should tell your father about how you feel." You say.
"I know, but I don't want to disappoint my father." Elsie sighs. "Not how like my brother did."
"Herschel?" You ask.
"Yes, he was against my father's idea of me being his tool for his politics and he ended upp leaving the household because of it." Elsie sighed. "He and Father aren't on speaking terms since."
That was depressing. No wonder Herschel acted the way he did. "...Well, where do you want to go next, Elsie?"
"Well, I've always wanted to visit a candy shop." Elsie's smile returns to her face once more.
"Then let's go." You head over towards the candy shop nearby and go inside. Various sweets are on shelves and stands, gumdrops, lollipops, and all kinds of candies and treats are on display.
"Ooh, I've never been to a place like this!" Elsie squeals. She rushes over towards a shelf full of candy animals. "Can I have one, Mister Kline?"
>"Sure, you can."
>"I don't know..."
"I don't see why not. Go help yourself to some more if you want." You shrug. Elsie then grabs a candy elephant, a horse, a bear, and heads over to the shopkeeper and pays for her purchase.
The two of you then resume walking around town, taking in all the sights of Grandale, from its tall buildings to its plaza. By the time you return to the guild, Herschel is at the entrance, his arm in a sling.
"Brother!" Elsie rushes towards him, worry etched on her face as she embraces him. "Brother, what happened?!"
"Ow!" Herschel hisses in pain. "Not so hard! I just got tossed into a wall, no big deal..."
"Not a big deal?!" Elsie screams. "You're hurt!"
Herschel winces at his sister's raising voice and shoots you a look that says, "help me".
>Go pry Elsie off of him.
>Try to comfort Elsie.
He's a big boy, I'm sure a wall or two isn't gonna bring him down.
Compared to that time he got run over by 8 horses and a wagon; or the time he fell off a cliff into a river; oh, and not to mention how he was recently mauled by a blonde banshee, nah, I'm sure those wounds are nothing and he'll be fine.
"Now, now, Elsie, let your brother go." You gently pry the girl off of poor Herschel. "He's a big man now. He can take care of himself."
"But he-" Elsie starts, only for you to stop her.
"It's all right, Maria can take care of him." You assure her.
"No way in hell!" Herschel shouts. "I'm not letting that fat hellcat near me!"
"Herschel, please. Do you really want Lamont to heal you? I'm sure you'll be glad to spend weeks with a slowly healing arm hindering you." You reply.
"...Fine, I'll apologize." He grumbles as he stalks off, Elsie quickly following after him.
You sigh as you enter the hall, seeing Cilus and Echerson still talking.
"Hey, guys. Still talking about Maria or what?" You ask.
"As if." Echerson snorts. "We're just talking about going on our next mission. Want to join us?"
>"I'm not sure."
"Depends. What's the mission?" You ask in a business-like tone.
"We're going hunting for a runaway princess from home. Whoever finds her gets whatever they desire." Echerson states.
"And I'm sure the boss will like the rep boost we'll be getting for sure." Cilus grins wide.
"I don't know... This sounds kind of fishy." You cross your arms, wondering if this was some kind of bait for a trap.
"Come on, man! We've never been on a mission this serious before! Besides, don't you want to be taken seriously for once?" Cilus punches you in the arm and frowns.
"He's right, Kline. Think of how many people would kill for this type of mission." Echerson agrees.
"Well... Alright, I'm in." You sigh in resignation. "I just hope we don't get in too deep with this."
"What are you commoners talking about?" Maria's voice cuts into the conversation like a broadsword into a cake.
>"We were talking about how Herschel wants to apologize to you."
>"How would you like to marry into royalty?"
>Think of how many people would kill for this type of mission
Oh, I'm sure there are plenty of people who would kill to get their hands on a princess.
I'm torn. I want to say fuck that bitch, but our options on healers isn't exactly great.
"Just what we need." Cilus mutters under his breath. "More trouble."
Echerson sighs as he pinches his nose.
"Well? I demand an answer!" Maria taps her foot.
"It's nothing. We were just finding a handsome prince for you to hook up with." you smirk.
"W-What?!" That question seems to have taken her aback as she blushes furiously. "I-I can't, I mean I couldn't just-"
The three of you then start bursting out in laughter at Maria's reaction.
"Oh, gods, that was priceless!" Echerson howls.
"S-She really thinks she's getting married to a prince?!" Cilus cackles. "Oh, man!"
"You idiot commoners!" Maria shrieks as she glares daggers at you three. "How dare you toy with a woman's heart!"
"Relax," you calmly say. "We didn't mean it. We were talking about a mission on finding a missing royal family member's pet."
"Royalty?" Maria narrows her eyes. "What would you fools know how to treat royalty? I might as well come along with you, in case you screw this up."
"You don't have to-" Cilus protests, but is cut off by a glare from Maria.
"I insist. When do we leave?" She demands.
"Tomorrow," Echerson says.
"Good. Then I will see you tomorrow." Maria then leaves for the barracks.
You sigh. "The mission doesn't actually start tomorrow, doesn't it?"
"Nope. We're leaving tonight. And we're taking Lamont with us." Cilus grins.
"Lamont? He's just a C-Rank." You say.
"Better him than Maria." Echerson says.
>"No, I think we should take Maria with us."
>"You really think Lamont can help us?"
>"Let's see what he can do."
>"Lamont? He's just a C-Rank." You say.
Aren't we 'just a C-Rank' ourselves?
Take Lamont anyways.
The Princess probably ran away to get away from all the royal and nobility bullshit, so I doubt she'd want to see a haughty, noble bitch anytime soon.
"Fine, let's see what he can do. I hope he's learned some new spells besides the basic cure spell." You sigh. Lamont was a good kid, but he often had a habit of screwing up his magic sometimes. You just wish your guild had more Clerics or a strong Priest.
"Echerson, go get the kid. Me and Kline are gonna get our stuff together." Cilus says as the three of you head off towards the men's barracks and grab whatever you could before Maria got wise to your tricks.
You head into your room and grab whatever you had leftover from your last mission and put it into a bag. You hoped you had enough potions for everyone.
As soon as you head outside the hall, Echerson and Cilus come following you, along with a brown-haired boy wearing a cotton robe.
"Are we leaving in the cover of darkness so soon? I still think we should wait..." Lamont grips his staff.
"There's no time, man! We gotta go! Time is of the essence!" Cilus glared at Lamont. "This is important!"
Echerson nodded as you all head off towards the town gates in a hurry. You hope this doesn't go south.
As you flash the guards your emblems, the four of you move down the highway road under the moonlight, the cool air hitting your backs.
"Couldn't we gotten a carriage?" Lamont sighed as he wiped his face.
"No time. We can make it to Frendan if we hurry," Echerson grunts out.
"So get a move on!" Cilus snaps.
>"We can stop at Kaste if you want to, Lamont."
>"Cilus's right, there's no time."
>"Can't we set camp here?"
We've got the gist of it, but we'll get the full story once we'll arrive at our destination.
"Cilus's right. We can't waste a minute." You say with a tinge of sadness.
The four of you make your way through the highway and go through Kaste without too much hassle. Luckily, you were able to convince Cilus to get some horses for them to ride.
After crossing the border, you find yoursef in the country of Frendan, although it doesn't look magnificent in the night.
"We're almost to the castle. Not far now." Echerson says.
"Good. Hope we can relax there." Cilus sighs.
"What's the hurry, anyway?" Lamont asks.
"We didn't want Maria to find out we've lied to her." Cilus sighs. "And she can't really kick our ass on foreign territory, not unless she wants to run her family name through the mud."
"I don't know about that," You reply. "Maria's not afraid to get into a brawl."
"Here we are," Echerson announces as Frendan Castle appears into your line of sight, and it looks majestic as it does in the day.
"Beautiful," You whisper out.
"Let's go before the gates close up!" Cilus shouts, the four of you gallop towards the castle town's gates. As you approach the gates, you flash your emblems at the guards, letting you inside as you dismount from the horses and head on inside the town.
"Finally," Lamont moans. "Can we go to an inn first?"
"Yeah, yeah. Let me find it first. The steward said he'd be waiting at one." Cilus sighs.
The night lights of the town seem really breath-taking as you look around the houses. Cilus then calls you out to come, and you and the others follow him to an inn he spotted.
What do you say?
>"Are you sure this is it?"
>"Hold on, Cilus. this could be a trap."
> Just head inside.
You were tired from riding all the way here, and the aching from your feet screams at you to take a damn rest. You sigh as you and the rest head into the inn.
You drag you feet into the lobby as Cilus spots someone.
"Hey!" He calls out. "We're here!"
A man wearing fancy clothing and glasses stands up, holding a book in his hands.
"Splendid! I knew you would come! It must be tiresome to force all of you to come to our fair city, and I apologize." He bows deeply.
"Don't worry, pops." Cilus grins. "We're tough as nails. We can handle a little thing like exhaustion."
"I see. Well, I will not waste any time and inform you of the disappearance of our third princess and seventh sibling of the royal family, Princess Aleste." The steward then clears his throat.
"At 7:00 am, we had noticed something amiss when the princess did not join the family for breakfast. The maid was sent to fetch her, and she came back and found her highness' room empty."
"And she wasn't kidnapped or anything?" Lamont says.
"No, just a note left on her bed saying, 'I will not be someone's trophy wife.' It seems she was against marrying Prince Feyr." The steward states.
"Who?" You ask.
"The prince of Kaldan, the country bordering the Northern Sea. He seemed like a nice man, from what I heard of him." The bespectaled man sighs.
Cilus then sits down in a chair. "Ok, do have any whereabouts or places where she would often go?" He asks.
"I do recall she would often visit her friend, Lady Justine Salzberg. Her manor is north of here." The steward adjusts his glasses.
All of you freeze, except for Lamont.
"Isn't that Maria's last name?" The younger Cleric asks.
"Gods be damned." Echerson growls.
Cilus just facepalms and groans.
>"Come on, guys, it has to be a coincidence."
>"Maria lives here?!"
>"We really should've brought Maria..."
"...I cannot believe I'm saying this, but we should've just brought Maria with us in the beginning." You sigh.
"Damn it!" Cilus growls. "Little miss piggy screws us again!"
"Is there a problem, gentlemen?" the steward asks.
"Does the Salzberg family have another daughter, sir?" You ask him.
The steward nods. "Of course. Her name is Maria Salzberg. Last I heard, she went off to Grandale to become a priest, I believe."
"I knew it." Echerson grunts.
"Ok, ok. This changes nothing. We just go down there tomorrow and say we're Maria's...friends." Cilus shudders as he spits out the last words. "Can't believe I said that."
"I see. Well, I won't be keeping you gentlemen from your good rest. Please drop by at the castle once you've found the princess. I'll inform our guild if you need their assistance in search the princess. I also took the liberty paying for your rooms. Good night, gentlemen." The steward makes his way out of the inn, leaving the four of you to ponder.
"Um, should we go rest now?" Lamont asks.
"Hey, look on the bright side." You say. "At least Maria's family won't be spoiled as her."
"Shut up, Kline." Echerson groans.
"Ok, let's just go to sleep." Cilus then gets up and heads to his room, the rest of you doing the same.
You flop down onto your bed and go to a peaceful sleep, hopefully you don't have that weird dream again.
The rooster crows as you wake up, the sunlight shining on you. You hop out of bed and yawn.
What do you do?
>See if the others are awake.
>Go get breakfast.
>"Hey, look on the bright side." You say. "At least Maria's family won't be spoiled as her."
>turns out she's the 'nice' one
Get the others awake if they're not already, eat, then head out.
You head outside your room and knock on the others' doors a bit loudly, hearing cursing and soft groaning. Before long, Cilus and the rest emerge from their rooms, fully-dressed and prepared.
"All right, boys, we've got some time before we head out, so get some food and stuff first." Cilus states.
"Thank goodness." Lamont sighs and heads downstairs.
"I'll go check the horses." Echerson sighs and heads down after Lamont.
"And I'll go check with Frendan's guild. Kline, you go get some provisions for us." Cilus tosses you a bag of money. "And meet us at the north gate."
"Got it." You nod, going down the stairs and heading out the door. You wish you had a map of the castle town, though.
Sure enough, you see a large store where people are gathering. You manage to squeeze through throngs of people and browse through the goods, gathering some things like potions, antidotes, and monster repellent.
As you emerge from the store with your knapsack filled with the essentials, you suddenly hear a familiar sound.
"MOVE ASIDE! MOVE, YOU IDIOTS! DO YOU NOT KNOW WHO I AM?!"
Oh, shit, it's Maria. And she's pissed as hell. You decide to make a full break, heading north towards the gate.
"KLINE?!" You hear her scream out. "KLINE, IS THAT YOU!?" You run faster and go into a crowd of people, hoping that would slow her down.
After making twists and turns, you reach the north gate and see Cilus talk to someone. "Cilus! We got problems!" You shout.
"What is it, man?" Cilus turns around and looks at your sweating face. "What's wrong?"
"Maria. She's here." you pant.
"What?! How?!" The Fencer demands.
"Probably the receptionist," you gasp. "We didn't tell her to not tell Maria."
"Shit!" Cilus growls.
"Where's Lamont and Echerson?" you ask.
"They're outside the gate, waiting for us." Cilus replies and turns to a blue-haired man. "Sorry about that, Eihan."
>"We're in a hurry."
>"Yeah, sorry, Eihan."
>"No talk time!"
"I am terribly sorry about all this, but we're in a bit of a hurry." You ask.
"No problem, mate. Had a bit of run-ins with jealous exes. I feel for you." Eihan nods.
"Right, man. Let's move, Kline." you and Cilus quickly head out the gate with Eihan and climb onto your horses.
"Move, horse, move!" Cilus shouts and gallops towards the north, followed by the rest of your party.
Soon, you all leave the castle behind in the distance and relax to a leisurely pace towards the manor.
"That was close." Echerson grunts. "No way in hell I want to deal with her."
"Me either." Cilus sighs. "Not in the mood for that."
"I hope- "You start to say, but Cilus cuts you off.
"Man, don't jinx it! You'll get us in trouble!" He hisses.
"Are those crop fields?" Lamont points to two large wheat fields in the distance.
"Aye. That's the Salzberg crop right there." Eihan nods. "We're close."
"Good. Let's get this shit over with." Echerson grumbles as your party heads towards a large mansion on a large hill. As you stop and dismount your horses, you see a farmhand head towards you.
"Hello, sirs. I can take your horses off of you." He smiles at you.
"Thanks, man." Cilus gives him a thumbs-up and dismounts, the rest doing the same as your party heads towards the front door of the manor.
"All right, I'll do the talking." Cilus gives you all a serious look. "Let me handle it." He then knocks on the door politely and smiles as the butler opens the door.
"May I help you, gentlemen?" He asks in a posh accent.
"Why, yes, sir. We're good friends of Maria Slazberg and we would like to talk to her parents. May we come in?" Cilus says in a respectful tone.
"Yes, I'll take you to the waiting room." The butler nods and leads you all inside. The inside of the manor was exactly you pictured when you saw a picture of it. It was gorgeous.
Your party arrives in the waiting room and sits down in chairs. "Do you want anything to drink, sirs?"
"I'll have some wine." Echerson grunts.
"Do you have some green tea?" Lamont asks.
"Give me some chamomile tea." Eihan says.
"I will have some vodka." Cilus smiles.
"Lemon tea, please." You say.
"Splendid. I will arrive shortly." The butler leaves the room. You quickly turn to Cilus and glare at him. "Vodka?"
"Come on, man. We're trying to act civilized. A little alcohol won't kill me." Cilus snorts.
"Never hurt me any." Echerson shrugs as he leans into the chair he's sitting.
Later, the butler arrives with the drinks on a tray and places it on the table. "The lady of the house will arrive shortly." He bows and leaves.
All of you take your drinks and quench your thirst. "Damn good wine." Echerson sighs.
Cilus lets out a cough. "Shit, this tastes like drinking fire!"
"Told you." You smugly grin.
"Man, shut up." Cilus glares at you.
"Hello, boys." A woman with short blonde hair tied in a ponytail and wearing a white shirt and tan trousers walks in the waiting room, smiling. "What can I do for you?"
"Hello, ma'am." Cilus politely nods at her. "We're just waiting for the lady of the house."
"Well, you're looking at her." The woman puts her hands on her hips.
The expression on your face mirrors the rest of your party, save for Eihan. THIS was the lady of the house. "You're Lady Salzberg?" you croak out.
"The one and only. Of course, you can call me Joanne, no need to be formal." Maria's mother grins. "So, I hear my little girl has made some friends, huh?"
"Y-yes." You nod.
"Good!" Joanne walks over and shakes your hand. "I'm glad she's got a friend like you!"
"The fuck?" Echerson spits out.
"Are your other children here?" you ask.
"Justine's in her room, my boys are out back hunting, heavens help us if one of my sons gets their ass in a sling again." Joanne snorts, crossing her arms.
"...This isn't what I imagined a noble house to be." Lamont says to you.
>"Neither did I."
>"I think they're cool."
>"Well, they're certainly... unusual."
"I think it's cool and refreshing to see nobles like them being so humble and down-to-earth." You reply to Lamont, who only shakes his head.
"I noticed that... your daughter doesn't behave the same way you do." Cilus points out.
"Who, Maria? That girl really takes after my mom sometimes, I swear." Joanne sighs. "I mean, she really idolized that woman."
"I see." You say.
"Yeah." Joanne looks at Eihan. "Eihan, my gods, look at you!"
"Hi, Mrs. S!" Eihan grins at her. "Top of the morning to you!"
"It's always a pleasure to see you here." Joanne nods before she turns to your party. "Now then, I'm sure you boys are hungry. Hell, I sure am after working in the fields. Who wants some leftover venison?"
"Joanne... you're all right." Echerson grins.
"We'd be glad to!" Cilus pipes up.
"Then march yourselves into the kitchen and pull up a chair. I'll yell at the maids to fix us up a lunch." Joanne leads you all into the dining room and your party grabs a chair and sits down.
"I told you Maria's family wasn't like her." You grin at Cilus.
"Yeah, yeah, wipe that damn grin off your face." Cilus snorts at you.
Soon, the maids arrive and place the food onto the table and put portions on your plates, which you all dig into.
"House Salzberg rules!" Echerson cries out.
"I can agree to that." You lick your lips. This was the best venison you've tasted. "Nothing can possibly ruin this day."
"Gods damn it, Kline!" Cilus hisses at you.
"THERE YOU ARE!" A familiar voice screeches at you all.
You turn to see an enraged Maria, standing like the god of death himself appeared in the doorway.
"Yooouuuuu!" She howls loudly as she points towards your party. "You filthy dogs... eating my family's food?! Sitting in my family's chairs?! Using my family's silverware?! YOU GO TOO FAR!"
>"Joanne, your daughter's back."
>"Maria, please don't kill us."
>"We can explain."
"M-Maria, before you kill us all, can you allow us to finish our last meal?" You plead.
"You...YOU...!" Maria's eyes are practically glowing red as she glares daggers at you. "I am going to enjoy ripping your limbs off and beating you with them-"
"Thunderation, what is going on in here?!" Joanne steps out of the kitchen, glaring. "Who's making all that damn racket-" She turns towards Maria and crosses her arms. "I should've known."
This time it's Maria's turn to go completely white. "M-M-Mother...?" she squeaks.
"Just what in the hell are you screaming about now?" Joanne narrows her eyes at her shivering daughter. "Those boys came all the way here and here you are, throwing hissy fits at them! You should be ashamed of yourself!"
"I-I'm sorry, mother..." The older Cleric whimpers.
"Don't you apologize to me, young lady." Joanne frowns.
"I humbly apologize to you all for losing my temper." Maria apologizes. You never thought she actually apologized to you.
"Now this is the best day ever." Echerson grins and resumes eating.
"Saved by the mom." Cilus laughs. "I love this place.
You sigh and finish your meal in peace. At least you weren't dead, yet.
Soon after, the maids take away your dishes and everyone heads into the living room.
"Now, what do you boys want to talk about?" Joanne asks.
"We're here to find Princess Aleste. She's run away from the castle." Cilus states.
"WHAT?!" Maria shrieks shrilly. "L-Lady Aleste is gone?!"
"Are you sure about this?" Joanne asks.
"Her servant said this is the first place she would come here." Echerson states.
"Well, shoot. If anyone would know, it'd be Justine. I'll get her." Joanne stands up and clears her throat. "JUSTINE!"
You wince at the volume of Joanne's shout. Did all Salzberg women have to be so damn loud?!
Footfalls can be heard as a woman with long blonde hair wearing a green summer dress enters the room. "What is it, mother? What's going on- Maria? What are you doing here? Who are these people?"
"We're from the Grandale guild, here to help with the investigation of the missing Princess Aleste." Cilus calmly tells Justine.
"Aleste is missing? Oh, gods..." Justine shakes her head. "I didn't think she actually go through with it."
"What do you mean?" you ask.
"The other day, she came to me and told me she wanted to go somewhere, to escape the stress of a princess." Justine sighed. "I thought she was just venting."
"Do you know where she wanted to go?" Cilus asks.
"I think she mentioned she wanted to visit Orlan, the desert country to the south of here. I don't know..." Justine sighed.
"We have to find her!" Maria shouts. "She could be in grave danger!"
"Don't be silly, Aleste wouldn't be able to get very far. Her sense of direction is very poor." Justine scolds her sister.
>"Do you have any more clues?"
>"Do you have a map?"
>"Do you know anything more about Aleste?"
"Do you have a region map?" You ask.
Justine nods and heads over to a bookshelf, grabbing a book and putting on the table. She then opens it and shows you the map of Frendan.
"You see, she would have to stop at one of the border villages at Orlan, where they'd instantly recognize her." Justine explains. "Unless she managed to disguise herself well."
"Do you know something about the princess?" Cilus asks.
"Aleste is... well, she's not a very ordinary princess, that's for sure." Justine states.
"That girl is pluckier than a duck." Joanne nods. "I once caught her trying to chase that ornery black hen and she came to me and said, 'I got your chicken, Mrs. Salzberg.' She's a crazy one."
"I still say you should've stopped her!" Maria cries.
"Ain't no force in the world that could stop that girl." Joanne snorts.
"But her stubbornness can only last so long before she's stuck in a hard place." Justine sighs.
"I got a plan," Eihan states.
"Great, a plan from the fool." Maria hisses.
>"What's the plan, Eihan?"
>"Cilus, you got any ideas?"
>"Do you got any ideas, Maria?"
"Maria," Joanne warns her in a scolding tone, which causes her to back down. You love this place.
"Do you have any ideas, Maria?" You ask.
"...No." She mumbles.
"Great. What's the plan, Eihan?" Cilus asks the blue-haired man.
"I think we should spread out and scour places where she'd likely go. Not alone, mind ya. We should do it in squads." He states.
"We could cover the ground that way..." you murmur.
"I want to help too." Justine says.
"I appreciate the thought-" you start, but you're cut off again.
"Absolutely not! Sister, you can't go rushing off into danger!" Maria shouts.
"I can take care of myself, Maria!" Justine snaps. "I'm no child, unlike you!"
"I'm not a child!" Maria screams.
"GIRLS!" Joanne thunders, quelling the sibling rivalry in an instant. "Eihan has a point, Justine. You can't just go rushing off by yourself. Maria, I want you to accompany your sister."
"B-But..." Maria weakly protests.
"My world is final, little lady." Joanne glares at her youngest daughter. "I'll tell my husband and my sons to help too. I'll be waiting here in case her highness turns up."
"Good, good." Cilus claps his hands. "Do you mind if we spend the night here?"
"Not a problem. Got plenty of guest rooms upstairs." Joanne smiles.
"Great! Boys, let's get some sleep for tomorrow.." Cilus sits up and stretches his arms.
"Wait just a minute!" Maria protests, but is instantly silenced by her mother's glare.
Your party then heads upstairs and takes a vacant room for themselves. You enter a large beige room and drop your things onto the floor and hop on the bed. Tomorrow would prove interesting indeed...
>To be continued
Thanks for playing. Any questions would be welcome.