Maya of The Golden Moon, Chapter Three
Chapter 3: Trump Castle's King Plump
“Like light and shadow, like heaven and earth, like men and women, this world is made up of opposites. No matter which side you look at, neither one functions without the other. That's the nature of the world.”
--Yes, Dad said that.
While walking behind the professor and Karura, Maya remembered those words. According to Professor Dogma, Shadowin and Sanial were mirror worlds, so the people living there should be counterparts of each other, right?
So, why are Karura and the professor like cats?
As Maya kept thinking about this, her expression showed total confusion.
“Hey, what's with that difficult face?” Karura grinned back at her.
“Don't be unreasonable. She was brought to this world abruptly, after all.” Professor Dogma tugged on his arm. “Surely, it would still be difficult to accept that this is reality.”
The three of them left the great hall with the magic circle through a corridor, and ascended a spiral staircase. At the top of the stairs, there was a room protected by an iron door.
“This is my laboratory,” said Professor Dogma proudly, as he opened the heavy door.
Hanging from the ceiling of the dark room were various bags, and the walls were covered in bookshelves. On top of a desk were books and drawings of mountains stacked up, looking as though they were about to fall. And on the floor were strange machines, tools, and jars scattered all over, leaving nowhere to step.
Maya murmured, “Somehow....”
“Somehow?” Karura asked, looking at Maya's face.
“Somehow, it's the same as Dad's room.”
“I see,” the professor nodded. “On the king's orders, I searched for a secret passage that would link Shadowin and Sanial. After many years of research, I completed the magic circle.”
He took a small metal chest out from one of the bookshelves.
The professor opened the chest, bringing out the circular card inside.
“Ah, that!” Maya burst out.
“The card I threw at your feet,” Karura said.
“This circular card is called a “Kuruuku...,” the professor started to explain, holding it in one hand.
“A magic circle is sealed in it, and it becomes a magic card. A portable, convenient, and simple magic circle, although it has one unremovable defect. Karura used this to bring you here from Sanial.”
“Oh, hurry up and use that to send me back. Please!” Maya said, eyes sparkling.
“Unfortunately...,” the professor's face grew long. “This is still an incomplete Kuruuku. The Secret Remedy of Umbra and the Logos Spell, as well as a few days' time, are needed to complete it. That means...the only time we can open the portal to Sanial will be the day of a full moon.”
“Ehhh? Then, does that...mean I can't go back until the next full moon?”
“That's right,” he said firmly.
Maya completely lost heart, her head drooping.
“That's the way it is, so you must become the Black Elmanio and deal with the Dark Elma somehow.”
“Uwaa! Are you serious?!” Maya let out in surprise.
“Seriously serious, very serious!” Professor Dogma scowled at her, his eyes widening. Reminded of her father when he was angry, Maya involuntarily flinched. “G-Got it....”
“Good, good. Now, we must promptly report to the king.” Saying that, the professor opened another door in the middle of the room. Refreshing air came into the room from outside. All of them exited together; they were on a hill overlooking a forest. In the direction of the forest was an oddly shaped building, and beyond that was a lake.
Seeing that view, Maya felt a bit relieved.
“Hey, our worlds aren't that different after all.” Taking a deep breath, Maya nodded. “So, where is this king?”
“Over there.” Karura pointed at the mountain in the distance. A white castle stood atop the tall peak.
“Ehhh?! That kind of place?”
That far away, and on top of a mountain to boot, how were they supposed to get there? Anticipating it, Maya felt weak. “No way. No way! I can't make it there.” Karura grinned.
“That kind of thing's easy for an Elmanio,” he said, grabbing her arm and suddenly reciting an incantation. “Ventos! Eltsac eht ot su gnirb!” Whoosh. A whirling gust of wind arose, and with great force, lifted them high up in the sky. In the blink of an eye, Professor Dogma's house looked like a tiny grain of rice, and the forest, lake, and mountains, resembled a miniature garden. “A-Amazing! It's like magic!” Maya said in a surprised voice, while Karura grinned. “That's why I said we were like wizards. And we don't need brooms either.” He winked, and then they swooped downward over the ground. Passing over the treetops, and the roof of the house, they flew in a straight line toward the mountain peak. Over the lake, past a hill, and presently, a steep cliff blocked the way. Before the cliff was a white castle stretching into the clouds.
Maya and Karura landed in front of the castle gate, where Professor Dogma was already waiting. “How's that? If you're an Elmanio, you can fly.” Hearing that from the professor, Maya thought, Maybe becoming an Elmanio wouldn't be so bad.
“Now, come this way. The king wants to meet you.” He waved at the gatekeeper. Rumble rumble. The earth around them shook, as the gate opened. As they passed through, there were soldiers on both sides lined up to greet them. No matter which one she looked at, they all definitely had cat ears. The main part of the castle had a red carpet laid out in the middle, with cat people dressed in various colors standing on either side. As Maya and the others entered, they scattered red flower petals in greeting. At the end of the red carpet was another large gate, with a sentry guarding it. When the three of them arrived in front of him, he said loudly, “Professor Dogma, and two-o children!”
“Hey! You're not going to say the great me's name?!” Karura yelled at the sentry. “Hey, Karura! We're going to meet the king, show some manners!” the professor scolded, as Karura pretended not to hear.
As the gate opened, clanking sounds came from within, and a knight clad in green armor and helmet stepped forth.
“The king awaits thou within. Take care, and watch thou step,” Green Knight said, ice cold eyes piercing Karura. Lacking the same intensity, Karura quieted down.
They followed the knight inside, into a surprisingly large hall. One wall was covered in white, pink, and purple flowers, and there was a fountain, it was like a garden. If you listened carefully, birdsong could be heard. In the middle of the great hall, like a large dumpling, the king was sitting alone.
“Ho, I've been waiting, Dogma.”
The chubby king spread his hands joyfully while facing the three of them. Then he nodded. “Could that be the Savior behind you?”
“That is correct, Sire. This is the light of hope that arrived from Sanial,” the professor said, pointing at Maya with his right hand.
“So, what is your name?” the king inquired.
“M-Maya,” Maya answered in a small voice, looking down.
“Ohh, aren’t you quite a cute child?” the king said, stroking his beard and smiling.
“We are the lord of Trump Castle, King Plump. We are honored to meet you, Savior.” But his face clouded over as he said this. “However, can this child really become the Black Elmanio?”
“Worry not. We will thoroughly educate her, and she will surely become a splendid Black Elmanio,” Professor Dogma said, puffing out his chest.
“What’s this we?” Karura made a face from behind the professor.
“Hoho, then let’s discuss your school.”
“Eh, school?!” Maya exclaimed, looking up.
“Heh, study hard, Miss Savior,” Karura grinned next to her.
Maya was taken aback when the king looked at her and said, “But this appearance of hers is no good. She doesn’t have the right ears, or even a tail.”
“Indeed, your majesty is quite correct. If she attended school like this, her true form would be exposed quickly.” After saying that, Professor Dogma held out his right hand.
“Mime!” He called out, a droplet of light appearing out of thin air above his hand. The light started spinning over his palm, forming into a shape. Eventually the light faded, revealing the form of a creature. It resembled a large hamster, but with birdlike feathers and the head of a mouse.
Maya brought her face closer to it; the creature had friendly eyes and chirped, “Myuu.”
“This is Mime, a Costume Elma. If you use this, you can change your form,” said the professor, holding it in Maya’s direction.
“Well, it’s kinda like cosplay,” added Karura.
“Now, Mime, change her appearance.” Hearing that, Mime jumped from the professor’s palm to Maya’s right hand and nimbly went up her arm to perch on her left shoulder. Immediately, Professor Dogma recited an incantation, “Mime! Tneduts a fo mrof eht ekat!”
Suddenly Mime shone, and a ribbon of light wrapped around Maya’s body. When the light faded, Maya’s clothes had changed to a frilly black outfit. On top of that, she now had cat ears on her head and a tail coming out of her bottom.
W-What’s this? These clothes. Maya was shocked, taking in her new appearance.
“Great, this should be fine. Now she definitely looks like a Royal Academy student,” the king said, squinting his eyes in satisfaction.
“U-Um...These clothes are?” asked Maya.
Professor Dogma said, “They are the Euron Royal Academy school uniform.”
“Ehh? This is a student uniform?”
“That’s right. Rather suits you, huh?” Karura muttered.
“Then, let’s take you to the school tomorrow,” the professor said, smiling.
“Ehh?! Tomorrow?” Maya raised her voice in alarm.
“I’ll leave it in your hands,” the king said, gesturing with his right hand to dismiss the three of them.
They bowed deeply as they exited the great hall.
“Tomorrow’ll be fun, huh?” Karura grinned, winking.
Karura’s mean! But I wonder what kind of place this Royal Academy is?
As Green Knight saw the three of them out of the castle, he muttered, “Good grief, more luggage….”
That night, in his house, Professor Dogma prepared a room for Maya. Maya would commute from there to school for the next month. Without knowing what kind of school the Royal Academy was, or what she would be studying, Maya became extremely worried and nervous.
She had vanished so suddenly, her dad and brother must be worried. Her school and friends would be searching for her. Maybe they had even filed a missing person report with the police, wouldn’t that be a huge commotion.
Noticing that something was bothering her, the professor said kindly, “You don’t need to worry about all that,” while smiling warmly at her. Despite being suddenly taken to this unfamiliar world, Maya wasn’t all that uneasy. That was because when she looked at the professor, it was like being together with her dad, which oddly reassured her. Even if the magic circle was gone, even if she couldn’t go back, right now she still trusted his words. So___
Anyway, I should forget about my original world for now. During this month, I have to do my best in this world.
Yes, Maya’s heart was at ease. Opening the window of her room, the pale moon shone in the clear night sky.
Mr. Moon is smiling in the sky…. He’s always watching over you from there, Maya….
Maya remembered her mom’s words, and made a promise in her heart.
“I, definitely won’t give up. So keep watching me...Mom.”