(A display of prowess)
The carriage went all the way towards the section of the city where all highly privilege people resides – the Noble’s District.
Luke spread his sight all over the place and saw buildings of great architecture which are 5-6 storeys high lined together across the street. These structures are made of stones and a special type of cement binds them together, with the application of magic, the structure could last forever and could withstand the greatest of the calamity the nature could muster. Through and through, the atmosphere of the environment is like old Europe, with the architecture being similar to 15th century France.
The street has a number of people, there are those who are engage in conversation; there are those who are in a hurry and walks faster, and some are even running; there are also the traffic of carriages owned by nobles along the way, and nobles in their remarkable attire and fancy armoured knights who rides in their beautiful horses.
The street is bustling like any other place in the city, except the people here were few and much more refined that you can’t hear any shouting from these people compared to the streets or the market, only the sound of hooves from these horses and composed sound of walking or the graceful laughter from these people is what filled the place.
Their carriage never shown any sign of stopping, which only means they are still a distance away from their destination. Their travel is smooth, not because the carriage has a good suspension which lessens the unnecessary shaking the carriage make or the even road, but because of the blue banner with the sigil of an overlapping twin sword, a griffin on the side and a golden laurel which envelops the two insignia – this is the symbol of the dukedom of Eludun and the symbol of the duke.
Wherever they go, the people will show their respect and make way for their carriage, which is why they never encountered unnecessary troubles along their way.
In 15 minutes or so, the carriage stopped in front of a huge mansion, 7 storeys high and 230 meters in length – this is the mansion of Duke Augustus Regis-Lenforth.
“We’re here.” – Audleigh said and the three of them got off the carriage
This time around, Lorrath excuse himself and made his way towards the opposite direction, the two went inside the mansion and were greeted along the way by servants.
They stopped in front of a huge hardwood double-door, where two heavy armoured guards are standing guard on both side.
Audleigh stepped forward and knocked three times on the door, which a man inside responded and told them to enter.
A handsome man who looks to be in his 30’s is sitting in an old luxurious-looking chair behind the table that has papers, scrolls, letters, a bag of silver and gold coins, books, an ink bottle with 2 quills in it, and a balance weight place on it.
The two paid homage by making a slight yet elegant bow, like a true noble.
This man has dark-reddish hair which is cut short and was perfectly combed at the back, and with eyes that match the color of his hair. When he saw this man, Luke was reminded of the girl he met at the clothing shop the last day.
This man is Duke Augustus Regis-Lenforth the reigning duke of Eludun for the last 12 years since his father had step down. He is the grandfather of Layla and many other children, but his favourite of all is Layla. Not only for the fact that she is the daughter of his first born son and the heir to Eludun, but because she is a child brimming with talent not only in magic but also with sword, martial arts, fine arts and other forms of learning. She is not just intelligent and beautiful, but a very strong child. Because of this, the duke highly favours her. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t care for the rest of his grandsons and granddaughters, he also favours his grandson which are all talented. But because she is a girl, she received a lot of attention from him like a grandfather doting for his granddaughter.
It must be noted that this world highly sought and favoured the strong. Because, only the strong can defend their family, defeat their enemy, and bring glory to their country. Only the strong can bring about justice and peace, and the select few who ruled the many. For centuries, this is the law (albeit not written) that governs them, it will remain unbroken until the end of time.
The duke, and like the other duke, imposed this unwritten law, to protect their family, status and their interest.
When the two gave their respect, he offered them to sit in front of the table.
“Thank you for your service Audleigh.” – The duke started
“Not at all my liege.”
“Well, Luke is it? We’ve met again. First, I must apologise for my rude behaviour the last day we met. Can you forgive me?”
“You must be confused of why you’re here, am I right?”
He nods again.
“It is because I know your father, Lord Renan of Drenhar, and your grandfather, Gregor Dynar-Vyrwel, the duke of Drenhar.”
Augustus eyes were on them, observing the two, noticing any changes the two would make and discerning what they understand.
“I told you this because it is no longer a surprise. See, Audleigh isn’t showing a surprise look, he must have known about it already. Am I correct, Audleigh?”
“As for you, you learned and had kept it for a long time now. Am I right again?”
He didn’t respond.
“As for me, well, I learned it from someone. How he got hold of that information is not of our concerned. The most important thing is we learned of it and that you are here.”
While Augustus explained things, the two remain on the listening side.
“As you may know, last night I met your grandfather, Gregor. I and my colleague told him everything we know about you. And here I will be very honest with you, he denounce your existence and we both got criticise for this matter. Well, he is like that long before. He denies you, so it should be proper to raise you as one of my own with my selfish understanding, or so I think. Since I want to be honest with you so I must tell you this, I learned that you are special. It is one of my reasons to keep you. And the other is because I don’t want you end up being uneducated fool, raised by some shady guy. I don’t want that, I don’t want you to raise your blade and point it at someone at some point of time. You know, this old me is being paranoid. Hehe…”
Actually, when he investigated him and learned that the man who raises him is a man named Fergara, a name registered in his watch list 5 years ago. He informed Duke Rhemus of his findings and later, they informed Duke Gregor. But, when Gregor denies Luke as it will invite unnecessary rumours regarding their family, so he decided to make a move, he will take Luke under his tutelage. It must be known that the Vyrwel’s excels in magic, he believe that keeping the boy under his banner is beneficial to him and his forces.
Augustus ordered Audleigh to get him a cup of wine right at the corner, and he continued speaking while supporting his body by the armrest.
And now comes the conclusion of things he just said.
“If you stay here, I will provide you with everything in my capacity.” – Augustus ended his explanation and took a sip of the wine he held on his hand.
“What about Mr. Fergara, milord? I still have an obligation to him.”
Though he felt no loyalty to anyone, however, he thinks that it is improper to simply leave the man who brought him up for 4 years now and had given him a lot of things to learn upon. He can’t simply change side just because the other offered him more as there are still the dignity and decency that matters. He can’t bring to lower himself which the duke felt his sentiment at this moment, and he was pleased by his sense of righteousness.
“Well, I won’t take your freedom away. In 8-10 years’ time, you can do whatever you want. I won’t stop you if your desire is to go back to Fergara. But let me ask you a question. Do you really trust that man?”
“Milord, I am indebted to him, but to trust him still make me a little bit of a hesitant.”
When Augustus heard him say these words, he was surprised that his eyes narrowed, and starts re-evaluating the boy in front of him. He was really taken by how this child looks so mature in his answer. It was not what he expected to hear from a child.
“So it is debt. Your debt that I had settled, so that only means your debt is transferred to me, that’s the logic. You no longer had the debt and you’re not emotionally tied to him, then I guess you don’t have any problem if you stay here for the time being and if you did find a problem, you can inform Audleigh here or you can seek me.”
The duke dissolved his soft nature into that of a sinister which shuts his other feeling of hesitation.
“May I interrupt you, milord?” – Audleigh had spoken
“Yes, what is it?”
“With regards to the boy, well, we all concluded that he is smart or way smarter the way he handles himself right now, but there’s more to it.”
“What do you mean?”
“I learned from Fergara that he is exceptionally gifted, far from our expectations.”
Now, Augustus interest was picked that he was leaning closer to Audleigh and placed the cup on the table.
“My liege, he is doing things the other children of his age isn’t capable of doing and Fergara believed he is hiding his real capabilities well.”
“What are these ‘things’ you say of?”
“For example, managing a business or perform complicated arithmetic, advance that is.”
To his surprise, his eyes are now bulging, but thanks to his discipline he managed to stop himself midway from standing and overreact. For a child of less than 9 years old to do those kind accomplishments is indeed impossible.
“Is this true?” – Now, Augustus directly asked Luke to which the latter simply nods.
If he is to confirm this with a spoken answer, it is not that they would not believe him but it will look like he is being conceited for his answers. So he simply do his usual act – answer like an obedient child would.
“Should we test him, let him perform a task-”
“Or perhaps, you could tell us more of your abilities or expertise.” – Augustus inquired eager to learn more of this boy.
“Then, can I take a moment please, milord.”
He went outside the room and when he got back, he brought with him a small rectangular wooden box. He returns to where he is seated and then he started with a question.
“Why is it that books are expensive?”
“You’re asking me this?”
Augustus couldn’t believe that this child had come up with that ‘silly’ question.
It was Audleigh who answered.
“You probably know this but since you are up to something, then fine. Books are written by scholars in the academy and the monastery, they are known as scribers. They have the skills in writing as well as making these books, enchanted scrolls and weapons, and other magical items.”
“Then, if I have the skill of the inscribers, then I can write a book. Is it?”
“Certainly, however it’ll take 6-10 years to reach the necessary skill to become an inscriber that makes non-magical books. However, the materials needed for a single book is another thing.”
“You know the paper is quite an expensive commodity. It must be known that paper making is quite a process.”
“Is there no magic that can make the process fast and easy?”
“What, you want to hire a magician just to make papers? And besides, the only thing they could speed up is the drying process.”
“But what about tools, a mechanism, a machine mainly for making papers”
“Ma-sh-in…? I never heard of it. What about it.”
“Milord, I have this idea… If you could lend an ear on this, I will be delighted.”
Augustus looks at him, trying to discern what’s on his mind. He then opened the box and took out the rolled parchments which he handed to the duke and the later accepted it with his eyes still fixed on him.
He then looked at those parchments. It was messy, is what the duke can tell. There are no proper writing tools develop as of yet that his writings is somewhat untidy. What’s more is that these two can’t understand it as there are crisscrossing lines, numbers, circles, zigzagging lines, letters and words. They can’t tell what it is all about that their eyebrows met.
“Is this somewhat of a plan? I have seen the likes but I can’t tell what this is. First of all, there are no magical symbols and formations. So, what is this?”
“It is called… I call this one a printing press and this one is a paper mill.” – As he pointed on those drawings.
“What’s this? This is not a magic formation, is this a drive wheel here? I saw one in the draw bridge, but, it is somewhat different”
“Yes, these are the drive wheels or simply call it as gears, it was put here to transfer the energy of this thing here and by means of rotation the energy is transferred, it is called mechanical energy.”
“I am confused. What do you suggest in here?”
“The whole idea is that, it will make the process of making papers and publishing a book much easier and faster. These are tools… tools build for a specific work, a machine. These machines do not rely solely on magic but, the energy of work – the kinetic energy. This is the concept of a machine.”
[AN: Did I explain it right?]
For what it should be a short introduction, the whole thing turns out to be a deliberation where Luke points out the benefits of his machine from the two who didn’t have an idea about the concept which is unique to them. Like a salesperson, he effectively promotes his product that the duke had bought.
Though, this world is advance than the medieval time in his world but this concept is quite new to this world and the main reason is magic.
Instead of machines, magic made their life a whole lot easier, like; if they wanted to starts a fire, they can invoke it; if they want to make a brick, they use magic to create a type of brick stronger than normal bricks; if they need water from the deep well, they use magic to take water from the well or simply create water; if they needed to lift something, they use magic to lift heavy objects. In short, magic has wide application especially in the time of war; as technology is best develop whenever there is war. However, not all things are made possible with magic, this is one of the examples and the duke is thoroughly convinced of the new idea and really believes it will revolutionize how books will be made in the future but he certainly didn’t know it will stir the coming of the information age, only Luke did.
“Now, it is time for me to show you what I am really capable of.”
Just as the two were seemingly happy and satisfied of this new ideas and the potentials it will bring and the money they could amassed, were stopped by those words and came up with the same conclusion: “What’s more there is to this child to surprise us?”
Suddenly, he got up from his chair and walks a few feet away from the two.
Now he is standing sideway from them. He raised his left hand in the level of his stomach, showing his empty palm. Then, as though he is gripping something on it but not closing his hand into a fist, still he exert pressure in his little hand, and then, mana starts gathering around it.
“Don’t tell me, you’ve manifest-”
Just as the duke was about to finish his words, a small bluish ball of lightning that produces low sound of electricity was invoked and is floating on his left hand.
“-ed magic already.” – Finishing his words albeit losing the volume of his tone.
“I-incredible…” – Audleigh
[AN: Rate my work, support my work. And leave a comment to express your thought. Also, if you have any suggestions or violent reactions, PM me. To those who like it, and to those who read it, thank you.]