In the afternoon, a carriage drawn by four stallions with an escort of 6 gallant knights in their mount is waiting outside the mansion to which Luke, Layla and the duke had boarded. Luke is sitting close to the driver seat which is facing the duke and Layla.
Two of the escorts are leading the way while the other 4 are guarding their rear. This kind of travel arrangement is typical for those who hold greater status, even in a short distance. It is not that the city lacks security but because of the prestige and power that they impart on the citizen.
It is only a short distance of half a kilometer to reach the residence of the duke of Aran, Duke Rhemus Veren-Belner.
On their way, Augustus had told him many things about the duke of Aran and its territory. The territory of Aran is rather small, second to the smallest territory in the kingdom however, it is the richest of the dukedoms. It is in the very strategic location for trade which connects all the commercial roads that leads to the northern and southern territories, and because of this, it has absolute controls of the country’s trade. It also has an access to the sea trade, so it became the depot of goods and gold of the kingdom. Aside from that, its soil is one of the most fertile lands in the kingdom and is the leading exporter of the finest wines and fruits.
But Luke already knew this.
“But it is just one of the many advantages it holds.” – Luke
“Yes, yes. And do you know what makes Aran so formidable that it holds the fate of the kingdom?”
For someone who came from a world where the advancement is through the flow of information/data, he certainly knows that information plays a key role in every civilization. He had read a lot of books and novels, and watch a lot of movies which guaranteed this conclusion, and he is certainly is right about this matter.
“As expected of you. Hehe…”
Augustus is really fond of having a conversation with him as he shows broader knowledge when compared to some half-baked nobles he’s acquainted to.
“Excuse me grandfather, but how is information capable of holding the fate of the kingdom, I mean, we all know how rich Aran is but to think it holds the fate of the kingdom because of information. I find it hard to believe.” – This time Layla who was just observing in their talk, raised her hand and asked her grandfather.
“My dear, information is the key to success in every kingdom.”
“You see my dear, if someone holds the right amount of information he could control the flow of things. He could make use of the information for his own benefit and advantage. Information is used in every aspect which is used to triumph in every campaign; it minimizes the risk to avoid failure. That is why information is effectively useful in politics and warfare, especially in this time of peace. In short, information is power. He, who controls information, holds the power to dominate everything. Only few people knew this, and they compete to gain every bit of the advantage.”
“But why a small territory can hold so much power?”
“It is because of the trade my dear and Aran is the center of it in our kingdom.”
“I don’t get it.”
“You see the trade carry information from all over the place. For instance a trader of a faraway place is carrying information about that place, news of what is happening there.”
“Then grandfather, why can’t we hold that much of power?”
“It is because Aran was a very good strategic location and also because their leader is very capable with these matters. Well, anyway it is not yet in your capabilities to concern you with these kinds of things.”
Not to mention the number of very capable spies it had at its disposal – Is what Luke thinks.
She looked at Luke who was looking outside. She wondered how this commoner knew so much things compared to her who was regarded as one of the few gifted children of high nobility. She who was taught by a prominent scholar compared to him who was probably taught by a third rate scholar but how could he learn such things that she didn’t have an idea.
And they arrived at their destination. In front of them is a mansion even more impressive than Duke Augustus mansion.
“This is the residence of Duke Rhemus.”
Being impressed by the grand scale and the artistic aspect of the structure, Luke can’t help it but feel astounded. He never saw such structure back in his previous world, as he never got a chance to travel abroad, he could only experience it in books and magazine. Sure he saw buildings of great size and impressiveness back in his old world, and this world’s architecture will dwarf in comparison, but, this structure has unique charm that had him captivated. [AN: The charm of every fantasy world that had captivated every protagonist.]
The carriage went inside the iron gate and stopped right at the receiving entrance of the mansion where a well groomed man with golden hair and a young beautiful girl with similar golden hair is waiting to receive them, this man is of course the duke of Aran, duke Rhemus and his granddaughter Amalie.
When they got off the carriage, duke Rhemus and his granddaughter approached them. He greeted Layla and Luke in a conventional way of greetings, then, he and Augustus exchanged a much formal greeting by clasping each other’s right arms, a form of handshaking in this country. His granddaughter Amalie made a formal and elegant bow to duke Augustus; she then approached Layla in a friendly manner.
After their exchange of greetings, duke Rhemus invited them inside his house and they all fallowed him.
“Layla, stay with Amalie for a while.” – Duke Augustus
“Yes grandfather.” – Layla responded while eyeing Luke.
Then Luke and the two dukes proceed to the visitors lounge.
The lounge is big and very luxurious with three massive glass windows and wide dark colored curtain which overlook the outside scenery of buildings and the busy street under the blue sky. At the center of it are long luxurious Victorian-like sofa’s and chair’s arranged around an oval table with a chandelier on the ceiling and elegant burgundy carpet on the floor. This seating arrangement could fit 24 people with enough space for them to move around.
The two dukes sat on individual chairs while Luke was offered to sit on the sofa.
“So, how are you?” – Duke Rhemus started their conversation with a question for Luke
“I am fine, milord and thank you for your concern.”
“The last day we met, I saw you being troubled by my friend here. How ironic that he is now here in support of you. Hehe.”
“Ehm…” – Duke Augustus gave a small cough indicating his presence.
“I thank you for lending me a hand that time, milord. But what happened that day is a misunderstanding and I have not taken any offence.”
“Oh~ Even if that was a close call to get you beaten?” – Duke Rhemus asked while raising his left eyebrows and snickered.
“But I was not, so I will leave it as is.” – Luke
“Haha! Boy, you really are wise. You heard that Augustus? Haha!”
“Rhemus! Don’t make me look like I’m a bad guy here. Anyway, I am here to tell you that, this boy is already capable of learning magic. It is only appropriate that you learn of this matter.”
“Of course since I was the one who informed you. Hehe… But, it is not surprising.” – Duke Rhemus told him.
The duke then took two wine glasses from the tray in the side table and placed it on the oval table. He then took the wine, opened the cap and the exquisite aroma escaped from it. He poured each glass and offered one to Augustus and took a sip from his glass. He then let out a satisfying sigh while looking at the glass in his hand.
“Show me boy.” – Duke Rhemus had ordered.
As to demonstrate his ability, he stands several feet away in front of the two and invoked lightning on his palm.
“How is that possible? His control over mana is really astonishing; it is in the level of the highest adept. Unbelievable!” – Duke Rhemus
“I know how you feel by now. Hehe… He really is promising.” – Duke Augustus
“Can you invoke another element aside from lightning?”
“Yes.” – Luke answered
“All!” – The two dukes exclaimed in unison and they spilled a few drops of red wine in the carpet.
The two pondered for a moment.
For a beginner, to invoke the 5 element is non-existent; but now, this child had just claimed that he could. Somehow they easily accepted it and contained their surprise look. From his control over mana, they concluded that he might really be capable of such a feat.
“Show us!” – This time it was Augustus who asked him, he too is eager to see it with his own eyes that he failed to see the first time Luke demonstrated his abilities to him.
And without further ado, one by one he invoked the other element.
First he invoked fire and a fist size flame was dancing in his palm. And to show his absolute control over this element, he splits the flame into two. Then he extended his free hand and the flame jumped in it, he then played with it. It was then that the flames were transformed into a birdlike form that the two dukes looked at each other. What he just did is an application of transformation, one of the integration of transfiguration, an amalgamation of spells.
He just demonstrated a skill that was learnable by the fourth year students of the academy. Not just that, this flames were lifelike which hovers above him. Then, they flew around the room while letting a cry of freedom. These two fiery birds were like phoenix flying in the opposite direction of each other and they never crash nor put a dent on the walls or at the chandelier. It flew for a few minutes until it flew back in his hands to which he disperse them and they let out a cry as they disappears.
He then manipulated water he took from a vase. Like fire, it dances in his palm and changed to different shapes and forms. But, when he dispersed the water into molecular droplets that aren’t visible to the naked eyes and then it gathered again to reappear in his palm like he had created water out of nothing; the two dukes almost jump in surprise. This was of course another application of transformation, but he performed it in yet another level. Again, he dispersed the water and this time, he dispersed it for good.
Then, a sudden gust of wind was felt in the room. Then looking at his palm, wind gathers in it that it forms a small tornado then disappeared. Luke then placed both of his hands in front of him as though he is grasping something as seen with the pressure in his muscles until a small black sphere the size of a baseball was visible. He continued applying pressure on his hands that the sphere is showing signs of electricity are being produced within. It was then that the two duke leaned closer to see what is this sphere, they clearly see that he didn’t apply any amalgamation in it yet there is lightning element present when it is obvious that he is using the element of wind; but what they understand clearly is that, this sphere if let loose will blow everything away, shutter the glass windows and ruin the entire room; but neither duke Augustus nor duke Rhemus is showing a concerned look as they’re eagerly observing this thing. Luke then loosened his grip over this sphere and carefully dispersed it. He successfully dispersed it, however, a gust of wind blew their hair and clothing, and the chandelier shakes a bit.
“As for the element of earth, I don’t think it is suitable to show it in this place.”
“Ehm… certainly. That is enough.” – Duke Rhemus as he placed the wine glass on top of the oval table and went closer to Luke which duke Augustus had followed suit.
“Are you really 8 years old? Who taught you this?” – Duke Augustus
“No one milord.”
“To be able to learn it yourself is quite unbelievable. Is it possible that, you already possess the Arcane Eyes? Can you see the mana all around us?” – Duke Rhemus
“I don’t know what this Arcane Eyes, but indeed, I could perceive mana around us.”
“Oh~… Only the people who already awakened Arcane Eyes are able to see mana. This is marvelous! Augustus, this child here is… truly marvelous!”
“If Gregor will know of this, then certainly he would want to get hold of this child.”
“Ha! Let’s leave him out of this, after everything he had said to us. I don’t want to speak with him again, not in 10 years.”
“Haizzz… but he ought to know.”
“Certainly, he will know about him, but I am not going to tell him nor should you.”
“Then let’s asked him.” – Rhemus is pointing at Luke.
“Boy, do you wished to be reunited with your family?”
But just as duke Augustus could raise a protest, duke Rhemus had already asked Luke.
“Do you?” – Instead of minding Augustus, Rhemus had asked the boy once again.
“For all I know, I only had one family.”
Not to mention, he doesn’t have favourable impression with this family, so he think that it is better not to join them.
“So you don’t wish to see your ‘real’ family.”
“Yes milord. I already am satisfied with what I have. However, I thank you for your kindness.”
“But your family will help you towards greatness.”
“I believe I could achieve it in my own hands.”
“Certainly you will.”
“Hear me boy. I, Augustus Regis Lenforth, will guide you towards greatness, to become the greatest wizard this world has ever seen.” – Duke Augustus
Suddenly the adjacent door which connects this room to the office swung open and a man is seen walking out from it. This man is very attractive with an air of high nobles the way he handles himself, however he is dressed in a casual dress of a noble. He has a pair of dark blue eyes with a shiny silky dark blond hair. When Augustus saw him, he was surprised but he contained his surprised looked as he was able to show propriety in the form of lowering his head.
Seeing duke Augustus respectful endeavour towards the man, Luke had guessed that this man is probably of higher class, but what is higher than the duke but the king alone as grand duke was never present in this kingdom. And he was right in his guess as this man is none other than the king himself – King Richard Harwell Waltham. A man revered by all as the most effective king this kingdom has ever had, who is responsible for making the kingdom as one of the most richest and powerful country in the continent. And he too bowed in respect.
“Or… the most powerful dark wizard in the history of mankind?” – King Richard spoke while making his way towards them.
“I beg your pardon, your majesty.” – Augustus as he politely bowed.
“That is what I think… a threat to humanity.”
[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.]