A day had passed. Luke was awake much earlier this morning and is sitting cross-legged on the floor of his room, studying formation magic.
In front of him is a black magic board about the size of a standard chessboard that has magic circle drawn in it which is made of pure gold. He’s been tracing this magic circle with his mana formed into threads. And he’s been doing it for 3 hours now, but still, he wasn’t able to recreate the magic circle completely and so far he can only achieve a 70% completion, thus, it cannot produce a complete output. Nevertheless, this kind of progress is considered an extraordinary achievement, considering the fact that the practice of formation magic is extremely difficult to grasp for beginners; therefore, it is deliberately being introduced progressively to the students in the academy in later years, but this development will take these students 4-6 years to complete the course.
He finished tracing the magic circle in the board with mana and will now attempt to recreate it without the use of the guiding lines from the board.
He placed his left hand in front of him with the back of the hand facing him while his right hand is holding his left wrist. And then slowly, the lines made of mana threads are appearing right in front of him. First, a circle was drawn around 24 inches in diameter and then followed by a series of interconnecting lines inside this circle. He is trying to invoke wind, thus the magic circle is almost invisible to the naked eye; nevertheless, these lines were pale blue.
It took him 16 seconds to complete the magic circle, but it is unstable; that within a few breaths the magic circle vanished into thin air.
It failed again. The difficulty of this training is higher than chant magic. My control with mana is perfect but I still can’t achieve perfection in formation magic. I probably should not force myself in learning magic as master Lomar had warned me of possible backlash. I should take it easy and stop being reckless and impulsive of things I want to learn.
Right now, Luke had learned 20 chant spells mainly of standard magic, if someone will know that an 8 years old child had learned 20 spells in just one day, it will create uproar in the entire continent. Therefore, keeping a low profile is a must; they do not want to attract the noses of various factions sniffing on them, especially the magic council.
A knock from the door was heard and a maid came in, it was Narissa, the maid in-charge of taking care of him.
“The lord duke wishes to inform you that the preparation is almost ready. Please be ready by then.” She said.
The yearly celebration had ended; therefore, it is now time for the influential families to return to their respective territories. Thus, the duke and his family are returning to their dukedom, in the province of Eludun; and they are bringing Luke with them.
“I will be ready by then, thank you Ms. Narissa.” He responded to her, she then curtsied and left.
An hour later, Luke proceeded outside after he finished his preparations. His things are already brought outside and loaded in the carriage for him.
He encountered Layla along the way towards the entrance door of the mansion. He politely bowed at her without giving proper greetings as he knows she extremely dislikes it, he may just greet the wall instead of her. And it seems that, her contempt towards him grows each day that passed. And as usual, she is wearing that scornful face of her which she only showcases whenever he’s around. However, no matter how much she treated him badly, he still has to show proper courtesy towards her; after all, she’s the granddaughter of his benefactor and has a high status than him.
He waited for her to make it outside of the house before he followed. One of her hated things is when she has to share the same path with Luke that she has to walk alongside him. And he is well aware that she hated the fact that they are living under the same roof and her grandfather greatly valued him. On the other hand, he simply can’t do anything about it.
Outside, 18 luxurious carriages, 7 of it being fully loaded with large baggage’s are lined in the curved pathway just within the entrance door of the mansion and 50 knights in their magnificent mounts to ensure their safe travel.
He was then told to board in the 3rd to the last of the convoy where Lorrath and Audleigh are waiting already on board. But just as he was about to board, he momentarily caught Layla’s eyes, but then she abruptly closed the curtain of her carriage window just as their carriage moved out.
The inside is comfy and luxurious; it has enough space for six people – three on the back couch and three on the front which is facing each other.
“Good morning, ser Lorrath… ser Audleigh.” He greeted them and then he sat in front of the two which shares the backseat but is sitting on the opposite ends.
Lorrath response was a slight nod.
“Ah. Good morning. And how was your morning?” Audleigh asked.
“It’s fine. It was quite normal as always.” He responded and Audleigh smirked to his amusement.
“Is our young lady’s treatment is getting you uncomfortable each day in your stay?”
“No, not at all…”
Why would he be bothered with the 9 years old cold treatment, he was after all over 30 years old now if he include his previous age. And besides, it is just a small matter of a small girl’s selfishness.
“I know you are very accustomed to nobles by now; however, if you can no longer able to stand it, you can tell me about it and we will make certain adjustments.”
“Thank you, ser Audleigh. But, there is really no need for it.”
“Are you sure?”
“However, if there is then –”
“Audleigh, he said there is no need for it, why must you insist?” Lorrath interjected.
“It is because things may be very difficult for him. After all, he’s a child.”
“But he didn’t need your help, you heard him alright.”
“Yes I did, but I was tasked to make sure he’s comfortable.”
“Of course, but certainly you understand that we have our own principles. And besides, Luke is different from other children as he is well composed and very smart. It certainly won’t affect him, he knows better of himself than we do.”
“Fine, I won’t pursue this matter anymore.”
“I am honored to be valued highly by ser Lorrath. And still, I thank you ser Audleigh for your concern. I will definitely inform you and the duke if there are things that will bother me in the future.”
“You should or else I’ll be upset. Then Luke, you never been in Eludun, right? Mm… I know many beautiful places in Eludun. If you’re wondering how much I know about our province, believe me… I know a lot.”
“Don’t get caught by his words. He’s a bad influence.”
“Hey! Don’t be like that! I am just making sure that Luke will get to learn more about our territory of all the beautiful places and have fun.”
“Yeah right… And what do you plan to show him, the best women in Eludun? It’s not that I completely disagree with your plan, it’s just that your idea of fun will corrode his mentality.”
“Oh no… Believe me, that is not what’s on my mind… Ah no, I simply want to bring him to the best place in Eludun.”
“Just plan of teaching him inappropriate things Audleigh and I will beat the crap out of you.”
“Don’t be like that. Perhaps in the future, Luke may want to visit those places.”
“Stop that nonsense! He is still a child, so don’t teach him those kinds of things.”
“Oh come on… You underestimate Luke. His understanding of things is beyond ordinary. Right, Luke… um… what do you think about our talk?”
“Well… prostitution is part of a society.”
“See Lorrath, he has broader mind. He already had an idea about our talk without us telling him first and he answer like a true philosopher… And Lorrath, it is not that you didn’t have fun the first time I brought you to a brothel. It’s you’re ‘first time’ after all…”
“N-no I did not.” Lorrath turned red being embarrassed.
“Yes you did. And besides, those women really missed you, so you should pay them a visit some time later. You really are popular amongst them you know. They say… yours is so big that they crave to eat it once more. It was the talk of the town you know.”
“Stop it Audleigh.”
“Why? Is it because of principles? Let it go Lorrath as it binds you.”
“No, it’s about honor… the knight’s code!”
“It’s the same. Well, I won’t refute you on that. What I’m only saying is you should allow yourself to have fun, not regularly but sometimes.”
“Umu.” Lorrath expression was that of the defeated.
And their conversation continued as they make their way in the east direction of Eldryne, going to the main port of the kingdom – the port of Velaris.
By land, it will take 2 days to reach Eludun from Gran Almeris by horse and 5 days by carriage; by sea, it will take 2 days and 1 night.
Around 3 hours, they reached Velaris. It was a busy port with a prosperous town right at the stone sea wall. Then there is an extended stone ramp by the sea which protects it from preposterous waves and invasions. And then there are 7 long stone bridges that connect the ships to the shore and then there are 9 large galleon ships on these bridges, more than 30 small ships, and several small fishing boats.
They boarded in one of these large ships. From its design and the type of wood that it was made, one can come up with a notion that it is a very strong ship which could withstand the violent waves and the unpredictable strong winds of the sea. It is around 400 ft. long, 45 ft. wide and 75 ft. high from the keel to the top deck (5 times bigger than the galleons of Spanish era). Its keel is made from a single piece of giant iron wood which guarantees the structural strength of the ship.
There are a number of nobles on board, flaunting their magnanimity and prestige amongst themselves. One of the nobles is a fat man with beautiful wife is laughing heartily as he converses with other nobles, but his wife is somewhat gloomy as she watches them.
“The ship is very extravagant and never came short to amaze us. I really love travelling at sea than land, especially if it is in a ship like this! The cost of 56 Bruinne Gold is a small change to be in this prestigious floor with all my wives. Hahaha!” The fat noble exclaimed.
“Yes, yes… The cost is cheap for a prestige like this! Hahaha!” The other noble responded.
“However, what disappoints me is what beneath us… the commoners that had boarded this ship! I get a little nausea whenever I’m near them. Where is the justice in that?”
“Hahaha! Indeed, my friend… these commoners shouldn’t be allowed to board with us nobles. They think too highly of themselves just because they are above the slaves.”
And then the duke came and everyone silenced, the men bowed while the women curtsied. A man came to greet the duke. He is wearing navy blue coat and black big hat folded in 3 sides with large and soft blue feather – a continental hat.
“Welcome aboard milord.”
“Ah yes Captain Belarus. How’s the weather?”
“The weather is great milord, a good day to journey at sea.”
“Mm… Well then, I’ll leave everything in your capable hands captain.”
“You can rest assured milord. I shall keep you and your family safe in my ship.”
“Alright… I will now head to my cabin. Can someone show us the way?”
“Then allow me show you the way.”
“No, no… I don’t want to interrupt you. I know you are busy. Just let one of your people to show us the way.”
“Then, I’ll let my assistant.” He then signaled his assistant to come. “Kindly show the lord duke and his family their cabin.”
“Yes captain.” His assistant replied. “This way milord…”
Shortly afterwards, they reached the cabin. Lorrath, Audleigh and Luke then proceed to their own cabin which is a few feet away from the duke and his family. The size of the cabin is big enough for 4 people with 2 bunk beds.
“I’ll take this side over here.” Audleigh said to the two and then comfortably slept on it.
Luke then sat on a chair along with Lorrath.
15 minutes later, they heard a small knocking on the door and Luke got up to check it as he is the youngest.
“Luke!” A small girl an inch taller than him with golden hair exclaimed, it was Amalie and behind her is Layla, her eyebrows knitted together and her expression is sour.
Duke Rhemus and his family had just arrived a moment ago. And knowing that Luke was on the same ship, Amalie excitedly asked her grandfather if she could play with Luke which he agreed. She then dragged Layla along with her and headed to Luke’s cabin.
“Who is it Luke?” Audleigh asked. “Well, looked at what we have here… Luke has two lovely visitors. Hehe…”
Luke ignored him.
“What is it Amalie?”
“Let us play. Come with us!”
She then grabbed his left hand and was about to lead him outside with Layla, but he stopped her.
“Forgive me… but I don’t think I could play with you anymore.” He then looked at Layla and with a ‘hump’ she retracted her eyes away from him.
“Why? My grandfather had allowed it… even Layla’s grandfather had given his consent to us.”
“Yeah Luke, you should go.” Audleigh said while grinning.
“Let’s go!” She once again grabbed him.
“No Amalie… A commoner like me is not allowed to play with nobles and besides this is not a place where we could play.”
“But my grandfather had allowed it. So what is wrong?”
“What about your family or the other nobles?”
“They… they don’t like it… but my grandfather had said so… they can’t say no to it. And I don’t care about other nobles… my grandfather is more powerful than them. My grandfather can shut them up if he wanted to.”
“You don’t understand, these nobles would think of a story that will be detrimental to you in the future.”
“What kind of story?”
“It is not yet time for you to know.” He looked at Audleigh with eyes that say ‘help me here’.
“Young lady Amalie, what Luke is saying is… commoners aren’t supposed to play with noble children, it is the norm and if he did, the other nobles will badly discriminate him for it. And besides, he is a boy and boys don’t usually play with girls. Furthermore, when you play with him, it will invite rumors regarding you and him which will be harmful to the both of you, especially to you as a young lady. I hope you understand. However, you two can play together in some other times.”
“Let’s leave him at that. Why do you insist on playing with him? We can play together alright… so let’s go now.” Layla interjected.
“Fine! Let’s go now! Hump!” Amalie stormed out.
He angered her, but he simply brushed it off and returned to his seat.
“Is it alright to leave her like that?” Audleigh asked.
“It will pass…”
“I’m overthinking? Of what?”
“About Layla’s feelings…”
“Should I make her to hate me more? And perhaps it is as you said, boys don’t play with girls.”
“Don’t jest me… I know that you don’t play that much. Your actions are that of an adult already.” He then smirked. “I think that girl is infatuated with you?”
“She was just fond of me… time will come and she will forget about it.”
“You are underestimating that girls feeling. Are you being full of yourself?”
“No, it’s simply what I thought. She should marry someone of her status.” He said which made Audleigh become serious.
“You’re still a child, yet you are already an asshole. And you’re good at it. But, you are right… she should marry someone who is not an asshole.”
Audleigh then left the room.
“Luke.” Lorrath started. “The way you handled things is very cold and disagreeable. It is the actions of degraded individuals who think only for themselves. And it wouldn’t be long before the dukes realize this. You are getting yourself killed.”
“I apologize about that ser Lorrath.”
“Don’t you feel infatuated about that girl?”
“I do not feel… love.” He then climbed in the bunk bed and covered his face.
“Just what are you Luke?” Lorrath sighted. “You are bound to fall in darkness.”
Luke heard him and then the opening and closing of the door, Lorrath left.
… I do not feel hate either… I have little emotions left. What remains of my humanity are my desires and ambitions.