The Flight of The Draykes
The next few weeks were weird, to say the least.
The teacher seemed distracted all the time and he didn’t even smile while beating me up.
In fact, it seemed like I was the one beating him up at those times.
He would morosely stare into the distance as though someone had spent all his...cough...cough….money.
Or forlornly he would fling his sleeves and stand as though he was the only one in the world capable of feeling loneliness and sorrow.
As for us? His dutiful disciples?
We were happy beyond belief.
We could leave early and we would keep exploring Draconis city and the money kept flowing since our Teacher waved his hand in sorrow, not knowing that I was offering the money pouch and not a drinking waterskin.
His loss, quite literally.
As for me, the culprit involved in making him suffer the loss - I silently swore to myself to pay him back...in due time.
Hey! I’m a trustworthy person alright? Don’t point at me and whisper like that...it’s rude!
We would also run into Paul occasionally and just the same as me, after his last beating, Harold stopped harassing Paul completely.
Bullies will be bullies. But I don’t know why I have this uneasy feeling.
But today, the disturbance in the force was very strong.
I am referring, of course, to the warforce waves emitted by Teacher as he stood side by side with Sir James who was looking at us interestedly.
Talking as though he had sand in his throat, Teacher said, “Alright my beloved disciples, from today onwards your evenings are to be spent with Sir James, a very illustrious knight,” choking at the end of his words.
“He will teach you many things and you should listen to him carefully,” He continued bitterly.
“Do you have any questions?”
I had a thousand questions but meeting my Teacher’s sorrowful gaze, I swallowed all of them.
But Alessia didn’t.
She stepped forward and said,
“Teacher, what things will Sir James be teaching us?”
“Things that he is better than me in. Things that I thought I left behind in the past,” Said Leonidas cryptically.
Coughing, Sir James stepped forward with a forced smile.
“Leonidas has taught you fighting. I will teach you how to survive. Under the most difficult conditions and the most ordinary conditions. I will teach you how to thrive under any circumstance. That is what I will be teaching you.” He said, with assurance in his voice as though it was already clear what was going to happen.
Except I wasn’t clear what was to happen. What I did know was that Sir James had the same glint that Teacher did when he was about to make us suffer.
Gulping, I nodded.
Looking over to Sia, I noticed that her fists were clenching and I knew she too had noticed what I had noticed.
We’re in for it.
“The first lesson, follow me!” Said Sir James, as he walked out of the prison with his hands clasped behind his back.
Me and Sia looked at each other and then followed silently, only to notice that Sir James had somehow disappeared even more silently.
Bewildered, we stared at each other before we broke into a run and then a sprint, managing to finally glimpse the knight who was still walking sedately with his hands behind his back.
But each step of his covered a frightening distance that we had to cover by pushing ourselves till our tongues wagged out.
I had a sneaking feeling that my warforce would be triggered any second but every time my heart would beat in agitation, Sir James would slow down just a bit, allowing me to catch my breath again.
As time passed, we found ourselves on the walkway of the walls of Draconis City’s East gate after passing throngs of people who parted ways quickly when they saw the Knight and the guards who looked at us suspiciously and then relaxed as they saw Sir James.
Pausing on the walls, Sir James asked, “Do you know what the area that we are standing on is called?”
I racked my brains and came up with nothing when Sia spoke, “It’s called the alure, the path for the defenders to walk on the walls and reach the various towers.”
“Very good. I see Leonidas has already started teaching you about fortifications.”
Puzzled, I looked at Sia, wondering when she learned this before she raised 5 fingers and jerked her head to the side.
Understanding, I realized that she had learned this from before I became a junior disciple of hers.
Guiltily starting, I suddenly realized that I had somewhat stolen her training and teaching time from the Teacher since he’s been focussing mainly on me with Sia acting as my training partner most of the time.
Staring at my guilty face, Sia shook her head - as if to say that what I was thinking was wrong - and then smiled in reassurance.
Nodding my head, I motioned toward Sir James who was patiently watching us communicate silently like buffoons.
“It seems I have a lot to teach you both on…” He murmured in exasperation.
“Now that you both are done, I want you to tell me what is so special about this place.”
I immediately scanned every stone and every object on the alure, including the stones underneath Sir James, only to scratch my head in frustration as I found nothing out of the ordinary.
Sia on the other hand stared out towards where the gates faced and then at the sky before saying,
“We are at the East Gate, the only exit from the Kingdom of Leon to the Hagarian Empire and equally the only entry for the Hagarians. We are surrounded by the 10,000 peaks which enclose both sides of the gate and walls.”
“Very good, a textbook answer. But that’s only part of the answer that I want.”
“What about you Faustus?”
Turning my head around to take in the vista around me, I slowly breathed in before saying, “I see Draconis all around me. I don’t know about the strategic implications, but I do know that this is House Drayke land and our city.”
Smiling, Sir James clapped, “You two do complement each other. Your answers together are the answer that I was looking for.”
“Indeed, you can see Draconis City from here, now I want you to put down what you see on these papers -,” saying so, He took out multiple papers, brushes, ink, and boards which he placed before us.
Seeing my confused expression, he continued, sufferingly, “Draw Faustus, I want you to draw.”
Nodding my head intelligently, I proceeded to set up a board with paper, dipped my brush into the ink, flourished it magnificently, and then asked, “How...do I draw?”
“Just.. just draw whatever you see of Draconis. You have the entire day so don’t worry about it and I have more paper here.”
Turning, I saw Sia already drawing vigorously with fine elegant strokes of the brush.
Looking back at my own blank paper, I raised my head to take in the view of Draconis City and I fell silent, basking in the rays of the sun - My spirit harmonizing with the pulse of the people in the city - my people.
I raised my brush and deftly drew the first line, then the second - soon the brush was flying across the paper, splattering ink all over my face.
Elated, I drew on in a haze and time flew.
When the sun dipped below the horizon, I slowly came out of the trance that I was in to find Sia and Sir James patiently waiting for me.
Furling up my paper after the ink dried, I approached them confidently.
Holding out his hand, Sir James looked at us questioningly.
Pausing, Sia reluctantly handed over her paper while saying in a small voice, “It’s not very good…”
Opening it, Sir James studied it for a long while before his eyebrows went up in appreciation.
Silently, he turned the paper toward me.
I was dumbstruck.
The paper contained Draconis City.
A Draconis City that seemed as though it was alive.
The people were depicted in all their motley attire, their expressions all disparate and lively, the houses - though made of the same grey stone - seemed as distinct as though they were hued in multiple colors, the sun's rays hitting the city seemed as though they were falling on a sleeping dragon, and each area was marked in minuscule detail. It was beautiful beyond words.
“You can use this as a map or as a painting in the court,” I exclaimed softly.
Blushing, Sia looked down.
“Indeed, Alessia is quite talented at drawing. It seems that there is a lot of potential to her that Leonidas has not quite touched upon.”
“It’s because our Teacher didn’t have enough time,” she said, defensively.
Raising his hands in placation, Sir James said, “I know and I meant no offense by it.”
Turning to me, Sir James held out his hand expectantly.
I shuffled my feet, I hemmed and hawed, and finally - I handed over my drawing like our Teacher would hand over his money - very painfully.
Raising his eyebrows, Sir James took my drawing and opening it, his eyebrows shot up even higher until they almost disappeared in his hair.
Brow twitching violently, he said with a trembling voice, “Go-good, I see you too have potential Young Faustus.”
Blushing innocently, I coyly traced my feet, “Really? I thought so too!”
Eyelids twitching in tune with his eyebrows, Sir James coughed violently before hurriedly furling up the drawing.
Curious, Alessia drew close and caught a glimpse of the drawing before it was put away.
Gasping, she clutched her chest.
If Sia’s drawing could be presented in court, then mine could be too.
The only difference, her’s would be the court painter’s offering and mine would be the jester’s.
It was awful.
Everything was in blocks and circles and the writing was as feeble as a candle about to be extinguished by a fart.
Looking away and whistling, I waited merrily for Sir James' next lesson while Sia and Sir James shared a look of commiseration between them.
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