The Flight of The Draykes
As it turned out we didn’t have to do anything.
We just had to wait silently and stiffly in the boisterous and incredibly stifling environment.
Boisterous because of all the patrons who had bullhorn-type voices, and stifling because of the incredibly dangerous auras they gave off.
We waited until a sober Sir James once again stood in front of us, all signs of drunkenness gone and nary a whit of embarrassment on his pale face.
“So, this was all an act,” He said, without batting an eye as though we hadn’t just seen him toddle over with an unsteady gait.
“This is what you’re going to learn. The art of information and survival.”
“You will have to...ahem...trust your comrades and keep your wine safe…” He said the last part in a voice so soft that it was almost like a mosquito buzzing.
“But anyway! The point is, information and survival”
“That’s why from now on, your afternoons will be spent serving as the help in this fine establishment!”
Frowning, I glanced around at the fine establishment before looking at myself and Sia, who were both children.
“What? You think you’re too young to do this?” Asked Sir James, with a glint in his eyes.
Honestly, I nodded.
“Do you know that you would actually be considered as too old to work here in any other situation? It’s easier to teach young and stupid children rather than semi-children like you who have already grown up some.”
Waving his hand, he muttered, “It’s fine, you’ll learn in due time.”
Furrowing my brows, I thought about what he said.
It is true that Protos was not at peace but surely, it wasn’t so bad that children as young as I was had to work for their living right?
Dashing the thought out of my mind, I focussed on what Sir James said next.
“I want you to collect information. Don’t make it too obvious or you’ll be beaten soundly by these esteemed patrons and punished by yours truly here.”
“Oh, and if you don’t do your work, well - Edwin will collect every one of those 86 silvers you got on you boy,” Winking at me, Sir James left.
Petrified, I stood there feeling as though I had been stripped of my clothes and left dangling in the wind.
For there were precisely 86 silvers left in the money pouch that Leonidas had given us.
What sorcery is this? Why does this new teacher seem even more formidable in terms of sniffing out money than our old teacher?
Shaking, I turned around and came face to face with Edwin.
Who threw a heavily bound book at us.
Opening it, I saw that it had hundreds of beverages and food written in it.
Grunting, Edwin said, “Memorize that. That’s all the stuff we sell.”
Assenting, I ran my eyes over the list only to find that next to almost every beverage were the words, “Out of stock.”
Stupefied, I looked at Edwin and pointed at those words.
“Ah yes, blasted peace is falling apart again and stocks are running low.”
“But enough of that boy! There are people to serve so get your jelly legs working fast!” He growled at me.
“As for you girl, you can stay behind the counter,” He said kindly.
Having no objections, I got to work fast.
And so started the next part of my training.
Washing dishes, Scrubbing tables, serving patrons, carrying our Teacher in unison with the four guards, and so on!
All the while I heard information that made my heart thump.
“Did you hear about the carver adventurer group? Wiped out to the last man in the no-man’s land between Hagaria and here.”
“Did you hear about the 5 tailed golden chicken? It’s eating everything in the heartwood but the Draykes are apparently waiting for something before dealing with it.”
“Apparently the count’s son became a silver ranked knight and lasted for 7 minutes against his teacher, gold-ranked knight, Sir Patrick Raul”
Smiling, I listened in more closely to the last bit.
“It’s said that he lost because he angered Sir Patrick completely by calling him an old man...well the old man demolished him in his rage.”
Wincing at my brother’s luck with the elderly generation, I slipped away to the back room where our new teacher was playing a game of dice with one of the guards.
Speaking of the guards, our new teacher's tricks are so low!
Remember when I saw the guard and followed him till the tavern?
Well, when I first saw the Guard - Sia saw another guard too at the same time.
Both of us faced the choice of completing the task alone successfully or failing if we went back to meet each other.
That both of us chose the second option is beside the point, what is the point is that our new teacher is a rogue!
He purposely set it up so that we would have to make that choice!
Ah, life is hard being around all these evil people.
At least I still have Sia to talk to without any fear of traps being laid.
Thus, two more weeks passed by.
In this time, we went through the find and locate mission multiple times in the daytime before our work at the tavern.
Then we were kidnapped in the middle of the night and found ourselves in unknown territory yet again.
But this time, there was a note at our feet.
It said, “included is the way to map out the stars to find your direction. You must go 3 km west, 6 km east, 3 km north, 3 km west, 3 km south. There, you will have to find a box on the ground which is what you have to bring back. You have 30 minutes.”
Immediately, I skipped down to the part where it had the instructions to map out my path according to the stars and getting my bearings, I began sprinting west for 3 km from where I was.
Then, I sprinted East - only to find myself passing the same place I had started from.
“Bal!” I cursed.
I just wasted time for nothing.
But continuing on, I reached the end of the 6 km east before heading 3 km north.
By this time, my breath was ragged but time was passing.
So without stopping, I ran west and then south.
Only to end up at the place where I started.
Startled, I took a look at the note again before howling at the sky.
I was tricked.
Why can’t they give a straightforward mission?
Searching the area, I finally found the box a few minutes before the time expired.
Exhausted, I sat down in place - waiting for the person to come to pick up the box.
Eventually, a man wearing a mask came and in a muffled voice, asked me to open the box to check the contents.
When I did, out jumped a jack in the box that nearly made me wish that I wore brown pants at the moment.
Cursing profusely, I almost threw the box at the man, and then the urge to throw it became even stronger once the mask came off, revealing the gentle soulful face of my new Teacher, Sir James.
“What did you learn from this?” he asked gently.
“That you are a schemer,” I said bluntly.
Coughing, he said, “Not that, I meant what did you learn from the mission?”
Grunting, I stifled my frustration before saying, “I learned that I should read everything carefully and examine everything for a trap.”
“Oh! You understood it that well? But this is only the second time I’ve done something like this to you?” He asked, puzzled.
Grimacing, I replied, “You might have tricked me for the second time, but I also have a devil for a teacher that tricks me every day. I should’ve known that there were more of him and you in the world!”
This time, it was my new Teacher who went slack-jawed before he fell silent, not knowing how to respond.
“Where’s Sia?” I asked.
Stupefied, I looked at Sir James who looked back at me peacefully.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because a girl needs her beauty sleep!” He said, innocently.