The Flight of The Draykes
The next week was a mess.
The palace buzzed in anticipation and hundreds of people scurried around fixing every single part of it in preparation of the big shot who was coming.
The big shot?
The king was coming and Draconis was roaring.
People thronged the city from all parts of the countryside. Adventures, mercenaries, and all returned to the city and took up residence in all parts - smelling the money.
Sir Leonidas was extraordinarily tense.
As was Sir James.
I understood why Sir Leonidas was tense but as for Sir James, if I had not overheard the conversation before, I would’ve been quite puzzled as to why he was so moody.
The last week before the King arrived, our lessons came to an end.
We were given time to do whatever we wanted to do.
I would have spent it with Sia but Sia was being groomed in etiquette as she was to be presented in front of the King as Sir Leonidas's first disciple.
As for me?
I was currently the secret disciple since the identity of my teacher was a bit special.
As an observer, he was meant to observe. Finding a protege is still acceptable but not when the protege was the count’s son.
As such, Sia was still tolerable enough for the politics that be, but me?
I had to be hidden away and that suited me just fine.
I had no interest in dressing up and partaking in the fine company that was on the way to Draconis.
I was more interested in emptying out Thomas’s kitchen but he chased me out screaming, “Not the ducks!”
I do enjoy a finely roasted duck.
Alas, I was caught too soon.
Initially, I would explore outside but as time passed and the chaos grew, I found myself less inclined to explore the city.
Instead, I would stay inside the library that I finally got to use and I was in the process of devouring every single book in it.
With permission from my father, I had taken quite a lot of the books that I was interested in, well virtually all the books that I was interested in, and kept them in the finite stone to take out in my room at night to continue the literary festival that was going on with me as the sole party involved.
I would also practice taking out things and putting them back inside the finite ring but I would only use it in the safety of my room, where I usually kept it. Ever since the devil teacher had told me how valuable it was, I just didn’t feel comfortable carrying it around where it might fall off.
The only exception to this was the horn which would create a buzzing sound in my head every time I was far away from it.
As such, I usually carried the horn and practiced with the finite ring in the night.
Soon, I had become quite proficient at it and discovered some rules that the finite ring followed religiously.
Rule one was that I was the only person who could take things out once the finite ring had been bound to me unless I unbound it by using warforce on the level of silver ranks.
Rule two was that I could not make things appear beyond half a foot of my body, so there go my plans of conjuring a bed and dropping it on a person.
Rule three was that the positioning of the items that come out of the finite ring is completely based on the image in my mind. If I imagined the dagger pointing towards me, then I might get skewered by the dagger if I’m not careful enough.
Rule four, I couldn’t get the items to come out in places where there already were items. So no summoning a blade inside a person's body either.
Would’ve made fighting a lot easier if they weren’t there.
As for the rest of the rules, I still haven’t discovered them but as time passes and I gain more proficiency, they’ll slowly be discovered I suppose.
As the time for the King to arrive came closer and closer, the tension in the city kept ramping up.
However, it wasn’t the good kind but a heavy atmosphere of gloom and doom.
For tidings were spreading among those in the know.
Tidings that the kingdom was facing a grave threat.
Whether the tidings were true or not was a case for another time entirely.
For the King had arrived at the city gates and he had on a jubilant expression that said, “The world is fair, life is good - happiness abounds!”
I stood amongst the people in the periphery whilst hidden amidst the taller members of the nobility. Not that anybody would have paid me any attention but still, I used the rogue teacher's tricks to blend in deeper into the shadows.
Meanwhile, Sia stood uncomfortably, clad in formal court attire with a circlet around her head that gave her an air of nobility, just like our Teacher.
Sir Leonidas was clad in armor with a surcoat over it, displaying the Kingdom of Leon's badge, a lion roaring in rage. He had a ceremonial sword belted to his waist and no other weapons but it was the first time I had ever seen him garbed such and the effect was striking indeed.
I scanned the courtyard but I couldn’t see Sir James. However, I knew he was somewhere in the courtyard - observing in secret.
My mother was demurely standing to the side of my Father - the word demurely being one I never expected to use for my mother but such is what is happening.
My Father was dressed in simple attire. Not befitting the bearing of a count at all but rather the bearing of a common man who was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulder.
Surprised, I stared at him for a moment before realizing that even my mother and brother were dressed plainly.
Looking downwards at myself, I thanked my subtle dressing style that helped me blend in with my family’s attire but at the same time, I was puzzled as to why they were dressed like that.
But all thoughts were banished as the trumpets began blaring near the courtyard of the palace.
Guards lining the portcullis grounded their weapons in respect, the sound silencing the trumpets before horses with measured steps came trotting through the gates.
The first one carried a large banner on which the insignia of the Kingdom of Leon and its King flew.
The second carried a smaller insignia that signified a Lion pacing around.
And then the King appeared, majestically riding on a huge horse that must have been easily 20 hands big, chestnut-colored and spirited.
Behind him was a much smaller horse that was black as pitch and lean as a greyhound, with a youth that was looking about with keen interest.
Following behind were the nobles of the Kingdom with their heraldic coat of arms emblazoned across their armor and banners.
As the mounted nobles passed by, they were followed by ranks of disciplined infantry - split up into spearmen at the front, swordsmen in the middle, and archers at the back.
Together they all made their way to the courtyard where they came to a halt in unison, showcasing their discipline.
A solitary trumpet blew before the Herald carrying the King's Banner announced, “The King, Casimir Von Leon of the Kingdom of Leon, greets the people of Draconis!”
“Your Majesty!” all the people gathered cried and knelt.
Caught unawares, I almost stood out but my honed reflexes allowed me to kneel in time with the rest.
But one pair of eyes saw my fraction of a second late gesture. They belonged to the youth who was observing everyone present with hawk eyes.
Dismounting the horse, Casimir Von Leon strode forward powerfully. A man with a mane like a lion and a beard that was as long as his chest, he had a mighty aura around him and the dignity of a King.
“Callum!” He shouted.
“It’s been a long time since we fought together but the time to do so again draws near!” He said good-naturedly.
“Your Majesty! We shall drive them back as we did before!” Cried out my father with fervor.
Confused, I looked around to see that everyone had a face as though they knew what was going on.
I know there’s been grave tidings spreading, but what is this about fighting together, and more importantly, who are we to be fighting?
It can’t be the Hagarians, could it?
My suspicions were answered a moment later when the king boomed in his thunderous voice, “The Hagarians think us weak! Preposterous! Since when has a Leonid ever been anything but strong! We will show them our strength in arms and we shall show them no mercy this time!”
A loud roar greeted his speech.
Weapons were grounded and swords and shields clashed.
The cacophony was deafening and my questions were answered.
We were going to war.