Chapter 3:

The First Lesson

Peters' Crosses Side Story: Legacy of the Round

It seems like my luck isn’t turning too bad after meeting those kids, as the next town on our journey comes surprisingly quick – only after a week of travel. And this time, rather than engulfed in smoke and fire, the town seems lively enough to trigger some interest in the small minds of my youthful companions.

“Check out all of these people!” Exclaims the youngest, but before he could have the chance to run away from us and join the crowd from afar, the sturdy hand of his brother, or rather, caretaker, has already grabbed him by the collar, stopping him dead in his tracks.

“Arthur! We need to lay low, remember?” Kay angrily whispers, only peeking his eyes out his hood.

“Let go of me, Kay!” Whispers the young boy, “I’m not gonna cause any attention!”

“Knock it off, you two,” I decide to step in and stop the usual bickering between the pair, hitting them each on the head with my staff. For people not related by blood, the two sure act just like genuine siblings. “Kid, learn to control yourself. And Kay, stopping an excited child is only going to cause more attention. Look.”

True to my words, a few pairs of curious eyes have already turned their sights towards us ever since Kay held Arthur back by the collar. But for now, there seems to be no danger of any sort. They’re probably just thinking that it’s a noisy family visiting their town.

“I’m sorry, Master. I’ll be more careful next time.” The elder quickly apologizes. The younger backs away as well, but not before throwing me a pout:

“I know that. And I have a name, you know.”

“By the way, Master,” Kay, seeing that the danger of another bickering might blow up once more, quickly changes the subject. “What are we doing in this place?”

“Good question. Watch what I’m about to do, and see if you can realize what’s going on.” I turn to Morgan as I answer the question since what I’ve prepared for the day is meant for her.

Only around a minute of walking later, the three of us have already found ourselves in front of a bustling market. People flood the road, coming in and out of stalls of all kinds. A perfect place to amass resources.

“Kay, Morgan, can you help me set up a fruit stall? We still have a lot of apples in my bag, and untying the threads will make it a presentable mat.”

The two children, although unsure of what I’m planning to do, both nod in agreement. The other one, however, doesn’t seem too happy about the situation like always.

“Hey! What about me?” Asks the kid.

“You? … You have a loud mouth, right? Go and attract customers for us.”

“Ggh… fine,” contrary to my expectations, instead of throwing a fit like he always does, the kid remains unusually quiet. “You want customers? I’ll give you customers!”

“Arthur, wait…” Kay tries to step forward to stop his brother from moving further, but in front of him is already my staff blocking the way.

“Let him do things, Kay. I know you mean to keep him safe, but the kid needs to stretch his legs once in a while.”

“But Master…”

“He’s right, you know…” Morgan, with a soft voice that almost sounds like a whisper, also chimes in for the day. The girl has been awfully quiet since yesterday, but I can’t tell for sure if it’s her nature or she’s just shy in front of a stranger.

“… Okay.” The young boy reluctantly backs off. And soon enough, throughout the marketplace, a resounding voice of a small boy echoes through the roads and stalls, just as our preparations are complete:

“Fresh fruits! We got fresh fruits here!”

Well, at least I’m right about the kid having a loud mouth. Even though I’ve known him for only a week or so, it’s the one thing that he’s consistently showing off, and right now it’s the one time that annoying talent of his shows its worth. True enough, the kid’s constant yelling has attracted a few curious individuals, who have made their way to our makeshift stall:

“Whatcha’ got ‘ere, mate?” A man with a thick accent approaches us.

“Fresh apples from the finest gardens, my good sir,” I answer. “A shilling per pound. What do you say?”

“A shillin’? Fer ‘ese? Ya’ outta yer mind, mate? Regula fruits ‘ere ‘er in pence!”

“Oh, but I assure you it’s worth your money,” still with a smile on my face, I answer. “Try one, and I guarantee it’s an experience you have never had before.”

“… Ight. But I warn ya, I be’er have a good taste.” The man takes up on my offer and grabs an apple in the top row – the ugliest one, with its skin already turned dark and its body mushy without proper preservation.

Kay, seeing it all transpire, raises his hand in an attempt to stop the unfortunate customer, but I’m not so much of a nice guy to let him do as he pleases. Grabbing his wrist with my left hand to stop him from moving, I put a finger on my mouth to signal him to be quiet and give a wink.

To the boy’s surprise, however, as the man bites into the rotten fruit, there are no signs of discomfort whatsoever. Instead, his eyes widen, and a delightful smile forms on his face as he soon sings all the praises his head can muster:

“Amazin’! Fantastic! It’s nothin’ like I’ve tasted before! I’ll take two!”

“Glad to be of service.” Quickly taking the money from the man’s hands, I hand him the required amount. And soon enough, the sight of us has caught the attention of many others in the market, causing our tiny stall to be flocked by a sizable crowd.

“That looks really good! I’ll take a pound!”

“I’ll take two!”

“I’ll take your entire stock!”

Money keeps flying in our pockets like no tomorrow. And in a record-breaking time of one hour, we’ve sold the entirety of our fruits in my bag, which is now filled to the brim with silver coins. And only when the customers have all left the place do Kay start his questioning again:

“Master, what did you do? Those fruits are rotten, right?”

“They are.”

“Then how…”

“… It’s an illusion spell… am I correct?” Answering Kay’s question is in fact Morgan, who, unlike her false brother, shows little reaction to the nature of the deed I did.

“Indeed. Good job, Morgan,” I answer with a satisfied nod. “That right there is a type of spell that I’ve planned to show you, but its level is a bit advanced for you to learn right now.”

“… Why show me then?” The young girl tilts her head in confusion.

“I just want to have an example beforehand. The kind of spell that you’re about to learn should be about… ah, there they are.”

Following the direction of my finger, the two children turn their heads to the side. And almost immediately, the two of them freeze in fear and surprise, as running straight towards us is yet another crowd, but not made of friendly customers. Rather, these people all wear an angered look on their faces, and their hands all hold rakes and pitch-forks as if they’re about to commit a murder.

“It’s him! That dirty fruit seller!”

“You tricked us, fiend! Give us back our money!”

“Hey, stinking wizard! What’s the meaning of this?” Running for his life ahead of the crowd is none other than Arthur, who still has enough energy to shout towards us.

“Master! How could you do this?” Kay also joins in on the complaints. “Not only are you deceiving innocent people, but you’re also putting us in danger!”

“Like I said before, Kay. I’m not planning to keep you safe. I’m here to make you strong. And only in times of adversary like this do your strengths show themselves. Now, Morgan, time for another lesson.”