Chapter 4: The Doctors of Dragoon Academy Part II
Once seated, Ash placed his head down on the desk, bored as Dr. Kindlemind made no effort to take the bait and instead started class up like he was supposed to. Many of the class’s eyes bore holes into Ash’s back, especially Cinder, who seemed to not take a liking to him.
Though he didn’t blame her, he did just embarrass her wannabe boyfriend, and it’s because of that Ash really couldn’t take her seriously. Anyone with eyes could tell how uncomfortable Lissandra was in that situation. But, for some reason, Scott, Alexis, and Baron didn’t make a move to stop it. So it was up to Ash, who expected a fight only for a whole lot of nothing.
“It was a pleasure meeting you all today, and don’t let the course load discourage you as I’m free to help on weekends.” Dr. Kindlemind said being the only teacher to offer their own free time for the sake of their student’s growth.
If Ash hadn’t noticed the change in mood from his Squad, then he would have thought he was a pretty cool guy—yeah right—even without that, there was a way Dr. Kindlemind’s eyes looked at people that Ash didn’t like. It was the same as a snake's, a quirk he described as something he couldn’t control. His eyes were just always sharp, seeing through all.
“Boy, am I glad that’s over. Where to next?” Ash said, stretching as Squad S stepped out into the hallway.
Alexis slapped Ash on the back, being the first to break the tension as no one had said much throughout the class. “Ash, you’re one lucky son of a bitch.”
“Yeah, I’m just glad he’s not a confrontational person,” Scott said, finally able to breathe after being ready for anything during the last hour.
“You should’ve just let Lissandra handle it,” Baron said, piquing Ash’s interest as Baron was fine with everything Ash had done up till now.
“Now I’m glad I stepped in since you have to include me in this hate for Dr. Snakeeyes.”
“Dr. Snakeeyes.” Lissandra laughed. “Now that’s a good one.”
Alright, that made Ash worry as Lissandra hadn’t laughed once at anything he’s said since she found he was a Human. And no, it wasn’t because Ash wasn’t funny he was sure it had to be her grudge against him. Yet, for her to put that aside for a moment just for a teacher was jarring, to say the least. To the point that he hadn’t noticed the girl who was trying to compete with Lissandra for the title of who hated Ash the most.
“Hey Halfbreed! I know Damien has his hands tied, but I won’t sit back and let you insult him!”
“Who?” Ash said with a smile as he was finally going to get some action, but when he turned around, all forms of adrenaline left his body. And here comes the fangirl...
“One of the Dukes of Fire, Damien Kindlemind or Dr. Kindlemind to you losers. I mean, it’s because of his reforms you’re even allowed into the school. You should be grateful.”
“Oh really!" Ash clasped his hands together. "I had no idea he did all of that for me! Maybe I had him all wrong!”
The girl nodded, too dense to notice Ash's obvious sarcasm. “See. not even a Halfbreed wouldn’t recognize Damien’s generosity—”
“I don’t care.” Ash turned away from her as he pulled out his PDA. “So our final class is Astrology. We should probably get going before we’re late.”
“Since when do you care about getting to class on time?” Lissandra said back to her usual self with an annoyed glare.
“Between dealing with a coward or going to class, I’m choosing the latter, always.”
Scott shifted around in place and looked down, letting out a whisper. “You deal with me though….”
“Well then, there’s your answer little bro,” Ash said with a smile, hopefully clearing things up.
“You stood up to me yesterday, remember,” Lissandra said, running her hand through Scott’s hair before leading the way to class. “Not even Dr. Snakeeyes can do that. So let’s go before we’re late.”
“Alright…” Scott said, still unsure, but he didn’t want to keep them, so he decided to hold his head up high and join the rest of Squad S in following Lissandra, yet they all had forgotten about a minor inconvenience.
Cinder was still there, trying to get her point across and possibly an apology from them, but they carried on as if she didn’t exist. Sure, as a foreigner, she had no right to command the attention of a Princess of Fire or those from noble families. However, for a mere Halfbreed to ignore her. That was just insane!
“It’s rude to walk away from someone who’s talking to you!” Cinder continued, shouting across the hallway.
Ash let out a sigh as the fangirl kept talking. “And it’s rude to talk when you have nothing to say, small fry.”
“Ooo nice touch with the small fry,” Alexis said, giving Ash a fist bump.
“Don’t you think you’re going too far?” Scott said, noticing how people were starting to stare, but Ash simply shrugged.
“You know she’s a Dragonoid, right?”
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure everyone is.”
“But what if she—”
“I, Cinder Kindlewind, challenge you to a duel!”
At that, Ash stopped and looked at the girl who drew attention to herself. For the first time, he noticed her tanned skin and large breasts, not to mention she had grey hair like his own. Yet her expression bored him. She just didn’t have that spark in her emerald eyes. She said she wanted to fight, even causing a scene for passing students to stop and wonder who she was calling out.
“Are you talking to me?” Ash asked as a formality. One that Cinder didn't deserve as she didn't even take a fighting stance after making that declaration. She just behaved like a normal agitated teen.
“Who else Halfbreed.”
“Well then. I, Ash Spitfire—”
“I’ll see you in the Arena after class.”
“Wh-What! You can’t do that!” Cinder was utterly taken back. Did Halfbreeds really have no shame?
Ash shrugged his shoulders. “Why not? It would be pretty stupid if I couldn’t decline a duel.”
“But what about your honor and pride as an aspiring Dragon Guard?”
“Yeah… that’s not worth my pride as a Human.”
“Halfbreed pride!" Cinder scoffed. "What even is that?”
Ash let out a sigh and dropped his things as Scott looked at him, practically saying I told you so. Alexis didn’t even try to make a bet with Baron since it was getting hot due to Lissandra’s growing impatience. Cinder had forced them all to wait just to hear her out, effectively blocking their path, and Ash couldn’t have that as he gripped his sword’s handle.
“Well, to put it simply, so that even your thick chest doesn’t stop you from understanding—”
Ash ran forward not particularly fast and practically showed his hand that he was going to draw his blade at the final moment. Any one of them could easily dodge the strike or even counter it, yet it was because they knew what he would do that no one moved.
Today they had learned what killing intent was from a predator. They felt firsthand what it meant to be prey. Yet somehow, a Halfbreed gave off that same feeling freezing them in place. So Cinder didn't attempt to dodge or avoid the beast that charged her with eyes of violet.
And there Ash stopped in front of Cinder, drawing his blade only to stop at her collarbone. It was way too easy, so much so that Ash couldn't even smile.
“You’re just a deer in the headlights.” Ash sighed as Cinder made no effort to defend herself, just a look of fear. “Fighting someone who doesn’t even want to… That’s just not fun. I mean, look how easy you made this.”
It took a moment, but Cinder managed to force words through her shaken jaw that still felt the chills of Ash’s blade against her skin. “I-I-I-I’m n-n-not… I’m not going to break the rules.”
“Well, I’m not going to follow them.” Ash placed his sword on his back and shook his head as he walked away. “Maybe if something was in it for me, I’d consider it, but I can’t stand cowards in high places.”
“You know Ash, that was pretty harsh,” Scott said once Ash rejoined them.
Ash simply scratched his head as head after getting his things and muttered. “Sorry.”
“Eh, you told her how it is,” Alexis said, shrugging her shoulders. “There’s a reason she challenged you and not any of us. I’d love for a duel, but sadly no one wants to fight a Faceless.”
“You know, I may take you up on that offer.” Ash said with a growing smile as the distasteful “fight” started to fade from his mind.
“Finally, how about later today—”
“No. No dueling.” Lissandra had to stop them right there as having the two wild cards go at it would be a waste of time, and knowing Lexi, she’d lose herself. “Not until we figure out how much homework we have to do. Not to mention studying, I can’t have you two spending hours in the hospital.”
“It’s always something....” Alexis grumbled.
“Better luck next time,” Ash said, accepting his Leader’s reasoning, but that didn’t stop Baron from looking at him like he was nuts.
“You actually want to fight her—Ow.”
“That didn’t hurt,” Alexis said, removing her elbow from Baron’s stomach. “And don’t you go ruining my fun, ok? When was the last time I let loose?”
“You shouldn’t even be allowed to let loose.”
“I have you and Liz. I’ll be fine.”
“Can’t we just enjoy school? I for one like learning. Way more than fighting….”
Yet Scott’s words fell on deaf ears as Squad S arrived at their final class of the day, Astrology.
For a change, Lissandra was the one who immediately bowed upon seeing the old man dressed in long robes of white and red. Practically forcing the rest of Squad S to follow suit except for Ash, who just seemed insistent on causing trouble wherever he went. Was he purposely being stupid, or did he simply not understand basic etiquette? Either way, Lissandra had to rein him in.
“Human, bow your head. You’re in the presence of Cardinal Torchedgaze.”
“What’s the point when he can’t see.”
The classroom grew silent as it was one thing to blatantly not lower your head in the presence of one who has a close relationship with the Stars, but it was another to insult them with the ailment of blindness. Even the Cardinal’s hooded assistant that sat in the corner lifted their head at that, gripping onto the greatsword on their back. Lissandra felt the guard’s burning gaze hidden behind the veil, and it threatened to purify Ash. That was something she couldn’t let happen.
Hearing the tone in Lissandra’s voice, Baron grabbed Ash’s head and brought it down, forcing him to bow in front of the Cardinal with strength that not even Ash could compete against.
Baron placed a finger to his lips insisting that Ash stopped talking. “Let Lissandra handle this. I don’t want to see you go up in flames.”
Ash held his tongue, which Lissandra was silently thankful for as she focused on the task at hand. “I apologize for his rudeness as you, one of the chosen few, have sight beyond comprehension, eyes on par with the Dragons themselves. And I will surely discipline him once—”
Cardinal Torchedgaze laughed and crept forward with a cane in hand. The taps of wood against clay echoed throughout the large, dimly lit room. Where it would have made sense for his guard to assist him, the hooded figure lazily lowered their head once more, ignoring the Cardinal’s plight. To the point that Lissandra offered her own assistance.
“Cardinal, let me help you.” Lissandra held out her arm to which the Cardinal gladly accepted as she helped him walk towards Ash.
“Ahahaha, why are you so formal Lizzie? I liked it better when you called me Grunkle than this age-old title.”
“That was before I found out how important you are to the Kingdom.”
“Really, I thought you’d be embarrassed.”
“I mean yesss it isss embarsssing but—”
“Ahahaha. You still have that cute quirk of yours, I see.”
Ash laughed, joining in on the conversation. “It’s charming, isn’t it—”
“Shut your mouth Human!” Lissandra had a complete 180 the moment she heard Ash’s voice. “Speak out of turn one more time. I dare you.”
Baron tightened his hold on Ash’s head, making him yelp at the sudden pain.
“Ok, ok, I get it, Princesss.”
“Sorry Ash, I’m going to need you to sleep a bit—”
“Ahahaha, alright, alright, that’s enough of that.” Cardinal Torchedgaze tapped his cane against the tile, silencing them. “Let him go. I’ve had my fun, and I’m sure it would be a more enjoyable class to have him awake.”
“As you wish.” Lissandra nodded towards Baron, who let Ash go. Then to her surprise, the Cardinal touched Ash's head, enveloping him in a warm flame that cleaned his injuries.
“I thought only Aqua Dragonoids could heal,” Ash said, lifting his head which showed the height disparity between the two as the Cardinal looked up to him.
“All Dragons have restorative abilities. It just comes most naturally to those descended from Prukis’s bloodline.”
“So you’re saying the Princesss could heal me if she wanted to.”
“Ahahaha, I doubt it. With that temper of hers, Lizzie would more likely fry your insides.”
Ash laughed. “Yeah, you’re probably right.”
“Hey!" Lissandra, all red in the face, did not like the idea of two people talking about her when she was right there. "I do not have a temper!”
“You threw me through a window!”
“Yes, for placing your filthy hands on me.”
“You grabbed me!”
There Lissandra and Ash continued to bicker while the Cardinal Torchedgaze laughed along at the vigor of the two teens. Everyone else in the class was confused as it's been well over 5 minutes since the bell rang for class to begin, only to be derailed by a couple of troublemakers. Scott and Baron hadn’t lifted their head even though they very well could have, but tradition dictated they had to be told. But Alexis could care less as she eyed the hooded figure who whispered in the Cardinal’s ear.
“Alright, alright, I get it. You surely are active for someone who’s slept through all the other classes. Could it be seeing a kin lit a spark?”
“Shut it, you blind geezer. You’re not funny.”
The class froze as the hooded figure sighed. “Fucking hell.”
“See, I told you he was blind,” Ash said as Lissandra facepalmed.
“By Dragons, that mouth of yours is quite troublesome. I can see why they have you with me.” The Cardinal said as he turned to look at Ash with eyes that went from having amber-colored irises to nothing but white.
“Yes, you are quite right though I’m surprised you were able to see through the disguise. I knew I was getting rusty when that Moonstar found out but for a Human. Not even I foresaw that.”
“Don’t feel too bad gramps." Ash smiled. "I’m pretty good at noticing things.”
“Oh, I don’t. Actually, it’s freeing that I don’t have to lie to my students. So I thank you for that Ash.”
“Anytime, maybe someday you can return the favor.”
Cardinal Torchedgaze gave Ash a deadpan stare. “I’m not helping you win over Lizzie’s heart.”
“Like hell, I’d want that!”
“Ahahaha, I’m just teasing. Though I do need you all to take your seats since we’ve wasted a lot of time. But where there is a will, there is a way.”
Cardinal Torchedgaze tapped his cane onto the ground, and Squad S took their seats. Even the class’s murmuring died down as just him with his assistant stood up front.
“Right, so I know this may be surprising to you all, and I knew there was a possibility of this happening, so to make matters worst, I have no choice but to let my dearest assistant take care of the introductions.”
“What!" The hooded figure yelled since a Faceless's job was only to protect their Master, nothing more nothing less, especially not fucking teaching. "You old hack! Why the fuck am I the one who has to do this shit?”
Cardinal Torchedgaze held up one of his hands. “Hey, I can’t go against the will of the Stars.”
“Stars my ass, you just want me to clean up your shit.”
“Wow, that’s the most you‘ve said to me in years. See, I knew it was the right decision. Now take off your hood and introduce yourself.”
“D-did I just hear you right?” The hooded figure said, becoming meek for a moment. If he had a tail, it would definitely be wagging as if he was about to take a walk outside.
“I may be old, but I’m not senile.”
“Oh you may as well be old man, but I’m not going miss this chance.”
Lowering his hood, the man unveiled his wild blonde hair and sharp fangs that grinned from ear to ear as his amber eyes sparkled. But his most shocking feature was the black choker-like tattoo around his neck.
“Ah, that’s much better. You pipsqueaks are even uglier than I thought.”
“Hey!” Some of the class said at the man who seemed more focused on his surroundings than on getting class started. And it wasn’t until he began to scratch his neck that he realized there were things he needed to do.
“Right, so the old geezer behind me will so forth be known as Dr. Trochedgaze none of that Cardinal shit alright. I mean, I’m surprised none of you guessed he was blind considering his last name.” The man shrugged his shoulders. “Or maybe you did guess and just didn’t want to be cut down by me. Haha yeah, that’s probably it.”
“Tick tock.” Dr. Torchedgaze said as the man began scratching his neck again.
“Fine, fine, I get it. My name is Rhodes Sparkfang, and I’m that little good for nothing’s older brother.”
He pointed directly at Alexis, who was literally clawing at her desk. That only made him laugh as he got to see it all happen clearly, her struggling to contain herself while he was free to poke and prod. Rhodes stepped through the aisle and stared directly at Alexis, taking a good look at his little sister.
“Not going to say hello? It’s been what? 6 years since I was sent away because of you. The least you could do is be like: Hi, big brother Rhodes, how’s it going? Oh, it’s been swell, you know. I'm a Faceless now, but I only have to follow around a blind bat and keep him from running into walls. So life has been pretty fucking great. Although how’s it going for you, little Alex—”
A loud yawn interrupted the unhinged man who just really needed a hug, but Ash wasn’t going to be the one to give it. He’d had a long day, and at that point, he just wanted to sleep, not listen to a grown man complain.
“Yo! Is my family reunion boring you?” Rhodes said, gripping onto the handle of the greatsword on his back, yet Ash only stared passed him and at Dr. Torchedgaze.
“You know it’s rude to let your dog off his leash in public.”
“Are you picking a fight with me, Halfbreed.”
“Rhodes heel.” Dr. Torchedgaze tapped his cane against the tile holding back a laugh.
“You did not just—”
“Come here boy. Time to put your hood back on.”
“I will fucking kill you—Fine, sheesh, try to have fun one time….” All it took was one glance at the geezer, and Rhodes knew time was up, so he just let out a sigh and stared at his sister, wishing he could have seen more of her face. “Yo, Little Alex, it was good seeing ya again. Try not to lose yourself, K.”
“Go fuck yourself.”
Clearly hearing his sister’s voice filled with hate, Rhodes could only laugh as his senses dulled the moment the hood went over his head. “I already planned on doing that, thank you.”
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