Chapter 91:

Family Lunch

A Terrible Evil Villain And Their Destiny

As Bryson and Lila made their way to the special dining room set up for the Coldwater family, everyone was already there save for his brother Gilles.

“A dear, come have a seat.” Duchess Coldwater beckoned.

Bryson sat himself right next to Viola on his left and an open seat on his right. As Bryson looked for Gilles he saw him enter the room.

“Hello, sorry to keep everyone waiting. I was just doing a bit of practice.” Gilles said with a bright smile on his face as he sat himself down.

Bryson could immediately smell the sweat of him. Well that’s pleasant. He thought as dishes began to be placed before them.

“Eat up Gilles, you’ll need your energy.” Duchess Coldwater said.

“Don’t overeat. Your match is right after.” Duke Coldwater warned.

“Of course father.” Gilles said as he helped himself to an extra-large portion of brisket.

As the family ate, Duchess Coldwater began a conversation.

“This tournament is shaping out to be quite eventful don’t you think?” She asked Duke Coldwater who simply nodded in response.

“After lunch is when the rounds start to speed up no?” Viola asked.

“Yes, as more are eliminated, and the remaining get more exhausted the rounds end quicker.” Duke Coldwater replied.

“Now if Gilles were to win this tournament then this would be a good present for Viola.” Duchess Coldwater said.

“Present? For what?” Bryson asked looking up from his food for the first time.

“Oh right, we forgot to tell you kids didn’t we?” Duchess said as she glanced over to Duke Coldwater who barely acknowledged it.

“What? What’s going on?” Sable asked looking over to Viola and her parents. Viola looked awkwardly at her meal while both Gilles and Bryson looked as perplexed at her.

“Ah, yes… I’m leaving for Daxson to help run one of Mother’s businesses.” Viola said sheepishly.

“Yes indeed! She is more than ready for the responsibility.” Duchess Coldwater said proudly.

“When? For how long?” Bryson asked, this was the first time he had heard of this.

“At the end of the month. The plan is to work there for at least a few years.” Viola said awkwardly.

“That’s less than a week from now. Why didn’t you tell us?”

“I… it slipped my mind.” She said turning away from Bryson.

“Seriously? Seems like a very important thing to mention.” Bryson said annoyed.

“Look I forgot to mention it. Drop it.” Viola said glaring back at him.

“Now, now. Settle down you two.” Duchess Coldwater said with sternness in her voice and a cool look in her eyes, “We don’t want to ruin the mood now do we?”

Bryson and Viola glared at one another for another moment before slowly turning away and focusing on their meals. The family then ate in silence for the next few minutes. Well, relative silence save for the scarfing noises that Gilles made.

“So, what do you think of the remaining competition?” Duchess Coldwater finally said after a while.

“Oh, nothing to be concerned about.” Gilles said mouth still full.

“Don’t talk with your mouth full dear.”

“Sorry mother.” Gilles said before swallowing, “There’s no one that concerns me.”

“No? Not even that Khan boy?” Duke Coldwater asked, “He seems to be rather capable.”

“No father, not to worry. I can handle him.” Gilles said with confidence.

“Hmm.” Duke Coldwater grunted.

As Bryson finished his meal, he took another sip of his drink. Wiping his mouth with a napkin he got up from the table he excused himself. As he left his chair, Viola looked as if she was about to say something but Sable cut her off.

“I’m leaving too.” She said as she scarfed down the last mouthful on her plate.

“We still have nearly forty minutes left. Would you like to wait around and have some tea?” Duchess Coldwater offered.

“Sorry mother, but I would prefer to explore the stadium a bit.” Bryson said.

“As do I.” Sable said quickly.

“You two, together?” Duchess Coldwater asked surprised.

“Um, yes mother.” Bryson said.

“Well, that’s a first.” Duchess Coldwater mused as she looked over to Duke Coldwater who gave her a blank stare. Looking back towards the two she simply nodded, “Very well then, off you two go.”

As Viola looked like she was about to leave with them, Duchess Coldwater turned to her.

“Ah, Viola dear. Would you mind staying with us once you are done eating, your father and I have much we want to discuss.”

“Oh, yes mother.” Viola said reluctantly as she stayed seated looking disappointed.

The moment Bryson and Sable left the room and out of earshot Sable began to ask him questions.

“Where are we going?”

“To see Frost.”

“But she’s right there.” Sable said gesturing to Lila.

“He means my sister.” Lila said.

“Why would you do that?” Sable asked making an unpleasant face. Lila chose to let that slight on her sister go.

“We’re going to need someone who can switch out Gilles's shield with a normal one.”

“And her sister, is it?” Sable said sounding unconvinced.

“She helped track down Pinop. Plus, according to everyone who oversees her training she’s only gotten better at it.” Bryson said in reply.

“Is she really that good?” Sable asked still not convinced.

“We’ll see her and then you can make your decision.” Bryson offered.


“Of course I’ll help! It sounds fun!” Lottie said between mouthfuls of ice cream, “Besides if it stops that jerk from cheating then I’m all ears.”

The trio found Lottie waiting in line at one of the concessions stands and with the use of premium ice cream managed to coerce her to follow them into a private room to explain their plan.

“It can be dangerous, are you sure?” Lila asked.

“Don’t worry Lila, you may be my big sister but I’m the experienced one in this.” Lottie said with confidence.

“Great.” Sable said not sounding nearly as enthused as Lottie.

“So what’s the plan?” Lottie asked as she had another spoonful of ice cream.

“Well nothing for now, intermission is almost done and Gilles will be up next fight so he’ll have his shield with him.” Bryson explained, “When he returns to his room, he’ll put it in his safe. So the plan is to either make the switch with his shield there or distract him and make the switch when he has it on him.”

“It would probably be easier if we access the safe.” Lottie said.

“Yes.” Bryson nodded.

“You know when he’s going to leave the shield by itself?”

“No, but likely after his match, which will also be the last chance he’ll stash the shield away.”

“Why’s that?” Lotties asked spoon still in mouth.

“Because after this round there’s only going to be thirty-two combatants. The rounds will be a lot quicker and Gilles won’t have time to take a break to stash the thing away.” Bryson said. With only a quarter of the combatants left and the remaining already potentially injured, everything was going to speed up.

“Hmm.” Lottie pondered, “Will he have time to leave his room then?”

“We can distract him.” Sable said.

“That would work.” Lottie said nodding her head as she enjoyed her ice cream before asking, “But what am I switching the shield with? It looked real fancy.”

“It’s not fancy. It’s a basic training shield that anyone can get here.” Sable said rolling her eyes, “There is only some shoddy paint plastered onto it that resembles the family crest.”

“But it’s magic.” Lottie said pointing her spoon at her.

“What?” Sable said perplexed.

“Bryson said there’s magic on it so good that it can’t be detected and freezes people. Sounds pretty fancy to me.” Lottie said looking rather satisfied in countering Sable’s statement.

Sable’s eyes widened at Lottie’s implications raising her voice she began, “Are you correcting me? You-”

“Moving on.” Bryson said putting a hand between them.

“Not yet, she can’t just-”

“We don’t have time to do this Sable.” Bryson said.

“Oh, she’s worse than the first time that I first met her.” Sable said in a huff as Lottie stuck her tongue out at Sable. Who in response crossed her arms and turned her head away with an angry huff.

“So what are you going to replace the shield with?” Lila asked trying to get them back on the matter at hand.

“Easy.” Bryson said, “Frost get me a shield of the same make.”

“Me?” Lottie asked pointing at herself.

“No, the older one.” Bryson said with a sigh, “Go grab a shield from the armourer and tell them that I sent you. Quickly.”

Lila nodded, quickly disappearing a few minutes later reappeared.

“Here.” She said handing Bryson one of the basic round training shields.

“What are you going to do with it?” Sable asked.

“You have a picture of Gilles shield?”

“Oh yeah, here.” Lila said pulling out a Communicator and showed him a still image of Gilles which showed a clean image of the shield.

“Hmm.” Bryson grunted as he stared at the picture as he placed his hand on the shield. Concentrating for a second he channelled magic through the shield. Without the need of messing with the enchantments already on the shield he found it rather easy to manipulate. Running his hand across the shield he began to change it.

A big splotch of blue suddenly appeared on the shield. As if the front of the shield was made of liquid, the blue began to swirl around the shield. Small patches of gold and black appeared alongside the swirling blue. Spinning and spinning the colours began to form into shapes and patterns.

Eventually the swirling slowed and many of the shapes set. As Bryson ran his finger across the shield, the warping of colours stopped. Removing his hand from the shield and turning his head from the Communicator to look at the shield he admired his handiwork.

The shield was an exact replica of the shield that Gilles used, save for the extra enchantment of course. Showing the shield to the others they studied it looking for any imperfections.

“Looks exactly like it. Is it permanent?” Lila said.


“Yeah, hey why can’t you do that?” Lottie asked looking over to Sable.

“Oh shut up.” Sable said annoyed before looking over to Bryson, “Where did you learn that? I never learned that spell.”

“I would be shocked if you did. Father and mother don’t usually focus on the ornamental side of illusion magic. But Primrose saw that it would be useful and low and behold.” Bryson said spinning the shield, “She was right.”

“Huh, she is one strange teacher.”

Bryson looked at the time, “Alright let’s head back intermission is nearly over.”

“What about the shield?” Sable asked and in response, Bryson waved his hand over it, the markings all disappeared and looked like a basic training shield that one could buy from the store.

“I’m sure you can handle this.” Bryson said tossing the shield to Lottie who grabbed it, “That’s only a temporary illusion. Once we have the chance we’ll try to make the swap. You have a Communicator on you right?”

“Of course, Lila never lets me leave home without one anymore.”

“Alright then, let’s go.” Bryson said.