Making sure that his belongings had arrived in his room, Kaidus decided to look around the estate.
The manor had been made out of cut stones melded together by magic unlike the buildings in the 3rd ward. The manor itself looked like four different structures connected together by arched passages, and had a large courtyard in between the four different wings. From what Fon had told him, the west wing was for guests, the north wing was where the Ravon family resides, the south wing for the knights and those who were currently staying in the manor to train, and the east wing was where the servants and guards’ quarters are.
Having walked around the manor for a good while, he eventually ended up in the training area of the courtyard.
Many young students were repeating sword forms while a few of the older and more skillful ones sparred in pairs under Horan’s watch.
“Hey!” a voice called out to him. Turning to look, he saw a tall teenage boy with bluish hair entering the courtyard along with a few other boys of the same age, each of them holding a wooden training sword and shield. Looking to be around 15 years of age, the group of boys stalked towards him.
“Yes?” he called out as the boy approached.
“Haven’t seen you before, are you new?” the boy questioned with an annoyed look on his face.
“You could say that.” Kaidus replied as he turned back to watch the training.
Stepping in front of Kaidus, the boy looked down at Kaidus who was half his size.
“What are you doing in here?” the boy questioned.
“Watching.” He answered without moving his eyes, as if to stare right though the older boy’s body.
“Servants are not allowed into the courtyard unless attending to someone. You should know that already.”
The implication was all well and true enough, even in his best clothing, Kaidus looked out of place. The older boy must have thought him to be a new servant boy and sought to remind him.
“Sorry, but I am not a servant.” Kaidus replied.
“If you are not a servant, then I am not the First son of Lord Lucos, and heir of house Drenolh.” The older boy replied with a wry smile as his friends laughed at the quip.
Not wanting to escalate the situation, “I apologize. If my standing here has somehow acquired your ire, I will dismiss myself.” As he turns to leave, another boy blocked his path.
“Looks like little servant boy here thinks very highly of himself.” The new boy mocked, his eyes laughing as two more boys blocked the sides.
“I would hate to distract you from your training. Please allow me to dismiss myself.”
“You had been watching the training quite intently, how about joining us for ours?” the tall first boy asked with a wicked smile on his face.
“Sorry again, but I must refuse.” Kaidus replied, his eyes unyielding.
“Guys come on, he’s just a kid.” Someone chimed in from the group of boys.
“That’s right, he is just a kid. We need to teach him how to protect himself so that bad people doesn’t hurt him.” The first boy said, twisting the unknown boy’s good intentions.
“How about we go over there and I show you the proper way to use a sword?” the boy pointed at a vacant area beside a row of small azolus tree segmenting the training area and the garden.
“Ranor, come on you don’t need to do this. Look at him, he’s just a kid.” The unknown boy chipped in again.
“I don’t care if he is a kid, he needs to be taught a lesson in propriety. Servants need to know their place.” The first boy Ranor spoke, his plan clear for everyone to see.
His path blocked off and with no other way out, Kaidus allowed himself to be shepherd by the circle of teens to where the boy Ranor had indicated.
Daaro had finished an exercise in his room, and had come out to the courtyard to spar with some of the students. Entering the courtyard, he saw a group of students corralling a young boy to an open area of the training ground. Upon seeing that the boy was Kaidus, he was suddenly filled with anxiety. Taking a step forward to stop them before something happens, a hand grasps him from behind. “Lord Huin!” turning, he saw the person who had grabbed his shoulder.
“That must be the boy my father had half of the knights searching for.” Lord Huin replied, his voice calm.
“Yes, and we must stop them before they get hurt.”
“All of them. I’ve seen for myself what the boy could do. If we don’t stop this, it could only end up badly.” Daaro declared, his concern showing.
“Is that so? Fascinating… How about we just watch for now?”
“Lord Huin, this is not the time!”
“Daaro, Let us watch for now.” The sword master commanded.
Surrounded and with his back to the trees, there was no way out.
“Give him your sword Donnick, can’t be having him crying that I didn’t allow him a weapon.” The boy Ranor told one of the others.
“It’s too big for him.” Donnick protested.
“Just give it to him, it’ll be a quick ‘duel’.” Ranor replied, a smirk on his face.
As the boy came forward to give Kaidus the practice sword, Kaidus refused to take it.
“Take the sword before I bloody you to the point where your mum won’t even recognize you!” Ranor closed in on him and made the threat.
Without flinching, Kaidus stared at Ranor, unwilling to submit.
“I will ask you again. Please allow me to dismiss myself.” His tone was cold and unfazed by the boy’s intimidating stature.
Anger flared in Ranor’s eyes and his leg suddenly extended out toward Kaidus.
*UMPH!!* The kick squared his chest and knocked him down on the ground. Having neglected to avoid it, he had guarded himself with mana instead and pretended to fall.
“…” Murmuring could be heard amongst the boys surrounding them.
Ranor stepped forward and grabbed Kaidus’ shirt. Pulling Kaidus up, he brought their faces closer. “Know your place! You bow your head when I talk to you!” Ranor roared.
“Uhk!”, “C’mon. Let’s-” More clamoring from the surrounding boys, then suddenly-
“What is going on here?!” A girl’s voice thundered far above Ranor’s own voice.
Looking behind him, the color drained from Ranor’s face.
Kaidus found the owner of the voice: a young girl around 10 years of age. Brownish curly hair that went down to her chest and tied into a side ponytail as is the current Ferrent fashion. She wore a gray dress with strips of white with inlaid golden marks embroidering the skirt while red and black patterns sat upon the upper part of the dress from the torso to the arms. She had a childish face, but held herself like a lady–posture-wise.
From the looks of it, she had been strolling along the garden adjacent when she heard the ruckus.
‘So that was why they were all making noises. They were trying to keep her out.’ Kaidus thought to himself.
“Young lady, what did I tell you about running off like that?!” A woman came from behind, yelling at the young girl before stopping abruptly at the scene in front of them. A beautiful woman, she was in her prime and had long brown hair while wearing a dress as elegant as herself.
Judging from her dress and how she spoke to the young girl, she was someone of status within this estate. Some of the boys that had encircled him were starting to flee, while those who had been training were starting to look in their direction. Ranor’s face had gone pale.
“M-miss Kellian and Miss Naleen!” Ranor promptly let go of Kaidus’s shirt and distanced himself before making an awkward bow towards the intruders.
Kaidus also made a bow himself toward the two. Miss Kellian Ravon, formerly known as Kellian Halsond of the Halsond noble house from the 12th ward. She is the wife of Lord Huin Ravon, and the mother of Vion whom I had met the other day, and from the looks of it, also the mother of this young girl. He recalled to himself, having investigated the Ravon house prior to coming to the 11th ward.
“But mother! Ranor was bullying the new servants again!” the young girl argued back toward her mother.
‘Again? Is this a recurring problem?’ He thought curiously.
“Exactly what was going on here Ranor?” Lady Kellian asked with a note of irritation in her voice. She then scanned the remnants of the boys who had not fled.
First looking to the silent group of boys unwilling to talk, Ranor then slowly opened his mouth. “I… we saw this servant boy here idling in the training yard, and just wanted to tell him to get back to work and that this area was off limits for servants.” Having regained his tongue, Ranor tried to explain his situation.
“You lie Ranor! You were beating on him! I saw him fall down from the other side!” Naleen voiced her outcry.
‘It looks like she has some semblance of justice. I wonder if she gets it from her grandfather.’ Kaidus mused to himself.
“Naleen, be-” quiet. Was what Kellian wanted to say, but whilst looking at the circle of boys, she spied two suspects just watching from the sidelines near the courtyard entrance. A smile appeared on her husband’s face when he caught her eyes, while Daaro’s face was filled with trouble. Cutting herself off, she turned her attention to the presumably servant boy. “I apologize for what has occurred under my home. Although, please be advised that servants are not allowed into the courtyard unless attending to someone or asked to by one of the lords.” She spoke apologetically and reprehensively to the boy.
“Worry not my lady, I had express permission to wander about the estate by Lord Gelrin.” He replied without an ounce of indignity.
All the boys around started moving away at the words that had just been spoken, and Ranor dropped his head.
Naleen stood there confused as to why her grandfather would allow a servant boy such privileges.
“Oh?” Kellian’s eyebrows tipped in curiosity. Looking closer, the boy was not one of the many servants in their employ. His clothes were of the commoner standards and his age matched the description she had heard from her husband: the wonder boy that her father in law had been throwing all the resources at his disposal to find. Suddenly a smile like that of her husband’s appeared on her face and she understood the occasion. “Well then, may I ask again what was going on here?” She looked toward the frozen Ranor, waiting for him to lift his head and give her a different explanation.
After failing to answer, she turned to the two remaining boys who had not fled. They were also silent.
“There is nothing to worry about my lady, I was watching the training and seeing my fascination, Ranor had only wanted to help teach me a few of the forms to quench my curiosity.” Instead of an explanation from Ranor, Kaidus was the one who had spoken up.
Ranor’s face tilted upward for a second as if unable to believe what he was hearing.
“I see. Then I will question this no further. Come Naleen, let us go.” Kellian told her daughter.
“Quiet Naleen, you heard him. He said they were just practicing. Would you like to apologize for barging in on their practice?”
“HMPH! Fine! I’ll leave then!” The young girl exclaimed after staring daggers into Kaidus.
Having seen them off, Kaidus wordlessly excused himself.
“YOU IDIOTS ALL OF YOU!!” Daaro screamed, attracting the attention of the other students training.
Lowering his voice, he continued.
“All of the servants know the rules. Why do you think one of them would be in the courtyard?! DO YOU WANT TO DIE?!” near the Azolus trees, Daaro had contained the three who remained there after Kaidus had left and was giving them a lecture.
‘You would do well to watch your tongue around of him’, what master Gelrin had just told him still resounded in his head. He was adamant about putting the same thing into the heads of these fools.
“Die? Big brother Daaro, you must be kidding! We didn’t even know he was a guest of Lord Gelrin! I’ve never heard of the lord beheading anyone for wrongful treatment of his guests.” Ranor argued back. Although not blood related, being older and a student like them, everyone in their age group called Daaro big brother.
*THWACK!* Daaro’s fist hammered onto Ranor’s head.
“You really are an idiot! You think the lord was the problem?! That child was the one who killed the Kalligor in the plaza, you dolt! Why else would the lord have him here as a guest?!! Consider yourselves lucky that he decided not to retaliate!”
Fear ran through the three boys. They had been there at the demonstration, but when the evacuation call came out, they had quickly rounded up the students and hid in one of the buildings. Only coming out after the crisis had passed.
They all saw the plaza afterwards, and many of them had thrown up their lunch at the brutality that had transpired. Dead knights, injured people, burnt places in the plaza, and of course the blood and gore across a side of the plaza.
“I knew it was bad news, I knew we should have stopped. I even told you Ranor!” A boy spoke up accusingly. He had been one of the two boys who had called for the conclusion of the charade earlier.
“Shut up Rint! How could you have known!?” Ranor angrily retorted back, his fear overcame by the anger at his friend.
“Didn’t you notice how he spoke to you Ranor? He was giving off an air, it was… it was unlike any that the servants would dare… He was not afraid of you Ranor or any of us!” The boy called Rint replied, his fear plain to see.
“How would that have mattered?! We all thought he was a new servant!”
“SHUT UP!” Daaro yelled at them. “Although only known to a few right now, know that the child will be attending Zorin Academy. If that is not enough to get it through those thick skulls of yours, the fact that Lord Gelrin is behind his sponsorship and holds him in extremely high esteem should. You fools will do well to remember that the house of Ravon is behind the child!” Daaro Glared at them.
“Also, know that even if you all had perished there, none of us would have been able to do anything about it. That was the situation you fools had gotten yourselves in.” Daaro had thrown that in there to scare them, but thinking about it himself, the thought frightened him. If the child had really decided to do to them, what he did to the Kalligor, would either he or Lord Huin have been able to stop it? Not a chance.
He grimaced at the thought.
“““…””” The realization of escaping death dawned on them and all three were having some sort of panic.
It was like the realization of having stepping on a venomous serpent’s tail without any shoes on, only to have the serpent slither away; instead of the serpent turning around and biting the foot. Or playing around in a Fraz Bear’s den and coming out unharmed because you had no idea it was a den, and the bear had been asleep.
His enthusiasm for practice lost in the throngs of anxiety attacks, Daaro decided it was better to leave the younger students to think about what they had gotten themselves into.
Having caused an unwanted spectacle, Kaidus was quietly meditating in his room.
Meditation was something he had picked up towards the end of his previous life to cope with unwanted memories, but now it was something to enhance his mind and affinity with the ever-surging mana within him.
*KNOCK* “Master Kaidus?” a female voice called to him from outside of the room.
“Yes?” he replied promptly, having broken out of his meditative state.
“Dinner has been prepared. The Lord would like for you to join him in the North Wing at his table.”
“Understood. Please give me a minute.”
He quickly got up from his sitting posture on the ground, and put on one of the two more presentable pair of clothes Adalina had prepared for him. Opening the door, he saw a servant waiting on him.
“Please lead the way.” He directed.