"Yawn.... What's keeping that idiot so long?! Maybe, he's already dead and I should go and check on him. Wait! On second thought, I shouldn't! Curses don't discriminate between people. Wait! But I'm his friend..."
Aslak had been standing out outside the treasury room the entire night. He had been fumbling about the same thing since the night and now, dawn was approaching. He sounded like he was joking but actually he was really worried about his friend. He was just about to steel his heart and barge in, when the treasury door opened by itself and a deep voice sounded out.
The first light of 13th had only escaped the horizon and the Castle was already on the hype. A really strange event has occurred and an order has been passed for each and every person working and not working, to gather in the Great Hall. One of the servants while gathering, also went and called on Lady Yasmina, who was sleeping beside Lady Faye.
"Milady Yasmina. Milady Yasmina!"
"H-huh" cried out Lady Yasmina and opened her eyes weakly. "Yes?" she asked.
The servant, who was one of her trusted agents in the Castle, came near her and whispered silently in her ears.
Listening to it, Lady Yasmina had a terrible change of expression. She looked at the servant for one last confirmation and the servant nodded her head resolutely. Lady Yasmina's heart skipped a beat and she immediately dashed out, ignoring everything.
She ran towards the Great Hall at the fastest speed possible, ignoring all the weird stares that the servants are giving her. She pushed open the door and-
There was a person in heavy Knight armor sitting on the throne of Cainhorn with the Fabled Crown on his armet. He sat relaxed on the throne, with a Greatsword on his lap while a dark miasma surrounded him. Lady Yasmina knew who was the person and what that miasma was in an instant.
And that person was none other than, Felix.
It wasn't the small fog which was erupting from the gaps of his armor the previous night. It was something different. A primordial feeling of inferiority thumped inside her chest and she subconsciously lowered her head and backed off. She also noticed a black flaming sigil right on his chest. It was his Sigil of Black Wolf glowing with a strange shade of black.
Aslak was standing right beside him and seemed completely unaffected. He stood like a guardian, with his bow drawn and quiver ready to shoot. The servants entered the hall one by one and all quivered and huddled into a corner. The advisors weren't any different and it was only Sir Peder who was able to keep his calm. Barely.
"What is going on?!" asked Lady Yasmina as she walked into the hall, gaining the attention of all its inhabitants. Felix simply turned to her and replied, "Oh! You are finally here..."
"Yes, I'm here and what the hell is going on?" she said, bringing out all the courage she had.
"Which one are you talking about, mother Yasmina?" replied Felix, relaxed.
"...Everything." she replied almost dumbfounded at him.
"Oh!" cried Felix and said looking behind Lady Yasmina, "Mother Aarti is also here! Now, we can finally start the meeting."
Lady Yasmina looked back and there she was, Lady Aarti, dressed up in her night gown and still sleepy as hell. She didn't even notice the monstrous Felix and simply stood on one side and slept. Standing.
Felix and Aslak stared at her for a moment, before muttering simultaneously, "Nice response."
After another fifteen, the entire Castle workers were gathered in one spot. There were the guard captains on one side, the advisors on one and the servants and slaves on other side and by this time, Lady Aarti had up and moving. On the throne sat Felix as he stared at the court, without speaking anything.
Everyone in the court stood quietly but murmurs were starting to erupt within. Anxious, Sir Peder stood forward and said, "S-sire, s-shouldn't we start the court?"
"Hahahaha!" laughed Felixyon but didn't reply. Instead, Aslak smiled beautifully and replied, "We're waiting for the last guest."
"The last guest?" asked Sir Peder confused but then, the doors of the Great Hall and an arrogant voice resounded out, "Lady Faye, it's an honor ...." The source of the voice was of a tall man wearing red tunic and a huge cavalry sabre. He had large bald head and broad, fierce eyebrows. With a large moustache twirling every few second, this person was none other than, Colonel Reggie. Silvery threads of battle Qi seeped out of him, indicating that he was an intermediate Seeker.
He had an arrogant smile as he entered the hall, but dimmed visibly as he noticed the huge armored person sitting on the throne. The dark miasma which was enveloping Felixyon had already hidden itself behind him with an intent to hide the fact that he was a Lord, but the primordial aura surrounding him, couldn't be masked so easily. And that was what was making Colonel Reggie's heart flutter. A prey knows when it meets its predator.
Colonel Reggie walked into the middle of the court and stopped. He stared at the entire silent court with his small band of five men, all Battle Experts, people who know Battle Techniques,
"Can I know what's happening? Where's Milady Faye?"
"Oh! You came at the right time, Sir Colonel. I'm ... Felixyon. Formerly, Felix Dean."
"Oh!" cried Colonel Reggie surprised, "So, its ... little Felix. I didn't recognize you in that armor. My apologies, but can you please call your Lord mother. I would like to have a few words with her and ... a bit of advice from an adult. You shouldn't play with the throne like this, Little Sir." Colonel Reggie smiled gently but within that, fear and anxiety was erupting like volcano.
"Haha!" laughed Felix, "It's nothing, Sir. After all, no one CAN recognize me. After all, I'm different. Yesterday, I was only a simple noble with nothing but my siblings to accompany and care. But now... I'm ... I have, pardon, an entire dying town and hundreds of deeds to account. How can I not change? Tell me, how can I, a sane and living person, bear to see people who are NOW close to me die and suffer. Even for a single night. It's not like I didn't feel their pain before, it's just I didn't have the authority to speak about. But now... I do. Now... I'm Felixyon. Felixyon Cross, the Lord. Lord of Cainshire and Cainhorn." Felixyon said and stood up, black miasma seeping out.
"Pardon?" said Colonel Reggie. His hands went for his sabre as the primordial fear that was rising up, gripped his heart.
Felixyon didn't make a single move. Instead he stepped down from the pedestal and said, "You must've got information, haven't you?"
"What information?" asked Colonel.
"You know, about Sir Munroe."
The moment the name Munroe was mentioned, the level of fear exceeded his limit and Colonel Reggie unsheathed his weapon.
"W-what have you done to him? Who're you? And what's happening here?!!!"
"Whoa there, Sir Reggie!" said Felixyon as he approached closer.
"I'm not your enemy, Sir. I come to you as your dearest friend. That deal you told Sir Munroe, remember. All I want to say is that I accept it. That's all. As the Lord of Cainshire I accept your proposal."
The murmurs in the court increased exponentially, but Felixyon seemed unaffected. Even Lady Aarti and Lady Yasmina looked surprised because they knew what the deal was.
He looked calmly at them and stood at least a score away from them. Colonel Reggie obviously knew what deal he was talking about and he felt a bit relieved when he heard that he accepted it, but his caution dictated him otherwise. He loosened his hold on his sabre, disbelieving his conscience but then suddenly, the black armor infront of him vanished.
Thud... thud... thud...
"Help... no... please no..."- Puchi!
Strange sounds, along with small cries of pleas and help came from Colonel Reggie's back, but fear had already gripped Colonel's heart. His mind and years of experience screamed at him to turn back and face his enemy, but his heart did not. His entire body was starting to paralyze. Suddenly, the coldness behind him started increasing tremendously, as a dark voice reached his ears.
"Do you know what kind of deal I made with your officer? Hmmmm!!"
"Clatter.... Clatter.... Clatter.... Clatter...."
The dark voice coming from the armor was chillingly cold and even though, it seemed to be a murmur, everyone in the court could distinctly hear it. And also feel the chilling Killing Intent within it.
Colonel Reggie's teeth started clattering uncontrollably. He simply closed his eyes and waited for his death, like a lamb. He felt a cold steel scrap against his neck and despair started flowing into him like a river, but right then, a large laugh echoed out.
Colonel Reggie opened his eyes in shock and saw that the black armored man was standing right infront of him, with his Greatsword resting on his shoulders. The man, Felixyon, patted his shoulders and said, "What are you so afraid of Mr. Reggie? I'm a noble and a Lord at that, so, how can I kill off an messenger as important like you in a moment of heat, isn't it Aslak?!"
Aslak smiled broadly from behind and replied in a merry tone, "Of course, Felix-I mean, Felixyon! After all, only Colonel Reggie knows of all the traps that bastard Hendrickson has set up. Guards!!!"
Colonel Reggie stared fixedly as the guards marched upto him and started to tie him up with thick iron chains. He could easily see the smirk hidden inside Felixyon's armet, but the fear had a tight grip on him. He let himself be tied up and kneeled infront of Felixyon.
Felixyon too stared at Colonel Reggie with a curious gaze, this entire time. He was afraid of Colonel Reggie's vast experience as a Battle Expert. He thought that he would have some nasty tricks up his sleeves or would do some last-resort berserk art to deal as much damage to his soldiers, but it seemed like he was too shocked to do anything. He sighed silently and turned to Sir Peder.
"Sir Peder, ready your men and SOMEONE BRING ME A MAP!!!"
"Oh! I forgot, Sir Peder, but can you please send a few soldiers here."
"Bring a few soldiers and throw all these servants to the gallows. They are traitors!"
Almost immediately, the already shocked court was petrified. Even Sir Peder looked astonished at Felixyon at first and then at the servants. All the murmurs died down as a creepy silence erupted within the crowds. All of them, as well as Sir Peder was in a dilemma but since no one among the servants were coming up, he took the initiative of clarifying.
"W-wait-I mean, sire, d-do you mean a-all the servants."
"Yes!" replied Felixyon without hesitation. "Yes, I mean what I say, Sir Peder. Do you know that I'm already half-furious with you and your men? Didn't I tell you to increase the patrol and to not let any rumors or information pass out of the Castle walls? Then HOW IN GOD'S NAME DID REGGIE GET TO KNOW ABOUT MUNROE!!"
"S-Sir-I-I did make sure-"
"Enough, Sir Peder. I know everything, because I've seen the culprit or rather, culprits along with Aslak. Didn't we?!"
"Yep! Yep!" barked Aslak from the sides. He glanced at the huddling servants and maids in the corner and sneered in disgust. Sir Peder seemed pained but didn't argue. He also couldn't argue with force because it was clearly visible that someone had alarmed Colonel Reggie. Disappointed, he grunted and marched quickly out of the hall room.
"W-wait, sire..." muttered butler Chester. He stood out of the crowded and kneeled infront of Felixyon. He drooped his head down and said, "Sire... it's my fault. It's because my fault that I wasn't able to teach the servants properly. It was... the relaxed nature of the Castle had given these people a poor judgement of situation. Sire, its... its... the servants still aren't used to ... to you and your... temperament. It's ... kind of a human instinct to spread rumors in such situation, sire. I beg of you to forgive them."
"Oh!" cried Felixyon after hearing him entirely. He closed to Chester's face and asked him, "So... you think it is my fault?"
Chester too, like Colonel Reggie started to clatter. The cold air blowing out from Felixyon's armet was chilling him to the bone and this air was getting colder and colder.
"If you don't give me an answer, I will slaughter all of you! I don't need servants for Castle when I go to war with my enemies. I want servants who can serve my cause, share my ideals WITHOUT betrayal. Betrayal is the last thing that I desire."
Felixyon stood up and looked coldly at the servants huddling in the corner.
"Tell me who did it?"
"Stop it, Felix!" barked Lady Yasmina. She looked fiercely at him. "You're stepping out of your limit. Your forefathers have respected everyone under this roof and so should you! They said they didn't do it, so that must be it!"
"Is that so?!" asked Felixyon, unfazed. "Sigh... meek, cowards, untrustworthy. Guards! Slit all of their throats and throw them off the ramparts. I don't need them-"
"WAIT!!!" suddenly a feminine voice rang out. One of the female maids within the group stood out and walked towards Felixyon. Felixyon calmly looked at her. She had small hair and didn't look quite exceptional. What was indeed exceptional about her was the determination in her eyes.
"I'm the traitor!!" she said with resolution.
"How could she..."
Murmurs erupted once again in the crowd of servants. The girl, who spoke out, seemed unfazed by the murmurs around her and stepped out gallantly but it seemed like Felixyon wasunaffected by her aura of determination
"And?" asked Felixyon.
"What do you mean 'and'? I said I'm the one who informed Sir Reggie. So, I'm the traitor! Hang me! Kill me! Burn me! I'm not afraid! But being the son of Sir Aston, you must promise me to leave my sisters away from the gallows. T-they didn't do anything..." she stuttered at the end as tears started bursting out from her eyes.
Felixyon shrugged his shoulders and replied, "Well, well. I like your concern for your sisters, but unfortunately, you aren't the one. I mean it when I said that I know the culprits. Now, please step out or else..."
"It was me!"
"I'm the culprit!"
"I did it, sire!!"
Voices rose as more and more girls walked out of the crowd. They too had the face of resolution on their faces, which surprised all the people of the courts. Even Felixyon was astonished. He didn't check the maids carefully and it seemed that there were more than a few brave-hearts. His lips curled up inside his armet.
"Well, well! What a unity among the servants! I'm surprised! Unfortunately, none of you are the culprit, isn't it, Mrs. Burrows and Klepper!" Felixyon turned to a fat woman and a skinny blonde kid. They were the wife and son of butler Chester, respectively.
"H-hic! N-no! w-we are no-" stuttered Klepper. He hiccupped continuously in nervousness. Butler Chester looked shocked at his own son and wife and said, "N-no... this can't be! W-we were trusted... our ancestors... they served the Dean family for so long... how can-"
"We didn't have a choice, honey!!" replied his wife with tears in her eyes. "Cainshire was falling, a revolt was imminent and the Dean family was simply dead. How... how could we foresee that little Felix would rise up like this?! We simply did what we needed to minimize the damage Colonel Reggie would do to us when Lord Hendrickson captures the Castle..."
"SO THAT MEANS YOU WILL BETRAY THE FAMILY!!!" barked Chester. Blood rushed to his head as he looked hatefully at her.
"Wait!" interrupted Felixyon. A visible sigh escaped from his armet and he said, "Enough of this. I didn't mean to create a familial scuffle in such dire times. I only wanted to see whether or not Mrs. Burrows and her son has the guts to step forward, which they evidently don't have. But I'm also pleased in one way that they have the mettle to explain their action infront of the court and me like this. Anyway, here's the verdict for all this 'unity' and betrayal. Tonight, all the servants, maids, janitors and sweepers, everyone would be given 3 Golds as a compensation and relieved of their duties, except Mr. Chester, Mrs. Burrows, Klepper and all the maids who stepped forward. I'm .... Whatever. But I will warn each and every one of you. I don't care what you do or where you go after tonight, but remember, the moment you turn your back to Cainshire, you will die a horrible death. Guards! Lock all of them in and do separate all these 'mutineers' away from the general flock. I do not want to see bouts of jealousy and greed erupting."
"T-thank you, Milord." cried Chester as emotions overflowed his throats. He understood that this was real Mercy. A subject so vague in such medieval times. Felixyon glanced at him once, but didn't say anything. He turned away and walked towards the throne.