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Chapter 2: Apprentice vs. Swordsman (II)
Salin took the gold coins given by Jason and changed into the robe which also prepared by Jason. The robe was not made tailored, if he cut off the lower part of the robe, it is still unfit for him. Although he grew a little under Jason’s care, his height is of twelve years old boy. Well, now that he has six gold coins in hand, which is a large sum of money compares to his previous spending, he then moves on to the city.
The City of Ceylon still hasn’t changed since then, the lazy soldier by the gate hardly lay an eye on him, because they knew, a beggar like him has no money to pay tax. If other city knows that they ask a beggar to pay tax, they will become a laughing stock. Salin then walks along the avenue and reached in front of a diner. The Diner occupied a large area which on its right included a courtyard for carriages. Well, since he is not in a hurry and is always his dream to dine in, now that he has six gold coins to spend, Hooray and Hoorah!
Although the City of Ceylon is not as booming as it used to be, few nobles and Barons were noticeable around. The Scotchian is a country of commerce; one can easily trace the four major firms that dominate the Mainland of Myers. After all, Ceylon is the port city of the Scotchian, even it has seen better days; it stands the test of time. Same goes to this Diner; every wealthy man would host their guest here.
Now that Salin can read, he finds out the sign above the main entrance written in the Myers characters carrying the meaning of “The Whale of Ceylon,” reminded him that the Diner was once famous for its delicacies, the whale meat, but not as popular, because of less sea whaling nowadays. However, if one willing to spend, there are still fisherman willing to risk their lives in the open sea. Fortunately, the Diner hired a chef from The Quinn; they manage to keep their customers.
Salin can’t afford any whale meat but is enough for a dish or two which cost two silver coins. He then makes his way into the Diner and sat on an empty table. To one’s surprise, a steward ran to him and shouted: “You beggar! Get out from here; we have nothing to offer!”
Salin felt embarrassed and offended that his face was all red in color. He was once a beggar, but now he is a Magician’s Apprentice, it means that he has dignity. He took a gold coin from his pocket and slammed it on the table, he looks upon the steward, asked: “Who you refer as a beggar?”
The steward stunned and immediately put on a smiling face, nodded: “Ah, young master, I mistake you as the kid yesterday who dine and dash, of course, you are not him. Forgive me, let me hand you the menu.” The Steward hurried off in fear of Salin might express another word. Salin calmed down after the steward apologizes, even though is still upsetting him, but he understands that arguing further makes no winner.
During the argument, a few people came down from upstairs but were not noticeable by Salin. A hefty tradesman led that crowd, beside him, was the servant who kicked him and almost cost his life. The trader saw Salin but kept silent and made his way out from the Diner.
“That kid looks familiar, isn’t he the God-forsaken child from the Metatrine Family? Why is he alive?” He said to his servant.
“I was too wondering why master. He should starve to death in his condition. I saw he took out some gold coins.” The servant replied.
“Weird thing, how does he get all those gold coins? He is a beggar!”
“Master, I heard some group of robbers came to the city and recruited some children. Do you think…”
“Who cares if he wasn’t, you worm, report to the guards and ask them to send soldiers, tell them we lost our gold coins. Seize that boy and execute him immediately. Here, take one gold coin and tell them what I’ve said…” The trader precisely demanded the servant, then went off with other servants and marched into the Diner again.
Not knowing something awful is happening, Salin ordered two dishes that cost less than two silver coins. Being a young boy, he dares not to have a beer, he then ordered a pot of tea and enjoying it. He realized that his outfit doesn’t fit in compared to all decently dressed diners, there are some even wore silks bought from the Quinn. No wonder he almost kick out by the steward because he dressed poorly. He promises to buy himself a decent outfit once he earned extra money so that others won’t look down on him anymore.
When his first dish just arrived, suddenly, there are four soldiers rushed in and press him down the floor, without a word they handcuffed him.
“What are you doing?” Salin is surprised and mad; he could not defend himself because the four soldiers held him firmly on the floor.
“Say what? Kid, you have committed a crime and you dare to dine here, take him back!” The ferocious soldiers belonging to the warden which responsible for the safety of the city, always in rent-seeking, today they have rewarded a gold coin after two years, they couldn’t care less whether the accused are of truth or fake.
“Bull-shits!” Salin’s face was pressed down on the stiff surface of a table, could not make up his mind about why the soldiers arrested him when he did nothing wrong, he struggles hard to fight back. A soldier kicked under his ribs trying to make him surrender.
“Ouch!” He yelled inhumanly.
The kick was too hard that one of the bones were cracked. The kick reminded Salin when he was a beggar on the street, whereby anyone would likely beat him up but still thinks that was nothing. But now, he felt humiliated that he spat on another soldier. In return, he got beat up even harder; the soldiers use the metal chain to reined Salin’s mouth. The four soldiers chained him up and drag him out from the Diner along with the trader who sneaked out and follow them.
The steward chase out yelled: “Master, that child hasn’t pay!”
The soldier laughed and said: “All he got was stolen money, don’t tell me you accept it.”
“No, of course not.” The Steward answered meekly but cursed in his mind; something is fishy with that child, I should never serve him, now my wages might be paying his meals. How sad, half month salary was gone! He turns around and quickly took the dishes to the kitchen, also hoping that the second dish is not ready yet.
The Soldiers brought Salin back to the warden; they didn’t question him but straightly put him in prison. When Salin manages to catch his breath, he kicked the bars and yelled: “Why am I arrested!”
The Soldiers turned to him, laughed: “Ah yes, your gold coins, we almost forgot about it.”
“These coins are mine!” Salin’s gold coins were taken away, and he couldn’t resist.
“Now is ours!” The soldiers locked up the gate and refuse to hear a word from Salin, even he shouted, my teacher is the magician! They just won’t believe it. The Magician, how could he have a beggar as an apprentice? Even the lords haven’t had any chance to invite one.
Salin starting to fear and felt a little hopeless, he still has no clues on what happened, Jason only came out from his lab once a while, not to mention the meal Salin prepared once a week. The dark dungeon gradually made Salin more afraid causing him out of words. Salin’s face is in grave pain especially his jaw bones, it might have fractured, his lips swollen, Salin holding back his tears, I am an apprentice of the magician, I will not cry and moan of pain!
The surroundings became quiet after nightfall; the gate has closed. Under the bright moonlight, a shadow is approaching the gate at high speed. The man stood in front of the gate frowned; he spread out his arms and a pair of wings like thing spread from the man’s back. The man flew up and flew across the wall to reach the city.
The patrolling guards saw the man’s figure, shouted: “Who is it!” But the man ignored and disappeared at the end of the street. The man immediately arrived at the warden and stopped, his gray magician robe appears to be mysterious under moonlight, seems like surrounded by mist. The man is Jason Stalin. He followed the magic mark which he cast on Salin and found his way to the Ceylon after he finds out that Salin hasn’t gone home.
The Magic Mark is a direction pointer for a magician; it is easy to find Salin even he was locked underground. Jason threw a fireball spells at the gate of the warden, walk haughtily into the warden.
“Who…” the on-duty guard did not manage to finish his sentence, Jason already grabbed his collar and lifted him up. For a grade five Magician, his strength is remarkable which an ordinary swordsman can’t compare.
“Where is the child you caught? Lead me to him.” Jason sounded cold.
Jason’s face close to the guard face and stare into his eyes, “Bring me to the place where you lock up criminal, gather them.”
The guard was frightened, the man that grabbed him is a demon sticking out its tongue from the pits of his eyes and strangled around his neck, making him hard to breathe. The guard fainted with white foaming from his mouth on the ground. Jason frowned which he thinks he might overused the compelling spells on this guard, which might be a junior swordsman.
Jason followed the direction mark by the spell; he used illuminate spell along the way that the brighten up the dungeon. Jason appears in front of Salin’s cage, Salin grasps on the bard tightly but silent, because he is out of voices.
Jason’s sudden appearance has caused all guards on-duty to blocked the way out. A guard yelled: “You thief! Surrender yourself at once!” when the guard about to continue, the other guard pointed towards the bright dungeon, stuttered: “That’s…. that looks like…”
“Magic? Are you mad?”
“No, look carefully!” But Jason ignores the guards.
Jason holds the lock and gently pull out from the cage, Salin rush out from the cage almost flew into Jason’s arms. Salin seems like wanting to speak because his lips are moving, in fact, he is just mumbling.
“Who arrested my student and got him caged up here?” Jason speaks with his poker face. The guards looked at each other, and no one dares to speak yet cursing in their mind to the ones who arrested a magician’s apprentice.
“If no one knew…” Jason stretches out his hand; a fireball shows up, silently float on his palm. A fireball spell is a level one magic spell, but to control and set it still, only a fourth-grade magician able to do so. Nevertheless, not one of the guards wants to mess with any magician.
“Ma… Ma… Master… hold your fire, I will find you this man.” A clever guard turned and ran away. Jason, on his serious expression, took Salin and walk out from the dungeon, make their way to the Hall of the warden and waited.