Episode 4: Until I Have the Right Hand – Chapter 15.2
T/N: this novel will update Mon-Sat
Rumein subtly tilted his head. Alan was speaking as if Kalian was the one who came up with this excuse. However, Alan did not provide any further explanation. Rumein gathered his thoughts and formulated a reply.
“I will look to it that you have a place to stay. I suppose a man with a cat shall not make things any worse around this messy house.”
Alan lightly bowed his head to express his gratitude.
However, the conversation wasn’t over. Separate to giving permission, Rumein’s questions continued.
“I must say that I’m still curious. I heard that there was nothing special about the child.”
“Nothing special, Your Majesty?” Alan’s eyes narrowed meaningfully. “It was, in fact, difficult to find normalcy in Prince Calian.”
Even his state of health had to be special.
“I did hear that he is afraid of many things, however. I was told that he is also afraid of horses, but I suppose he is no longer seeing as how he followed after you.”
Alan recalled Calian riding his horse with great familiarity and leaning on the very horse to support himself. Suddenly, he was hit with a strange sense of displacement as he listened to Rumein.
Now that I think…
“I heard that Randel is like the deep ocean and that Franz is like its fierce waves. As for Calian, well, I only heard that he is quiet and reserved. I did not know that he possessed such a gift.”
Why is he saying that he has heard about all this? It’s as if—
As if he never paid attention to them himself.
“If there was something about him that stood about, I would have heard about it. That’s why I was a little surprised.”
Alan hydrated his throat with his tea and stood up. He walked to the window and stared at the garden outside. It was time for him to relay a more important news.
“Just like you, Your Majesty, I got married at an early age. I already have a lovely granddaughter as well.”
Rumein’s fingers twitched. Even though he knew about Alan’s age, it seemed that he would need some time to become accustomed to a youthful-looking man talking about his graddaughter. Of course, Alan’s granddaughter was not the “more important news”. Alan raised his arm and gestured beside his torso with his palm facing down.
“She was about this tall when I last saw her. She’s most likely taller now… around here, let’s say.”
Alan raised his arm a little further. Rumein was unsure of the reason behind all this talk about height, but listened quietly regardless. Alan stared at the King.
“Do you happen to know the princes’ height, Your Majesty? How tall they are compared to you?”
Rumein didn’t answer. He did not know.
Alan had expected this silence. He looked over at the piles of documents that were stacked on top of the desk.
“I am aware that concern can sometimes act as poison as negligence can act as medicine. However, it is even more true that being busy is not a good enough excuse. You were with the princes yesterday, Your Majesty. How could you not know when you were standing and walking together?”
Rumein’s eyes turned cold. He felt as if Alan was intruding on the King’s private life.
“It seems that you are overly concerned, Sir Manassil. You have only just met me today. My way of raising my children does not need to align with your standards.” He continued without trying to hide his discomfort. “I find it amusing that I must explain this to you, but I do care for the princes.”
“Do you really believe so?”
Rumein paused and stared at Alan. He knew the value of the man before him, and he did not want to show his anger any further. He wanted to end this pointless conversation quickly.
“Especially for Calian, your student, yes. He is my dearest child. I shall look past your attitude since you are willing to teach him, but—”
“Hah!” scoffed Alan.
It was clearly a sneer that interrupted the King’s words. Rage took over the King’s face, but Alan wasn’t one to care. Alan stared at Rumein without wavering.
“If so, you must stop hearing things from others and take a look yourself.”
“Take a look at what?” asked Rumein without hesitation. He had no clue as to what he was supposed to look at.
Alan squinted his eyes. He really doesn’t know.
“Before calling him dear, I beg of you to actually look at him. Look at who he is now as opposed to then,” growled Alan.
“If you’re only here to sightsee, you will lose him.”
“Watch your words, Sir Manassil,” snapped Rumein.
Alan walked back towards Rumein and faced him. He recalled Calian’s emaciated figure. This time, Alan’s voice changed; he was quiet and quick like a gust of wind.
“His skin is tinted blue and his fingernails are turning purple. His lips are dry and he pants with every breath. I noticed that the rim of his pupils are turning black. He closes his eyes and pauses before standing up. He must be feeling dizzy. I could tell that his clothes were tailored in a rush. It must have been made smaller. How long does it take for one to tailor a set of clothes? A month?”
Anger faded from Rumein’s face. He couldn’t say yes to Alan’s question. Instead, he bit his lip in realisation of Alan’s message.
“Could it be that somebody is trying to—”
“Yes. You caught on right away.” Alan cut Rumein off once again. “Then you could have seen it right away as well. Your Majesty… you have experienced it once already, and so have I.”
Rumein remembered the name once again. It was a name that he had finally managed to store away.
“Even if it weren’t for that, you should have been able to tell if he had to resize his clothes in just a month. Even if you didn’t know how tall he was, even if you never examined his hands and lips, you should have known that he was rapidly losing weight. The person that he looked for in order to save his own life should not have been a mage that he had never met before. It should have been his own father!”
Rumein bent his back forwards and covered his face with his hands. His fingers trembled. He couldn’t have even guessed.
“If he really is dear to you, Your Majesty, you must now look at him properly.”
Alan bent forward and picked up the other half of his cookie. He gazed down at the King as he chewed and swallowed. He could see the King’s miserably crumpled face through his fingers.
“If not, you shouldn’t make that kind of face.”
Alan took a step backwards. As he had to Calian, he wanted to show that he would no longer anger Rumein.
“Please continue to disregard this issue. At this point, it should be better that way. I stepped out of line in the hopes that such a thing wouldn’t happen again. Please forgive me.”
Alan formally showed his respect with controlled poise and left the study.