CHAPTER 10

For the next three days Fayte was confined to his room.

Not because he shoved a highly esteemed knight of his Order, but so that the corruption could run its course. Wilson explained that while he could calm Fayte with his healing if Fayte was fully conscious, it was not advised to rely on magic to soothe the mind.

The room was a lavish one with furniture carved from rosewood and polished. Thick carpet covered the floor and plush pillows and thick sheets made his rest all the more comfortable. Bookshelves were aplenty too, four of them in fact, and the High Sage often came in to read by a corner. Fayte tried to speak to him a number of times but had yet to successfully engage the boy. There were windows but they were too high up in the wall for him to look out through them. In fact, judging from how tall the ceiling was and the way it curved, Fayte believed he was at the top of the tower.

Fayte spent his time resting in bed. They had to knock him out with a spell while Commander Reyner held him down. He didn't wake until the next night. The scale had corrupted Orwell when he was fishing that night out of leisure. It seemed that the corruption could spread from one man to another but Wilson had yet to determine how exactly.

"The mage, Tyson, he did not have any physical contact with Orwell," Wilson said on the second afternoon. "The boy showed no signs of aggression even till today yet the mage did. It is as though the corruption knows to seek for a stronger host or one capable of magic."

In any case both Orwell and Tyson were back to their old selves now. The scale had been sealed away by the White Light, it's location now unknown. Word had been sent out to all towns and villages near the path Ra’gelor went when he was teleported to Iredis for imprisonment. The fact that the demon was teleported raised more questions about how the scale ended up in the river.

"Captain Windon was here last night when you were asleep," Wilson told him. "During the teleportation they were attacked by minions of the Dark Lord. He believes it might be them who are responsible for the loose scale. In any case, the scale has been sealed and is no longer our concern. Captain Windon sends his regards and wishes to inform you that your father would very much like to be here, but with Jeremiah missing and squires from wealthier families admitting to being ambushed... he's busy."

"Do you think…" Fayte did not have the courage to ask.

"Jeremiah is a Vladertz and Joanne is a talented Priestess in the Order of the White Rose." Wilson smiled to reassure him. "They will be fine."

I pray they will. "What now then?"

"Your father has ordered a halt to the pilgrimage and for all squires to seek out the nearest town or city and remain there until further notice." Wilson got up from the chair beside his bed. "You will do the same."

Fayte could only imagine how angry his father must had been to find out that so many squires were ambushed yet none of them spoke up. He should have done something the moment he saw Jason. Informing the Order of the White Rose wasn't enough. This concerned the Order of the White Shield as well.

"Bandits and an assassin from-" Wilson paused.

"From…?"

His friend was hiding something. "From parts unknown, are two entirely different matters. Do not be too hard on yourself. We both agreed to keep this from your father as did everyone else. The fault is ours to share."

Wilson was definitely hiding something from him. "Alright. By the way, where's John?"

"Our quarters are just a level below. I don't know where he is now exactly, probably getting kicked out of a tavern somewhere. But I did see him speaking to the High Sage yesterday."

The both of them turned to the boy sitting by the bookshelf. Kestel turned a page, ignoring them.

"A higher power has brought him to us," Fayte said. "I guess we just have to wait and see how events unfold."

"Aye. Now if you would excuse me." Wilson got up from the chair beside his bed. "I have a Princess to keep an eye on for you."

Emily… "How is she?"

Wilson placed his hands behind him as he thought. "Busy. The Archimage refuses audience with her despite protest by Commander Reyner. Something about her safety placed at risk being so close to Ra’gelor for so long. The Archimage claims that the Princess is safe and that it was the Prince who was in danger, which just so happens to not fall under her concern."

Fayte found that unsettling. "Even so, the Archimage is acting very strange. It's like she's being corrupted as well, only more slowly."

"As the leader of an Order, the Archimage should be displaying more respect and less of her opinion regarding the union. Hitting the Prince and chiding Emily like a child the other day…" Wilson shook his head. "I have spoken with Master Quxtin about the matter. He is aware as do the White Light herself and it is also why he is here. Isn't that right, High Sage?"

The boy sitting on the floor beside a bookshelf ignored him.

"For now there is no cause for concern," Wilson assured him. "Not when we have the White Light in the same city. Emily is paying her respects to the nobles in Iredis. She will attempt to seek audience with the Archimage again when she is done."

On the morning of the fourth day, Fayte finally stood up.

"No, not yet it seems," he said to himself as he sat down again, feeling his head spin. He shut his eyes and waited until the dizziness subsided. Three days in bed without exercise. He needed to train again. "One more time."

Fayte pushed himself onto his feet, slowly now, and sent his arms up over his head. It felt good to finally stretch properly. The corruption had left his body weakened. Wilson had tried to heal him a little but the effects didn't last. His body had to recover on its own.

The doors to his room swung open on their own.

Magic, he thought, intrigued, as he watched a girl step into the room.

"How are you feeling?" Estelle asked.

Silver threads in her yellow robes caught the morning light. Her footsteps were soft as she circled the table and set a basin of water on it. Estelle tucked a loose strand of her fringe behind her ear as she turned to look at him.

"Better," he said. "Where's Wilson?"

"He is with the Grace of Hylan." She dipped a towel into the water and wringed it dry. "Catch."

The towel flew over his outstretched hand. Fayte glanced at Estelle before reaching over his bed to get it.

"A few days in bed will do that to you." The girl crossed her arms and sighed deeply.

"What?" he asked as he wiped his face.

"I've been asked to show you around the city."

"By who? Wilson?"

Just then the doors swung open and the High Sage entered, mounted atop his dog. The handsome animal gave a bark when they saw Fayte. Before he could greet the High Sage, Kestel patted his friend on the head three times, prompting the dog to turn around and leave.

As strange as ever, he thought as he went up to the basin of water to finish washing up.

"The High Sage seems to have an interest in you," she noted, turning away from the door. "And no. It is Lord Quxtin who asked that I give you a tour."

Quxtin Yonus…

"You know who he is don't you?" Estelle stepped away as Fayte started to wash his face.

"Of course," he said, straightening up. "The High Wizard of your Order."

Lord Quxtin was to her Order what Lady Feralina was to the Order of the White Shield.

"Why would he ask you to do that?"

Her arms were still crossed. "You're the son of the Lord-Knight. I'm surprised he didn't ask someone of higher rank in my Order to attend to you."

"I am a squire of the White Shield," he said, opening the cupboard to find a change of clothes. "I don't need to be treated any differently."

Estelle sat down on the chair and rested her arm on the table. She sighed again. "Very well. In that case consider yourself being treated like a squire… who rescued the Princess from slavers and rebel Scygards, as well save our entire kingdom from the wrath of a Saldarian demon."

He had Sir Percson and Captain Teynier to thank for this then.

"It's fine," Fayte told her, tossing a fresh set of clothes on the bed. "Tell Lord Quxtin that I appreciate the gesture but I do not need a guide."

"Why not?"

"Because you clearly do not want to spend the day showing me around."

That made her laugh. "I'm just hungry. Change and grab your gear. We'll have breakfast together and you'll find me in a much better mood."