Quite a strange but enlightening day had passed.
He had vaguely wondered that if he opened his eyes that morning, would he find himself back in Secretia? Or perhaps he would find himself in the afterlife? However the ringing of Yan’s bell shattered any expectations of that. Nothing had changed after all.
“Did you have a good dream, Prince?” Yan greeted him,
Calian sat up and savoured the morning tea that Yan had brought him, and it was only after handing back the empty cup and washing his face in the basin, he said to Yan,
“I want to cut my hair.”
Yan’s eyes widened and he blinked blankly in surprise, he looked unsure, as though wondering if he had heard wrong. Seeing that expression, Calian repeated,
“My hair. I’ll have it cut,”
He motioned with two fingers and pretended to cut his fringe. Yan had indeed heard Calian correctly and shaking himself out of his stupor, he replied,
“Yes, your highness, I’ll make the preparations right away.”
Before long, the royal hairdresser was brought to Calian’s room. He carefully held his scissors in hand and hesitantly asked Calian once again,
“Is it really alright for me to cut it, your highness?”
Calian’s brow wrinkled and he frowned. Like most military men, Calian, a Knight, did not like to repeat himself and especially with something like this – what was so strange about a simple haircut that he’d had to repeat himself 3 times.
Calian pointed at the scissors and spoke.
“Do I have to cut it myself?”
“No, your highness. My apologies.”
Only then did the scissors become busy, and after several careful snips Calian shook off the loose black hair so it no longer covered half his face.
Calian took a good look at himself in the mirror and it was only now, with the hair out of the way, that he could take a good look at himself in the mirror.
“Hmm,” A smile worked its way to his lips,
It was not a lie to say that he resembled his mother Freya, who was said to be the reincarnation of a goddess.
‘This face, is it not a fine legacy left behind by Freya?’
Calian nodded with satisfaction, and even Yan looked impressed.
“You look great, your highness, it suits you well, but…” However, his voice turned subdued in anxiety.
“I am unsure of what reaction might come from Prince Franz. Considering his reaction at breakfast from simple eye contact, I fear we do not know how he might lash out in reaction to this change,”
Yan was worried about how Franz would take it, considering how he reacted at yesterday’s breakfast from simple eye contact. Calian stood up from his seat and smiled brightly,
“I thought you said I looked good? Besides, I can’t keep acting the fool for the ones who hate me,”
Yan looked surprised at the uncharacteristic words and demeanor of his master.
Calian bore a confidence Yan had never seen before, and he was uneasy about this sudden change. Not that this newfound assurance was bad, of course, but he was worried Franz might become even more belligerent.
Calian, sensing Yan’s nervousness all the way to the dining hall, sought to reassure his attendant.
“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it,”
He went to the dining hall and took his seat, and it wasn’t long before Franz appeared. Franz walked in with his distinctive hazy eyes, and he looked at Randall’s empty chair before turning to Calian.
Those thin, light-blue eyes gazed down at Calian’s red ones. Calian did not avoid his gaze, he looked straight at Franz with his face no longer hidden behind his fringe.
With ridicule clear in his gaze, Franz let out a laugh then turned away. Yan hurriedly concealed his surprise.
‘Is it over? A single mocking laugh and it just ended like that?’
It was indeed incredible, but Franz sat down in his seat without saying a word and no longer paid attention to Calian.
Calian lifted an eyebrow. He had the same thoughts as Yan. For some reason the mad prince was sitting quietly, and he couldn’t fathom his whims.
The quiet tension seemed to stretch out for ages until Randall walked into the room that felt as if it had already been in the middle of winter for months. He sat down as usual with a simple glance at Calian’s face. The meal was served, and the three focused on their own food.
Yan was relieved that breakfast was going to end without any trouble.
However, it was not to be.
There was only one opponent here that Franz would talk so rudely to. And that one opponent acted as if he could not hear anything, and continued to eat with perfect etiquette. Of course, he couldn’t have truly missed Franz’s voice in this quiet hall.
Franz’s lips thinned harshly when Calian refused to look at him, a sign that his temper was about to explode. Yan could feel his heart pounding all the way down at his stomach.
But Calian’s face was completely tranquil. He looked like he couldn’t care less.
“Hey, bloody eyes,” Franz spat
Calian considered ignoring him again, but finally glanced up at Franz. When Franz was about to say something, he was interrupted,
He spoke quietly, and took a piece of sliced bread with a fork.
“…That’s my name.”
Randall was the first to react to this remark. Both of his hands, which were moving in silence, stopped. Randall raised his head and turned to look at his brother, whose attitude seemed to have changed overnight. But that was all. Randall was not the type of person who would interfere and soon made his hands busy again and continued his meal.
Franz’s mouth twisted up. He closed his eyes very slowly and wondered for a moment how he should react to what he had heard. Then he looked at the knife in his right hand and tapped his fingers on the table with his left.
“Alright. I should call you by your name,”
Calian’s answer came without hesitation. He took a sip of water.
Tap tap. A little louder, Franz’s fingers tapped against the knife on the table.
The blood drained from Yan’s face.
‘Is this what you meant by ‘taking care of it’ Your highness? What exactly are you trying to do on your own?’
Franz laughed once again. A childlike smile spread on his face, making him look more eerie.
In a flash, Franz flung the knife in his right hand toward Yan.
He intended to take his anger out on Calian’s attendant.
In that moment, Yan tried to raise his hands to shield himself but stopped himself from doing so. He thought if he tried to block it, Franz’s anger would then be directed at Calian. Which is why Instead of covering his face, Yan closed his eyes.
At the same time, Cailan’s arms moved swiftly.
Faster than a blink, Calian put down the glass in his hand and his hand shot out to catch the knife in midair. Franz’s gaze went to the glass of water on the table.
The water remained steady in the glass even though it was quickly put down.
Drip, drip, drip.
Red blood droplets trickled from Calian’s bare palm which was wrapped around the dull blade of the knife.
Upon seeing the scene, Franz couldn’t help but utter,
Yan’s eyes widened as he took in the details one by one: Calian’s back, Calian’s hand, the knife in his hand, the blood flowing down the knife, and Franz’s shocked expression.
He felt a building sense of anxiety, not because Calian caught the knife, but because he feared the situation would soon spiral out of control.
Calian stood up. He took the blood-stained knife and set it quietly in front of Franz. Then he looked at Franz and smiled face to face.
The meaning of those words were ambiguous,
Don’t worry about my injured hand. It’s okay.
I’ll forgive you for your rudeness.
A few drops of blood dripped on to Franz’s clothes.
Calian strode out of the dining hall.
By the time Calian had soothed Yan, who was beside himself with worry for the wound on his hand, the afternoon had come around. He made his way to his horse riding lesson and came across Franz, who was mounted on a steed.
There was another horse – or rather, a small pony, who looked at Calian with round, gentle eyes and huffed in his face curiously.
Calian had not yet said a word. The previous Calian was terrified of the creatures, and when those memories came to mind he pretended to cover his face.
“Does it hurt your pride to ride on it, little brother Calian?”
Calian looked towards his voice. Franz was looking down at him, sitting atop a silver-white horse that was clearly of good breeding, and Calian’s brows creased for a moment when he saw it but his expression was wiped clean.
Franz’s eyes glimpsed the bandages wrapped in Calian’s hand and he laughed again. Calian once again furrowed his brow, but he turned his eyes away to avoid further falling for his provocation.
Then a horse caught his eye. It was the second horse Franz brought out with him. Calian examined the horse with interest and immediately admired it.
‘That’s a very good horse.’
It was completely black save for its white foreleg, and its mane and tail were well-groomed. Its tightly-knit muscles and sleek body told him that it was a far superior horse than the white one Franz was riding now.
“That horse is stubborn, so I plan to ask my teacher to help me tame it.”
Franz was a wild and violent man who had never known how to ride a horse properly. But Calian could not draw his eyes away from the black horse. After seeing this, Franz addressed him again.
“If you can ride it, I’ll give it to you. If you can’t then apologize to me for what happened at breakfast.”
Yan took a step forward unknowingly, worried that his master would fall off the horse. Franz glared as he caught sight of that annoying attendant again. First the attendant wanted to block the knife throw earlier this morning, and now he wanted to stand in his way again.
He acted like he was Calian’s guardian, instead of his servant.
Calian noticed Franz’s reaction and stepped in front of Yan. He returned Franz’s gaze and answered calmly.
Calian walked slowly past him towards the horse’s side. The horse had a strong resentment and anger towards people because of Franz’s treatment. The beast showed a firm determination not to give in to the second prince.
Calian smiled deeply when he saw such a creature.
Calian’s soft-eyed look changed in a flash. It was a look of murderous spirit, the gaze of a being that had killed many, in order to survive.
The three-year-old horse, who had grown up in a good environment, could not withstand Calian’s cruel gaze. It was as if the pressure of a thousand glares bore into him instead of a single person’s.
The horse was shaken.
Soon, the horse’s eyes turned as docile as a pony from earlier. Only then did Calian withdraw his pressuring gaze.
In the end, the black horse didn’t refuse Calian’s saddle. Franz was in disbelief, as he thought he knew the horse’s wild personality.
Yan, who knew well that Calian had never practiced horse riding, was thrilled.
‘My prince, that story must’ve worked a miracle on you!’
Yan believed that Calian read the story about the knight, so it was fair to say he didn’t suspect anything.
Calian patted the well-behaved horse in the neck.
“Raven. Your name is Raven.”
Perhaps understanding the meaning of his name, Raven neighed at the words of his new master. Grinning, Calian turned his head and looked at Franz.
To some extent he was sincere, as it was a good horse. Calian added in jovially,
“Elder brother Franz.”
It was a very pointed remark. Franz’s face hardened.
Hi everyone, guess who crawled out of the woodworks. I’ve not given up on this don’t worry, I’m just working and studying at the same time so it takes a lot of time for me to do one full chapter. I’m thinking about breaking down chapters to make them a little easier to digest so updates can be more frequent but shorter.
Let me know what you think!