Chapter 6:

“So, tell me what happened there.”

Mother Tirumina asked me with a serious tone. Her blue eyes fixed at me.

“Is it even necessary, Mother?”, I replied.

“Well, aren’t you quite a hypocrite, Alexis? Even though you say that you don’t trust anyone and couldn’t care less even if they die, you still help everyone.”

“Umm….. How is this related to the topic at hand?”

“I’m not talking about this incident, but generally. Even in your daily life, you tend to help the same people you hate, am I not right?”

Well, what she was saying was…… not wrong. But…,

“I acted as what was expected of me, as a knight, that is.”

And concluded the talk. Making a expression that surely said ‘What should I do with this child.’, she moved on to the matter at hand.

“What I heard from Gerald and others is that you used the broken sword to crank open the reverse scale of the dragon and used a spell to tear apart its belly, am I right?”

“…well, yes.”

“But I want to know what really happened there.”

“What could you mean by that, Mother?”, I calmly replied looking sideways as to avoid eye contact with Mother Tirumina.

“I’ll get straight to the point, you used that, didn’t you?”

She looked straight into my eyes, probing me for answers. It was kind of scary and nerve-wrecking even after being on the receiving end of this gaze for these 7 years.

In the end, I gave up and replied with a small nod. She sighed and asked another question.

“So, did anyone noticed it?”

I thought for a moment and shook my head.

“I don’t think anybody noticed it. Even if the mages would have sensed it, it can be explained as the dragon’s mana going out of control.”

“….well, as long as its not noticed by anyone. But you have to be careful about using it.”

“Yes, yes because ‘it can put us both in a peculiar situation, especially me’, right?”

I repeated what she warns me about almost every day.

“It is for your sake, idiot son of mine.”

Saying so, she lightly hit me on my head. Then, I felt her arms wrapping around my head, and next moment my head was buried between two soft mounds. I immediately felt my cheeks burning with embarrassment. Well, it would have been a very heart-ponding situation, if not for the fact that she is my mother.

“You’re always making me worried, you know. Even if foster, I am your mother. If you ever are in problem, you can always share it with me, alright?”

Getting away from her arms, I made a exasperated sigh. This dumb mother of mine, I’m not a child anymore, you know.

“I’m not a child anymore, Mother.”

To which she just gave a small smile in reply which made me more embarrassed. I turned my back to her and said.

“If you don’t have any more buisness with me, then I’m going to train.”

And saying so, I leave the room with hurried footsteps.

♦♦♦

“I brought the tea, my lady.”, saying so Darius again appeared in the room, but…

“Looks like the young master left.”

Observing that only his lady is in the room, he guessed.
“He did.”

Tirumina took a long look at the door.

“It’s strange how fate intertwines our lives. You probably don’t even remember when we first met, Alexis.”

Muttering to herself, she took a long sip of the tea. She closed her eyes and leaned back on the sofa, reminiscing of the day when she first met her to-be son.

♦♦♦

Year 865, 11 years ago, Royal Capital Camelot, Reinhardt Kingdom.

The dark clouds above the skies of Camelot created a gloomy atmosphere in the city. The 7th district of the city, the dwelling of the refugees and poor people without citizenship, was in a grim mood. The streets were empty with only a few ruffians and drunkards hanging around. The doors and windows of the house shut close.

Tirumina, who was a fresh Colonel, was assisting the Knight Corps Division 02 as a trainee. The 2nd Division acted as the peace-keeping forces of the city and across the country and as a senior-ranking knight, she had to train with them for two months.

She, along with Maj. Gen. Varis Gardenia, the Commander of 2nd Division, were now standing in front of a old house. The house was old with wooden walls that looked ready to fall apart any time. A few knights were currently surrounding this very house.

“Is this the place, Commander?”

Tirumina asked Varis.

“It seems so, Colonel. Shall we take a look inside?”

Varis answered her and they both stepped inside the house. The floor was creaking under their feet, small rodents ran here and there sending their arrival. The condition of the house was so bad that it was almost unimaginable to think someone lived here. But, apparently someone did. And would’ve continued to do so, is not for the fact that they were murdered here. And that was why they were currently here.

A report came through some people that there has been a murder which happened here. And they came to investigate the case. Varis, who is always a happy-go-lucky type of guy, decided to tag along with them.

“The bodies are over there, Sir.”, A young man guided then into what seemed like a bedroom. The bed was small, the bedding soaked red with the blood of the corpses that lied on it.

On the bed was a middle-aged man, his upper body nude and the tip of a small knife sticking out from his abdomen. Under him was a woman, her body was covered in the tatters of the clothes she once worn. On her neck was wrapped the hands of the man, and on her belly was a deep wound. One could probably guess what happened there.

“It’s a case of attempted rape, Commander.” The young man continued his report.

“The man dragged the woman to the room and tried to force himself on her. The woman to protect herself attached the man with the dagger. The man enraged by this struck her on the stomach and tried to strangle her to death. Both of them died due to excessive bleeding.”

While Varis heard the report, Tirumina came out of the room and turned left towards the small stairs that lead to the attic. She climbed up the dark attic. Invoking a light spell, she illuminated the room. In front of her was a small cowering boy. His body was as small as his back. His hands covered both his ears. He seemed to be whispering something. His black hair was disheaveled and his body was shivering.

Hearing the footsteps of Tirumina, he slowly looked above. From the looks of it, he seemed to be of atmost 6 year s. His blue eyes were hollow and his small face was reflecting his fear. He tried to say something but the words were stuck inside his mouth.

“Are you alright?”, Tirumina asked the boy.

The boy nodded softly.

“We’re knights. We won’t harm you. So, will you come down with me?”

She slowly extended her hand towards the boy. The boy looked at her, then he again looked at the extended hand. He slowly extended his hands but suddenly halted. He again looked at the gave of Tirumina. She had a small smile which cleared the boys hesitation as he grabbed her hands. She slowly brought him down.

The first person to come to her was Varis. He saw the kid that was clutching the side of her robes tightly and was hiding behind her.

“So, who’s this kid here?”, He asked.

“Most probably, the victims child.”, replied Tirumina.

Pondering for a bit, Varis kneeled down and asked the kid.

“Hey kiddo, if you don’t know we are knights. We’re here to investigate this case. It might be hard on you, but if you know what actually happened, can you tell us?”

“Commander, I don’t think—”

“Tirumina.”

Varis gave her a stern glare.

The boy stood in daze, but spoke.

“Its…. Its my fault. I was playing in the street….. broke his items. He chased me back here and….”

His voice started wavering.

“I was scared. I ran to the attic. The screams started to come….I was afraid…. I—”

The tears started to flow from his eyes. Tirumina hurriedly dried his eyes and hugged him. She slowly patted his head till he became quiet.

“Looks like it, then. Make a report of what happened here. About the kid, he will probably be entrusted to an orphanage, so I think it won’t be problem if we leave him there ourselves.”

Varis ordered so and they left the house.

The body was given a proper burial in the graveyard. As for the boy, he was left at the lesser district’s church which also doubled as an orphanage.

The 6 year old boy was the one who later on came to be known as Alexis Verne.

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