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Dragon Order of Flame - Volume 1 - Chapter 1

Published at 25th of January 2016 09:53:49 AM

Chapter 1

Volume 1


 

Chapter 1 – The Count’s Illegitimate Child

Chirp, chirp… .

Luke slowly opened his eyes to the twittering of birds . Bright sunlight streaked in through the cracks of the curtains stinging his eyes .

“Hm…… . ”

Raising his hands in an attempt to rub out the sleep, Luke slowly came to . As he took in his surroundings, he became aware of the luxurious bedding and cushiony mattress hugging his body . It was a strange sensation . He had not felt a bed so soft in the past 10 years . In fact, he could not remember a time in his life when he had been in one such as this .

‘What is this place? Where am I?’

With a frown, Luke looked around the room .

It was a majestic room to say the least – so much so that a glance was enough to tell it belonged to someone from money . Aside from the push bedding and fluffy duvets, royal red carpeting lay atop hardwood floors and the immaculate painted walls were adorned with a beautiful mirror and a painting of a colorful mountain landscape on an autumn day . There was also a vase atop a lone table, but nothing else really jumped out .

Though it may have been modest by a noble’s standards, for someone who had endured homelessness hundreds of times, it all looked more than luxurious .

‘I don’t get it . Why am I in this place?’

He didn’t understand where he could be much less how he could have gotten there . He tried to recollect his thoughts and sift through them piece by piece in search of some kind of a clue, but all that resulted in was a dull headache of broken memories .

“Uh…”

Luke got out of bed while pressing his temples .


<Lu… . . ah… . >

He heard a strange sound . The sound resembled whispers, but they were whispers without any discernible meaning riding along the passing wind .

Luke’s expression crinkled into a frown as he looked around searchingly . But the windows were closed, and it did not seem likely that any wind could be leaking in .

Knock knock .

There was a knocking sound at the door .

Luke peered a wary eye in the direction of the new noise . Luke had a gift that allowed him to anticipate such things; it was something akin to a sixth sense . In fact, he should have felt the person beyond the door approaching even before he heard the knocks, but he had not felt a thing . Now that it was gone, something that had always been as natural to him as breathing, the loss of his gift was more than unnerving .

“Oh?”

As there was no answer for quite some time after knocking, the person beyond the door decided to invite herself in . She was a maid – and when she saw that Luke was in the room, she made a start .

“Oh Master, if you had awoken you should have answered when I had knocked . ”

“Oh, I – I’m sorry . ”

He could not find any hint of animosity in the maid’s words and, baffled by the whole situation, he could but utter an apology .

The face of the maid, who had by then closed the door behind her to come in and place a tray laden with bread and milk upon the table, seemed oddly familiar . Luke began probing his memories to try and recall her name, but no matter how hard he tried to remember he came up with naught .

“What is your name?”

“Beg pardon?”

“Your name . ”


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“I’m Mary . I’ve only told you just three days ago . Have you already forgotten?”

The young maid lightly complained as Luke spied her mockingly laugh at him . It was at that moment something clicked as he made the connection between the name Mary and that laughter – a memory came rushing to the forefront of his mind .

’Could it be…?’

But Luke could not believe it . Because it was surely impossible .

Luke asked .

“Where am I?”

“Beg pardon?”

“I asked where I was . ”

“… . . ”

Mary stared at him incredulously and asked .

“What a strange question you ask, Master . Are you hurt anywhere?

At that, Luke immediately put on a scowl and retorted .

“Just answer my question . What is this place? Where am I?”

“Why this is Sir Astal’s castle . Surely you must be toying with me?”

Mary’s voice seemed to hold a hint of anger; that is, until it was overtaken by a sneer . It was obvious that even with her status as a mere Maid and his as her Master, she held not an ounce of respect for him .


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With a rude shrug and no parting of words, she slipped out and left the room . Indeed it was an incredibly rude gesture on her part, however, Luke did nothing to stop her – only watching the door as it closed behind her . His expression hardened as he stared piercingly into the panel of the closed door .

“What the hell is going on around here?”

<…That… . A… . stal . >

Again, it was that strange whispering sound . Jumpy as he was in this unnerving situation, every echo and whisper of noise seemed to sound like words…words being spoken by someone; but each time he scanned the room, there was nothing amiss and no one to be found .

Luke, suddenly a bit thirsty, stretched him hands out toward the cup that held the milk Mary had brought in earlier . The moment he brought the cup to his mouth, he made a frown as if an idea had formed and stopped what he was doing .

“…I have to check . ”

Luke nodded and mumbled to himself while putting the milk cup back down . He straightened back up and walked over the mirror hanging on the wall .

It was there that he lost all words and stood frozen like a petrified stone .

“It cannot be… . ”

Caught by such surprise, he forgot to breathe . It was only a long time later he gathered enough sense to at least mumble a few words .

The mirror reflected back the face of a young child .

His age could have been somewhere around thirteen or so? Light brown hair adorned a skinny and haggard face which in turn held a set of turquoise eyes . Luke stared at the child in the glass for a long time before he slowly raised his hand to touch his own face . It was without saying that the child in the mirror did exactly the same .

“What the hell is going on here? Why did I get younger? Am I dreaming?”

Only just realizing the boy in the mirror was himself, Luke began to stumble around in a panic of disbelief .


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No matter how he looked at it, there was something definitely wrong here . He was thirty-seven, had the build of a warrior, and it was hard to ignore the fact that the entirety of his face and body was criss-crossed with the scars of countless battles . But as if his whole life up to this point was nothing but a lie, he now had the body of a skinny young child who seemed to have grown up with far too little to eat .

<Luke …A… . stal . >

There it was again! That strange wind . Luke gritted his teeth and asked in silent anger .

“Who are you? Who is it that keeps calling my name?”

<It seems now you can finally hear my voice . >

The moment Luke finally responded, the strangely ephemeral wind transformed into a clear voice . Before Luke could even say anything further, the voice continued on .

<I began to think you had lost your hearing, but that seems not to be the case . Although my words should be heard by the mind – maybe suspecting there were something wrong with your head would have been more accurate?>

“What? And who exactly are you?”

At Luke’s confusion, the strange voice began a haughty sort of laugh . Anyone who overheard would have immediately identified it as a mocking sort of laugh, and this only further stoked the flames of Luke’s anger .

“I mean to get an answer from you . Otherwise, I will have your head . ”

<Foolish Luke Astal . You can never kill me . No, there is no one in this world who can kill me . >

“I’m not in the mood for games or words . Shut your mouth and present yourself to me . ”

<That is not possible . I am essentially as good as the dead . One cannot kill what is not of the flesh . And that is why I cannot stand before you this moment either . >

“What?”

Hearing the voice refer to himself as someone as good as dead, Luke had again lost all words – something that seemed to have happened one too many times in the span of one day .

Chapter 1 – End .

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