The cavalry, outfitted with their regimentals with stripes of crimson and royal blue, stood in attention. With all the gleaming swords pointed at his neck, it is expected of Nicholas to experience a bout of extreme fright like a ninny, except he didn do any of it. He was oddly calm under several quizzical gazes, none of it in a positive manner.

The young Knight, McKenna, who enthusiastically nicked his neck, reluctantly lowered his longsword, waiting for further orders, others following the same. Had anyone examine Nicholas closer, they would notice that he is not calm but glazed. His wide eyes so blank you might mistaken him empty with his soul currently departing to the heavens.

In all actuality, Nicholas was arranging his thoughts staunchly. For the life of him, he is a commoner and commoners like him had a nonexistent chance of meeting the King in their lifetime. They would see the King through portraits and paintings, never in the flesh. This is why Nicholas was staring at the senile old man in wonder, and fear dogging after it.

He was insolent with the King and offending the said Royal would guarantee years of working in a prisoner mine or a swift death. Neither of the choices were appealing to him so he stared at the King, and stared some more. This might be the last.

”How dare you stare at the King without his permission! ” The mouthy young Knight snapped at him. Nicholas couldn stop giving the Knight a side eye. They were around the same age in Nicholas mensuration and its abrading his senses that he keeps shouting at him.

He is already outnumbered at present and under the mercy of the old man he thought senile, and the Knight keeps prattling his ears to smithereens. It could frustrate anyone if they were in his position.

Taking a rather deep breath, he lowered his head and stared at the old mans fine leather shoes instead. It is the kind of shoes you should never wear when you are jaunting around a forest and traveling a fair distance from home.

”You are a King, ” Nicholas said in a somewhat bland manner. His hands were still up in the air, and he didn appreciate the way his muscles contracted around the movement as the time went on.

”Ho, you somehow made it sound like a disappointment, ” The old man huffed. Nicholas heard shuffling steps and garments being placed upon a person. He spied a set of feet beside the old man, and in the hands of that said person were a rainbow of expensive clothes, must be the valet.

Nicholas humored the old man, ”You are the King, ” he said one more time with conviction. Although he is afraid of his circumstances, he could not see the old man as a King, no matter his wonderment.

”I am your King, ” the old man said, puffing his chest in a proud manner. Nicholas was tired of looking at the mans shoes so he was staring at the aged mans jaw instead. His valet donned him in a royal blue garb made from the finest silk.

”He is the King of Clevon, Arthur Mcvon, ” McKenna chimed in, so he says.

Maybe Nicholas doesn see him as the King because he do not look like one and he act like a senile old man. He also saw him defenseless a while ago, nothing sort of a powerful King.

Moreover, Clevon heard the great tale of how the present King defeated countless invaders and conquered vast lands in a blood soaked battlefield with only a couple of squadrons behind him. The tale was full of gore and death that Nicholas pictured the King in his mind as someone with an intimidating power. A crippling aura so strong that one would fall to his knees just being in his presence. He envisioned that kind of King, not the silly old man in front of him.

Nicholas almost jumped out of his skin when a pair of eyes appeared on his viewpoint. The senile old man crank his neck to the side just to see his eyes. The silver gray eyes of the King startled him out of his contemplation.

”Ho, this impudent lad! I caught the disappointment in those brazen eyes of yours. Do I not look like a King? ” He exclaimed, someone else answered.

”Excuse my impudence, Your Highness, but you look like a beggar who struggled hard begging but had no earnings at the end of the day and you were shunned by your fellow beggars within the bounds of uselessness, ”

He tried his best to keep his eyes from straying, however, the comment took Nicholas by surprise and he followed the source of it.

Atop a majestic destrier is a tall man sitting in all his confidence and toppling aura, evidently younger than the King. A man with a commanding presence. This is how Nicholas envisioned a King would look like. He turns to the King once more and stares, and he somehow came to a conclusion that the old man is maybe a proxy.

”Why did you bring Beale along? ” The King hissed to his valet who did not break character as a stern servant.

”If you did not worry the entire country after disappearing without a warning then we wouldn be here looking for your wrinkly rear. For gods sake Mcvon how hard is it to recognize your right from left? It was a pure coincidence that we ended this part in the South looking for you, ” The commanding man said, not losing his calm against the King. So Nicholas was correct, the man was lost, and accidentally wandered through the forest. Anyhow, is this how the nobles talk to the King?

”That is His Highness, Archduke Clermont. Keep your eyes down, you buffoon, ” McKenna kicked the back of his knee almost sending him kneeling on the ground. He glared at the Knight, feeling mutinous.

”Why am I even here? I only wanted to purchase some chocolate marbles, ” he gritted under his breath. Nicholas did not know that the valet has a keen sense of hearing, but he kept his sight on Devil instead. The carefree mount is in depth with his grazing.

”Your Highness, may I say a word? ” The valet said, interrupting the Kings attempt of refuting the Archdukes words. ”This young man is talking about some chocolate marbles, is it some code for something explosive like a cannonball? ”

Wait, what? Pardon? Nicholas jaw unhinged. He could not believe it. How is Clevon thriving with these people surrounding the governing body? Idiots, all of them. His senses were offended, they do not have knowledge of what chocolate marble is? He could not hide his expression either.

”What is your name, young man? ” The Archduke asked him. Theres a sincere curiosity in the mans eyes. If the King has the silver gray eye to boost his blonde hair, the Archduke has a gleaming pale brown orbs paired with the most luminous white hair hed ever seen. The Royals might have looked alike, regal and all, however, still oddly different in some ways.

”Nicholas, Your Highness, ” he unconsciously uttered.

”My daughter has a penchant for sweets, young man. She is a slave for chocolate marbles, ” he said answering the servants question in a roundabout way. ”Where did you find this old man? ” Archduke Clermont added and gestured at the King with a wave of his hand.

”Why are you calling him Your Highness when Im an old man to you? ” The King inserted his complaint, gruffly.

Nicholas chose to answer the Archduke, ”He was passed out beside the stream, Your Highness, ” he said in a serious manner.

”What have you done this time, Your Highness? ” Archduke inquired at the King who only looked away from the question, voice formal. Far from the man who scolded the King just a mere seconds ago.

Nicholas decided that he should leave the area immediately. Whatever is going to transpire right now is something a commoner like him should never witness. He knows it. Nicholas would be lucky to leave the place unscathed if not dead.

This time Nicholas chose to address the old man, eyes bowed and respectful. It is said that a mans luck could only save him once and Nicholas would not challenge it today. He is going to introduce himself properly, explain the whole thing, and pray the outcome would be in his favor.

”Your Highness, let me introduce myself properly. I am Nicholas Krona, a humble farmer. The land that I am working at present is the land of Vandolfs. It is only a mile from here to the left. ” He gestured behind him.

”This part of the stream is not frequented by the village folks. Ive only found you for the reason that I wanted to quench some of my hunger with water from the stream. Today is especially warmer than average. Mr. Jackson has chores for me and if I am not back before dusk, I won be eating dinner just like I wasn given my noon meal earlier. I don mind skipping dinner, it is not my first time doing so, but I would like to keep my job, my king. Im begging, Your Highness, please kindly extend some grain of benevolence to this commoner, and allow me on my way, ” Nicholas beseechingly said, eyes closed in apprehension.

His brazen words would only end with two results. The Royals would let him leave, or his head would be rolling on the ground from the mouthy Knights longsword. Nicholas bet the Knight would be so pleased.


It was a stomach-turning silence before Nicholas was absolved of the nasty feeling. He stole a glance at the Kings face. What he saw confused him.

”Would you like a land of your own, Nicholas? ” The King said, an odd glint dancing in his eyes.

*** (Present)

The carriage halted, ”Weve arrived, my lord, ” Nicholas was pulled out from his musings and peered outside of the window. The familiar sound of the boisterous crowd going through their customary day vanishes all thoughts of the past. A lot of things have changed since that day, and Nicholas would change nothing of it except the eleventh-hour clause the King added.

If he could turn back time, he would have never married Astrid Clermont.

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