'Shit, what do I say?' I slightly panicked, but soon regained composure.
"Are you actually trying to kill a prince right now?" I asked with a tone laced with mockery.
This was the best way to stall while also judging the situation, but instead of the fear I was expecting…
"If so, what about it?" he asked, pushing the knife closer to my throat.
"Wait, I know this might sound crazy, but I don't understand what's going on here" I said frantically before he did something stupid. But he didn't change, only looking at me with a blank face before asking…
"And you expect me to believe that?" he asked.
"Sir, does it make sense to you that your enemies would send a five year old child to attack you?" I asked, trying to get to him rationally.
"Of course it is, I would let my guard down in the midst of a five year old, allowing him to assassinate me with ease"
'Damn, he's more paranoid than I am!' I shouted inwardly. My heartbeat started rising because I was sure, a single mistake and my head would fly off.
But I can't die here. I also have people to take revenge on. And so I steeled myself and calmed down, before pushing forth another question.
"If what you say is true, then why did I use my energy to clean the training ground?"
"Maybe because you were trying to gather information about me?"
"And that's why I incapacitated myself like this?" I asked.
"Who knows, you might be making it all up" he said.
"Oh come on, are you serious? You examined my body yourself, didn't you?" I asked him.
I knew he observed my body because he already knew about the enlarged meridians by the time I woke up.
Luckily, I was right, because he seemed to recall that too and his hold on the knife softened slightly, his radiant killing intent also dimmed.
Seeing this, I inwardly breathed a sigh of relief, but it wasn't even over yet, I couldn't relax.
"Hmm, how do I know you're not part of 'them'?"
"Sir, if I really was a part of 'them', then you would have died by now" I said with a firm gaze and Sir Fredrick flared up.
"What is that supposed to mean?" he said with the knife once again pressed against my neck, the killing intent also flaring up.
But I wasn't backing down now.
"Sir, who told you to train me?" I asked and the answer came fast.
"The three queens"
"So, if I'm part of the 'them' you're talking about, doesn't that automatically mean the queens are with them too?"
He wanted to talk but I cut him off.
"Doesn't that mean that this entire city is a trap for you? After all, those people won't want their enemy getting away now will they? And yet you're still fine after so many years? Either they found what you took, or wanted to take, not worth the trouble of mobilizing an entire city's worth of fleets to kill you, which, based on your current actions, seems highly unlikely or…"
"You're not one of 'them'" he answered.
"Eqlicent (synonym of bullseye) " I said, after which his killing intent receded back into his body and he removed the knife from my neck.
"The strength I felt just now wasn't that of an Expert rank. Why is a Master rank like you hiding around here?" I asked before he moved away from sight.
He stopped moving when he heard my question and stared straight at me for a whole minute.
Seemingly wondering whether I was friend or foe before releasing a sigh with deep meanings.
"It's because of this" he said, removing his shirt for me to see the left side of his stomach, which was covered in thick black lines.
It was something I saw a lot of in my past-life.
"Who placed such a curse on you?" I asked.
"Oh? You recognize this?" He asked in a surprised tone.
"More or less" I couldn't have my secrets known to others, so I let out an ambiguous answer.
"This is why I have to hide" he paused, then carried on.
"It was inflicted on me by my enemies who I stole the special water from, it-"
"Why didn't you try to get rid of it?" I asked impulsively.
"Did you think I didn't try?! This is the result of my efforts" he said while pointing at the blackness on his stomach.
I immediately understood what he meant, but it made me all the more apprehensive.
"How valuable was such a thing that a grandmaster cursed you?"
"Hmm" his eyes widened as I said so, probably because I was spot on.
"And if it is so valuable, why can't it help with the curse?" I asked another mind-boggling question.
"Because that's not what it's meant for"
As soon as I heard the answer, my brain went into overdrive.
This was an opportunity, and I was going to make the best of it, so I asked another question.
"Say, if I could do something about your curse, what would I get in return?"
Sir Fredrick suddenly looked at me as if he had seen a madman, before bursting into a laughter that wasn't laughter.
"Hahaha, if you can, I'll give that special water I was talking about, heck, I'd swear loyalty to you on the spot!" he said while laughing boisterously.
"Do you think a grandmaster's curse is some kind of joke? Well, go ahead and try"
"Hmm, ok, but tell me the effects of the curse so that I know how to go about it"
He stopped laughing as soon as he realized I wasn't joking.
But before he could say another word, I spoke up.
"Tell me, have you ever seen a five-year-old like me?"
He suddenly looked at me with raised brow, wondering what that had to do with anything.
"A five year old kid who knows magical herbs, curses, is this cunning and can use mana better than an adept knight"
When Sir Fredrick heard this, his brain quickly replayed the past four days.
Ezra was able to keep up with him by putting mana in his feet, something which he only achieved after clocking twenty.
He knew about curses and magical herbs, well this was debatable, but the part of his cunning was what really got Sir Fredrick the most. 𝓲𝗻𝚗𝑟𝑒𝓪𝑑. 𝘤𝚘𝚖
'It was like I was speaking to a mate rather than a five year old'
'That doesn't mean he can remove the cure that healers couldn't understand' he had his doubts. He wasn't going to put much faith in it working, just for it to fail.
That had happened too many times already.
'Could he really be telling the truth?' he thought, as he stared at the boy lying still on the table. But instead of seeing the usual uncertainty, he saw confidence instead.
'No' but Sir Fredrick shook it off.
'This isn't happening again' he wasn't going to look for any non-existent hope.
He was about to say something when Ezra hit him with a question.
"That curse…does it affect your soul, mind or body?"
The answer came immediately.
"Hmm, does it block your meridians?" Ezra asked, but he looked, only to see Sir Fredrick frowning deeply.
"Yes, it does"
"Does it suck in your mana, does it leech on it, so when you try to chase it away, it grows instead?
Sir Fredrick's pupil's widened upon hearing this.
"Yes…it does" he answered.
"Hmm, this might be easier than I thought, I think I know how to cure you, but first bring all the herbs I mentioned earlier as well as the special water"
Ezra said like he was ordering his servant.
"And what makes you think you have the right to order me about?" Sir Fredrick asked with anger laced in his tone.
"Well, because I'm the only one who can help in Niton for small sum, and don't forget, you promised me your loyalty if I could cure you"
"No, that was just an accident. I didn't actually mean it!" Sir Fredrick frantically denied, but Ezra was quick on his counter.
"So you're saying, a valiant knight at the Master rank can't keep his words? Is that what you're saying?"
"No I didn't say that!" he denied again.
"Ok then, that means you should start getting used to calling me lord then, cause you are my Knight as far as I'm concerned"
Sir Fredrick wanted to refute but couldn't find the right words to say. In the end he gave up and went to get what Ezra asked for.
"Oh, bring all of them in large quantities too" Ezra suddenly added.
At this moment, a terrible foreboding feeling hit Sir Fredrick, who didn't argue or shout, only nodding as he moved into a different room with a look of despair.
Why did he go running his mouth like that? He could only hope that Ezra wasn't able to cure the curse, but he couldn't do that either.
He resigned himself to his death, but he would definitely take a cure if given.
'Oh man…was this what they called "stuck between a rock and a hard place"?' Sir Fredrick thought.
It seemed his days were bleak.
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