Chapter 24. First Meeting (11)
Calian stared straight into Alan’s calm eyes. While the prince stood silent, what he wanted was clear. He wanted to have a conversation.
It was disrespectful for Alan to be in a higher position than a prince from another country, and so he dismounted from his horse.
Calian could see Alan’s face clearly now and was quite surprised. He had heard that the mage was in his fifties, but no matter how he looked at the other man, he seemed to be in his mid-twenties. Fortunately, the unique color of his hair, which was darker on the ends, indicated that he indeed was Alan Manassil. It was only then that Calian realized that the voice at the gates sounded young as well.
He had heard that if one completed the seven circles, one could change their apparent age.
‘I was correct, indeed.’
Calian looked at Alan without concealing his admiration. Alan’s eyes were riveted on that look.
‘He is only fourteen. How does one his age have such a gaze?’
The prince looked at him differently than the guards did. Somehow, it felt like Alan was being assessed for his usefulness rather than his garb.
Alan bowed his head lightly toward Calian and greeted him.
It was a simple greeting. Alan’s attitude was quite remarkable. No one other than the royal family could greet the prince this way at their first meeting. It wasn’t because Alan didn’t know who Calian was, nor was he playing a simple game. It was because Alan knew himself that he was such a talented being who didn’t have to shrink in front of the royal family.
‘I like this man,’ Calian thought.
It occurred to Calian that Alan’s attitude would not change even if he stood in front of King Rumein. A genuine smile spread across Calian’s face.
As Calian had mentioned to Yan, Calian was royal, so he didn’t say his name with his own mouth.
“It is late, so why would you depart?” Calian asked.
He was asking him why he would go back. Alan answered with a pompous voice.
“The door threshold was too high for me to enter.”
That was how Alan described it when the guard rejected him for his shabby clothes. For whatever reason, mages liked to hide their true meaning in their speech. Therefore, in speaking with Alan, Calian had to stay alert and listen to the subtle meanings of his words.
‘I prefer the knights’ way,’ Calian thought, ‘An advance is advance and a retreat is retreat, and they do not shadow their words and and say otherwise.’
However, he was dealing with a mage, so what else could he do?
“The door was open, and you were looking at a place that was closed,” Calian answered with a relaxed look.
It was Alan’s lack of invitation that caused him trouble. Alan looked at Calian strangely. Fourteen-year-old boys did not give that kind of answer. As if he knew what he was thinking, Calian added,
“It so happened that there was a lot of wind, and dust was getting in the threshold. I was in a hurry to block the wind and get rid of the dust.”
He didn’t care if the guard made a mistake to keep anyone out of the way. He would be honest.
Alan’s lips crept upwards in a smile.
‘This child will be interesting to watch.’
With that thought, Alan began to take thorough stock of Calian.
When the mage first saw him, he could sense many hidden layers beneath.
Then, the smile on Alan’s face faded away a little by little.
Alan’s gaze reached the end of the red cape that Calian was wearing. Then he stared at Calian’s hand, and looked back into his eyes. It was hard to see what the mage was thinking, and Calian silently watched Alan observe him.
Alan took a step toward Calian.
The mage’s expression was stiff, and Calian suddenly became alarmed.
“Please excuse me,” Alan said, then suddenly reached out and grabbed Calian’s wrist.
Normally Calian would have evaded the move, but the long day had exhausted him. All day long he was on the verge of collapsing and his reflexes weren’t fast enough.
There was no one in the royal palace who was allowed to touch Calian’s body so brazenly, and he was caught off guard that his wrist was captured.
Alan looked down and seemed to check something on Calian’s hand.
Taken aback, Calian opened his mouth to protest, while at the same time Alan allowed his mana to flow into Calian’s body.
“What are you—!”
Calian suddenly clutched his chest, unable to speak all. A familiar sharp pain stabbed his heart. He could never get used to the pain, no matter how many times it wracked his body.
Raven, who was standing behind him, came up a step closer as if to look at his master’s condition. Calian leaned against Raven’s body and gritted his teeth. Calian realized that his condition had been discovered before he could even have a proper conversation.
Alan looked at his figure and nodded as if he had come to some understanding.
“Closing the door won’t keep all the wind out,” he said gravely.
Those were some clever words!
Calian glared at Alan fiercely, and wrenched back his hand. Alan loosened his grip as to not break the prince’s skinny wrist, then took a step back. He didn’t intend to touch the prince anymore.
Calian closed his eyes for a moment and forced himself to quell his anger. He knew that the mage was only trying to check his physical condition.
“Haaah.” Calian heaved out a breath. Alan discovered Calian was sick before Calian could change his mind.
“Yes, I couldn’t stop you. I haven’t been able to use mana since some point,” Calian said resignedly, but he couldn’t keep a note of displeasure from his voice.
Alan nodded. Calian seemed to realize there was something wrong with himself.
But that wasn’t the problem. While they were only talking about mana, there was something else.
‘I just came to see the birthday celebration,’ Alan thought.
He wanted to see how a country ruled by the descendants of a dragon treated mages. As he expected, it was a wretched place, and he planned to humiliate the whole continent right away.
But now he was faced with something he didn’t expect.
Suddenly, Alan’s eyes fell were on the statue of Sispanian, which was erected in the middle of the fountain. The words that had been repeating in the streets all day echoed in his ear.
–The prince resembled Sispanian!
This would be interesting to watch.