Delias’s expression was one of shock. He had not expect for this to happen. His intention was to extort enough money from the children to get a change of clothes that he would be satisfied with. He had not known how much things were worth or even the denomination of the money so he threw out a number. Two hundred. Two hundred falari was a decent amount from where he came from; he hoped the worth of the falari was somewhere equivalent to whatever denomination was for the Averati, especially since two hundred falari was just a week’s worth of pocket change for rich kids, and the group in front of him looked like a bunch of rich kids. If he could bully them into giving him money with the pretense of coming to save the day, then it would be all good. But now?
The tall, heavyset elder stared at Delias. His eyes were golden and he gave off a majestic presence. Delias felt a coldness seep into him. It’s that same thing again. Do they all do that? But of course Delias had a feeling that it was just a select few. He must be powerful, more than that lecherous skunk. Damn it. Why am I the one always running into the powerful ones?
“Well? Have you any interest in becoming a disciple?”
“Ha ha ha.” Delias laughed out. He was nervous, and that laughter came out of nervousness. Delias clasped his hands and bowed. “May I ask what this esteemed elder’s name is?”
“You may call me Elder Lu.” The golden eyed man said.
“So its Elder Lu. It is a pleasure to formally meet you.”
Elder Lu smiled and seemed impressed with Delias’s introduction. Delias laughed inside his heart. This guy probably thought I was a hick because of my look. Fatass underestimated my bootlicking skills. But this sure has become sticky. I Don’t know how reputable this school is but if I say no… Don’t want this to get messy. Hmm maybe I can turn this around?
“But I must apologize to elder. You see, I have just arrived in this fair city, and have yet to acclimate myself to this place. Can this great and magnanimous elder, obviously known for is immeasurable patience, allow this little one to think on this for a few days. I will definitely have an answer for you then. Furthermore…”. Delias looked at the first group of students with a frown.
The two groups of children and the people around them that were listening were shocked. Does he not know what Crawfields Academy is? This guy. He’s like a roach in front of a qilin. He doesn’t know what’s good for him.
The elder frowned too. He was ecstatic that the red-headed boy seemed eager, but as the boy continued to speak, his jubilation left. How could he not know what the boy was doing? The boy called him patient so now if he forced the issue, his appearance would lower. That was not bad as he did not care two licks of what the eastern border people thought about him, over such a small thing it would not hurt his overall reputation, but what the boy did was also indicate with a frown and look that if those children who were supposed to be Crawfield disciples were a standard of the school’s outlook, then he had much to think about. Why would he join a school that had students of such poor conduct?
What never crossed Elder Lu’s mind was that Delias was trying to deflect from joining the school altogether. After all, who would not want to join Crawfields Academy?
Elder Lu’s face grew ugly. Not only were some of the students he picked throwing his face and the reputation of the school so openly, but now there were ruining probably his only chance to get a decent student within the entire eastern border. This was unacceptable!
Elder looked at the students. He had casually glanced across the injuries on the boy on the ground. The injuries were not severe but they were not light either. It would probably take the boy a few days before he would stop pissing blood.
Elder Lu thought on the pills in his satchel. He had no wish to give a pill away for a useless nobody. But if he did not do something to make him and the school look better in the eyes of this red-headed youth, then it was practically him saying goodbye to his position as elder.
Turning to the groups of children, Elder Lu’s voice reverberated across the square, “What is going on here? Why are you beating on this boy?”
Parker’s heart jumped. He looked at those around him for support, but not only did they seem frightened, but the group even shifted away from Parker. That shift was slight, an unconscious reaction out of fear, but it was enough to single him out as a main perpetrator. Parker cursed in his heart. These cowards. All useless!
Parker stepped up, with a confident air about him. “Elder Lu, this guy owed me money. I had been patient with him over and over, but now that we are approaching the deadline for me to leave to the Academy, I could no longer wait. This is all about face. What would happen to my family’s reputation if it’s said that people could owe money and not clear their debt? I admit I was a bit heavy-handed, but this was all with just cause.”
He knew the injured boy would not say anything. The boy would know what would happen later if he did. The other group of kids would not do so either. So against a guy who did not know them or their situation, how could there even be an argument he could not win?
Parker pointed at Delias.“But then this… this guy comes out of nowhere trying use this situation to extort me! I am not in the wrong here Elder, please, with your uncorrupted sense of justice and honor, deliberate and judge on this one’s issue.
Delias looked upon the injured boy. He saw the wide eyes filled with fear. This one’s going to be useless. Better not try to use him. Hearing Parker’s speech, Delias smiled. Kid. You think you’re smart? You can’t match Grandfather on this! Time for a spanking.
“Ehem!” Delias shook his head. His face showed disappointment as he faced Parker. “Three things. First, you have said repeatedly that he ‘owes’ you money. But you never said that he, in any way, borrowed money. Did he borrow money from you? Did his family take out a loan and never paid back that loan in its entirety?”
Parker’s face stiffened.
So childish. Can read you like a book! Delias had heard what Parker had said earlier when he was stomping on the boy; Parker never came off to him as someone who would lend money to a random commoner, so Delias figured the guy was just bullying people out of his money. Then listening to the boy explain to Elder Lu, and how careful his wording was, Delias was became even more sure.
That Parker did not dare to lie to Elder Lu, but with a different phrasing, was it a lie? No. It was just not the truth that mattered.
“In truth this ‘owing’ of money is just what you feel you’re entitled to. I don’t know why you feel this sense of entitlement, but by la… Ehem.” Don’t know what the Averati law on this is. “… but by common decency, you don’t deserve such entitlements. We are all free to climb high under the sun. Second. That extortion bit. Hmph. I was just requesting two hundred to cover this boy’s health expenses and probably whatever you have beaten out of him from before.
“And last, must look at this scene. You harm the reputation of this city, those that govern it, the law, and you show a complete lack of respect to those who are around with this commotion. You should be ashamed of yourself!”
Delias was nearly breathless after his rant. His face was a flushed a bit red, and adding his already red hair and reddish sclera, it made him comparable to the lighter version of a cherry.
Parker’s mouth opened and shut. The speech, more like lecture, by Delias had left him stunned. He did not know where to begin. He felt like he was caught red-handed. The injured boy, still on the floor, did not borrow any money. Parker was just trying to bully it out of him.
Thereby, he could not outright say it was a lie nor even refute it, else he would be lying to the elder. He would rather fall for this than fall for lying to the elder straight out.
Also Parker was young with not much experience. He was also from a rich family, but not a too rich family or noble one either. He was not used to growing up in circles with people who bantered easily with each other. So he was slow to counteract. Parker tensed. His teeth grinded together in anger.
“Well, nothing to say? Well then, Elder Lu, what do you think?” Delias asked, trying to close the situation before mean boy got back his bearings.
Both Parker and Delias looked to Elder Lu.
At this moment there was a small crowd, but more and more people were stopping by. Because of the location, most of the crowd was composed of middle to upper class citizens. Citizens that could directly influence those at the top if things went too far.
Elder Lu was calm. He was going to settle this swiftly. Though Parker was one of his stronger of candidates to enter the Crawfields Academy, Elder Lu had no qualms of hurting his pride.
“All this over such childishness.” Elder Lu said in a somber voice. “You are all grown; heading to do something good with your lives. No more of this childishness! Parker, you will give the boy two hundred vanii as compensation. That is all.”
Then Elder Lu turned back to Delias. “I’ll give you two days. Two days should be enough. I’ll expect your answer by then.” And at that, Elder Lu stalked back to the Wine Water Pavilion.
Delias clasped his hands and bowed as the elder left. He was not worried. He figured two days would be enough for him to leave the city and be on his way.
With the elder leaving, the crowd that had started forming around them began to disperse, but Delias was sure that the Parker kid would definitely pay.
Delias held a grin. “Two hundred vanii. Fork it over… for compensation.”
The face of the boy named Parker looked ugly. He did not budge to move, but after a moment, the boy next to him did. Reaching into the pouch at his side, the tall lanky boy, with green scales on his arms, counted out twenty gold coins and was going to hand it over to the injured boy when Delias snatched it before hand.
“Hmph. I will make sure the boy is well taken care of, for all I know you all would just come back and beat it out of him again.”
The Parker’s group looked like they wanted to kill him. But of course they did not dare. Elder Lu had asked him if he wanted to join Crawfield. While that was still undecided, they did not want to do something that would anger the elder further.
With the gold coins in Delias’s hands, the first group of kids stormed off, leaving him alone with the second group.
Delias took a glance at the injured boy. The boy glanced back.
“Why did you do that?!” The boy yelled. Parker was supposed to leave in two days. My torment would be over! No. No. No. Now he’s going to conscript his goons to kill me after he leaves.””
Delias just stared at the injured boy. “Grow some backbone!” He roared and tossed the boy a gold coin and started to walk off.
The injured boy was startled, but he pushed himself off the floor with the aid of his friends. “Wait! Wasn’t the two hundred for me? My money!”
Delias stopped. “Now you grow balls?” He gave the boy a cold look, and the injured boy took a step back. “I never said the full two hundred was for you. The rest of the money is my protection fee!” And Delias stalked off.
Time to go shopping.