Nicholas did not know Gregs relation with Mrs. Moores when he hired him. Back then, they were living in separate houses. Mrs. Moore being the headmaid stayed in the manor while Greg stayed somewhere else due to his work as a train spotter. He remembered how startled Mrs. Moore was when she saw her husband tailing after the Baron.

Anyhow, the surprise Mrs. Moore showcased back then was not even half of what Nicholas experienced when he found out the person he rescued seven years ago. He was beyond surprised.


(Years ago)

Bloody hell, Mr. Jackson really has it out for me, ” Nicholas, aged twenty two summers, trudges through the vast field of wheat under the blaring afternoon sun. Everyone was already inside the workers shack, taking their noon meal after an exhausting morning in the field. He was one of those workers, however, Mr. Jackson, the assigned steward of the vast lands his currently walking under the unmerciful heat of the sun, has taken an unprovoked hatred for Nicholas.

He could not wrap his head why would the steward hate him when he was just a new employ, a diligent one. He was working the fields for three full moons now, and he was not a bum. There is no time for sitting around.

Nicholas was left an orphan and lived under the mercy of the aristocrats funding the orphanage around Clevon when his commoner parents died from an accident on the road. The wagon they were riding fell in a deep, rocky ditch, due to a driver maneuvering the wagon in his foxed state. Nicholas was a tender age of seven summers when it happened.

He had the most loving parents, and all of it was gone in replacement of the stoic, cold shoulders from the women running the house for unfortunate children like him. Children with no relations left in this world or relations who do not want another mouth to feed. Fortunately for Nicholas, he was part of the former. It is easier to stomach being alone in this world than having cold relatives somewhere giving him the cold shoulder.

From thereon, Nicholas learned to work his way into surviving the world. Luckily, Clevon was a thriving country and has a lot of jobs to offer for commoner folks like him. By the age of ten, he left the orphanage to work as an errand boy in the docks. He has seen his fair share of how terrifying the real world was for the next following years.

When he reached the age thirteen, he worked on a small farm owned by a kind merchant. It was the time he developed a tendre for farming. He worked for the kind merchant for only three summers before he was let go, to be precise, all of the workers, when the owner died of a heart disease.

Nicholas worked a variety of jobs all through the years. He grew up around the streets of Clevon, learning along the way. When he saved enough money, he traveled South of Clevon and ended working tilling the vast lands of the Vandolfs. He is enjoying his work for three full moons, not until Mr. Jackson would slave him away doing random errands. It is not his fault that the grouchy steward doesn have an inkling about irrigating the fields, and that the workers would turn to him for help.

In the midst of Nicholas frustrating tirade, a loud growl almost startled him out of his wits. He looks down, finding his shabby garbed guts growling in complaint every step he takes. He sighs in annoyance. How convenient would it be if humans don need nutrition to survive everyday? It would be grand to work and never have to worry about filling ones stomach at every turn.

Nicholas growling stomach coincides with the rushing stream. It would be melancholic for someone but to Nicholas it is an alternative. A temporary way to sate his hunger. Making a beeline for the dense trees, Nicholas walks in the direction of the stream nearby, careful from stumbling over the twigs and roots decorating the solid ground.

Usually, it wouldn take him long to reach the said stream, however, the sight in front of him was taking his precious time. He does not know a lot about horses but Nicholas recognized the fine stallion in front of him, a horse that commonly caters to the nobility. The leather saddle atop the animal implies that the owner is nearby while the animal lumbered around grazing grass on the ground. It is of an Andalusian breed, that Spanish horse breed that the nobles were raving about.

It is the problem hes currently facing, presently, adding weight to his already high pile of chores. Nicholas could not find the owner anywhere and he has been looking for an entire hour now. No doubt Mr. Jackson would have a fine time roasting his hide after he is done with this. With all the certainty of time being considered, he is going to be late.

If he could not find the owner, then something must have happened to the poor soul. No one would leave such a fine horse wandering about around the forest. It is also a mild-tempered one, it did not give a fuss when Nicholas tugged at its bridle. It is easy to steal the animal, and he could not let it happen. Together, Nicholas and the horse sauntered around, looking for the owner.

”This is not how I planned my day to turn out, ” Nicholas muttered, earning a snapping huff from the animal beside him. It seems like the stallion is sharing the dilemma he is in, agreeing with Nicholas in its own way.

”You are a fine steed, my man. You have an imbecile of an owner to be left around unsecured, ” he resumed his tirade, trying to distract himself from the dilemma at hand and the hunger bothering his guts. He originally wanted just a sip of water to quench some of the hunger, not to act like a Prince rescuing some damsel in distress, if you can call a commoner a Prince.

Nicholas chuckles. Now that he thinks of it, hed rather find an imbecile owner who got lost than a person who fell to his death around the forest. The damn place is quite slippery with moss covering the smooth rocks littering the forest and surrounding the stream.

Today is indeed an unfortunate day. A few yards ahead of him, a striking color of crimson garments were in a heap on the rocky shore and beside it was a pale old man in his breeches, bleeding from his head.

”For the love of Hades, ” Nicholas swore under his breath, carefully treading in the unconscious mans direction. The stallion went past him, nudging the man currently lying on his back. The way the animal nudges the man in familiarity, he must be the owner.

Nicholas went to work quickly, checking the mans pulse or any sign of life. He was relieved to find him breathing, and with a strong pulse.

Working for some medicine man years ago certainly aided him. He checked the bleeding on the side of the head and found it superficial. The old man must have been unconscious due to the shock.

”Sir? ” Nicholas taps the unconscious mans shoulder, shaking him awake, albeit gently to avoid jarring the injury. The man, even unconscious, has this regal look on him. One can tell that the man is made of money, golden haired and all.

Nicholas was studying the old mans face for some reason that he somehow looks familiar when the stallion all but jammed its hoof on its owners chest. The poor man snapped awake in pain, sitting up in disorientation. Seconds tick by and the old man locks his eyes on Nicholas, giving him a deathly glower.

”How dare you hit a Royals person? ” The hoarse voice said in anger. Nicholas who was appalled with the destriers action was slow to register the mans words. Therefore, he did not see the open palm colliding with the back of his head, causing him to stumble on his heels. He fell to the rocky ground, his arse receiving the utmost damage.

He doesn know which to tend first. The back of his head that hurt like he knocked his head on the rock he was sprawled on, or his aching arse cushion by the rocky ground. One thing is certain, he was rudely startled.

Somewhere in the background in all of these, he can hear the steed neighing in excitement. One would say that it sounded like the horse was having a laughing fit.

”You crazy old man! ” Nicholas glowered back and slapped the old mans breeches clad shin. The latter sputtered in disbelief, offended. He did not even hit him hard. He is still mindful of his manners. The old man is still injured after all.

”Ho! You, you hit me again! How dare you hit your King?! ” The old mans voice thundered across the whole forest, smashing Nicholas hearing to pieces. The horse neighed along with his owner as the birds flew away, quacking their discontent from being disturb in their sanctuary.

An awkward silence reigned over the forest, only the sound of the restless stream filled the silence with its flowing current. Nicholas looks at the golden haired elderly in front of him.

”King? ” He asked, flabbergasted.

”That is right. I am your King, ” the old man proudly claimed.

”You aren my King if Im not from your land, ” Nicholas reiterated.

You see, Nicholas was having a hard time processing all the information at once. In addition to that, his growling stomach was asking for sustenance all this time, making it difficult for him to keep track of his thoughts. It was perfectly understandable that he would spout nonsense.

”You. You are an assassin? Guards! ” The man cried out in panic, while the horse dueted with his masters battle cry for protection.

Nicholas was clearly convoluted with the turn of events. All that he can do is gawk at the old man calling himself King, shell-shocked.

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