I arrived home that night and docked the boat. No one was there to greet me and there was no hand cart, so I picked up as many ingredient bags as I could and walked all the way back to the mansion. One of the staff saw me coming and ran into the house, probably to let everyone know I was back. No one came out to greet me, and I found that odd.
I went in the back way and dropped off the bags of ingredients I had, then I went up the stairs. “Hello?” I asked and heard the distinct sound of metal armor clanging. The parlour door opened and six armored men stepped out with swords drawn. I noticed the royal emblem on their shoulders and let out a sigh.
“Lord Drake, you are being placed under arrest.” One of them said and the men took a ready stance.
“Where's my family?” I asked.
“They're fine.” The man said and I didn't relax.
“I want to see that for myself, thank you.” I said and took a step forward.
“You are in no position to...” The man started to say and I lunged and pushed them all aside as if they were nothing. Metal clanged as the armored men bounced off the walls and fell to the floor. I walked into the parlour and saw that the household staff, Helena, and Vanessa were being held at bay by another six armored men.
“Is there any particular reason you're holding them?” I asked the men, who took a fighting stance instead a of a ready stance.
“It was to make you more compliant.” One of them said and gripped his sword.
“Angering me does not make me compliant.” I said.
“David, don't.” Helena said. “If you attack...”
“I want to know why they think taking hostages is the right thing to do.” I said and pointedly didn't draw my knife, even though I easily could have.
“We're stopping them from helping you escape.” One of the other men said. His tense muscles shook slightly as he tried to keep his stance.
“I could have escaped long before coming into this room.” I said and he looked unsure. “In fact, I can easily walk back out.”
One of the others changed his stance and started to swing his sword towards Helena, I assumed to threaten her, so I lit everything on him on fire.
“AHHHH!” The man screamed as his hair and his clothing pretty much immolated inside of his armor. He dropped his sword and fell to his knees as he tried, and failed, to pat out the fire with metal covered hands.
“Don't you dare swing a sword at my pregnant fiance.” I said in a deadly voice.
The five remaining swordsmen charged up their blades, preparing for a fight. I had easily detected the enchantments and cancelled them. The glows faded and the men let out startled sounds. The man that was on fire, fainted from the pain.
“So, does anyone else want to threaten my family in front of me?” I asked.
“You have to come with us.” The lead man said and tried to charge his blade. It didn't work.
“Your blades need to be enchanted again.” I said and he looked surprised. “Now, before you make me kill you all for your stupidity, you will walk out of this house and wait for me outside.”
“Now listen here...” The lead man started to say.
I was across the room with my charged knife out, sliced his armor chest plate off, and held my knife over his heart. “What were you saying?”
“David!” Helena gasped.
“I haven't attacked yet.” I said and looked into the man's eyes. “What were you saying?”
The man swallowed audibly and sweat beaded on his forehead. “We were... going to wait outside.”
“Sir! He's supposed to be under...”
I instantly twisted around and turned my knife as I slammed the hilt into that man's forehead to knock him out. He dropped to the floor as I turned back around and put the knife back at the lead man's heart. Barely a second had passed.
“Yes, we were just leaving.” The lead man said and made a hand signal for retreat. The two unconscious men were picked up and carried out to the recovered men in the hallway and they all went out the front door. “Excuse me.” He said and stepped back, then walked around me and followed the men out.
“David, you shouldn't have done that.” Helena said with a sigh.
“They handled my arrest poorly.” I said and walked over to her as I put my knife away.
“What happened?” Vanessa asked.
“I finished my task.” I said and knelt in front of them. “I did notice the looks the soldiers in the Eastern Empire garrison gave me when I passed by them. I should have known that something was going on.”
Helena took my hand and gave it a squeeze. “David, please don't make any more of a fuss. Go with them and comply with any order that doesn't compromise your personal safety.”
“Yes, dear.” I said and gave her a kiss for several seconds. “Can you send the workers to the boat? I have thirty seven gutted near-deer carcasses and another dozen canvas bags of ingredients to bring back here.”
“I'll handle it.” Hope said.
“Call Greta and get her to prep them for me and then implore her to not use anything.” I said and Helena looked surprised, until I subtly pointed out my right hand.
“Of course. It will be done.” Helena said.
“Thank you.” I said and gave her another kiss. “I'll be back as soon as I can.”
“D-David.” Vanessa whispered and I turned to her. “They usually won't let you go until there's a trial.”
“I'm a Lord. They can't hold me like I'm no one. Not anymore.” I said and gave her a kiss, then I stood.
The two of them watched me walk calmly out of the room.
I walked out of the mansion's front doors, that I had to open myself because the guards were dead. “I'll be adding their unnecessary deaths to your charges.” I said and took both men's Henrietta Longshore badges. “You didn't die in vain.” I said and closed their blank eyes.
None of the king's soldiers said anything as I walked over to the carriage with bars on the window. I climbed in and sat on the bare wooden bench and stayed quiet myself. I looked over at the front door of the mansion and saw several of the staff standing there with Helena, Vanessa, and Hope. I gave them a wave just as the carriage pulled away and they waved back.
It took almost no time to get to the castle and I was let out and brought into a different building than the one I had been in before. The burned man and the unconscious man were taken elsewhere.
“Why isn't the prisoner shackled?” A fancily dressed man asked when we entered the lobby of the jailhouse.
“No one wanted to be the first to die.” I said and the man looked surprised. “I'm joking. They didn't threaten to put them on me, so I didn't have to refuse.”
The jailer looked at the lead man and saw his armor chest plate was missing. “I see.” He said and looked at me. “You need to hand over your belongings and...”
“No.” I said and he raised his eyebrows. “I'm only humoring you, so handing over my things is pointless.”
The jailer looked at the lead man, who shook his head, and sighed. “Follow me.”
“So, what's going to happen?” I asked as the man led us down a hallway.
“You are to be held until the trial.” The jailer said and waved at one of the cells.
“When's the trial?” I asked.
“That's not going to work for me.” I said and stood there without entering the cell. “I have things to do.”
“You are in our custody...”
“What part of 'humoring you' didn't you understand? I can walk right back out of here if I wanted to.” I said and he looked surprised. “Send word to the king and Princess Rose. Let them know I've arrived and no one has told me what's going on.”
“You're a prisoner and...” The jailer stopped talking when the King's men all took a step back.
“I am Lord Drake and I am ordering you to listen.” I said. “Send word right away. If I don't hear anything favorably from them, then I won't bother staying here.”
“Very well.” The jailer said and pointed to the door. “Have a seat and I'll send a message as soon as possible to...”
I felt the lie and grabbed the man by the throat and picked him up. “Lie to me again and I'll hope that your replacement will do such a simple task.” I said and squeezed a little.
The jailer choked and none of the King's men moved to rescue him. “Can't... kill... me.”
“Who said I would kill you?” I asked and he looked worried. I let the man go and he coughed for several moments. “Make your choice.”
The jailer rubbed his throat. “I'll send word after I go back to my desk.”
I nodded and stepped into the cell.
The jailer quickly closed the cell door made of iron bars and smiled. “I only go to my desk in the mornings.” He said and put a bit of magic into the door. It glowed and I felt the enchantments activate all around me. “Good luck trying to escape now, you arrogant and insufferable man!”
I glanced at the lead man of the King's men. “You should prepare to take the cell next to mine tomorrow.”
The lead man looked uncomfortable and walked away after ordering his men to follow.
“Why would he have to do that?” The jailer asked.
“He killed two of my guards when they wouldn't admit him and his men to my mansion.” I said and sat down on a stark wooden bench. “I don't see a bed.”
“You can sleep on the floor.” The jailer said with a satisfied smile and walked away.
“I don't think so.” I said when he was far enough away to not hear me. I took out my knife and charged it, then sliced the wooden bench in half down the length to split it in two halves. I used some number ten potion to secure one half to the wall and then took out a folded canvas bag. I sliced it down the length to open it up, then used some potion to attach the long edge to the secured side of the bench.
I attached the other long edge to the free standing half of the bench as well and then moved it out to make the canvas taught. I used some potion to secure the legs to the floor and now I had a nice improvised cot. I laid down on it and closed my eyes as the mage lights in the place winked out.
Now that I was completely alone, I could use my abilities to concentrate on the enchantments around me and to learn their secrets. I regretted not getting an opportunity to read through the rune book before now as I learned of the five enchantments around me. One was on the door, one was on the floor, one was on the ceiling, one was on the window, and one was on the walls.
Collectively, they combined to stop all offensive magic from being cast past them. It was a great system, as far as I was concerned. I wouldn't be able to damage anything with magic while inside and smiled, because I quickly thought that it would be great to enchant on the outside of something instead.
I didn't learn the individual runes or their meanings, only the full enchantments. If my guess was correct, they created an artificial mage shield, which had a similar effect. Now I wondered what the limit was or if my brand of magic would actually work, since it didn't work the same as the magic they all knew and assumed I had.
I wasn't going to test it now, though. There was no need to let that secret out if anyone was listening or watching, either with normal eyes or magically. I was sure I'd feel it if anyone was looking at me, since the enchantments didn't stop my vigilance technique, so I relaxed and memorized the six enchantments before I drifted off to sleep.
Tomorrow was going to be another full and eventful day.