Theo began writing his riddles while Freidrech only stared at the quill. The headmaster saw him and confused with his actions.
"Boy, you better start now."
"Ah, um" Freidrech stammered, scratching his head. "Uh, you see, I can't use magic. A simple quill and ink will do."
Gasps and ridicules were heard from the bleachers.
"The challenger can't wield any magic?" said a handsome man sitting at the commoner's bleachers.
"So he's one of those unfortunate ones but had the guts to face a strong magic wielder, our Prince Theodrech," said a student who looked up highly at Theo.
Freidrech hated this kind of atmosphere the most. There's nothing wrong for not having the ability to use magic. Besides, this was a school, why couldn't they produce a bottle of ink? Why only use a magic quill when almost half of the population of this nation were like him?
His tolerance to such kind of treatment was totally low but for now, he had to remain calm. He looked at the headmaster, waiting to help him.
The headmaster felt terrible. No one told him about Freidrech's lack of affinity with magic.
"I'm sorry, young man. We were not informed of your difficulty. Please wait for a while," said Lord Rhabras.
"Thank you, Sire."
"Hey, boy, if you have difficulty writing then leave. Don't waste our time, you powerless imbecile," said the same handsome man at the bleachers.
"What's with this guy?" The commoners looked at the man with indignation and those near him moved to sit somewhere else. However, the man didn't care.
From the first the man opened his mouth hurling insults, Theo thought of rebuking the guy but the king coughed behind him, so he remained silent and held in his anger as he balled a fist.
As time went on, the ink didn't arrive. Stirrings and chatting started at the audience.
Freidrech felt daggers thrown at him from the audience's boring stares and made him desperate. Hence, he decided to take matters in his own hands. He scanned the crowd around, trying to find the person he saw holding something he could use now. There, a lady sitting with the students.
"Headmaster, Sir," Freidrech said and slightly bowed. "Please allow me to ask a few items from a lady for my writing material."
"Who might that lady be and what items?" asked Lord Rhabras.
"That lady and the items are the flowers with her." Freidrech pointed a girl wearing a coat with the school logo with a bunch of red flowers on her arm.
"It's Lady Verlouise," shouted a male student.
Everyone's eyes went to Lady Verlouise and to the flowers he mentioned. Those were tiny red flowers with red stalks.
The girl looked down on the flowers and back at him with her eyebrows raised.
"Miss, please allow this poor fellow to have your flowers," said Freidrech.
"This one? How can you use this?" said Lady Verlouise, pointing at the item.
"I'll show it to you once I have it."
Lady Verlouise adventurous and curious spirit was ignited. "Okay," she said and handed the flowers to a helper who gave it to Freidrech.
"Thank you," said Freidrech and gave a gentleman's bow.
All eyes were now on him, waiting for what he'd do next.
Freidrech cut one of the flower heads and a red liquid oozed out from the cut stalk. He hurriedly dipped the quill on the liquid. A red tint was seen on the quill as he raised it. With that, Freidrech started writing and dipped again until he was done.
The lady and the people were impressed. Theo gave Freidrech a thumbs up. The king smiled. There was no need for him to intervene.
Unbeknownst to them, the boy assigned to get the ink was unconscious in the supply room and a rope tied around his hands and feet.
---- o ----
Lord Rhabras studied the riddles and nodded in approval.
"We'll give the visitor the honor to give his first riddle." Lord Rhabras lifted his arm toward Freidrech.
Freidrech stood and breathed deep. "Thank you, headmaster. Here's my first riddle. Voiceless it cries and wingless it flutters, toothless it bites and mouthless it mutters. What is it?"
Theodrech stood. "It is simple. The answer is the wind," he said with a triumphant smile. The audience gave loud applause and Theo waved a hand in acknowledgment.
"It's Prince Theodrech's turn," said the headmaster.
Theo faced Freidrech and filled the arena with his booming voice. "Say my name and I disappear. Who am I?"
Before the audience could cheer again, Freidrech shouted. "Silence!"
The audience's cheers abruptly ceased. Total silence filled the stadium. The loud cheers became a quiet annoyance. No one was smiling.
The knights shook their heads in disagreement. Theo was stunned speechless.
The spectators expected the king to imprison this boy.
Only four persons did not think the same way. Rather, these four were interested in how Freidrech would resolve this problem he made.
Then Freidrech quickly added, "Is the answer."
"Correct," said Theo with a sigh, feeling exhausted. In his mind, he was strangling Freidrech in anger for the little drama.
The audience slowly regained their composure. Eventually, the knights saw this hilarious and roared in laughter.
"I really like you, kid."
"You, damn silly boy, almost gave me a heart attack."
Their hollers lightened the mood. This time, no complaints or murmurings were overheard.
Instead, the bleachers became alive. Those sitting on the topmost area whistled and clapped, supporting their fellow commoner.
"Way to go, boy."
"We'll cheer for you."
"Show 'em what ye'v got, Mister."
The king and queen had a huge grin on their faces. They were enjoying his so-called attention-getting antics.
Little did they know, Freidrech had cold feet when the students cheered at Theo after the latter answered his first riddle. To his convenience, the answer to Theo's riddle was silence. Thus, he yelled all of his nervousness with it, wishing with all of his heart that the cheers would stop. And after realizing his mistake, he hurriedly added the rest of his words as a cover-up.
Nonetheless, the crowd's enthusiasm boiled Theo's blood in excitement. He enjoyed the battle all the more. His desire to win accelerated.
Prince Lowis, the king's eldest son, started to plan on how to recruit Freidrech.
There was another one who had a glint in his eye. He was none other but the Headmaster, Lord Rhabras.
"This boy is not simple. His future is very bright. To be exact, the brightness covered my power of foresight," said Lord Rhabras.
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