The most terrifying thing was, he saw the king's shadow transformed into an enormous griffin, with head and wings of an eagle, and body and feet of a lion, walking toward him, even though the king's feet didn't move a single step.
To see Freidrech in this forced position broke King Thierri's heart. If not for a profound reason, he would have let things slide. Even if this incident didn't happen, he would still do this on a different occasion.
'I must do this for his own protection,' thought the king.
While the king was concealing his real feelings, Freidrech was struggling. With each step the Griftein shadow made, an invisible weight was pressing his shoulders, pushing him down to prostrate. Beads of sweat began forming on Freidrech's body. His legs started to wobble, but Freidrech would not give in. He gritted his teeth and fought it with all his strength.
His father's words rang back in his ears. "The blood of your great ancestors runs in your veins. Don't easily bow down to anyone, or accept suppression by any being, not even from a monarch, unless you pledge your allegiance to him. Also, giving in to oppression is directly telling the oppressor that you're easy prey and open for manipulation."
Freidrech knew he had to survive this subjugation from the king.
As the weight was almost unbearable, he began screaming in his mind and would audibly yell out any second, when all of a sudden, a cold sensation burst out from his heart but as fast as it came, it also vanished as soon as he was released from the oppressive weight. The shadow Griftein instantly reverted back into a human shape.
Beforehand, the king thought the power he displayed was significantly enough and it was time to retract the oppressing weight, but, unexpectedly, before he could do so, he saw a light exploded from Freidrech's chest. The king abruptly cut-off the Griftein power.
However, that light from Freidrech sent a fragment of backlash to the king's brain, numbing it a little, but he persistently stood.
The headmaster also saw that light and hurriedly stood behind the king and summoned his healing power. The king's guards did the same but in a discreet manner.
Sir Averardus and the other Griftein Knights, including the generals stood by in alert, ready to provide aid if needed.
What they witnessed was a total mystery. It never occurred to them that Freidrech, who had no affinity to any magic, had this hidden power to repel the majestic authority given to the Griftein king of Xaeviel, whereof other kingdom's monarchs avoided a direct confrontation.
Somehow, while these things took place, the spectators did not notice the tormenting shadow Griftein or the light. They only saw Freidrech sweating hard and slowly slouching down on the ground.
"Look at this ignorant peasant. He became dumb and humble facing the king," one of the nobles sitting near the princes voiced his mockery.
"Every male child in this kingdom wished to be our study companion and to live a fancy life in the palace, but this imbecile…," one of the princes added fire to the mocking.
"How could he reject such a reward. Well, I don't mind if he'll give it to me," said a student.
Nonetheless, Freidrech did not hear any of those ridicules. His mind was in the cool and calming sensation which erupted from his heart and released him from the heavy oppression. At the same time, a lot of questions spawned in his mind that were unsettling unless answered.
Although the oppression was lifted, he remained kneeling as a sign of respect to the king.
Then the headmaster saw Freidrech in a daze. From there, he understood this young man probably had no notion on what he had done to the king. Or probably, he was not in control of that power.
In a way, he knew this boy was lost in his thoughts, and he coughed, wakening Freidrech. Without delay, he stomped his foot and red light, which only Freidrech could see, ran on the floor toward the latter.
While his head bowed down, Freidrech saw words materialized on the floor, telling him to speak.
Fortunately, Freidrech could formulate a short speech in a nick of time. He gulped and opened his mouth. "You misunderstood, Your Majesty. This humble servant was unprepared to be given such privileges and blurted out in surprise. I'm greatly honored to be the prince's study companion."
On the other hand, Theodrech was full of vim and vigor. He couldn't contain his delight that in the end, Freidrech was still under his leadership. He thought he would lose this smart guy after ending the battle in a tie. Instead, his gain was even better.
As a matter of fact, this was his grandfather's generous gift, whatever the outcome of the battle. And it did not disappoint him.
As for Freidrech, he waited for the king's reply but the king was only silent. He was fidgety, thinking his statement was not enough to appease the king.
So, he thought he had to speak more to show his sincerity.
"Please forgive me for my unrestrained behavior, your majesty. I promised it won't happen again. I also want to express my wholehearted gratitude to be chosen as Prince Theodrech's study companion," Freidrech said in a respectful tone.
Thankfully, King Thierri was now back in shape and was pleased with the boy's effort to appease him.
"Good, then stand up and accept the decree," said the king.
Freidrech stood and pulled the floating scroll. "Thank you, your majesty. I will do my best to assist his Highness as his study companion."
"No need to trouble yourself more. Just be yourself and enjoy each other's company," said the king with an overly courteous smile, creeping Freidrech out.
Then the true meaning of that creepy smile dawned on him.
'AHHH, what a shame. I've let myself be caught in the king's web from the very beginning.'
He thought he had the upper hand when he challenged Theodrech, but he was stupidly wrong.
The king left, satisfied with the outcome. He was actually thankful to Freidrech for issuing the challenge. Through this, his adviser, the nobles, and the people had no viable reason to complain when he assigned Freidrech his new name, manor, and as the prince's study companion because he had proven his worth.
In some way, only Freidrech, the king, and of course, including the headmaster, understood the king's scheme. From sending Sir Riquier and a whole squadron to escort Freidrech, to the villa where the greenwood was placed, and to the awarding of his new surname and task.
It was all planned by King Thierri to protect and return what was due to Freidrech and to assist Theodrech to ascend the throne someday.
Somehow, that outburst of power from Freidrech was a disturbing matter.
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