Two hours later, Pallas found himself freshly bathed and clad in a knight’s armor, with a coif on his head and a sword at his hip. He looked like a newly appointed knight ready to take the world by its neck in the name of his king. His gaze, however, spoke otherwise. He still retained his humble attitude, keeping his distance from the others and constantly looking down at the ground.
When he arrived at the meeting place, he didn’t dare to speak with any of the soldiers there. The silver royal carriage was being prepared for the journey ahead. The other three knights were there as well, minding their own business and completely ignoring him.
The horse Pallas was told to ride was a black stallion warm blood. It was a beautiful animal, but nothing like the one kept by the king.
While he knew how to groom and take care of them, Pallas never actually rode one before. He had always kept his distance and tried not to stand out too much. Riding was a skill only meant for the higher classes, in some countries a peasant was downright banned to do it.
Until now, in the Dumveille Kingdom, he only got to spend time with purebred horses with a high-and-mighty attitude. They usually didn’t even want to look at him as long as he was still a commoner, let alone let him ride them. Because of this, Pallas had no idea how this horse would react to him.
I hope he won’t bite me… or try to stomp me. he thought as he approached the black stallion standing right next to the carriage.
After three failed attempts to mount him, Pallas reached the point where he was thinking of simply giving up. Besides, the other soldiers were starting to look a bit weird at him. After all, they saw it as strange for a knight to be unable to mount his own horse.
Why couldn’t they give me a donkey or a raging tiger? At least I know how to handle those! he thought as the horse puffed in his face.
Pallas’ fate seemed to be sealed under the title of a bumpy hell ride. It was only when another knight approached the black stallion that the animal finally calmed down. It was like the man managed to cast some sort of spell on the horse, but all he did was touch the stallion gently on top of his head.
“The horse should listen to you now.” said the knight with a gentle smile on his face.
The man looked to be around his mid twenties’ and had a short cut spiky blond hair. His blue eyes and handsome features made him look like a prince, but the emblem on his armor suggested he wasn’t royalty but nobility.
“Thank you, milord!” said Pallas quickly, bowing his head.
The man’s gaze quickly cut off his words and breath. He seemed furious, if not angry.
“Don’t speak or address me in any way or manner on this journey! Your job is to shut up and follow my orders! Understood?” he asked with a serious tone of voice.
Pallas felt his body tense up when he heard him. He nodded a few times submissively, while the horse neighed happily. It seemed like the animal enjoyed the scolding his rider got from the real noble.
Could be worse… I could be sentenced to death because I can breathe… Pallas thought to himself sarcastically.
He wasn’t one to think too much about ranks and status, but for his facade to work, he had to show humility and obedience, making him walk over his pride countless times. However, he wasn’t always able to pull it off. When that happened, he often found himself running away from his job or enduring the punishment.
His long years of experience made him quite able at tricking lords and royalty into believing he was only a mere peasant, nothing more and nothing less. Because of this, he also ended up having a proficiency at many jobs, ranging from a blacksmith to royal gardener. However, he never stayed in a single place for more than a year. Usually, he only hung around for a month or two and then vanished before the rumors about nearby wolves escalated to full time hunting parties. Because of this, most of the times he was on the run, trying to find another shelter over his head and some food for his hungry stomach. On the bright side of things, Pallas learned not to be easily angered by someone else. This skill proved useful at this point, when he bowed his head in front of the prideful knight.
The exquisite silver carriage formed the convoy of the royal crown princess together with three knights and a fake one, ten soldiers placed at the back and in front of it, and on the sides three archers and eight servants. Seeing so many people here, Pallas began to wonder about why would he possibly be needed to act as a decoy in the first place. No sane bandit would even think about trying to attack them, especially with the knights there. They would need to be highly organized group or extremely skilled with their weapons, if they even wished to stand a fair chance against them.
When the horn sounded, it was time for the convoy to depart. Pallas shook his head to get rid of his bothersome thoughts and moved to the front of the carriage, where he had been told to stay. They moved slowly towards the gates of the capital and then shortly after, they were out of Eldenguard.
Weird… I don’t remember seeing the Princess climb into the carriage. Maybe she got on when I was trying to mount my horse? Sigh… I wished I could have at least gotten a glimpse of her. Then again, not that many people in the kingdom know how she looks like, and from what I heard she is either uglier than a demon or more beautiful than a goddess. Maybe it would be for the best if I never meet her? thought Pallas as he looked up at the sky.