The morning sunshine was not very strong. Lucien was lying in the sun, covered with wounds and blood. Staring at the clear blue sky, breathing the fresh air gently, Lucien forgot the pain. His mind was waving like a deep ocean.
Lucien realized that everything he had experienced before led him to his final decision: learning magic. Although he knew he had to be even more careful and cautious in the future, at the same time, he felt more relaxed than ever before, after making up his mind.
There was even a smile on Lucien's bruised face. He felt he had genuinely grown up within the past couple of days, much faster than in his own world. The anger, the feeling of inferiority and the sense of insecurity had blended together and pushed him to that decision. And he was also gifted with the library.
So why not? Lucien asked himself, feeling relieved from his long-time repression.
"My poor Evans! Oh my poor Evans! Are you alright?" Alisa tried to hold Lucien's hand.
The slight movement of his arms and legs made Lucien wince in pain.
"I'm okay, Aunty Alisa. They didn't want to kill me, fortunately."
Aunty Alisa held Lucien's arm and led him back to her place. She kept swearing with great anger, "These bastards would be hanged and tortured in hell by endless flames!"
After cleaning the wounds, Alisa was about to ask Lucien what happened today. Before that, it seemed like she suddenly thought of something, and her hands acted a bit awkward.
"Yes, Aunty Alisa?"
"This… this is the thing. John's coming back today. Can you keep this to yourself without letting him know? You know John… You're his best friend. If he hears about it… I'm afraid that he wouldn't be able to constrain himself from taking revenge. As a knight squire, he would be in big trouble then…"
Knowing John was Aunty Alisa and Uncle Joel's great hope, Lucien nodded.
"Of… of course. It's not a big deal, actually." Lucien put a hard smile.
Alisa held Lucien's hand, with tears in her eyes.
"Thank you, my little Evans."
"Are you trying to hide anything from me?"
It was John's voice. Wearing the grey knight suit, John was standing by the door. Neither Alisa nor Lucien noticed him.
Alisa answered hurriedly, "Nothing, nothing. You came back earlier?"
John walked in and pulled a chair for himself. He sat down beside Lucien.
"The Grand Duke summoned Lord Venn, and I followed him back to Aalto. Mom, I'm a knight squire now. I'm not an imprudent young boy anymore."
Then he turned to Lucien. "You look much worse than the last time we got thrashed together. What happened? Don't try to lie. I bet lots of neighbours were there and saw it." John added.
Lucien looked at Alisa, who had already compromised the secret. Then he told John the story in full detail. During his talking, Lucien could feel the tension in the air due to John's feelings, which was the same that he felt from the guards he fought together in the sewers.
Of course, John was very angry, but he managed to calm himself down quickly. He patted Lucien's hand gently and smiled.
"You're really clever, the most clever among us. Find money in trash… really, good for you! I'm sure you will do a good job if you learn to read."
Then, shrugging his shoulders, John went outside of the room and fetched a long wooden club from the kitchen.
"Oh no…" Alisa sighed.
"Mom, you know I gotta do this, for my friend."
"But John, Lord Venn won't be happy about this…"
"Yes, John…" Lucien hurriedly asked, "Don't go. It's not a big deal. Look at me. I'm okay."
John turned around and shook his head.
"Lord Venn always told us, as a knight, one is supposed to protect the weak and fight against the violent. As a squire, I already regard myself as a knight and try to follow the knight's belief."
His eyes were intent. His gestures expansive.
"Lucien, my friend, was bullied, and his place got ruined. If I remain silent simply to no piss Lord Venn off, my inner guiltiness will never leave me. Yes, maybe I will not be able to awaken the 'blessing' anymore because I broke the rules, but I'll be faithful to my beliefs. Lord Venn will be on my side, I believe."
"I know, John. I know… but…" Alisa got tears in her eyes.
John hugged his mom and comforted her gently.
"It's okay, mom, I'm not gonna kill anyone. I will not overdo it. Look! I'm holding a club, not a blade. Can you trust me, mom?"
Finally Alisa nodded with great effort. "Do be careful, John."
"They are the ones who have to be careful, mom." Grabbing the club, John smiled with confidence.
When he was about to leave, Lucien called him from behind.
"Yes?" John looked back.
With all his remaining strength, Lucien stood up from the bed. He felt his blood was flowing fast, burning his body.
"We are going together."
Lucien's smile looked kind of funny with his swollen mouth. But John could tell his determination. He laughed, "There's another club in the kitchen. Let's go, like when we were kids."
Holding the club, Lucien comforted aunty Alisa in a low voice when he passed by her.
"I'll watch him. Don't worry."
It was easy for them to find out where Jackson and his men went by asking around. When they were on their way, John asked Lucien, all of a sudden:
"Do you believe in justice, Lucien?" He sounded confused.
"Yes, I do. Why do you ask?"
John lowered his head but did not stop.
"I do, too. But Lucien, I am not as noble and brave as I claim to be. I do this only because you're my friend. If it was someone else, I don't know… I don't think I would. I'm used to picking my fights well, avoiding doing anything that would be beyond my capability. I'm selfish… I only want to protect my family and friends. I'm a coward, am I not?"
"I don't think so. Every knight, or say, every person, has a priority. Some pursue justice, some loyalty, some mercy… You chose family. Only when a person knows what he really wants to protect does he stick to justice. Or justice would be just like the clouds, nothing substantial."
Lucien just realized that John was still a young lad like himself, no matter how mature he appeared to be. Thanks to the book about the knight's spirit from his mental library, he was scrabbling up his sentences to comfort John. Now he was much better at looking up information among all the books in the library.
"You really think so?" John still looked puzzled.
"Sure. If you're capable, will you protect the weak, fight against the wicked and uphold justice?"
"If I'm capable, of course I will."
"So you're still a knight of justice. If you were not capable, you would fight and die for nothing. You gotta be able to protect yourself first, only then you can protect those who need your help." Lucien felt he was quite suitable for being a mentor.
John seemed relieved, and he started smiling, "Every time I asked Lord Venn about this, he told me I was too inexperienced to understand. But Lucien, you've grown up, too. You're good at comforting and maybe you're right. But I'm still longing for the genuine justice.
"Once, Lord Venn told us a story about a legendary knight sword. The sword had divine power inside, but looked just like the common ones. Its hilt was made purely of wood, without any gems, pearls, or anything out of ordinary. The nobles and the high level knights wouldn't take a second look at the sword." John's eyes were on the far distance and he continued.
"But actually the sword was far more powerful than they thought. Especially when it was used to fight against evil. What impressed me most was the words engraved on the sword: 'Justice is pale, compared with splendour and power. But everyone can be its representative: wealthy or poor, intelligent or illiterate, warrior or farmer. Justice is pale, but it is everywhere'.
"Pale Justice, that's the name of the sword. It disappeared along with a Grand Arcana Knight in the the Dark Mountain Range."
John became excited. His depression was gone.
Lucien laughed, "Then our slogan today is gonna be 'For Justice'!"
"For Justice!" John waved his club.
A few minutes later they saw Jackson, who was walking on the broad street of the market. A bunch of guys were still following him.