“I'm sure you all enjoyed your steaks tonight. I too enjoyed them the first time I arrived here. My compliments to the chef.” the audience looks at each other, wondering where this is going. “I mean, it takes considerable skills to appease the palate of our lords and ladies here. Especially considering when the meat you have to work with came from horses.”
There is an audible gasp of horror from the elite students’ tables. Horse meats are usually reserved for the very poor or those who can’t afford to buy cow or lamb meat. The elite students who pride themselves as being different from the common people were actually eating the same food as the people they looked down upon.
Some of the commoner students simply shrug. They are accustomed to eating horse meat back home. The only difference is, the meat served tonight is definitely tastier, perhaps because it is cooked with spices not available to poor people.
“You see, the main cook has a gambling problem. And looking to make some easy money, he made a deal with the vendors contracted to deliver food supply to the academy. They send inferior meat while charging the school at normal prices, he cooks them without his staff knowing, and everybody gets a cut of the profit. It’s a win-win situation.”
Just before the dining hall could explode, the boy continues. “Ah, but I'm not finish yet.” he turns to the commoner students. “You've long suspected the elite students’ food and the food served to the commoners are different. Even though the schools administration stresses they prepare the same food to all students, regardless of their status, in reality it is far from it.”
“Elite students get their food made from the freshest ingredients, they get the best part of the (horse) meat…” Some of the commoner students snigger at this. “…their portions are bigger, and the chefs use rare and expensive spices and pay more attention when cooking for them.”
All the students are looking at each other. So far what the boy has said wasn't that shocking (except the bit about the horse meat scandal). The commoner students, although some of them are pissed about the fact that their so-called fellow school members get better food than them, begrudgingly accepted it as the norm.
Meanwhile the elite students do not seem to be that impressed with this latest revelation. In fact, in their opinion, the commoner students should have been given scraps from their tables instead of the food they’re accustomed to eating.
Then the boy drops the bombshell. “In my eyes, there are no major difference really. The food prepared for elite students and commoner students alike are still highly nutritious and edible. Although the urine content in the soup served to the elite students is definitely a new addition and has been on the rise these past few months.”
If some of the elite students had managed to hold their composure during the “horse meat scandal” revelation, none of them could stay calm when they heard this new information now. Some are screaming in horror, others are hurling profanities and curses. A few noble ladies seem to have fainted while a small number of female elite students can be seen hiding their heads underneath the dining table and puking.
A different reaction is happening at the commoner students’ tables. Although none of them are celebrating openly out of fear of being accused and targeted by the furious elite students, most of the students here can’t help but smile. Half of them are looking at each other, wondering who the brave hero they should send their congratulations to, while the other half is secret fist-bumping each other under the dinning table.
“If it’s any consolation, you can rule out the teachers and the kitchen staffs.” says the boy who looks like he is trying to throw small cups of water on the blazing forest fire that he started.
“Which commoner did this? Give me his name so I could wring his neck! Hurry before I box your ears in!” roars a seventh year elite male student as he stands up, pointing his finger at the boy as if ordering him to reveal identity of the person responsible for the soup incident.
The boy raises one of his eyebrows at the student. The older male suddenly feels he has made the biggest mistake of his life. He realizes too late that maybe it’s not the brightest idea to be making demands or threats to someone who has thrown the dining hall into so much chaos. The student also becomes aware that everything around him has gotten quiet. Everyone in the dining hall is actually holding their breath waiting to see what sort of fate would befall on him.
The seventh year student suddenly feels as if he was an adventurer who has just discovered the cave he was exploring in contains an ancient sleeping dragon… and that he had accidentally stepped on its tail… and now the dragon is awake and has its sight trained on him. The male student slowly sits down into his chair and tries to make himself as small as possible, which is hard because he’s quite big and tall.
“Hmm?” the boy smiles at the student, almost making the frightened seventh year student throw himself on the floor to beg for forgiveness. “Did I ever say the person responsible is a commoner? Or that it’s a ‘he’?”
It takes a few moments before the gravity of the boy’s words finally sets in.
“Holy shit! There’s a pervert in the elite students group. And it’s a girl!”
“Godsdamn those boys from the elite group! How could they be so lucky? I'm so envious!”
“Which noble lady is it? I bet it’s Miandra from the Drumvell Kingdom. I accidently saw her wearing some flashy red underwear under her skirt once.”
“Is there any soup left? I must
Most of the excited reactions come from the boys in the commoner group. And judging from the faces of the male elite students, it doesn't look like they are as outraged as they were before. Everyone is looking at female elite students, wondering who the closeted pervert is. The female elite students are either wearing angry scowls or have a poker face on them. No one wants to say or act rashly, lest they be accused of the crime.
Mistress Ricon finally arrives at the dining hall with Tiandra in tow, trying to catch their breath as they enter through the massive door while surveying the carnage that lies ahead of them. Both teacher and student are carrying loads of vials and syringes that contain sedatives. Mistress Ricon also has what looks like a modified crossbow strapped to her back, designed to shoot tranquillizers at fleeing targets. Some of the students who see the teacher wonder what big game animal she’s hunting. And if she has come for the deranged boy who is currently wrecking havoc in the dining hall, the students feel Mistress Ricon is a bit under-equipped.
“Everyone!” Mistress Ricon yells to the students and faculty members. “Please ignore everything you hear the boy says. It’s just the sad delusional rambling of a poor injured soul. This boy has some allergic reaction to some medicine I gave him. Just forget anything you see tonight.” the teacher pleads.
“It’s a bit too late for that!” is what most of the students and faculty members wanted to retort to her.
“Ah, Mistress Ricon. Nice of you to join us for dinner. I recommend you try the steak. It is prepared extremely well. Wait, you’re not allergic to horses, right? By the way, if you’re in the mood for some soup, I recommend you take it from the teachers or commoner students’ side. Their portion of the soup is relatively unmolested.”
"Cease this nonsense immediately!" screams Mistress Rayze as she slams her hand onto the dining table. It looks like she finally has enough. Mistress Rayze has good reasons to be angry. Besides being the teacher in charge of the fencing lessons for the elite students, she also oversees the kitchen and the dining hall, which means any wrongdoings, if they exist, will fall under her responsibility. Mistress Rayze refuses to believe that anything as ridiculous as what the boy says could happen under her supervision.
“Mistress Rayze, you’re looking rather radiant tonight, positively glowing. Did you try something new for your skin? Or is the source of the glow within? Anyway, you shouldn't be drinking tonight. Not in your current condition. Surely you've noticed it by now? I mean it’s been month since you had your…”
The boy intentionally let the sentence hangs in the air. Most of the younger students in the hall are puzzled with the content of the conversation. But some of the older students, females mostly, seems to have understood and are whispering with each other.
Mistress Rayze opens and closes her mouth like a goldfish. It seems like she wanted to say something but thought it would be wiser for her to stay silent for now. The whispers in the hall grow louder and louder before it is silence by the sound of someone clearing his throat.
Master Haithur who has been silent all this while has finally decided to step in.
“Mistress Ricon, I think it’s time for your tired patient to retire to his room. Perhaps you should escort him back to the infirmary?” his voice is calm but cold with no trace of warmth in them.
“Awww, but I still have loads and loads of things to say. Funny, I never remembered you being this concerned for a commoner student’s well being. Or are you afraid I might say something that might affect you?”
“Careful what you say to me, boy.” says Master Haithur smoothly but with a hint of impatience in his voice. “I don’t believe I had the pleasure of meeting you before tonight.” he stands up as if to impose a figure of authority on the boy.
“Oh, but I already had the displeasure. I wish I could say it is nice seeing a familiar face, but that would be a lie. Not after what you did. Not after I have seen your real face.”
“Stop sprouting lies, boy! I have never met you before in my life!” his voice thick with venom. The people in the dining hall could feel the fury rising in his voice.
“Unfortunately, I've already met you in mine. Now, you have two choices. You can either slink away to the shadows and pray I forget about you, because honestly right now I can’t be bothered with small fries. Or, if you still want to continue standing, I could peel off your skin and expose your real face to the world.”
If looks could kill, then Master Haithur is definitely sending an army of deadly assassins for the boy’s head. But the boy continues to hold his gaze, not wavering or backing down. When suddenly…
No one notices that during the stare down contest between Master Haithur and the boy, Mistress Ricon discreetly takes the crossbow hanging from her back and fires a shot at the boy from behind, aiming at his behind.
Mistress Ricon shouts gleefully as she watches the arrow that carries a potent sleeping agent flies towards the boy’s buttock. This is for your own good. I don’t want you to hurt yourself or anyone else, is what the selfless teacher is thinking. Getting a little payback (by leaving her mark on the ass’s ass) for the trick he pulled on her earlier is just icing on the cake.
Just as the arrow is about to pierce the boy’s rear flank, the unthinkable happens again (okay, maybe not that unthinkable since all the people in the hall has already bear witness to the cup catching incident).
The boy catches the arrow with his bare hand without even looking or turning. He slowly moves to look at Mistress Ricon who had fired the shot, looks down at the arrow in his hand, then looks back to the female teacher. He raises an eyebrow to convey what he is feeling at the moment. Really?
“Tee hee.” the teacher smiles while sticking her tongue out, closing one eye and rasping her head with a knuckle.
“You know for future reference…” the boy smiles “…You might want to avoid calling out your attacks. It kind of defeats the purpose of a sneak attack.”
“Actually, after our little meeting in the infirmary, I kind of knew you could pull off something like that. Which is why I coated the entire shaft of the arrow with a fast acting sleeping agent. Works through the touch.” the teacher smiles back with a look of triumph in her eyes.
“Clever girl. Very impressive. Too bad you didn't continue wearing the gloves you used to load the arrow into the crossbow.” says the boy as he throws something at the teacher.
“Eh?” the teacher drops the crossbow and catches with both hands the thing the boy had thrown casually at her.
“Son of a…” utters the teacher before slumping to the floor and snoring loudly.
The boy looks at Tiandra who is standing behind the peacefully sleeping teacher and at the vials and syringes containing sedatives in her arms. “Ahaha, how did those get there?” the third year student laughs nervously before dumping the medical supplies and equipment on a nearby dining table and backing away.
The boy turns and gazes at Master Haithur who is still standing defiantly and waiting. “Fine.” says the boy. “It’s your funeral.”