Alex’s heart beat a million miles an hour. He was paralyzed with fear. A low hum began to resonate from the armor. It was so loud and low that Alex could feel it in his bones.
Lika’so came racing over to him holding a crossbow in her right hand and a shortsword in her left. She stood in front of Alex in a defensive stance aiming the crossbow at the armored stranger.
The armored figure took a step forward. Lika’so fired a metal bolt at their chest but the arrow stopped in midair, inches from its mark, losing all momentum and falling at the target’s feet. Lika’so threw the crossbow down and pointed the shortsword at the stranger.
“Don't step any closer!” Lika’so demanded. Her adrenaline was pumping. She had expected to be fighting off a po’teki, not a knight.
“THE COUNCIL DEMANDS CUSTODY OF THE ALIEN,” came a booming voice from under the armor.
“What business does The Council have with him!?” Lika’so yelled.
“ITS PRESENCE POSES A THREAT TO THE SECURITY OF KOGRONIA,” the voice responded.
“He poses no threat to the kingdom,” Lika’so retorted definitely.
“THAT IS FOR THE COUNCIL TO DECIDE,” the knight stepped forward. “THE ALIEN COMES WITH ME.”
“Wait!” Lika’so cried. Her mind began to race trying to come up with an excuse for Alex to stay, “Let him make a case to The Council.”
The knight didn't say anything.
“One month. Please.”
“I WILL RETURN IN ONE MONTH,” the knight said after a moment of silence. “YOU HAVE THIRTY DAYS.”
The ground began to shake and the knight shot into the air. When it was only a black dot in the sky it shot forward, a sonic boom erupting from behind it, and disappeared.
Lika’so began shaking, and tears welled up in her eyes. Her adrenaline had helped her mask her terror and allowed her to protect Alex, but with the knight gone let herself feel the fear she had fought to contain.
The knight could have killed her in a millisecond.
Alex watched as Lika’so began shaking and breathing heavily. He stood up and walked over to her.
“What the hell just-” he started to ask, but seeing her horrified expression, he stopped.
He put his hand on Lika’so’s shoulder. She dropped her weapon and embraced Alex, making a sharp exhale. Alex wrapped his arms around her.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“I am unharmed,” Lika’so responded. “Are you injured?”
“No, I’m fine.”
Lika’so let go of Alex and he did the same.
“Take your bath, I will explain everything during breakfast,” Lika’so told him.
“Okay,” Alex said, nodding his head.
Lika’so picked up the crossbow, bolt, and sword then left.
Alex removed his shirt, pants, and underwear and, holding them in his hands, he climbed into the hot water. The temperature was perfect. Alex felt like he was being wrapped in a warm blanket. He couldn’t help but smile. He was still a bit shaken by the appearance of the armored figure but the bath felt so nice.
Alex closed his eyes and submerged his head in the water. The heat stung his face but he stayed under, thinking about how much power he had seen from the person in the armor. The bolt from the crossbow couldn’t even touch them.
Alex resurfaced. The air was cold on his cheeks and forehead and he felt like he had shoved his face in an industrial-grade freezer. He spotted some underwear hanging on the rim of the pot.
“Thanks,” he said.
“They are called ‘knights’,” Lika’so told Alex during breakfast. “They come in many different colors. There are the colorless knights who are tasked with keeping the peace, the blue knights who guard the royal family, the green knights who are in charge of fighting the king’s wars alongside the combat mages, and the black knights who are in charge of kingdom security.”
‘So the black knights are like the CSE or NSA,’ Alex thought.
“Does every knight use magic?” asked Alex.
“No, only blue knights and black knights are magic users,” Lika’so explained. “They are the elite. The other knights do use enchanted weapons and armor, however.”
“What did that knight want with me? And what’s ‘The Council’? What was that all about back there?”
“The Council is a collective of the kingdom’s generals, scientists, and members of the royal family. The Council decides the fate of those who they consider a threat to the kingdom,” Lika’so told Alex.
“Why does The Council consider me a threat?” Alex asked.
“You are an alien, an unknown. The Council fears what they do not know, especially when it comes from another dimension.”
That made sense to Alex. “The Council just wants to protect its kingdom,” he said.
“Correct. The black knight was sent to take you into The Council’s custody.”
“They wanted to arrest me. Something along those lines, right?”
“Yes, but I made a deal with the black knight. They are to come back in a month from now, thirty days, in which time you will need to have learned the language of Kni’il and present a convincing argument to The Council in order to keep your freedom,” Lika’so began to tear up. “I am so sorry. A feat such as that is impossible in such a small amount of time. You must leave the kingdom.”
“No, this is perfect!” Alex said excitedly. “I’m a linguist! I study language! I’ve learned languages in three months. If I try even harder I'm sure I can do it in one. Besides, I wanted to learn the languages here anyway.”
“But we have only one month. That is thirty days. Nobody can learn a language that quickly,” Lika’so said, wiping the tears from her eyes.
“We won’t know if we don’t try,” Alex said optimistically.
Lika’so sighed. A few minutes passed by without a single word from either of them.
“Okay,” Lika’so finally said. “I will teach you.”