The Judge Knight must always be calm, cool and ruthless. Preaching the severity of the God of Light, he must strike fear into the heart of criminals.
That was the first lesson that Lesus, Judge Knight-in-training, received from his teacher, the 37th Generation Judge Knight.
Lesus sat on his bed, buried under his blanket. You can take this day off, his teacher had said, go rest for today.
He didn’t need to be told twice. Years of pretence and years of wearing the mask of the Judge Knight had only helped him on that short trip back to his room and right now he wasn’t sure he could manage it anymore.
He felt tired, but he didn’t know if he could sleep. His forehead, feeling tender under the bandages, throbbed almost painfully. Lesus didn’t dare reach up to touch it, didn’t dare do anything to it, in case something happened. In case it spoiled – as unlikely as it was – and he lost the symbol of the Judge Knight.
If the Sun Knight had blue eyes, golden hair and a never wavering smile, the Judge Knight had black eyes, black hair and the crescent moon above his eyes.
Today, he had received the mark of the moon.
He had prepared himself for the pain, steeling himself to maintain the image of the Judge Knight as much as possible in front of the tattooists. But like how he could never stand the scene of the interrogation room for long, Lesus had barely managed to keep his cool expression minutes after the pain started.
Not for the first time since he was chosen to be the Judge Knight’s student, Lesus wondered if he really was suitable for this role.
A sudden knock on his door interrupted his thoughts.
Lesus turned his head curiously towards the door, wondering who it could be. He had already instructed Vidar earlier to tell the rest of his faction not to bother him today. No, now that he thought about it, he could only think of one person who could possibly be knocking on his door at this time of the day.
Just in case, he asked, “Who is it?”
“Grisia has come to discuss the benevolence of the God of Light, may He always shine brilliantly, with my dear brother,” the person outside said.
Satisfied his guess was correct, Lesus nodded to himself. Quickly, he pulled the blanket off and neatly placed it aside then patted his hair down, making sure he was presentable. Aloud, he simply said, “Come in.”
Grisia, the Sun Knight-in-training, very gracefully and gently opened the door before closing it behind him. Immediately after, he lost any and all traces of the elegant image the Sun Knight was supposed to have, the expression on his face looking almost apologetic and regretful.
Looking at that face, Lesus suddenly had a bad feeling. “Grisia?”
“Lesus, help me!” Grisia cried out, hurriedly walking towards the bed, making a most pitiful face that Lesus knew better than to wholeheartedly trust. “You have to help me, otherwise… Otherwise I think I might die.”
Lesus blinked. “Die?” he asked, confused at first but then he quickly understood. Without meaning to, he smiled at his friend. “Don’t tell me you angered someone again,” Lesus said, unable to keep that resignation out of his voice.
At Grisia’s reluctance to admit to the truth, Lesus had to catch himself before he laughed. He only laughed when Grisia’s pitiful look turned almost indignant.
“Lesus Judge! Don’t you laugh at me!”
But Lesus could tell that Grisia’s anger was purely for show. Mirthfully, he said, “I can’t protect you from anyone’s anger, Grisia.” Especially if you deserved it, Lesus inwardly thought.
“I know,” Grisia said, sulking. “But you’ll let me hide in your room today, right? Right, my dearest, most kind-hearted, best friend of mine?” He had his hands clasped together in front of his chest and his bright sky blue eyes sparkled with hope.
Lesus shook his head, laughing again at Grisia’s attempt to cajole him.
“Do you have to hide in my room?” Lesus asked rather curiously, thinking about the other members of Grisia’s faction who would no doubt hide Grisia if he asked them.
“Yes!” Grisia said, nodding. “Please? Pretty please?”
“If you tell me one thing,” Lesus said. When Grisia nodded, he continued, “Tell me, what did you do to Ceo?”
Grisia frowned. “Was it so obvious... I mean, no, of course not! I most definitely didn’t... break his dyes...”
As much as he appreciated Grisia being honest with him, Lesus’s smile widened at that roundabout way of admitting his guilt. Very simply, he pointed to the second bed in the room and watched as Grisia made for it, seemingly throwing himself on the bed.
Burying his face into the pillow, Grisia murmured, his voice rather muffled, “I’m going to sleep, good nights...”
“Good night,” Lesus replied, thinking as he remained watching.
Gingerly, he reached his fingers up to gently brush across his bandaged forehead. With Grisia here to distract him those past few minutes, he’d forgotten about today, forgotten about the pain.
“Grisia, did you...”
Lesus stopped when he heard snoring coming from the other bed. Smiling weakly, he shook his head and marvelled at Grisia’s ability to sleep.
He lay back on his bed and closed his eyes.
Lesus dreamt of light that bathed his entire body in warmth. He felt so comfortable he barely wanted to open his eyes...
When he finally woke, it was still morning.
Lesus glanced over at the other bed where Grisia appeared to still be sleeping.
His head didn’t hurt anymore.
Ceo managed not to startle when his title was suddenly called by a rather deep voice, one belonging to none other than that of the Judge Knight-in-training.
As a future member of the Sun Knight’s faction, he never had much chances to speak with the members of the Judge Knight’s faction, not since the present Sun Knight had given up on his own student’s swordsmanship and declared the combined combat classes to be worthless.
“Yes?” Ceo asked, turning around. He hoped Lesus Judge would be quick; there was still so much paperwork left to do...
The new dark crescent moon on the Judge Knight-in-training’s forehead didn’t escape Ceo’s notice.
“I hear you have understood the God of Light’s severity, especially towards the Sun Knight-in-training.”
Ceo frowned at that question phrased in a statement as he tried to remember the past week. “No, the Sun Knight-in-training didn’t...” He stopped.
About one week ago, Grisia had suddenly rushed into his room, declared a “If anyone asks, you are angry with me, Deatheo!” before running off.
“Yes,” he quickly amended, “yes, the Sun Knight-in-training decided to bless the Holy Temple’s paperwork.”
“I see,” the Judge Knight-in-training said rather blandly, nodding as he turned to leave.
Ceo could have sworn Lesus was smiling.