His body was there but his consciousness was not, he was breathing and each breath could be the last, his body was limp, so horrifyingly limp that it almost looked like a breathing doll and not a human, it didn't matter how much his father moved him, he was not waking. Countess Violan had already run for the physicians who were on standby and brought them as quickly as she could, she understood right away that her son condition was abnormal, he didn't show any other symptom, like fever or visible pain, rather his face had a dreamy expression she had never seen, he wasn't sweating nor gasping for air. It was as if his body was slowly but surely shutting down, each and every nedeed function was decreasing until their eventual cease.
Lily who was asked to stay outside couldn't hide her anxiety contrary to her mother she didn't know what was happening she hadn't see his brother yet and watching his mother running alarmed her, her mother hold her grace in her very movement and for her to loss his calm demeanor was weird, something was happening and it instantly shift the entire atmosphere, rumors were spread like wildfire by the servants near Cale's chamber and by the ones who had helped knocked the door down, soon words like 'the young master is dead' or 'the young master committed suicide' were heard all over the mansion, and the worst of all was that Lily could heard them, she had gone behind her mother as she couldn't enter his brother's room, her best option was asked Violan but hearing the indiscreet servants speak joyfully of her brother's uncertain condition brought her to tears.
'They know nothing! And they dare!' Her mind was screaming to shut them but as they were her only source of information she kept listening, swearing to remember their faces, they had noticed her else they would had shut their trap sooner, ill speaking of a noble family could be considered as slander and even, according to the severity, treason and it could be punished with execution, however she knew her father was benevolent and it would only end in their immediate dismissal.
Before this incident, she had never heard a single servant bad mouthing his brother they were clever rats, which hide their contempt from the family and only displayed it in front of Cale, to keep it short they had two faces, one that served the count wholeheartedly and one that throwed poison and judge every action Cale took turning it into more sneering or disapproval. They never knew Cale's real intentions nor his gentle nature but Lily was aware, one time she had mustered courage to speak with him, her brother whom always seemed worn out didn't pushed her away and instead listen her silently with a puzzled expression which eventually turned into a soft smile, she knew that even when Cale denied it, he frequently sent her candies or other tasty desserts, she knew how Cale had gifted brother Basen a pen and the leather notebook he wanted, she knew so many things, but at the same time she knew nothing, she thought her brother enjoyed spending his days outside however after hearing what their servants had to said about him she wondered if her brother spent most of his time outside because he was running away from this toxic environment.
The shading continued for several minutes and Lily questioned the never ending saliva they had to spit non stop aggression towards a person that certainly had mess with them, even so the servants hated him like he had done the most crude deeds, humans without doubt are perplexing creatures they need to vent build up frustration and one of the most common methods was choosing a target, it didn't matter if said target has done nothing to them personally it was enough if he was vulnerable or had flaws easily exploitable.
Cale was the perfect description of both traits, he was perceived as the family's black sheep and his usual outings only fuel their superiority complex of 'If I was him I could do it better', their jealousy and constant necessity to release steam.
As time went by their original baseless actions turned into what they perceived as an enjoyable employees bonding activity but maybe due to Cale's mental fortitude it didn't matter how hard the maids and servants tried they never get a single crack into his demeanor, he would just listen and let go which eventually pissed them even more, truth be told they were some which remained neutral such as Hans.
He somewhat dislike his young master and before working with him he frame him to be an alcoholic good-for-nothing but when he came closer he find him to be more complex than what he believed him to be however his first hypothesis was not totally wrong, he was an alcoholic and even engaged with drugs but everytime he looked by the sides he could sense an unknown pressure, like he was dealing with more than he could handle adding to his dejected self in Hans eyes he was a pitiful person trying to hold up a strong and carefree facade, also how his main butler treated him like precious glassware arise some flags back on Hans mind, still it was mainly his own perception so he never informed the Count of any other thing and reported his actions as he was instructed and he thought that even if he didn't said his concerns out loud the Count probably was aware something was off with his son.
Lily returned to his brother's bedroom after listening enough bullshit, her heart was racing and when she arrived to the hall the room was she saw her mother pacing in front of the now non existent door, as she had rushed the medic personal had done so too, even out of breath they start assessing their young master condition, at first glance his body seemed healthy but as he had starved for two days he was relatively thinner with deep eye bags which made his cheekbones more prominent and cracked lips, as his father had proven before he didn't react to external stimuli, his porcelain like skin was even whiter his veins were visible in his forearms, it was not that they were popping out on the contrary it was because his skin was more paper like than ever.
Violan hugged Lily tightly, both of them were scared but prayed for the better outcome and after calming down Violan decided to leave Basen a message in their capital residence, if things escalated the wrong way it would be better to have all the family together.
Beside the physicians Deruth was the only one inside the room, he told Violan to wait outside in case of Lily's return, he knew his younger sister was capable of barging in without hesitation, she was young but was full of knight potential which made her brave and more cunning than what his brothers were still she was a child and emotionally speaking she wasn't ready for strong emotions, so far she had grown sheltered and loved, as the baby girl of the family she was spoiled more than anyone but she wasn't arrogant or rude and that fed the desire to spoil her, on the other hand Basen was well versed in the internal and administrative affairs, he work himself out to be accepted by onlookers as a part of to the family, he had a serious personality but in his older brother's point of view he was just a kid who wanted recognition and deserved so, he was also believed to be the next count, he didn't wanted but people treat him so, then Cale was the absent one, his siblings knew how capable he was but others felt he was lacking in many ways, like I have said before he was the black sheep but pretty intelligent one, he had pushed himself out of the successor line and cover up his condition for over a decade and now that was known it was only due to Cale's desire to die, he didn't need to hide it any longer.
Deruth watched how his son was not responding to anything and his heart sank deeper, his mouth was getting dry and could hide his trembling hands.
The physicians were shocked, the young master condition could be only described as the weird and almost mythological sleeping disease, it was too soon to give their verdict but it was highly likely, nothing was wrong with his organs nor he had any internal or external wound, he didn't react to pain as he didn't showed signs of feeling it. Books explain this symptoms as a sign that the brain and body where experiencing severance, if the patient received treatment and the right care the body functions could keep going like intended, otherwise the body would shut down after some days, as the mind was engaged with what they called an hallucination the capability of discern between real and fiction was needed to wake up, with the use of magic tools a person's life could be extended while under sleeping coma however this disease remain a mystery and was incurable.
Clearing his throat the head physician asked.
"Has the young master recently experienced a trauma or a severe head injury?" Clinically those were the main triggers for such calamity.
Deruth Shook his head, he knew fairly well that the recent incident was not enough to develop a trauma and according to Hans information Cale had never received any strong blow, on the contrary Hans remarked how overprotective Ron was with his son, he wouldn't have allowed it.
"Then had he experienced something like this before?"
Deep in thought Deruth nodded, remembering an old occurrence.
"...He was unconscious for two days when he was around eight years old, the physicians that I brought that time said it was due to the stress he was experiencing after losing his mother, my wife and former countess… Could it be related?" His voice was losing strength with every word he pronounced until his last question sounded like a hopeless whisper.
The group of physicians pondered for a while, cases where the episodes were so far apart from each other were unheard-of, usually the lapses became shorter but as it was an unpredictable disease nothing could be set on stone with it, however the possibility of having his second episode ten years later was dim, just to confirm all plausible scenarios he asked another question.
"Does he disappear frequently? I mean does he go away without prior notice? "
This time Deruth answered immediately.
"Yes, once or twice a year, his fond of traveling and usually takes Ron and Beacrox with him"
After a grave silence, the white robed individuals looked at each other with a dark gaze, if their hypothesis was correct, their young master would have been hiding his illness all along, explaining his locked down behavior and his closeness with Beacrox and Ron who were his travel buddies, with an overly amassed and blank expression the head of the group share their diagnostic.
After hearing Deruth crumbled to his knees, eyes wide open and his mind running prey of chaos, he wasn't dumb he had heard about the sleeping disease before but connecting dots he reach the same conclusion the physicians had reach, over ten years, ten years and he hadn't noticed anything, he knew his son's personality changed one hundred and eighty degrees, the joyful child grew to become a serious and tormented young man, but he played his character so damn well that for the people watching him, he was just a mindless spender and trash of the count's family, his father also believed his behavior was to push Basen forward on the heir line, even in his wildest nightmares, he couldn't ever expected his son to be sick and to cover it up for many years, now each action Cale took was looked under new light, he had purposely erased himself of the family preparing for when he would eventually vanish.
Deruth was aware of how complacent he had been until now, after his son draw the line he thought he had to limited himself to observe him from afar, years went by and the gap between them grew bigger day after day, their few interaction became awkward almost like talking to a weird next door neighbor rather than a father and son conversation, however Deruth always worried sent Hans to keep an eye on him, Ron also reported if commanded, he thought his son was scarred and needed time to heal and with his high demanding load of work he didn't notice how his son was slowly drowning to the point where he decided to go with the flow and let the dark waves swallow him whole.
If he recall his son lost weight progressively, his money was used to buy alcohol and other legal drugs, both stimulants to keep the mind going, looking back the signs were clear, how could he had remain ignorant for so long, truth be told he never thought his oldest son would leave him, they has their problems and their relationship wasn't smooth as he would wanted but since Cale was a child he always looked out for others rather than his own so Deruth thought he would never lose him, it didn't matter how much his relationship shattered he would always be by his side like he had done so far, but had Deruth been beside his son? No, he wasn't, his attention shifted to his new family and his work, thinking Cale would always remain; he abandoned him trusting his blood bond rather than his actual need for bonding.
Deruth lift Cale effortlessly and frowned, his son barely weight a thing, the room was dusty he was going to move Cale to another clean room, Violan and Lily were back outside waiting, watching Cale's limp body made Lily start crying she was expecting it or at least had some idea thanks to all the rumors she heard but contemplating such scene was worst than what she heard, Lily thought at first glance his brother was dead and almost fainted.
Following the advice he was given, Deruth sent people to the town to gather the expensive magic tools that promised to keep his son alive for months, after all Ron and Beacrox had done it without magic just with proper care and succeed to bring him back each time, with more resources the could extend his life even if he slept for years, he didn’t wanted to face it the truth but it was possible his son would never wake up.
The count wasn’t on the right state of mind, he didn't conceal his movements, even when he didn’t have many political adversaries as he remained neutral, it was wise to hide personal weakness or things that could stir panic in the population, words of an upcoming war could be heard already and when common citizens watch some soldiers quickly gathering magic tools their imagination went wild along the lines of prior rumors, by direct orders five soldiers move fast getting all they were asked.
A week later words of the oldest son of the count being sick were slowly spreading, Basen had already arrived to the capital and heard the message his mother sent right away, concluding he would assist to the Prince banquet and would returned right after, he would excuse himself after the northeastern nobles present him the sea line development proposal, he went on with his fast made plan and later he would be thankful to it.
While following the trace five black robed individuals enter Roan capital, three were the black eyed Choi Han, the master assassin Ron and his son Beacrox, however the two other were a beautiful redhead and a particularly tall young man, this friends they made along the way hold their own grudges against the secret organization, bond by hate they were searching down those bastards, on two days after they somehow managed to stop ten magic bomb from blowing up all Roan kingdoms Glory plaza.