The Apprentice System
For Milka, the hidden passage was a safe sleeping space that had taken her so long to find.
It was too much hardship for someone so young.
It was clear that Eric’s governing was doing well.
However, there would always be people who spilled between the cracks and didn’t benefit from his welfare policies.
And Milka was one of them.
“Eric. I have a favor to ask.”
“What is it?”
“Milka here. Her guardian has died, and her house was taken away.”
“She was sleeping in this passage. And so she won’t have anywhere to sleep once it is close up.”
After saying this, Milka grabbed Eric’s hands.
“Uncle Eric! Please! Please don’t block the entrance.”
“Well, wait there, Milka. Leave this to me.”
Milka meekly pulled back.
“This is what I’ve been thinking…Eric?”
I was trying to move the conversation forward, but Eric was in a bit of a shock.
No one had ever called him uncle before.
Well, I couldn’t imagine many people addressing the king like that, so it was no wonder.
“Eric, are you alright?”
“Ah, yes. What?”
“About Milka. Could you make her an apprentice?”
Eric had 2,000 apprentices training in the palace.
They were second and third sons of poor nobles, children of knights who died in battle, and children who had been orphaned.
As Milka had been orphaned as well, she had the qualifications to become an apprentice.
“I do not mind at all.”
“Ah, really? Isn’t that wonderful, Milka?”
“Why don’t you make her your apprentice? Most nobles have several apprentices under their roof.”
“What about Goran?”
“Goran has three of them. But they are currently traveling with his wife.”
“Is that right.”
I didn’t know that. I guess I would be able to meet them once Goran’s wife returned.
“By the way, officially, Luchila is your apprentice.”
“Yes. In the documents. There were a lot of procedures when passing on the house. That’s when it was written.”
“I didn’t know that.”
Luchila and Gerberga were unaware.
“Are you okay with being my apprentice, Luchila?”
“It is an honor!”
“That’s fine then…”
Eric continued to explain.
“You don’t seem to understand the system of apprenticeship for nobles, Locke. Apprentices are like your own children, only they have no right to the inheritance.”
“Is that so…”
I thought of apprentices as people who live, study and work under a master of a certain craft.
But I guess they were kind of like children of that master as well.
I decided to ask Milka directly.
That would probably be the best.
“Milka. Who would you rather apprentice under, Eric or me?”
“I wouldn’t advise it, but you are, of course, free to choose neither and live on the streets… But the passage must be closed.”
“What happens if I become an apprentice?”