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Episode 84 – Lileron Pa.s.sion
Elaru picks up Kiel’s ring and the two of them go to Black Pearl restaurant where she intends to give him the ring and explain its usage. Unfortunately, as they enter the lobby of the restaurant, they run into Rhur Rroda – Kiel’s older brother, and his date.
Rhur gave Kiel a knowing look and sighed. “I know what you are thinking, little brother…”
Kiel’s heart skipped a beat. What does he think I am thinking? That I am trying to ditch him as to avoid him apprehending me and bringing me to the mainhouse? Or that I am worried he would actually steal my perceived “date”?
Rhur continued: “…but you are worrying too much. The meal is on me. I know that those low-level delivery quests you’ve been doing would be hard pressed to cover the bill. But how could I possibly let my little brother pay?”
The silence descended on the lobby.
What? Kiel had blinked several times before he realized what just happened. That b.u.t.tcracker!! Kiel’s smile froze. Truly a n.o.ble down to the bone. Spouting venom with each word and pa.s.sing it off as concern.
You think I don’t know what you are doing? Trying to embarra.s.s me and show how much better you are so as to steal my “date”?! You think I’ll just let you do as you please?! Dream on! I can do the “embarra.s.sing” part just as well as you!
“My financial situation is fine, older brother. Thank you for your concern, but with how often you dine here with your female companions, I don’t think you can afford to pay for my own meals too.”
This time, it was Rhur’s smile that stiffened. Wasn’t Kiel implying that he brought females here all the time to feast on them instead of the food?
Rhur paid attention to Elaru’s reaction from the corner of his eyes. Her eyebrows rose slightly, and the corner of her mouth twitched. Underneath her calm hid amus.e.m.e.nt.
Unfortunately, since he was paying attention to Elaru, he missed the reaction of his own date, which was ugly to behold. Apparently, she wasn’t aware of Rhur’s reputation as a playboy. Which was amazing in itself, considering how infamous Rhur was in the n.o.ble circle.
“Don’t be silly, little brother. If the Rroda family successor couldn’t afford a few meals, then wouldn’t the whole Rroda family be a joke?” Rhur responded warmly, as if he truly cared for his younger brother. Yet, obviously, he was declaring how high his status was.
Kiel spoke with just as much fake warmth. “Older brother, of course Rroda family can afford it, but if you spend too much of our funds, grandfather will get angry. And considering how often he threatens to take away your position as a future successor, if you are not careful, he might actually do it.”
Elaru did her best to not burst out laughing at the changing expressions of both Kiel and Rhur as they interacted with each other. Her previously calm eyes now glittered with hints of laughter. Her expression mirrored the expression of a spectator watching a good show.
Rhur laughed warmly, as if what Kiel said was only a joke. “That’s grandfather’s way of venting his temper. Everyone knows they are just empty threats. Even if he wanted to replace me, there is no one to replace me with.”
Rhur was obviously implying that Kiel couldn’t even contend for the position. Kiel’s eyes narrowed slightly, and Rhur’s flashed with brief contempt. One could almost see sparks flying in the air.
Rhur didn’t let Kiel find an appropriate retort and took control of the conversation. “Little brother, could it be that you don’t want to dine together because you didn’t come here for the food?”
He looked between Kiel and Elaru several times, clearly implying that the two of them came here to do some indecent business.
Kiel mirrored Rhur’s earlier laugh. “What kind of strange thoughts are you thinking, older brother? Why would we come here if not for the food? Don’t tell me that you come here for other reasons?”
And the ball was back at Rhur’s court, charging him for pinning his own indecent actions on others.
Smackdown! Elaru couldn’t help but let out a slight giggle.
That melodious giggle attracted Rhur’s gaze onto Elaru. The warmth he faked turned into real warmth as he responded. “What are you implying little brother? All I meant was that n.o.bles often come here to engage in secret business deals.”
Not good. Elaru’s mirth instantly disappeared. We can’t have him questioning our motives. If he shares his suspicions with the wrong crowd later, someone might connect the puzzle pieces and deduce the real reason behind our visit.
Rhur continued. “But since that is not the case, there is no reason for us to not dine together, little brother. After all, food tastes even better when in good company.”
Kiel was thinking about how to get out of this and refuse once again when Elaru interrupted. “Of course we wouldn’t mind. But what about Lady Ufabel? You two came here on a date. It wouldn’t be fair towards her if we dined together, don’t you think?”
Kiel felt like giving Elaru a high five. He couldn’t have said it better himself! Looking at the lady’s sour face, she had definitely hoped for some romantic time with Rhur.
Unfortunately, his delight didn’t last for long.
“I’m sure Ayah wouldn’t mind. Isn’t that right, dear?”
Rhur turned towards his date and softly propped her chin upwards to face him. The soft touch of his long fingers coupled by the seductive smile he gave her, made Ayah’s mental faculties shut down. She stared at Rhur in a daze and subconsciously nodded her head.
Rhur smirked in satisfaction and declared. “Then it is settled. Waiter, bring us to a cozy little room.”
“This way, my lords and ladies.” The nearby waiter motioned for them to follow him.
Kiel stood there with a stiff smile, searching desperately for an escape route, however, he could no longer refuse.
He only recovered when Elaru pulled him by the arm. “It’s fine. If we insist, he might get suspicious. We don’t want anyone to suspect that we are doing something secretive in here.
Only then did they move to follow the waiter.
The waiter led them to a luxurious booth and gave them the menus. He then left the room to stand outside and await their order.
However, the only one actually contemplating what to order was the blonde lady. Kiel and Rhur were too busy thinking about how to embarra.s.s each other to think about food. While Elaru was too busy enjoying the spectacle.
Therefore, they casually, almost randomly, picked something from the menu. Rhur then called the waiter back in and relayed their orders.
Lastly, he smiled mysteriously: “Also, bring us a bottle of Kelford Ridge.”
Kelford Ridge was one of the expensive and cla.s.sy wines that n.o.bles usually drank with their important guests.
“A fine taste, milord.” The waiter complimented his choice.
Kiel barely managed to prevent himself from rolling his eyes. What a show off…
He was practically gloating about his wealth and fine taste.
Rhur then turned towards Elaru and inquired warmly. “Is Kelford Ridge fine with you, Lady Wayvin?”
Elaru smiled with just as much warmth as Rhur showed her. “I’m afraid I am not a big fan of Kelford Ridge.”
“Oh?” Rhur c.o.c.ked his head to the side inquiringly. “What wine does Lady Wayvin usually drink?”
Kiel looked at Elaru worryingly. Did she even drink wine? She seemed like a juice type of person.
However, in a moment, Elaru showed that his worry was unnecessary. “I prefer Lileron Pa.s.sion.”
Lileron was a famous brand of wines, not any less ill.u.s.trious than Kelford. Both Rhur and Kiel were familiar with the brand, however, this was their first time hearing of Lileron Pa.s.sion variety.
Rhur chuckled. “A fine wine for a fine lady. So be it, I shall partake in this pa.s.sion with lady Wayvin as well. “
Kiel felt like puking. Must you word it in such a way? How misleading!
It simply sounded so wrong that it couldn’t sound more wrong. He was shamelessly flirting right in front of his own date.
Kiel averted his eyes and looked at Elaru instead. As she heard his response she seemed to be delighted.
That delight caused Kiel’s chest to tighten uncomfortably. Don’t tell me that she is actually flirting back?
Kiel looked away from Elaru’s face, not knowing where to look at. Looking at Rhur made him feel unpleasant, but now, looking at Elaru didn’t make him feel any better. As the only other person here, Kiel looked toward Ayah. “How about we all enjoy Lileron Pa.s.sion together?” Kiel suggested.
If he had still been looking at Elaru, he would have noticed that that delight glistening in her eyes only grew when she heard his suggestion.
Rhur seemed to catch on to the foul mood Kiel was in and he couldn’t help but add more oil to the fire. “Since when do you drink wine, little brother? Don’t you prefer milk?” Rhur smirked.
Kiel’s eyebrow twitched. “I preferred milk when we were children, older brother. However, I understand your confusion, considering how you preferred drinking wine in secret even back when we were little.”
Rhur laughed awkwardly. Then he added under his breath, yet loud enough for everyone to hear. “14 could hardly be considered as little…”
Kiel pretended to cough, yet he also added under his breath: “Indeed, considering that you were even younger when you lost your virginity.”
Even though everyone pretended not to have heard anything, the atmosphere in the room grew more uncomfortable by the second.
“Bring us two bottles of Lileron Pa.s.sion.” Rhur broke the awkward silence and ordered.
The waiter nodded obediently. “As you wish, sire.”
Rhur then waved him off and the four were once again left alone in the room.
Rhur gave no chance for the uncomfortable silence to descend again: “When did you arrive in Ashar, little brother? How come grandfather didn’t inform me of your arrival?”
Rhur decided to probe Kiel, hoping to figure out whether Venric Rroda knew and approved of Kiel’s coming. Considering how much Venric disapproved of Kiel, he wouldn’t easily let him come to the big city. He had intentionally chucked him to the backwater town so it would be quite strange if he allowed Kiel to come to Ashar. Kiel either came on his own accord or got permission from their father.
This question, however, came as quite a surprise to Kiel. Could it be that he doesn’t know that the Rroda family is looking for me? Or is he intentionally pretending not to know?
“He must have forgotten to tell you. You know how busy he is. He doesn’t have any time to inform you of every little matter.” Kiel responded.
Venric was, indeed, aware of his arrival. Even if he wasn’t the mastermind behind the mobilization of the Rroda men, Kiel had clearly declared his intention of coming to Ashar by sending his luggage to the mainhouse.
Of course, Venric wouldn’t approve of the matter, which is why Kiel wouldn’t have asked him even if he had the time to do so. If the decision to go to Ashar hadn’t been made in haste, Kiel would have gotten his father’s permission. He was much easier to deal with than his grandfather.
“You are right.” Rhur agreed. “He must have found it not important enough to inform me.”
Kiel’s eyebrow twitched. Oi, oi. Are you implying I am not important enough for your notice?!
Both of the males were smiling gently, yet their eyes were sharp and cold.
This wasn’t a conversation, it was a word battle.
The swords were drawn. Lightning was flashing, both literally and figuratively. The stormy weather outside had yet to calm down.
Even the blonde female was starting to get uncomfortable.
“I’m sure grandfather didn’t want to distract you from your studies. He is always complaining that you are too distracted with entertaining the ladies to study properly.” Kiel chuckled.
One could almost hear the sounds of stabbing. Elaru had to suppress the urge to clap, but her wide smile gave away her delight.
Rhur smiled coldly at Kiel and decided to change the subject. “So, what brings you to Ashar, little brother? Moving onto bigger quests? Did you finally get upgraded to a C-ranked quest seeker?”
Rhur never failed to rub in how degrading it was for a n.o.ble to actually be a doing low ranked quests.
Kiel laughed coldly. “You sure have a good sense of humor, older brother. Of course, I am here for the Muni exams.”
“Muni exams?” This time, Rhur didn’t need to feign surprise, it was very much real. The only three people who knew that Kiel was a non-mage were Kiel himself, his father, and his grandfather Venric Rroda. Kiel naturally didn’t want anyone to know about his disability so he never told it to anyone. His father probably wanted to protect him and also kept quiet.
Venric, as the shrewd and calculative person that he was, decided to keep it a secret to prevent other n.o.bles from finding out. After all, it was a matter that would stain the honor of the Rroda family. Even if he chose to divulge it to someone, that someone wouldn’t have been Rhur. Knowing of the ongoing conflict between the two brothers, Rhur was the least likely person to be able to keep it a secret.
Therefore, Rhur was not aware that Kiel was a non mage, however, judging by the behavior of their father and grandfather, Rhur had figured out long ago that Kiel wasn’t a competent mage. Otherwise, Venric would have held him in a higher regard.
That’s why it came as a surprise to Rhur that his little brother, who wasn’t good in magic, decided to partic.i.p.ate in Muni exams.
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How very touching. Kiel glared at Rhur and spoke slowly, venom almost dripping from his words: “Thank you for your concern, older brother. However, you are worrying too much. My exams have gone quite well so far.”
Rhur laughed merrily. “That’s the spirit! If you set me as your goal you won’t go astray.”
Surprisingly, to Rhur’s delight, Elaru responded by giving him a comforting and understanding gaze. “Don’t feel discouraged. The difficult times will pa.s.s eventually”
Rhur almost choked on his wine, his cheeks reddened as he tried his best not to burst out into a violent coughing fit.