Episode 30 – The Act of Teenage Rebellion
She covered her eyes with her palm and swiped it down as if wiping her face.
As she removed her palm, Kiel’s breath caught in his throat. What stared back at him were those same stunning eyes from his memories. The daylight did nothing to lessen their ethereal beauty. Their vibrance made everything else look colorless.
“Aethernea of Sight has a very characteristic appearance that you just can’t miss. If I went around looking like this, everyone would be able to tell I possess the Aethernea of Sight. So, of course, I always cover up their real appearance with a color changing spell.
The only reason why I didn’t cover them up the first time we met was because I intended to reveal my Aethernea to you. It was a show of my sincerity. Since my Aethernea is one of my biggest secrets that should under no circumstance be revealed to anyone.”
So it really was as he had thought. Kiel’s expression didn’t change in the slightest. “So the reason why I can’t feel the spell is because you are concealing it.”
Elaru smiled softly. “The disguise works the best if people don’t know it is a disguise.”
Besides the glittering of his eyes, Kiel’s face remained emotionless. “What other spells do you have hidden on your body?”
Elaru’s soft smile abruptly shifted into a smirk, followed by a shrug. “Everyone has their secrets.”
Of course she wouldn’t tell him. He didn’t even expect her to. But at least she confirmed that she had other spells cast on her. So his question wasn’t pointless.
“Don’t worry. I am capable of telling what should be kept confidential. It might not be of life and death importance like the secret of Aetherneal bond, but I won’t reveal it just the same.”
It was, after all, an incredibly rare and sought after ability. Revealing it wouldn’t benefit him in the slightest.
“But it is of life and death importance. It falls into the same category of danger as Aetherneal bond.” As Elaru frowned, Kiel too furrowed his eyebrows.
“Aetherneal gifts aren’t a secret. Everyone has heard tales of the divine gifts. Noble families like to gloat about their offspring which are Aethernea wielders. They don’t hide it.” Kiel reasoned.
“That’s their show of superiority. Something they are the proudest of. Something that makes them feel like children of god. How would they react if an Aethernea that they thought to be their signature ability, something that can appear only on people from their own family, suddenly appeared on an outsider?” Elaru gave him a meaningful look before continuing.
“They would feel like their family heritage or a family heirloom was swiped away by someone else. Here they are, gloating about being children of god, and suddenly, they are not so privileged and unique after all. It would be a severe blow to their pride.
They’d stop at nothing to eliminate that person. They would never allow their Aethernea to spread around. If another noble family managed to get the Aethernea wielder under their banner and insisted on protecting them, it could easily escalate into a war between families.”
Kiel’s frown deepened. “That serious? Could one person really end 15 centuries of peace?”
“You underestimate the power of divine abilities. Aetherneal gifts can easily shift the balance of power.”
Kiel raised his eyebrow questioningly. “If it was that dangerous, why did you tell me about it in the first place? What would have happened if I didn’t agree to the bond and ended up telling on you?”
Elaru looked at him and gave him a mischievous smile. “It was a gamble. I was confident in winning it though. And even if I lost, I had 6 contingency plans.”
Kiel’s eyebrows shot up. “6 contingency plans? Really?”
Her smile grew wider. “Of course. I am always prepared. No one can one-up me.”
Kiel’s eyes narrowed in suspicion. “What were they?”
“1. Making sure no one takes you seriously. 2. forcing you to sign a non-disclosure contract, 3. Switching my identity, 4. …” She paused suddenly. “Let’s just say that you are better off not knowing the rest.”
Kiel’s eyebrow twitched. Was killing me on the list? I wouldn’t be surprised…
Suddenly a growling noise spread through the clearing, interrupting their conversation.
Kiel pressed his lips into a thin line.
Elaru smiled mischievously before opening her mouth to speak. Before she could even utter a single word, Kiel snapped. “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
Elaru turned her head away from him, trying her utmost to not burst out laughing. “I see.”
A few seconds of silence had passed before she managed to control herself enough to ask slyly. “Since you aren’t hungry, we don’t need to return to Ashar for lunch. Carry on with your training.” She waved her hand as if shooing him away.
Kiel glared at her, grating his teeth. “You just don’t know when to quit, do you?”
◈ Meanwhile at Rroda Mainhouse, Ashar ◈
“Your grace, we have received the results of the investigations you requested.”
A servant quickly handed over two large envelopes to Lawrence and then bowed deeply. Lawrence wasted no time – he nodded to the servant, giving him the permission to escort himself out of the room. After deeply bowing in respect, the servant didn’t dally around and quickly left the premises.
As Lawrence made his way back to the work desk, Venric Rroda moved aside the papers he was currently working on. Lawrence didn’t miss this act and instantly deduced that the Lord wanted to see the investigation results right away. He placed the envelopes gently in front of the Lord.
The envelopes were shiny, coated with a thin layer of sealing wax. There were no letters on the envelope, only a black wax seal on the back, confirming that the envelope has not been opened before.
Both the wax the envelope was coated with and the wax forming the seal was produced by red-stripped bees which used it to build their hives. It had a high mana resistance, making it almost impossible to alter with magic. This ensured that their beehives could only be penetrated by brute force. Similarly, it ensured that no one had changed the contents of the letter before it reached Venric Rroda.
The crest embedded in the wax depicted a lunar – a large feline that was known as the emperor of night. They were quick, soundless, invisible, and deadly. It was only proper for them to represent the Etezza family.
The battle power of Etezzas wasn’t overwhelmingly crushing as that of the Tanyers, nor were they gods’ favorite children as the Arites. Yet, Etezzas still managed to stand on the same pedestal as the other two.
That naturally meant that they held an enormous amount of power. The power they wielded came in the form of information.
People often joked that the ears and eyes of Etezza are more widespread than the air.
Venric Rroda didn’t find it funny. He detested feeling like all his secrets were on sale. Yet, he didn’t hesitate a moment when it came to purchasing the secrets of others.
Venric Rroda wasted no time and opened the first envelope which turned out to contain the report on Kiel Rroda’s whereabouts. As his eyes quickly darted left and right, he picked up his lavishly decorated teacup and took a sip.
“Kiel Rroda was seen exiting the Ashar Gate at 4:13 PM on Friday, 24th of August 1449 A.W. He was in the company of a female elibu, going by the name of Elaru Wayvin.”
Venric’s eyebrows furrowed. Wayvin? He had never heard of such a surname.
“They proceeded to fly, hand in hand, towards the Ashar University of Magic with the usage of flying magic.”
Venric’s frown deepened.
He didn’t give a damn with who his useless grandson had intimate relations with, as long as it remained a private matter. Even his brother, who was known for being a ladies’ man, was clear on this fact.
Before revealing a relationship to the public, nobles had to consult the head of the family of the possible repercussions. Relationships impacted the reputation, the public view of the family and even internal relationships between noble families.
And even if they received permission to reveal their relationship to the public, they still had to exercise restraint, avoiding public displays of affection. Nobles had to remain aloof and prideful with elegant and refined manners of gentlemen. Public displays of ardor and lust were unbecoming.
But not only did Kiel Rroda not consult him on the matter, he even engaged in public display of affection?! Was this an act of teenage rebellion?
If it was an affair with a lady of a high standing, Venric could swallow it and let him off with a gentle scolding, however, the hussy was clearly not a noble. Otherwise, he would be familiar with her visage.
The youngest son of the esteemed councilman, the grandson of the head of the family, engaging in a relationship with a female with no social status!
Venric Rroda gripped his teacup tightly, his fingers turning white.
This was absolutely unacceptable!
His eyes suddenly narrowed. He had missed something – they were going towards the Ashar University of Magic. No. It couldn’t be… Kiel Rroda was many things, but he was neither arrogant nor stupid. He wouldn’t…
His thought was interrupted by the information laid out in the next paragraph.
His eyebrows rose so high they almost reached his hairline. No longer able to restrain himself, his fist slammed on the table. The desk shook from the force, the pens and quills rattling around it.
Is the bastard mad?! As if a non-mage could pass the exams?! Is he trying to drag our family honor through the mud?! Other nobles would never let us forget this humiliation!
His fingers gripped the paper so tightly it tore.
Lawrence wasn’t startled in the least by the sudden violent outburst of his Lord. While Venric Rroda was as cold as the block of ice, often showing no emotion on his face, that was just a mask he wore when dealing with other people. He had no need to cover up his own dissatisfaction if there was no one else in the room. No one else besides Lawrence that is.
As Venric Rroda continued reading, the temperature in the room continued plummeting without showing any sign of stabilizing.
Further investigations have found the two to be sharing a room in an inn, the name of which Venric had never heard of. The agents even questioned the waitress.
The information gathered from the chatterbox of a waitress made blood rush to Venric’s face. What nonsense is this?!?! Why did the report include details about their sexual life?!
Authenticity Unverified?! Why did you even include it in the report if it is unverified?!
And what man from the Rroda family didn’t have a satisfactory performance in bed?! What utter nonsense! Venric was ready to spew fire. Although the fire would probably freeze before it even came out.
Wait…his mother was quite sickly…don’t tell me that he has those kinds of problems? Was that why he didn’t engage in any relationships with the opposite sex before this?
This is disgraceful! Humiliating!
And this “Elaru Wayvin”…
What kind of whore did the bastard elope with? Did the hussy fill his head with nonsense of greatness?
What is going on?!
Venric forcefully slammed the papers aside, making the entire table shake again. He glared at the last envelope for a while before taking it.
The first thing Venric saw when he opened the envelope were two words written in a large font: “Elaru Wayvin”.