Episode 47 – Black Pearl
Kiel exhaled slowly and tried to reason with her. “In this place, the waiters are dressed in higher class garments than us. They won’t let us in looking like this.”
To tell the truth, Kiel wasn’t dressed like he was going to a party, but he was in no way dressed shabbily. While his garments were practical, they were also stylish and made it hard for people to mistake him for a commoner.
Elaru, on the other hand, was more casually dressed.
“Black Pearl doesn’t discriminate based on what you are wearing. As long as you look like you have enough money to dine here.” Elaru looked Kiel up and down. “They will be able to tell you are a Rroda right away, so even if you dragged in a half dead person in blood-stained rags, they’d still let you in and treat you like an honored guest.”
Kiel stared at her dumbfounded. That confidence…
“…you are not…talking from experience…are you?”
Elaru deadpanned: “I always talk from experience.”
“…” Kiel’s face stiffened and after a moment of silence, he responded. “Dragging half dead people in? Do assassins and thieves dine here too?”
“Anyone with enough money is welcome. Fugitive or not.” Elaru shrugged. “Black Pearl even has a deal with the Peacekeepers that prevents them from storming in and disturbing the guests. If a fugitive comes to dine here, they would be completely safe from capture until they leave the premises of the Black Pearl.”
Kiel’s eyes flashed. “Then the question is…do you have enough money for us to dine here? Cause I sure don’t.”
Elaru patted Kiel on the shoulder. “Ye of little faith. If I didn’t, would I have brought you here?” Without waiting for Kiel to respond, she turned her back to him and started walking towards the entrance of the restaurant.
Frowningly Kiel looked at her back. Her long red ponytail was glittering like silk, jumping with her every step. Her narrow waist and ample bottom looked alluring even in baggy clothes.
After a moment of reluctance, he sighed and followed her in.
As they entered, what greeted them was a small reception hall with many guards watching over the entrances and exits. A violet carpet path led them from the entrance to the reception desks around which were positioned many servants in tuxedoes.
As soon as Kiel and Elaru entered, a servant stepped forward from the wall of servants, coming to greet them. He slightly bowed and exclaimed. “Welcome to Black Pearl my lord and lady. I will be your personal servant today. Do honored guests have any special instructions for this lowly one?”
If the guests wanted to go to a specific floor or booth, had reservations, or perhaps companions already waiting for them inside, they would be able to tell it to the waiter so he could bring them where they wanted to go.
Since the moment he stepped foot into the restaurant, Kiel had started wearing his friendly smile. His usually straight back and his aura of elegance and refinement intensified. Making his bearing nothing short of perfection.
Like a gracious noble he was, Kiel nodded to the middle-aged waiter and spoke in a husky, enchanting voice: “We have come to enjoy a meal. That is all.”
Elaru’s mouth twitched when she heard his voice. It wasn’t that Kiel’s voice usually wasn’t extremely pleasant to the ear. On the contrary, he naturally possessed a deep, sexy voice that could easily make women lose their mind. But when he was doing his best to be as perfect as possible, he even exercised control over his voice to be more soothing to the ear.
She found it funny how nobles did their outmost to appear as perfect as possible. Yet why was it that that they had a single fixed definition of perfection? They trampled on individuality and enforced their own outdated ideals. And they even did it with a sense of self-righteousness as if stuffing their own kin into a single mold was only proper.
She thought that Kiel’s natural way of speaking was much more enchanting than this side of him that tried to conform to the norms and appear as noble as possible. His natural way was unique and thus carried much more charm than the usual demeanor every “proper” noble used.
The waiter bowed again and then motioned for them to follow him. He led them towards a corridor out of the reception hall. Many numbered, sturdy looking doors greeted them from the both sides of the wide corridor. It looked as if they were in a hotel instead of a restaurant. Some doors had white numbers, and some had black numbers. Most black numbered doors had servants standing next to the door.
The waiter stopped in front of a door with a white number 137 and opened it wide, motioning for the two following him to enter. The waiter didn’t cast an unlocking spell nor did he have some kind of a key. The door wasn’t locked.
Inside the door was a small room. It might be better to call it a booth. It had a rack where one could leave their coat and a dining table surrounded by a comfortable looking black leather couch. Besides the entrance, there was an additional door leading to the bathroom.
The wall opposite of the entrance to the room wasn’t a wall at all. It was made out of glass, and one could look at the beautiful garden scenery outside.
Black Pearl Restaurant didn’t have a hall filled with tables like ordinary restaurants. Every customer was given their own booth where they had absolute privacy, not coming in contact with other guests.
The waiter wanted to help the two take off their bags but Kiel waved him away saying: “We’ll call you when we are ready to order.”
The servant bowed and exited the room to stand in front of it, waiting for further instructions.
When the servant exited, Elaru wasted no time in rotating the locking mechanism located under the table. It established a magical array which locked the door (and turned the numbers on the door black).
The two of them sat down on the couch, facing each other.
Kiel was the first to speak up. “Out with it. What are you up to?”
He wasn’t stupid. If Elaru brought him here, it wasn’t to enjoy the expensive food. Nor was it to have a private chat with him. If she just wanted to talk to him, using their mental link would be enough, and they could eat anywhere.
Therefore, she had a purpose in mind that required secrecy and security that they wouldn’t have anywhere else in Ashar.
“Patience, iceblock. How about we order our food first?” She smiled mysteriously and picked up a leather-bound menu from the table.
(Meanwhile in the Rroda mainhouse)
Venric Rroda sat on his royal chair, lavishly decorated teacup in hand, slowly sipping tea. One would think that an image of an old man sipping tea would look relaxing. The people standing with their heads lowered in front of his desk would disagree. It looked anything but soothing. Chilling, scary, disturbing. There were countless other words more fitting to describe it.
After taking that agonizingly slow sip, Venric finally spoke up. “The entire day, you vigilantly waited in front of the university yet you saw no sign of Kiel Rroda? Correct?”
The leader of the burly men gulped quietly before responding. “That is correct your excellency. Neither Kiel Rroda nor Elaru Wayvin arrived to take the exams.”
“Is that so?” Venric slowly murmured in seemingly amiable voice. Yet it caused the men’s backs to be drenched with cold sweat. He continued, his voice suddenly turning icy. “I hope that is indeed the case…otherwise…”
As he spoke the last word, the men in front of him could no longer endure the pressure and almost dropped to their knees. Seeing Lawrence doing a slight motion as if shooing them away, they realized they were free to leave and quickly, as fast as their shaking legs allowed, they made their way out of the room.
Venric paid no attention to their exit. His eyebrows slightly wrinkled, he seemed to be deep in thought. He took another small sip of his tea, barely wetting his taste buds.
Something…isn’t right… Suddenly, his tea didn’t taste good. Venric Rroda’s instincts sharpened over many years of plots and backstabbing were itching. Something is definitely off.
Venric’s frown deepened, his mouth curling into disgust. He pushed his teacup aside. “Lawrence. There is something wrong with this tea. Get rid of it and brew me a 1000 Year Old Goldleaf.”
Lawrence blinked several times, a trace of confusion flashing in the depths of his eyes. Nonetheless, he picked up the tea cup. “Right away, your grace.”
Before he could leave, Venric added: “Also, purchase an updated D.I. report on Kiel Rroda’s & Elaru Wayvin’s movements.”
D.I. was the name of the information related quest lodge, ran by the Etezza family, which specialized in accepting and offering intelligence gathering quests and selling information.
“As you wish, your grace.” Lawrence bowed his head in respect.
After their ordered lunch arrived, Kiel and Elaru enjoyed a high class meal. Kiel had to admit that the high price of Black Pearl was well deserved. All food was extremely meticulously prepared, tantalizing to the taste buds without exception. Whether it melted inside the mouth or had a crunchy texture, its tastiness could not be compared with food from other restaurants. The only complaint was the below average portion size.
Black Pearl hired mages who specialized in cooking related magic which explained the consistent taste.
After finishing her meal, Elaru moved the plates to the side, locking her eyes with Kiel’s beautiful light blue ones. Her face was solemn as she started her explanation. “As you might already know, this room is completely isolated from the outside.
The glass is one sided so we can’t be seen from the outside. The room is enchanted with a sound isolating enchantment preventing people from hearing what we are talking about. Walls and even the glass are extremely hard and durable with a high mana resistance, preventing people from breaking in or casting magic on them for whatever purpose. The locking array allows us to lock the room from inside preventing even the Black Pearl personnel from entering.
Even scanning the room with the mana sense is difficult, as the walls, doors and glass are mixed with special dust gathered from Surreal Phantasms which repels our Minds from passing through it.”
She paused briefly, inspecting Kiel’s unsurprised expression, before continuing. “My point is, Black Pearl is one of rare places in Ashar where we can be sure that what happens in this room will be a secret shared only by you and me.”
Kiel’s eyebrow twitched. Indeed…this is exactly the reason why my brother chooses to bring girls here instead of a love hotel…
Elaru didn’t continue her talk and instead reached her hand down to her thigh, picking up several needles which were strapped there.
Kiel’s heartbeat sped up. What did she intend to do with acupuncture needles??
She placed the needles on the table in front of her and then picked up her backpack that sat next to her. She rummaged through it until she found a small platinum box that looked like a ring case.
Kiel didn’t even have the time to speculate what was inside before she opened it to reveal a black marble. There were small specks of bluish light inside the marble as if they were stars on the night sky.
Elaru picked up the marble in the palm of her hand, and carefully weaved a Morph spell whose roots stretched into the marble.
In front of Kiel’s eyes, the black orb, as if liquid, slowly changed shape. It seemed to flatten and inflate, and then suddenly, a hole appeared in the middle. From the shape of a small donut it slowly transformed into the shape of a ring.
Kiel’s eyes widened, realizing what she was doing.