Episode 49 – Meeting in the public library
After the creation of the ring, Elaru chose not to enchant it. When Kiel inquired about her decision she smiled wryly and gave him a puzzling answer: “I might be incredible when it comes to creating and even mystifying spells, but I cannot create magic artifacts for other people’s use.”
A magic artifact is an object given long-lasting magical properties by a mage. Placing an enchantment on an object was one of the ways to create a magical artifact. The hardest part of this process is designing the enchantment spell. After that, the only thing an enchanter needed to do is cast it upon an object.
Since Elaru’s weaving was quite good, enchanting artifacts shouldn’t pose a problem for her. Perhaps her family forbade her from creating magic artifacts for outsiders?
Whatever the case, Elaru refused to comment on it. She led him to the central part of the city, telling him that she had some business there, and then she unceremoniously left him to wait for her.
Instead of feeling thrilled to get some peace and quiet, Kiel’s mood slowly turned foul. He wasn’t sure why, but her leaving him there just like that, irked him to no avail.
Warm red rays of sunset passed through the tall windows, illuminating rows upon rows of books. The soft rays flickered on Kiel’s white skin, giving him a magical glow as if he was a god who descended among mortals.
Subjected to many fawning and curious gazes, he sat at a round table with a thick book in hand. While waiting for Elaru he had decided to visit a public library. Tomorrow’s exam would include a written test. While Kiel was confident in his knowledge of magic theory, he wasn’t conceited enough to come take the exam without any previous preparations.
Also, he chose a subject of “spell replication” as his special exam subject, but while he did have the skills required for it, he wasn’t familiar with the subject at all. Which is why he intended to procure some books on spell replicating.
Kiel had just finished the book he was reading, picking up the next one – a booklet with the compilation of previous Muni questions, when suddenly a disdainful snort reached his ears.
In the otherwise quiet library, the snort appeared loud and piercing to the ear.
Kiel lifted up his head and looked sideways at the source. To the right of him, sat a tall mage reading a book on advanced applications of precious materials. The pale-faced argel looked at him scornfully from the corner of his eyes.
He wore a dress shirt and a woolen sweater, like one might see in a university student. However, the air about him was stiff and tidy. While he did give off a scholarly vibe, there was also a trace of nobility in his countenance.
His blond and black hair, gelled neatly to the side, coupled with his rectangular, smart looking glasses, made his angular features look even sharper.
His dark brown eyes, that appeared almost black, locked with Kiel’s, cold disregard glittering within. He snorted again and pushed his rectangular glasses further up his nose.
Kiel stared at the male with a blank expression. What’s your deal? Do I know you? What’s with the blatant provocation?
After staring at the man for several seconds, Kiel looked down to his own book expressionlessly. He had no intention to waste time on irrelevant people.
However, it seemed that irrelevant people wanted to waste their time on him. As he read on, the cold gaze of his neighbor made it harder and harder for him to concentrate on what he was reading.
Finally, after few minutes of struggle, Kiel put down his book and looked at the blond expressionlessly. “Can I help you?”
The pale argel who didn’t look much older than Kiel snorted derisively again. “Yes. It would be helpful if you got lost from my sight. Your face is disturbing my studying. And besides, if you think that last minute studying would let you ace the written exams, you are dreaming.”
A surge of anger rolled through Kiel’s veins, he wasn’t in the good mood to begin with. He simply didn’t have the patience to deal with this! He often complained how his face was more trouble than it is worth, but this was simply ridiculous! I did nothing to provoke you, and you have the gall to tell me to get lost?! Who do you think you are?!
Judging from blond’s arrogant behavior and stiff demeanor, it was likely that he had a high social position. Although his clothes weren’t flashy and eye-grabbing, they were obviously expensive. Since it wasn’t strange for nobles to choose a discrete outfit when trying to keep a low profile, it wouldn’t be strange if this man was a noble.
Even if you are a noble, what do you think of me as?! Chopped liver?
Yet, even though Kiel was fuming inside, besides the slight chill permeating his aura, his face was still as blank as before. He blinked twice as if trying to make sense of the situation before replying:
“If you find my face unpleasant to the eye, that is your problem, and you should solve it by yourself. There are plenty of vacant seats at other tables. Also, thank you for your concern. However, my exam performance has nothing to do with you.” In other words: why don’t you mind your own business and take your stuck up mug elsewhere?
The man snarled, glaring icy daggers at Kiel. “I was here first and was enjoying a relaxing read before you showed up. Naturally, you should be the one to move.
As for your exam performance…” The man chuckled darkly. “I am taking the exams too, and I find your behavior insulting. Thinking that you are guaranteed a spot? That you are the most talented person who doesn’t need to work hard? Muni isn’t a place that welcomes slackers! Don’t think lightly of thousands of people who shed sweat and blood for a chance to enter Muni!”
Slacker? Doesn’t work hard? Idiot! I am obviously in the category of those shedding sweat and blood! You think you can just take a glance at someone and know what kind of person they are?!
Under the hateful barrage of words, Kiel showed no sign of agitation. However, deep under his skin, his blood started to boil. What he hated the most was when people thought they knew him, that they understood his true self.
His pale blue eyes met the dark eyes of the argel. In an amiable voice, Kiel spoke out: “This library isn’t your private property where you can decide who gets lost. Everyone has an equal right to be here. If something or someone in this place irks you, just go elsewhere.
Also, I am revising the needed knowledge for the exams, while you are reading a completely unrelated book. Aren’t you the one who is taking it lightly?”
Boom! Take that buttcracker! You think I am a little meep you can bully as you please? Dream on!
The man stared at Kiel dumbfounded for a few seconds before he regained his composure, his face turning unsightlier by the second. “What a treacherous tongue of a zissk! Too bad your mouth can’t be used to ace the exam! Morally deprived people like you will sooner or later get divine retribution!”
Invisible sparks were flying everywhere. The tension in the air was thick causing a chill in the surroundings. People around them stopped reading and turned their eyes towards the two.
Kiel stared at the blond for several seconds before letting a chuckle escape him. You can’t win with reason so you are spouting out baseless accusations? With so little firepower you dare to pick a fight with me? You think my name as a Rroda is just for show? Funny, you are just too funny!
The argel’s face darkened, through gritted teeth, he spoke: “Do you find my words funny?”
Kiel smiled politely yet the next words he said were anything but polite. “Everything you said since opening your mouth has been humorous. Could it be that you weren’t trying to be funny?”
blond’s eyes widened and in a fit of rage he got up from his seat, making his chair cause a loud scraping noise that attracted the gazes of everyone in the reading section of the library. “You!”
Kiel didn’t even let him regain his composure before opening his smiling mouth once again to land another hit. “Is this your first time in a public library?”
The man snorted in anger, not realizing that that question was a trap. “Of course not, unlike some slackers, I am diligent in my studies!”
Kiel’s eyes flashed with mirth for a moment, before he feigned innocent confusion. “Oh. I assumed it was your first time since you don’t know the basic rules of conduct in a public library.” With his thumb, he pointed backward, to the large sign: “No loud noises. Keep quiet.”
The blond’s previously pale face reddened, his eyes narrowed into slits. If a look could kill, Kiel would have been dead 10 times over. His body shook with fury, finding it difficult to speak. He chuckled sarcastically. “Good! Very good! You Rrodas sure know how to flap your mouth!”
Kiel’s eyes slightly narrowed. So you know I am a Rroda? And yet you are picking a fight?
He quickly inspected the clothes of the man once again, not noticing any family crests that could explain his origins. The colors of his hair and eyes were common so he couldn’t use it to guess his origins either. However, clearly, since he dared to offend a Rroda, he had someone powerful backing him up.
Before inciting an all-out war, it would be better to find out who he’s offending. “Did my family somehow offend you?”
The blond ground his teeth, his eyes flashing dangerously. “Offend?” He chuckled angrily again. “Tell me, is there anyone who Rhur Rroda didn’t offend?!”
Kiel’s face blanked, and his body froze as if struck by lightning.
Rhur Rroda. The future head of Rroda family. The number one heartthrob of the noble ladies. The famous ladies’ man of the younger generation. The bane of Kiel’s existence. His older brother.
Kiel lamented internally. If Rhur pissed him off previously it is no wonder he got angry seeing my face. Me and Rhur look too much alike.
Perhaps he had jumped on the warmount too quickly?
After several seconds of silence, Kiel sighed dejectedly. “What did he do this time? Don’t tell me he stole your girlfriend?”
The fury flickering in the argel’s eyes erupted as he heard the question. The blood rushed to his face, dying his cheeks completely pink. The pink blush made the handsome blond appear somewhat cute, his cold countenance nowhere to be seen.
“No!!” The man defended himself, his glasses slipping down to the base of his nose, almost falling off.
Your beet red face says otherwise. Kiel scratched the back of his head. No wonder he is so pissed. He must have come to read in peace and quiet when suddenly, a Rhur Rroda lookalike appeared to haunt him and remind him of his greatest humiliation.
The anger and annoyance Kiel felt towards the unknown blond, transferred to Rhur. First, there were Rhur’s friends, and now even his enemies are going out of their way to bother Kiel! Freaking Rhur! It is always you. Future successor or not, one day I’ll have my revenge! Just you wait.
Meanwhile, the pressure spread to envelop the entire seating area, people who weren’t mages found it hard to breathe. Kiel’s eyebrow twitched. An enemy of my enemy is my friend, right? I should try to salvage the situation. If he finds out that I am not like Rhur and in fact are not on good terms with him, there is a chance that this enemy before me would turn into an ally.
Kiel exhaled and tried to remove any signs of hostility, looking apologetic and amiable. “I apologize for the inappropriate behavior of Rhur Rroda. I hope you won’t blame the entire Rroda family for the hot-blooded actions of a family junior. We in no way approve of his behavior.”
Kiel noticed that the tension in the air was starting to dissipate, the rage of the blond slowly simmering down. Success! Pleased with himself, Kiel continued with his diplomatic approach:
“I implore you to show the dignity and grace of a noble and view the uncomfortable situation from a higher vantage point:
Many unfortunate individuals don’t even know that their girlfriend has been unfaithful. A fickle woman easily swayed by my brother’s sweet words isn’t worthy of your affection. Such women don’t make a good wife or girlfriend material.”
As Kiel finished with his sweet worded attempt to salvage the situation he was surprised to find the face of the blond suddenly turn completely red and entirely livid. The man’s hands were shaking in fury, steam almost coming out of his ears. His tidily combed hair wasn’t as neat as initially, strands started curling with sweat and sticking out. He suddenly erupted with mana, the sudden increase of density causing his glasses to crack.
“It was my sister you nincompoop!!!” The blond let out a quivering shriek that caused everyone in the reading section of the library to look towards them.
Keil’s mouth twitched, and his eyes widened. Is this “shooting oneself in the foot with an arrow”? No! What arrow? This was clearly a cannonball! There was simply nothing of the foot left to walk away on!