Episode 68 – Trickster and Double
In the best-positioned seats in the entire Arena, sat an extremely beautiful-looking argel who didn’t look past 30. Yet, even though Kiel’s father was a councilman and a firstborn son of the family head, even though he was older than this elegant man, his tone of voice when talking to the man was extremely respectful. As if he was talking to someone of a higher social standing than him.
Kiel’s eyebrows furrowed. The lands under the Shield were governed by the Council of 7, and since his father was one of the 7 councilmen, there shouldn’t be anyone higher in status than him. Even if this man were the head of a noble family, his father wouldn’t show him this amount of respect.
Kiel’s eyes focused on the man, inspecting him thoroughly. His skin was white and flawless, his build lean with well-defined muscles that could be seen through his tight fitting red clothes.
The man’s face was effeminate and refined, it didn’t pale in comparison to Kiel’s father’s looks at all. His long black hair was let loose and fell like a waterfall down his back. There were bright red strands weaved within the black.
That one look at the man made Kiel’s hair stand on end. Kiel couldn’t feel any mana around the man, the man’s appearance didn’t look intimidating at all nor did he show any kind of hostile behavior, yet Kiel felt as if he was looking at a fierce dragon that could devour him with one bite.
This person gave him an even more imposing feeling than the feeling Venric Rroda, his grandfather, gave off. He felt as if this man was more powerful than anyone he had ever met. But that made no sense. Why would he feel that way? The strange man didn’t even have Mage Armor protecting him!
For a moment, Kiel even questioned if the man was a non-mage like himself. But he dismissed it almost instantly. The only time his father would treat a non-mage with this much respect would be if the lands of Halnea were a monarchy and this person were the emperor.
Since that was not the case, this man was clearly not a non-mage. Perhaps he felt that no one would dare cast a spell against him and felt that Mage Armor was unnecessary?
Kiel’s pondering was interrupted when he heard his father introduce him to the man. “This is my youngest son, Kiel. He is diligently studying all the time, so I took him out to have some fun for a change.”
“We are in similar situations it seems.” The man laughed pleasantly and motioned towards the seat next to him where sat a young boy. “This is my great great great…”
The man paused his speech for several seconds before continuing. “Uh…I am not actually sure how many generations it has been… grandson.”
Kiel stared at the man trying his hardest not to gape. Did he hear him correctly??
The smile on Kiel’s father’s face never wavered. He even chuckled. “So many generations, and yet he looks just like you. If I didn’t know better, I’d say he was your own son.”
The man stared at Kiel’s father speechlessly for several seconds, and then he looked back at the boy, then he looked back at Kiel’s father. His eyebrows furrowed and he started murmuring under his breath. “Don’t tell me those bastards lied to me? But lately, I was careful not to sire any childr… except that one time… It can’t be?”
The boy sitting next to him finally averted his gaze from the arena and looked the man straight in the eye. The boy’s gaze was fiery, but the words he spoke were cold-blooded: “Grandpa, stop embarrassing me.”
Kiel wasn’t the only one rendered speechless by the blunt words. Even the “grandpa” clutched at his heart as if it had just received a heavy blow.
Kiel’s big pale blue eyes finally switched from the man to the boy.
His features were as beautiful and delicate as Kiel’s, his skin just as white and flawless. Kiel had to double check to confirm that he was, in fact, a boy.
The boy had long, silky and shiny black hair that any girl would be jealous of, falling down his back. Through his hair ran a few streaks of bright red hair. In every way, he looked like a miniature version of his… grandfather?
Kiel blinked his large eyes and met the gaze of the boy. The eyes of the boy were incredibly heated, like molten lava. It shocked Kiel into averting his gaze away.
It wasn’t that the boy glared at him, or that his emotions were excited. No. His eyes were literally like molten lava. They looked as if they were burning, bright orange with golden lights and occasional red spots. Those eyes were exactly the opposite of Kiel’s eyes.
Where Kiel’s eyes looked like an iceberg, the boy’s eyes looked like lava. While Kiel had an icy air about him even when he was trying to be friendly, the boy in front of him was the exact opposite. The boy displayed complete calm that was bordering on apathy, but even so, his gaze had the power to draw people in, stirring them into admiring their beauty, setting one’s heart on fire. It was so full of vitality and power one would find it hard to stay calm headed.
Kiel’s father motioned Kiel to sit on the seat closest to the boy, probably hoping that Kiel would enjoy having some company of the same age. It showed exactly how little his own father understood his personality…
Kiel turned his head towards the stage but continued to gaze at the boy curiously from the corner of his eyes. That’s how he noticed that the boy returned his gaze. The boy measured Kiel with equal fascination. It seemed like he noticed that he and Kiel shared a lot of similarities. Namely, they seemed to be the same age and shared beautiful faces and black hair. However, what caused their mutual fascination with each other wasn’t their similarities but their differences.
Where Kiel’s hair had vivid blue strands, the other boy had vivid red. Where Kiel’s eyes were icebergs, the other boy’s were lava. Where Kiel had a reserved, cold air about him, the other boy had unbridled heat.
It was as if the two of them were fire and ice, exact opposites.
And like fire and ice didn’t quite get along, Kiel instantly felt like the two of them wouldn’t get along either. For starters, the boy’s Mage Armor was very dense, and he had an imposing bearing. Which created a sharp contrast with Kiel’s measly Mage Armor of a non-mage.
Also, the boy was obviously a noble, otherwise he wouldn’t be sitting here, yet he didn’t have that stiff aura of nobility at all. Rather, he had an aura of power and confidence. There was something wild about him. Even though he looked perfectly neat and tidy, although he was perfectly calm, there was just something about him that clearly told everyone that he wasn’t a person you would want to provoke.
He seemed like a person who isn’t worried about how others perceive him, a person not bounded by etiquette and rules of the nobles.
Kiel had only just met the boy, but he already felt jealous. Why is it that I have to hide who I really am to be accepted while you can act as unbridled as you want?
People claimed that opposites attract, but as Kiel gazed at the boy, he felt very sure that he would never be able to be friends with that person. Like a woman seeing an equally beautiful female that could be a potential love rival, it was an irrational dislike on first glance.
Kiel did his best to not show his true feelings and smiled politely at the boy. The boy looked at him, but instead of returning his smile, he frowned in what seemed to be confusion. “Why do you smile if you want to frown instead?”
The words coming from the boy’s mouth made Kiel’s smile freeze. “Some people have to smile even when they don’t want to.”
The boy’s frown deepened, but he didn’t question Kiel further. Instead, he averted his gaze to the stage. Kiel noticed how the boy’s gaze suddenly lit up with passion. The previous frown disappeared, and all that could be seen from the boy was pure excitement and revere. As if that apathetic façade melted to reveal a pure child underneath.
What could cause that boy to suddenly turn so… emotional?
Kiel followed the boy’s gaze down to the stage. There stood two elibu teenagers standing next to each other, grinning and waving to the audience. One blond, one redhead. Trickster and Double.
Although their two opponents had also arrived on stage, no one paid them much attention. It was obvious with just a glance who the real stars of the show were.
The world of the warlocks was mostly dominated by argel warlocks, for it was quite hard to compete with someone who could Accelerate and fly without the ability to do the same. Yet these two teenagers had proved to everyone that even elibu had what it took to stand on the top. Even if fate denied them the ability to Accelerate, they would crush that fate and show everyone that no dream is impossible.
Trickster and Double were far from the most powerful warlocks. At the moment, they were only A-ranked. But they managed to move hearts of every plebian out there, argel and elibu alike, that dreamed of something big. Those two didn’t even have the support of a noble family, yet they managed to stand their ground in a world exclusive to argel.
This was exactly the reason why seeing their fight managed to move Kiel’s icy heart. If two elibu not much older than him could become famous warlocks, then he, a non-mage, could he achieve his dreams as well?
Surely his dreams weren’t any more preposterous than trying to beat flying opponents much faster and stronger than you? Surely his quick thinking and intelligence weren’t any less than of those two? If they could use theirs in such a way, then he too…!
Then he… He had truly chosen the right path 4 years ago.
Kiel’s gaze stayed glued to the exciting match from start to finish. He had even forgotten his distaste towards the lava boy sitting next to him.
He was sure that during the match, he had forgotten to breathe several times. He was also sure that during the match, the gaze with which he stared down at the stage was exactly the same as the gaze of the boy sitting next to him. Excitement, reverence, respect, hope.
Even though the two had barely spoken to each other, even though they only met today, even though they might be too different to get along, at that time, none of it mattered. At that time, they felt as if they were closer than brothers. As if they could become best friends after all.
For their feelings were in complete sync.
For their feelings were the same.
Perhaps the string of fate binding people together is weaved by none other than feelings.
Maybe their fate started on that day. Or perhaps, if one traced the strings of fate, one would find that it all started long, long before that.
Whatever the case, no one could have predicted, that those same feelings that caused them to feel a sense of comradery on that day, would one day turn into feelings that would forever pit them against each other.
Fate had a strange way of playing with people.
And a single twist of fate could turn best friends into irreconcilable enemies.
Ever since that match, Kiel started loving warlock battles. Those same matches that previously reminded him of his weakness now reminded him that no matter how weak he was, with enough conviction and effort, he too could become strong.
Just like Trickster and Double.