Episode 85 – Plucking Flowers
“Muni exams are very difficult little brother. You shouldn’t speak of it so lightly. Each year the exam results shatter the hopes of many, some of which never recover from the blow on their self-esteem. I would hate it if the same happened to you little brother.” Rhur spoke with false concern, looking at Kiel with furrowed eyebrows, a perfect image of a worried older brother.
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.”
“I see. That is good.” Rhur smiled warmly. “How long will you be staying in Ashar before returning to the village?”
It was simply amazing how many blows one could incorporate within seemingly harmless words. Not only was Rhur pointing out that Kiel belonged in an insignificant village but he was also implying that he wouldn’t pass the exams, and would, in turn, return to Beyd.
“I won’t be returning to Beyd for the time being. Older brother, I would love it if you could show me around Muni.”
“I’d love to do so as well, however, even as a student of Muni, I am unable to bring other people inside. You would have to be a student of Muni to enter.” Rhur spoke regretfully. His acting ability was clearly the cream of the crop.
“Naturally. There won’t be any issues. I am a Rroda after all.” Kiel smiled icily.
Rhur delightedly took the opportunity to strike another blow: “Well said. If a Rroda couldn’t pass the exam, it would be downright embarrassing. Do your best, little brother, otherwise, if grandfather isn’t satisfied with your performance… even if I pleaded for you, I would be unable to help you escape punishment.”
When did you ever plead for my sake?! You’d pretend to help only to pin more crimes on my head! Kiel snorted internally, however, outwardly he smiled. “Thank you, brother, for your kind intentions. Please be at ease. I won’t disappoint grandfather. In fact, I might even beat your score.” Kiel winked.
Just you wait. I’d like to see your face when I actually do beat your score.
As the two were bantering, the waiter returned with two expensive looking wine bottles and proceeded to serve it to everyone, before once again walking out of the room.
Rhur laughed merrily, unaware that Kiel’s words weren’t just attempts to save face. “That’s the spirit! If you set me as your goal you won’t go astray.”
Kiel’s laughter joined Rhur’s. “Older brother is indeed something else… Unfortunately, I am afraid that I won’t be able to follow in your footsteps. Our views and aspirations don’t match.”
“Indeed.” Rhur brought his glass up in a cheering motion before putting it to his lips and taking a slow sip.
The wine had a sweet taste and simply melted in one’s mouth. Rhur had to admit it was one of the finest wines he had ever tried.
How come I’ve never heard of such a fine wine? Rhur wondered. He didn’t even remember seeing it on the menu. He couldn’t help but reevaluate Elaru Wayvin. She wasn’t a noble, but her taste in wine was exquisite. Perhaps she often hanged around nobles?
But then, how come he had never seen her before? He participated in all of the major parties and balls. He would surely not forget such a beauty if he had seen her before. He had never even heard of the Wayvin family.
Rhur’s mind wondered only for a moment before he remembered that he was supposed to be putting his little brother down: “Luckily only a single person can become the head of the family, so little brother won’t be required to shoulder the burden. Otherwise, you might be forced to walk the same difficult path as me.”
Rhur then let out a sad sigh, as if being deemed as the next head of the family was an incomparably tragic matter. He looked at Elaru pitifully, blinking his long eyelashes, doing his best to invoke sympathy.
To Rhur’s delight and Kiel’s shock, Elaru responded by giving Rhur a comforting and understanding gaze. “Don’t feel discouraged. The difficult times will pass eventually.”
Kiel clenched his fists so hard his knuckles turned white. Elaru continued: “Once you take over as the family head, you will be able to relax and pluck flowers as much as you want.”
Kiel’s head snapped towards Elaru in shock and Rhur almost choked on his wine. His cheeks reddened as he tried his best not to burst out into a violent coughing fit.
When people gossiped about Rhur Rroda, they often spoke venomous words, such as him being a flower boy or that he liked deflowering girls. When they mentioned “plucking flowers” they were naturally referring to Rhur bedding innocent and pure girls, thus taking away their virginity.
Elaru’s pure and innocent facial expression was in complete contrast with the indecent, blunt words coming from her mouth.
She had been behaving quite elegantly up to now, if Rhur didn’t know better he would have thought her to be of noble origin, yet who would have thought that a moment later she would speak such inappropriate things??
Rhur’s eyes widened as he stared at Elaru, whose face showed no indication that she had just spoken out of line. Ayah also stared, gaping like a fish. Kiel was first to recover from the shock. He pretended to cough gently, but was actually stifling his laughter.
His laughter seemed to wake up Rhur from his daze. Rhur smiled wryly and let out an awkward laugh. “One can’t believe everything they hear. There are a lot of nonsense rumors out there. A few days back I heard a rumor saying that I am the most powerful warlock in the entire second year student body of Muni. People exaggerate a lot. I am only in the top 3.”
Rhur attempted to salvage the situation, while still not missing the opportunity to brag. One had to hand it to him, it took considerable skill to pass off bragging as modesty and to twist a detrimental situation into a beneficial one.
There was a reason why his infamous reputation never did anything to lessen his success with the ladies. By interacting with him, one would get an impression that he was a refined, talented and smart young master. Even when he flirted openly, he never went over the line and always acted the role of a perfect gentleman.
When women actually met him face to face, it was quite hard for them to believe him to be the same man the rumors spoke about. They would easily reach the conclusion that the rumors were exaggerated, unfounded or far from the truth.
While Rhur Rroda was a very alluring man, he made it look as if none of his seductive actions were intentional. When he courted women, he made one believe that he indeed cared deeply for them. Even when he discarded them, he did it in an incomparably graceful manner.
Even though everyone was aware of how quickly Rhur Rroda lost interest in his women, changing them more often than some people changed socks, he was still extremely popular with both males and females. He was so good at playing the role of a dark lupax that the white pechuhs found him too irresistible and would present themselves on a silver platter, ready to be eaten.
However, none of his friends were aware that this seemingly honest albeit frivolous gentleman was a liar and an actor of the highest caliber.
It was one of the reasons why Venric Rroda chose to ignore his frivolous behavior and appointed him as the future family head over all of his other cousins of similar age.
Elaru’s eyes widened and she looked at Rhur as if he had said a rather surprising thing. “Oh? You don’t like flowers?”
Rhur blinked his long black eyelashes repeatedly, unsure of where the current conversation was heading towards.
Elaru then proceeded to cover her mouth in what seemed to be shock. She looked at him strangely and murmured. “I.. See… so you are…”
It took a few seconds for the people present to realize what that strange look of hers meant.
Kiel’s mouth twitched into a satisfied smirk, while Rhur’s soft smile froze on his face. She is insinuating that I am gay??
Rhur’s face paled. He didn’t mind if people called him a playboy, but he couldn’t stand being called gay. It was one thing if women came onto him, but what if someone started the rumor that he was gay and men started coming onto him instead??
Rhur shivered. Considering how seductive he was, no doubt there would be a horde of men fighting for his favor. A mere thought of it caused Rhur to feel queasy down to his stomach.
Not only that, but if girls thought he was gay, then they wouldn’t see his flirting attempts as flirting but just him as acting friendly. How would he then proceed to seduce women in the future??
Therefore, Rhur rushed to correct the statement, least anyone started spreading that he also had an interest in men. “No! What I mean to say is that I like flowers as much as the next guy. However, the rumors are highly exaggerated, there is no “plucking” involved.”
Elaru’s strange gaze turned approving. “Ah, I see. That’s great.” She nodded. “I hate guys who pluck flowers. Flowers should be cared for, not plucked.”
How can she speak of such things with a straight face??
Rhur felt highly uncomfortable with the current subject. “Indeed.” He murmured and opened his mouth again to try changing the subject.
However, before he could continue speaking, Elaru interrupted him: “What kind of flowers do you like the most? Roses? Lilies? …Chrysanthemums?”
Kiel barely managed to resist puking his wine out in a burst of laughter. Isn’t chrysanthemum slang term for anus? He had the urge to applaud. Elaru’s execution was simply too perfect.
At this point, Rhur started sweating. There was simply no right answer to this question. He better change the subject. “So, little brother…”
Before he could finish his sentence, Elaru interrupted him again, still looking as innocent and pure as ever. “I like all kinds of flowers. Especially blue and purple ones.”
That sentence left Rhur staring at her in both shock and confusion. Wait…what?
Is she saying that she is interested in females?? But what kind of females is she referring to? Blue and purple? What does that mean??
Kiel grinned widely. It was so satisfying to see Rhur suffer a loss. That facial expression of his was simply priceless. He wished he could paint a picture to immortalize it.
“Don’t let your mind wonder too far, older brother. My companion is talking about real flowers, not the kind you are thinking about.”
Rhur’s face stiffened, and hearing Elaru’s surprised exclamation didn’t help him feel any better: “Eh? Of course I am talking about real flowers. What did you think I was talking about?”
She looked at Rhur strangely, tilting her head to the side in confusion, looking as pure as freshly fallen snow.
Kiel was roaring in laughter internally, he found it extremely hard to not burst out into laughter out loud. Rhur stood frozen, unsure whether the hard to read girl in front of him was making fun of him or really clueless in the matter. He was usually quite proficient in reading people, and his reading told him that she was serious. But he simply couldn’t believe that to be the case.
Elaru looked helplessly at Kiel and asked curiously. “I always thought it was very rude for people to call your big brother a flower boy in such a condescending manner. There is nothing wrong with liking flowers. Don’t tell me that I misunderstood?”