Episode 93 – Anti-theft
Inexplicably, Kiel suddenly had a bad feeling. “What do you…” Kiel tugged on his ring. “…mean?” He stopped talking and instead concentrated fully on taking his ring off. He tugged, pulled, and twisted for a whole minute before his hands stilled.
He turned to Elaru and looked at her with his signature ice cold glare. “El…a…ru…why… can’t… I… take… it… off…?” He pronounced every syllable clearly in a most chilling voice he could muster.
“Ah! I forgot to mention! It also comes with anti-theft function.” Elaru’s face blossomed into a most wonderful smile, completely oblivious to the murderous chill being directed her way.
“…in other words… no one can take it off… including me?”
“Handy, isn’t it? Since even you can’t take it off, it means that your family can’t force you to hand over the ring.”
I should have known!! She always has a trick up her sleeve! The temperature in the room was rapidly dropping, the air turned stifling, yet Elaru still continued smiling as if nothing was going on. Kiel brought his right hand to their eye level, showing his ring. Through gritted teeth, he spat out. “‘Handy’ isn’t the word I’d use.”
Seeing Kiel’s twitching hand that seemed to want to wrap around her neck and strangle her, Elaru unexpectedly started giggling. “It’s about your hand, so I think ‘handy’ fits quite nicely.”
The relatively calm atmosphere in the room was instantly shattered by a loud slam of Kiel’s hand against the table. “I can’t believe you thought that making a ring that can’t be taken off was a good idea!!”
“It’s not that it can’t be taken off… I mean, there are ways to get it off…”
“Like what?” Kiel growled.
Elaru scratched her head sheepishly.
“Like having someone cut off my finger for the sake of obtaining my “divine artifact”?!” Kiel spat out. If eyes could kill, Elaru would have been deader than dead.
The red-headed troublemaker, however, showed no sign of being agitated. She rubbed her chin in thought. “Easier said than done. It is stuck to the base of your finger. It’s practically impossible to cut your finger off. All attempts would just end up cutting either your hand or the ring instead of your finger.”
Kiel stared at Elaru in a complete lack of words. As if she didn’t notice his gobsmacked expression she continued: “Although, to be honest, if someone wanted your ring that badly, it would be easier to just cut off your entire hand at the wrist.” She then proceeded to make a chopping motion with her hand. “And then, just disintegrate the hand, leaving only the ring behind.”
With a violently twitching eyebrow, Kiel stared at Elaru in silence for several seconds before he finally managed to squeeze out: “How reassuring… instead of losing a single finger, I lose an entire hand…”
Elaru attempted to give Kiel a reassuring pat on the back, but when she saw his expression, which looked like that of a rabid lupax that would bite her hand off if it came in his proximity, she decided against it. “I hate to break it to you, Iceblock. But if you run into someone crazy enough to cut off your hand, the chances are that they are crazy enough to kill you too. If you’re dead, it would make little difference whether you are missing a finger or a hand.”
Control yourself. Don’t strangle her. You can do it. Self-control! “Great. That makes me feel so much better. It’s good to know that they’ll have to pry the ring off my dead fingers.” The sarcasm dripping from his words couldn’t be any more substantial.
Elaru gave him a solemn look. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There wouldn’t really be any prying involved here. I mean, it won’t come off even if you die. Have to…” She once again repeated the chopping motion.
Kiel, whose mental faculties were too preoccupied on not strangling Elaru, didn’t manage to stop his hand in time, and he ended up giving himself a facepalm. “So, my only choices are an incomplete corpse or taking the ring to my grave? Fantastic!”
“Oh, come on Kiel…” Elaru rolled her eyes as if she was talking to an immature child. “If you’re dead, you’re dead. What does it matter if your corpse is complete or if you take the ring to your grave? Dead people don’t have feelings.”
“I bet that’s what graverobbers tell to themselves!” Kiel growled out. “Let me guess, ‘papa’ made you try that line of business as well?”
Elaru’s nonchalant behavior suddenly disappeared, replaced by an awkward cough. “Touché…”
Seeing Elaru’s visible embarrassment made Kiel’s anger suddenly dissipate into thin air. He lifelessly fell back on his seat like a deflated balloon. I can’t believe I just said that. He looked up towards the ceiling and let out a sigh. That was a low blow…
He looked at Elaru from the corner of his eyes, but she didn’t seem to be upset by it. That tinge of embarrassment quickly passed, and she was back to normal. In fact, judging by her aura, Kiel could tell that she wasn’t mad at him at all.
He closed his eyes tiredly and let out another sigh. “What if one day Aetherneal bond gets broken? Am I supposed to carry a useless ring on my finger for the rest of my life?” After all, his initial intention was to find a way to sever this bond.
“If Aetherneal bond gets broken?” Elaru rubbed her chin in thought. “You mean… if I die?” She suddenly clutched her heart in an exaggerated motion. “Oh, how cruel! Your soulmate dies, and you can’t wait to get rid of the last thing she left you. How heartless, my only token of affection! You can’t even wear it to honor my memory? Why not just rip out my heart and stomp on it.”
Kiel couldn’t help but glare at her. “Continue down this line of thinking, and I just might do it. At least then I’d be rid of a giant pest.”
Elaru stuck out her tongue cutely.
Kiel’s glare deepened. “But now, even if I get rid of said “giant pest” I will never be able to forget it, for I can’t get rid of what it left behind.” Kiel, once again, brought his right hand to their eye level, showing off the ring.
“Awww! How sweet! You won’t be able to forget me until the day you die.” Elaru looked at him with large eyes and exaggeratedly started fluttering her eyelashes, then she proceeded to sigh in a sickly sweet way.
“Arrrgh! Or I’ll just cut the finger off myself!” Kiel jumped on his feet in agitation, wanting nothing more than just strangle this annoying redhead.
Elaru too, could take it no longer, and she finally burst out in merry laughter. “Oh, Kiel! I’m just messing with you! Of course, there is a way to remove the ring. Did you really think that I forgot to include a way out in my spells? I’m not an amateur. “
“ELARU WAYVIN!!!!! This is not funny!!!!”
The musical giggle that couldn’t be more pleasant to the ear echoed inside the room. “It kinda is.”
“Tell me how to remove it right this instant!”
“Nope.” Elaru shot it down instantly. It’s better if you don’t know how to remove it. That way no one will be able to force you to hand it over.”
“Right. They’ll just cut it off instead!” Kiel snorted, his body shaking with suppressed anger.
Elaru rolled her eyes. “This again?” She sighed. “If it ever comes to the point where you have no choice but remove it to retain your limbs, I’ll just telepathically tell you how to remove it.”
Kiel breathed in and out deeply for a while, trying to calm down. He pinched the bridge of his nose and stood still for a while.
Even though he was angry at Elaru for teasing him like this, even though that the idea of wearing something he can’t remove made him uncomfortable, he had to admit it made sense. If his grandfather suspected that his ring was worth something, he would surely force Kiel to hand it over. The only way that Kiel could peacefully keep his ring would be if he didn’t know how to remove it.
Venric Rroda was a heartless bastard, but he wouldn’t go as far as to cut his finger off. At least not while Kiel’s father was alive.
Elaru could be obnoxious, but her plan was well thought out. It was so well thought out that Kiel was convinced that hiding his mark wasn’t the only reason why she made him wear the ring on his right hand. The little redheaded vixen probably also wanted him to conceal the future influx of mana that Kiel would be transferring through their marking. This way, everyone would think he was channeling mana through the ring to purify it. It wouldn’t be strange if there were a lot of mana around the ring.
No matter how displeased Kiel was with her, he couldn’t quite bring himself to hate her. After all, Elaru Wayvin was doing all of this for his sake. She spared no effort to make him this ring.
Also, no matter how much he hated to admit it, Elaru Wayvin was absolutely brilliant. She was brilliant to the point of him being unable to stifle the respect that was blooming inside of him, making his heart beat rapidly.
◈ Zelaih, Capital City of Halnea, Rroda manor ◈
Inside the Rroda estate within Zelaih, there was a large office.
Within that office sat an extremely handsome, middle-aged man whose face looked as if he didn’t know how to smile. His short black hair speckled with vividly azure strands, coupled with his icy blue eyes, gave him a sharp look that could chill a person to the bone.
The aura the man exuded wasn’t oppressive or chilling, but it still left one feeling like an insignificant wyrm in front of him.
The man stared seriously into the icy blue eyes of a young man standing on the opposite side of his desk. “What do you want?”
The young man’s face fell, and his stance suddenly changed to make him look like a hurt and vulnerable little tiwi. “What? Can’t I just visit my father?”
His pitiful appearance invoked no sympathy from the middle-aged man. “Cut the crap.”
Rhur Rroda sighed. Alaric Rroda was a no-nonsense kind of person. Although he wasn’t as cold-hearted as Venric Rroda, he wasn’t easy to deceive either. There was no point in playing the sympathy card.
“Little brother came to Ashar a few days back. I took him to Black Pearl for lunch earlier today.” Rhur Rroda spoke out, a soft smile playing on his lips.
Alaric’s eyebrow instantly jumped up. Kiel came to Ashar? How come no one notified me of this?
Rhur’s soft smile suddenly turned into a sad smile, and he let out a soft sigh that clearly expressed how depressed and pitiful he felt. “However, it seems that little brother held some resentment towards me inside his heart, because he played a trick on me.” Rhur again sighed sadly as if the events that transpired pained him greatly.
Alaric’s eyebrow rose even further up, almost reaching his hairline. However, he remained silent.
Rhur continued. “When I asked him what wine he would like to drink, he ordered Lileron Passion.”
Alaric’s pupils widened, and suddenly he let out a raspy cough, designed to mask the laughter that was threatening to erupt.
Alaric Rroda, as an esteemed councilman of Halnea, often had business dinners and attended all kinds of high-class parties. He naturally knew of Lileron Passion.
Alaric’s solemn look still adorned his face, but the corner of his mouth kept twitching. Lileron Passion! Good one!
Rhur Rroda didn’t need to continue with his story. Alaric had already caught on to the main point. Nice try. Alaric barely contained himself from rolling his eyes. He spoke up, interrupting Rhur’s tear-jerking play. “A man’s debt has to be paid by his own hands. What is the point of you taking your brother out for a meal if I’m the one paying for it? It would make your entire gesture of brotherly love meaningless.”
Brotherly love? Rhur’s eyebrow twitched. The old man was clearly mocking him.
Rhur smiled wryly. Of course you wouldn’t help me out. You are always on his side.
But I expected as much.