Chapter 42: A Ball II
Lilia is caught a bit by surprise but still replies in good manner.
“O-of course! I’ll see you later then Art!” She waves at me, bowing towards Gideon before going back to Ellie.
“You know that young female cohort of yours likes you right?” He scratches his cheek awkwardly.
I simply respond, “I know.” Which begs the question for him. “You two seem to get along though, you’re not going to do anything about it?”
“She’s someone that has had her life changed by me. More so than the feeling of like or love, it’s something more akin to gratefulness that she feels. She doesn’t know that now, but later in the future, I’m sure she’ll distinguish the two on her own.” I just shrug.
“You know, even when you say something disgustingly conceited like that, it doesn’t sound vain coming from you.” Gideon shakes his, taking a small sip of his wine.
“Because I don’t mean it in a conceited way. To her, I am something like a hero who saved her life. She may have fantasies about a relationship between us like any young girl about her idol, but that doesn’t mean she is in love with that person. Anyway, I’m sure you’re not here to give me a love counseling. What is it that you wanted to discuss?” I turn to him, my face a bit more serious.
“Haa…why do I feel like I’m talking to someone same age as me. But yeah, you’re right, how did your sister like the present you so kindly took from me?” He changed the subject, sitting down on the floor while leaning against the wall.
“Received as a compensation, not took. And I haven’t given it to her yet. I will later.” I correct his statement.
“Right. Well, after refining the blueprint and creating a plan, I sent it in to the Council of Dicathen. They approved it and is undergoing a construction plan right away.” He announces seriously, his usual joking manner nonexistent.
After the founding of the Six Lances, the Three Kings and Queens of Dicathen came together and announced to the public that the current monarchy of each of the three Kingdoms is changing into one big Council for all of Dicathen. This decision wasn’t really up for debate but it did bring some groups of people to rebel against it. For now, the location of the Council of Dicathen was unknown, the only source of communication available through some trusted individuals while major broadcasts were publicized through each City’s Governor.
“Congratulations. I’m sure they rewarded you well for that.” I reply.
“Bah, money is just a means to an end for me, gold is but a useless commodity that only has use in buying stuff actually useful for me. But you, you’re an asset that I do not want to let go. What is it you want brat? Money? Power? Knowledge? I can give you all of that if you be more open to me about what you know as well.” He gets up, his beady eyes gleaming with curiosity.
“I don’t intend to change how the world works for my own benefit. This Continent is doing just fine without any of it.” I retort, making my intentions clear.
“So you’re saying you have ideas on inventions capable of changing how this world works? Fascinating…” His ears must only be hearing this he wants to hear because my intentions weren’t getting through to him.
Imbuing mana into my voice, I growl in a low voice so only he could hear. “Mr. Gideon, let me make it clear that I’m not here to indulge your selfish curiosities.”
This shakes him up a bit at the different tone in my voice as it trembles his body.
“Well you sure sobered me up real quick. Yeah I guess you’re right. How about a give and take then? I’m not asking for world changing inventions like that steam engine you gave me. I just want to get to know how you think really. I’ll be your personal benefactor for whatever you need. Really, I’m desperate brat, don’t make this old man plead any more.” His voice sounds sincere this time.
This was what I planned for but I didn’t want to give in to his wishes too easily so I persisted. “Can I take your word for it?”
“Of course! What do you take me for? I’m a man of my words. You’re quite a family man so I understand why you were so interested in that Phoenix Wyrm necklace. I may not be a great mage but I know my way around artificing and magic implementation theory. Hell, you need some allowance for school right? So how about it? Yeah?” His beady eyes and electrocuted hair made him look even more pitiful.
Sticking my hand out, I give him a business smile that sends shivers down my now benefactor’s body as his eyes twitch for a bit before shaking it.
The party eventually came to an end after the bell rang for midnight making it officially my sister’s birthday. After more dancing, eating and drinking, and present giving the guests slowly started leaving until the maids eventually started cleaning the ballroom.
My parents gave my sister a pair of beautiful hair ties with ornamental bells that were silver on first glance but shined a rainbow reflection underneath a light. My sister excitedly asked my mother to tie her hair for her so her long hair now had twin ponytails.
My sister was pretty disappointed that the Twin Horns couldn’t make it to her birthday since they were currently in a dungeon but she got over it quickly.
“Happy Birthday little sister.” I give her my present and I hand the other box, which wasn’t as prettily decorated, to my mother.
“Wow! It’s so pretty!” My sister was ecstatic at the precious necklace that she probably will never know how much it’s worth.
“T-this is gorgeous…” My mother’s reaction was actually even stronger than Ellie’s, her eyes locked on the light pink gem embedded on the white gold chain.
“Keep it on at all times okay?” I say directly to my sister by I also look at my mother so that she catches my drift.
“Where in the world did you get something like this Son?” My father was still a little tipsy but he was fully functional.
“I’m sure met Mr. Gideon right? I’m going to start working for him while he teaches me various things about magic. He gave me this as a token of my apprenticeship.” It wasn’t a lie but it wasn’t exactly the full truth either.
“Well, I’ll have to greet him one more time and thank him for taking care of you. I can’t believe my boy is going to attend Xyrus Academy soon! You’re going to kick some butt out there right? OWW!” My mother clonks him on his head at the last statement and gives me a big hug, my sister following suit.
“Thank you for this present. We’ll both keep it on, right Ellie?” She hugs my sister too.
“Yeah! We’re matching now haha!” She looks happy and she’ll be safe. That’s all that really matters that this point.
After my sister’s birthday, my daily life turned very repetitive. My birthday passed by as well, and although the Twin Horns couldn’t make it, their dungeon exploration leading them to the depths of the Continent, we did hear back from them from Guild Hall, indicating that they were still alive and okay. My birthday was nowhere near as grand as Ellie’s but I had no problems with that.
Only a few people aside from mine and Lilia’s family came, Gideon included of course. He gave me exactly what I asked for, which was a seal for my attribute mana for fire and water.
“While it’s a little gaudy, keep this bracelet on at all times when you want to hide your mana attributes. It’s still a trial product from me so be careful. The two charms on the bracelet each can hide and seal one elemental attribute mana from being sensed and gauged by others. Christ… I didn’t believe you were a quadra-elemental Augmenter but…”
I’ve gotten a lot closer to Gideon over these past few months and, while he is quite eccentric and quirky, he’s a good and trustworthy person. I haven’t indulged him in much besides my abilities as a mage, which he took as quite a shock.
My birthday was, all in all, a quiet and pleasant time with my family. Elijah and me quickly went back into training, and while his abilities have become a lot less powerful, he has become a lot more adept in controlling his Earth and Metal Conjuring. He still has a lot to learn if he’s going to catch up to me but we both have time.
As for me, training was going by steadily. I was planning to only use Earth and Wind Attribute mana, which probably accounts for 20% of my actual power, but that doesn’t mean I plan on laying back and hiding myself in school. Why not enjoy the benefits of being a good-looking prodigal dual elemental Augmenter? I had a family that I had to make proud right?
Elijah was much more eager to go to school than I was, expressing on many occasions what kind of “hot” female friends he’ll make. I keep telling him that we’re only 12 and that girl’s aren’t “hot” at our age, but he filters that out and says he’s going to go for older girls as well.
My father’s training resumed a bit slower after he used all of the benefits from the beast core I brought, but he did manage to level up his fire augmentations, his skills and abilities become a light orange rather than red like most other Fire Augmenters.
Like I expected, the beast will didn’t react to Elijah when I gave it to him. He couldn’t even sense anything, becoming confused as to why I still had it.
With Ellie enjoying school and bringing a closer group of friends over more often and my mother and Tabitha enjoying the free time of being a housewife, life couldn’t be any more content. For how long this would last, I would give my life to make sure it lasted until their life ended in their due time.
The eventful day in the Dicathen Calendar, marking the day of when the first steam engine ship named Dicatheous will set sail on the voyage to the other Continent, also marked another important day.
The Dicatheous was scheduled to set sail tomorrow, which is also the day both Elijah and I will start our first day of Xyrus Academy.