Honestly speaking, Leguna didn't think he'd feel so nervous participating in a simple banquet.
That way, he didn't wear his usual tight-fitting leather armor, choosing instead to don a black noble robe. It was a high-class piece made with the finest materials and craftsmanship. The design also suited his body type quite well, showing his slender, but tough physique off decently. If he appeared on the streets in that, he might cause many a lass's heart to throb.
His outfit aside, he also got a new haircut for his messy head of hair. The slick oiling made his black hair shine so bright it was almost enough to blind others in sunlight.
It took him two whole hours with his attendants before he was finally released. Eirinn's eyes brightened when she saw him in that getup.
"Wow! I didn't think you could look so handsome!" she joked as she hugged his arm playfully.
"You little, what are you saying?" He feigned dissatisfaction with hs nose raised high. "Since when did I ever not look handsome?"
"Hmph! I think your clothes are doing most of the heavy lifting for your looks!"
"Yeah, alright!--" He stroked her silver hair. "--It's all thanks to you, Eirinn, for your wonderful tailor."
"Hehe!" Her silver eyes narrowed into two crescent moons.
She had found the tailor after lots of asking around. While the shop wasn't that huge, it was a known name among the higher circles in Melindor and quite a few nobles also wanted to have a dress or two ordered there. The establishment received many orders due to the annual celebration in Melindor. To get this slot, she had to beg for it so badly and the odd-tempered tailor eventually couldn't take her teary-eyed expression and relented, spending an extra night working on the formal robes she requested.
Naturally, he wouldn't charge less just because of that. Annelotte seemed a little surprised to see him in that, but she still said, "Well, it's about time you paid me back for this. it's 500 gold coins."
"500?--" His eyeballs almost popped out. "--The hell… Is this robe made from bank notes?"
"Haha, don't worry, Big Brother, I'll pay for it." Eirinn gave him a satisfied look and took out a few notes from her dimensional pocket. While her notes were a little worn and old, they seemed really well cared for and neat. There wasn't a single fold on them.
"I…" He had wanted to stop her from paying but the glare Annelotte shot him stopped him from reaching for his wallet. He didn't lack money at the moment, but the way he got it was…
[This is a gift Eirinn spent a long time preparing for you,] Annelotte said with a conference spell, [And the 500 coins is just for the tailoring. The materials, dye, threads and other things like buttons are something she picked herself. She also spent the whole night helping the tailor himself. She wasn't able to make something herself, so she had no choice but to ask for a helping hand. But apart from the design and handiwork, everything else came from her. She even saved up her salary from the academy slowly to pay for all this, so don't ruin this with your dirty money!]
Though he felt a little touched at all she had done for him, he wondered why Annelotte seemed like she swallowed gunpowder today. He recalled that he didn't do anything to anger her since they last talked.
He wasn't a magus, so he wouldn't know that Annelotte also did quite a lot of work on the robe. The two grape-sized sapphires on the shoulder portions were something she had given to Eirinn. They were Ocean's Hearts which Annelotte removed from her divine robe, Bluestar of the Frozen Sea.
She would do so because she had nothing else to take out. Though she held the impressive position of principal, not many knew how hard her work was.
Since the school started, she had practically emptied her savings to make up for the budget deficits of the academy. She had no more than a thousand gold coins right now, and each jewel could cost up to 20 thousand gold easily. The price got Eirinn quite anxious. Annelotte remembered seeing her almost cry because of that, so she decided to give the Ocean's Hearts on her robe to her.
Given her proficiency in magic, she more or less knew what functions the gems played in the robe's formation. Even so, removing them would greatly decrease the effects. A divine item that used to be able to pre-store three level-nine ice spells could only store one now after the loss of the two gems. For the sake of showing off this once during the banquet, she was willing to forego two-thirds of the effects of the item. No matter how little she cared for it, it still hurt for her to do so.
Given all that, it would be surprising if she didn't have any qualms for Leguna at all.
Well, since he does look quite good in that, I suppose I shouldn't bother him too much over it, she thought after checking him out.
Leguna was messing about with Eirinn as she was paying. She had become much more bold and energetic since a particular summer night a year ago. She could, at the very least, now admit she was Leguna's lover, though she still wore a crimson face when she did so.
The thought made Annelotte's heart feel a little odd.
"Alright, Eirinn. Stop messing around. We still have some things to take care of and you might need to give a statement tonight as well," Annelotte said, as if she could no longer take their flirting.
"Oh? I have to do it too?" She seemed rather surprised. Though she was able to participate in the banquet, being a staff member of Second Magic Academy, she didn't think she would need to give any kind of address. She hadn't prepared anything as she was too busy getting the robe ready for Leguna.
"Yes," Annelotte said with a resigned nod, "I heard there'll be a vote for someone unrelated to come up to speak. According to Innie's Eirinn's Guard, you will have the most votes."
"How?! I… I'm afraid…" She was so terrified she began stuttering like Sasha.
"No worries, you don't need to say anything complicated," Leguna encouraged, "I'm here, alright?"
"Okay…" She nodded, but she still seemed rather nervous.
"Come to think of it, where's Innie?" He changed the subject to take her mind off it.
"She's our student representative, so she is naturally occupied with the banquet," Annelotte said pridefully, "Innie has been working very hard lately. Her fruits of labor are finally showing."
"It's all thanks to your great teaching."
"Alright, it's going to start at four in the afternoon. Eirinn, I'll take you along for a makeover as well. It's better if you don't wear the priestess's robe you use for work." She completely ignored his attempt.
"Oh… Alright…" Being reminded of the banquet once more, she felt nervous about the speech again.
He had wanted to tag along but was stopped by Annelotte's cold glare.
"These are girl matters. Don't interfere!"
He watched helplessly as the two of them left as they chattered. He had no choice but to head to the venue, First Magic Academy, alone.
"Send the ones we caught to punishment. They know how to deal with them." Xeno waved the agents of the bureau away. When they finally left, he stuck his hands in his hair and sighed deeply.
He now finally understood the difference between being a boss and a goon. The banquet looked normal on the surface, but it had hoards of people like Xeno working in the shadows. They'd all expected it to, but the banquet had really tempted Stok to try and make a move. It was the perfect chance for them to wipe out much of the empire's leaders, as many of them, or their family members would be gathered in one place. Nobody could be certain what the desperate Jilroan would pull.
That was why, aside from Leguna, most others of the bureau were on high alert. They had to control every single corner of Melindor, from bright roads to dark alleys, to make sure the banquet would go on without a hitch. The bureau had to go all out to fulfil the empire's expectations, but Leguna was exempt from it, being the head of the bureau and having to participate in the banquet himself. So, everything fell to Xeno, the stand in for leader.
Lately, he felt rather overwhelmed by his work.
Just as he closed his eyes for a few minutes of rest, someone pushed the door to his office open. he stood straight up without even seeing who it was. Only one person would barge in without knocking -- Leguna himself.
"I felt a little worried about you, so I came to check," he calmly said as he entered, "I also have something I need to deal with too."Previous Chapter Next Chapter