33 Chapter 32

"How.." The servant's eyes flashed in suprise

"You're a smart girl, figure it out." I winked, leaving her dumbfounded. "And don't worry, I made sure no one was eavesdropping." A rune appeared at the tip of my index finger. It seemed pretty obvious that her true name be kept a secret.

She visible calmed down, she wasn't one to show all her emotions on her sleeve. "You are the Wizard-Marshall's grandson, or so you claim. I could only suspect that you have access to his Magic as well, perhaps knowledge from a parallel world?"

"Well done." I gave her a small clap, withdrawing an item from my ring. "Here's your prize." I presented her with a flower, one I was a bit familiar with after learning it was Meridia's favorite.

She hesitantly took it, staring at the flower oddly. "This is not a normal flower."

Artoria was indeed perceptive. "It's called Dragon's Tongue, it grows in places with a lot of heat. It got its name because of its likelihood to bloom in dragon's nests for obvious reasons. There is also the added benefit of being soothing for dragons when they sleep." I was kind of curious to see if would have the same effect on her as it did on me.

Technically a magic flower, but it didn't have any impressive overt effects, mainly used as Alchemy ingredients.

She actually seemed to like it; I had just assumed to see her merely acknowledge the 'gift' and nothing more but she looked genuinely interested. I wonder if having Ddraig in my made her more inclined to have a good impression of me?

I was a little surprised when she schooled her expression, pushing back towards me. "I thank you for your generous gift, but I will have to decline, if you—" Her words sounded extremely rehearsed, and I realized what was going on.

"Stop." I held my hand up interrupting, realizing what was going on. "This is a small gift without any thought of recourse or attempt at garnering some kind of 'debt'." While the mages here weren't exactly on par with the Fae folk, it was a good idea to follow the same principles when dealing with unknowns. I'm sure Artoria memorized the lines regarding 'accepting' gifts and she resorted right to those. "Rin is my grandfather's student, practically family, consider this a hand extended in friendship."

It was just a small thing, not even a romantic gesture, not that I didn't find her attractive, but such things aren't meant for a first meeting. No, it was genuinely supposed to be just a way to perhaps bridge the gap and maybe become something close to friendly since we would probably be around each other more often.

I wasn't lying about the effects of Dragon's Tongue either, it was soothing for the dragon species to sleep around. With Artoria's nature, having the magical core of this world's Ddraig, it would probably be just as effective. I'm sure she could even 'feel' its effects right now. Hell, I could feel the subtle soothing feeling from it, and I wanted to make a good impression. Not like it was something nefarious either, and it was quite pretty if I did say so myself.

"I see…" She still looked a bit unsure.

I could only sigh. I couldn't really blame her; this place was a nest of vipers. Most here were willing to do anything to get ahead.

"Saber." A familiar voice called out, walking towards us.

Both me and Artoria turned to look at Rin who had already changed back into her normal clothes and walked over. It seems we were a bit distracted. She was sporting a few bruises around her face but nothing too bad.

"Who're you?" Her eyes narrowed as she stood infront of me. Her tone was…even, not too disrespectful but definitely suspicious.

"Wilhelm Henry Schweinorg, I am your teacher's grandson." I stood up and introduced myself proper. There was no need to be pompous or difficult, I wasn't lying with my comment about us practically being family. I have it on good authority that Zelretch considers her a granddaughter.

She just blinked, looking between me and Artoria who gave a small nod. "He never told me he had a grandson, I didn't think he had any relatives." She looked at me intently, as if trying grasp any deceit.

Ah, trying to accuse me of being a liar without insulting me, she's learned well so far. "I'm sure there are many things he hasn't told you yet, he has lived a long life after all."

She looked skeptical, but it was also one of those circumstances where she couldn't really call me out on it.

"Reeeen" Another voice shouted, walking over. Luvia strode over, flanked by several 'guards' who looked like they belonged to her family. They all had some ridiculous hairstyles, and basically walking with that 'aristocrat' stride, like they knew they were important and everyone should know it too.

"What do you want." Rin all but growled.

"Don't be like that Reen!" Luvia laughed haughtily. "It was just a friendly spar, I'm sure you'll do better next time." She covered her mouth and continued to laugh in that obnoxious way.

Was she pronouncing Rin's name like that on purpose…?

Rin audibly twitched and I wanted to sit down and watch the fun, but Artoria put a hand on Rin's shoulder to visibly calm her down.

"Whatever, I need to get back to work." She flipped her hair up, dismissing the insult.

Luvia didn't look happy, probably wanted to goad a reaction out of Rin. Her eyes turned to me as her lips curled up. "Reen, who's your new friend?"

"He's –"

"Wilhelm, first-generation Magus." I answered, earning a look from Rin, we exchanged a glance before I answered again. "Me and Rin just so happened to have share a circle for magical research and would be seeing much more of each other in the future, so I wanted to introduce myself."

See looked at me strangely, perhaps because of my 'first-generation magus' remark.

Luvia's eyes practically sparkled. "Ohoho, Reen I thought you had standards, but I suppose that is another aspect you are lacking in." Luvia gave the very definition of a haughty laugh.

Oh yes, here comes the hazing. If it wasn't the subtle racism directed to those with Asian descent, everyone loved to look down on the new blood. Technically, I was a first-generation magus, but on the other hand, my bloodline could be traced back to before humanity. On my father's side of course, hell I'm technically related to big G himself.

Rin narrowed her eyes slightly, staring for a moment before she smiled brightly, holding back a laugh.

"It's actually my first time coming to the Clock Tower" I said 'enthusiastically'. My acting skills were top notch, and now that I'm back in my home, I should really check out the local theatre scene, it would be a good break from what I've been doing recently.

"I see, and what may I ask, is your Magecraft focus?" Luvia could barely hold back the glee in her voice as she kept glancing at Rin.

It wasn't exactly a secret what one specializes in, though digging anymore than that could be seen as rude or even downright malicious.

Well, if she wanted to keep making her hole deeper, who was I to stop her. "Well, I quite enjoy Runecraft." I smiled brightly.

"Hohoho." She covered her mouth, laughing some more. "Runecraft is it? What an…..old craft to pursue."

Yeah, the older families here look down on Runecraft due to its inability to perceivably reach the 'Root'. The Akashic Records, commonly referred to as the Root, is the origin of all existence, containing all knowledge past, present and future. It is the focus of every 'true' magus and the purpose of their research.

I just nodded along, completely 'ignorant' of her subtle jabs. "Indeed, Runes are a craft that dates back to the age of gods, they are a truly powerful avenue of research."

"Yes yes, of course." She continued to snicker, stealing glances at Rin who just scowled and crossed her arms.

Though I saw a small glint in Artoria's eye, I think she noticed what I was doing and didn't make a move to stop me. I guess even she was a bit put off by this girl's attitude, yet she had too much pride to step past her own position to do something.

"It's always nice to meet someone who appreciates my craft." I smiled happily, trying to mimic Thorum's own smile. "I'm really impressed with the facilities here, they even allow for such vigorous sparing between colleagues."

Luvia's eyes seemed to brighten. "You're right, they do allow for sparing between 'colleagues'. Since you're knew to the Clock Tower, why don't you introduce yourself with a spar? Alistair here does so love a friendly bout." She tapped the large gentlemen standing next to her on the arm. He was a little bit bigger than most Nords, practically all muscle. It was impressive, really.

"Well...it's my first day here, I don't know…."

"You are Reen's friend, I'm sure you know your way around a fight." She snickered.

There was a crowd gathering around us at this point, a bunch of whispers directed at me and some not so subtle laughs echoing Luvia's. Well, it looks like she took the bait. "Okay, you convinced me! Let's have a friendly fight." I held out my hand and smiled towards 'Alistair'.

He stared down at me, not saying a word. It was rather…intense. I don't think he's allowed to speak unless Luvia gives him permission. Such is the way some of these families raise their extra members.

"Alistair, dear, why don't you repair the arena while I give our new 'friend' a run down of the rules." Luvia said ever so 'kindly'.

"Do whatever you want." Rin snorted.

"Reen, don't be like that. How about we make a friendly wager? I have a few recently cut gems." She took a couple of shiny gems out of her sleeve, practically waving them around. They appeared to have not been 'used' yet, meaning that her families magic hasn't touched them, so they were safe for 'outsiders' to acquire. "Unless of course, you don't have anymore yourself? But how could that be, I'm sure someone of your 'stature' has many resources available."

I could tell Rin was about to lose her temper, she did a could job of keeping a straight face so far.

"Actually, I forgot to give a present for our first meeting, how rude of me." I withdrew a bag from my ring and presented it to Rin. To be honest I did want to give her a gift for our first meeting since she was 'grandfathers' student, I just didn't plan on doing it so openly.

Rin hesitantly opened the bag, I could tell she cast her own diagnostic spell on the fabric before opening. Good girl, make sure no one tries to pull a fast one on you.

"This!?" She exclaimed looking down in shock. Artoria even peeked over and her eyes widened ever so slightly.

"I heard you specialize in Jewelcraft, I believe these may help you in your research."

Rin lifted a handful of jewels out of the bag, I think she completely forgot where she was as even Luvia looked completely shocked, staring at the bag, then at me, and even down at my ring. I guess she noticed where I took the bag from.

Too late, you dug your hole, time to get buried. I don't hate Luvia, merely more of a dislike, which is why I wasn't plotting her death or anything like that. I would settle for a small bit of humiliation, I knew she wasn't a 'bad person' but she also wasn't the picture of innocence either.

"Why don't we increase our wager a little bit." Rin's lips formed a malicious smirk. "Of course, I would completely understand if you couldn't match up to my wealth." She flipped her hair haughtily, mimicking Luvia's mannerisms.

Luvia practically snarled in frustration. "Hmph, I don't keep that many gems on me like some kind of....peasant trying to show off their wealth." She scoffed. "I can match any wager you put forth."

Rin very reluctantly handed the bag over to Saber. "Saber, you keep hold of this until the fight is over."

"Of course, I shall make sure all dues are paid out." She nodded.

"It is good to know at least one of you is up to a certain standard." Luvia turned her nose up, handing over the few gems she currently had. "Miss Saber~ Why don't you become my servant? You're wasted on such a gorilla like Reen."

"I told you before! She's my Servant." Rin practically shouted in annoyance.

"Hohoho, you see this Saber, your master is such a barbarian, not that I could expect much else from an Asian."

"You wanna go blondie!?"

"I wouldn't mind a second fight today, the first one left me unfulfilled."

"RAAAA!"

"Gorilla, keeping roaring, Miss Gorilla."

"Rin."

"No! Stay out of It Saber, this bitch has it coming!"

"Ahem." I cleared my throat, earning their attention and a small nod of thanks from Saber.

"Of course, only someone uncouth would interrupt a fight that is already predetermined." Luvia waved her hand flippantly towards Rin.

"Just get your gems ready, bitch." Rin snorted.

"How uncivilized." Luvia scoffed. "Now, I believe it is time to explain the rules of this battle." She turned to look at me. "The rules are simple, no killing." She clapped her hands happily. "And that is it."

Yeah they don't really babysit people here, but they also don't like to do the 'dirty deeds' out in public like this. They at least want their students to not kill each other so openly.

"I believe my opponent is ready for me?" I saw Alistair waiting patiently at one end of the arena, the entire thing looking brand new as all the tiles were now fixed and in place and there wasn't a speck of dust to be seen.

Well, time to establish the pecking order.

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