“Get away! Get away!”
As he forcefully pushed them apart, Michael’s lips curled slightly. Izeline was taken aback and nervously blinked her eyes.
‘What’s going on? Huh?’
Wasn’t Michael going to meet the Prince? Or was he going to become close to them instead? As she pondered the potential repercussions on Robert’s future, she reached the conclusion that it might not be as grave as initially presumed.
‘Will Arsen and Livny not be affected?’
With even the sub-male lead now absent, the narrative seemed unequivocally solid. Though it was plausible that Michael and Arsen could encounter each other through different circumstances, the love triangle might not unfold as before.
Nevertheless, it seemed that Robert wouldn’t be impacted because of it.
“Ah, what a relief.”
“What’s the matter?”
Izeline unwittingly uttered her thoughts aloud, causing her to gasp and fall silent. In the meanwhile, Michael gazed intently at her.
“Did it make you uncomfowtable?”
It was Robert who asked on behalf of her.
“I-it made you uncomfowtable.”
Then, he firmly grasped Izeline’s arm before turning towards Michael and bursting out passionately.
“Doing that makes peowple uncomfowtable, right Izeline?!”
The response was ambiguous and inconclusive, yet Robert seemed to find it satisfactory, nodding with satisfaction.
“I knew it would bwe like this!”
While Michael observed the scene of an unwelcomed guest being forcefully ousted, he felt a bit discomposed. He wiped away his smile and confronted Robert with coldness.
“Does the Young Master always exhibit such impoliteness?”
“Why should I concewn myself with your opinion, huh?”
Within the noble society, concealed hierarchies were at play, and distinctions in social status persisted even among equals. Unquestionably, the Armanty Duchy occupied the loftiest strata of this hierarchy.
Under usual circumstances, it would have been fitting for Michael to exhibit deference toward Robert.
Granted, in more relaxed social gatherings, close acquaintances might forego formalities and engage in casual conversation. Nevertheless, given that Michael and Robert had just been introduced, adopting such an approach might be out of place.
Feeling disheartened that his attempt to assert dominance had failed, Robert encountered an entirely different reaction from Michael, who seemed nonchalant and smiled back.
“We are all mere students under the same master.”
Was he trying to diminish the significance by having the same teacher? Moreover, Robert was not even scheduled to receive sword training. The phrase ‘mere students’ contradicted the intended meaning.
“No matter what…”
“Ah… I should probably go find the master.”
At that moment, Michael boldly interrupted Robert and started walking away with a leisurely gait. Before opening the door and leaving, he turned back to Izeline with a playful grin.
“I’ll be back shortly to accompany you. Let’s learn swordsmanship together.”
Izeline nodded in agreement.
Robert, in a fit of anger, clenched his fist tightly as he watched the blond hair disappear into the corridor. He had hoped that during the sword training, they would have ample time together, leaving everyone else aside.
Drowned in misfortune, he fervently prayed for the sword master to be gone forever.
* * *
However, to his surprise, the unwanted scenario unfolded much sooner than expected. In the vast, bustling city, Michael, with his extraordinary ability, managed to find his master, who was indulging in revelry in just a day.
“Sigh. I haven’t had enough fun yet.”
The man, who had been leisurely sipping alcohol until then, was being dragged along by a child who barely reach his mid-thigh.
“You are too diligent for your age.”
“Your laziness is a charm, Master.”
“Is that a compliment?”
Seeing Michael’s cheerful smile, the man nonchalantly scratched the back of his head. He certainly didn’t act like a typical six-year-old. Normally, when a teacher disappeared, students rejoiced and did not bother searching until death though this disciple of his was the opposite.
Rather than the teacher telling the disciple to take a day off, it was the disciple who pesteringly dragged his teacher along.
“Here we are.”
Passing through the resplendent corridors, Michael stopped at a certain point and knocked.
“No! Dwon’t come in!”
The first voice belonged to Izeline, and the second belonged to Robert. Since Michael’s arrival, he had been on edge.
He desperately needed to postpone the start of the sword training…
The two, who engaged in a small scuffle, looked up to see a well-built adult man who had followed Michael.
“Allow me to introduce him. Informally, he’s the hidden expert who defeated the Ignite Knight Commander and our swordsmanship master.”
A brief but splendid introduction caused the man to raise an eyebrow, tilting his head to the side. As a result, his hair swayed. The hazel eyes, which they had seen before, gleamed mischievously. Izeline and Robert were so astonished that they missed the right moment to greet him.
Smiling gently at their stunned state, he opened his mouth.
“Pleased to meet you. I’m Oren.”
He was the button thief they had encountered before.
As Izeline extended her index finger and shouted, Michael looked at his master with a skeptical and uncertain gaze as if questioning what kind of situation this was.
Oren scratched the back of his head and smiled mischievously.
“There’s a bit of a connection here.”
“Master, what mischief are you up to?”
Instead of answering, he flicked his finger, and something small floated into the air and spun around before landing gracefully in front of Robert. The child looked at the button that had bounced on the floor a few more times before raising his head to gaze sharply at Oren.
Oren nonchalantly asked.
“Why didn’t you catch it?”
“What’s the point of cwatching it now?”
“Perhaps as a symbol of our promise.”
Seeing the incredulous look in Robert’s eyes, Oren added an explanation as if the young ones were clueless.
“In an uncertain future, we leave symbols to recognize each other. When wars happen, lovers and families often exchange such tokens.”
Izeline was baffled.
That was something for when wars happened. However, the reason for the uncertainty with Oren was that he had whimsically procrastinated for no apparent reason.
“Where were you, and why were you late?”
In response to her retort, Oren rolled his hazel eyes as if considering an excuse. But thanks to Michael’s betrayal, his efforts came to naught.