24 Young and Beautiful
(From the point of view of Lars Frigg)
"Who are those people?" Vonerich whispered to me by the time we entered the gates of the Imperial City of Cardenon. Initially, the prince wanted to have some kind of a flirting fiasco with a guard that got his attention. Well, his attention... and the attention of the beast in his pants. However, he suddenly turned towards me and ignored that person he was just flirting when he pointed at two people standing a few meters away from the large gate of the Imperial City.
"Oh... Them." I said as I looked at the people Vonerich was pointing at with a trouble expression. I really don't want him to talk to them. "They're envoys from Caelum. It seems that they came here for some diplomatic talks with the king." I continued while pulling Vonerich as far away from them.
The people in question were wearing baggy white robes with some weird designs on it plated with some kind of golden fabric. The envoys from Caelum were also wearing some sort of thin veils that covered their faces, and since their clothes were loose, one would not be able to see what their genders were. I believe that that was the point of those clothes, but I'm sure Vonerich wouldn't mind hitting on them just because they're foreigners. Haa...
"Oh? I'm just curious about their clothes. Damn, they must be feeling so hot with whatever costume they're wearing. Yiegh!" Vonerich said as I pulled him towards the Imperial Palace of Rumer.
Oh? He seems... disinterested? I... wow... I feel like such an asshole now! I mean, the envoys from Caelum indeed looked odd because of their choice of clothing, especially since they're in a hot empire like Varba. I just thought... Ha...
"I'm sorry, Your Highness Vonerich!" I said as I knelt before my prince with a disappointed look on my face.
"Wha... hey, what are you doing, silly! Look, everyone is staring at us like I'm punishing you or something! Come now, stand! Why are you even apologizing?" Vonerich frantically spoke in rapid-fire succession.
"I just... Haa... I was judging your character inside of my head earlier when you talked about the envoys from Caelum. I thought for sure that you would be flirting with them and embarrass yourself, so I..." I then heaved a displeased sigh, not even wanting to look at the prince right now. "I'm really sorry!"
"Ohh... Come on, it's fine! Don't be so uptight about it! Come, come, stand up, Sir Frigg, my goodness!" I then did as he had commanded as I looked at his small figure with a downcast gaze. "Though I am quite disappointed that you think of me that way," Here it is. I feel so stupid already just for harboring such malicious thoughts of my long time friend and master. "but you're too uptight! I'm sure everyone thinks that way about me! Then again, even if I'm the most sex-crazed maniac in the world, I still wouldn't hit on those two! One look at them is enough for me to know that they're not interested, you know? Plus, you also said that they're important, and they do look like one, too, so there's no way I would possibly hit on them! Look, I was the same as them! If I really, really want people to hit on me, then I would just take the scarf off and walk around naked! I have the scarf on because I'm not into it today, you know? But it's too hot to wear something like the armor you're wearing right now, so I think I'm good enough! I was just curious because..." He then looked at his sweaty and naked torso as he covered himself some more with his scarf. "I don't think it would be proper for an Imperial Prince like me to be walking around in front of them naked! I hope they didn't see me!" He then heartily laughed as he wrapped his scarf more tightly around his body this time. Did he just do that because of what I said?
I merely listened to his long-winded speech before me as I continued to frown, feeling disappointed in myself and how I view the people around me. I... hmm... well, I knew that he wouldn't be angry, but I also didn't think he would be too lenient on a knight who had just defiled his image like me. Perhaps I should do some self-reflection exercises.
"Sir Frigg, I am getting annoyed with this whole frowning fiasco! You are my friend, so you have all the right to think whatever you want about me and talk about it with me on my face!" I then gulped my saliva in awe as Vonerich finally raised his voice before walking past me. "Now, let's go. I still have to deliver this shield to someone!"
Oh, yeah. I did realize that the prince had that massive shield throughout the day playfully as if it was not heavy at all. However, I'm sure anyone would suffer after carrying that huge damn thing with just one hand throughout the damn day! I was curious about it and almost asked what it was while we were in his mansion. However, Vonerich had been distracted throughout the day, so... I didn't want to be rude and just ask while he's too deep in his thoughts. He is still my boss, after all...
Vonerich then turned his head around with a proud grin as he pounded his fist on his bare chest before proudly proclaiming, "Wanna know what it is?"
"C-can I?" I asked awkwardly, not wanting to be too audacious since I kinda just annoyed him earlier.
"Sure! Go ahead! Uh... well, what it does is..." He then started scratching his head vigorously, ruffling his dry black hair. "Look, why don't we just do a demonstration? Use one of your huge fist thingies and punch this shield for me! Come on." He said as he placed the shield in front of him and hid behind it. Since the shield was just absolutely enormous, it managed to conceal the entirety of his body when he knelt behind it. How did he carry that damn huge thing with only one hand throughout the day?
"Uhh... Is this really necessary, Vonerich?" I uttered with a tone filled with uncertainty, but I still raised my hand into an arc shape, readying myself to punch the prince's shield. I am always a big fan of his inventions, and I'm sure it'll be fine, but... Is it really going to be okay?
"Oh, it'll be fiiiine!" I heard the muffled voice of Vonerich behind the shield. "We already tested it earlier; it worked like a charm! Do it, come on, punch, punch, punch!" He said with a voice filled with excitement.
"Okay then..." I then concentrated all of my mana into my arms and closed my eyes while breathing heavily. When I felt that something was now covering my arms, I opened my eyes and swung it into the gemstone clad shield! When I saw them, they looked like black stones in the shape of a giant fist, covering my entire arms like a glove. "HERE I COME!" Without further ado, I struck the shield hard, expecting for the damn thing to dent, crack, or shatter.
However, when my black rock fist hit the gemstones on the shield, I suddenly felt its gemstone-clad surface pulling the mana away from my skin, draining it all into the shield-like water on a sink.
My face then became so elated as my mouth turned into the shape of an O as I placed my hands on my head. "WHAT!? THAT'S INSANE! IT DRAINS MANA!?" I said, not even knowing the excitement creeping up on my face as a bright smile suddenly appeared on my face.
The great inventor that is Prince Vonerich Lardizabal then raised his head high with a proud smirk as he proclaimed, "Oh, it doesn't just DRAIN the damn mana outta you, no, no, no; it SUCKS the living hell out of it!"
Amid our loud shouts and excited hollers, a tired voice of a boyish sounding woman resounded behind me and said, "What are you, boys, laughing at, hmm?" When I turned around, I saw a tall lady with long limbs walking towards us with a large book in her hand. Her hair was cut short, but her rather provocative clothes would tell the world that she is, indeed, a woman. Her dark maroon hair had a streak of violet around its bangs, and to this day, I do not know how she managed to dye it that way. Her black dress is not particularly revealing, but the way it tightly hugged her skin accentuated her beautiful figure and large chest more. When the lady looked at the two of us, her smile turned into a disgusted scowl right away after seeing Vonerich. "Oh, honey... That scarf, those pants, and those jazz shoes... Oh, boy, wow... It's our choice what clothes we wear, but those..." She said while eyeing Vonerich's outfit. "... those are a CHOICE! You go out of your house with an outfit like that?"
"Oh, Song Eight! Great timing!" The prince said as he carried his shield with one hand while walking towards Song Eight. It seemed that he wished to ignore the rampant insult that Song Eight had just thrown at him completely. "I was about to give this to you for appraisal and enhancement."
"Enhancements? To me? Why didn't you give it to Song Six instead?" Song Eight said with a puzzled look while pointing her fingers towards her bosom.
"Well, the main component of this is not the shield's steel, it's the gemstone, so I thought you would be more versed with it... am I wrong to assume so?" The prince said as he gently laid the shield down onto the ground while looking up at the tall lady before him.
"Ahh! Is that so? Well, come on then, let's go to my hall; I have something to show to you two anyway!"
We then walked towards Song Eight's hall on the second floor of the Imperial Palace. What we saw is a large room filled with colorful gemstones, hundreds if not thousands of books, and countless other trinkets scattered perfectly well around the hall, making it look cramped in a way that it didn't feel too suffocating.
"Just place the shield there, Vonerich, and I'll look at it tonight." She said as she placed the large book she's carrying on a nearby table before looking at herself on a diamond-studded mirror on the side. She then started fixing her hair and applying some kind of orange-scented perfume on her neck before continuing, "Go sit wherever you want; this won't take long!" She then pulled two empty wheeled crates beside her. "Observe!" She uttered as she used her mana to conjure two giant hunks of gemstones in the wheeled containers. Now, the once empty crates on her right contained a humongous blood-red gem that looked about four feet tall.
Meanwhile, the crate on her left side was then filled with an ocean-colored gemstone that looked about the same size as the other one. Without blinking, Song Eight breathed lightly while pointing her bare palm at the red stone. Out of nowhere, it suddenly disappeared and jumped a few inches away from the blue stone!
"OH MY GOD! YOU MADE THEM TELEPORT!" Vonerich said as he stood up from the wooden chair he had sat on with a face filled with excitement.
"Oh, yeah, I am THAT bitch!" She said with a playful chuckle before sighing lightly with a smile. "I just came up with this method a few days ago after reading about the magical connection between Sapphire and Ruby. With the proper amount of mana imbued to it, we can easily transport a ruby to a sapphire just like what you saw earlier! I haven't made it my official project yet, though, so I don't have any journal entries about it, but I'm thinking about making a whole paper about it!"
"That's... so amazing, Miss Song Eight!" I exclaimed, still with my jaws dropped. "I'm sure if this study works, you can alleviate your status into Song 1!"
"Oh, my sweet, little Lars, I want more than just a promotion! Once I found the proper formula for this, I'm sure I can become my own woman without using the Song brand! Perhaps, by then... I can use my name again..." She then sighed as she snapped her fingers, and almost instantly, the gemstones she had created shattered into nothingness. "However, there's still a lot of problems with it. If my theory was right, the ruby should have been transported directly beside the sapphire! However, as you can see earlier, the ruby was transported a few inches away from where it's supposed to land."
"Do you have any theories?" Vonerich said as he sat on his chair again with a newfound curiosity written on his face.
"Well, if you think about it, I used mana to create the ruby and used more mana to transport the damn thing to the sapphire. If we observe the amount of distance the ruby landed from its ideal landing space, we can conclude that that ruby is being pulled away into..." Song Eight then took a compass on a table beside her as she continued, "the south. The farther the ruby is from the sapphire, the farther the distance of the landing area would be, and it would always, always, always be in the south of the calculated landing spot. For some reason, the mana is being transported into the south... and if I can theorize, I only know one thing in the far south that can influence the movement of mana."
"... The Monument of Cydonia." Vonerich said with a sigh as he massaged his chin with a scrutinizing gaze.
"Huh?" I simply uttered while looking at the people around me with a pair of confused eyes. What exactly is happening here? What are they saying?
Song Eight nodded. "Yes! I think the Monument of Cydonia in the south is the reason why ruby-to-sapphire teleportation never worked quite well! Since I would coat the ruby with mana to transport it into the sapphire, it should be able to land directly beside the sapphire. However, because of the way the Monument of Cydonia in the far south pulls mana into it, the transportation would, well... be almost impossible to work."
Eh? I... I kinda don't get it... Are they really talking about the same thing I had just seen earlier?
"W...wait, okay..."I whispered with a puzzled look on my face. "I... I don't get it?"
"Oh, it's okay, Frigg!" Vonerich said as he stood up from his seat. "You're good at something, and this kind of talk is not one of such things! Don't be too hard on yourself!"
But I'm... not hard on myself, though...
"Come, Song Eight, I want to know more about this project of yours and if I can find a way to help you!" He then frowned and pulled his hair again, "ARGH! But I have to meet my father, urgently! Can we speak about it on the way there?"
"Of course, Prince Vonerich, you never need to ask!" Song Eight said with a pair of seductive eyes.
"Oh, but we're not doing that today," Vonerich said while shaking his head when he saw the glint of seduction in Song Eight's eyes.
Haa... Thus, they spoke more complicated things beside me as we went to the Court of the King. I'm younger than these two, but how come they both looked younger and far more beautiful than I could ever be?