Happiness is eating a delicious food.
I gobbled up the stew the bar served me, each bite made me smile a bit more with happiness. Sure, it was a basic meal, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying it. Basic food has its own appeal. Fully enjoying my meal, I let eyes roam over the scene. The bar’s patrons were all in all late twenties to forties in age. This made Geist seem pretty young.
I wanted to complain ‘shouldn’t people your age have a job?’ but honestly gathering around like this from noon was a sadly common occurrence.
Though it was busy, the noise level was surprisingly quiet. People are having their conversations in low voices. It wasn’t a place where people were rowdy, that just made me like this place even more. Without yelling, everyone could easily converse with each other on their tables.
They’re at that age when people like to complain about politics. Some things that commonly come up are their thoughts on: Revenue, Policies, this-or-that Noble or Bureaucrat. Occasionally some will ask for my opinion as well.
A genius like me, it’s no exaggeration to say there’s almost nothing I wouldn’t be able to answer. Sometimes what they would ask are just a commoner’s biased opinions, other time’s it’s a fully formed argument about a legitimate concern. Whether I answer in their favor or not, I will never make any quick promises to act on it. Since soon I will fall to ruin, without having a vested interest I can just exchange normal conversation.
All I’m doing is listening. That’s as far as I go.
As we killed time like this, a new customer entered the store.
“Oh, if it isn’t Leon.”
My classmate at the Academy Leon, raised his voice he was so surprised to see my face. He’s as tall as an adult man now. That childishness and face of a mischievous boy is disappearing to become a tough face.
“You, I knew you ditched, but I didn’t know you came to a place like this today”
“Like I can be told that by someone doing the exact same thing”
“Well, you’re not wrong”
Even I never expected we could have such a light hearted conversation as this. If only because Leon isn’t the sort to pry.
Even as I cross my legs and declare that arrogantly, Leon just shrugs his shoulders. Honestly this place is not somewhere for students of the academy to come to, it isn’t even somewhere they should be able to come to. Me and Leon being regular customers is heresy.
“Ooh so it was Leon” – Calling this fine establishment ‘that kind of place’ that school’s staining you with those nobles. You’ll make the old man cry.”
“Shut it Geist. As if you, who brought a young lady like Christina to a place like this, can say anything like that?”
Seems he had figured out that this was a meeting place for commoners who hated the nobility. Originally in Destiny Labyrinth, Leon became the middleman in negotiation between Michelie and the commoners. That Leon occasionally comes to a place like this, it’s probably because of that.
Even if we call it a dump like this, the reason my existence is tolerated by the members here is because I’m their source of money and information. I purposely let them think i’m a fool and pretend not to notice this fact.
“Big Sis’ is fine. Rather, she’s more than welcome here.”
“Yes, yes. besides that I haven’t forgotten. When we were kids you made me climb the wall of an aristocrat’s house and then had the nerve to abandon me there”
“You were the idiot who fell off the wall. And anyway, nowadays I’m jealous that happened to you and not me”
“Hmm? Do you have any idea how scared I was back then?”
“Quit your chatter.”
“Aren’t you the one who got scared and ran away first, chattering?’
Geist and Leon were said to be childhood friends, but they were really butting heads right now.
Putting that aside, since an honour student like Leon is here means school must have finished for the day.
“Hey, i’m going to start heading off. You good for nothings hanging out in such a place in broad daylight. Ask those questions to Leon instead. He’s no match for me, but he still knows a lot.”
“Eh? Wa- wait a second Big Sis”
With that messy remark he stands up clumsily. The other people here as expected of adults were seeing me off with a cackle, Geist stood up in a panic.
“Oi Leon. You go back as well. Right now. Quickly.”
“Wha? what’s with you. You tryin ta pick a pick?”
Even though Leon who had only just walked in was dumbfounded, Geist don’t draw back.
“You’re the reason big Sis is leaving! Despite appearances Big Sis has a strong sense of duty, if her excuse for leaving goes then she’ll stay here longer.”
“Just how stupid are you. Come back. With that it’s fine right. She acts tough as if she’s the school delinquent, but the reasons he’s heading back now is because if she’s late then the maid will get angry at her. For Christina, let her leave early.”
Just what is this fool blurting out about me.
Of all things a high ranking noble such as myself, being afraid of the likes of a maid, of course that would never happen.
I was going to interject into Leon’s insolent words, but the person in question didn’t seem to hear.
“Not like I know. Alright, it’s not a question about that. That’s why it’s a great thing if Big Sis is fed up with the academy. That’s why beat it.”
“Being told that by you, of course i’d want to stay here. As for me, I want Christina to go back to the Academy”
“I heard from my little sister, how pathetic you are to be wrapped around the finger of that wench from Big Sis’ enemy faction.”
“Just try saying that again. Bastard, how dare you talk about my lady like that. I’ll beat ya to death”
At that one provocation from Geist, Leon’s face looks ready to murder him.
“And just what’s with this ‘Big Sis, Big Sis’ ya keep going on about. Don’t tell me you’re trying to drag her into one of your schemes?”
“Big Sis is just as it sounds. Everyone here recognizes her as that.”
“Christina has drawn a line with how involved with you lot she will be. I can at least see that much.”
Since when did Surfania become Leon’s lady? Anyway, these two childhood friends were currently dragging Surfania and me into their stupid feud. None of the other patrons seemed like they were going to intervene, rather it seemed this was their new fun conversation topic.
I am jealous of how close they are. Even though it seems I’ve become their main topic, ignoring that I get the tab from the sales clerk. Since there’s still some money left from the down payment i made, they can use up the remaining on the patrons here.
“Aah, also Christina. Could you be reasonable and make up with Surfania? You know how stubborn she can be. You keep aggravating her, and I end up having to deal with her bad mood.”
With a cold wave I exit the bar.
At the refreshing breeze outside, I let myself smile a little.
As a result of her antagonism towards me getting worse, Surfania now has a remarkably bad reputation. But, no, for sure, I know that Surfania’s heart hasn’t changed at all since the old days.
One way or another, she’s a lonely child. Soon will be my end, if i’m close with Surfania it will just cause her pain. And then, once I’m gone Surfania will stop acting rashly like this.
As I walk along, somehow I ended up looking at the sky. The day has ended, the sun is now setting.
It’s time to return to the academy. If I stay out too late, the maid at the dormitory will get worried.