Roel slowly made his way out of the administrative office with his Nine-headed Serpent Staff in hand. He thought about the inexplicable gaze Antonio had directed at him earlier, and he couldn’t help but feel that something was amiss.
He couldn’t exactly put his finger on it either, but he had a feeling that Antonio was withholding the truth from him, though he chose not to pursue it after a moment of thinking.
There was no way he could expect Antonio to be completely honest with him when there was still a lack of trust between them.
To be frank, he would have considered this first meeting between them a success if he could even earn Antonio’s goodwill. The intelligence he acquired was already an unexpected bonus, and it would be too greedy to expect more beyond that.
Walking out of the administrative building, Roel could hear a noisy bustle coming from the nearby commercial street. He chose to walk in the opposite direction, where the carriage stop leading to the Azure Manor was located. However, his footsteps were swiftly halted by a familiar ringing coming from the System.
【Goddess of Fate’s Guidance
Enter the commercial street and have a cup of fruit juice.】
“Have a cup of fruit juice?”
The abrupt notification confused Roel. He subconsciously touched his throat and realized that he was indeed feeling a little thirsty.
He did have a fairly pleasant conversation with Antonio earlier, but the two of them weren’t close enough to chat over tea. With all the talking he did, it was inevitable that his throat would be a little parched, and the alcohol and beef jerky he had earlier weren’t helping.
He would have probably held it in until he reached the Azure Manor so that he could rest easy and relax, but it wasn’t much of a problem for him to enter the commercial street and buy a cup of juice there…
But the Goddess of Fate can’t possibly be worried about my body, right? Will something happen if I have a cup of fruit juice there?
The intrigued Roel changed his pathway and began following the flow of the crowd into the commercial street. It just so happened to be its peak period.
The sweltering summer heat only died down a little at night. This was the moment for students to let loose after a long day in the classroom. Couples and cliques who had eaten their dinner began touring the shops to buy whatever caught their fancy. Some of the shops made use of this opportunity to set up food stands outside their storefront to entice the passing crowd.
“Oh? It’s more crowded than I thought.”
This was the first time Roel was experiencing the night bustle of the summer commercial street, so he was quite surprised by the large crowd. He took a look around and swiftly spotted a juice stand. The fruit juice it sold was peculiar in the sense that it comprised seven distinct levels divided by a spell, making it somewhat like a rainbow tower cocktail.
There was a huge group made up of mainly women standing around the juice stand.
It looks like even fruit juice gets an elegant twist in this high-class commercial street.
While Roel was wondering why the Goddess of Fate’s Guidance had led him here, he noticed a familiar pink-haired figure standing amidst the crowd—Hextongue Princess Teresa.
She was staring at the beautiful seven-colored beverage with glittering eyes, clearly tempted to buy one. But when she looked at the huge crowd around the juice stand and the notebook in her hand, she could only heave a helpless sigh.
Her speech handicap made it hard for her to maneuver around the bustling night market, and she was reluctant to use her notebook as it might draw unnecessary attention. The transfer students didn’t have the best reputation due to the conflict they had with Roel earlier in the day.
Teresa stared at the fruit juice yearningly, but she eventually hardened her will and decided to walk away. Before she could make a move, she suddenly heard a casual question coming from beside her.
“How beautiful. Do you want to try it?”
Teresa excitedly nodded her head.
“I’ll buy it for you then.”
It was only then that Teresa snapped out of her daze. Baffled, she quickly raised her head to look at the person next to her, only to widen her eyes in shock right after.
“Hello, Miss Teresa. It sure is a coincidence. Would you mind waiting for me while I get that fruit juice?”
Hello, Mister Roel.
There’s no need to trouble you. I’ll come again tomorrow.
Teresa blushed furiously as she wrote down these two sentences in a fluster before raising her notebook. Roel glanced at the banner put up beside the popular juice stand and said.
“It appears that this special fruit juice is an exclusive menu item this summer. I reckon that it’d draw a huge crowd every single day. It just so happens that I’m looking for something to quench my thirst. Are you sure you don’t want to try it with me?”
Teresa eyed the huge crowd around the juice stand and frowned. She hesitantly wrote down a few words in her notebook, only to slash them right after. She seemed conflicted about the situation. In the end, under Roel’s gentle gaze, she shyly nodded with a reddened face.
Roel chuckled at her series of reactions before squeezing through the spectating crowd to get the drinks.
It took some time before he returned with two cups of the seven-colored fruit juice. The two of them settled down on one of the long tables by the side of the road before trying out the drink.
As expected, the popular stuff in the commercial street didn’t disappoint. Its taste was as exquisite as its beautiful appearance. The layers of the chilled beverage were mildly sweet with distinct flavors that slowly harmonized together to give a refreshing kick. It was no exaggeration to call it the perfect summer refreshment.
“Miss Teresa, does your throat get parched easily?”
It does. Because I can’t speak.
No, it’s nothing much. Thank you for your help.
Teresa anxiously waved her hand at Roel’s apology as green light sprouted from her head. Roel chuckled softly before continuing on.
“I’m not just apologizing over that. I’ve been wanting to find an opportunity to apologize to you over what happened earlier in the assembly hall. You helped me back in the northern lands, but I treated you in such a manner. Did I scare you?” asked Roel gently.
Teresa quickly waved her hand, but her movements slowed to a halt when she thought about the aura Roel emanated back then. After a moment of thought, she decided to be honest.
A little. But it isn’t your fault. William went too far!
“Hm? Is that what you think?”
The confrontation only happened due to his provocation. Sorry, I wasn’t able to stop him.
“No, we were at fault too.”
Roel was a little amused by their interaction. It had somehow turned into a small apology circle between them. He was surprised by one thing though.
He had assumed that William and Teresa would be on the same page considering how often they were together, but it looked like there was some divergence in their stances. Teresa wasn’t as obstinate as William, meaning that it was not entirely impossible for them to talk things out.
He took a few seconds to think about it, and he thought that it would be good for him to share some of his thoughts with Teresa so as to sound her out.
“Miss Teresa, to be honest with you, I’ve heard a bit about the Knight Kingdom’s ideology recently, and that gave me a glimpse into Prince William’s thoughts. However, I’m afraid that I don’t intend to give up on what I currently have, so…”
Roel’s voice trailed off at this point.
Teresa didn’t seem too surprised by his response.
To have a person suddenly leave a familiar environment, sever all ties with society, and devote themselves to protecting humankind from the shadows, that was madness in itself.
She thought that William had gone overboard trying to impose his extreme way of life on others. She would have stopped the other party had it been anyone else, but since it was William, it ended up putting her in a spot.
She had no way of stopping him, and she had no rights to do so either.
I understand how you feel. Please forgive William for that.
“You’re mistaken. I don’t blame William for his stance. It’s just that… I wonder if there’s a way to make him give up without tarnishing our relationship.”
I don’t think that’s possible.
Roel was surprised by Teresa’s decisive response. The latter hesitated for a brief moment before slowly writing down a few words.
He has been waiting for you.