One of Duke Malik's two retainers stood up and slammed his fist against the table, denting it severely. "How dare you speak to His Dukeship like that! You're nothing but an insignificant foreign noble! If you refuse to speak of your peerage and of where you came from then you have no right to berate His Dukeship as you have!"
'Perfect,' Sophie sneered internally.
'What an idiot,' Lone thought.
Gilbert raised the tips of his mouth in amusement. 'I see. How expertly done.'
Suddenly, Duke Malik released his SS-ranker aura in its entirety and forced it onto the retainer that had spoken up for him in his defense.
"My apologies, Guildmaster Gilbert." Anger was seeping out of every bone in Duke Malik's body but he didn't express it verbally. "I trust you will overlook my retainer's outburst."
Gilbert nodded. "It's fine. Sophie, you don't mind either, do you?"
She scoffed. "It is beneath us to berate a dog for barking how his master has taught him to."
That remark struck a nerve in Duke Malik but he rapidly calmed his mind. 'She keeps naturally using the royal tone to address herself. I can't allow a political fallout to happen just to mend my wounded pride. Even if she isn't of royal descent, she is most certainly a noble. I can't endanger Milindo over pettiness.'
Surprisingly, Duke Malik was right. Sophie was royalty. The only thing that slightly hindered her royal claim, however, was the fact that her family potentially no longer existed. Even if they did, they certainly weren't royals anymore.
There was also the small detail of her being a princess on Earth, not on Altros.
"Miss Vladimirovich. I trust I have permission to question you and your slave along with the guildmaster regarding the recent explosive and quick usage of MP that happened here a few days ago?" Duke Malik asked surprisingly politely.
'This guy has been a politician for a while. I guess the books might not have been full of shit when they said he's been serving as the duke of the Malik family for over a century,' Lone thought. 'He got angry at first but the more Sophie pushes him the more he pulls back and the better he's handling her abrasive responses.'
Sophie nodded. "We are fine with this, yes."
Duke Malik nodded then held one of his hands out in front of the retainer on his left. The man happily reached into his overcoat and then gave a document to the duke.
Casually but elegantly scanning his eyes over it, Duke Malik said, "'Lone Immortus. Golden Foxkin. Approximate age 25, however, based on his displayed prowess and resourcefulness despite his lacking strength, his true age is estimated to be roughly 240-years-old.'".
There was clearly more in-depth details in the file, but Duke Malik didn't recite those. Instead, he stared piercingly at Lone.
"Tell me, Slave. What happened to the Shimmering Foxkin Clan? Why are you and the rumoured baby in the custody of Sir Deposit the only reported Golden Foxkin to have appeared in the last century?" the duke asked firmly.
'Shimmering Foxkin Clan? I guess that's what the Golden Foxkin were called, huh...' Lone raised an eyebrow. "With all due respect, that has nothing to do with you. Ask a more relevant question, please."
'Just as mouthy as his master but at least he's being somewhat polite. Good.' Duke Malik could feel his rage slowly slipping away as it was replaced by logic, reason, and a keen shrewdness.
"Right you are, Slave. What does have something to do with me, however, was the magical anomaly that happened four days ago in this very building," Duke Malik claimed.
Lone kept a friendly expression on his face as he said, "And how does that relate to me or my master?"
"I was able to track the magical signature to the very floor you and your master are being housed on. From my investigations, the only adventurers on that floor with awakened mana organs are yourself and your master." A bolt of lightning seemed to linger in the back of the duke's irises as he smiled darkly.
He glanced at Sophie then said, "Your master has magic, yes, but I can tell that while she has a shockingly large MP capacity for her rank, she doesn't have nearly enough MP to cause such a large magical disturbance."
Lone unconsciously straightened in his chair and he could feel some sweat trickle down his back as the powerful noble's eyes locked onto him.
"And you, Slave. I've heard that you have an even worse capacity than your master, however, what is truly odd is that currently, you don't have even a single point of MP, at least, not a single point that my senses can detect. How curious, no?" Duke Malik asked with a confident smile spread across his lips.
Gilbert frowned internally. 'I've already claimed responsibility for the incident but he still doesn't believe me even after seeing Lone and Sophie personally... To think his intuition was this accurate... I've never seen a case like Lone's even with prior summoned heroes but Henry is able to tell that it's somehow related to him... Scary stuff.'
He couldn't help but glance over at Lone. 'Hang in there, Son. Get through this and you'll both be in the clear. Just don't act too suspiciously and I can keep claiming responsibility. Thank the Primals you didn't blow anything up or kill anyone. I can imagine the face of the king as he petitions for the guild to be removed from Milindo if something like that happened...'
Lone gave Duke Malik a funny look. "Are you stupid?"
Massive amounts of raw and unrepressed anger flooded the room, all of it coming from the two retainers.
For a demi, and a slave demi at that, to so casually insult their grand and glorious master, Duke Malik, the strongest and most loyal of the four dukes of Milindo... It infuriated the two retainers to their very cores.
Were it not for the prior instant of rage followed by Duke Malik's reprimand, then no doubt they would have instantly killed Lone for being so rude towards their lord while only being a slave himself.
Duke Malik scowled unpleasantly. "I hope you have a deeper meaning behind your words, Slave. You may think you can act arrogantly in the wake of your unrelenting master, but I will have you re-evaluate that line of thought if you speak out of turn again."
Lone knitted his brows in confusion. "Are you serious? I thought it was common knowledge that if you overexert your mana organs they become useless - either wholly or partially. I fall into the former category, sadly. I mean, come on, are you even a mage?... Oh, right. Polite. Are you even a mage... milord?"
"Good... good... good!" Duke Malik spat out venomously. "I hope you don't regret your words today, Slave!"
He got out of his chair and then turned towards the door. "I would be wary of stepping outside of this building in the future. After all, the guild is known for having its little adventurers disappear in the middle of the night."
Duke Malik's retainers followed him and just as he opened the door to leave, he shot a dangerous glare in Lone's direction. "I look forward to your performance in the annual fighting tournament, Slave."
Without wasting even another moment, he stormed out of the soundproof room along with his two men.
"Well, that was fun," Gilbert said, his voice oozing with sarcasm.
Lone got out of his chair and stretched lightly. "Informative is what it was."
Sophie nodded. "Indeed. He's more dangerous than I first expected."
Gilbert raised an eyebrow. "How so?"
Sophie wore a pensive expression. "He knows how to control his rage. Him having lived for over a century is clearly no farce. I suspect he was a very quick-to-anger young man in his youth."
Gilbert nodded. "I've been in Milindo for a little over a century myself, what with helping establish the guild here really put down its roots. He used to try to kill adventurer mages in the open. I could barely stop him with the help of the other dukes."
"The other dukes helped you?" Sophie asked sceptically.
Lone answered in the guildmaster's place. "No one wants Grand Guildmaster Sarah wiping them out for one fool's actions. That's why it's illegal to even hurt an adventurer, let alone kill one."
"Thankfully, injuring one only comes with a fine. If it didn't, Grand Guildmaster Sarah would have a far higher body-count than she already does," Gilbert laughed. "Anyways, let's be going. I'm not a huge fan of these cramp rooms. You were both a bit more snarky than I'm comfortable with, but overall, you two did a fantastic job."
He got up and cracked his back. "Ah, that's the spot... I've got paperwork that needs done now that he's out of my hair. I trust you two can behave and not leave this building?" Gilbert asked mostly at Lone.
"Yeah, no problem," Lone replied with a genuine smile.
Sophie simply nodded and sighed as she, too, got up.
Back in their private room, Lone was laying down on their bed with his tails spawled out every which way.
One of his hands was on his forehead while the other was gently resting on his fluffy safe-haven.
Sophie was laying by his side in only her socks and panties. She was playing with her fingers as her mind spun in the background, presumably while she spoke with Soph.
Lone glanced over at her and asked, "Is it hot in here?" clearly questioning her choice of attire.
They were merely laying on the bed, not in it. It was still the middle of the afternoon, after all, and Sophie had a swordsmanship lesson later today.
She scoffed. "No. We are simply de-stressing. Clothes are very confining."
Lone shrugged. "If you say so."
"We do say so," Sophie snarked back.
Despite her somewhat abrasive tone, after a few seconds of silence, she shuffled over and snuggled up to Lone's chest.
"We are glad," Sophie said softly, a rare tone for her.
Lone glanced down at her. "Glad about what? I think I'd have preferred it if Duke Malik was impulsive. Him being able to manage his offence at our attitudes is kinda scary."
"We are glad that we did not have to use Minor Time Control. Depending on how he acted, we were willing to endure one month of magical deprivation to redo the whole meeting," Sophie claimed.
Lone nodded. "I figured as much."
He stroked her hair and her back in thought for a while, being gentle with every movement. "I think it's best if we just stay here even after the tournament. We just need to wait long enough for something to distract the dukes and the royals. Considering how crazy this world is, that could happen at any moment."
He closed his eyes in thought for a few seconds before opening them again. "Even if you teleport us out of here at full blast until you run out of MP, I don't want to risk him finding us. If his attention is on us, that becomes more and more likely."
Some traces of awe and fear lingered on his expression. "That guy was incredibly powerful. Gilbert too. We're just ants before them."
A look of frustration emerged on Lone's face. 'They're only SS-rankers but can squash us like mere bugs. What about triple-S-rankers? What of the X, double-X, and triple-X ranks? What about the Divine rank? Will I ever be able to reach a state of power that can rival the gods that tossed Soph, Sophie and me into this world?'
While Lone's mind was stooped in worry, Sophie nodded. "He is a patient man. He will no doubt hope and wait for us to try to flee now that we know he does not see us in a good light... Where shall we go when we are done waiting?"
"... I have a few ideas," Lone said, trying his best to shake off his sense of hopelessness. "I really want to learn magic, if I'm being honest. Real magic, not these weak spells I've stolen from goblins."
"And do you have any ideas where you can do such a thing?" Sophie asked as she closed her eyes and fully let herself fall into Lone's embrace.
"You should read more. There are a little over 100 magical schools and academies on Teresta - this continent. Most of them are private and exclusive for nobles, but the most prestigious - and apparently the best - academy in the world is on the eastern edge of the continent," Lone explained.
"What is it called?" Sophie asked, her interest slightly piqued.
She did not care for magic nearly as much as Lone did, but still, she knew that she was far more talented than him when it came to the subject.
Her MP was far higher than his and most of her unique skills revolved around the use of magic, so the idea of getting some genuine training in this field of expertise held some merit in the girl's mind.
Lone grinned. "It's got a fuckin' stupid name."
"Oh? The best magical school on the continent has a laugh-worthy name?" Sophie questioned with a raised eyebrow, though her eyes were closed as she enjoyed Lone's warmth.
Lone nodded. "Yup. It's called 'The Academy'. No bullshit, the 'The' is a part of its name."
Support "Lone: The Wanderer"
- The Scottish Slothy Sloth
Bio: Hey there, nice to see you. I'm just an ordinary man who enjoys writing, which is great since it's my full-time job now thanks to the support from you guys over on Patreon! I hope you enjoy my novels if you read them, and if not, I hope you enjoy looking at my profile.