I can smell the magic herbs from the room. My ears has stopped twitching now, as I've become used to the mana around here.
I've always wondered what would be the difference between normal herbs and magic ones, but--
"Have you decided?" comes the clear sound of the master of the shop.
It cuts me from my pondering, and I realize that I haven't even looked at the rings. "Erm.. Just give me the best one that I can afford?"
She swishes her hand before me. "They're all the same, the ones here. The size inside is the same too. They only look different."
"Well, choose one for me, then," I tell her.
To which her eyes narrows. "Are you sure? If I do so, that'll be my gift, you can't present it to your girlfriend anymore, you know?"
"I don't have any girlfriend!"
What's with the teasing that she has thrown at me? Please give it a rest, Master. I silently beg at her with my eyes, to which she sighs.
"Well, if you're sure," she says.
I nod rapidly. I can't handle her intense stare, seriously.
She opens her mouth while pointing to one of the rings on the table, but before she can say anything, someone enters the shop with a bang. It rattles the shelves and their contents, and one of the vase has almost fallen to the floor, but it doesn't. Only after ensuring that it doesn't that I look at the door, and apparently, the master is the same.
"Sepia, please!" a man's rough voice comes from the door. His chest is heaving for breaths, and he's surprisingly wearing an apron.
For some reason, I think he looks sort of familiar. I must have seen him recently.
Ah. "Blacksmith apprentice?" I call out loud.
Then he glares at me before looking at the magic shop master. "Sepia, I don't care if my father won't agree to our relationship! We can run away anytime we want!"
"What relationship?" the master's pleasing voice comes behind me, but it must have sound cold enough for the blacksmith apprentice, because it makes him look pallid. "Dale... Do you know how much trouble you have caused for the business? Harassing the shop every single day, I'm glad if the blacksmith master can whack some senses to you!!"
...For some reason, I disagree that he's the only reason why business is bad in this shop, but, eh. Not my drama. Let's keep my mouth shut.
"I love you, Sepia! Ever since that time you kissed me, I cannot think of anyone else but you!" the buff young man shouts.
"Kiss, what kiss!? I can kiss anyone I want, and you are definitely the last person that I want!"
Dale grows enraged. I wonder if the magic master will solve it with magic, and if she does, how she does it.
I look at Dale, walking across the counter where we're looking at the rings. It's one of the tables in the middle of the room, so there are spaces to move around. Then, the blacksmith apprentice forcefully grabs the magic shop master's slender wrist. Her golden bangles go on a jingling sound.
"Yeah? You didn't say that when you shoved your tongue to me in that alley!" Dale pulls the hand of the master.
She's struggling to take it away, and I start to frown. "That was then!" she shouts.
"And who do you want to kiss now, huh!? Him!?" Dale points at me with disparaging eyes.
Whoa, did I just get dragged into a lovers' spat? And what's with that look, come on, I'm not that bad!
The master looks at me with her intense green eyes, before glaring at Dale. "Yeah, him! Now that you knew, let me go."
Oh come on, Master!
Dale seems to be stunned because of his correct(?) guess, and the magic shop master utilizes that moment to pull away from him. She glares at me (Why!?) and---with her pretty tall stature that reaches my chin---she holds my cheeks and seals my lips with hers.
My brain just went on a short circuit.
I try to breathe, and instead I smell a slightly sweet and savory fragrance coming to my nostrils. The lips are softer than I thought, and instead of staying still, she... kisses me. For real.
Supple lips trying to nibble on mine, and I instinctively respond to it. I mimic everything that she does, and I can feel breathy hum against my lips that I don't know whether it's coming from her or me.
She seems to have some difficulties to keep her hands on my cheeks, so I lean to her instead, hugging her slender waist, while applying more force to the kiss. The master arches her back, accepting my advances. She gasps for breath, and I recall Dale's words about shoving tongue, and do just that, instinctively.
"Mm.... hha... mmm..."
I'm not in a rush, and neither does she. I cup her cheeks and feel the heat against my cool palm, and she opens her intense green eyes. Those eyes are clear and inquisitive, betraying the tangle that is happening a few inches lower. I can't figure out how she tastes, but she's definitely warm and pliant. And I enjoy that feeling. I inhale through my nose to start figuring out how she tastes like, and--
Dale's voice breaks us from that French exchange, and I feel myself chasing her retreating figure, to no avail. I straighten up, but she hugs my chest instead, keeping me still.
Did I just... get my first kiss? I did, didn't I?
"Now you know, Dale. Give it up. There's nothing between us and you should be clear about it already," the master says, but she's not removing herself. "Go home and do your blacksmithing homework!"
Dale bellows in anger. "This isn't over!" he shouts and gives me deadly stares.
But he leaves the shop, so I guess this should count as a victory for the master, huh?
When the door closes in a bang, I wince.
"...Before you have any weird ideas, let me tell you something," the master says, removing her hug and slightly pushing herself away. Her silver bangs cover her face, which makes me glad that I'm not under her intense stare anymore. "...I'm into girls."
"But you're a woman, too..." I blurt out before I can think of anything else.
Okay, I've watched yuri, I'm not judging, but she exudes such womanly charms. I can swear she's been flirting with me a lot today, too, but there's no way I'd offer that as my reasoning. If I'm mistaken, it'd be too embarrassing.
"No, I'm not," the master says, and this time, I bear the full brunt of her stares. "When did I ever say that I'm a woman?"
My eyes widen. I'm not a bad judge about gender, usually. She's not too girly, but there's something mysteriously feminine about her, that... I just assumed...
"So, Master, you're a man?" I ask, still in disbelief. It needs to be confirmed, because... I think... I kissed two males in two days in succession, if that's true. If life saving measures count.
"Yes. So don't become a second Dale, okay?" she.... he says in his low, smooth tone.
I can definitely hear the manly undertone now. I think.
This is probably not a good time to tell him that I get attracted to men too.
"...So, did I get some discounts?" I ask.
To which he stares at me, takes a random ring from the range, and throws it at me. "Don't push it. Now get out from my shop, I'm busy!"
The master shoves me out of the building with such force that I'm wondering why he doesn't use it before and slams the door behind me. I wonder how the door can survive for so long if it gets slammed so many times in a day.
I look at the ring and find that it has a beautiful emerald gem in the center.