“Master Jensen?” said a soft voice from behind the door. “There’s a man outside of the gate. Is he one of your acquaintances?”
Jensen, who was seated at a wooden chair, with a pile of paper on his desk. Dropped his feather pen, stood up and walked over towards the windows. Behind the silvery bars of the luxurious looking gate was a man with ruffled red hair and eyes with the shade of green, wearing a brown, worn down hood looking around.
It was quite early in the morning so it was expected that the maids would voice their concerns. But upon seeing the man, a subtle smile appeared on Jensen’s face. “Have him come inside and bring him to the dining hall. Have a meal prepared for three people.”
“Three sir?” The maid repeated slowly. She wouldn’t be surprised if he ordered a meal for two if you take into account the man outside he was inviting in, so three was indeed a strange request as she didn’t know who it could be for.
Jensen nodded whilst still glancing at the window. “Yes, three. I’m expecting another guest.”
“Of course Master Jensen.” Said the feminine voice before she left, with simply the sound of her clacking hilt against the wooden floor fading away.
“Now then, time to make my own preparations.” Said Jensen, walking over to a varnished wardrobe. Inside there were long black tailcoats, one seemingly a copy of the other. He quickly got one, wore it over his white shirt, and moved over to a mirror while buttoning his shirt.
After his preparation, he looked around his desk for a moment, before he took a small brown scroll tied with an elegant green vine and slid it in his pocket. He then headed out, walking along the large corridors, passing by various strange looking statues that resembled animals to a degree with an expectant smile.
Upon reaching a large double door, the two maids who were standing by immediately noticed him and did a curtsy in unison. “A pleasant morning to you Master Jensen.”
The maid on the right with long black hair, spoke. “Your guest is waiting.”
Jensen nodded, and seeing this, as if on queue, the maids automatically opened the door for Jensen to walk through. The red ruffled haired man was seated at the edge of a table with his chin rested on the hilt of his palm, looking quite bored.
Seeing this man made a subtle smile appear yet again on Jensen.
“Ah, Rex. A pleasure to see you.” Said Jensen walking over and taking the seat across Lazarus. “Have you had breakfast yet?”
The man being Lazarus, hardly changed his expression, one could say it was relatively hard to read what he was thinking and it made Jensen feel a sort of challenge to try and see through this man.
“Yes I have.” Answered Lazarus plainly.
“A shame.” Said Jensen. “I’ve had a meal prepared for you but it seems to have been unnecessary. Unless of course if you’d still be willing to have it?”
“No thanks.” Said Lazarus. “Now, about the ores.”
The maids who was just standing up, waiting for orders, couldn’t help but feel a little disgruntled from Lazarus’ tactlessness. Jensen was well known, he was also well respected which is why they couldn’t really grasp how Lazarus didn’t seem to be phased by their difference in status.
To them, Lazarus looked liked an average farmer, so they were thinking he might’ve been here to ask for some loan or something.
But Jensen only smiled. A bit of childish excitement filled his heart seeing how Lazarus treated him differently from the nobles. A man who didn’t see him as above like the nobles or below like the pendragons, but an equal.
“Ah yes, the ores.” Said Jensen. “But before that, I’d like to know first what you were planning with that much raw materials?”
“You’re curious?” Said Lazarus with a brow raised. Jensen simply smiled. “Indeed I am. After all, it was not only lady Syrawi who had her seal on the letter-” He paused for a moment, smiled and looked intently at Lazarus with a snicker. “But also, of the Elven Sage.”
“From the Priestess and the Sage?” One maid repeated to another who nodded with excitement. The maid’s faces were riddled in confusion and in awe hearing the names of the two most well known elves.
“Probably to sell it or make something out of it. Haven’t really decided though.” Replied Lazarus curtly, trying to make it seem as uninteresting as possible.
Jensen furrowed his brows, examining Lazarus closely. “You wouldn’t really spend that much gold on just a whim now wouldn’t you?”
“Of course not. But you wouldn’t believe me if I’d said I’d be making a shovel now would you?” Lazarus smirk, making Jensen raise a brow. “That much steel for a shovel?”
Lazarus nodded slowly. He wasn’t showing that he had any hint of lying but his idea was much too preposterous to even believe. Either he was that good at lying or he was just plain crazy, thought Jensen.
“And what’s so special about this shovel?” Asked Jensen, knowing that if a shovel needed that much steel then it must be special in some way.
“Well…. Let’s just say that it can dig for itself.” Said Lazarus calmly, as if it was the most natural answer he could think off.
The maids and Jensen could only think of him as a lunatic. Steel couldn’t move by itself and just adding more steel wouldn’t magically make it be able to dig by itself of course. Brows were raised and furrowed around Lazarus, but the man himself kept a straight face as if nothing was out of place.
Jensen could only look in awe at Lazarus’ bold claims. “Are you serious?” he couldn’t help but ask out.
“Dead serious.” Said Lazarus, not a change on his expression.
Jensen, let out a soft sigh. He didn’t really seem as if he actually believed in Lazarus but he also wasn’t indicating otherwise. “If that’s what you say so, then we shall leave it at that.”
A subtle knocking could be heard from the door, and the maids who were on standby began placing some plates and utensils on the table.
A cart carrying an assortment of dishes rolled through the door, accompanied by more maids.
They were like a well oiled machine. Each movement carried grace and precision from gently pouring the tea over porcelain cups to the gentle folding of the napkins. Not a single wasted movement.
Lazarus quietly watched as the maids finish up their preparations, did a thirty degree bow and assembled in a perfect parallel line behind Jensen and Lazarus, positioned close enough to assist in any given time and not to near to disrupt their meal.
Lazarus was quite impressed, and seeing the look on his face made Jensen feel a sense of pride for his people.
“Would it be alright with you if I help myself?” Asked Jensen, not for confirmation as he was the master of the house but simply out of courtesy. To which Lazarus nodded without much of a thought.
As Lazarus quietly watched Jensen eat, his eyes wondered about the table, till he noticed that the plates on the table amounted one too many. “-A mistake?-” he thought.
“Master Jensen” Called out a maid who was by the doorway, her hair a deep black, shoulder length bob-cut and her eyes a radiant brown. “She has arrived.”
Hearing this, as if knowing the person in question. Jensen nodded. “Then have her join us for breakfast Flouren.”
“As you wish.” Said Flouren, doing a quick bow before heading off. At this point, Lazarus was simply assuming it might’ve been someone Jensen was doing business with, or a noble of some sort. It didn’t really matter to him as long as he got his ores.
As Jensen speared the last of his olives and ate it. A maid who was behind him, approached him, patted his mouth with a soft fabric and backed off.
If Lazarus knew that Jensen was planning to finish his meal, he would’ve simply taken up his offer from before. Not that it matters now though.
“Now then, on to business.” Said Jensen. “I would need a list of ores that you need and the quantity if you don’t mind.”
“-Finally-” Thought Lazarus with a soft snicker. He couldn’t help but feel a bit excited now that they were on track.
As he reached for his pocket, felt around for abit, like a hammer on a nail, the empty pocket had told him what he hadn’t bothered to check.
“Is something the matter?” Said Jensen, seeing the sudden shift on Lazarus’ brows.
Lazarus wasn’t sure if asking for pen and paper was rude during the medieval times so he remained quiet for now and continued to pat on his clothing, hoping Jensen would catch on.
Seeing him shuffle around, Jensen simply clicked his fingers, and the maid beside Jensen who was his secretary, gently placed an ink bottle and feather pen in front of Lazarus as well as a small scroll.
“If you don’t mind Rex, please use this as you wish.” said Jensen opening his palm.
“Sorry for the trouble.” Replied Lazarus with his head slightly lowered as he was a bit embarrassed. For a moment, he stared at the feather pen, thinking how to use it since he was used to using electronic pen and ballpoint pens.
A series of instruction suddenly popped on his screen and a video. He quietly watched the video and imitated a few strokes before dipping the pen in ink and writing.
Jensen was a bit worried that Lazarus might’ve not known how to write since he took a bit of time, but his worries left the moment Lazarus began stroking away.
As the letters shaped carefully and he finished a word, Jensen furrowed his brows, examining every letter as if he was staring at something alien. He shifted his gaze back to Lazarus, and from his expression, he could tell that it seemed so natural to him.
“-Is this ancient language?-” Thought Jensen, his eyes fixated on the word ‘Chromium’ that was in fact, written in english and not Valerian.
The word was well structured, capitalized and indented that it was hard to just dismiss as some random scribble. Jensen also noticed the maids behind Lazarus were also sticking out their necks, trying to get a better glance of what he was writing.
He couldn’t blame them, it was in fact the very first time they’ve seen this manner of writing. Rather, it was the only writing that was different from Valerian. Across all the races, the only difference were the strokes but the letters and language itself was never too far off from the root.
Jensen felt a sort of strange interest in Lazarus. He knew there was more to this man than meets the eye and now his instincts couldn’t be more right.
Having his curiosity sated, Jensen spoke out. “Rex, sorry for the disturbance. However-....”
Lazarus looked at Jensen who was staring at the piece of paper, then shifted his attention back to what he was writing, examining it carefully.
“Chromium….C...h..r-..” said Lazarus slowly as his finger slowly slid across the word, trying to know if he misspelled. But no matter how he examined it, it looked fine to him. A voice in his head suddenly decided to clarify.
-= Master. It seems as if Jensen cannot comprehend the english alphabet. It is highly advisable to relay your thoughts in Valerian. =-
Lazarus fell silent, his eyes darting slowly back towards Jensen, only to see him smiling with a curious look.
“Quite interesting if I do say so myself.” Said Jensen with a soft snicker. “Is it some sort of ancient language?”
Lazarus didn’t reply and dashed out the english words. He wanted to play it safe and not react too much. He continued to write in Valerian, his hands weren’t accustomed to the style of writing so he continued to look at his screen, just trying to mimic the Valerian letters being displayed by FS.
Jensen was thinking that Lazarus might’ve been a scholar studying the ancient language of the forbidden land, but he soon threw the idea off the window when he noticed Lazarus struggling to write in Valerian. “-How is it that this man effortlessly written the words from before but is struggling with what is the norm?-”
More and more questions kept on piling up at the back of Jensen’s mind but Lazarus voice immediately brought him back to reality.
“Done.” Said Lazarus, handing the scroll over to Jensen who glanced over it, reviewing the orders.
“I’ll have all of them ready in a week.” Said Jensen, rolling the scroll and tucking it in his pocket.
“Master Jensen, she has arrived.” Said a feminine voice from beyond the door. A soft smile showed on Jensen as he replied. “Ah yes, please have her join us for breakfast.” He looked over to Lazarus. “You don’t mind do you?”
“Nope. I’m also done with my business here so-...” Said Lazarus as he was about to stand, but Jensen immediately called out.
“Ah-.. please wait a moment. She also has some business with you.”
Lazarus’ brows arched as he pointed to himself. “Me? And who’s She?”
With a click on the door, like the gentle breeze of the sea, a composed yet familiar feminine voice spoke from behind.
“That would be me, Rex.” Lazarus turned his head behind him to see Syrawi wearing a gentle smile. “I’d never thought I’d have a chance to see you again so soon.”
“And what business do you have with me?” Replied Lazarus, his voice without a hint of surprise nor any sort of emotion. The maids looked at one another and even Jensen was a bit worried from the seemingly lack of respectful tone towards someone higher than him.
“I’d like you to come with me. There’s someone I’d like you to meet…Erhm, rather, he’s the one who wants to meet you.” Replied Syrawi. “If that’d be alright with you of course.”
Hearing this, Lazarus was alarmed at the back of his mind. Last time he tried to help, he almost got killed for it. Elves were definitely bad news regardless of who it was she wanted him to meet.
“Sorry, but there’s a lot of things that I still need to do.” Replied Lazarus as he stood up, heading for the door, not wanting to have anything to do with elves.
Syrawi blocked his path showing a very kind smile, almost as if hiding something menacing. “It’s really important….”
“Perhaps you could spare a bit of your time Rex?” Said Jensen. “After all, expanding your connections is a good thing.”
It was obvious that he wanted to gain a bit of Syrawi’s favor and at the same time appeal to Lazarus without making himself sound too forceful.
Though, Lazarus simply shook his head. “As much as I’d like to, there’s some important matters I need to attend to.”
“Hmm~... is that so?” Replied Syrawi teasingly as she reached for a small pouch on her waist. “Then perhaps I’ll keep this…?”
Lazarus raised a brow, staring at the Azalea flower that Syrawi had pulled out. “And what about it?”
“You see, Sonia asked me to give it to you since she had forgotten to return it. Perhaps I could keep it?”
Lazarus was quiet for a moment. As if struck by a sudden realization, he spoke. “Wait, so you mean to tell me that she never used it?”
Syrawi nodded as she slowly hid the flower back in her pouch. “Well, I’ll keep it safe for you.”
Lazarus simply frowned. “I’m here right now aren’t I?”
“But you are busy. Correct? Then I guess you don’t have the time to receive this.” Replied Syrawi with a smug smirk.
At this point, Jensen didn’t really understand what was happening and neither did the maids as they all had a dumbfounded look while staring at Lazarus’ and Syrawi’s little arguement.
“Fine.” Said Lazarus with a sigh. “I’ll meet this person. Just give me back my flower.” he couldn’t really let go of the flower as he was actually intending to research it back in the lab. A meager meeting for a fifty thousand gold flower with the ability to heal any sort of wounds, was not something to even be thought of twice.
Not to mention taking it by force was out of the question.
“Good.” Said Syrawi happily before continuing. “Jensen, forgive me for being so abrupt but I’ll be taking my leave.”
“Not at all Lady Syrawi, it was already of great honor that you had personally come to deliver the letter yourself.” Replied Jensen. “And Rex, rest assured that I’ll have your materials ready in a week.”
“Got it.” Said Lazarus before heading off together with Syrawi. The two didn’t exchange any words and simply continued walking until they were outside of the mansion.
The moment they were outside, Syrawi head her face underneath a cyan cloak, decorated by golden linings and symbols.
“So, who am I meeting?” Asked Lazarus to which Syrawi replied. “It’s a secret.”
Her reply simply made Lazarus wary and anxious as it could be the one elf he dreaded not to see ever again. He spoke. “Is it Sylphi?”
For a moment, Syrawi looked at Lazarus. The moment she saw a bit of anxiety in his look, she felt a bit playful and smiled. “Does it matter?”
Lazarus sighed. “Stop with this nonsense and just tell me.”
“You’ll know eventually.” Replied Syrawi, just casually walking along the paved path filled with adventurers as if nothing really concerned her.