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A note from dotturndot

Hello! Sorry, it's a little late (or very late) but I wish everyone a great Christmas! Yup.. I'm super late.. I'm sorry.. Happy New Year.

Curtis expected something else, but she was asking if he knew a stranger? What was with this tension anyways?

"Will? Am I supposed to know him?"

"...then do you know any other mages besides you?"

"Yes, of course, this one beside me, Ruth."

Ruth raised her eyebrow at Louise.

"Someone at your aptitude?"

"No— why are you asking me this?"

"That settles. Please forget about this conversation," Louise exhaled in relief? Regaining her usual smile, "I'll be borrowing Ellis tomorrow then."

"Wha?"

"I'll bring her to the castle," Louise looked to Ellis, "Are there anything you're interested in seeing? We will walk around the inner sect of Haital first before entering the royal grounds if that's fine by you? I myself have yet to explore the place where the nobles stay."

Ellis felt that her sudden change in disposition quite insane. The intensity of her voice dropped sharply, like a knife to the floor. Since Ellis was told to not talk about Will, did that still apply if Louise herself had told Curtis about him already? In any case, Ellis replied with a nod.

"To make it seem less suspicious..... Ellis, do you perhaps have a dress?"

"Urm, no. I don't think I have."

"Then I'll bring one for you, tomorrow when the sun is up at 10 degrees."

The time system in Haital and the other kingdoms in Monarch Federation uses a degree time system where the sun and moon are the celestial bodies of the clock. Such a system was used because the sun and moon were directly opposing each other, (not the case in real life, only in stories!). The horizon from the East where the sun appears can be either considered 0 degrees day or 180 degrees night. Incidentally, when the sun sets in the East at the horizon, it could be said as 180 degrees day or 0 degrees night. 90 degrees day really just means noon.

Ellis laughed. "Can you find one that fits?"

"Let's see then," Louise had a lecherous grin.

"Wait, no! What are you doing!"

"Measuring."

Ruth and Curtis averted their eyes. This so-called 'measuring' looked more extreme. Nothing like what real trained tailors would do.

Rather, Louise was frolicking Ellis' body.

Everyone else turned their eyes away, as if not noticing.

'Not noticing?'

Curtis wanted to call it off when he realized that nobody was looking at the inappropriate scene. Everyone was busy doing their work, not giving a single glance, even when Ellis made the coquettish yelps. The two were left as they were, being disregarded by everyone else?

What was this? Curtis felt trace magic in the air.

A very light and thin barrier surrounding them. In fact, the clamouring noises beyond them sounded muffled. It was almost impossible to notice.

Since when did the barrier appear?

Concealment magic?

"Done!" Louise sat back down properly, a bead of sweat on her forehead. Looked like she did hard work.

"You... pervert," Ellis was blushing tomato red, her face was entirely flushed. Perspiration around her face, causing it to look glossy.

"Nobody noticed," Louise shrugged.

Ellis realized that they were in a public place, and shrunk when she heard that.

Curtis wanted to ask about the barrier when he felt the concealment magic disappear. Maybe it was best to act as if he didn't notice, Louise was a suspicious person after all.

"Yes?" Louise turned to Curtis with a smile as if on purpose.

"Don't you think it was weird," Ruth tugged at Curtis, "Nobody looked this way just now."

"I wonder.."

Concealment magic. They were many spells that fall under this category, the one Louise used distorted a targeted region. It manipulated the air around as to let no sound in or out, it would be as if there existed no presence. Although the sight wasn't directly manipulated, the current of air would throw off the other senses. After all, vision information wasn't omnipotent. Moreover, this was a spell Curtis had only seen in his Spellbook. He had never seen such a repertoire for this sort of spell anywhere else. Which made Curtis question the source of her spell.

"Eh? Nobody noticed?" Ellis glance around the place fervently, and it was apparently the case. "Louise, you did that right? Right? Nobody saw right?"

"Yup, nobody noticed."

The magic bubble of concealment disappeared the moment Curtis tried to reconfirm its presence. If he were to comment, this spell was a difficult wind magic spell. Only those who have an incredibly high aptitude would be able to achieve this. Louise was undoubtedly deft with her limited magic, though, the perfect form of the barrier wasn't supposed to let leak any trance of magic. So she failed at that part.

But for her to cast such a spell. Something about it was—off.

"I'll bring a dress with the correct fitting, you can trust me on that—I'll be off then."

"Are you going to be alright returning alone?" Curtis asked when Louise had already stood up.

Louise breathed out a sigh of satisfaction. The noddles were delicious indeed. She then looked to Ellis and made a do-not-tell gesture before turning to Curtis, "It's ok, besides, I'm not alone."

Looking back after a few steps. "See you tomorrow! 10 degrees day!"

Louise tattled away into the sea of people, disappearing into the crowd.

Ruth looked at Ellis while Curtis continued staring at the place where he last saw the princess.

Ever since the encounter with the Forest Sprite, why did it feel as if everything wasn't just a coincidence. There was something about it he couldn't really put his finger on.

"I'm sorry. Louise told me to keep it a secret," Ellis lowered her head.

"I guess the princess has her own secrets. That's respectable."

"Something's fishy," Ellis entered Curtis' sight, "Don't you think?"

"Uh.. I do think so too."

"Am I thinking too much," Curtis dropped his gaze. Entering a state of contemplation.

There was some uneasiness.

This time, it was Ellis who was keeping a secret.

No. Curtis too had a secret. It wasn't something he wanted to let Ellis know. At least, not at the moment.

So what was it? The Forest Sprite? The Princess? The secret from? This ominous feeling...

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Curtis and Ellis were back in their rooms. Ruth went back to her dormitory prepared by Croquel. From her description, it was a shared room with four people and was designed mainly for sleeping purposes. So there wasn't any sort of aesthetically touch to it, merely a simple room with functionality at its core. It wasn't all that small, was what she said. There were even 4 desks present in that single room.

The moon was up, 15 degrees approximately. The sky was already glowing a deep purple.

"I'm sorry Curtis, I don't really mean that," Ellis was reflecting about her actions before. She had gotten angry because Curtis was keeping secrets from her, and now it was her doing so. Was it because of the secret? Maybe it was just because she wasn't in a good mood back then? When she got mad, she didn't mean it seriously either way... she was just frustrated..

"I understand and I won't question either. It just, something just doesn't feel right, about the princess.."

"Didn't she tell us to call her Louise,"

"Right, I forgot... sorry."

'Please no 'Sir Curtis'... absolutely, no..'

"What do you mean by uneasy?"

"Uneasy in a sense... Louise used an unusual spell just now. A concealment spell. I don't think I've seen it used by anyone before, nor have I seen a repertoire like that in Haital. It was an exclusive spell in my Spellbook? And I don't even remember where it was from," Curtis looked towards the window, then laid down on his bed after gauging the blankness of the outside world, "I'm thinking about this wrong. Maybe Rozel Kingdom has a better magic foundation, then it wouldn't be weird to find different repertoires there.. like that concealment spell.."

"Louise can use a Concealment spell? What does it do?" It wasn't like it could block vision, could it? But Ellis recalled Will disappearing all of a sudden.

"When she was groping you? The reason why nobody seemed to notice?"

".." Ellis tried not to remember and made a long face.

"That's why no one noticed."

"Curtis, I think it has something to do with the secret Louise told me. Though I'm not very clear about it, I think it's related, " Ellis decided to tell Curtis about it in a vague way, she had sworn not to say anything about it and she intended to keep it, partially in check. That though did not mean she couldn't use what she knew to comfort him, "At least she used that spell... if not."

Curtis cracked a small laugh. "To do something like that so publicity.. what a shameless princess, right?"

Ellis burst into laughter too.

"I just remembered that we have to go back to Sid's forge to get our new equipment tomorrow."

"Oh right! I totally forgot about that."

"How long do you think your trip would take? If anything, I'll help you pick up the sword."

"Yes, thank you! I'm not sure, I think we'll have to ask Louise tomorrow. We also have visit Whaley too, it's been two days now. I wonder how he's doing."

"Then let's go to the hanger tomorrow. After you finish making merry with Louise, that is. By the way, did anything else happen during your afternoon stroll with Louise?"

Ellis tried her best to convey the experience from Louise's point of view since the trip was mainly oriented around her. Back in her own kingdom, Louise rare got the chance to explore outside. That said, Louise was still an expert escapist, so she was still able to relish a few peeks. Curtis also learnt that Louise apparently liked to eat cotton candy. He never expected a simple confectionary like that to be her favourite candy. If she was so adept at wind magic, why not make it herself? After all, cotton candy was heated sugar-spun around at high speed. Oh, could it be that she couldn't use fire magic?

Slowly shifting towards the more serious incident—the thugs. Ellis warmed Curtis about the people related to Lion's Head guild.

"I wonder how they knew."

"Knew what?"

"Think about it in this way, we told Sir Dean about the new pillar of land didn't we? Isn't that the only thing that would catch the attention of some influential figure?"

"Ahh, that's right!"

"So what happened then? Louise didn't do anything crazy did she?"

"About that.... Erm... it's part of the secret,"

Curtis replied with a nod. Louise was the one told Ellis not to tell, so it was a different matter when compared to secret Curtis was keeping, which was by his own accordance.

After a few more trivial conversations, they called it a night.

The more they talked, the more suspicious Louise was as a person. Why would she follow them around anyways? Curtis warned Ellis about his suspicious, she clearly understood. At the same time, there wasn't much they could prepare for tomorrow's trip. Actually, there was one, {Soul String}, but Curtis never told Ellis about that.

"Good night Ellis."

"Good night, Curtis."

The night enveloped the world. The busy streets turned empty and quiet. The clamour in Croquel guild had died down. Haital became a ghost town in the domestic district.

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A note from dotturndot

Hi! Well. Nothing much to be said here... 


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