Chapter 7: Majority part 4

“Thank you for coming,” Nath said for what had to be the hundredth time as he grasped another person’s forearm and shook it. People in this world didn't shake hands apparently, they grasped forearms, which meant he had to reach past the hand and place his own hand almost at the crook of their arm before grasping, which seemed unnatural to him, he had to force himself to not grasp the proffered hand, which was an ingrained reaction after years of living as a working adult. Still, while in Rome right? Nath kept smiling and shaking forearms for what seemed like a small eternity until there was only his family and Ellie left. He took a deep breath and let it out as an all-encompassing sigh, letting it take with it all the tension and as he did so his shoulders seemed to fall like a marionette whose puppeteer had removed their guiding hand.

Ellie raised an eyebrow at his behavior and he simply shrugged at her, after all, social occasions like this were tiresome and he was not about to apologize for being happy they were over. He rolled his shoulders, rubbing the knot that had formed on his right side between his neck and shoulder. He had tweaked something during the hunt, but that was to be expected he supposed, and so long as he was able to work it out before he went to bed, if he could he would do a pattern or two then take a bath and get changed into some clothing that was not splattered with mud and blood, he had washed off his face and hands but had not really done anything about the splatters on his hunting leathers, which apparently was also part of the tradition, but that was while the guests were here, surely that did not apply now that they had all left.

“What now?” he asked, looking over at his parents, “I mean now that I have my majority as it were, I have essence, though to be honest I have no real idea what to do with that, so I suppose I need to do some research about essence.” Sixteen was a little early for a person to move out, but in this world, sixteen was considered an adult, as such he would likely have to start looking at his finances and then at the price for land an-

“Well, I suppose a little basic knowledge on how essence works before we go to the academy would be in order,” Ellie said, and his thoughts halted as she spoke and he looked over at her.

“Academy?” he asked, looking at her one eyebrow raised and a sinking feeling in his stomach. He had of course been through the full twelve years of schooling the united states required of its young citizens and had even done an additional four to get his bachelor's degree in accounting, and as such he was not really looking forward to having to go back to school once again.

“Of course, The Royal Academy of Vinlaas, we will be attending the Northern campus of the school this coming spring,” she said an eyebrow-raising as she said it. “It is expected of all nobility to attend one of the four campuses, and we will be spending the next three years there on the academy grounds,” She said looking at him.

“Three years?” he asked and she nodded, “and is it just for nobility?” he asked, the idea of being cooped up with only snotty nobles for three years did not sit very well with him.

“It is open to the entire public, after all, everyone can use essence and it is in the best interest of everyone that people who plan to used it are educated in the uses and applications of essence, so roughly a fourth of the students are commoners, why?” He held back the urge to sigh and instead simply waved her off.

“No reason, so, this academy is to teach people about essence and its uses?” he asked.

“Among other things yes, there are more advanced courses on many subjects, it is expected that your parents handled your basic education so all of the topics are more focused and in-depth, but there is also the social aspect of it.”

“Social aspect?” he asked wearily, and she nodded.

“Vinlaas is a very large country, one of the largest in the world in fact, and as such it is often hard to cultivate relationships across such vast distance of often sparsely populated lands, as such it is expected for us to spend at least some of the three years we have at the academy cultivating such relationships amongst the other nobles.”

“So the both of us are going together?” he asked, and she looked at him her eyes narrowing slightly.

“Yes,” she said, “do you have an issue with that?” her arms coming to be crossed under her breasts and her head cocked slightly to the side, there was something about the set of her ears, the way that they lay a little falter and the look on her face that told him he was walking on dangerous grounds, though he really didn't know exactly why that was. Most times in his previous life he would have felt out the next words like he was playing minesweeper or something, but he was tired of that, he had spent two marriages doing that and at the end of the day he had gotten next to nothing out of those marriages, and perhaps it was time for a new approach.

“Listen,” he said the smile that had been on his lips disappearing in an instant. “This is going to take some getting used to on both of our parts, on me getting it through my head that we are really engaged and you no doubt in realizing that I remember nothing, so no, I have no real issue with the fact that you are going to the academy with me, I was simply surprised for a moment by it, mostly because it really has as of yet not sunk in,” he looked her dead in the eyes and he could almost feel the surprise that seemed to emanate from her. “I am working on it, but it will take time, so please work with me here, not against me.”

“I, I see,” she said slowly almost taken aback by his directness.

“Well,” Nath’s father said, jumping into the conversation for the first time, “if the issue is that you don't remember getting engaged, and therefore it is hard for you to get used to the idea why don’t we simply have the two of you reaffirm the vows of betrothal, that way you remember,” he said with a casual shrug.

“That isn't a bad idea,” his mother said, a smile on her lips, “A person should remember events like that, they are important,” she said with an approving nod at her husband, a small smile on her lips, if Nath were to guess his father was going to get rewarded later tonight for a suggestion like that. Nath looked over at Ellie a silent question on his face and she nodded her assent to the idea.

“Okay,” Nath said, attempting to look calm, though he was having quite a time of it, “So long term plans are to go to school and to reaffirm our vows, both of which can no doubt wait until after I have taken a bath and gotten into new clothes,” he said clapping his hands together, “So, I am going to see to that and then probably hit the sack as I am tired,”

“Hit the sack?” Ellie asked, her head cocking to the opposite side, it would seem as though she hadn't simply gotten some physical features from whatever cat-like creature she had been attuned to but also some of the cat-like actions, or perhaps she had knowingly adopted them seeing as they were stupid effective at drawing the eye.

“He means going to sleep,” his father informed her, “that is what he says when he is going to go to bed,” it was one of the many sayings he had brought with him from the other earth, thankfully his parents and the staff of the manor were both apparently prepared to accept his irregularities, which he thought perhaps was due to the fact that his parents were simply thankful that he was around to make such strange remarks and comments, and he was pretty sure the staff was not used to making remarks on anything their employers or their employer’s children did that was strange, at least not to those employers or their children that was.

“If that is what he means then why is he heading in that direction?” she asked looking even more confused, and Nath turned back to look at her confused himself.

“Uh, because my room is down this hall?” he said it like it was a question, and a twinkle of amusement seemed to light Elianora’s eyes as he said it and pointed down the hall.

“He doesn't know,” His mother said with a twinkle of mirth in her own eyes as she raised her hand and covered her mouth to hide the smile, though Nath didn't know as to why she even attempted to do so seeing as it was so wide he could see it around either side of her hand.

“Don’t know what?” he asked, and his father stepped forward, laying his hand on Nath’s shoulder.

“You have reached your majority, you are no longer our ward and you are engaged, meaning you no longer can stay here under our roof,” he said.

“I am being kicked out?” Nath asked. Sure he had been planning on leaving but he hadn't expected to be thrown out so quickly, after all, he had only been here for the past two months or so, and was still adjusting to the realities of this world. He didn't even know if he had any money to his name and-

“In a manner of speaking yes,” his father said the smile on his lips, “while you were out hunting all of your things, as well as Elianora’s, were moved into the neighboring manor house we had constructed last year,” he said, and Nath felt the tension he had suddenly acquired dissipate.

“Oh good, and here I was thinking I would need to start looking for work afford to get some housing pretty soo-” his brain paused for a moment as he went over the words his father had just said to him.

“Aaaand there it is,” his mother said with a smile.

“Wait, did you say my and Elianora’s things?” Nath asked, looking up at his father, who was looking back down at him with a bemused expression on his face.

“Well yes,” he said, “it is perfectly normal for the two of you to be living under the same roof, after all, the both of you are of your majority and are betrothed, so there is no issue there.” Nath opened his mouth to answer but before he could his mother cut him off.

“The carriage is waiting for you two,” she said, her face serious, it was only slightly undercut by the way her eyes couldn't hide her mirth at the obvious discomfort her son was feeling. “But please, use discretion you two, betrothed is not married and there would be an awful scandal should something happen a little too early.”

“Eh, it wouldn't be the first time, ” his father said stepping back by his mother’s side. “And I doubt it would be the last time,” he laughed as Nath’s mother elbowed him in the side. “So uh, yeah, as I was saying, be responsible you two,”

“Exactly,” his mother said, “responsible, now off you two go,” she said as she reached forward and steered both Nath and a blushing Ellie towards the main door, whereas said a carriage waited for the two of them with doors open and the coachman standing ready to help them embark...


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