Chapter 83:

Discrepancy? Negotiation? Tea? (2)

My Demon Queen

Another day, a different sky. Honestly, I wonder how other artists draw the skies. If it were me, I'd just paint the canvas blue, use a cloud brush and call it a day. The more complicated ones.. I have no idea how people even draw that. But they do.. like.. how?!Bookmark here

Oh, commission requests are up for boots. No client yet..Bookmark here

It was break time, 30 minute break. Liliath and I went separate ways. She was going to the cafeteria to try out that idea I told her about yesterday.Bookmark here

Like seriously, fuck, the fact that she almost bought into the student council prez's invitation was because of tea. Luckily Elyja didn't notice, she wasn't as sharp as Liliath. If she knew about this weak point of her's, I'm pretty sure Liliath would've been tricked by her.Bookmark here

That said.. Liliath feels like those gluttons in light novels or mangas where the protagonist's followers surround him mainly for food. In Liliath's case, it was tea.Bookmark here

She's truly a tea fanatic. I honestly have no clue how I should put into words this complicated feeling I'm feeling inside my heart right now. I feel like it would be possible for someone to successfully propose to her using tea bags instead of silver rings.Bookmark here

Damn. It's so funny.Bookmark here

While thinking that, I was idling around the school garden, the stone paths that encircled the large pond in the middle. Rectangular hedges that exceeded my height were grown here and there-- red flowers to accent the green space.Bookmark here

Students walking around the place, food in hand, talking to each other, enjoying the scenery.Bookmark here

Me? I was sitting on a wooden bench, looking at a group of students feeding the fish food. The cafeteria did sell fish food from what I've heard. And for a second there, I thought the school was absolutely nuts for allowing the worker to sell such a thing for consumption-- until I learned of the real purpose behind the product.Bookmark here

"Hello, Noel. You're alone this time around? Where's Liliath?" Prune, who came from the direction of the cafeteria using the garden path, noticed my laid back self.Bookmark here

"Liliath is together with Saria, probably at the cafeteria now."Bookmark here

"It's odd to see you two apart," Prune sat down beside me, taking a bite out of the small burger she bought.Bookmark here

"Yeah, it's been like this ever since the system update," I sighed. True, since Liliath and i dont need to pay so much attention to completing those stupid tasks, we've been able to go along doing out own stuff. In fact, it was the quests that brought us close together in the first place.Bookmark here

Without it, it's like we're drifting apart?Bookmark here

"Status window open."Bookmark here

"How's the progress?"Bookmark here

"4 more days.."Bookmark here

Chibi Liliath was talking to chibi Saria, a speech bubble with the image of tea floating above her head. How cute.. it seems it's possible to tell what each other is doing through the update window-- how convenient..I wonder if Liliath realized this function. Most probably yes.Bookmark here

"Hey, Noel?"Bookmark here

"Yeah?"Bookmark here

"I want to eat raw meat.. do you think that sounds weird?" Prune let out a self-deprecating laugh.Bookmark here

"Not really.. Liliath almost joined the student council because she wanted to drink tea."Bookmark here

"Liliath again, you two are so close," Prune heaved a sigh.Bookmark here

"I suppose.."Bookmark here

Prune didn't reply and took another bite out of her burger, her ears and tail were drooping now, unlike before.Bookmark here

Seriously.. a love triangle? I hope not.. please no..Bookmark here

"Well, I'll take a walk around the place," I stood up and stretched, "Are you going back to class?"Bookmark here

"Where are you going then?"Bookmark here

"I don't know.. exploring the school I guess. I haven't had the chance to do that until now."Bookmark here

"Ah, me too."Bookmark here

"You joining?"Bookmark here

Prune nodded, her tail wagged a full course. Jeez.. could I be overthinking?Bookmark here

She finished her burger and dropped the packaging into the trash bin beside the bench before accompanying me.Bookmark here

There wasn't really much of a landmark location to begin with. It's more like exploring routes we've never used before. We went to the auditorium-- students playing badminton and other's running about. Then to the open field-- a group of girls actually having a picnic.Bookmark here

After which I went to check out the medical facility-- reminded me of Miss Yeo. I wonder if she and Principal Rachel are doing alright?Bookmark here

The medical facility was off-limits for the most part, so we only went around the building.Bookmark here

Another thing to note is the number of soldiers stationed around the place.Bookmark here

Yes, soldiers. You heard me right.Bookmark here

I suppose it's for security purposes. I was in a school of TALENTS after all. Nobody knows what could happen if a fight breaks out between two students-- especially if they are in possession of a 'troublesome' sombat TALENT.Bookmark here

In the end, Prune and I ended up at the cafeteria where I saw Liliath enjoying an actual cup of tea.Bookmark here

She waved at me, I waved back.Bookmark here

"I can't believe she noticed," Prune, too, waved at her.Bookmark here

"Well, that's just how it is."Bookmark here

"By the way, have you picked a club to join?"Bookmark here

"Ah, good suggestion, how about we head over to the clubroom block?"Bookmark here

"I'll take the answer as not yet.."Bookmark here

"How about you?"Bookmark here

"I thought of trying baking."Bookmark here

"Baking club-- there's seriously such a club? Wow, this school has everything."Bookmark here

"Are you going to join the art club?"Bookmark here

"I don't know. I'm not into fine arts.. besides.."Bookmark here

Actually, who the hell cares anyways, I need to live out my life as a highschool student right? I've actually wanted to have an art friend.Bookmark here

"Maybe I should check it out."Bookmark here

Prune and I left for the clubrooms.Bookmark here

To my surprise, it was fairly crowded. And to my surprise again, Prune wasn't attracting a bunch of attention?Bookmark here

"Did Liliath cast a barrier around you?" is what i suspected.Bookmark here

"Yup. She fine tuned it so I'd feel like a random passerby to the other students. Of course, if they look closer, they would notice the difference," Prune's wolf ear moved up and down.Bookmark here

"She's a wizard.. darn, magic is convenient."Bookmark here

"Truly is-- hm?" Prune sniffed the air. "Ah, there's someone baking something."Bookmark here

"The baking club is.. where?"Bookmark here

"It's on the second floor, I think I'll go check it out."Bookmark here

"Might as well take a look.."I muttered, following Prune.Bookmark here

Going up one flight of stairs, we arrived at the baking club. Sure enough, I could smell the butter and sugar. Not that I really liked confectionaries-- Liliath's opinion might differ.Bookmark here

"Ah, Prune-- eh, nice to meet you, would you like to try some of our cookies," a guy wearing a pink apron stood close to the entrance, in his hands a tray of cookies. No, rather.. the tray was floating, and his hands were tucked inside his pocket. Cool TALENT.Bookmark here

Prune nudged me in the shoulders.Bookmark here

"Ah, yeah.. thanks.."Bookmark here

I ate the cookie-- a little confused with the situation.Bookmark here

"How is it? Prune? Take one too," the guy insisted, an individual cookie conveniently flew-- or levitated in front of Prune.Bookmark here

"Thank you," Prune took it without reserve and munched on it.Bookmark here

To be honest, these cookies were really good. Like quite literally, REALLY GOOD. I don't know how best to describe the taste but-- it's like how ads say it tastes like grandma's cookies-- not that the baker is a female old lady or something..Bookmark here

"Thanks, it tastes amazing," I complimented.Bookmark here

"Much appreciated, are you here to join the baking club?"Bookmark here

"Unfortunately no.. but thanks."Bookmark here

"Goerge, what are you doing here? It's recess right?"Bookmark here

"Nah, just here to take out the cookies in the oven since this morning. There are the other's with me too, wanna come and take a look at the other baked goods?"Bookmark here

Since this morning-- wait, so he literally left the oven running through class? Wait, no, rather, Prune knows George huh? Well.. not that I'm fussing but I'm surprised she's attached to this club already. Looks like the members are pretty active.Bookmark here

"Sorry, Noel, i'll be joining them here, anyways, the art club should be right over there," Prune pointes at the far corner of the alley. A number of painted canvases could be seen leaning against the wall.Bookmark here

"It's alright, thanks, then I'll be off. And again, thanks for the cookies Goerge."Bookmark here

"No problem, be sure to support these bad boys in the future alright?"Bookmark here

"Uh.. yeah.."Bookmark here

Bad boys-- ah, grandma's cookies. Right. Bad boys…Bookmark here

Somehow those two names don't mesh. Em' bad boys are grandmother's cookies.. sounds iffy.Bookmark here

Parting with Prune, I went to the far corner where the art club was located-- of course, I properly inspected the fine art paintings outside first.Bookmark here

The first thing that comes to mind is-- incredible anatomy. The model is practically nude-- something I don't get about fine arts. I know anatomy is important and all but.. why is drawing nude bodies a thing? I'm pretty sure 'that' part should have more hair, realistically speaking.Bookmark here

Well, whatever it is.. i turned my head to look inside the art club--Bookmark here

Empty… silent… a multitude of eerie paintings were arranged on the easels. HAlf-soen portraits of demon faces-- impressionistic forest with stretchy alien heads. And in the far corner of the room I think it was a copy of Picasso's cockerel. One that shows the ferocity and stupidity of a cock-- quite literally.Bookmark here

Welp..Bookmark here

I have two choices, advance or retreat.Bookmark here

I chose the former. And thus, I stepped foot inside this somewhat somnolent and creepy place.Bookmark here

The room was larger than I thought-- there weren't many tables, a few of them laid to the side with oil paints and dried up palates.Bookmark here

The room smells like acrylic and watercolour paints. Kinda nostalgic, I remember how I tried tasting paint in the past-- I learnt one of my greatest life lessons from that incident.Bookmark here

I walked over to the tabel close to the window, looking down at the open field, the running track and basketball court.Bookmark here

"Ah, it's you!"Bookmark here

A voice shook my soul, shivers went down my spine.Bookmark here

I turned around slowly, like a broken machine.Bookmark here

That voice--Bookmark here

It was a girl. Gloss balck hair--obviously-- that was tied to the side with braided ornaments, large gold rimmed glasses that sat between her nose. She looked like the studious kind of person, a sketchbook wrapped around her arms.Bookmark here

It was the emcee from last time. The one that silenced the auditorium.Bookmark here

Was it just me or was every cell in my body screaming at me to run away? This was a school-- not a battlefield-- then why do I sense this fear?Bookmark here

"I heard it from the President, it seems you have resistance against my TALENT, quite a rare specimen," she pushed up her glasses.Bookmark here

"Y-yeah.."Bookmark here

What the hell. I should escape shouldn't I?Bookmark here

"I'm sorry for coming in so abruptly.."Bookmark here

"No worries, it's rare to see someone just walk in like that. You're an artist-- correct?"Bookmark here

Her voice was like a silver bell-- literally piercing my soul. Ugh.. keep your head together Noel..Bookmark here

"Is your TALENT a passive thing? Cuz it's driving me nuts.. seriously.. stop it please."Bookmark here

"I'm sorry. Well.. the president told me to test it out. One things for sure, you have totally fallen for Liliath, it's a fact."Bookmark here

"Huh? What?"Bookmark here

Her voice didn't sound like a siren call anymore but the contents of it were shocking.Bookmark here

"Ah, I'm saying some unnecessary stuff. Basically, people who already have a life partner could be said to have resistance towards my TALENT-- isn't it?"Bookmark here

"Is that how it works?" I inched closer to the exit--Bookmark here

"Nevermind that, do you want to join the art club?" her eyes were sparkling.Bookmark here

Ah fuck-- not this again.. and I'm so close to her too.. my heart is literally about to jump out of my chest. Fuck. She's a siren alright…Bookmark here

"Status window open."Bookmark here

I whispered inadvertently, the chibi Liliath waving a wooden plate that had the words 'WARNING' on it.. cute.Bookmark here

Yeah. Good reminder. Only Liliath, no one else.Bookmark here

Taking a deep breath, having Liliath's cuteness overpower her serenade, i replied.Bookmark here

"I'll think about it.."Bookmark here

"Hm.. You are one tough nut to crack."Bookmark here

"Excuse me?"Bookmark here

"Nevermind, please consider, us art members will be delighted to have an additional member," with an angelic smile, she spoke.Bookmark here

"Ugh.. stop it.."Bookmark here

I know I was being rude by covering both my ears with my palm but seriously.. I can't take it anymore..Bookmark here

Stepping outside, I turned around to look at the clubroom-- then at her. Yup, serenade sucks, she looks more beautiful now. Heck, I feel like she's rejected love letters from a 3-digit number of boys with the way she fools around.Bookmark here

"Right, Your name.."Bookmark here

"Rishell."Bookmark here

"Rishell huh, well.. see you around.."Bookmark here

Not. That was a lie. I should stop getting involved with her…no.. why did I ask for her name in the first place?Bookmark here

I promptly walked away..Bookmark here

"Damn.. I wonder if Liliath has anti-charm magic.. now i cant get her out of my head.. fuck. I cursed in my heart.Bookmark here

Fuck.Bookmark here

Fuck..Bookmark here

FUCK...Bookmark here

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