* * *
Lumen spied on them through the crumpled newspaper. Or, more accurately, the back of Cadel’s head as he sat with Mamil, who was seated in the front.
Cadel Lytos. There was no other reason for Lumen to come to such a cove cafe.
‘You say I have no appeal as a subordinate in my presence, that you’d dump me tomorrow, well, that’s all well and good, Temporary Leader. But don’t forget, I’m watching you, too.’
If it was him normally, he would have evaluated the other person’s abilities by taking part in the mercenary corps’ request and gauging Cadel’s strength, but recently he was strangely offended by Cadel’s changed in demeanor.
Of course, from the beginning, he was the person who created a situation where Cadel had no choice but to click his tongue and permit him to join the team. But at least there was a thing called ‘favor’ back then. In other words, he showed the least amount of consideration and even pretended to take care of him.
Was it because Cadel kept in mind the fact that he had intercepted the mercenary corps’ credits and kind of ‘dining and dashing’? Lumen was going crazy with Cadel’s cold attitude, which had changed drastically since he became a temporary member. To be precise, he had been like that since last night, when he had openly prioritized Van and belittled himself.
From the moment he was born as the second son of the Dominic family, he was always treated as if he were worth every breath. With one meaningless glance, all kinds of jewels poured out like mountains, and everyone was eager to talk to him. It was all thanks to his outstanding beauty, outstanding sword skills, and the halo of the family that supported him.
Lumen was used to that. The life of an arrogant aristocrat, where everyone supported him even though he was a bit feisty and selfish. Because that was the life he lived.
‘Hmm, that’s exciting, yeah.’
Was that why? It was very unpleasant to see someone who was so irritable in front of him smile up to his shoulders at an old man with a bad temper.
‘Originally I was thinking of just giving it to him…….’
Lumen was deep in thought, fiddling with something in his trouser pocket. Under the lowered eyelashes, the melancholic eyes shone. His impeccable height, straight posture, and classy features made him a picture of perfection. It was almost painful to see the glances from the customers and clerks sitting around him at that dazzling beauty.
Lumen didn’t care at all. His mind was only on Cadel.
‘With this bone powder, I might be able to create a more interesting situation.’
The identity of the object rolling freely in his hand right now was none other than the [One-Horned Devil’s Bone Powder]. An object that he had acquired by accident, found no use for, put away, and forgot its existence. Thanks to Cadel, he was able to recall it.
If he hadn’t witnessed Cadel and Van’s friendly dinner this morning, he’d probably have given it to Cadel as a present with a light joke ‘I didn’t have the hobby of storing things I didn’t need’.
However, he failed to put his face between the two, and as a result, he became a spy who shamelessly came to the appointed place in a bad way. Realizing that fact made him even more depressed. The reciprocation, which he thought would have been sufficient with a light thank you from Cadel, felt absurd.
‘Well, I didn’t have any intention of being nice from the start. Shall I do it my way?’
Lumen’s pale face lit up as he quickly revised his plan.
* * *
“Lytos! I never thought I’d see Lytos’ lineage in a place like this!”
“Haha, Mr. Mamil……. Are you advertising? I’m a fugitive in that Empire.”
“Damn, Jenga Lytos……. His descendant…….”
No matter how much he cautioned, Mamil muttered the name of ‘Lytos’ as if he had lost his soul. He suddenly asked for his name, so Cadel answered without much thought, and in the end, it was like this. If anyone asked him if Mamil was having a bad heart like Viscount Stra, Cadel didn’t think that was the case again. There was a strange longing in Mamil’s expression when he mentioned ‘Jenga Lytos’.
‘Who is Jenga Lytos? Given that the protagonist is a descendant, is he his father or grandfather?’
Either one of them would most likely have died. His family would fall, and he would have died from being beheaded or whatever. The protagonist, Cadel Lytos, was a case of successful escape from the chaos.
‘I don’t think he has any bad feelings. Maybe it’s worth a try.’
The mere fact that he had the name of Lytos was enough to get that kind of reaction. There was no aggression or negativity. Just a hint of bitterness, longing, and subtle emotions in between.
If so, there was a possibility that his birth would serve as a great advantage in coaxing Mamil.
After collecting his thoughts, Cadel let go of the excitement he had worked so hard to generate, and put on a serious face as if he had been caught off guard.
“I also know the meaning of my name. The reason I said that without hesitation is that I trust Mr. Mamil that much. As you know, I have a reason to be strong.”
Mamil’s eyes, which were filled with only annoyance and tiresome, turned bright for an instant.
Between the wrinkles, the area around the eyes that were irritated was strained. His lips, which had been clicking his tongue periodically, were pursed tightly. The deep gaze, different from the first time, seemed to see something beyond Cadel.
And Mamil’s remarks were enough to ignite Cadel’s acting skills.
“Are you serious about what you said now?”
He was Mamil’s only adversary in his youth, and also his lifelong rival whom he believed would last forever. When Mamil reached 6-star level, Jenga also rose to 6-star level the next day, and when Jenga reached 7-star level, Mamil also rose to 7-star level the next day.
He was a rival that was second to none in the world. Even on the day when he became a 10-star archmage, there would be Jenga Lytos next to him.
He thought that was a given.
“I am prepared to pay any price, as long as I can be strong.”
There was no Jenga. The damned bastard committed a stupid sin and left, never to return. Leaving behind nothing but a loud, annoying blob of blood to take his place.
Mamil finally saw Cadel’s face properly.
Light brown hair that looked soft and auburn eyes filled with deep thoughts. It was a part that was uniquely similar to him.
Although Jenga always gave the impression of being mellow and meek even when he got older, he had lived a tougher life than anyone around him. There was that feeling with Cadel, too. Physically, he was as fluffy as a caramel pudding, but his eyes were as hard as steel.
‘……No. I may have been blinded.’
Maybe he was getting drunk on the past and giving Cadel too high a rating. After quickly objectifying, Mamil rubbed his chin. Whatever it was, he planned to give Cadel the proper knowledge anyway. Because he had to get Demon’s Bone Powder.
If it would be different, it would be the amount and depth of knowledge to be imparted.
The moment Mamil finished thinking about the answer to the will that Cadel showed.
“Oh, see you again in a place like this?”
A tall man with a strangely familiar face approached the table where they were sitting.
* * *
The flow was not what he had expected. Lumen accepted Cadel’s touch with a nonchalant face that hid his embarrassment.
“This is a dear friend of mine, Mr. Mamil, who is willing to lend a hand in the resurrection of the Lytos family. Although this friend committed great rudeness in the first meeting…… he is also reflecting on himself. Right, Lumen?”
Lumen had appeared in person before Mamil with the sole intention of embarrassing Cadel. As usual for the ever-unexpected temporary leader, Cadel was not fazed. Instead, he flashed him a sly smile that said he’d seen it coming and pulled him into a seat beside him.
Then he introduced him as his ‘dear friend’. He stroked his hair with the most affectionate touch in the world.
Apparently, Cadel decided it was better to take the initiative and clean up the mess than to go against Mamil’s feelings. To lie like water flowing like that was quite the coping mechanism, to say the least.
Lumen nodded hesitantly, surprised at the disparity between Cadel’s sweet gaze and the searing pain that stabbed his side.
“I’m sorry about that day.”
“Ahem, never mind. It’s not like I’m going to teach you any magic anyway. ……By the way, are you going to stay with us? It’s disturbing.”
Of course, Lumen had no intention of joining a magic class that was neither fun nor interesting, and his only reason for interrupting was to get Cadel’s attention.
“God, I can’t help it, Lumen. Most of the time, I’d love to spend time with you, however…… It’s a valuable class. Would you excuse me?”
But when he was faced with a pair of eyes that were tickling his forearms and looking up at him as if to say, ‘What are you going to do now?’, Lumen wanted to have a little more fun.
“Um, well. Unfortunately, I don’t have the magic to do this. So even if I take this class, there will be no place to use it. But apart from that, it’s because of my own greed that I want to watch the growth of my dear friend up close and personal.”
Smiling with an almost unnecessary grace, Lumen pulled something out of his pocket and placed it on the table. Mamil’s eyes widened as he realized the identity of the ‘something’ at once. A strong grip was felt from the forearm that Cadel was holding onto.
Lumen tore his gaze away from the ‘One-Horned Devil’s Bone Powder’ on the table and looked down at Cadel. The quirk of his mouth was quite cute. Lumen whispered to him, savoring the satisfied expression.
“As Leader’s dear friend, I would say please let go of my arm because it hurts.”