SMage 44 – Distraction
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‘Goddamnit!’ Artus cursed inside. There were many reasons why a half-naked girl could freeze right on top of a man, but for her case, he didn’t need to guess which one. 

The girl had a serious trauma about it.

Paige had the same face Kate had when they were facing the previous Warg’s ferocity if not worse. She looked at him as if she was looking at a monster, and Artus couldn’t even be angry at her. The girl probably had been a victim to men, and it wouldn’t be a surprise considering her status as a commoner. 

He could imagine it happening all the time to pretty girls like her who took the wrong turn to the wrong dark alley or even dragged into a similar situation. Unless she had level up or a few skills to increase her physical ability then a commoner girl would be tossed around like dolls by men who had leveled up. Especially if the offender had a higher [Body]. 

Not everyone would have a reasonable mind when they realized they were much stronger than others. An alone defenseless girl without any backing would be nothing but a plaything to the people with higher attributes. It was trouble waiting to happen.

‘Is that why she was so desperate to level up?’ A question came to his mind.

‘God-fucking-dammit,’ he cursed again when she jerked back and peddled backward when he tried to reach for her. He was lucky that she didn’t scream her lungs out.

‘At least, I'm free to move now,’ Artus said to himself while he sat up and turn his back to her. ‘But what should I do now? Should I leave or say sorry or anything at all?’

The conundrum was killing him. Artus had never faced anything like this before, but in the end, he decided that he had to say something at least. Something hopeful or helpful, it didn’t matter if he had to lie about it.

“I’ll help you to get you where you could defend yourself, I can promise you this,” he gave the piss-poor excuse to escape.

Yes, he could do that and he already had a few ideas how.

“I also could even make them disappear if you want too,” he added before standing up. 

The more he talked the angrier he got, but he didn’t know why. He just met this girl and all of a sudden he was acting like she was someone special to him. Was it because of the surprise of pity she showed to him? Yeah, that was it. Her kind soul was betrayed by greed or whatever it was. No girl deserves that kind of treatment, especially someone like her.

“Do you want me to leave?” He gave the final say to her.

“No!” said Paige in a hurry. “Please don’t leave, mama will be devastated.”

Artus took a seat again on the bed with a sigh. The sight of him leaving early would mean that she had failed to snag him, even if that wasn’t the case. He thought about it for a moment and decided to open up a bit to ease the girl’s anxiety. Maybe they could talk more about other unrelated things.

“Do you know what I think are the most powerful elements of them all?”

Paige reacted by looking up before she shook her head and looked down again.

“You might say, ‘it’s Fire, of course, you dumbass’,” he chuckled and the girl chuckled along. 

“But no, I won’t say it’s Fire even though it is among the most powerful. Why am I so sure? Well, because my Spirit has said so. It couldn’t be wrong because the spirit inside me had made Lady Verona decided that I’m worth her time.”

He could feel her gaze at him but he didn’t look back. Artus wanted to tell the world that anyone could be at the top with the right knowledge and the right attitude, but he absolutely loathed the attention he would get from that. Maybe his unique knowledge and [Spell Sribe] could do something to help her or somebody trustworthy enough.

“If you have asked, I would say the Fire element is overrated. Any other elements could defeat it if used correctly. Which elements are known as the weakest against Fire?”

He turned towards the girl.

“The Air,” she said, almost in a whisper. “The Air could only make Fire stronger. The Law of the Elements said so in the books.”

Artus laughed out loud, “that’s just stupid,” he said and ignored her gasp. “The Fire needs the Air to even exist,” he stated.

“But the book said-”

“How about I prove it to you? And I won’t even use magic.”

The girl looked at him skeptically. “How are you going to prove it?” she asked.

“Well, lend me a short candle and a clear drinking glass,” he smiled.

Paige was hesitant before she made up her mind. All her trouble was already forgotten for the moment as he had hoped for. She dressed up properly again and went out for a few minutes before she returned with the said items. The next thing he did was pretty obvious for anyone with basic science knowledge. Artus did the candle and glass experiment right in front of the girl’s eyes. 

They had to wait for a while, but expectedly, the flame died when the oxygen in the glass ran out. Artus secretly breathed in relief as he didn’t know for sure that the laws of physics were the same in this world of magic. Anything could have happened.

“You are a smart girl, why do you think the flame went out?”

He asked and the girl took some time to think about it.

“The candle wax is still a lot and the flame couldn’t have been blown by the wind as it is inside the glass. No air could’ve entered…,” she turned towards him in shock and disbelief. “There is no air, the flame ran out of the air, right!?”

“Yes, you are correct, but only the specific kind of air had run out. Maybe an [Air] element expert could confirm it.”

The girl jumped on her feet in excitement. Paige put her nicer clothes on before she rushed out of the room without saying a word. She left him alone with nothing to do, but at least, she was not sulking anymore.

Artus almost fell asleep when the door opened again. Paige had brought someone with her, and the guy was just as surprised as him when they saw each other if not more. The young man might have expected something totally different when he was dragged into her room by a pretty girl like her. The surprised look on his face was kind of obvious. Artus felt sorry for the man.

Though, at the time, Artus had no idea that this young man would be his self-proclaimed rival in the future.

Not that he had any interest in that.

“This is Jacob, I knew him from when we were small, Jacob this is Artus,” she said hurriedly, skipping the specifics like who the hell the young man was to her. “No time for a handshake, just tell me, is there a difference between the air around us and inside the glass.”

Jacob looked really confused for a moment before he shrugged and checked the glass. His eyes went wide after a few seconds. The man looked at Paige and Artus.

“What did you do?” the man asked. “There is a difference but I could only barely detect it. Some... part of the air is missing in the glass, but how did you even know that.”

Paige gasped. She looked at Artus in disbelief.

“Paige, what is this about?” Asked the young man.

“No, nothing at all, you can go home now, Jacob, back to your studies,” she turned the confused young man’s body around and pushed him out. “I’m sorry, but don’t tell anyone about this, okay?”

“Now you make me curious,” Jacob held on to the doorway. “Come on, you have to tell me about this! Why is there a man in your room, at least!”

“Will you leave if I tell you who he is?”

“Ye-yes, of course!”

“Artus is my partner, and yes, we plan to have sex after this, now go home!”

Jacob froze in utter shock, and Artus chuckled at the other man's reaction. The poor guy definitely had some feeling towards Paige and she knew it. Why else would she announce such a thing to another man? It was obvious that she meant only to answer the question lingering inside the young man’s head and it didn't necessarily even mean it was true. 

Jacob’s shoulder dropped down before he turned around in distraught. He looked back at her but was only waved away by the girl to hurry him to leave. She slammed the door shut when the girl was sure that Jacob was finally leaving.

Paige sighed with the door on her back.

“I can tell that you know the young handsome man likes you,” Artus said.

“Yes, but his mother who had paid a few men to teach me my place,” Paige said with a sad smile. “But I don’t blame Jacob at all. I can’t blame him.”

Paige paused looking at the floor.

“He was kind," she said as she walked over. "But I can never be with him. I will be reminded of what his mother had done to keep me away from her talented little boy whenever he is around. I can’t even ask you to take revenge as it will hurt Jacob.”

“I’m sorry-” the girl closed Artus’s mouth with her hand.

He pulled her hand away before she began to stare right into his eyes while her lips were getting closer and closer to his. The soft sweet lips kissed him as she began to settle on his laps. She brought his hand to her modest breast as she continued to kiss him.

Paige’s body was shaking, perhaps from her trauma but she didn’t resist it anymore. 

Well, at least she tried. Regardless, he wasn't feeling it anymore. She might have been trying her best but the mood had already gone after what had happened.

“Do you want to get rich?” He said right after their lips separated.

“What did you say!?” she asked, surprised.

“I said, do you want to be rich? You know, without help from others.”

“How?”

“Well, we are going to sell an invention of mine, but we'll need help if we want to secure the profit.”

“Who do you need?”

“Let's find ourselves a glassmaker first, and I'll show you how we could get rich.”

Nothing distracts a girl more than money.

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