"The prince?" I, Kumo, said with surprise, as I look at the boy in front of me.
He's a thin boy slightly taller than Itia but not that much. He has golden blonde hair but is styled in a bowl cut that doesn't look majestic at all, in fact it makes him slightly feminine in a way. His bangs almost blocks his eyes as it covers his entire forehead and it's goes straight down just above the neck. Small lips, pale skin, and soft nose he looks more to be a child rather than a prince, but....
"Your Highness are you alright?" But a Prince of a nation should always be assisted, it's common logic and even if his appearance is not of a prince, he is still a prince.
"Thank you." His arm seems to be rough, which surprised me for a second since mostly men doing labor have these hands.
But I shook that off and got to look at the Prince closer. Even if his face doesn't indicate he's a Prince his attire does. High quality navy-blue suite with a white cravat as it surrounds the neck, gold encrusted pearl buttons running down his suit with strings attached to the sides. The ends of the cuffs, hem, shoulder area and button placket are decorated with gold trimmings and laces contrasting the navy blue color. The pants is a more simple loose, dark blue pants ending below his knee because of his grey knee high boots.
[This is a Prince huh...?] I thought as he doesn't look princely at all.
"Hehe he's cute..." Gabril seems to have taken a liking to him since she's drooling while Itia is silent but is looking at Gabril intently.
"How about you Lady Itia are you okay?" Since we are in the presence of a Prince we need to do our noble act.
"You idiot! Of course I'm fine!" Itia didn't even need my assistance as she stood up, but her mood drastically got worst. "...My dress..." She desperately swipe off the dust that got caught in her dress in anger.
"Hehe lemme clean it out with my juices Itia-chan~" And Gabril is helping out Itia again.
As the two have their fun I look at the Prince as well as he also cleans off the dust that he got. "I apologize for—" But another trouble comes.
"Hey get away from His High— what?!" It's a group of armoured humans, which seems to be looking at shock towards me.
[Hm?] I wonder why they look at me for and stare back at the Prince... Bingo. "I apologize for what I did to his Highness." I bow my head. [I have blocked the path of a Prince after all.] Even if it's not my fault letting my feeling out is only trouble so I did this instead.
"That's right, we apologize as well." I saw Itia bite her lips under her bow as she has more pride than me, but also knew she can't afford to insult a Prince.
"N-no! Stay away from his Highness!" The human soldiers seems to be mad at me for some reason.
[What's happening?] I wonder, then I realized that the Prince is beside me.
"I truly apologize, we do not have any intention to harm his Highness." I said to the guards.
"T-that's right, it is my own fault for running into them, so don't punish them." Surprisingly the Prince also sided with us.
[That's right.] Now that the Prince himself sided with me, we should be able to settle this fairly smoothly. [Well this is outside of my plans...] I thought in hindsight. Since me and Itia do have plans to meet him, I didn't expect it to be this soon.
But unfortunately, "Your Highness!" It didn't work, why? "That man has golden hair!" The answer is of the most ridiculous of reasons.
"The hell?" Itia suddenly said aloud.
"What...?" I unintentionally let out as I made a dumb face for the first time. [What kind of reason is that?] Although I am confused as to why Morus-sama said to dye my hair, I didn't know that this was the reason.
"Wait..." It seems that even the prince, as he pushes up his bangs, his light blue eyes first make eye contact with me. "Eh?!" Even he seems surprise by my hair color.
[What is so special about my hair?] I thought as I increasingly get frustrated and burrow my brows.
"Your Highness! We must arrest him!" The guards shouted.
[What? Now you arrest me? For doing absolutely nothing?] I grit my teeth in anger as I get ready for battle.
"Why must we get arrested for doing nothing wrong?" Finally Itia had enough as she said my thoughts out loud.
I look at her with a smile. [I have been focusing too much on courtesy.] I almost forgot that there's an option of just killing these insects. Don't worry we won't drop a single blood.
The guards look at us with even more anger than before, "How there yo—!"
But there is still hope though, "Wait! Stop!" The Prince is acting as the mediator. "Even if this is definitely abnormal you shouldn't arrest them for nothing!" He shouted out loud, his voice high pitch so it sounds a bit feminine.
But the guards though doesn't seem interested in listening to the young prince. "But your Highness—" But it seems that... "Men! Drop your weapons!" Somebody else will force them to listen.
"It is disgraceful bearing your arms towards royalty!" He shouted with full force.
"Hii!" "It's!" "Yes Milord!"
The men that were baring their fangs towards us immediately stiffen and line themselves up like proper guards.
The man that the armoured humans are lining up forth is an extremely familiar figure. Long beard and 'stache, old age and modest but formal clothes. It is the man in the carriage. "Your Grace Lord Norkin, Margrave of El Niño." I immediately bow my head as his position in this city seems to be a lot higher than the prince.
But it seems that, "Prince Gérmann! Your Highness!" He didn't even notice me. "What in the blazes are you doing here?!"
"S-sir Norkin!" The Prince is immediately paralyze by his presence.
Me and Itia are silent for now so that we can listen to the two's conversation.
"Your Highness even if you are the 5th Prince..." Norkin made a deep sigh, "You are still royalty!" He looks at the Prince with frustration. "My Lord you can't be leaving without proper security..." He ended his complaint with furrow brows.
[So for us it's arrest...] I look at the guards, which are doing nothing but stand there like statues. [But he can act like that without any repercussions.] I know he is a Margrave but this quadruple standard still pisses me off. So I look at them with a cold stare.
"...Hypocrites." Itia murmured. She seems to have notice my intentions and said those words to illicit a reaction, which worked splendidly as they made a funny face.
Now back to the two. "...I already have the g-guards with me..." The Prince made one last attempt to defend himself.
To which you can see Margrave Norkin grow a vein on his head. "Your Highness, the guards here are new recruits and are thus inexperienced." He pauses as he rubs his nose ridge. "Plus they also dared to point their blades towards you..." Then looks at the fools earlier to which sweat visibly grows out of their face. "I'll have a talk to both your families and superiors about this." He finishes it at that as you can see some of the guards looking like having their souls ripped out.
I could not care of their emotions at all. [Hmph, serves you right.] I look at them with glee, it's not bad to be a little petty at times.
The Margrave looks at the Prince once more, "We shall go back to the carriage now." He says as he points back to the direction which he came from.
"But but..." The Prince tried to answer back but. "Let's go." The man finally stops his courtesy and said it frank.
It should be all fine now, the Prince and Margrave going away and us left unscathed but... "Your Grace." I call the Margrave out anyway. [I will not waste this opportunity.] This is like a goose dropping golden eggs towards us, why shouldn't I grab it?
"Well then let's... Hmmph?" The Mustached Margrave stops in his tracks and finally notices us.
"It is our fault that his Highness was gone, we have provoked one of his guards and came here to personally inspect it. We apologized for our actions." I then gave a bow to the mustache man.
[Well, the best lies after all has some bit of truth in it right?] I thought, while grinning underneath that bow. [But still even if it is a bit early we have planned to meet the Prince after all.] I just adjusted my plan for the situation.
Meawhile, Itia notices my plan immediately, "...Goodjob Kumo." And smiles for my quick wittedness.
Itia also realizes that she couldn't also leave me do all the work and step out to rise herself up and speaks. "If there's any sort of punishment involved, me and my servant will take it." She said it confidently at the Margrave with her chest puff out.
The Margrave glances at us but specifically looks towards me, "Wait a minute... Don't tell me..." He didn't even respond to Itia. "Wait just a moment...." He walks towards me.
"See! I told you so!" The Prince interjected in.
[...How weird.] The Margrave should be walking towards Itia, the master in this situation but instead going to me with a look of distress in his eyes. The strange behavior these people are acting towards me lately, it's getting hectic.
I try to talk to the Margrave with his strange behavior. "Your Grac—" But he is practically running at me.
I couldn't help but try to slowly step back as a bearded old man walks towards me but, "You there!" The Margrave catches up to me.
Little I realize though what the Margrave is about to say, "Yes... Of course, I'm not blind after all!" He shouts at my face.
[What?] Kumo thought. His strange behavior, wide eyes and a gaping mouth is unbefitting for a Margrave. [Is he going senile?] I couldn't help but thought of that last resort.
But finally, "You there! Why do you have that blonde hair?!" I knew the answer of his distress.
"..." I am speechless.
[My hair again?!] All this time ever since the spell was gone strange people have been acting in a bizarre way towards my hair color. [Is my human form not enough...?!] Rage fills up in my head for these unexplainable actions. I couldn't even respond fast enough as I grit my teeth behind my lips.
Since this is getting out of hand, "Is there something wrong with my butler's hair Your Grace?" Itia finally ask what the fuck is wrong with my fucking hair color.
Both the Margrave and Prince reacted in shock. "What? You mean you don't know the significance of his hair?" The Margrave ask.
"...Yes." Itia answer.
"I would also like an explanation of this Your Grace and Your Highness." I also answer, since this affects me more than Itia.
The Margrave Norkin looks in a puzzled way. "Well... Your Highness Gérmann mind if we explain it to them in your carriage?" He ask down to the young Prince.
"Of course. But let's go quickly." Prince Gémann acted fast as he immediately walks along with the Margrave out of this area.
Me and Itia nodded, with Gabril circling around the Prince as we follow them suit.
Right now in the royal carriage of Prince Gérmann, history will be made.
"Royal blood?" I ask in wonder as I glance at my butler Kuno's widened eyes.
"Yes." Norkin pauses. "You see golden hair is a trait only passed down the royal family of the Kingdom of Santhos." He finishes his explanation and look at us with troubled eyes.
[I see...] In summary; The reason why these humans were so shocked is that Kumo's golden hair is supposed to be an exclusive trait only akin to this Santhos country's royal family. That it is treated as the pride of the country and a national treasure, and even measured in actual gold.
Kumo, upon knowing this has his head lowered and a face of frustration. "...I have even been warned..." He said in defeat as he snicker at himself.
"So in the case of Kumo what will..." I ask the two of them, but it seems that they already knew my question.
"There have been cases of individuals with golden hair outside of my family, usually they would be ordered by royal decree to be sentenced to permanent boldness and live the life of celibacy, or if it's a high born or high skilled, be employed by the royal palace." Prince Gérmann pauses. "But there are also cases of pretenders, if that happens..." He hesitates to say to following words.
But, "You would be sentenced to death." That's where Margrave Norkin comes to the rescue.
I nodded in response. But, "I would never do such a thing Your Grace." Kumo lowered his head. [That would be troublesome.] Although we are not worried at all in his threat, it would trouble Morus-sama if we are branded as pretenders.
Margrave Norkin only nods in response.
As for Gérmann, "But usually that wouldn't happen because..." Then the prince pulls out a strand of his hair. "Look." He gives the strand to me.
I grabbed it but couldn't understand the reason as to why, but when I look at it close. "...Magic?" I mutter as I can feel a very feint sense of magic coming out of the strand. [I feel like I've sense this magic before...] Is what I thought. [But if this is treated as special then...] Even if you have golden hair, the presence of magic within them would definitely be used as an identifier.
But upon investigating it, "How does she knew?!" Norkin is forced to make another surprised expression.
Gérmann only made a deep nod. "I knew it..." To which he then stood up and grab something under the table, a glowing stone. "Lady Itia, are you perhaps a mage?" He asks me.
"Yes I am your Highness." I casually answer him, as there is no reason to lie about it.
"I see so that's why..." Norkin looks in awe as he stares at the stone. "But to think..." He starts talking to himself.
The Prince looks at me with worry. "Lady Itia, you must be incredibly talented to make this magic stone to react like this." Gérmann stresses. "You see, even if I'm a prince I'm a member of the Mages Guild, and what would you call a researcher of magic, so that fact that the stone is..." He struggles to say his words.
In which Margrave Norkin intervenes. "I'm the Grand Magi or head of the El Niño branch of the Mages Guild. I will tell you now Lady Itia, the fact that the magic stone reacts to you like that, and also being able to notice the magical properties of Prince Gérmann's hair at a glance. In all my decades of practicing the art, your existence is truly—" But the Prince wouldn't accept the Margrave taking all the spotlight. "Bizarre!" Prince Gérmann shouted.
"You are an incredibly bizarre existence Itia!" The Prince's switch has finally been flipped.
"The fact that the magic stone reacted to your mana without even using it must mean that it's leaking out of you! Your abundance of mana must be immense! I have no idea where you accumulated that much but you must have been born in a magic dense area or something. But more importantly..." He takes a deep breath.
"The fact that you can see mana of my family, with your own two eyes no less! It is a fairly known fact that my family's blood contain innate magic but you didn't even know our family trait of golden hair! So the fact that you noticed them with your own two eyes must be a talent!"
He takes another deep breath. "Talents are given by birth and is very rare, I've only known people with that talent with the number in my hand, I was always jealous of them and always wished that I could trade my bloodline with theirs—" But his rambling finally stops by a chop to the head. "Oww~!" He holds onto his skull tightly.
"I have to apologize for his Highness's behavior." The one that did that is Margrave Norkin, who's chop hand is still hovering above the Prince's head. "His Highness is the 5th Prince, so he has always never concerned himself much with formalities and he is very enthusiastic when it comes to the topic of magic." He looks at the prince again who's curled like an armadillo. "...Well that's why I've chosen him as my protégé." He mutters.
"That's alright Your Grace..." I am about to reassure the Margrave but he interrupts me again. "Since the Prince is already in this mode I supposed you should drop the formalities as well." Margrave Norkin smiles. "I'm not one for it as well when in a private location such as this one." He said in a grin.
I smile as well. "Thank you Sir Norkin." I said in response. As I knew that I have met good humans. [Plus the information the Prince given us is pretty valuable.] Although most people couldn't follow the Prince's ramblings but I could.
"I see so tomorrow sir?" Itia has taken a step back and it is I, Kumo, the one in charge of talking this time.
"Well the main reason I met you two is because of my magic stone necklace detecting Ms. Itia's mana in the first place so yes, please join." Prince Gérmann urges us.
The conversation between us has progress much more smoothly and casually when we first met, and now after talking for who knows how long, "Aside from Sir Gérmann's reason, both you and Ms. Itia are valuable users of magic, so as long as you fix that hair problem I would like to take you in on the Mages Guild." Margrave Norkin has finally invited us to the Mages Guild, our original destination in the first place.
[I guess we got a better deal than I originally thought.] Me and Itia were supposed to just check out Mages Guild, the only source of magic in the whole city. But now we are actually joining it as well. [And all it took was a spell ending.] It frustrated me at first but now I'm truly grateful.
"Of course I'm accepting it Sir Norkin." I said with full confidence.
To which the Margrave let out a big smile. "Well then welcome." He shows his hand across towards me.
I smile and reach out for the hand, by which I heard Prince Gérmann say something interesting. "By your talents of both of you two I wouldn't even be surprised if you were granted a peerage." He just said it as a remark.
But for me, [I am even more grateful.] I smile as I shook hands with the Margrave, to which I also saw Itia stand up as well as she reaches her hands towards the Prince.
[You must take every opportunity you have been given.] Truest possible phrase uttered by human. "Is that true sir?" I ask him intently the words of the prince.
With his eyes wide open he answers, "Yes, high ranking mages are invaluable to the country, so even if someone's a peasant if they are a high ranking mage they would usually at least receive a honorary rank... Wait." Norkin looks at me with serious eyes. "Do you two perhaps want to join our world?" He asks in the most serious of tone. Which even made the Prince shiver a bit as he also looks at me.
[Isn't it obvious?] Morus-sama wants to rise up in this world without force, so of course.
Me and Itia's words synchronized as we said it together.
"That's right!" Even Gabril, who decided to go outside since this kind of talk is outside her expertise, put her head through the wall and answer with only us being able to hear it.
"...I see." Finally the Margrave Norkin's face softens up as he lay his back against the couch. "Your Highness, you've seen how much they're determined about this, what will you do?" And with a coy smile he passes the ball to Prince Gérmann.
"...Well..." The Prince struggles to say anything but finally hardens his resolve. "I will use my royal authority to make you two my subordinates and bestow an honorable to Itia then finally..." He takes a deep breath. "I will have my father the king to give you peerage!" He declared as he puffs his chest. "As long as you fix the hair problem." He immediately arches back after he said that.
I smile, "That is an honor your Highness." I couldn't help but be formal.
"Thank you." Itia did a formal bow as well as she did a curtsy style bow with her skirt.
"Well, I guess I have more nobles now." The Margrave scratches his head, then stands up. "Well let's formally introduce ourselves shall we?" He cleans off himself and look at us in a dignified manner.
"I am Norkin El-Niño von Tridin, the ruler of the Margravate of El-Niño."
"I am Gérmann del Xanthos von Arin, the 5th Prince of the Kingdom of Santhos, decendant of the legendary bloodline of Arin..."
They all introduce their name, title, and rank to us. But there's one interesting thing that the Prince said.
"You mean 'The Golden Fortress' Arin?" I ask if they know this title.
To which the Prince smiles at us. "You mean you know his name but not his descendants?" He points at himself, almost like its the most obvious thing.
But for the both of us...
"...So that's why his mana is so familiar..." Itia murmured as he holds onto a strand of his hair.
I look at them back with a poker face. "I deeply apologize Your Highness." But under that, [A descendent of a devine being...] I must report this immediately to Morus-sama.
"Now's your turn." The Prince said to us.
...Speaking of Morus-sama.
"My name is Itia Geist Sibylissa."
"My name is Kumo Kruisspin Sibylissa."
We both bow our heads and...
""I hope you'll meet our master tomorrow.""
And said the same words at the same time.
"Well let's go you two." I said to the two girls bickering as they left the carriage.
When we finally got outside, the Sol and Sunna stars is already fading down upon this city as well walk back towards the location of Morus-sama.
"You sure our master is there right?" I ask Gabril.
"Yup yup!" She saluted, since going outside is not only because she's bored of our conversation.
"I can't wait...." Itia blushes her face.
"But let's change our clothing though when we get back." I reminded to them.
I look back at the carriage and made a smile. [Although it is sickening to work under someone that isn't Morus-sama...] We have to hid ourselves for now and play along the human's game.