Michael was the first to realize that something had gone terribly wrong. His Eagle Eyes Soultrait was fully unleashed, providing him with more details than anyone else in the shop could decipher.
He tensed up the moment the little boy raced past them, but his tingling senses went awry the moment Frederik slapped his fiancé's butt jokingly. As a result, Jacqueline lost her balance. She tripped over her feet and stumbled forward, unable to regain balance at once.
The fencing blade was still stretched out from the thrust she had meant to issue at her fiancé but her target had involuntarily changed to the little boy. The boy was still oblivious to the lethal threat he was about to face even though the fencing blade's tip pointed right at him.
The distance between the fencing blade and the little boy decreased rapidly, and it was only when they were dangerously close to each other that screams of terror resounded in the House of Witchery.
Everyone's eyes grew wide with shock and they vividly imagined the worst possible outcome as they watched the terrifying scene unfolding in front of them with wide-open mouths.
Even though they wanted to help, they knew that they couldn't do anything. They were not Awakened, and unable to block a high-quality Artifact's razor-sharp blade with their bare hands. Had they been Awakened they might have been able to act but they were unlikely to reach the young boy before it was already too late.
And even if they reached the boy in time, how were they supposed to protect their own life? Artifacts were extremely expensive, and the descendant of the Orlando family was bound to possess a high-quality Artifact!!
As the screams of the people in the shop resounded, a young man made his move. His body acted instinctively the moment he detected that Jacqueline tripped over her own foot. He dashed forward by releasing every bit of strength in his body.
Tigerfang manifested in Michael's hand the moment he made a move, but his expression turned grim soon after.
'I won't make it.'
He could instinctively tell that he was not fast enough. Jacqueline and the little boy were too close, and he would have to cross almost ten meters in the next second to make it.
'Shit…what now?' He thought but his body had already reacted. Fenrir's memories resurfaced in Michael's mind unexpectedly. Memories of Fenrir's experience and tireless training as an Archer and Spearman came to his aid. Michael felt like he had experienced Fenrir's arduous training himself and his body moved as if it was familiar with everything it was going to do.
However, it was not Michael's muscle memories that allowed him to create a solution, but the memories that were deeply imprinted in his mind.
'Spear throwing shouldn't be too hard with those memories…so…how about a sword?!' Michael wondered the moment he changed his stance to maximize his momentum.
A moment later, the muscles in his right arm bulged and his veins protruded out of his skin, looking like they were about to burst at any moment as he swung his arm forward with full force, releasing the thin longsword.
Tigerfang shot through the air with shocking velocity. It crossed ten meters at once and brushed past the little boy's head, narrowly missing him. The next moment the jarring sound of metal colliding against metal rang out.
Michael paid no attention to Jacqueline or Tigerfang anymore. His focus had diverted to the little boy the moment he threw Tigerfang at the young Awakened. His speed never decreased, and he reached the young boy a second later. Michael's arms coiled around the little boy just to throw himself to one side as he heard something breaking.
Metal shards flew through the surrounding as if a shrapnel grenade had detonated, but Michael didn't pay any attention. He shielded the boy with his body, trying to take the brunt of the attack and letting the metal fragments hit his body.
However, even after a few seconds passed, Michael was not able to feel anything. Not a single metal fragment pierced his back, or any other part of his body.
'None hit me?' He wondered as he slowly got up from the ground. Then he saw the metal fragments lying on the ground right next to a red-haired girl whose eyes widened in shock.
Jacqueline stared blankly at the metal fragments and the thin longsword that lay unmoving amid it.
"Hmm? I thought Tigerfang shattered…" Michael mumbled before he retrieved Tigerfang with his will. The thin longsword turned into a white wisp that shot back inside his War Rune.
At the same time, the little boy began to cry out loud. He buried his head in Michael's broad chest and clung to him after realizing what had just happened.
"Don't cry, everything is fine now," Michael said in a soothing voice while gently caressing the little boy's head.
The little boy stopped crying and it was only then that the mother arrived. She screamed and shouted at the boy before apologizing to Michael several times. She thanked him profusely, but Michael wasn't buying it.
'Had you paid more attention to your kid, I wouldn't have had to face these maniacs, you know?!' He wanted to say, but he let it be. All that mattered was that the little boy was fine.
Maybe the incident would teach him not to run around mindlessly. That's what Michael hoped for.
After the little boy was dragged away by his mother – who had been too late for the party – Michael was the only one left in the same aisle as Jacqueline and Frederik.
Frederik was standing a few meters further away, but Jacqueline fell to the ground next to Michael with a helpless look. She stared blankly at the metal fragments, which had once been her fencing blade, and a tear trickled down her cheek.
"M-my Artifact…" She stammered before starting to sob miserably.
'Is that your biggest problem, right now? Seriously?!' Michael wondered, having a hard time not staring at her as if she had lost her sanity because he was pretty sure that this girl was even crazier than the fierce beauty.
"How dare you attack my girl?!?" Frederik snapped after he regained his senses. He stepped forward while clenching his longsword tightly.
"Fighting is prohibited in the Central Trading Hall, you know that, right?" Michael retorted sharply.
"...so what?" Frederik responded, glaring at Michael in response.
Frederik slowed down and his gaze was involuntarily drawn to the shattered remains of Jacqueline's Tierless 4-Star Artifact. Shattering it was not easy, but a single throw of that young man's Sword Artifact had been enough to break it apart.
lightsΝοvεl ƈοm"I don't care about your lover's spat, but you nearly killed an innocent boy because of your fight. Even your families won't be able to help you if she would have killed that boy. You two would have gotten banned from the Central Trading Hall, and worse…you would have killed someone innocent, a little boy…" Michael had to summon every bit of mental strength to keep his calm, but it looked like Frederik Kolbenheim didn't really care.
Frederik's glare made it seem as if he asked, 'Do you think anyone can ban me from anywhere? Do you even know who I am?'. It was almost like Frederik didn't consider that little boy, or anyone else, as human beings. This type of response made Michael recall his high school days and the unreasonably lofty attitude of most classmates, and it fueled his anger.
"Are you not ashamed of yourself?"
"Ashamed? Me?! Do you even know who I–" Frederik began, his cheeks red in anger, and his sword pointed at Michael.
"I really don't give a shit who you are. Just don't disturb others and play your games at home in the bedroom," Michael retorted, not allowing Frederik to finish his cliché line, "You can kill each other while fooling around in your bed, I don't mind."
Michael knew that he had gone too far, but he didn't really care at this moment.
However, Frederik was of a different opinion. He cared a lot about his public image, and he would never allow anyone to insult him like this.
So he unleashed his Soultrait.
A moment later, the scene in the House of Witchery changed drastically.
"Die, you bastard!!"
'Is that idiot the incarnation of idiocy and clichès?'