After the Barbaric couple was dragged outside Bartholomew's House of Witchery, Michael was finally able to conclude the deal and get his money.
Meanwhile, in a private room in one of the most popular restaurants of the Central Trading Hall, two middle-aged men clinked glasses.
"Don't you think it's a good sign that we're finally able to create a formal bond between our families? Our families have been working together for a long time, but we were never able to form an even stronger bond. It's a good thing that this will change with Frederik and your lovely daughter," One of the middle-aged men said after he took a sip of the liquor.
"Lovely? She is wild, and I don't think anyone can control her…" The other middle-aged man responded before he downed the entire glass of liquor at once, "I really hope that Frederik can control Jacqueline in the future… They might have been good friends since childhood, but I've heard too many rumors about them. It worries me a little, to be honest."
The two men were the patriarchs of the Kolbenheim and Orlando family, and also the parents of the troublemakers Frederik and Jacqueline.
"The rumors, you say? I heard that they call Jacqueline and Frederik the Barbaric Couple because they fight everywhere, and because their temper is so bad…looks like we spoiled them too much…" Igor Kolbenheim, Frederik's father, said with regret.
Because they were both Lords of their own territory and the patriarchs of their respective families, they had a lot to do. It was not easy to be a patriarch or a Lord, but they had to juggle both responsibilities simultaneously. Thus, they never had much time to raise their children. Unfortunately, that was also why they ended up spoiling their children whenever they met.
Only now that it was too late did they realize their mistake, but there was not much they could do about it.
"Talking about regrets of the past doesn't resolve the issues at hand. The rumors are bad enough for us to be forced to meet and have your head butler and my information department report to us about everything they did in the past. We're here to come up with the best solutions for them, and our families." Jacqueline's father, Karek Orlando said while patting his old friend's back reassuringly.
It had been a while since they met up to eat and drink. The occasion was not pleasant, but it was still comforting to have each other to rely on. It was easier to have good in-laws to talk to rather than entitled and lofty families that were unwilling to accept their mistakes.
"Let go of me! I said, let go!!!" A loud voice reverberated outside the private room, followed by the sound of breaking plates and shocked squeals from the restaurant guests.
Karek Orlando sighed deeply and set his empty glass down. He reached out for the bottle of alcohol to drown himself in misery, only to halt in his tracks.
"I shouldn't get myself drunk, otherwise…" Karek didn't finish his sentence, but Igor understood. He smiled lightly and put the bottle of alcohol a little bit further away from Karek's reach.
A moment later, the slides of the private room opened, and the head butler entered the room. Jacqueline was still in his arms, hanging down like a wilted flower fluttering in the wind. She was struggling to free herself and thrashed her arms and legs around without caring for her image.
Karek instinctively reached out for the bottle, ignoring his earlier thoughts. He needed alcohol to endure what was about to happen.
Fortunately, Igor had already pushed the bottle beyond his reach while still seated.
The head butler let Jacqueline down, while Frederik entered the room with a grim expression on his pale face.
Jacqueline's face and hair were a mess from all the crying and Frederik seemed to be in pain. He touched his stomach repetitively and flinched every time.
"Huh?" Igor Kolbenheim blurted out, "What happened to you guys?"
Karek Orlando looked at his daughter and future son-in-law for the first time after he heard his friend's question and a deep frown appeared on his face.
He turned to his friend in confusion, but Igor seemed just as confused as him. Their attention switched to the head butler, who bowed deeply in front of the two patriarchs.
"I apologize, Master. I was held up a little and couldn't prevent the young master and young mistress from fighting. They had a little lover's spat and it ended up causing a bit of trouble…" The head butler explained, his head still lowered.
"Jacqueline did that to him? But why is she crying then?" Karek Orlando asked, feeling a little bit uncomfortable about the situation.
Jacqueline took the second question as a sign of breaking out in tears once again.
"Dad…dad…my Silvertite Fencing Saber…someone destroyed it…" Jacqueline said while bawling her eyes out in front of her father.
The patriarchs looked at Jacqueline for a moment, and their gazes flicked to Frederik in unison. However, the young man could only look away while gritting his teeth.
"What happened?" Igor Kolbenheim finally asked the head butler, who opened his mouth just to close it a moment later.
"…it is a little bit hard to explain because I arrived too late, Master…" He started slowly before he added, "But I asked the security team for the footage of the shop's surveillance camera. It should be easier to discern what happened by watching the footage…"
The head butler accessed his crystal watch a moment later and opened the file he had received from the Central Trading Hall's security.
A holographic screen popped up, and the first thing one saw was Bartholomew's House of Witchery and the quarreling couple.
In no time, the lover's little squabble turned into a light fight as they brought out weapons. When the patriarchs saw this, they could only shake their heads in disappointment.
"Why are you guys fighting again, in public at that? Do that at home or in the Arena…" Igor grumbled while Karek added resignedly,
"I've never seen such a weird couple. Why did we even put you two together?"
Upon hearing what her father mumbled, Jacqueline threw herself at Frederik. She ignored his pained groan and squealed while pulling him into an embrace, "Because we love each other!!"
Karek pinched the bridge of his nose, and the thought of getting up and reaching out for the alcohol became more enticing by the second.
lightsnοvεlSuddenly, the video footage showed the exact moment when Jacqueline tripped and lost her balance. She stumbled and the fencing saber kept getting closer to an oblivious, little boy. Karek tensed and his eyes were glued to the holographic screen as he awaited a horrific scene.
Luckily, a young man appeared out of nowhere and Karek's shoulders relaxed. He frowned a little and questioned himself if it was a great idea to throw the longsword at his daughter, but that thought quickly vanished. Jacqueline's Silvertite Fencing Saber broke the next minute and she slumped to the ground in the video.
"Good thing that someone interfered…" Igor spoke in a relieved voice, and Karek nodded his head. He looked at his daughter sharply and pointed at her, "I will deduct the broken Artifact's worth from your pocket money. If you'd touched even a strand of that little boy, I would have separated you and Frederik!!"
Jacqueline wanted to say something but shut her mouth upon seeing the boiling anger on her father's face and looked down at the ground.
"What…FREDERIK!" Igor shouted suddenly. Frederik flinched and he took a step back involuntarily.
It was the first time he saw his father that angry.
"Why the hell would you attack that man?!? You arrogant idiot!!!" Igor bellowed and his flat hand smashed on the table.
The video showed the short encounter between Frederik and Michael. It ended quickly but that was enough for Karek's expression to change.
"I've noticed it earlier already, but that kid is pretty good. He doesn't seem that old either," He mumbled, "Which family is he from?"
Igor hadn't paid attention to the young man. He only knew that his son had been beaten fairly easily, fortunately. It was a good thing that his son had been taught a lesson after his reckless action.
"Why did you stop there?" Igor noticed that the head butler stopped in the video and looked at the young man for a few seconds.
However, it was not Michael who answered this time. Instead, Frederik's grumbling could be heard from behind them, "That bastard didn't want to tell us his name… he humiliated me and said that he had a weaker Soultrait than me and that he manifested his War Rune less than two days ago…"
"Less than two days? He already has a good Artifact, and his War Rune has been refined quite a bit…I don't remember this youth from the last family gatherings…which family is he from?" Igor Kolbenheim mumbled after a quick scan of the unknown man's strength.
The head butler bowed his head before answering, "I already sent the recording to the information department. They're currently scanning all data to find out who he is. Facial recognition should make it easy to confirm his identity."
The patriarchs nodded their heads in unison upon hearing the head butler's words.
"I think he is either a Shadow of the big families or he is a disciple of the hidden clans," Karek mused as they watched the video for the third time. This time, they ignored their children and focused on the unknown guy, "But in either case, he wouldn't have intercepted in the fight. They're taught to keep their identity hidden under any circumstances."
Igor and the head butler agreed while Jacqueline and Frederik grumbled quietly.
"Who cares about that kid?" Frederik asked while Jacqueline added,
"He destroyed my 4-Star Artifact…just send some of our men to beat the living shit out of him…"
"You two…" Karek warned, clenching his fist, "...I think we've treated both of you too nicely."
Igor agreed readily, nodding his head at once. The video footage was enough to write several articles about the disgrace the new generation brought upon their family. If competitors of the Kolbenheim and Orlando families got wind of their kids' humiliating public act, they would be in a pickle.
Their image would be ruined beyond measure, and so would their goodwill. In turn, the trust people had in them, and their products would go for a toss too.
"I think it's about time to send you there…" Karek said, and Igor agreed without a second thought, "I agree. It's about time for them to face some hardships!"
Little did Frederik and Jacqueline know of the horror that awaited them soon.
Suddenly the discussion of the two patriarchs was intercepted as a holographic screen popped up in front of the head butler. It displayed various pieces of information for everyone in the room to read, attracting their interest.
"Michael Fang…so that's your name…"