Chapter 23: Romance with a Libra Nerd

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Goatee Bill soon led Danielle and Riza upstairs, towards the Magister's room.

"Riza, what a wonderful place you've found, friends who never let go of you... I am so happy for you!"

"Magister will accept you too, mom. Then we'll be together forever!"

"I have to thank him immensely just for protecting my daughter for all these years," Danielle smiled with gratitude towards the man she barely knew and who had cared for her daughter more than her own father ever did.

Soon, they arrived at a silver door. Goatee entered first and announced of their arrival, and then they entered too. William closed the door behind them. Riza looked around the room - it was rich, full of luxurious items - all golden and silver decoration. The bed was in the middle of the room, and there was a bedside table too, where Riza caught a glimpse of a particular photo, where there was a little bushy-orange-haired guy depicted, his hands clutched unto the dress of a smiling, blond woman of over thirty-five years. The woman's eyes glittered crystal blue from behind her glasses, just like the boy's ones, and in that boy, Riza recognized the Magister himself, but he wore no glasses on that photo.

Is that perchance... his mother? She looked at the blond woman on the picture. I wonder where she is now...

On the bed, there was Edmund sitting, reclined to a wall, on his pillow. His eyes were bandaged, as well as his chest. He hadn't taken off his Order ring even when in the bed, even though his golden-chained Libra amulet was now put aside on the bedside table. 

He got injured... because of me... Riza thought and this sense of guilt gnawed her heart.

The new glasses Goatee had brought for him were also put on the bedside table, along with some medicine and a bottle of water. He heard the door creak and the footsteps enter, and so he turned his head towards the guests.

"You in, Goatee?" he asked with a somewhat lost tone. It truly felt even in his voice that he could see nothing but darkness now.

"Yes, Magister Edmund".

"You can leave if you want..."

Bill understood that this 'if you want' was just a polite remark of the Magister as many Libra often used in order not to sound too harsh, and that he was told to leave, so he just chuckled at the Magister's overly courteous manners and quietly left the place. Once he heard the door close, Edmund again turned his head towards the remaining two visitors:

"Please sit down, Riza, Ms. Schatzen".

Riza smiled and she and her mother took seats on chairs in front of the bed.

"Magister, how are you feeling? We could visit you some other time if_"

"I'd just turn down the request if I weren't in a condition," Edmund grinned, gaining back his usual 'filthy nerd' attitude. "But thank you".

"I am truly sorry for bothering you, Mr. Jaeger. I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me and my daughter in this affair. You... really didn't need to push yourself so hard, though..." Danielle felt sorry for the young man and apparently guilty too that all this happened because of her family problems.

"All I did was performing my duty as the Magister of the order Riza was a member of so you don't need to thank me, really".

"No, child, that was not just a sense of duty, that was something more. You are truly a kind-hearted boy, and I am sincerely happy my daughter has found herself in your order".

"Hehe..." Edmund grinned and scratched his head, not sure how to answer now. He would often get all confused when they gave him such compliments. "I... I'm glad I was at least of some help..."

Danielle chuckled at the boy's such modesty and shyness and then stood up once she noticed how Riza seemed to want to talk to him alone of some important matters.

"I'll get going now. My daughter told me she wants to talk with you about something in private," she winked at Riza and walked out.

Hearing such news in all of a sudden and guessing the door had already closed and the woman had left, Edmund astonishedly turned his head towards Riza:

"What private matter?"

Riza blushed herself now and thanked the stars Edmund had his eyes bandaged so he wouldn't see her reddened cheeks.

"First of all, I wanted to thank you for everything you did for me, Magister..."

"You're welcome," Edmund shrugged, pulling off the polite mask he held when Riza's mother was in - he, as a Libra, was extremely polite with strangers, but also, as a Magister since his deep childhood, extremely dignified and proud towards his order members. Because of that, no one ever dared call him 'Edmund', save for Lord Nick who called him 'Ed' for two reasons - they were best friends, and Nick had a higher stance as the Moon Lord. Edmund had such aura that sent awe towards all of his subordinates, and Riza, as a member of his order, was exactly his subordinate.

And still, you are a cocky nerd... Riza smilingly thought, seeing his arrogant manner towards her while they were alone. 

"And what was that 'private matter'? Don't send me chills, Riza - such words and then this awkward silence of yours sounds scary," Edmund laughed. "I cannot see you, so I've no idea what the heck you're thinking. Spill it out, eh?"

His hands trembled and Riza could well guess he had spoken what he felt - he was truly scared. She let out a laugh:

"Goodness! Well, Magister, all I wanted to say is..." she hushed. She clenched fists and sweat poured off her forehead. Should I? Then she frowned: I think I should... After all, he's a Libra...

Here she meant that Libra couldn't find enough courage to speak about their feelings themselves, so she, as a Sagittarius and thus a pretty straightforward and bold maiden, should take the lead this time. Still, she felt butterflies all over her stomach, and her knees shook.

"You wanted to say?" Edmund asked. Spill it out, Riza... What is it? I was too harsh on her? She wants to leave the Order?! Or... Don't tell me she found out about my weakness towards tickles and now wants to punish me to death for insulting her before, and now of all times when I can't see?! Oh, no!

Sweat poured off his forehead. It seemed that when it came to serious talks, he was surely a naive nerd.

"Edmund..."

Goodness, she calls me Edmund! She has totally found out my weakness and now as she feels superior she calls me by name! Spare me... Please, God, I didn't want to put Judgment Blast on so many people... I'm too young to get tortured like this! His remembrances of how vile Nick Wingfield tickled him whenever he dared raise his voice against him came to his mind and made him even more horrified. Why... Why now of all times?!

"Edmund... We've lived through a lot together in this order. I understood that... I love you..."

His eyes widened in shock, but as he made such a harsh eye move, they bled again:

"Ah! Heck!"

"Ah, no, Edmund, are you alright?"

"My eyes! Damn!"

Frightened Nora, Bill, and Nick rushed in. Riza had to explain she had done nothing wrong and had to apologize for the mess she'd caused...

And such was their first romantic moment.

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