Chapter 25: Mysterious Stranger

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Tamie finally woke up after many days of sleep and soon fully recovered. She would often sit at a table with her 'sisters' in the hall and enjoy her time with them. She attested to Tiger's vision of the strange handsome boy and even explained it was the manifestation of her muse, Byakuya, whom she used in her stories, but said nothing about the dream she had and the meeting with Byakuya, or rather, his second face, Kokujin (she felt that her dreams about the muse were too personal, so she didn't like talking about them). But even the confirmation that the 'handsome boy appeared out of the scroll' was Tamie's muse, brought great worries to Nick. He, as a Sage of the Keeper Class - the Class of knowledge - knew too well that muses could be summoned only by professional Writers at Grandmaster ranks - the Rank Seven and the Rank Eight. The fact that Tamie had summoned her muse at only Rank One and then raised five ranks in a blast, and even worse - that she didn't even summon the muse herself but the guy emerged on his own, was an abnormality, and thus very dangerous. 

Nick got locked into his room and began researching the phenomenon with his Librarian Mode - the Keepers who had reached this rank could look into the ancient archives of the whole Zariel realm, connecting to it with their minds. It was sort of a telepathic power only Keepers had. In the Zariel archives, every kind of information ever gained in the world was stored, so researching the matter there was rather a good idea. Meanwhile, Tamie enjoyed her time with her friends:

"You slept for so long we were really worried!" Tiger grinned at her, "So good you're back, Tamie!"

"Hehe, I'm happy too. Sorry for worrying you all so much. As I'm now Rank Five, I'll do my best from now on!" Tamie winked. The girls giggled, but Riza felt down. "Huh? Riza, you okay?"

"She's been like that ever since she had a talk with Magister," Cherrie smirked.

"Huh? I'm not sad at all!"

The girls giggled. Tamie blinked for she couldn't really understand why Riza was so upset, but then Tiger whispered the whole story to her. She widened eyes and laughed too:

"Don't worry, Riza! We, Libra, are often hesitant at such things. He'll get back to you, I'm sure".

"Ugh, I hope... It felt so awkward and embarrassing!"

"Hehe... Don't worry, everything will be fine!"

They heard a knock on the mansion door. The whole crowd started and hushed. 

"Who is it?" one of the women members, Clara, asked. "If it were our member, they'd surely enter without any problems".

"True," Yuri, the Singer Class, frowned, "It is a stranger".

"Who can it be?" Tamie wondered.

"I shall open," Goatee Bill stood from his reception desk, walked up to the door, and slowly opened it. A blond, covered-faced guy wrapped in a white cloak, wearing a white kimono, was standing at the threshold. Bill blinked in astonishment: "What would your desire be here, sir?"

The stranger bowed slightly as a sign of courtesy, and spoke in a deep, almost unearthly voice:

"I am just a wanderer. I have no home, nowhere to go... I thought of joining an order but they all turned me down. This one is my last chance..."

"Goatee, what is it?" Clara asked, apparently impatient and curious, and thus expressed the feelings of the whole crowd.

"A new guy wants to join us!" Bill answered, and turned to the stranger: "But... our Magister is currently not free..." he didn't want to reveal that their Overlord was ill, for if this information leaked out, it could lead other, rival orders into attacking them, as they would realise the Rose Cruce had their weak times now. 

"I am willing to wait. Just asking for a shelter this little while, if it is possible..."

Bill sighed - if Edmund were here, he would surely take him in, as he did take all orphans and stray Zodiac Masters...

Ugh, what shall I do with your extremely kind heart, eh, Magister?

"Come in," he opened the door wide. 

The stranger bowed slightly once more, now as a sign of gratitude:

"Thank you, truly". 

He stepped into the hall. Bill closed the door behind him. Once inside, he took his hood off and revealed his face - he had short blond hair and two tied bangs framing his face from both sides, while his eyes shone blue. Tamie widened eyes once saw him - he resembled Erik so greatly! But he looked younger - over twenty-six-year-old.

 Tamie widened eyes once saw him - he resembled Erik so greatly! But he looked younger - over twenty-six-year-old

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"What is your name, young man?" Bill asked.

"Johan Schneider".

Hmm, and here I thought he might be Erik's some kind of relative... Tamie sighed, apparently disappointed that the guy wasn't surnamed 'von Drachen' as she hoped him to be. Even though she promised her brother she wouldn't think about Erik anymore, the thoughts about that guy didn't leave her mind. She wondered how he was and what he was doing now, and she was always interested in any tale that might be connected with him - be it legends of Crimson Flame or the Dragon Flame Group. She couldn't understand how a guy like him could be plain evil. She rather had pity on him for his twisted past.

While she was engulfed in her thoughts she couldn't even notice how this new guy who had presented himself as 'Johan Schneider' eyed her curiously and carefully, which was neither a sign of particular boyish interest nor anything similar. This gaze showed that the guy had recognized her and that he was looking exactly for her in this hall...

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