2 Finding Happiness
"Mirror Mirror on the wall, aren't I the most handsome of them all?"
A young man, around eighteen years old, stared passionately at the mirror in front of him.
Suddenly, a loud crack was heard as if to reply to his question. The young man's face went stiff as the mirror in front of him shattered into pieces.
He scanned the room in vigilance to see if someone was watching. Seeing no one in the immediate vicinity, he decided to make a run for it. He walked swiftly towards the exit as naturally as possible.
He was just a few steps away from the door when a palm grabbed his shoulders.
"Sir, where do you think you're going?"
The young man slowly turned his head to see a fat guy wearing expensive clothing smiling back at him.
Sweat formed on the young man's forehead as his mind worked overtime to think of a way to get out of his current predicament. The fat man was not being idle either -- he gave a hand signal to the staff and they formed a circle with the two of them in the center.
The young man understood--through his countless experiences of this exact situation--that offense was the best defense.
"Excuse me? Why are you grabbing my shoulder?! Is this how you treat your customers?!" The young man shouted.
He had raised his voice on purpose to get the attention of the other customers in the store. The fat merchant eased his grip and looked at the other customers with a smile.
Feeling the grip on his shoulder lessen, the young man wore a smug grin on his face.
'Heh, trying to outplay me?' The young man thought. 'you are a hundred years too early!'
The young man brushed the hand away that was keeping him in place. He glared at the fat man with injustice painted all over his face.
The fat man gave a brief bow and introduced himself. "Sir, I am Nicholas Roge, the branch manager of Roge Merchant Guild here in the city of Aster." Nicholas said.
"I see! So it's sir Nicholas. I've heard great things about you!"
"Sir, you know of me? Then I'll get straight to the point. You broke that--"
The young man knew where this was headed. Before Nicholas could say anything else, he decided cut him off.
"Of course I know you! You are the number one lolicon in the city of Aster. I'm glad I'm a guy, if I was a girl you would have already kidnapped me!" The young man said, giving the merchant a disdainful look.
The customers in the store started whispering to each other. They glanced at Nicholas from time to time and their eyes contain looks of disgust.
Nicholas almost spat a mouthful of blood then and there. 'Who would want to kidnap you?! Your face alone is enough to break a mirror in my shop! If no one was around I would had already spat on your face!'
He used all of his will power to stop himself from beating the teenager in front of him to a pulp. He forcefully held his anger in check and continue to smile.
"May I know your name Mr.Customer?" Nicholas asked. He wanted to know the name of this annoying teenager in front of him and send goons to beat him up later.
The young man flicked his hair dramatically. "Remember my name and remember it well!"
The young man made another cool pose and arrogantly raised his chin. "I am Kei Frieden! The 4th son of the Earl of RavenCourt, most handsome man in the Earldom, and number one heartrob of Edelweiss!"
'Wha-What?! The 4th son of the Earl of Ravencourt?!' Nicholas almost had a heart attack after learning the young man's identity.
The gears in his mind churned. His attitude did a complete 180 and he immediately gave the young man his most elegant bow.
He had heard rumors about the fabled "handsome young master" of Ravencourt. He praised himself for holding back, and not spitting on the young man's face earlier.
"Hehe, so it is the famed handsome young master of RavenCourt. Forgive me for not being able to recognize your greatness." Nicholas said.
"The great and handsome me forgives you of your shortcomings." Kei said, waving his hand.
Nicholas believed in the saying 'Strike while the Iron is hot.' He knew that this opportunity may not come again, so he decided to make his move.
Nicholas rubbed his hands together and tried to score some brownie points.
"Handsome young master, if you like anything from the store just give the word and I shall give it to you as a gift."
"Mmm? Are you sure about that? Then can you give me the most expens--"
Nicholas coughed repeatedly, "Hah, my health is deteriorating. Business had been hard as of late. How will I be able to care for my four wives and twelve children if I don't make a profit soon?"
Kei almost choked at the shameless attempt of Nicholas to prevent him from asking for the most expensive item in the store.
'What? Four wives and twelve children? With your looks and fat body that is enough to turn any woman into a pancake if you slightly press on them? How can you be shameless?! I spit on you! Pitui!' Kei cursed Nicholas in his head.
Nicholas gave Kei a pleading look as if saying 'Please have mercy on me, my wives, and children.'
'Fine, you win. I can't be too greedy.' Kei compromised. "Then do you have any recommendations?".
"Are you looking for something particular handsome young master?" Nicholas signaled the staff with a hand gesture. They obeyed and left the two of them alone.
"Actually, I'm here to look for souvenirs to bring back home."
"Souvenirs for men or women?"
"Then in that case, I highly recommend accessories." Nicholas led Kei to the corner of the store where the accessories are displayed.
"All women like accessories. The more expensive it is, the more they love it." Nicholas confidently shared his wisdom.
"Mmm. Indeed accessories are a good choice." Kei said, "Can I take a closer look at those two butterfly hair pins over there?"
Kei pointed to the two butterfly hairpins that caught his attention.
Nicholas gently took the two hairpins from their casing, and presented them to Kei.
"You have good eyes handsome young master. These two hairpins were made by a great craftsman from Gladeolus."
Nicholas paused for a bit, "He said that anyone who wears these hairpins will find their happiness in life." he added.
"Find happiness…" Kei's gaze became gentle as he caressed the two butterfly hair pins in his hands.
"Will you take these two hairpins handsome young master?"
"Yes, I'll take them. Thank you for your generosity."
"It's my pleasure to serve you handsome young master."
"Sorry about the mirror."
"Mirror? What mirror?"
The two of them chuckled and gave each other a knowing glance.
"Please carefully package these two hairpins for the handsome young master." Nicholas ordered.
One of his trusted aids brought out two ornate boxes and carefully placed the hairpins inside. Once that is done, they took out a storage bag and placed the two boxes inside.
Kei accepted the storage bag with a smile. Nicholas personally escorted him to the entrance of the store to bid his farewell.
"Nicholas, I will repay this favor in the future." Kei said.
Nicholas chuckled. "I will hold on to your words handsome young master."
"Believe in me. A member of the Frieden family always repay his favor." Kei bid his goodbye and walked away.
Nicholas have no doubt in his mind that Kei will keep his promise. He is, after all, one of the "Overlords" of the Federation.
Kei walked towards a secluded clearing outside the city. There was a carriage parked near a tree as if waiting for his arrival.
He cheerfully shouted from the distance. "I have returned!"
"Handsome young master! You're finally back!" A tall and beautiful woman with long, light-brown hair happily ran in his direction.
"Milfa, where is your sister?"
"Sister is still sorting out the inventory in the carriage. She'll be finished soon."
Kei gave Milfa one of the ornate boxes. "Then please take this."
"Handsome young master, this is?"
"A gift for you."
"Only for me?"
"Yes, I have one for your sister as well." Kei showed Milfa another ornate box in his possession.
Milfa curled her lips into a smile and opened the box in her hand. Her eyes sparkled when she saw the butterfly hairpin.
"Do you like it?"
Kei gazed at the beautiful lady in front of him, and decided to tell her a bit about the hairpin.
"The merchant said that these two butterfly hairpins will bring happiness to those who wear them." Kei said. "I hope that you and your sister will find your happiness as well."
"Handsome young master, did you know?" Milfa's beautiful hazel eyes have a mischievous glint in them as he stared at the young man in front of her.
"I already found my happiness."
Milfa blushed and shyly turned her back at him. "Handsome young master, can you help me put the hairpin on my hair?"
"Of course." Kei took the hairpin from her hand and gently fixed her hair in a ponytail. He then locked it securely in place using the hairpin.
"It's done." Kei admired his work and gave his nod of approval.
"How do I look, handsome young master?"
"You look beautiful." Kei said.
A tall woman who looked just like Milfa poked her head from the carriage. "Wow! That hairpin sure looks beautiful!"
"Don't worry Tifa, you have one as well." Kei said, chuckling.
He went to the carriage and handed the butterfly hairpin to Milfa's twin sister.
"This hairpin brings happiness to those who wear them. I hope you will find your happiness as well."
Tifa accepted the gift gratefully and winked at her sister. Kei saw that there are still a few packages that are needed to be organized and decided to help. With the three of them working together, the inventory was finished in no time at all.
"Mmm, is everything ready?"
Milfa gave the inventory one last glance. She nodded her head and gave him a thumbs up. "Everything is ready, handsome young master."
"Then let's go. Let's head to the city of Amaranth!" Kei ordered.
""As you command, Handsome Young Master!""