25 The Price He has to Pay
"I'll leave Amaranth in your very capable hands," Kei said. "Don't let me down Nicholas."
Nicholas Roge, the Branch Manager of the Roge Merchant Guild, who was once stationed in the City of Aster bowed his head to pay respect to his new employer.
"Sir, are you sure you want me to be the Mayor of Amaranth?"
"Are you saying that I made the wrong decision?"
The merchant rubbed his hands together and chuckled. "Sir, I'll be completely honest. When I first met you, I never thought we would be seeing each other so soon.
[A/N: Nicholas is the merchant that Kei met in Chapter 2]
"Indeed, Lady Fate is such a fickle lady," Kei said while gesturing for Nicholas to come closer.
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"Make sure to complete my request as soon as possible," Kei whispered.
Nicholas nodded. "I will not let you down, handsome young master."
The two chuckled and gave each other a knowing look. Kei couldn't stay in the City of Amaranth because there were pressing matters that he had to attend to. When the deed of the city was handed to him, he immediately sent a letter to the Roge Merchant Guild requesting that Nicholas be sent to Amaranth to hold the position of Mayor.
The Merchant Guild was more than happy to comply. They even had the plan to drag Nicholas to the City of Amaranth tied in chains if he doesn't agree to Kei's invitation. It's a good thing that the fat merchant was quick witted and immediately understood the prospects of being a Mayor of the City.
Even though Amaranth lost its dungeon, it doesn't mean that the city had lost its only means of livelihood. Merchants were experts when it comes to trade and gaining profit. Kei understood this and with his plans to develop Amaranth he needed someone that was cunning and flexible at the same time.
Tifa appeared beside Kei and respectfully bowed her head. "Handsome young master, the carriage is ready."
"Mmm, good job. I'll be there shortly."
"Understood, handsome young master."
Tifa took a step back and returned to the carriage.
Kei took a small box from his storage ring and gave it to Nicholas. The merchant carefully opened it and saw a crystal inside. He recognized it as a long distance communication crystal. He closed the box and waited for Kei's instruction.
"If anything happens, contact me immediately," Kei said. "Also, pay special attention to the movement of 'that' person."
"You can count on me, handsome young master."
The two of them bid their final farewell and Kei climbed the carriage. Shino followed behind him and sat by his side.
Tifa and Milfa, on the other hand, were handling the carriage. Their next destination was the City of Freyport. They would be meeting Kei's best friend, Little John, and his sister, Little Daisy. Kei looked at the scenery outside the window while deep in thought.
He still needed to inform his parents and his fiance about his decision. It might take some time for them to accept it, but he hoped that they would eventually give him their blessings.
Shino rested her head on his shoulder while the latter held her waist. The two of them had become close in the few days that they had been together. Kei had accepted Shino and Milfa as his lovers and the three of them had an agreement.
He knew that if he doesn't accept her, Grandma Sophie would make a fuss when she woke up. There was also the fact that he didn't dislike Shino. She was a very sweet girl and she was very attentive to his needs.
Kei glanced at the beautiful young lady beside him. She was like a porcelain doll with her pale complexion and silky blonde hair. He wasn't able to resist and patted her head. Shino, on the other hand, gave him a hug and snuggled closer.
Their journey was uneventful, but Kei didn't mind. He was a person that preferred peace instead of conflicts. If he was given a choice, he would rather spend his time traveling the continent and seeing the wonders of the world. Unfortunately, there was a great unrest within the Kingdom and his family needed him.
Shino suddenly felt Kei lean on her. She raised her head to see that Kei had his eyes closed and was breathing deeply. "Master?"
She tried to gently tap his cheeks in order to wake him up, but Kei didn't respond.
Milfa's anxious voice was heard outside the carriage. "Did he fall unconscious?"
"Yes," Shino replied.
"Let's travel for a little while longer," Tifa said. "We will pitch camp once we find a suitable location."
Shino didn't respond and gently laid Kei's head on her lap. There was a sad look on her face and her scarlet eyes had a tinge of guilt in them. Grandma Sophie told her that Kei would 'faint' without warning for the next two to three months as one of the side effects of unlocking the last seal.
His body physique had degenerated; and his lifespan was sucked out of him. Kei would also lose some of his memories as compensation for tapping into the powers of Exceed Break.
The last time he used its power, he lost all his memories about his parents and his mother cried for days because of it. She became overprotective of him and spoiled him rotten as if to make up for the memories that were lost.
It had been a year since then and Kei still felt sad about the memories he had lost. He could tell how much his parents loved him; especially his mother. However, if time were to turn back again, he would have made the same decision.
After all, he did it to save the life of his precious little sister, Chloee. The only daughter of the Earl of Ravencourt.