-Karim-

“Michael! Zen!” Clover greeted the duo who were relaxing and drinking at a nearby table. The sun had long set by the time he arrived at the Guild and the familiar sight of a crowded Guildhall filled his vision as he entered

“Clover!” The duo shouted in unison as he walked over. Michael poured him a cup of Azure wine as he sat down, which Clover gratefully accepted.

“I’m sure you had an ‘eventful’ day today.” Zen chirped up with a mischievous grin as he scooted over.

“Yea, it was a good time.” Clover flatly said. Adlan damn it! How the hell does everyone know about this?! I’m sick and tired of getting teased! This is the last straw! From now on, I will just play along!

“Oh, was it?” Michael grinned from ear to ear. “Two young lovers alone…Who knows what sort of things you two could have gotten away with…”

“I agree, Michael. When two young teens are at such a curious and ardent stage in life, they may lose control and do some stupid things!” Zen curled his lips deviously before adding. “I just hope you two ate some Silphium roots before doing the deed…”

“Of course we did! I’m not the type of guy that is stupid enough to get a girl pregnant.” Clover replied calmly as he took a sip of his drink.

“Good! That’s admirable! We wouldn’t wa-. Wait, what.” Zen’s mouth was left unhinged as he stared at the youth beside him.

“I was an orphan myself who was most likely the result of a dumb young couple who were not ready to raise a child. If it was not for Bastille, I would have died as an infant. How could I ever subject a child to the same fate?” Clover reasoned. “Therefore, the two of us decided to make the wise decision of making proper preparations beforehand!”

“What,” Zen repeated again as his eyes became unfocused.

“No! You are too young to be doing that stuff!” Michael yelled. “We were just playing around! We didn’t really think you had taken that step in your life! Clover, tell us that you were only joking around!” He pleaded. But as he saw his young friend drink his Azure Wine with a stoic expression, he couldn’t help but become worried.

“Whats going on?” A voice asked from the side.

“Maya!” The duo cried out as they noticed their beautiful dark-skinned friend.

“What? You two look weird, what’s wrong?” Maya queried as the duo looked at her with concerned eyes.

“It’s Clover!” Zen swiftly replied. “We think that he has done…Done…That!”

“Haha! What are you two talking about!” Maya laughed as she walked over and took a seat beside Clover, and wrapped her arm around his neck. “This little kid?! He’s way too shy to do that! Hell, he would most likely pass out if he saw a naked woman!” Maya continued to giggle as she rubbed his head, messing up his hair.

However, Clover only continued to sit there calmly and sip his drink. With Maya’s previous statement presumably falling on deaf ears.

“You see! The old naive Clover would have started blushing and became a stuttering mess!” Zen blurted out. “He must’ve crossed the final boundary into manhood!” Michael remained silent as he continued to bob his head in agreement.

“No way! It’s simply not possible…”Maya cooley said. But as she continued to stare at the tan half-elf beside her, she couldn’t help but become worried. “Clover, tell me the truth. Did you really have sex?”

Clover avoided the question and continued to sip on his drink. His eyes remained clear and confident as he was interrogated. After a breath, he spoke up. “What if I have?”

Maya dropped her jaw at Clover’s question. “No…” She whispered, before standing up. “Sven has corrupted you!” She wailed. “I will not have been beaten by a little brat! I’m telling Maria!”

“Wait!” Clover yelled out in surprise as Maya began to run away. Luckily, he managed to stop her by grabbing onto one of her sleeves. “Of course I’m lying! I would never do that! Argh…I can’t believe you would snitch on me like that!” He snarled as he crossed his arms.

“Oh please, you know I’m not a dumb idiot like the two of these imbeciles that I travel around with. I was only playing along with your unconvincing rouse.” Maya stated. “I knew that the most effective way to force you into telling the truth was by bringing your mother into this!”

“Yeah! We didn’t believe a word of it either! We were only playing around with you, right Michael?” Zen said as he turned to his friend.

“Exactly! Who would ever believe a brat like you!”

“That’s unfair!” Clover wailed.

“A Seeker must use all sorts of tricks and tactics to get ahead! Unfair or otherwise!” Maya stated as fixed her glasses with one hand. As she sat back down, Michael piped up.

“By the way, Maya. I didn’t know you were still a virgin!” He said with a devious smile.

“What! Of course not! I was just joking around! O-o-of course I’ve had sex! Plenty of times!” Maya stammered as her face became red. “With different guys too!”

“So you’re a slut?” Clover said, his eyes filled with a curious and innocent gaze.

“No!” Maya shouted.

“But you just said that you’ve been with countless guys!” Zen slyly curled his lips. “To me, that is something only a whore would say!”

“Yep! Only a massive slut would say that!” Michael added.

“No! That was…I…Wait…” Maya could only hopelessly stutter as she was stuck in between her lie and a hard place. “Ah! You idiots!” She wailed before burying her face in her arms.

“Haha!” The three of them laughed as Maya buried her head deeper into the table.

“You three shouldn’t be picking on a young lady…” A deep voice rumbled from behind.

“Bastille!” They shouted as Maya lifted her head. Her eyes had become slightly moist with tears.

“Dad!” Clover shouted. “We just found out that Maya is a slut!”

“Eep!” Maya squeaked from beside him, her face beginning to resemble that of a cherry.

“Clover! You cannot say that about a young lady!” Bastille boomed in anger as he picked his son up by the back of his shirt.

“But she admitted it herself!” Clover wailed in surprise, as he flailed around helplessly.

“Did she really?” Bastille asked as he turned to look at the young girl with a confused expression on his face.

“No!” She yelled out again. “They took my words out of context! I am not a slut!” She boomed as her words echoing throughout the Guildhall. The guild became silent, as hundreds of eyes looked over at her. “Ah…” Maya whispered as she became overloaded from the humiliation and buried herself in her arms again.

“Haha!” The four of them laughed out loud as the usually collected girl turned into a nervous wreck.

“This place seems like fun!” A soft voice said from beside Bastille. It was a young boy, who they had only just now noticed.

“Ah, where are my manners? This is Karim. He is a half-elf. Just like you, Clover.” Bastille remarked as he introduced the young boy to them. “He’s also a Seeker.”

“Hello!” Karim piped up. Just like Bastille said, this boy was a half-elf as his pointed ears suggested. Karim was a fair-skinned lad with a pair of warm brown eyes. His long black hair was kept tidy in a ponytail. On his right arm, he wore a Devyse as well. “Bastille told me about you. He said that you are a Seeker too and that we should be friends!” He said and gave Clover a wide smile, revealing a pair of sharp canines.

“Okay…” Clover said as he took a glance at the boy. He noticed that they were around the same height. And that his eyes were relaxed as if they had never been serious his entire life.

“Clover, Karim is sixteen, just a year older than you. Due to an…Unfortunate incident…The Guildmaster of Deiran has sought asylum for Karim.” Bastille said as Karim smiled at him.

Deiran? That’s on the other side of the Ga’jong mountains! The capital of the Evar Kingdom! Clover thought to himself.

“Oh? What happened?” Michael piped up.

“That’s not your concern. But if Karim wants to tell you, then he can.” Bastille stated as he took a glance at the boy.

“Nope! Not saying!” Karim chuckled as he covered his mouth.

“In any case. From what I’ve heard. It is a life and death matter. So make sure not to mention to anyone where Karim is from.” Bastille said.

“Okay!” Clover, Michael, and Zen shouted while Maya raised a hand in acknowledgment, her head still buried in the table.

“Clover!” Karim chimed. “I was wondering, since we are around the same age, what rank you are!”

“We are curious about that as well!” Michael said as Zen nodded his head while Maya poked her curious eyes out from under her arms.

“I don’t know. I haven’t measure it yet.” Clover replied. Looking at his father, he added. “Bastille said that I was not allowed to find out until my year of training was finished. So that means it’s okay to measure it now, right?”

“Correct.” Bastille agreed. “Since we’re all here, let’s do it right now! I want everyone to know just how amazing my son is!” Bastille shouted out in pride as he sauntered over to a raised stage in the center of the Guildhall. His large frame caught the eyes of many Seekers as he made his way toward the podium, causing them to fall silent. The room had fallen to a quiet din before he had even reached it. Bastille tapped on the microphone that was on the podium, creating an ear-piercing shriek

Skree!

The hundreds of people in the hall covered their ears in pain as they looked over at the domineering man. “We were already quiet you oaf!” A brave soul yelled out as he massaged his ears.

“Haha! I was just making sure!” Bastille laughed before starting. “Today is a great day! For it is the day that my son, Clover, will become a Seeker!” His amplified voice boomed around the room, as hundreds of voices cheered out in glee. They raised their mugs of booze as they chanted, “Clover! Clover! Clover!”

“Come on up here, son!” Bastille cried out, motioning Clover to come over with a large hand. His hazel eyes gleamed with pride as he looked at his son.

Adlan damn it! Why does my old man always have to make a spectacle of everything! Clover shouted in his mind as he cursed his father and walked over to the raised stage. The roaring Seekers became increasingly rambunctious as they began to shout louder once Clover came to the stage.

“Whats going on?” Maria asked as she poked her head from behind an office door. Maria’s office was located behind the Secretaries desk, which handled Seeker admissions, mission consultations, and the process of handing out and accepting missions.

“Bastille is making Clover a Seeker today!” Kate exclaimed with glee.

“What?! He is not sixteen yet! That’s against the Guild rules!” Maria seethed as she began to charge over to the podium.

“Maria, let’s not ruin everyone’s fun.” Edward’s deep voice rumbled from the side. “At least, not for now.”

“What?! This has nothing to do with ruining everyone’s fun!” Maria shouted as she looked up at the tall Ga’jong. “This has to do with enforcing Guild legislation!”

“Does it?” Bastille pondered. “Is it not because you don’t want Clover to become a Seeker? That you don’t want him to grow up? It is understandable, after all, all mothers will have to eventually experience their sons leaving them. But you should be happy that Clover is becoming a man worth speaking of!”

Maria’s face began to scrunch up as Edward spoke. The corners of her eyes began to fill with hot tears before speaking up. “No…Its…Just…That…I don’t want my baby to grow up so fast!” She wailed while latching onto Kate.

“Mrs.Rumare…” Kate chuckled as she caressed Maria’s soft blonde hair. Edward smiled before looking back over at the ceremony.

Bastille wrapped his arm around his son as he shouted into the microphone once more. “Carla, tell Morty to prepare a mixture of Denari’s Bath! Edward, bring me a box of medals!

“Yes, sir!” The two yelled out. In less than a minute, Morty came out with a bowl filled with a white mixture and Edward dropped off a small box.

“Clover! Are you ready to become a Seeker?” Bastille shouted out, as he held the bowl.

“Yes, father!” Clover shouted out.

“Good! Then by the will of our patron spirit, Denari, and the powers vested by me, I hereby name you a Seeker!” Bastille proclaimed as the loud voices of the numerous Seekers shouted out in approval! The walls of the Guild quaked with excitement as the noise carried outside, spooking the pedestrians that were walking by.

“Clover, you know the drill! To measure your Arcana capacity you must mix a single drop of blood into Denari’s Bath. Depending on the color, we will be able to assess your rank!” Bastille shouted.

“Yes, sir!” Clover yelled, before biting the underside of his index finger. The tiny wound welled up with blood before a single drop fell into Denari’s Bath. The crimson liquid plopped into the mix. At first, nothing happened. But within a single breath, the center of the mixture began to turn into a dark brown color.

“Bronze rank!” Bastille shouted causing the Seekers to cheer out even louder. Bastille waited for them to calm down before speaking up again. “Of course, this was an obvious result! We must now wait to see what tier of the Bronze rank he is at!”

The hall became silent as Bastille looked into the brown mixture. The brown liquid began to lighten with time, as it slowly turned from a dark bronze to a light tan color. Within the mix, Bastille saw a few streaks of silver mixed in.

“Peak of the Bronze rank!” Bastille yelled in glee, as the crowd of Seekers shouted in delight.

“Well, that was obvious!” Shouted a nearby Seeker.

“Of course! He is a half-elf, after all!” Another Seeker said in agreement.

“And he was trained by the Guildmaster himself!” Said another. “If he hadn’t been at least a middle tier Bronze-rank than he would have been a failure!”

This conversation was being held at every table of Seekers. What they said was true. If Clover wasn’t at least at this level, then wouldn’t he be a failure? After all, he had more advantages than any Seeker around!

As the grand hall started to quiet down, Bastille pulled out a Bronze medal in the shape of a compass from the small box Edward had given him. “Clover, as your father and the Guildmaster of Vanden. I am proud to present you this Bronze medal. May you find adventure and treasure on every mission…” Bastille said as he pinned the medal onto his son’s shirt.

“Thank you, father!” Clover yelled out, as he gave his dad a hug. Bastille smiled and hugged him back, before shouting.

“Now, it is every Seeker’s job to get drunk tonight!” He yelled out, as hundreds of mugs were raised into the air with agreement!

“Yes, Guildmaster!” They all shouted in unison before chugging their drinks. In less than a second, gallons of alcohol vanished from existence as it traveled into their stomachs!

As the guild continued becoming increasingly boisterous, Edward strutted over to the podium.

“What is it, Edward?” Bastille asked.

“Well, Guildmaster. I have an important matter to inform the guild. And since everyone is enjoying themselves right now, I believe that now is the perfect time to tell them.” Edward calmly said.

“Very well. I assume it is good news? After all, it can’t get any more lively in here than it is now! Haha!” Bastille guffawed, as he looked around the room of merry faces. Some Seekers had already become drunk and began to pick fights, while others attempted to pick up female Seekers and waitresses.

“Oh, I am quite sure that this announcement will cause some fervor…”Edward smiled as he walked over to the microphone. He gave it a few taps to gain the attention of the Seekers. “Everyone…I have a special announcement to make.”

“What is it you gangly bastard? Can’t you see that were trying to get drunk!” Yelled out a Kortanji that was a drink away from blacking out.

Edward merely smiled at the curse and continued. “Yes, yes. I am well aware that you all are enjoying yourselves. However, I’m sure that you all will be interested to know that a Spirit Realm has opened up near Cyrelle!”

Edward’s words were met with silence. But after a moment, the Guild erupted into chaos once more!

Spirit Realm! Clover shouted in his mind as he heard the announcement. Even Bastille opened his eyes in amazement as heard the news.

The windows of the Guild threatened to shatter into pieces as the chorus of Seekers yelled in excitement.

“Before you all become excited…It is imperative that I mention that the Arcana capacity of the realm is limited to those at the Silver rank!” Edward shouted over the bellows of countless Seekers. Unfortunately, over half of the Seekers present quieted down as this limit meant that they would be unable to enter the Spirit Realm. But the other half cheered louder as this meant that they would have a greater chance of seeking glory and treasure!

“For those who wish to enter the Spirit Realm, you must fill out a form at the admissions desk and travel to Cyrelle within two days! It is there that we will meet before we will enter!” Edward proclaimed before walking off the stage.

As Edward said this, countless Seekers ran over to the admissions desk in order to sign up. Those that were over the Silver-rank, continued to drink, albeit not as enthusiastically as before.

“Clover!” Karim yelled out as he made his way to him. “Peak Bronze-rank?! That’s not bad! After all, you’re a year younger than I am and were at the same rank!” He smiled with a devilish grin as he pointed at the compass on his chest.

“Ah…I can’t believe we lost to this kid!” Zen grumbled as the trio walked over. “To think that when we were your age, we were only in the low tier of the Bronze rank!”

“Yeah…” Michael weakly smiled. “Don’t get me wrong, Clover. I am proud of you…But I can’t help but feel defeated…Right, Maya?”

However, Maya did not respond as her eyes were still unfocused as they stared at her feet. It was obvious that she was still reeling back from their previous conversation.

“Well, I’m sure she is happy for you!” Zen chuckled as he stared at his defeated friend.

“Thanks, guys! Maybe one day we can go on a mission together!” Clover beamed before adding. “Just don’t get me killed this time!”

“Of course!” Michael and Zen chuckled.

“As Karim mentioned, both of you are Bronze Seekers.” Bastille chimed in. “I think it will be a good idea for the two of you to partner up together for the Spirit Realm mission! After all, I was planning on having you show Karim around, Clover. And I’m sure you have felt a bit lonely now that Sven is gone!”

“Okay, if that’s what you want, dad.” Clover agreed.

“Perfect! I’ll make sure your names are written down, so spend some time with one another!” Bastille said before he made his way to the admissions office.

“Haha! I’ll be in your care, Clover!” Karim smiled as he crossed his arms behind his head. “Let’s make sure we get along, okay?”

“Of course!” Clover smiled back, as the five of them sat back down. Together, the five of them partied and drank as the moon rose higher into the sky.

Next Chapter: Chapter 14