Wuxiaworld > Demi-Human In The Wrong Time > 90 The Setup 2

"More importantly," Gordon chimed in, "I assume you're friends with Aria?" He cast a curious look towards Altair who had invited Celestine to the table. He had no idea how the two could have met. Since Altair wasn't in any classes right now and Celestine was three years her senior how in the world did they come to know each other?

Celestine nodded vigorously, "Yeah we are!" She puffed out her modest chest while adding, "We even had a friendship by combat!" A friendship by combat was exactly what happened between them: a duel to force friendship. It was a common scenario in movies and shows that Celestine had seen and she loved the idea of it. She was surprised when her brother was the one to propose the idea because it was usually only in girl shows that it happened though. Still, the fact that it happened to her in reality only made it all the better for her. It was like she was part of a story that was unfolding with her in it.

Gordon's brow rose slightly as he asked, "So how does a twelve year old come to know someone barely nine years old and doesn't go to the academy?"

Celestine's mind shook at his statement. She quickly looked at Altair with barely disguised shock on her face. 'She's not even a fifth year?!' The fact that someone so young could match her, who had practiced the military combat style for two years now, was more than she could take in that moment. She had forgotten her noble etiquette at finding that out and stared at Altair in shock. She had almost lost to someone that much younger than her.

"Didn't she just tell you that they had a friendship by combat," Sarah said while giving Gordon a disproving look. She then smiled at Altair, "My daughter might look docile and obedient here but I can promise you that she is quite the firestarter at home. She's gotten into three fights with her brother already, you know." She then looked at Celestine before continuing, "I assume you're here to take her to meet your friends in the other room?"

Celestine recovered from being talked to and quickly nodded towards Sarah, "Yes. There are some people I want her to meet." Celestine had thought that Altair was acting like a noble because of some threat from her parents or some other condition. She had experienced the terror of talking with Sarah alone before so she just assumed that it was the same for Altair. However that wouldn't matter once they were out of sight of Sarah and the others. The room with all of the adolescents and children was kept separate from the adults for multiple reasons and she was aiming to take her there as soon as possible so she could finally see her goal.

Sarah gave her a gentle smile before saying, "Well then, she can go with you on one condition." She held up a single finger to emphasize her point as her expression abruptly turned serious, "She is not to partake in the festivities and cannot get into any physical altercation. She's still injured from your last visit." She gave Altair a sad look before continuing, "You've seen how she is too, so if she gets into one of those situations she's unlikely to know how badly hurt she is." Her face warmed up with a smile before and she looked back at Celestine while she added, "It will be your responsibility as her senior to make sure she stays out of harm's way. I'm counting on you, Celestine."

Celestine's lips twitched slightly. She had yet to agree to the terms and Sarah had basically just passed it off to her thinking she was in favor of it. Of course, she wouldn't ignore it since it was just pushed on her by someone she was afraid of. She couldn't wait to see the reactions so having such an easy condition was nothing.

Altair had been waiting for a reason to leave. She stood up from her seat and curtsied respectfully to the adults at the table, "I shall excuse myself then." She moved away from her chair and walked next to Celestine and waited for Celestine to lead the way. She had no idea where anything was here but wanted to escape from the chatter as fast as possible.

Celestine smiled internally while she was calm on the outside. She could finally see a good show. She didn't want to waste anymore time so she curtsied again towards the table while saying, "We shall be off then." She then turned around and grabbed Altair's hand like an older sister and proceeded to lead her away from the table.

Celestine pulled Altair out of the room. The surrounding nobles were more interested in the power trio at Sarah's table than a couple of children so they were pointedly ignored.

Once in the hallway Celestine pulled Altair as she continued to walk while she asked, "How long have you known Helena?" Just because she had to give up on conversing with her for the time being didn't mean that she wouldn't try and get some information out of Altair about it. Since they were mostly alone if you ignored the guards and servants in the hallway this was the best time to ask Altair about it.

Altair expressionlessly and tonelessly stated, "This was the first time I have ever seen her."

Celestine then excitedly jumped to her next question, "What was it like talking with her?" Helena was her idol and she had dreamed many times about talking with her and spending time with her. The timing was really unfortunate for her to have popped up when she was in the middle of her plan.

Altair shook her head in her mind. What she just went through couldn't even be called a conversation. She didn't talk with them. They talked about her while she was there. That's all that entire thing was. "I answered one question. That hardly seems like a conversation."

Celestine gave Altair a knowing look, "Come now Aria. You were with THE Helena! You aren't going to tell me you felt nothing talking with her." She figured that even if Altair was cooped up studying all the time she should at least know who Helena is. She was wrong.

Altair expressionlessly replied, "I felt like I was a piece of meat that they were going to pass around as they wanted." Celestine gave her a confused look that caused Altair to frown slightly. Altair sighed lightly before clarifying, "They tried to arrange a marriage with me and someone I don't know without asking me anything."

Celestine's eyes widened slightly as she energetically said, "Oh! I know what you mean now but isn't that normal? You're a noble daughter now, arranged marriages are more common than not." Celestine couldn't understand what Altair found so troubling about that. She already had someone she was supposed to marry in the future. It's just how things were for her.

Altair decided that now was a good time to test this girl. Since she was now going to be forced to spend a lot of time with Celestine as a friend it was good to know if she would be able to talk freely with her. Altair had to admit that while she was busy every single day learning things was still draining on her spirit to not be able to relax and talk with people. So, Altair tugged her hand back to stop Celestine from continuing down the hall and brought her to an intimate closeness. She gave her a cold look while she icily stated, "I am not some object to be passed around by the will of others. My life is my own and I won't let anyone tell me how to live or where I will end up."

Celestine's brow scrunched up slightly. Being this close to Altair would start unsavory rumors for her and she couldn't fathom why Altair brought her so close just to say something so foolish. She knew that Altair would have no choice if the Marnithok family decided to marry her off. It would be best if she got used to the idea now. Celestine spoke in a lecturing tone, "Aria you're speaking like a commoner. You're party of a noble family and that means that your adoptive parents will have the final say on whom and when you will marry."

Altair's eyes narrowed slightly as disappointment filled her mind. She turned back towards the direction they were walking in, "I am not like you," she coldly replied before continuing down the hall. With what she just heard, Altair believed that the forced friendship with Celestine would not last. She would not change for these people because she wasn't going to stay here forever.

Celestine hurried to catch up with Altair and grabbed her hand again, "Of course you're not like me," She stated confidently as she took the lead again, "I'm older and wiser than you."