Chapter 15 - Why Are You So Picky?
"What would you like to eat?"
"Hmm anything is fine with me." Lina did not have a preference and left the decision to Leon to make. Food was just a necessity to sustain the body.
Ever since she could remember, she had always eaten at home with her parents and had never eaten outside food. Food at home would always consist of one vegetable and one meat dish served with rice. The situation had not changed ever since she first started getting her paycheck.
Leon's situation was much different either. He hadn't eaten anywhere except for the meat skewer stand he had two days ago.
"I'm not familiar with the restaurants and stalls around here. Let's go have a look and just randomly pick one."
There were plenty of restaurants and food stalls around, outside the campus. It was a good business for the owners as the students who attend the campus do not lack money and the campus food weren't as good as the outside.
"How about dining at this place?" Leon asked as they stopped at the entrance to a steakhouse. There was a menu stand in front of them by the entrance.
Looking at the classy restaurant in front of her, Lina became a bit panicky.
"How about… we… look at the menu first…?" she asked quietly.
"Hm? Alright." Leon was rather confused.
'Wouldn't it be the same if we go in to sit down and then look at the menu after?' Leon thought but he didn't voice his doubts.
They had a look at the menu and Lina immediately staggered backwards. The prices of the dishes were ranging from the three digits all the way to the 5 digits. The cheapest was a 200-gram cut of cheap domesticated meat, served with accompanying vegetable and sauce at a price of 150 craws. The rest were using beast meat.
Beast meat was considered a luxury as it could only be acquired from the wildlands. It was common for merchants to do business with the soldiers at the Great Wall to acquire the beast meats.
The beast meat is very popular among the upperclassman who could afford to eat it. Not only does it provide several health and strengthening benefits to body, it is also very delicious.
"I... I don't feel like steak. How about we try somewhere else?" Lina suggested quietly.
'Didn't you say you didn't mind what we eat?' Leon was even more confused.
He didn't know that Lina didn't have much money on her as she would leave most of it with her parents to manage. He didn't think her financial situation would be too bad either as she was a teacher at the Royal University. It would be a joke if they were stingy on paying their teachers, who teaches the future elites of the kingdom.
"Hmm… alright, How about that place?" Leon pointed to the restaurant opposite of the steakhouse. Its appearance was even fancier than the steakhouse.
Lina widened her eyes in horror and said, "N-No! let's not."
Leon was dumbfounded by her exaggerated reaction.
'If you don't want to eat there then you don't. You don't have to react so, exaggeratedly right?'
"How about there?"
"What this one?
"Maybe this one?"
"Oh! This one looks good."
Leon was speechless. He didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
'Can't we just pick a place and eat already? Why do you have to be so picky?' He was starving.
Leon was defeated and threw in the towel.
"How about you pick?" He suggested.
"Hmmmm." Lina looked around and her eyes lit up when she saw a cheap looking food stand a bit far in the distance.
"Let's eat there." She pointed.
Leon felt like a light bulb had lit up in his head when he saw food stand Lina pointed to.
"Could it be that you don't have enough money?"
When she was asked so bluntly, she felt embarrassed and angry at the same time.
"Do you have to ask!?" She pouted.
Cough* Leon felt guilty. He was a bit too thick-headed to realize earlier. All this time, although he had been interacting with Lina and they seemed closer, he had subconsciously built a wall between them. He had labelled her as a trouble magnet and wanted to avoid her, but he also couldn't ignore her.
She suddenly seems very pitiful in Leon's eyes and he felt more guilty for being inconsiderate and not trying to understand her.
'Why do I still seem confused? My path is very clear. Why should I be afraid of trouble when I already decided to even rule the underworld?'
"Never mind, I feel like eating at that steakhouse after all." Leon's mouth curve up into a smile as he grabbed Lina wrist and dragged her in the direction of the previous steakhouse.
Leon really did want to try the beast meat for once. He had heard news of the benefits, when the nobles where discussing it on campus. He wanted to know if it'll be beneficial to his Divine practice.
"What? Stop joking. We can't afford to eat there." Lina began protesting.
"Don't worry, I can afford it." Sometimes, he just has to be more assertive. Women have their worries, but men could free their worries.
But Leon really wasn't freeing her worries at all. Lina felt even more worried. She recently learnt that Leon lives near her in the Commoner's District and there were rumors about his poor commoner background in class.
'How can he afford the cost?'
Leon could see that Lina didn't believe him, so he pulled out a stack of cash from his bag and waved it for her to see.
"Look, I really can afford it. No problem."
Lina widened her eyes in surprise at the stack of cash but so what? How can she let him pay? Where would her dignity as the teacher be if her student must pay for her own meal?
"No this won't do; I can't allow you to pay for me." She continued to refuse.
'Aiyah~ why is this woman so stubborn at times?'
"Look, I really want to eat there okay? If you really feel indebted to me then you maybe buy me a meal next time."
Leon was headstrong in the matter. They wouldn't be able to eat anything at this rate if they keep up this charade.
"Fine, I will owe you one." Lina relented.
"Finally! Let's go. I'm starving.".
His hand was still gripped onto her wrist as he dragged her along the way. Lina just helplessly stared at his gripped as she was carried along by Leon.
The restaurant opposite of the steakhouse was a high-class restaurant called Heaven on Earth Palace. It had 9 floors and each floor provided a different level of service and quality of food. The first 3 floors were affordable by commoners and the next 5 floors were for nobles and reputable people. The top floor wasn't open to the public. Only the most distinguished of guest could dine there.
There was a group of young nobles dining in private room by the windows on the 4th floor.
"Are you sure the poison wouldn't be traced back to us?" one of them said.
"There's no need to worry, that was a special compounded poison. It is odorless and colorless. It would be very difficult for people to trace its origins."
"That person should have died off somewhere by now."
"Mm, that should be the case. he was absent from class yesterday."
"Finally, the eyesore is gone." The youth said with a dark smile.
"Anyone who dares to get close to brother Edric's goddess would not be able to live very long." Another youth said.
"Was there a need to go to such extreme means? Couldn't you just teach him a lesson by beating him up?"
"Beating him up? And upset my goddess? No, if I want to remove any obstacles, I must strike swift and quietly from the shadows. Only when there is no competition, can I focus wholeheartedly on winning her heart." Edric said cruelly. Despite being young, his heart had already become so twisted.
He was obsessed with a female student in their history class, Rachel Lancaster. She was daughter of the remaining duke in the kingdom, Ignis Lancaster, whom is also the sworn brother of the king.
There had always been two dukes in the kingdom since its founding, but ever since the rebellion, only one remain after the other one had been exterminated. Many noble households were exterminated for participating in the rebellion.
Rachel was publicly recognized as the number one beauty on campus and would attract a crazy number of pursuers. They would skip their own classes to try and cram into hers. Such disruptive actions aroused the teacher's anger and harsh punishments were dished out before the situation was finally calmed.
Not long after, there were an increasing number of cases of her pursuers caught up in mysterious accidents and not many had dared to publicly pursue her after. Leon was the only male friend she made. He was different to the young nobles, who were too proud, arrogant and boastful.
Such behavior these days weren't pleasing to the girls. Only Leon's humble attitude earned him, their good will but it also made him the public enemy of all the other boys.
"What right did that peasant have to be able to be her friend? It was a slap to the face for us nobles." Another one said resentfully."
They were too narrow-minded and proud to realize how Leon interact with the girls so well.
"Right. It was a good thing to get rid of him."
As they were cursing him, one of them happened to glance down the window and notice Leon and Lina entering the steakhouse.
"Huh? Isn't that Leon? How is he still alive?" The youth suddenly exclaimed.
"That joke isn't funny, Adrian." Edric doubted but still took look. His face abruptly froze before turning malevolent as he watched Leon, still alive and kicking.
"He seems to be with teacher Lina. Oh, they seem pretty close, even going to eat together." Adrian commented.
"What!?" Another one shot up from his seat.
"Seems like you're out of luck, Cayden." Adrian jested. Cayden shot him a dark look.
Adrian also had someone he was pursuing but she wasn't part of their history class. She was someone from the business department.
As Edric and Cayden glared at Leon from the distance with ill will, Leon had felt it and turned around to glance back at them and squinted his eyes at the same time.
He knew he wasn't well liked but their glares were laced with killing intent. He wanted to burn their images into his memory as they could be a lead to finding the culprit that poisoned him, or they could even be the culprit themselves.
Leon probably would have never guessed that it would really be the later. It would have been far too easily since they weren't masking their killing intent at all. They weren't trained killers or assassins, so they didn't know how to, even if they wanted to.
They could only be shocked at Leon's sharp senses. Leon marked them on his list as he entered the steakhouse.