Darius was messing around with multiple thoughts when several footsteps caught his attention.
He looked up to see Lara walking toward him.
‘Wow, she is really hot.’
Her luscious curves and short black her were right in Darius’s hot spot. Granted, he had never previously even communicated with a woman of the opposite sex who he was attracted to, but he was now at that age.
When he had first met Lara, her fiery words had caused him to brand her as dangerous, causing him to lose any romantic thoughts he had about her. In his mind, even fantasizing about her had become taboo. Her previous threat did its job, tempting Darius to cover his lower region, cower, and hide any feelings. However, after remembering that she was not a threat, he calmed down.
As he stared at her, his intuition indeed suggested that she held no malice toward him. That coupled with the fact that she was weaker than him caused him to lower his guard.
‘Ah, wait, she is royalty. How am I supposed to greet her?’
By the time Lara stopped beside him, Darius was at a loss. To her shock, the latter stood up and bowed. Halfway through his bow, he felt that it wasn’t quite right, so he decided curtsy instead.
‘Wait, that’s what girls do! Maybe men should salute?’
The result was rather odd. Embarrassed, Darius thought of kneeling to atone for his previous foolishness. He half-knelt, slammed his fist on his chest, and hit his head against the floor.
‘Since I don’t know which one it should be, I’ll try them all. At least one of them should be right.’
“Darius Omen greets your majesty, Princess… Princess… uhm…”
That’s when it struck Darius. He didn’t even know her name! At the orphanage he hadn’t paid much attention during social studies, so he didn’t even know who in the royal family held each rank, let alone their names.
Darius odd stunt shocked Lara speechless. She had wanted to inquire about his past and so had decided to approach him. Lara had done her homework on him, but she had wanted to understand him as a person and possibly recruit him into her retinue. She was creating her own faction of talented young people, and her plan was to make them her vassals once she became Empress. A powerful ruler needed powerful subjects. Darius was more than qualified in terms of talent. The only question was: what was he like?
She remembered how cruel she had been to him; thus, she had hastily decided to make amends in order to better recruit him later. Although she still felt that he had deserved it, he was no longer the same nameless weakling who she had previously mocked. He was a bonafide Spiritknight, one her age and much more talented, so he warranted her respect. Little had she known that within a moment, he would once again succeed in making a fool of himself.
It only took a moment for Lara to realize what had happened. She giggled, amused by his antics. At first, she had thought that he would be somewhat scary now that he had come into his martial prowess, but it seemed that he was nothing like what she had imagined.
“Your majesty is for my father. Your Highness is what you ought to use for me,” She said with a melodic chime of laughter. Darius rose up, embarrassed. He felt ashamed that he had used the wrong phrase. He obviously ignored that his gestures had been even worse.
Lara did her best to stifle her laughter; it would not do to alienate a potential ally. She had never seen a man attempt to curtsy before. It wasn’t even a custom for females in their kingdom: women simply bowed their heads. Thus, she found his actions hysterical. Nevertheless, she had not come here to mock him, so she coughed and introduced herself, “I am Lara Farlene, First Princess of the Pazhe Empire, Heir to the Throne. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Darius.”
She extended a hand to him. Darius appeared to enter another bout of confusion. Hence, she decided to help him out.
“Just shake my hand. No need to be very formal with me. Treat me as you would any other person equal to your own station.”
Darius sighed. It was as if a truly massive weight had been lifted off his shoulders. She was a Princess. Nobles were known to be cruel, so he had imagined that royalty would be even worse. While there was Lionel, he had met Darius under special circumstances. Therefore, the Prince’s station had never bothered Darius. After all, how could one take him seriously when he had such a shady disposition?
Darius shook her dainty hand. “Haha, that makes things simpler then. It is an honor to meet you, Lara.”
Lara was surprised by how comfortable he was with being informal with her. Most people would find it difficult: after all, she was still a princess! However, Darius took to it like a fish in the water.
‘It’s not a bad thing. It’ll make it much easier to deal with him.’
Lara herself was a straightforward person, so she appreciated such behavior.
Darius sat down and gestured for her to sit beside him. The couch was quite spacious, so it wasn’t a problem. The two exchanged some small talk for a while, gradually lessening the distance between them. The more she talked to him, the more she liked his straightforward nature. Few people had ever acted so naturally around her. In fact, only her family had ever treated her with such familiarity. Darius was like a breath of fresh air to her. On the other hand, Darius enjoyed their chat even more.
‘It seems she isn’t as scary as I once thought.’
Darius had never before had a long casual discussion like this with a peer, let alone a girl, so he appreciated it quite a bit. The fact that he was attracted to her was just the cherry on top.
The duo talked about many things. Lara was curious about what it was like to live like a normal person, and Darius was curious about what it was like to be royalty, so they had plenty to talk about.
“So, Darius, tell me: how did you become so powerful?”