“You’re good at this.”
“I used to do it in the past.”
Ren’s mouth fell. That was how shocked he was at what he saw and heard. After seeing the intimate scene, exchanging sweet nothings, and flirting as the sun went down, all kinds of thoughts went into his mind.
Leonel and . . . Isolde?
His brain did a mad scramble of thinking of how did that happen.
Those were the questions that Ren wanted answers to, and his mind was piecing things in his memories to answer his own queries just to help him digest the new revelation he learned.
From the start, Leonel and Isolde had good chemistry. And every time that Leonel would do something, he always mentioned Isolde. Isolde even loaned Leonel a huge amount of money. And the two even went to the same school, so it was no wonder that love would blossom between them.
But why so fast? And why didn’t Leonel tell him anything?
Could it be that they were hiding their relationship? Since when?
Leonel was teasing him about love and spring and all that but wasn’t he the one whose spring came earlier?
Were they too embarrassed to admit their relationship?
That was not how he knew Isolde.
Or maybe Leonel was still in the process of courting her? That’s why they were keeping quiet about it.
But why the kiss if they’re not an item?
Ren was so confused, but he didn’t want to ask Leonel about it. He wanted the man to tell him from his own lips.
“Ren!” Leonel grinned when he finally noticed Ren, and he hopped to his location. “There you are! How long have you been standing there?”
Ren blinked, and that was only when he closed his mouth and swallowed the lump in his throat. Before he answered, he studied Leonel’s face very, very . . . carefully.
“W-what?” Leonel rubbed his cheeks without thought. Was there something on my face? He mused to himself.
When his best friend acted as if nothing had happened, Ren’s scrutinizing eyes went to Isolde.
At his stare, Isolde blushed and looked away. Her palms then clumped her cheeks. Did Ren notice that she wore makeup because of their dinner date?
Ren gasped when a blush of red dotted Isolde’s skin, ironing his belief that Leonel and her were indeed an item!
But since this was neither the place nor time to confront the two, Ren decided to play ignorant at the moment.
“Ah . . . I was here just a second ago.” Ren’s voice almost faltered a good thing that he controlled it just in time from being so obvious.
“Let’s go in. Isolde’s father and brother are already inside,” said Leonel, and he leaned a little closer to Ren and whispered in his ears, “Be warned. Her family is so scary that I almost wet my pants.”
Ren chuckled. He already knew and saw Augustus and Axel Gambino. However, he didn’t see them personally. But for those who did, they all uttered only one word.
While the three of them walked inside, Ren sauntered a little slower and followed the back of Isolde and Leonel. The two were talking together, oblivious to the swirling thoughts playing in his head.
Leonel was grinning from ear to ear while Isolde chortled at his jokes. Their chemistry was really in tandem. At first glance, they were easily mistaken for a couple. They look so good together especially since Leonel complimented Isolde’s height and frame.
Ren studied the two while his fingers skimmed his jawline. Before, he didn’t notice the slight clues. But ever since he saw them a while ago, he couldn’t help but doubt the little actions they took.
Weren’t they too close? Since when did their personal space become non-existent?
Why was Isolde laughing so much? Were Leonel’s jokes really that funny?
And why was Leonel so talkative with Isolde?
Wait . . . D-did . . . did their hands touched just now?!
Ren became a critic of every little thing between Leonel and Isolde. Even things that weren’t eyebrow-raising before now had some meanings behind them.
Until they went into the private room, Ren only then peeled his thick gaze at the two and shifted his attention to the two men sitting on the long table.
Ren’s accumulated confidence and courage throughout the past weren’t enough to combat the intimidating and powerful aura that Augustus Gambino portrayed. He might have hidden under the table and cried his heart out if he was a little weak-willed like Leonel. That was how strong his characteristic is.
Some men could portray it. Others acquired it. But only a few were born with it.
It was the presence of one of the most powerful men in the world.
That was the power of money.
“Ah!” the hard lines on Augustus’s face softened a little. “And you must be Ren! The star of the Guild Wars! Come! Come! Let’s drink and be merry.”
He then paused briefly and asked with narrowed eyes, “You underage?”
“No,” Ren said.
Augustus laughed. “That’s unfortunate.”
“Egh?” Leonel was confused and his eyes took the ceiling, thinking to himself.
Augustus quickly changed the topic when Isolde cut him a pointy look. “Come sit down and let’s talk business over dinner.”
That’s what he liked about Augustus. Straight to the point.
Ren took the other seat, so Leonel was left with no choice but to take the ‘privilege’ chair beside Augustus.
Leonel inwardly cried while cursing Ren in his head. In contrast, Ren was giving himself an invincible pat on his shoulder for helping Leonel to get closer to his future father-in-law.
Meanwhile, Isolde sat beside Axel, opposite Leonel, facing Ren.
The moment that all were seated, plates and plates of food were delivered to their table.
“Now,” Augustus started while they ate. “I heard from my daughter that you’re a mercenary group helping players and guilds in the game. In fact, she even wanted to employ you in the first war.
“Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. And until now, we deeply regretted that decision.”
“It’s fine. There is a lot of war to be won in the future,” replied Ren.
Augustus laughed, and he liked Ren already. He wasn’t cowering when speaking to him, and wasn’t averting his gaze. Others simply shrunk in their sit and turned into statues like Leonel.
“True. True.” Augustus nodded in agreement before he released a grin. “We’ll employ you by that time, then.”
Augustus’s smile disappeared, and his face turned serious. “A hundred thousand for top hundred. Half a million for the top fifty. A million for the top ten. And . . . ten million if Guns and Knives won the championship.”