Lessons in Demeanor
Lesson One: Drink Tea
Drinking tea is an art, one that Georgo was proud to say he’d mastered. W-Would you like b-black tea or green tea? he’d ask. It didn’t matter which they picked — all that mattered was that he’d offered a choice of teas instead of a choice of declining his invitation to drink tea. The result? They more often than not chose one of the teas, and that meant they at least stayed in his presence long enough to finish drinking the tea.
“I’ll have green tea,” the busty female cleric in front of him replied.
Georgo restrained himself from visibly punching the air in celebration. He smiled bashfully, in a way that endeared him to his prey and led them to lower their guard around him. Who would ever believe the honest and timid young Earth Knight would ever mean any harm? In that sense, his reputation helped him greatly.
Like a gentleman, he pulled out a seat for the cleric, since he knew most, if not all, females liked to be pampered and treated like a lady. While he chatted with the cleric — he’d chosen an outdoor table today, the weather working in his favor — he felt a pair of eyes boring holes into his back. Georgo twisted around, wondering if it was that dratted Grisia who’d come to disturb him once again. All week, he’d felt someone’s gaze on him, which he wouldn’t have minded if the gaze had belonged to a female beauty, but he could tell this wasn’t the gaze of a female admirer!
Why? Because the gaze gave him goose bumps!
He also hated being followed.
The moment he’d turned around, a shadow quickly ducked behind a pillar.
Someone was spying on him. It had to be Grisia, who seemed to have some sort of grudge against him. Grisia held the highest record of disturbing Georgo during his dates. The next Sun Knight had practically made disturbing Georgo into a hobby of his, much to Georgo’s chagrin.
“Is something wrong?” asked the female cleric.
Georgo turned his attention back to the busty female in front of him. He liked it much better when cute females, instead of devilish males like Grisia, occupied his mind.
“N-No, I-I was merely too o-overwhelmed by your b-beauty and needed a m-moment for myself,” he stuttered.
Like he predicted, the female cleric blushed beautifully. Georgo had yet to come across a female cleric who didn’t like to be praised. He’d practiced several different ways of complimenting females, so he was never short on words, always ready to charm the ladies.
Any moment now, Georgo was sure Grisia was going to swoop in and ruin his plans. It wasn’t like Grisia could openly flirt with females — though it wasn’t like Georgo could either — but Grisia always managed to lure Georgo’s prey away just by smiling and talking. Whether they were being charmed or frightened away was a different matter.
He needed to change locations as quickly as possible.
Georgo exchanged some more pleasantries with the cleric before he deemed the time ripe.
“I h-have some s-snacks that I can’t finish on my o-own. W-Would you like to c-come to my r-room?” He looked at her imploringly, his smile hesitant.
At that time, just as the cleric was about to take his lure — Georgo was sure the next word out of her rosy lips was going to be a resounding “yes!” — he heard a loud crash from behind. Surely, he hadn’t shocked Grisia that much just by inviting a female cleric to his room? He did it all the time!
Georgo turned, about to take a few verbal jabs at his “good” friend Grisia (all camouflaged under flattering words, of course) when he was greeted by a head of long, blue hair instead of a head of long, golden hair. It was still long hair that greeted him, but the color was completely wrong, and only one person had hair of that length in that color.
The person who had crashed to the floor was none other than the next Storm Knight.
What had Ceo been doing spying on him from behind a pillar?
Now that the cleric knew they weren’t alone, her face turned red even though they hadn’t done and weren’t doing anything scandalous. All Georgo had managed to do so far was brush his hand against hers when he handed her the tea cup! Still, despite how red her face was, the color of her face did not at all rival the color of Ceo’s face. His face was a flaming red, redder than ripe tomatoes crazy people liked to throw at the Judgment Knight during parades.
“G-Georgo, y-you, y-you…” Ceo struggled to say, magnificently stuttering like a natural, except he wasn’t supposed to be stuttering, nor was he supposed to be blushing like a fair maiden.
Georgo glanced at the cleric, wondering if she had noticed Ceo’s strange, “out-of-character” behavior.
She was staring in fascination.
Oh well, it wasn’t his job to help others maintain their image.
After being stuck on the word “you” for an entire minute, Ceo still hadn’t pieced together a sentence (though he’d at least pulled himself off the floor), and Georgo was tired of waiting. Georgo was about to try inviting the cleric to his room again — he doubted Ceo would be able to stop him with how flustered he already was — when Ceo grabbed the back of his shirt.
“What are you doing?” Georgo hissed in alarm.
“I-I can’t! I can’t wink at her!” Ceo whispered back frantically. He was pretty much hiding behind Georgo’s back now, with only the uppermost part of his head of blue hair visible to the cleric.
This was the next Storm Knight, the one who would soon be known as a “footloose charmer”?
Georgo shook his head in disbelief, unable to imagine what could ever be so daunting about flirting with females. A mere wink? Easy as cake! Stuttering was so much more difficult!
When Georgo turned his attention back to the cleric so that he could steer the conversation back on track, he found out, to his utter horror, that she was trying her hardest not to giggle, but her lips were twitching. He’d tried so hard to appear mature, yet innocent. Any moment now…
“Oh, the two of you are so cute.”
Damn. He’d have to make do with that and go along the “cute” path. First, he needed to divert her attention from Ceo. He could still salvage the situation…
“I won’t steal your Earth Knight from you anymore, young Storm Knight,” the cleric murmured. “You two have fun together.”
After she toppled Georgo’s plans with her deadly, parting words, the cleric left.
She’d been giggling at…at…
Finally, Ceo stopped hiding behind him. He peeked out from the side. When he saw that the female cleric was nowhere in sight, he dropped his death grip on Georgo’s shirt, but it was too late. Georgo’s shirt was already wrinkled, and the cleric had already completely misunderstood Ceo’s shyness.
“She, she…!” Georgo tried to say, his disbelief tying his tongue. Had she just implied that the two of them preferred men’s company more than a female’s company, that the bonds of brotherhood triumphed over the appeal of the fairer sex? What blasphemy!
Georgo took a few, deep breaths to calm himself…before he decided to screw calming himself. This was too serious a situation.
“What’d you ruin my date for?” he shouted at Ceo, finger poking Ceo in the chest. He paused, eyes widening in sudden realization. “Are you the one who’s been stalking me?” he asked, voice growing louder and louder as he spoke.
“I-I just wanted to…” Ceo started, eyes downcast, hands clasped together. He looked as if his feet were the most interesting thing ever.
That was a guilty look. Georgo was sure of it, just as sure as he was sure about Grisia’s true personality.
“What?” Georgo bit out. He already had Grisia to deal with. He hadn’t thought he would need to look out for Ceo interrupting his dates too!
“…I just wanted to observe how you interact with females,” Ceo mumbled, his voice so small that Georgo almost couldn’t hear him, but he’d heard him all right. He’d heard him and thought he’d heard wrong, but he hadn’t.
Georgo stared at Ceo.
He was hopeless!
“You are hopeless,” he said.
Ceo hung his head down dejectedly.