The Sword Caster Alastair, who was among the Twelve Superiors of the Death Sail League, was the first who was accepted as a "student". These attainments were sound proofs of his ambition to do something big.
He rose from a sofa and stood straight as Sam strode into the gathering hall. Alastair stared at him, his mind on full alert for any possible abnormal behaviors from him.
"Look at the multitude of the people on our side. He won't dare create any trouble here, or I will give order and take him down." Alastair put on a calm air to the best of his ability, while he was trembling inside, facing this formidable and hideous man.
Alastair took a few steps towards Sam and stopped before him with a ceremonial smile.
Sam returned the same official smile.
"Alastair! I remember you. You were on the ship." Sam broke the embarrassing silence.
"It's Sam. I remembered you, too, like everybody here did." Somehow, Alastair was miffed on hearing these words which had been said in a tone that was neither disdainful nor aggressive. "And why are you here exactly?"
His livid look was caught by Sam's sharp eyes.
"You were great. I mean on the ship where you stepped up and took on the knights bravely, and now you are growing the League into a big and influential one." Sam exalted him as if he was attempting to diffuse the tension filled in the air.
"Hah, it was very kind of you to say these nice words. I am much honored." Being credited as the one who allowed the Black Sail League to survive and thrive on the Sorcerer Continent, Alastair was, for an instant, completely forgetful of who he was confronting.
"I have been wondering if there is a spot available in your league. It's my intention to join the great Black Sail League." Sam held out his hand ready for a handshake with Alastair.
The congregate was stirred and began to hum.
"If there has been one thing that is regrettable and one thing left unachieved, that is to join you." Sam continued as he was running his eyes around the large circle of the members.
Alastair stood there motionlessly and became lost for words. He did not want to rush to make such an important decision.
"Who's there?" Lafite looked over the ring of crowd and shouted.
A masked man loomed large.
"He must be very good to have eluded the capture of my ears." Sam pinpointed the man while he retracted his hand.
The masked man penetrated the crowd and walked to Lafite, and when he was about to say something to her, he was interrupted by a pat on the shoulder:
"Glenn! So glad you are here. Where have you been these days? Why are you wearing that weird thing? Come on, this is not a masquerade." A volley of questions flooded the masked man or Glenn.
It was Robinson who had recognized him, by Glenn's manner of walking. Glenn had been engaged in pharmacodynamics and learned something from it to temporarily conceal or alter his body odor. That was why Lafite failed to recognize him by his odor the instant she saw him.
Glenn had been leading an isolated life for quite a long time and was not accustomed to public attention. He replied to Robinson awkwardly:
"Yeah, it's me..."
Lafite held her breath and stared at the man in front of her, the man whom she had been thinking about day and night, the man for whom she had turned down all of her pursuers, good and bad ones alike.
Armida, who was standing next to Lafite at the time, was in excruciating agony on seeing her arduous affection towards Glenn, yet he composed himself and said something to Glenn before Lafite did.
"Welcome back to the team. We have been waiting for you." Armada said in a sarcastic voice. His remarks caused some uneasiness among Glenn's little group. He was speaking as if it was him who had established the group in the first place and unionized it later on, and as if he represented the others when he welcomed Glenn back in the team.
Glenn's face fell although no one could see through the mask to catch that.
"Enough! Armida. That's enough!" Lafite yelled. "We five people were like a family. We stuck together when we were facing the danger of death back on the ship. Please leave and give us some privacy."
"Lafite, I was just trying to..."
"I said go away!" Lafite said it so loudly that her voice must have reached its highest decibel, and that brought her to a heavy breath. She had lost her patience at this clingy and hell-bent Armida on seeing Glenn's presence.
Armida fumed and turned to Glenn.
"You and me, outside!!" Armida challenged Glenn to a duel.
In Glenn's eyes, Armida was a pathetic man. He would go to deuce for a woman. His mind was so obsessed with a woman that he had been neglectful of sorcery acquirement, the very point of painstakingly coming to the Sorcerer Continent. Pettiness had broken him, and now he was just was like a clown entertaining the persons who paid for its performance.
"Armida!" Lafite scurried between Armida and Glenn and faced Armida off. "Is this what you really want? You intend to fight me?"
Armida laughed cynically as if his heart had been ripped apart and thrown down the drain. For all the years, he had been looking after Lafite, he couldn't believe that he had been a piece of junk that she would readily ditch. He was nothing but a worthless vermin. Armida then strode out of the hall, defying all the scornful looks at him.
With a whirring sound, Glenn was shoved by Lafite to the nearest wall.
Having boozed three glasses of wines, Lafite was now half intoxicated. She pushed Glenn all the way to a wall and pressed herself upon Glenn.
"Where the hell have you been for the past half year? You didn't even answer my crystal ball call!" Lafite nestled herself more intimately into Glenn's chest. "Are you seeing someone?"
"No! It's just that I have been busy preparing myself for the Test."
"I know you dare not..." Lafite mumbled, with her eyes barely open.
The next moment Lafite puffed heavily into Glenn's neck, producing a strong smell of alcohol. Her hands were foraging downwards for his hands.
"Have you gone mad?"
"Yeah, I am. I am mad about you. I think I am in love with you, Glenn." Lafite had reached his hands. She then clutched them for a moment and dragged them upon her breasts afterwards.
Glenn did not say or do anything.
"It's really good to see you again. I was afraid that I might never have the chance of saying the word 'love'." Lafite took off Glenn's mask and looked into his eyes.
Lafite's tender sentiment almost melted Glenn's heart and he pictured for a moment what a pleasant journey it would be to spend the rest of his life with such a pretty girl. But the next second, he came to himself and reminded himself of his original purpose of being here. So, he declined.
"My mind exists only for knowledge. I am afraid that there is no place for you. We would not go anywhere if we get together." Glenn set his heart.
"But your body is saying something different."
There had been no girls who professed affection to Glenn ever. At the time, Glenn had controlled himself physiologically but had considerably lost himself physically. His pulses raced, knees went weak and head reeled.
"To the hell with sorcery, let's roll."
It seemed that everybody had concentrated on admiring a love scene so much that they had completely forgotten that a magnate man was joining their league. It was a thunder stolen by love.