Casually entering a crowded cafe a few streets down my place, I took a seat at a table where a light blue-haired elven boy was already waiting for me.
"Lucas! You're here! Let's go to a club and I'll teach you how to live!"
"Yeah, dude, no."
"Fine! First we'll get you a weapon art and after that I'll show you how to live!"
"First you'll get me a weapon art and then I'll go train."
"Dude! Lucas! Dude! You're my best friend–"
"No, I'm not."
"And as your best friend, it's my duty to show you the wonders of life!"
And as soon as I took a seat, Kent went on to talk about showing me how to live for a few more minutes.
Hmm? Why was I meeting him, you ask?
Well, two hours earlier I got a voice call from this guy.
Just as I expected, he had called me to talk nonsense. He proposed the idea of going to a club and partying all night since it'll be our day off tomorrow.
Naturally, I said fuck off to that idea. Respectfully.
Then I gave a counter suggestion which included a meeting in a cafe and him helping me get a spear-based weapon art.
There were quite a few reasons why I asked him to help me out.
For starters, these past 6 days I've been keeping a close eye on every cadet in our class. I've been deeply observing them.
Every movement they make, every conversation they have, every action they take— everything.
I've been analyzing their personalities and traits while trying to get a good read on them in case I ever have to use them in the future….
Interact with them in the future!
I meant to say, in case I ever have to interact with them in the future.
Anyway, the thing I found about Kent was that he was a very social person. He was outgoing and fun, easy to talk to and charismatic.
Although he can't take hints and social cues sometimes, despite his ability to not being able to read the room, he's quite popular among the commoners.
He's the life of the party kinda boy.
Side note: he's a player. And a huge one at that. The guy knows how to flirt like a master of rizz.
So I figured he might've had a connection or two which could help me get a spear art.
And sure enough, when I talked to him on the voice call, he agreed to help me.
My other reason for asking him to help me was that… Well, he was the only one in the academy willing to associate with me.
"Anyway, are you sure you know someone who can help me, Kent?" changing the topic, I asked.
"Yes," Kent nodded and replied in an assuring tone. "There's this hot chick in our class and she has an older sister. I called her and asked her to request her sister to buy a mid-grade Level 3 spear art and bring it to us here as a favor."
Honestly, I was impressed. This guy has already made connections. Keeping him around could prove to be useful.
I was also jealous.
Why? Because I'm more handsome than him! If only I had a good reputation, I wouldn't need anyone's help!
But there's nothing I can do to change that though. So sighing internally, I asked Kent another question.
"And what price will she be taking for it?"
"Since her own sister is purchasing the spear art, she won't be taking any commission when selling it to us. She will only charge the retail price, which will be around 3000 to 5000 merit points."
"Woah, that's good."
That was actually a good deal. I don't know what others would have charged me if I had gone to them, but I know for sure that no one else would've forgo taking a commission.
What a kind person this girl must be.
"Of course, it's good. After all, I set you this deal," Kent puffed his chest. "So, what do you say now? After this, let's go hit a bar and enjoy!"
"Dude, as I said, I need to train."
"You can train on weekdays! Besides, bar and club entries are only free until the end of this month! We shouldn't miss this chance!"
"Exactly, we shouldn't miss this chance to build our strength."
"Oh come on, Lucas! We're best friends-"
"No, we're not."
"And we're in our teens! We must go to clubs to pick up girls, party, and get drunk!"
Rolling my eyes, I continued to argue with Kent. Can't this guy take a hint that I'm not interested in hanging out with him?!
In the middle of our talk, we noticed the door of the cafe swirling open and a fetching young girl sporting a loose, casual black hoodie and high-waisted denim shorts coming in.
She had dark hair and matching eyes and a triangular face that complemented her athletic but slender body. She was beautiful but nowhere near the same level as Amelia and Anastasia.
After entering the cafe, she scanned the surroundings with a lost look on her face as if she was looking for someone.
"Lilly, you're here!" like a true gentleman, Kent got up from his seat and walked up to the girl before bringing her over.
"Oh, hey Kent!" as soon as she spotted Kent, her eyes lit up and her hands, which had previously been tucked inside her hoodie pockets, emerged and began fidgeting.
Oh, I see how it is.
This girl is not kind. She has hots for Kent!
"Lilly, this is Lucas."
"Yeah, I know."
When Kent introduced me to her, she curtly sent a nod my way and immediately turned back to face Kent.
"By the way, Kent, this is what you asked for."
Without further ado, she took out a wooden binder from her dimensional bracelet and handed it over to the elven boy.
In today's world, with advanced technology, wooden binders and paper books are no longer necessary.
Technology has made it possible to access and store information in more efficient and convenient ways like inside cyberspace.
Why do they still use it? For aesthetics. You won't like learning Martial Arts from online PDFs, right?
Chinese-styled wooden binders give you that feeling that you're actually learning something ancient— something forgotten.
Pretty stupid reason, I know. (Plus, it raises the manufacturing prices of these manuals. And those greedy sects won't let a single chance escape to milk pennies.)
Yes, Martial art sects and schools produce martial manuals that they either sell to military academies or directly to individuals.
Of course, the techniques described in those manuals are not as refined as the ones they teach to their direct disciples
Anyway, after a short inspection, Kent handed me the martial manual.
I grabbed it and glanced at the words inscribed on its wooden cover—the words [6 Movement Lance Style: Blossom Shattering Blast].
"What'll be its price, Lilly?" Kent questioned the girl in the hoodie.
"My big sis brought it for 5200 merit points. As I've mentioned, I won't take any extra charges, but she will be charging a commission of 600 merit points, bringing the total to 5800 merit points." Lilly replied nonchalantly.
"That seems fair," I nodded.
"You don't have a problem?" Kent asked me.
"No, it's around what I expected." I shook my head.
Despite being slightly more expensive than the price Kent mentioned, the deal was still quite affordable.
Not to mention, I'll have plenty of chances to earn merit points in the future.
Plus, I'm pretty sure this martial manual belongs to the Mount Hua sect. They may be known for their swordsmanship, but they can definitely hold their own with other weapons too.
After sword arts, their area of expertise lies in spear arts. That's why I'm certain that this would be a technique worth learning.
"Well~, I should go." with a short sigh, Lilly said.
But before Kent could reply to her, I jumped in.
"Oh, no, don't go. Kent here was thinking about asking you for a coffee date." I said, pointing at the blue-haired boy.
"What?" with visibly flushed cheeks, Lilly widened her eyes.
"I was?" Kent raised an eyebrow in confusion.
"Yes, he's too shy to actually ask you for it so he asked me to tell you. That's why he invited you to a cafe." I nodded and kept weaving lies.
Damn I'm a good liar, I thought in the back of my mind, seemingly impressed with something I already knew about myself.
"I did?" even more confused than before, Kent looked at me.
"You did?" Lilly turned to Kent, clearly blushing her cheeks off.
"I-Uh, yes, I did! So um, will you accompany me to a cup of coffee?" clearing his head, Kent offered.
"S-Sure." The girl blushed, tucking her hands coyly into the pockets of her hoodie as she shyly nodded her head.
Aww. She was cute.
Taking my cue after playing the role of cupid, I got up from my seat and said my greetings.
"Well, you two, enjoy your date."
But as I was about to walk away, Kent grabbed my hand and pulled me in close. He whispered in my ear, "Thanks for the great wingmanship, bro! I knew you'd make a great best friend. But sorry, looks like we won't be able to hit up that club now."
Was this guy dumb? I did this precisely because I didn't want to hang out with him!
This guy seriously can't take a hint!
Nevertheless, I played the big man role as I said, "Don't worry, dude. We'll go next time."
Like that, I patted his back and quickly trailed out of the cafe as Kent kept on watching me with stars in his eyes.
Now that I've averted that inconvenience, I can start practicing now!