"Meaow~" Moon complained with a regal expression. Bugs sticking on her body wasn't the best of feeling and if it wasn't for Nik's wonderful scent, wonderful touch, wonderful sound, and did she already stated wonderful touch? Nik's pats became the only reason for joy in the evening but still...
"Meow" Feeling the soft brush passing through her back; the feeling of her itches being scratched pulled a satisfied mewl. Right now, Nik and Moon sat within the room of an inn. Since they didn't look presentable enough after rushing the long-distance straight away, they decided to take a break. Well, Nik suggested and decided. He loved chatting with Moon in an idle manner even if he couldn't understand her... it was only a matter of time. If he wasn't wrong, the longer the spirit beast cultivates, the greater their sentience grows. With Moon sprawled on his lap, Nik continued tending the wild princess as her mewls resounded within the empty room. Once Nik used his [Purification,] both of them looked as if they hadn't left a royal palace for many years. Well, aside from the slight creases of Nik's tunic.
Finally satisfied, Moon stood up and sauntered around the room, sniffing the area every now and then. 'What a wonderful doggo~' taking his smartphone out, Nik snapped a few pictures. Finally satisfied by the addition to his connection, Nik continued to stare at Moon idly. 'Bow feels too feminine for my taste... hmm, an onesie? Maybe an onesie of Supreme Tiger over a Moon kitty... that would look amazing. But... Moon may not like the feel of the onesie, should I hire a seamstress to check out the materials Moon might be comfortable with?'
He wanted to properly spoil Moon. Since he wasn't able to give Ignit the life she deserved, he thought of giving Moon his attention whenever he could. Of course, the thought of Moon in a royal onesie overwhelmed Nik slightly. He still wasn't ready for the glorious sight... yet.
"Alrighty~" Nik embraced Moon and picked her up. Instead of tucking her into his tunic and moving to the Heavenly Marks Family, Nik thought it was appropriate for finding a good collar for Moon. But he extinguished the thought as soon as it came. Collars were a way to get a s.e.x.u.a.l rise out of him, that is it. Had he been extremely fond of such accessories, his own body would fashion a few. And the thought of making Moon look like ordinary pet cat didn't seem too pleasing to Nik. So, Nik placed her down once properly checked out of the inn. In the Ren street of the Gou District of Glory City, a strange scene of a mutated Sun Kitten following an astonishingly handsome man attracted the eyes of civilians under the evening sky. As if feeling the gazes of the surrounding people, both, the man and the kitten puffed their chests out and dragged their steps to give off an elegant feeling.
"Ah! You are" Smacking the back of his subordinate's helmet before he could disrespect the man with mutated Sun Kitten that seemed like a new discovery, Nie Lan, the chief guardsman of the Heavenly Marks Family bowed, his metallic armor clattering alongside the movement of his body. "Master Nik, welcome to the Heavenly Marks Family! Our patriarch notified us about your arrival. Please, grace our clan with your appearance."
Apparently, the man did not excel in the art of flattering and looked extremely awkward. Had he wished to butter Nik up, his words should have been Master Nik, our daughters, wives, sisters, and young mothers are waiting for you. Please grace them with your appearance.
'Man... if someone really said that... I'll feel accomplished~' Nik humored himself as Moon purred from behind, making Nie Lan look slightly strange. Not willing to let the surrounding awkwardness that was thick enough to be cut into pieces by a butter knife, Nik smiled and clasped his hand in a show of politeness, "We all heard the kitty, let us not make it wait any longer."
Pulling amused expressions from the surrounding guardsmen, Nik and Moon were led by Nie Lan. The pointedly bearded man wearing a rather dated scaled armor led Nik through the front yard Nik categorized as 'humble.' Aside from the large stones affixed into the ground to provide patched pavement through the grassy panel, the only thing to note was the dragon-shaped lanterns as the entire structure of the main family building looked a little smaller than the building of his classroom. Of course, Nik had committed his own research and came to understand that the Heavenly Marks Family's land, both, agriculturally productive and domestic use ones were, in fact, combined. Ahead of the family building would by a small town and then a wide expanse of agricultural land that would act as the main source of the income of the family as a whole.
Walking into the cream-painted building furnished by polished wooden structures of, once again, dragons of various shapes and sizes, Nik saw himself towards the main hall whose front was already crowded by elders and the patriarch of the family himself. The older man with a cleanly shaven beard but thick graying mustache turned to face towards the newcomers. Hurrying forward, the family head bowed slightly and greeted in a loud voice, "Master Nik, we all are graced by your presence!" And that solved Nik's confusion on who the guard copied to flatter him. Committing the same stance, Nik thought for a moment and finally recalled the old man's name.
"Patriarch Nie Hai, please, we already know each other. Let us not waste time in pleasantries and have a good chat."
The other elders, especially the ones resistive to Nie Hais control felt their heart shudder. Meanwhile, Nie Hai's face turned extremely ruddy. With a big smile, Nie Hai stood and nodded, "As you suggest, Master Nik."
Compliments hadn't caused Nie Hai to lose his mind and he replied in a reserved manner. "Nie Lan, call for Nie Ming and that trouble maker Nie Li."
The Guard captain nodded as Nie Ming gestured Nik in an inviting manner towards the main hall, that was decorated with metallic dragons...
'What's with the dragons? How about a lion, a gorilla? Even a boar would liven up the place...'
Followed by Moon, and then Nie Hai, Nik walked into the hall with slightly larger and lavish chairs placed on either side and the most lucrative one on the opposite side of the entrance. A sweet scent lingered within the room while the lack of lucrative chandelier didn't stop the family to push glowing light orbs in the open mouth of the metallic dragons 'flying' around the ceiling.
"Please, Master Nik, take a seat," Nie Hai led Nik to the seat right next to the main seat. As Nik sat on the comfortable chair and added a note to change the chair in Yuuko's shop, Moon mewled playfully and jumped over to Nik's lap before chasing her tail slowly and then crumbling into a lazy posture while yawning. Maybe... Moon just didn't like to be active for too long, be it day or night.
Once everybody settled down, Nik waited for them to speak up. Since his intentions were pretty much clear, he remained patient enough to let someone else direct the conversation. If he wasn't wrong, political swimmers like these elders loved to have the chance to take the initiative. Seeing that a few breaths had already passed, one of the elders finally spoke up, "Master Nik, we all have heard your tales. But, may we get enlightened on the reason of getting chosen for your selection test?"
"Oh," Nik smiled, "It's pretty much Nie Li's contribution. He is a rare talent but my techniques cannot benefit males. These techniques were a fortuitous encounter and unwilling to let them go to waste, I decided to find talented female apprentices."
"Sigh, I wish my son had been a foolish, unruly lass instead!" One of the elders lamented while the third one waved his hand through his beard, his words testified to his shamelessness, "Had I known this... I would have made a daughter..."
"Ehm," Nie Hai interjected, his glare instantly silencing the particularly stupid elder before speaking with a smile, "Anyway, Master Nik, we cannot let you help our family's member without compensation. So, I insist that tomorrow morning, before starting the selection, accompany me to our humble treasury and take one thing of your choice."
Since Nie Hai's words weren't objected, this decision already looked discussed. "Patriarch Nie Hai, standing to ceremonies is not who I am known for. If that is your wish, let me see it through."
'Ah... sometimes, I terrify myself with my superb acting skills,' Nik sighed internally as Nie Ming and Nie Li finally entered the scene. What took place next was an extremely vein-popping conversation filled with compliments upon compliments. The elders and Nie Hai complimented Nie Ming for providing such a son, meanwhile, Nie Ming flattered everyone back. Nie Li took part, too, with a surprising eloquence at that.
Finally, after Nik showed a distinct favor to accompany Nie Li's family for the dinner and his hosting, practically making Nie Ming swell with pride, Nik and Moon were finally able to get away. Meanwhile, Nie Li looked over at Moon following behind Nik curiously.
'Hmm? Finding a Moon Kitten is extremely rare... the more it grows, the more enticing it scent becomes, especially to the feline kind, practically making it the best beast lurer in the category of the cat family. If used well, of course. I should search for one, too.' Nie Li remarked as he saw his father and Nik chatting happily, making him smile internally. After his previous mistake with Ziyun, Nie Li had cooled down and wanted to approach her in a more orthodox and 'respective' manner. And if Nik introduces him to Ziyun once again, then his past slights could probably be forgotten.
'Sigh... the pages of the Temporal Demon Spirit Book seems one-time use only... if I had it, I could have mastered the forms and insights hidden within Teacher Nik's techniques. That would have doubled my power instantly... and quite literally. And teacher seems to be a talent, too... I can already feel multiple insights meld into his body and forming a resonance with the surroundings. He is close to mastering an insight.'
In reality, since Nik had mastered too many insights too quickly, he needed to properly adjust his body. The feel of 'being one' with the world was the most basic use of insights and right now, Nik was simply making use of multiple insights into his daily activities to integrate with them. This, according to the [Tome of Battle,] was the true method of utilizing insights gained To allow them and seep into one's body instead of turning them into 'techniques.'
Of course, this was only true for physical insights and not special kinds like elemental ones.
Meanwhile, learning upon the news of the 'master' of her dreams visiting their house for the meal and stay, a certain buxom housewife instantly called upon her younger, far more s.e.x.u.a.lly active, twin and started preparing the meal that would even put the said wife's five-year anniversary's dinner to shame.