It was at noon when the sun was hanging on the beautiful clear sky. In an alley away from the bustling area, there was a three-storey red brick house surrounded by a garden.
The garden was full of colours and floral aroma with abundant fruits on the trees. At the corner, there were some weirdly colorful fungi. No one would expect that this wasn’t the home of a happy family, but the center of Charlouette, a magic agency under Starmage the magic association.
At a hidden corner nearby, there was a girl peeping at the entrance of the house.
“Ingrid, what are you doing meow? Aren’t you a straight-forward person? Look at the way you spy on that house. You’re like a perv peeping at your crush.” Panther the three-tail tuxedo cat babbled while standing on Ingrid’s shoulder.
“...I AM trying to see my crush…” Ingrid muttered.
“Meow? Did you just say——”
BAM! The noise was from the house. A youth in mage robe stormed out of the house, who had his sleeve grabbed by an older man.
“Enoch, calm down——”
“How can I calm down after their accusation against my mother...She would never do such a thing. I need an explanation!”
Enoch broke free from the grasp and ran away.
“Let’s follow!” Worried, Ingrid carried her companion Panther to follow Enoch.
They soon arrived at the perimeter of a magnificent building, where the black iron gate was closed; The marble pillars were decorated with the sculptures of sacred creatures. This was the headquarters of Starmage, the association that regulated all magic agencies.
Enoch barged into the building, while Ingrid waited outside for a while before going in. The moment she stepped into the headquarters, she heard Enoch yelling at a male mage.
“I NEED TO TALK TO THE HIGH PRIEST!”
“Humph. The High Priest will not meet someone casually. Please behave yourself. Your mother Tawil is the criminal who stole Starmage’s treasure “Soulstone” ——Mmm!”
“SHUT YOUR MOUTH! MY MOTHER DIDN’T DO IT! DON’T FRAME HER!” Furious, Enoch dragged the mage’s collar and yelled at him.
“We didn’t frame her,” said an old lady, tottering. Despite wearing a plain mage robe, she had an air of extraordinary elegance.
“High Priest.” All the mages bowed at the old lady respectfully.
“Enoch, let go of him,” said the lady softly.
Affected by her calm aura, Enoch calmed down and let go of his grasp.
“High Priest, I don’t believe that my mother would do such a thing.”
“I wish I was wrong too, but evidence doesn’t tell lies. We’ve tested multiple times just to be sure, and it’s shown that the magic remnant belonged to Tawil.”
“But she has contributed a lot to Starmage...Why would she…”
“You’re right. Without Tawil’s effort, Starmage wouldn’t have been separated from Lomond Manor. She’s technically the founder of Starmage, and it’s exactly why we must handle the case properly, otherwise the reputation of Starmage would be ruined. So, it’s simply impossible to retain Tawil’s qualification as a mage.”
“Is it still necessary to disband Charlouette after disqualifying mother as a mage?” Enoch had a feeling that as soon as Charlouette dissolved, the only connection between him and his mother would be gone.
“As for Charlouette...If you could find an S-class mage to join Charlouette and complete an S-class commission, we’ll recognize Charlouette the magic agency and allow you to continue running your business.”
“What? Priest, this isn’t——” A mage interrupted, but was silenced by the Priest with the wave of a hand.
“An S-class mage...How’s that even possible! By this time they must have all been employed by other magic agencies. I——Woah!” Enoch’s speech was muffled by a three-tailed cat which pounced on his face.
“I’ll join Charlouette!” declared Ingrid, who had been hiding in the corner and waiting for the best timing to make a grand entrance. Flipping her beautiful hair, she kept her chin up and grabbed the attention of everyone in the room.
“You are...Ingrid, a Kremier witch.” The Priest recognized her almost instantly, “You are the genius who spent merely 3 years to become an S-class mage.”
“I’ve just got my qualifications, but I think I can meet the requirements to keep Charlouette running.”
“Sure,” the Priest gave a benevolent smile, “but you still have an S-class commission to go. I happen to have one here, do you want to take it, Enoch?”
The Priest handed a scroll to Enoch.
“Is this the right thing to do? S-Class missions are extremely risky. Should I really put Mephibo and others in danger, just to maintain the little connection between mother and I? And that girl… Why did she help me?”
The rapid changes of circumstances freezed Enoch’s mind. He was occupied by millions of thoughts colliding in his head.
Ingrid grabbed the scroll and declared aloud with tremendous confidence, “Of course we’re taking it. I’m wagering my reputation as a witch on this, and I’ll complete it impeccably!”
“Haha, that’s the spirit. I look forward to your performance.” Slowly, the Priest came forward to Enoch. Putting her hand on Enoch’s shoulder, she said earnestly, “Enoch, Tawil really loves you two, you must have faith in her.”
“...Mmm.” Enoch replied in a low voice, and the Priest departed with a smile. Realizing there was nothing else to see, everyone started to leave the room except Enoch, Ingrid and her companion Panther.
“Uh...” After a moment of hesitation, Enoch finally summoned up the courage to hold Ingrid’s hands. Lowering his head, he said in all sincerity, “Thank you for helping out!”
Had Enoch raised his head, he would’ve seen Ingrid’s beautiful face was blushing all over.
Ingrid shook him off nervously and turned around, crossing her arms and trying to restore her calmness, “Humph, it’s no biggie. I… I just wanted to build my reputation...Yes, reviving Charlouette will definitely make me famous. That’s it.”
“Even so, you did help me...No, you saved me.”
“...Flattery doesn’t make me more merciful.” Ingrid turned towards Enoch again. Though her ears were still red, she pointed at Enoch as if she was fearless, “To make sure that we can complete the commission impeccably, I’ll give all of you a special training. We’re gonna impress them!”
Enoch chuckled and a rare, innocent smile spread all over his face, “Alright, bring it on.”