I took my time dressing, making sure everything looked right. I knew I wouldn’t be late, time was still frozen for most. When I finished, I had Mila show me to Jarod, since she had waited outside my door. Well, she had tried coming in at first, but I was still against her help for a number of reasons. Luckily, her other body wasn’t already in my room. She was with the twins, having been assuring them that Alma would be there shortly when time was frozen. Aaliyah must have let her in on the plan ahead of time.
Alma had insisted that Aaliyah came with her after noticing that Aaliyah was also frozen in place in the other room. Two Aaliyah’s was far too much for Alma to take at the moment. She had a great many questions, and I didn’t really blame her. I just hoped that she could eventually allow herself to go with the flow ― a far safer course for one’s sanity concerning the things Aaliyah did.
Partway down the hall toward the kitchen, I could suddenly hear voices, meaning time was proceeding normally once more. Hmm… Carl might not really see anything he did as abnormal. I probably should stop avoiding the topic with him, considering how much he did for me. Perhaps he’d enjoy talking about it with someone other than Aaliyah.
When Mila stopped to open a door, I took a moment remembering what was in that room. I never used it. Jarod was in there now, looking relaxed, save for the sweat. A number of the guildmates from the bachelor party were in there as well.
“How is everyone?” I asked.
“Dude, you made it!” exclaimed Jarod, grinning ear-to-ear.
“With a little help, I managed to get here on time.” I replied.
“How’s it going?” asked Damien.
“The master is engaged now!” exclaimed Mila.
A number of them congratulated me.
“Thank you, but try not to tell anyone else yet. I haven’t had a chance to tell my parents.” I told them. “Alma’s not even wearing a ring yet.”
“Whoa. Stop right there. You got engaged without even putting a ring on her finger!?” questioned Jesse.
“Her family’s complicated, and things happened to play out that way.” I replied.
“Don’t get me wrong. I don’t blame her for accepting and all, but wow… Rich people are weird.” stated Jesse.
I almost argued, but I found myself unable to come up with an argument that sounded valid even to me. I was wealthy now, and my life was certainly not normal. Normal people didn’t have to fight through death matches as part of a courtship. Normal people didn’t have Adelmar announcing an engagement that the couple never discussed. I hoped Alma didn’t mind this group knowing. Luckily, our chatter turned toward other things for a while.
“Master, the time.” whispered Mila.
“Ah. Yes. Looks like you’ll need to be taking your seats. Jarod and I are supposed to be entering soon.” I informed everyone.
A number of them started giving Jarod last minute encouragement as they headed out the door.
Marlin put her hand on Jarod’s shoulder and said, “Just relax. You’ve got this.” A spell slowly formed by her for creating a small gust of air on Jarod.
The footsteps of the others were continuing down the hall, so I felt reasonably safe using a little magic as well. I created one to clean Jarod of sweat and salt, watching Marlin’s reaction. The shock was evident as she jumped backward with her eyes wide.
“You don’t use magic much, do you.” I stated, thinking she should have noticed some of the spells around Alma and the twins when we were out on ATVs together.
She shook her head, appearing speechless.
Jarod looked from me to Marlin and seemed to be putting things together, but he said, “Wedding, guys. You can discuss what just happened later.”
“Yes. Sorry, Jarod.” I told him. Turning to Marlin, I said, “I’ll be happy to discuss things with you later if you’re up for it.”
She stared for a moment before quickly nodding and hurrying out. Mila shut the door behind her.
“Exposing yourself as a wizard now?” teased Jarod.
“I have a feeling that she could use a teacher. I wish you could have seen her spell.” I replied.
“Me too. How did things go with Hyun-woo though? The twins made the guy sound pretty tough.” he commented.
“Things could have gone better, but they worked out.” I told him.
“He actually was able to put up a fight then?” he inquired.
“He’s stronger and faster than I am, and I believe him to be far more experienced with magic as well.” I admitted.
“Then how did you win?” he asked.
“Hyun-woo was distracted during the fight. I ended up cutting off his hand and claiming his weapon.” I replied.
“Oh.” stated Jarod, his face scrunching as he gripped his right wrist with his left. “Can I see his sword later? The Demon Blade… that has to be amazing!”
“You can have it as an extra wedding present as far as I’m concerned.” I replied. “I bet the twins will love it as well.”
“What!? Are you serious?” he asked, jumping to his feet.
“I need to make sure there is no strange family custom against it, but sure. I never want to use that sword.” I told him.
“Oh, man… That’s… Thank you!” he exclaimed, brushing his hand through his hair.
“Jarod, you need to look presentable for your wedding.” chided Mila as she stepped over to him and pulled him down enough for her to run a comb through his hair.
“Yeah. Sorry. I wasn’t thinking.” he replied.
I checked the time again. We needed to get to the door before I got in trouble for having the groom late. The moment Mila finished, we all headed out. The time had come.
I was surprised when we had done the rehearsal that Jarod had forgone most groomsman, but I supposed that was easier than having to pick between friends. I had expected Alma to be Ai’s Maid of Honor, but Mai had that spot, walking in at my side. Alma sat near Izumi, who came for the sake of appearances.
Izumi didn’t consider this to be her daughters’ real wedding. She only counted the one they were to have in Japan next week, one which I wasn’t to attend. Jarod would probably tell me about it later, but Alma had already given me the gist of what will transpire, a mix of Slayer traditions along with Japanese customs.
Today’s wedding had an emerald, cream, and gold theme. The twins insisted Jarod looked great in any green, and I was opposed to their thoughts on remodeling my ballroom for their wedding, which has small amounts of gold trim. The mirrors were certainly going to be used to interesting effect. After everyone entered, they would switch modes to display an ocean view from a cliffside for the ceremony. I found the image quite spectacular during the rehearsal.
Once Mai and I were in place, Jarod’s turn to walk the aisle came. I wondered if all the time he spent in suits of late helped him feel more comfortable in a tux. He seemed more relaxed now than he had waiting.
When Ai’s turn came, she easily stole the show. Alma had designed the gown, and she did beautifully. There were some gasps in the audience when the mirrors changed, but I was certain that was precisely the effect Jarod and the twins wanted. The ceremony was beautiful and seemed quite well received.
The reception thereafter took place in the back yard. Emma had prepared additional flower beds specifically for it, matching the theme with cream and gold colored flowers that certainly couldn’t be grown elsewhere, at least not without her gift with plants. I wasn’t certain if the cream-colored wood of the chairs and tables were more natural or not, but she had done a fantastic job with engravings on both. The twins had opted not to use the table cloths after seeing Emma’s initial tests.
Cosette sat in the shade of some trees Emma had grown specifically for her and was able to attend the reception easy enough, though she did excuse herself occasionally to “freshen up” with Portentia. Marco’s cooking held its usual place of honor, and his cake had Aaliyah’s full approval.
Marlin and I chatted a little about magic during the reception, which was interesting. She had learned a little from her grandmother, whom she obviously admired. Her mother had been against her learning magic at all, feeling it brought nothing but trouble. She was shocked to hear that I only started under a year ago, since the spell I had used to clean Jarod was quite beyond her. I admitted to a need for constant practice, though I didn’t elaborate on the need.
When Alma approached us, Marlin excused herself, probably thinking we couldn’t discuss more at the time. I used the opportunity to inform my parents about my sudden engagement. Mother was overjoyed, and father took the news well enough. He had been expecting it.
During the dance, I quietly questioned Alma about giving Muramasa to Jarod and the twins. She seemed surprised that I would give up such a weapon, but assured me there was no rule, custom, or otherwise that prohibited me from doing it. Ai and Mai embraced me while practically yelling their thanks when I informed them.
As the sun set, bioluminescent plants surprised the guests again, but the party soon drew to a close. Surprisingly, Izumi wasn’t even staying the night, leaving immediately after the reception with excuses of business that needed handled, though she did congratulate me on my latest victory. I wasn’t disappointed. All of the guildmates who were in attendance were staying the night, so we had the freedom to indulge ourselves in virtual adventure to end the night. Overall, I felt the wedding was quite a success.