After the most awkward social experience that Kassadin had ever been in, he somehow had managed to get out of the hospital with the following knowledge:The strange turn of events that had occurred at the hospital earlier still baffled Kassadin as he made it back to his tiny apartment, finding it hard to believe that all of the events from after the library to this moment had been all in the same day.
- Dinner was at 6
- Kassadin was to go shopping with Lux at noon
- and he hadn't actually been unconscious over night
"The Kinkou showed up to save my life," Kass murmured under his breath to himself. "What a strange omen that must be."
He didn't exactly understand why he couldn't wear his current clothing to dinner the next night. "I realize these jeans are rather ratty, but I have better ones," he kept talking to himself.
"Alright, so my clothes aren't exactly formal wear, but Garen always shows up to royal banquets with his armor on, why should I have to go shopping to get clothes that I'll never wear again in my life?" Kassadin complained to the open air.
The argument was moot, he would have to seriously win over the Crownguards if he ever wanted to get his weapon contraption back. That had take him three months to make the last time he had needed to recreate it. Even then, he had been able to use previous parts to help in the process, this time it would be from scratch.
Kassadin realized he was actually famished, and would have to whip up something to eat in his tiny kitchen / dining room that was in the apartment. All he had was ramen.
Well, it's not like I haven't lived on less before, he thought to himself.
A very filling meal of noodles later, Kass fell into bed, utterly exhausted, his movement speed slowed by at least 40%.
Worrying about the following day of shopping would just have to wait until morning.
Kassadin slowly, turned over. He had slept on top of the covers all night, not even bothering to get underneath the warming blankets.
He still felt incredibly well rested though. Astonishing since he had gone to bed late.
Then came the slow swivel of eyes to the clock next to his bed. Now filled with Horror, Kass realized that he had slept all the way to 11:20. There was a mere 40 minutes to take a shower, get dressed, and arrive at the market early.
Kassadin instantly flew into action, stripping his clothing as quickly as he was able, all the while stumbling over to the bathroom. Once there was nothing left, he arrived at the bathroom.
Not even taking the time to close the door, Kass jumped into the shower, turning the water on all the way. Without any time for the water to warm up, it was freezing cold, but that didn't matter because it was nothing compared to the six months it would require to recreate the arm pulley system.
Kassadin practically threw the bar of soap over his body, wanting to get as much coverage as possible in very little time. He slowed down for only a moment to make sure that one place was indeed cleaned, couldn't have with that area getting dirty.
When he was satisfied with the amount of dirt and grime that had been scraped off of his body, Kass slammed the water off and lept out of the shower stall, desperately grabbing for his best clothes. He had planned to iron them to make them look the best that was possible, figuring that if he could impress Lux with the clothing as was, then perhaps no shopping would be required.
There would be no time for ironing today. After frantically putting on clothes, Kassadin found that he was wearing his only pair of black slacks, fine black leather boots, a white dress shirt, a black vest, and slightly off black suit jacket.
Black went with Kassadin's jet black hair, so he had always played it safe and bought black fancy clothes, knowing that it would for sure work.
Having finished the operation of dressing, it was now 11:30. He had just enough time to run across the city to the markets and get there on time.
Kassadin ran his fingers through his hair, smoothing it out, before he bolted for the door, running as fast as he could. Chances he were that he would not end up getting there in time, but it wouldn't be because he hadn't tried.
After drawing many glances from sprinting through the crowded streets of Demacia, Kassadin finally reached the outer edges of the Market district. He stopped to catch his breath and keep from appearing as if he had indeed sprinted all the way across the city to make it on time.
After a few great gasps of breath later, he looked to a lamppost to see if it was noon. Kassadin was pleasantly surprised to find that the shadow cast, was perfectly on top of the rest of the pole, professing that he was just on time. He then walked into the marketplace, looking for where Lux would certainly be waiting for him.
To Kassadin's great confusion, he could not spot Lux anywhere in the marketplace at all. After spending five minutes walking the entire length of all the stalls and shops, he affirmed that Lux was nowhere to be found.
Beginning to become suspicious, Kassadin was relieved when Lux finally showed up from the same direction that he himself had come from. After walking over to see what was going on, Lux spotted him and said, "Sorry I'm late, I had been here early, but went to investigate an apparent madman running through the streets." There was a knowing tone to her voice, but she betrayed not the certainty of knowing the truth.
Kassadin bowed his head, ashamed of having run late. Instead of trying to breach the subject, he instead tried only to allude to the possibility of being the "crazy man." He raised his head, saying, "Well, I was pretty sure I was going to run a little late anyway."
"That's alright," Lux said, bubbly personality returning, "We'll just have to shop twice as much now!"
Kassadin bit back the groan that threatened to escape his throat with all of the willpower in the world.
Before he knew it, Kassadin and Lux had been through no less than 4 clothing shops, a couple "cute" nook shops, and a perfume shop. Suddenly, Hell didn't look so bad.
Currently, they were in Terrific Taric's Wonder Emporium, an amalgamation of all three different types of stores they had been in earlier. Kassadin was glad for his muscles that he had built throughout his job as a courier, as he already carried four massive bags filled with odds and ends.
Kassadin was currently dressed up in a fancy robe outfit that was apparently "all the rage" among the demacian nobles. It's grand selling point was that it was good for blocking wind.
Lux fawned over Kassadin, constantly holding up different colors and comparing them to his eyes, which never changed color. He was currently dressed in a deep colored purple robe, which upon trying on had elicited a cry of glee from the bubbly blonde that "Purple is definitely your color!" Kassadin had to admit, it did look quite fashionable on him.
He didn't know what any of the purpose had been in wearing good clothes to this event, Lux hadn't even noticed he was dressed up. Oh well, he thought, At least I've found something that I might actually hang onto.
"Outrageous" Taric was dealing with Lux over the transaction required for buying the robe, and a few other bits and pieces. Kassadin glanced over to his left, and saw a stunningly beautiful woman trying on a long blue gown. It certainly helped that the gown was low cut, and the woman was very well endowed. She didn't seem to be able to make up her mind about whether the outfit looked well on her though, so Kass decided to ease her mind.
"In case you're wondering if that looks good," he began, trying to sound jovial and harmless, "It does."
The unknown woman quickly turned her head to look at who was speaking, then quickly blushed and looked down.
That wasn't what Kass had been aiming for. "Well," he said, trying to correct his mistake, "What do I know? I'm stuck trying out robes for some cruel divine punishment. If it would make you feel better, It might look terrible, and I just don't know."
The gorgeous woman gave a slight smile and floated up to give Kassadin a quick peck on the cheek. Wait, floated? Kassadin thought. Indeed the woman, who was only roughly five feet tall, had floated up to kiss his cheek at a six foot height.
As the woman slowly walked away, Kassadin looked after her, filled with both confusion, and intrigue.
"oooohhhhhhhhh," Lux appeared next to Kassadin, "Somebody's getting along just fine in here on his own."
Kass blushed, perhaps as much as he had ever done before, except perhaps when he had been saved by the sheriff of Piltover. "I ... I just," he stammered, "I just saw her there looking uncomfortable and tried to symp-" he cut himself off before admitting that shopping hadn't been tons of fun. "I just tried to console her, ok?"
"Well," Lux said, just as energetic and happy as ever, "Don't worry about her not replying or anything. She's mute."
"By the way," Lux said, voice full of that gossip tone that people used to talk about trivial things, "Taric thinks that outfit is truly outrageous."
"Well," Kassadin was about to become offended as this was the best outfit he'd tried on in his opinion, before Lux cut him off.
"That's high praise. Taric loves outrageous outfits," Lux proclaimed.
In a whirlwind of movement and resistance, Kassadin exited the shop, wearing the purple robe, with long purple sleeves, a meaningless purple pattern down the front of the legs, and fashionable black boots with shiny sparkles. He also wore black leggings underneath the robe, which could separate into a top and a bottom part, but you would never see them because the robe was meant to be worn all the time.
It was indeed made out of firm material, making it great at protecting from the wind. If any wind did get through the underside of the robe, the leggings were in place to prevent cold.
It was four in the afternoon. Two hours left until the dinner appointment.
"Ok," Lux said, "You've endured enough. Now go and get used to your new favorite outfit. I have to go and get ready!" With that, she energetically walked away, almost skipping, before Kass could say anything in response.
It was several minutes, standing outside Taric's truly terrifying store with five bags filled with heavy material, before Kassadin could begin to make his mind start working again.
First, He thought, I have to go home and find a place to put all of this stuff.
He was just sitting at home, in a ridiculous outfit, that the lady of luminosity herself had picked out for him, waiting to go to dinner with the Crownguards.
What was so weird about that?
Why did that girl have to have been the "Miss Demacia" winner this year? Why couldn't it have been just some girl? Why hadn't he just walked away, leaving her to that fate?
No, Kassadin couldn't have done that. He lived his life by a set of morals. He had obeyed his mother when it had come to quitting the search for Icathia. He had held onto the parcel of precious metal even when it meant his personal sacrifice, he had helped that girl in a back alley, even when it meant that he would have to kill more people.
Then it sank in. He had killed people.
They were evil people, but probably had family that worried over where they were, siblings who would cry for them to return, girlfriends that would swear vengeance.
It had been easy to hide behind the pretense of being busy, but when he had a couple seconds to spare just to wait around, the crushing reality that he had killed again, came crashing down onto his already troubled soul.
He had been forced to kill before, but that had been forced. There was still the pretense of choice in this situation.
Kassadin flopped down into a chair in his apartment. Life was becoming too complicated for his liking. Simple things like trying to get his arm pulley system back were becoming troublesome by themselves. He had avoided the responsibility of knowing who these men had been for as long as he could. At the dinner tonight, he internally vowed, I'll have to talk to the Might of Demacia about finding out who those men were.
Before he knew it, it was 5:20 and time for Kassadin to leave in order to get there fashionably early.
Kass stood up, took a deep breath, and gave his fake smile a nice practice session before brushing off his robe of the dust from his apartment and leaving. He stuffed a small kitchen knife into his right sleeve just because he felt naked without some kind of personal defense.
Demacia was an explosion of activity before dinner, people going to restaurants, restaurants cooking up food, league match viewing stations being set up for national pride, and the street vendors trying to get the most out each ounce of activity. Kassadin barely stood out among the hustle and bustle of activity going on around him.
He walked slowly, not wanting to repeat the earlier events, especially now that he was in a much more distinct outfit. People had forgotten what a normal looking man running through the streets had looked like, but a man in an ostentatious purple robe? no way.
The farther he got to the noble district, the less there seemed to be in the way of activity in the streets. There was still activity, but less people were running around, trying to get things done. After all, the wealthy never really ran around. They had people to do that for them.
Kassadin was starting to look forward to a quiet dinner with just him, and the two Crownguards he had met already. There had been enough action for him lately to fill four lifetimes.
Approaching the Crownguard estate, Kassadin noted that many people were arriving there as well.
This was bad news.
Clearly, Kassadin had gotten the wrong idea when he was invited to a dinner at the Crownguard estate. This was going to be no quiet dinner between just a few people. This was a dinner party, with nearly all of the nobility arriving. This was going to be a very long night.
Kassadin walked up to the gatekeeper, who instantly recognized him and said, "Oh, Mister Kassadin, please walk right on in, everyone is expecting you."
Kassadin gave his winning fake smile and moved on in. This night wasn't going to be long, it was going to be downright unbearable. He thought of the running, right then and there, but remembered the six months of work it would take to rebuild the pulley system, and gritted his teeth. No silly dinner party would beat him down like this.
He should have run then.
Instead, he walked right into the grand three story estate, prepared to face the worst of social mingling. Pushing open the right door of the grand double door entrance, etched with gold, with the name Crownguard over the door frame, Kassadin was met with the sight of a very large crowd already gathered in a ginormous sitting room.
There was a curved staircase that went up to a balcony with several doors that led deeper within the building. On the ground floor, there were open archways that led to a lounge, with a fireplace already roaring, and a very grandiose dining room. However, the dining room was only filled with long tables holding huge platters of food. This dinner party was the kind where you would be standing all night.
Kassadin was about to sigh in fatigue, before Lux suddenly appeared before him. She was dressed in a very skinny and long blue dress, which complemented her eyes wonderfully. There were no sleeves on the dress, leaving her lean arms to bask in the glorious light. The dress itself went down nearly to her ankles, yet she still managed to jump around the place as if she were in her official armor and everything. The dress was also low cut, and tight in just the right places, but Kassadin found himself not enjoying the sight, Lux was more of a friend to him than anything else. "You're fashionably late, I like it," she said with a smile.
Kass caught a glance of a clock before returning, "I'm still ten minutes early!" throwing his arms out to the side flabbergasted.
"Oh," she said, explaining, "The custom lately has been to arrive fifteen minutes early."
Before Kassadin could reply, Lux grabbed his sleeve and said, "Anyway, come on, there are so many people for you to meet." He was practically dragged away from the entrance and thrown in front of many nobles, who would tell him their names and thank him for the public service he had provided.
He became annoyed when they seemed to be surprised that a foreigner would show such bravery and moral awareness. Just because he wasn't born in Demacia didn't mean that he hadn't been taught the rights and wrongs of life. In fact, everyone in Piltover had been privy to the same lessons as he was, and would suspect that most of the people in Piltover would have at least tried to help as he had.
He tried to remember the names of all of the people Lux threw him into, but it soon became a blur. Holding onto the most important was a practice he was already accustomed to, though, and could remember that he met the Maven of the Strings, once again, the Grand Duelist, and the most interesting person he had ever met, Lady Shyvana, the half dragon.
Eventually, Lux deposited Kassadin with her brother to go do some private mingling with her own friends. Garen was leaning against a wall, clearly not much for the social scene either. Kass smiled at him weakly, trying his best to remain positive, among the severe torture that he was being subjected to.
"I see you are surprised this 'dinner' is a party," Garen stated. "You are not the only one, Lux has a way of making social plans that nobody knows about until they get there."
Kassadin turned sympathetically to the mighty warrior, realizing that the proud man had been living with this kind of scenario playing out his entire life. Beneath his gruff exterior, Garen was just another man, understandable by everyone, but still kept unknown to all. "I bet you've gotten really good at smiling to people you're supposed to know already," he said in reply.
"You have no idea."
Suddenly a grand fanfare lit up the air of the room, causing everyone to quiet down. A knowing smile lit up Garen's face for the first time that Kassadin had seen as the fanfare came to a close. A crier began to shout out, "Prince Jarvan the Fourth, and Seneschal."
This quiet dinner had just become a royal event. Lux reappeared in front of Kassadin, grabbing his arm and dragging him along once more, without even a word. Before he knew what was happening, Kassadin was thrown out in front of the crowd, practically into Jarvan's royal countenance.
Kassadin quickly dropped to one knee, knowing that it would be expected of him. In sharp contrast, Lux managed a quick curtsy before jumping back up and telling Jarvan all about Kassadin.
Although he was too busy looking at the floor, Kass could hear that Jarvan said nothing throughout Lux's story. When she finished he said only, "rise."
Kassadin slowly rose, until he stood straight up, finding himself staring at a very royally decked out prince. The prince was in a bluish version of the golden armor he usually wore. Although the lance that was usually in his hand was strapped to his back, he still looked quite intimidating. Or perhaps that was just because he could put Kassadin to death with less than a glance.
"I would like," the prince began in a very official and low tone, "to personally thank you for your service to Demacia and her peoples."
"Thank you m'lord," Kassadin curtly said, not wanting to put his foot in his mouth.
"Good," the royal man replied, easing out of his official tone somewhat, "Now go, as I'm sure this is very uncomfortable for you."
"Yes, m'lord," Kassadin replied before walking away as steadily as he could.
When had life steered him into this? Living among the royalty had been something that Kassadin had not been born into and had never expected to have to deal with. And you know what? That hadn't bothered him. The constant giving of respect was something that he had felt glad that he didn't have to deal with his whole life. Simply knowing someone and treating them like a person instead of a porcelain statue was worth more respect in his opinion.
He sighed as he made his way back to the wall that Garen had been leaning against because it was under the shadow of the staircase and inconspicuous. Garen himself was no longer present, instead going to embrace his old friend. Kassadin was finally alone for the first time after arriving at the party.
He moved into the dining room and picked up the largest of the small plates that guests were supposed to use. It was still only a half a foot in diameter. He picked up different types of the foreign rich cuisine, not knowing what half the food there even was.
Upon trying a lot of everything, Kassadin decided that most of everything, was not worth anything.
Giving up, and wanting some peace and quiet for a few minutes before he was missed, Kass moved farther into the ground floor of the estate, looking to explore. Interestingly enough, he found few servants, merely a cook, a maid and a single butler who all seemed to be enjoying some time off.
After they saw him, they all jumped to attention. Kassadin chuckled and started quickly forward, saying, "Please, go back to relaxing, I'm not a noble or anything anyway."
The wait staff did as they were told, eliciting a groan of unhappiness from Kassadin. "Seriously," he said as earnestly as possible, "I'm not even a citizen here, I'm a foreign peasant."
The three stared at him blankly until recognition dawned upon their faces and they invited him over to eat some of their food. They were eating hearty chicken, green vegetables, and sumptuous potatoes. Kassadin quickly sat down and tried to eat as much as he could without being a pig.
During this time he learned that the Crownguards were wonderful employers and actually did a lot of the upkeep for the estate themselves. Lux was always helping out with the cooking and Garen was constantly helping out with the cleaning. In fact, Lux herself had made most of the food out on the tables tonight. This caused Kass some discomfort, for he had shunned the food made by her for the simple meal that the wait staff was eating.
He felt guilty enough to get up, say his thanks and begin to walk back to the dinner party. He was their honored guest and would act as such, whether it was enjoyable for him or not. Unfortunately, he took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in some kind of wine cellar.
There he found a very interesting hole. A hole in the wall.
There was a gaping hole in the stone wall.
With a loud thud, Kassadin's knees buckled and he fell over, right onto his face. He remained conscious but, could do nothing to stop the action of tying him up and rooting him to the floor.
"God D.amnit," said a woman's voice near his right ear, "This was supposed to be an easy job. Break into a three person dinner and capture the girl."
"Yes," a low, intense voice said from his other side, "Intel dropped the yordle on this one, now we're stuck here in a dinner party, with the guest of honor tied up."
"I guess we'll just have to go in hard and fast," said the first voice.
An indeterminate amount of people walked away from Kassadin as he regained control of his motor functions and started to feel a sharp pain at the base of his head. He opened his eyes and focused them in to find only one person looking at him. To his great horror, he recognized the symbol of the Noxus. These were Noxian assassins that had been sent to grab Lux during their dinner.
Kassadin struggled with his restraints, finding himself tied on both wrists and both ankles. His wrists were tied together at the small of his back, and that knot was tied to the crosspiece of the back of the chair. Each ankle was tied to it's respective foot of the chair. The chair itself was old and wooden, but not rickety enough to be broken apart from the restrained struggling that he was allowed.
He struggled to the extent of his muscles, but the knots were expertly tied and he wouldn't be slipping out of them any time soon.
The assassin chuckled saying, "You might as well sit tight, there's nothing you can do."
He yawned, and went on jesting, "Take comfort in the fact we'll be killing you on the way out. That way you won't look like a coward."
The assassin then guffawed, clearly overjoyed with his ability to mock a man tied down.
Suddenly, Kassadin remembered the kitchen knife that he had hastily stuffed into his right sleeve. Once again, simple habits would at least give Kassadin a chance to save himself, if not the woman to whom he recently owed his life too. With practiced arm flexes, he slid the small knife down the sleeve until it flowed into his grasp.
He then went to work on the restraints, desperately trying not to betray even the slightest of movements in his arms.
The work seemed to take ages, and right before he was about to finish slicing through the rope, the sound of screams and explosions began to waft through the nighttime air that had entered through the hole in the wall. The noxian assassin jumped up, crying in glee that the action had started.
"I have a question for you," Kassadin said, finishing the last strand of the rope and letting it fall to the ground while the assassin was distracted.
The noxian turned and gave Kassadin a bored look. "What?" he said, clearly uninspired.
Kass leaped up into the air and forward, coming down into a somersault. He kicked his feet forward when he came out of it, bringing the chair, still tied to his ankles, down to break apart upon the unfortunate assassin's face.
No longer tied to the chair, which didn't exist as a chair anymore, Kassadin clambered to his feet, finding the assassin unconscious upon the floor. "Why don't you take a seat?"
Slipping off his now loose ankle restraints, He retrieved the kitchen knife and replaced it in his sleeve, and sprinted off through rooms and hallways, trying desperately to find the way back to the dinner party, which now only sounded battle. On his way, he found the wait staff, slain where they had previously sat, blood pooled onto the floor from their now limp bodies.
Kassadin paused only to pick up a larger culinary knife before he ran on, having not the time to deal with this intense emotional moment. Suddenly he came to a familiar hallway, and ran towards the sound of battle, only to encounter a woman with deep red hair leading a burly man carrying a body shaped burlap bag.
It didn't take Kass long to realize what was going on, Lux was in the bag, these were noxian assassins trying to take her away, back through the conspicuous portal they had came through while their allies delayed the dinner guests.
Once again, Kassadin found himself staring at two enemies who stared back, neither quite knowing what to do for this exact encounter. Unlike last time, however, these were trained killers, and when Kass moved to perform his next plan, so did they.
He immediately threw the smaller knife located in his right sleeve at the redheaded woman, before charging both of them with the larger culinary one, hoping for the best.
Instead, a flash of crimson appeared from both enemies faces as they were cut by the woman who appeared in front of Kassadin.
"ON GUARDE!" She yelled before moving in, fencing sword flying around the confined hallway as a painter does a painbrush.
A very large axe appeared in the man's right hand as he swung it at the flash of metal, only to be parried, as the woman yelled, "TRY AGAIN!" and moved on to slash again at the man's face.
The redheaded woman seemed to make a decision as she clasped the larger man's arm and tapped a magical pendant, causing a flash, and their disappearance. All that was left was the burlap sack, which fell to the floor with a sickening thud.
Indeed, after the event, the sound of battle stopped altogether, leaving a small moment of silence, before Kassadin ran to the brown bag, fearing the worst.
© 2013 Riot Games, Inc. All rights reserved. Riot Games, League of Legends and PvP.net are trademarks, services marks, or registered trademarks of Riot Games, Inc.