Updated: Nov 17, 2019
The door opened, and Professor Hardenberg returned to his desk. Following him was a lalafell woman, wearing a neat suit and glasses; she was carrying a tray with a teapot and a couple of cups. She smiled at Tetsu warmly and put the tray on a small table near Tetsu’s chair.
“Thank you, Marianne.” Professor Hardenberg made a gesture of introduction. “Tetsu, this is Marianne, my secretary. Marianne, could you please find Leon? I’ll need him after I finish speaking with Tetsu. Sorry for the trouble.”
“Of course, Professor. No trouble at all.” Marianne smiled again and left the room. Professor turned to Tetsu and continued.
“So, tell me… Wait, why are looking like you’ve just been sentenced to life in prison?”
“Aaaa-aah! S-sono… I… I thought…” Tetsu looked aside and flushed.
“You thought?” Professor Hardenberg raised his brow, but a moment later he smiled ironically and passed Tetsu a cup of tea. “Ah! You thought I’ll throw you out of my office. Am I right?”
Tetsu turned bright red, grabbed a spoon and started to stir his tea – with the vigor of a scullion, whipping cream.
“I see.” Professor’s face didn’t change, but it was obvious he was struggling to contain laughter. “No, no, Tetsu, don’t worry. I am not so heartless. By the way, why don’t you put some sugar in your tea first?”
“Uwaaaah! S-sumi masen…” Having reached his deepest level of crimson, Tetsu just wanted the sea to rise and swallow him for good.
Unable to restrain himself anymore, Professor Hardenberg laughed heartily and patted Tetsu on the shoulder. “Relax, Tetsu, relax! Hahahaha, aren’t you a funny fellow?”
Seeing that Professor is not irritated with his bashful and awkward behavior, Tetsu smiled and soon he was laughing as well. They started to drink tea, and Tetsu told Professor Hardenberg about his night misadventures. The episode with Bremer amused Professor quite a lot.
“He’s not a bad guy, Bremer,” said Professor Hardenberg, laughing softly. “Hot-tempered, but not a bully – nor do I think he has something against gays. You just turned up at the wrong moment, and he clearly misinterpreted your intentions.”
“I know,” sighed Tetsu. “It was all my fault.”
After they finished their tea, Professor Hardenberg leant back in his chair and fixed his eyes on the catboy. His expression became serious. Tetsu straightened up and prepared to listen.
“Now, Tetsu, I want to ask you a question. You say your master considers you lazy and stupid. And what about you? Do you agree? Do you consider yourself lazy and stupid?”
“N-no. I mean… I know I am not that lazy and stupid…” Tetsu blushed. “I… Surely, there are times when I am slacking but… if I really want to do something, I give it my all! And I am trying to learn! I may not be the smartest miqo’te you can find but I like to study! There are a lot of things I don’t understand and a lot of questions I can’t answer, but I hope… I hope one day I can…”
“Hmm… Very well. At least, you are honest and, what is also important, motivated. And curious, I think. Am I right?”
“S-sou desu ne… I think you are right.” Tetsu smiled.
“In this case, Tetsu, why don’t you start attending some courses at the University?”
“Eeeeeeeh?! Tetsu jumped and stared at Professor Hardenberg with surprise. Courses?! Here?! At the University?! B-but how can I…”
“Well, I don’t see why you can’t. Your master, Doctor Bangloss, has a status of visiting fellow here…” Suddenly, Professor slapped the chair arm with his hand, “Bah! I don’t know what kind of idiot invited that charla… Ahhh, sorry. Never mind. What I want to say is that you have the official status of Bangloss’s apprentice, and since he’s a visiting fellow here, it’s only natural for you to attend the University courses as an auditor.”
“B-b-but! My master will never permit me—"
“Oh, surely, he will – if I speak to him.”
“H-honto?” Tetsu looked totally bewildered. Professor Hardenberg chuckled and continued.
“What people like Bangloss care about the most is respectability. I guess your master always lectures you about behaving properly, dressing properly, eating properly and everything-else-properly, right? Well, I have a certain authority at the University, so if I give Bangloss a hint that it’s extremely improper for his apprentice to loiter around the pub instead of attending cour—"
“Aaa-aaaah! Professor, please! Don’t mention the pub, I beg you!! Master will skin me alive…”
“Oh?” Professor’s lips curled into an ironic smile. “Ah, okay, okay. I won’t mention it. Anyway, you should think about what courses you’d like to attend. I see you are quite hyped about biology. Why don’t you start listening to my lectures then?”
“Ah… Hai!” Tetsu beamed and his eyes sparkled.
“Good. Now I want to introduce you to Leon – ahem, Leonhard von Schreiber. He’s a student of mine. He’ll go and help you to buy new clothes and anything else you need. Marianne!” called Professor, “Is Leon here? Let him in, please.”