Chapter 42- Livia

"Asher! What have you gotten yourself into now?" It was Alissa, her tone a mix of annoyance and concern as she quickly made her way over to them.

Asher turned, a small, guilty smile forming despite the situation. "Hey, Alissa... It's not as bad as it sounds, really."

Alissa crossed her arms, her expression softening slightly, but her stance remained firm. 

"Not as bad? I heard you turned breakfast into a brawl. Do you think that's not a big deal?" she scolded.

"I didn't start it," Asher defended, trying to downplay the incident. "Things just... got out of hand."

Alissa huffed, her eyebrows knitting together in a frown that didn't quite reach her eyes, betraying her concern. "But Jolan is not just anybody, Asher..."

Asher give her a thumbs up, knowing she had a point. "Hey! I know, I know... I'll be more careful."

"You better be," Alissa said, her voice softening, and she took a step closer, her previous annoyance melting into something that looked like pride. "But, you know, it's not all bad, Asher. I've noticed you've changed... for the better."

Asher blinked in surprise. "Really? You think so?"

"Yeah," Alissa nodded, a smile playing on her lips. "You're standing up for yourself more. Just... try to be more careful, okay? We don't want you getting hurt or into serious trouble."

"You don't have to worry about that," Asher said, patting his chest.

"Just remember, if you ever need backup, I'm here. Not that you need it, apparently," she teased suddenly.

"I'll remember that," Asher said, his smile growing wider. "And I'm lucky to have a friend like you."

Alissa quickly turned her head away, her cheeks flushed. "Don't make it a big deal. Just... keep doing what you're doing. But safely," she added quickly, her concern for him clear despite her attempts to hide it.

Before Asher could add anything more, Alissa turned back to him, her expression shifting to one of seriousness. "Well, Jolan's girlfriend is around, so take care, alright?" she warned, emphasizing her concern with a stern look.

"Of course, she is here," Asher said with a groan, his eyes rolling, but he noticed they were already in front of the Councilor's office.

In the anteroom, where the secretary desk was positioned, sat Jolan's girlfriend. It was Asher's first encounter with her since his unexpected arrival in this world, and her presence was impossible to ignore.

She looked serious and very much in charge, quickly glancing up at Asher with a look that made him feel like she was sizing him up.

Alissa nudged Asher gently, whispering, "That's Jolan's girlfriend. Just keep it cool, okay? We're here to smooth things over, not stir them up further."

She was undeniably beautiful, in a distinct way, not so much as Alissa or Xinyue, but like Tanya. Her hair was neatly arranged, framing her face in a way that accentuated her sharp eyes and high cheekbones. 

She was dressed impeccably, her outfit a perfect blend of professionalism and style.

'She really knows how to make an impression,' Asher mused to himself, 'too bad that impression vanishes as soon as she opens her mouth.'

As Asher and Alissa approached, Jolan's girlfriend looked up from her paperwork, her eyes locking onto Asher.

Her gaze sharpened as they approached. "Heard you're quite the troublemaker, Asher. Let's hope the Councilor can 'straighten' you out," she taunted, her tone icy, dripping with disdain.

Before Asher could react, Alissa stepped forward, her tone was sharp, cutting through the tension like a knife. "Enough, Livia. We're not here to play games or exchange barbs. Is the Councilor ready for us?"

Livia's expression faltered momentarily, surprised by Alissa's directness. It had been a long time since Alissa defended him this much. She usually would let Asher handle his afffairs to teach him.

"Yes, she is," Livia replied, her tone clipped, the earlier tone getting frosty as if it was not already. "But only Asher is allowed inside." 

As Alissa began to protest, Livia cut her off, "The Councilor specifically requested Asher. No one else."

The air thickened with tension as Alissa and Livia locked eyes, starting a staring contest.

'Aren't you fighting too much for me? Where did that come from?' Asher wondered, taken aback by Alissa's protectiveness.

Their silent battle of wills might have continued, but Asher, sensing the escalating standoff, decided to ignore it and walk into the room.

"Let's not make this a bigger issue," Asher said, stepping between the two. "I'll go in and speak with the Councilor. Alissa, wait for me here?"

Alissa, after a moment, nodded reluctantly, her gaze still locked with Livia's, but Asher had already turned towards the door. 

Asher raised his hand and knocked firmly on the heavy wooden door of the Councilor's office. A moment passed, before a clear, mature voice from within called out, "Come in."

Pushing open the door, Asher stepped into a room that felt like a world apart from the tension-filled corridor he'd just left behind. 

The office was warmly lit, shelves of books lining the walls, and the air carried the scent of aged paper. 

He noticed the Councilor standing by the glass pane, gazing outside. Her back was turned to him, revealing only her silhouette.

'Not bad,' Asher thought unbidden, then immediately chided himself. 'Am I really getting swayed by hormones now?'

He was slightly relaxed as Asher didn't have much of strong feeling for this woman. And he can see that see was putting on an act. 

"You bashed Jolan's head in front of everyone?" the Councilor asked without turning around.

"Yeah, just a small skirmish," Asher responded lightly.

"I know I told you to remove him from the Vice Councilor position, but did you have to do it so recklessly, in public?"

"Huh, what?" Asher replied, confusion lacing his voice. 'What? When did that happen?'

'That damn system!' Asher's frustration mounted, suspecting the system was manipulating events. 'What's the count now... at least three?'

He contemplated leaving the whole charade behind but sighed, resigning himself to the unfolding drama.

"What do you mean 'what'?" Miss Elina said, her composure faltering as she turned to face him, her act momentarily broken before she regained control.

"Ah, nothing. It seems I have... some memory gaps, I think," Asher said, thinking on his feet.

"Do you now?" She gave him a scrutinizing look.

Asher felt the weight of her spiritual sense scanning him, and a new message flashed across his vision.

Host Fate Scan Detected.
False Fate Generated!

Scan Permission by User #523sajnifefewubg-wfww-432 - Granted

Asher was really confused looking at the screen for a few seconds. 'What the hell do you mean by 'Fate'!?' Asher shouted in his mind, feeling he was getting smacked.

Even though he was upset, the system was still working and his mind began to fill with new information about Fate. 

Fate. It seemed that Fate became a thing when the Universe gained a consciousness. 

Before it, the Universe worked on only the Laws that it was created under. But as the Universe gained his consciousness, it directed the direction of its progress and set Points in the Timeline, making certain events almost certain to occur. They have momentum and can't be changed easily. Those are what is called Fate.

For example, there was a story about a hero who was meant to defeat a demon king. This hero's victory was planned by the Universe long before the hero was even born.

Understanding all this didn't make Asher feel any better, especially when he learned that the Councilor might have the ability to see bits of the future, or Fate, involving him.

Looking at the Councilor, she seemed very calm and in control, as if she was carefully watching him and expecting him to say something important.

Asher thought to himself, ' But I won't fall for it.'

'Nah, she is just sweating me a little, trying to make me nervous and get me to slip up.' Asher thought as he realized the silence by her. 'Just wants me to confess something? Hell no!'