7-16. Gururian City Night
Satou's here. During the time of bubble economy long ago, it seemed that it was normal to treat your lover with full course meal in every memorial day. I don't think that I'm lucky to grow up during the recession, but it looks like people who've been in the good times have their own shares of problem too.
"Well then, everyone, please enjoy the specialties of Gugurian."
The viceroy says so signaling the start of the banquet.
The people in this dining room are the viceroy, his wife and his retainers, gentlemen and ladies--who are of course nobles with peerages. The guests are princess Menea, and Poni-san who acts as her escort,
and also lady Karina and me. The influential people in the city are only invited when it's a buffet party.
By the way, only adults are allowed to participate in the banquet and party, their children aren't.
The dining table is decorated with flowers, and two maids accompany each guest. The tablewares are silver knives, spoons and forks. Beside the knife that looks like an extremely common dagger, the spoon and the fork are like the ones used in the previous world. There is only one set of the tablewares for each plate, but it gets exchanged with new ones when you've finished your meal it seems.
The room is lit with magic light. It's not with magic tools, but a magician is putting out light balls. That should be the case considering magic balls are occasionally added from the corner the room.
Wine-like liquor is poured into the glasses. This is the first time I've ever seen glasses as containers since I come here. It seems to be famous products of the dukedom called Oak Glass. According to lady Karina's story, there's a life-sized glass mirror in the women waiting room.
Lady Karina's clothes looks so gorgeous, you wouldn't think that they're made in hurry. I'm the one who pay for it, but it's scary to look at the bill. The clothes have spaciously shown neckline, and the demonic--I mean, emphasized breasts, it's also not only decorated with silver and golden threads, but even gems are mounted in every important places. It's probably not preferable for the invitee to wear clothes that are too gaudy, but since the viceroy's wife is wearing even gaudier dresses, so it should be alright. Since the topic about sense of beauty could be controversial, I don't really want to talk about it, but it's also 'Peacock' in this world too huh, I'll leave it at that.
The first plate that I've assumed to be cold from the beginning is light green soup. It's delicious even though it's cold, potatoes soup-like.
Starting from that, various plates with dishes like meat pudding, boiled trout, pilaf-like dish, baked pheasant, and fillet meat steak are presented out in turns. Aren't there too many main plates?
Regardless of the main course, side dishes like vegetables, and entremet are put on different plates. Breads are also served in a basket, this is the first time I've seen ones that aren't black breads. They're not puffing hot, but it's been a long time since I've eaten white breads.
I want to use chopsticks when I'm eating the trout, but the nobles nearby seem to have got used to it, they break the trout and eat it without problem.
However, half of them who aren't able to do it well are assisted by the maids behind by leaving only the white meat for the nobles. Diligent maids are too wonderful.
Of course, I ask for help too.
Apparently she's an inexperienced maid, I could hear, "Ah", and, "B, bone-san, please don't bring it here.", such slightly fun screams from behind. Since she said it in low voice, guests who don't have attentive ears skill probably can't hear it. I did not think that I would be this glad for getting attentive ears skill.
I'd like to have Liza eat the pheasant dish. Let's buy it in the market, and make the same dish. I have to thank the chefs for the good food in the kitchen, and get them to teach me delicious recipes later!
The overall volume of food is too much, though it's not like I can't eat them all, but since it seems to be normal to leave leftovers, I'm relieved. Even in glutinous Japan, I don't think I've ever left this much. The gormandizer lady Karina eat them all up.
During the banquet, people around me are having conversations while eating slowly, and it's unexpectedly difficult for people who can't eat slowly.
Moreover, lady Karina is too engrossed in eating she tends to forget about the conversation, and has a hard time to follow it. Since she's unfamiliar with this position, it can't be helped. If I haven't followed Arisa's recommendation and got taught of etiquette by well-informed maid-san beforehand, I might show some shameful behaviors too.
Arisa and the others are on eating tour around Gururian city as scheduled. I'm expecting their result enthusiastically since they would absolutely find shops with delicious cooked rice.
The last dessert isn't gururian (ohagi), but sweetened chestnut. It's called gold sugar, and seems to be promoted at Gururian confectionery. It's really very tasty.
After the dinner, we move to a different room to have pleasant chats. Men and women are in separate rooms. The talks are frank since there are only same sex.
Since a gentleman at the prime of his life who claims to be baron Muno's childhood friend is talking, I don't get left behind alone. The baron is like that since long ago after all.
I got uncomfortable when the topic changes to silver masked hero who has appeared in Seryuu city and Muno city, but the impressions are generally favorable. 'Maybe his true nature is someone who has served the previous Saga empire's hero', such theory is prominent. If he's the predecessor hero's friend, shouldn't he be around 70-90 years old then? I want to retort with that, but I restrain myself.
Since I want to change the topic, I try to talk about the story of the young nobles at the dwarves' hometown.
The atmosphere gets a bit heavy since it's not really a good topic to talk about, but I get some informations. There are hundreds of noble houses in the dukedom alone, and more than 100 young nobles don't succeed their houses and become commoners each year. There is no strict rule that mandates nobles to fall and become commoners, but if one of their sibling inherit the house then they have to leave. If they're minors then they'd be still under care of their parents and remain in the house for the time being.
The magic swords search seem to be vain struggles of the young nobles who don't want to become commoners, even if each of their houses issues prohibition for it, there are always someone who breaks it.
It seems that entering into the duke's imperial guard is quite an honor, and during the service, they'd be treated as temporary nobles and the fall into commoners is postponed. The person with talent could be conferred with medal and become a honorary knight.
When we get back to the banquet, lady Karina and me are invited to a tea break together by the viceroy's son. He's not actually the viceroy's legitimate son, so there's no problem even if I refuse him. However, there's something that interest me so I decide to accept the invitation.
Lady Karina is also going to accompany me. I wonder why? She's being meek and quiet today unlike her usual behavior. The thing that's different from the usual her is that she's not wearing Raka now huh? If she was always like this, I wouldn't have avoided her.
"Nice to meet you, sir Pendragon. Thank you very much for accepting my sudden invitation."
"Thank you for the invitation. The daughter of the viceroy is famous for her wide knowledge. I'd like to meet her once at least."
With my reply, the girl and the boys that follow her harden. She's wearing boys clothes after all, and the clothes matches her well, so she really looks like a feminine boy.
"H, how did you know?"
"I understand from the frame. There are various differences between men and women. The way to distinct it is a secret of my house, so it breaks my heart that I have to tell you I cannot show it."
I think casual talk matches her better, although I don't think that's how she naturally is. The bluff about frames is something I know from the net.
They are the same girl and boys with matching uniforms who have been watching the fight back in the noon. The other boys are children of the viceroy's retainers. Looks like they're children of the nobles from the banquet earlier.
I've accepted the invitation not because they're powerful nobles. It's because they're students of young division of Oritsu royal academy. Princess Menea that I've met yesterday seem to be studying in the advanced division of Oritsu royal academy.
I probably would visit Oritsu academy to gather information someday, so I'll try to have connections even a bit here.
"Satou-sama is amazing even though you're so young. How are you able to be that skillful in swordplay and magic?"
The daughter of the viceroy introduces herself as Ririna, she's fervently speaking about how amazing my fight with the demon is. At first she calls me, "Chevalier Pendragon", or, "Sir Pendragon", but somehow it's changed to "Chevalier Satou", and then, "Satou-sama".
When her way of calling changed, the line of sights of lady Karina and the boys that follow Ririna became dangerous. Leaving aside lady Karina, it's not my plan to be hated by the followers, so I take care as to keep my distance from lady Ririna.
Their attitudes quickly changes when I verbally promise to teach them the basic of magic someday. I don't know when is that someday, so I write it in the memo so that I won't forget it.
The viceroy's office term is only for five years, but since her father is a capable person, it has been decided that he would move to Kwoka city afterward.
"Satou-sama, you've promised to teach me about magic! Please wake up."
The figure of us sleeping together in a bed spreads in front of lady Ririna who has come into the room without knocking. Moreover, everyone is wearing pajama that Arisa has made for seven people, it seems to look like underwear from the eyes of the people here.
"Satou-sama, a, au, d, dirty desu!!"
It seems to be too stimulating for the 13 years old her.
And then a lady maid who serves her comes to apologize for the impoliteness, and closes the door.
"What was that?"
"The viceroy's daughter, lady Ririna, 13 years old. She's a talented girl who's attending the young division of Oritsu royal academy."
Arisa's voice is flat. Mia who usually sleeps in also looks at me harshly while looking sleepy. Liza turns around and goes back to sleep again indifferently. Pochi and Tama are tossing around on the bed. Defeated by their cuteness, I pat their stomaches while lying. The two are letting out comfortable sounds from their throats.
"You there, stop flirting."
Arisa and Mia also take seiza postures and look straight to my face.
I wonder what is this? This 'husband who has been blamed for cheating'-like composition?
"I haven't done anything shameful you know? I got to know her when she invited me together with lady Karina to a tea break. I promised to teach her about magic someday, didn't she just want to do it immediately?"
Lulu is also looking here with teary eyes, but it seems she's been persuaded somehow.
After breakfast, the mood became strange since lady Ririna and princess Menea had come intruding, but I got pass through it somehow.
I prioritize in teaching magic for lady Ririna and her followers, and the princess amiably concedes. Arisa said, "There's no fool who would make enemies of influential nobles of a large country." Looks like viceroys are amazing.
Even though I said 'teaching magic', I just asked each of them to perform magic, sensed it with magic perception, and pointed out their weakness and strength with the knowledge from the magic theory books. They thank me greatly somehow, but I think anyone would be able to do this much. They're probably happy because it's the words from [A magician who's defeated a demon].
Since princess Menea was absent when I came to meet her after the teaching, I went to the town with Arisa and the others. I wasn't able to resist the appeal of cooked white rice and grilled fish.
"Fufuhn, the way to cook white rice has been properly mastered! By Lulu!"
It seems she was taught by the chef from the restaurant they visited yesterday.
"They willingly teach you huh."
"It's give and take! I traded it with tempura recipe!"
I see, after a while, we could eat tempura in this city when we visit it again huh. GJ Arisa.
I make promise with Lulu to have her teach me how to cook white rice later. Of course, I intend for Lulu to make it first. It's so that Lulu's effort doesn't get to waste, but anyone would yearn for freshly cooked rice from a beautiful girl right.
I bought [Float] scroll from the magic shop. I did not bought the other scrolls since I had them already.
When we get back to the viceroy mansion, maid-san tells us that they've booked us seats for the ship that will depart to the dukedom capital tomorrow. A carriage that carries five sacks of rice and one sack of glutinous rice ordered by Arisa has arrived. There's one sack of adzuki beans too. You've bought too much Arisa.
When we are preparing for the departure, princess Menea comes over.
I've thought that she's going to continue the talk about heroes from yesterday, but she's just confirming my contact address. I tell her that we're in the middle of a journey to the labyrinth city, and I promise her that I will send a letter to Oritsu royal academy addressed for princess Menea after we have decided the place to stay there.
This is the first time I'm going to exchange letter with a beautiful girl--No wait, I've already promised once with Zena-san. I should send a letter to Zena-san.
Lastly, I check on one thing I've forgotten to ask the princess yesterday.
When was the eighth person kidnapped?
"More than one month ago. Do you remember the day when many meteors fall from the sky? It was the day before that."
That kidnapped eighth person wasn't me right? Right?