<Author's Note: Not from Satou's perspective.>
Intermission: Dance and Tea Party
Tomorrow is my debut in the upper society at last!
Even though I had been asking mother for a long time, she didn't let me to because it was still too early for me she said. But, at last. Yes, I've finally gotten permission to attend the ball at last.
"You're really lucky Lina."
It looks like Onee-sama is vexed to see me debuts at my 12 years old age since Onee-sama didn't debut in the upper society until she was 14.
But, but, but.
Since the permission comes suddenly, I have to use an old dress that mother used during her childhood. I can't say such spoiled thing like wanting a new dress like Onee-sama. If I said that, the talk about going the ball would be likely gone.
Uwah, the castle! It's the castle!
"Wait, Lina. Your mouth. You're a lady from today on, pay attention to child-like gestures."
"My, oh Fia, you were also like that when you saw the castle for the first time. You two are really siters~"
"Hey, Teena. Please don't do that in front of Lina. There's this thing called older sister's dignity--"
Onee-sama is talking about something with Teena-san of viscount Brates house, but it passes through my ears.
Cause you know, look how many carriages there are in the castle! I wonder which house is that carriage from. Its round body is cute. My, there is even a golem carriage! Amazing, I want to ride it at least once~
"Now then, young lady, please your hand."
The castle footman opened the door, and father who was waiting outside held out his hand. Father is going to be my escort today.
"Hey, Fia. Why isn't the next baron Eto-sama escorting you."
"No way, Teena. That love is already over. Today the prince has especially come from the royal capital."
"If you're aiming too high, you'll miss your chance to get married you know?"
"You're one to say that Teena. Rather than that! Even if aiming for the prince is impossible, I can still go for his accompanying holy knight or the other attendant who has a promising future."
There are a lot among influential nobles who are engaged even before they're 10, but for middle nobles like us, many are still unmarried even after they become adult. There are some who have too high of ideals, they remain single even after they're over 20, but as for myself, I want to to get married by 17 years old at least. I'm alright with the other person looking ordinary, he just has to be gentle.
I have a bad head if I do say so myself, I don't have any other word beside that.
Father escort me to the ball room with more than 100 gentlemen and ladies who are having pleasant talks.
But! It was too early to be surprised.
"Lina, this small hall is a waiting room for people who are debuting in the upper society."
There's this many people who are debuting! I wonder if everyone is aiming for the prince after all?
I go around the small hall greeting everyone while father introduces me.
Ah, this is the first time I call my name this many times.
"You're in the way. Move it."
"I, I'm sorry."
When I was standing on the passage to the hall, I got scolded. He's a scary person wearing a white armor. I wonder if he's a knight? I apologized and conceded the way.
"You're not bad. Were you trying to immediately greet the prince?"
"Ah, Onee-sama. It's not like that, I was scolded for blocking the way."
"Blocking the way you said, a thin girl like won't be enough to block the way even if there are 10 of you right?"
When I think about it again, that's true. I wonder if there's some kind of reason?
"Haa, I'm tired."
"Ara ara, let's wet our throats with something."
Together with Onee-sama and her friend, we're sitting on the sofa inside the ball room, and watch the ball. I didn't think that the ball I had always wanted to go was this hard. I don't remember most people whom I introduced myself to.
"Of course that would be so. I was seeing from the side, you were looking down the whole time you were being introduced right?"
"I mean, everyone was older than me, it was a bit scary."
I quench my throat with the fruit water that the maid-san's brought. As expected of duke-sama, not only it has fruit that I rarely eat, it even has ice.
"Mou, you two, it's too early to become tired."
"I'm sorry Teena. Leaving that aside, what is with the crowd earlier?"
"It seems there were specialties delicacies from baron Muno territory, but nothing had remained on the plates when I got there. It might have been really delicious, uncles and his friends were competing to eat it."
To even make the older men who are used to gourmet food to compete with each other, I wonder if it's that delicious. I want to eat it even only for a mouthful.
"Disappointing huh. However, this is the first time I've heard baron Muno territory, is it a distant territory?"
"What are you saying, it's next to the duchy. There was a rumor of it getting attacked by the demon's army right."
"Ah, that! It was an epic about a magician with demi-human mercenaries who repulsed ten of thousands monster herds wasn't it."
"However, since the story came from sir Toruma, it's better if you take it with a grain of salt."
I've also heard about it.
The opponents who annihilated the army without even letting them get ready were turned around in a blink of an eye with just a small troop. He must be a giant man with scars covering his whole body. There are beautiful women on his side at beck, and if he wears an eyepatch, his atmosphere might be even strong--
"Lina, are you tired?"
--Ha. I indulged in my delusion. Since different dish are being displayed on the place with baron Muno cooking a while ago, we're going there to look around.
Sweet smell tickles my nose. What smell is this?
Thin batter is spread and fried on top of a heating magic tool, some kind of red fruit and white soft thing are put on top of it and it gets enclosed.
What a skillful movement! I've seen the chef in my house cooks before, but it's completely different.
"Okay, here you go. Small lady-san."
"T, thank you very much!"
The chef presents the cuisine while smiling sweetly. I accept the plate that the black-haired attendant gives me.
When I look closer, this chef person isn't a servant is he? I mean, he's wearing such expensive-looking clothes. He's young, but he's surely from an influential noble house. Even Onee-sama, and Teena introduce themselves before they receive the cuisine.
I also give my name in panic. I understand when we are talking that he's a honorary chevalier-sama. Onee-sama and her friend seem to change their interest toward the dish after they've heard his peerage, but I think it's amazing to acquire a peerage with his own power even though he's this young.
I think of such thing until it's time to eat the dish. I sit down on the chair near Onee-sama and her friend, and use a small knife and a fork on the plate to put the dish on my mouth.
White soft sweetness melt in my mouth. I wonder if I'm chewing that red fruit? The slightly sour taste mixed with that white soft sweets are mixing, the inside of my mouth is in bliss. It's no very ladylike, but my lips begin to open involuntarily, and a smile leaks out.
"U, um, nice to meet you!"
"Y, yes, nice to meet you!"
When I've finished eating and handed the plate to the maid-san, a young gentleman calls me out. He also looks nervous, but my heart is shaking to the point like it'll explodes.
I was invited to my first dance by that person. Although I stepped on his foot since I was nervous, he also stepped on mine, so we were even. After we had finished dancing, his friend tried to invite me, but since he was a bit overbearing, I was afraid and somehow able to decline.
Men are a bit scary after all.
I wanted to eat the [Crepes] from before once again, but it was already over. It seemed that the white soft things were all used up, "I'm sorry." he apologized kindly.
It's strange. Even though his nose isn't high, the area around his eyes aren't deep, and he can't be called handsome, I can't take my eyes off. I wonder if it's because of his calm demeanor, and his gentle expression?
"C, chevalier-sama! Would you dance with me if it's alright with you!"
"Yes, I'll be glad to."
I've invited him to a dance involuntarily. My voices were loud because I was too nervous, the eyes of everyone around were gathered to us. Ah, my face is hot.
Chevalier seemed to be slightly surprised, but he immediately agreed.
"Please don't be so nervous, it's fine to think the people around as trees and stones. Please think of me like your brother or father, and be at ease."
He patted my tense shoulders gently, and whispered so. Just a bit, really a bit of the tension in my shoulders come out, and I've become relaxed.
When the music starts, I'm dancing unlike falling like before. While we're dancing like fish in the water, he whispers "It's alright", "Be more relaxed there.", "Like a princess riding on the flow" which feel good, and then the music stops. To have this much fun in dancing with a skillful person! I have to exercise dancing more seriously from now on.
I wanted to dance for another tune, but since other girls were waiting for their turns, I refrained myself. It looks like I'll get bullied if I monopolize him.
"Lina, were you that skillful?"
"It was because Chevalier-sama was very good, I danced spontaneously."
"Fu~n, I have a rule against someone younger, so I'll pass."
Onee-sama is smiling badly while hiding bottom half of her face with a folding fan. She must be thinking of something, but if you don't do it moderately, you'll be late to get married you know?
"Thank you for inviting me today--"
When I saw the person who visited the tea party I was having with Onee-sama and her friends at the salon, I almost dropped my cup.
Why is chevalier-sama here?
"Ufufufu, since he looked like Lina's favorite, I sent a written invitation together with your letter of thanks."
"You should thank Fia. A lot of girls from other houses have sent their invitations, it seems they're still competing even now."
Onee-sama, and Teena-sama whispered to both my ears.
Even though Chevalier-sama is surrounded by Onee-sama and her friends who look so attractive, he seems very calm not befitting of his age like always.
Tetra-sama! Pushing your b, breasts on him while pretending to talk is cheating.
Ah, even Shiona-sama, are you two aiming for chevalier-sama who's of the same age? I feel annoyed somehow in my chest.
If the house maid didn't come while bringing the present brought by chevalier-sama, I might cut myself inbetween them like a child.
The sweets are called Muno roll, and it taste like between the crepes from before and gururian. It's a bit heavier than crepes, but it suits the blue tea well. The blue tea are presents from Teena-sama, so I've never drank one with a brand though.
I was surprised to hear the story about the time he's granted the peerage when we were talking about the story concerning the cake. I mean, chevalier-sama is the hero of that defensive war of Muno city! He doesn't like it at all. I mean, his hair is silky, his arms are slender and supple, they hardly look like they swing a staff or a sword.
Since he had some business, he unfortunately couldn't accept the invitation to a dinner tonight.
When chevalier-sama was going back, father handed him a bag with fruits and they had a long talk about something. Those fruits are something from the orchard of our house. It's really bitter, and on top of being sour, it looks bad, so insects don't harm it, making it non-labour intensive fruits, but it can only be eaten by making it into pickles, however nowadays gabo fruits pickles have dominated the market. I wonder if that's why our house's fortune is slightly slumping.
"Good day, Lina-sama."
"G,gud dai, chevlier-sana."
I was surprised to meet chevalier-sama when I came out of the passage out of the garden. Because of that, I fumbled. Ah, it's embarrassing.
Father looks restless, I wonder what happens? It smells really nice.
It looks like the black-haired attendant of chevalier-sama hands over a white box. What kind of sweets are those I wonder? Ah, even though I know it's improper, my lips are loosing.
"This is, sir Pendragon! W, were you really able to make a new use for that fruit?"
"Yes, I baked a cake using that fruit."
That white soft thing can certainly hides the sour fruits, but isn't that because of the white soft thing, not the fruit?
As a proof, that fruit's color become completely different because the slices have been wrapped with a lot of that white soft thing.
"This is, it doesn't look like that fruit, have you put something else inside?"
"No, the one on the top is that fruit. It changes color when heated."
Heating fruits? You usually cool them with well water.
To make that brown fruit becomes pink. The color looks really beautiful.
The maids cut it, and I timidly put the [Cake] on my mouth. People are just staring at it, and no one eats it.
Amazing! It softly melts. The texture is different than crepes, it's different than any sweets I've ever eaten.
This time, I put the sour part of the fruit on my mouth while being prepared. It's soft sweet and smooth. As I chew, the fiber feels different than strawberry, or apple.
I want to eat a bit more.
However, unfortunately, it seems to be over with one slice. The fork on the plate with the remaining white soft thing is taken, I endure the impulse to eat it. I'm already a lady who's made her upper society debut.
"I'm thinking of presenting this cake for the wedding of Tisrad-sama."
Ah, father is trembling with chevalier-sama's bomb remark. It's a terribly great honor to have the fruit used as a dish for the wedding of the next-next duke-sama. I understand the feeling of father who nods with trembling body from the unexpected offer.
Perhaps, this cheap fruits can sell more, and our house's finance will become better maybe.
I was called to father's room this night, and got asked if I wanted to send marriage proposal to chevalier-sama. Even though father hated and called honorary nobles shams in all his life.
Ehehehe, Lina Pendragon eh. It'd be nice if Chevalier-sama accepts. And then, the two of us will dance every night. It must be fun, no doubt about it.
I've eaten a delicious cake, and heard a wonderful story, it seems I will sleep pleasantly today.
It'd be nice if tomorrow is also a good day.