12-18. Tea Party's Intruder
Satou's here. It seems uninvited guest exist no matter what world. It'd be okay if there were a way to indirectly tell them to leave like the joke story from Edo era, Kyoto's Bubuzuke though.
"Welcome Chevalier Pendragon-sama."
I shift my gaze from the wyvern riders formation flying in the sky to an elderly gentleman who has come to greet me.
Here is the mansion of the noble who invited me to a tea party.
The noble is a friend of Marchioness Ashinen, her house has been a distinguished Earl house since the founding of the nation it seems.
With a house this distinguished, even the employees should look down on an upstart honorary chevalier like me, but at the very least, this elderly gentleman doesn't seem to be like that at all.
I let the servants to carry the sweets and gifts for the countess.
I'm in debt with her for gathering information about the nobles who are interested with orbs in the auction, so I've brought some stylish handmade accessory made from fur from labyrinth and labyrinth spider thread that's prized in the Royal Capital.
I used the big brand Nifati from the former world as the reference for the accessory, and its price went up from 3 gold coins to ten times that, adjusted due to Arisa's opinion.
Of course I used one among many names I had as the maker.
The elderly gentleman guides me out of the main building toward the tea party venue in the garden.
There are a level 35 male knight leader and 12 upper level 20s female knights guarding the venue.
Everyone is equipped with shiny ornamental-use armors.
The male knight is a handsome man, and together with the beautiful female knights, they look more suitable to be on a stage rather than in a training hall.
There are many tables put in the venue, and there are around thirty noblewomen enjoying the tea party. There are some noblemen too, but they're few.
It's a bigger gathering than I thought.
"Welcome, Sir Pendragon. I've heard from Retel already, but you really are young."
"Please allow me to take part in your invitation--"
After exchanging the standard greeting, I'm guided by the Countess to my chair in the tea party.
She calls Marchioness Ashinen by her name since they're close friends.
By looking at the women in their forties gathered on this table who are all wearing expensive-looking accessories and clothes, I understand that they are all wives of upper ranking nobles.
"Everyone, this year Retel cannot come due to her obligation as a viceroy, but instead, her friend has come in her place."
I give my name with the Countess's introduction, and as a gift for being acquainted with them, I distribute small boxes for them that I've brought separately from the one for the Countess.
Of course, the presents are inferior by one grade compared to the Countess's.
"Oh my, are these presents for us? You're tactful as expected of Retel's favorite aren't you."
"Ara ara, my my, how wonderful."
"What is this gem I wonder? The redness is deeper than ruby, is this perhaps a fragment of Blood Bead?"
I affirm the Viscountess who saw through it so while looking like I'm surprised.
It was one of materials True Ancestor Ban had given me, but Blood Bead has little use compared to Blood Sphere, so I've made them into earring-shaped magic tools that have an effect of preserving healthy body.
According to the referral document, it seems to also have the effect of easing stiff shoulders for women.
The presented items' market prices are increasing.
They were only 10 gold coins worth when I made it in the Labyrinth City, but the prices rise whenever the wives show each other's earring with different design, right now its price has become different by one digit.
Come to think of it, the price of the accessories that I gave to the Ashinen Couple had also strangely risen.
Their values have become too high as presents for a tea party, but let's overlook it as being the first time.
"As one expects of a Mithril Explorer doesn't it. Even in our salon, these kind of items can only be seen when someone asks for an engagement you know?
"As a bumpkin I am, I seem to have overstretched myself."
I honestly apologized for my youthful error toward the Countess who showed her concern about me bringing presents that didn't fit the TPO.
Thanks to that failure and support from the sweets (castellas), the tea party continues without problem, and I've successfully blended myself in the idle talk.
"--My, you have sharp ears. You already knew about the duchy rebellion didn't you."
I didn't know about it as Satou, but even I'm surprised with the Countess who knows the thing that has just happened yesterday despite not having any relation with the military.
You really can't make light of women's information network.
"Speaking of Duke Bishtal, there's this story too--"
The women's talk flies around so it's hard to follow it though.
Summarizing the long talk of the women, it seems the mother of the princess whom I met in the Forbidden Library back then is the daughter of Duke Bishtal.
I went to the Forbidden Library again after meeting the king last night, but I didn't meet the princess. She probably doesn't stay in the Forbidden Library every day.
"Kyaa, amazing desuwa!"
"Ufufufu, it moves cutely kashira."
Young noblewomen several tables away leak out shrill screams.
When I look there, a gem-like snake and a snake covered in long white fur are moving funnily while matching the snake charmer's flute, entertaining the girls.
It's probably an entertainer called for entertainment.
I've seen it before at the water fountain, but the snake charmer who's called here seems more competent, what's with the snakes I've never seen before and all.
The wives who are on the same table as me knit their eyebrows toward the girls who leak out loud voices.
The Countess changes the topic toward me in order to change that mood.
"Is this the first time you see a snake charmer Satou-sama?"
"Yes, it's splendid."
The Countess's aim goes well, the other wives forget the girls and ride on the topic.
"I think Marquis Kelten began inviting foreign entertainers since last year?"
"That's right. It was rare for that person to have any interest to anything other than military, even the salon talked about it a lot."
Come to think of it, during the fiend drug incident, Sir Sokel also testified that, "He holds tremendous influence in the military" didn't he.
"Now that you mention it, speaking of Marquis Kelten, last month was surprising."
"To think that the patriotic Marquis Kelten was suspected of treason...."
"I wonder if it was the scheme of Duke Oyugock who wanted to own the military after all?"
"My, you can't do that. Saying such things for a speculation--"
Hmmm, so he's known as patriotic huh.
"He gave a rare songbird to the princess as a present back then didn't he?"
"Yeah, he said that since he had troubled Duke Bishtal, he gave a present to the Duke's beloved grandchild."
Duke Bishtal's grandchild, they mean that Forbidden Library princess huh?
That girl seems like she'll like a rare book more than a rare bird.
When I asked it to the women engrossed in rumor, "Is it the princess who loves books?", they said not that one.
According to them, it seems to be for that Forbidden Library's biological little sister.
"It was a kingfisher-like bird."
"I wonder if it was sent from Yowok Kingdom, where the younger brother of Marquis Kelten was invited as the prince consort?"
Yowok, I feel like I've heard it somewhere.
--Where was it?
"That's not right. It seems to be a rare kind of bird that only exist in the eastern part of the continent."
"My, I wonder if he obtained it from the Weasel Kingdom."
An impertinent intruder came in the middle of such trivial talks.
A red luminous point is reflected on the radar.
It's been rowdy in the town ever since I came to the Royal Capital. This city is more dangerous than the Labyrinth City.
With a roar, a monster with red rope-like pattern appeared while smashing through a pond in the corner of venue.
It looks like a giant toad. For some reason, its tail is like a tadpole's.
I pass the voluminous wife who's screaming and hugging me to a nearby servant, and stand up.
The knights who quickly rushed in are hit with the giant toad monster's spitted [Acid Breath], the female knights are falling to the ground with scald wounds.
--The luminous point appeared as if it had been teleported in.
The giant toad's hand is going to strike a girl who's sitting nearby.
The guard captain bravely volunteered his body to rescue the girl as I was going to.
--I tried searching the underground tunnel, but no one is there.
Looks like he couldn't save her completely, both of them were thrown to the edge of the garden.
--How did it appear?
I postpone my doubt for later, and take the female knight's sword that's been fallen to the ground to help.
I catch a female knight that's been thrown from the tail's attack and put her down.
Catching a beauty really isn't nice when she wears metal armor.
"I'll earn some time until Captain-san comes."
I call out so, and casually walk toward the toad.
Its huge eyes rotates like chameleon's, and then the toad's elongated tongue attacks.
I avert the tongue's orbit horizontally with the steel sword.
The sword that blocked the tongue is gouged, probably because I can't clad it with magic power.
"Looks like there's acid on its tongue too. Shield bearers shouldn't block it, ward it off instead."
I order the female knights who are awfully obedient to take out spears or axes if they have them, and concentrate in parrying the toad's attacks.
I'd likely defeat it in single blow if I'm careless, so I concentrate to hold back as much as possible.
"All members, retreat! The tail is coming!"
The female knights evade the toad's tail with my instruction.
There's a lone girl who twisted her legs during the retreat and fell to the ground in unladylike manner, but I act as if I didn't see it.
The sword broke when I blocked the tongue for the fourth time. What a fragile sword.
"Chevalier-sama, please take this."
I cut half of the tongue with the two-handed axe I've received.
The gushing blood changes before it touches the ground, it changes the lawn color like acid.
--Damn you fantasy creature.
I take a short spear to replace the axe and then use it to stitch the tongue on the ground.
"You've done well to preserve here! Chevalier-dono, I thank you for your cooperation."
I let the guard captain who finally participate to take the credit, while I'm putting effort to distract the toad from injuring the female knights.
Thanks to that, we were finally able to defeat the toad even though it took time without any dead toll.
For some reason, sometimes after the battle started, the toad's state became [Weakened], and the magic defense that protected the toad's body disappeared.
I told this information to the guards who had came after hearing the disturbance.
As expected, the tea party had to be closed, but I was thanked by the nobles who participated, and the noble daughters whom I didn't have any chance to talk to during the tea party invited me to dance with them in the dance.
Most of the noble daughters here were of viscount and higher, so I probably could only do it with several of the baron's and baronet's daughters, but as a lip service, I replied, "It is my honor to."
When I'm in the carriage returning from the tea party, I catch a sight of a red rope-like pattern monster's body in another place.
The children are innocently throwing stones at the body, but most people's eyes look worried.
When you don't know where they will appear, common people would surely be frightened indeed--
I see, I forgot that point of view.
I see, fear huh.
The purpose of the unseen mastermind might be to plant fear in the people of the Royal Capital.
What if another demon lord's uproar happens again.
What if hordes of monsters attack.
I wonder if there will be more casualties than the time with the Dog-head demon lord if the Royal Capital's people are dominated with fear.
However, yet I don't know what comes after that.
If they just want to kill people, there's no meaning in doing such roundabout and mysterious ways like this.
[Who] and [What for] are they planting fear in the Royal Capital's people I wonder.
--What is the last piece.