Chapter 41 – At Theorem Palace
The banquet this year was supposedly a formal event, but according to the information Sheila had gathered, it was more of a normal event where one could enjoy pleasant conversations over dinner. We would also watch the Knights display the fruits of their standard training in a courtyard as a public demonstration, which was rather different from a typical event.
The Knights of the Weldogal Kingdom who persisted to the end would have their training results announced to the Royal Family. This was for the sake of displaying the superiority and bravery of the Kingdom Knights.
I felt like them honoring the soldiers that died on duty this year added an implication of renewing the oath to protect the Kingdom’s peace.
When attending such a banquet, it was customary for the invited guests to bring their fiance or spouse. Nobles used banquets, dances, and the like, to search for arranged marriage partners, and they decided whether or not to chat with someone after seeing if they had a fiance.
With that, I headed to Theorem Palace together with Grace and Ashley.
Grace wasn’t in her usual pinafore, but was actually wearing a formal evening dress.
The dress was black, with a vivid blue pattern, and I thought that it suited her well, even though the colors were similar to those of her maid outfit.
This was apparently made for her when she was at the Gartner residence, for special occasions like banquets or evening parties.
As for Ashley, her dress was an almost lavender light purple bolero with a white base. The frills and ribbons were the same color. Although it was a calm, cute design, it was elegant and suited Ashley well.
…Well, if you put the two of them together, they were a sight to behold.
As for my outfit, it was my usual coat, which was provided to me. It qualified as formal clothing, and I had given up on trying to look better, since this appearance was good enough for the public.
Compared to these two exceedingly beautiful women, rather than calling it mediocre, my appearance was average. Regardless, it was questionable as to whether or not I fit in next to these two.
Well…Even if I said that, it couldn’t be helped, since nothing had even started yet.
At best, I didn’t want to be exposed, and would rather be seen as an escort.
These two were each wearing a flower in their hair that matched their hair color as well. The flowers apparently meant that they didn’t want to be courted by someone else, since they were already my chosen partners. The man who was escorting them would automatically be considered to be their partner. The two of them probably chose to wear that flower beforehand.
“Shall we go then? Your hands.”
As evening neared, the streets in Termuilles were dyed red. I would escort the two of them in a carriage sent by Theorem Palace.
“Well then, take care.”
“Yeah, we’ll be off now.”
After I waved at Sheila, who had come to see us off, the carriage departed.
“I know there is a reason behind this…but having Theo escorting us like this…somehow makes me happy.”
“That’s right. Going out like this with Theodore-sama sure makes it exciting.”
Somehow, the two of them seemed to be enjoying this. If something like this made them happy, then perhaps it would be better to create more situations like this. Not just evening parties, but also going out to plays and such.
…That’s right. Termuilles was really close to the sea; shall we try heading there next time?
After crossing a drawbridge, the carriage proceeded towards a huge, magnificent building made of stone, the Theorem Palace.
If I were to describe it briefly, then I would point out the building’s structure, which was located within the castle walls. The building within the remarkably large center was the Tower of the King, which housed the Royal Family.
The social event this time was being held in the reception hall adjacent to the Tower of the Knights and the Drill Grounds. It seems the building wasn’t created by the Labyrinth, but was added by the Knights later on to be used for various matters.
The Drill Grounds, which had a wide, clear space, was illuminated with Magic and bonfires. This was probably where the martial arts demonstration would be held, since I saw Knights on standby, lined up with their horses and dragons.
Part of the first floor of the building had turned into a Terrace Cafe, which was connected to the Dance Hall and was lined with tables.
I guess this place was created under the premise of holding this kind of event.
Although finely dressed guests had already gathered, after handing in my invitation, I was led to a seat on the second floor balcony.
…VIP treatment, huh? Hmm.
I didn’t really understand the Knights’ intentions. Were they picking a fight with me, or did they hold me in high regard instead?
“Ooh, it’s Theodore?”
The person that greeted me with a smile was the vice-president of the Adventurer’s Guild, Holy Sword Oswald.
This was a martial arts event hosted by the Knights, after all. He wasn’t invited, he was personally selected.
“Hello. It’s a pleasant evening, isn’t it?.”
“Yeah. There are open seats there. I wonder if you’re fine sitting next to this old man.”
“To view this display of martial arts with Oswald-sama is quite interesting, don’t you think?”
I sat down at the table next to him in the spot I was offered.
“As for me, it would be more interesting for you to display your skills. I didn’t get to see your aerial battle nor Staff handling because I took too much time evacuating and guarding people.”
“Unfortunately, for today, I have the role of being an escort.”
He even tried to size me up. I didn’t look like someone who would wave his Staff around and cause a racket. After I answered him with my arms spread open, Oswald looked at Grace’s and Ashley’s hair accessory and nodded with a ‘Hmm.’
I couldn’t tell if he had understood something, but I shouldn’t ask about it too much.
After we introduced each other, I asked Oswald a question.
“Does Oswald-sama receive an invitation every year?”
“Just this once. The ones who have appeared here have all not done much, so there aren’t any interesting guys.”
“Is that so?”
“The Leader of the Knights this time is quite something, though. It appears he lost so much face that he can’t even brandish his sword.”
Oswald shrugged his shoulders while looking towards the Drilling Grounds.
“Do you know of a young Knight named Chester?”
“That Flying Dragon Rider, huh? Amongst the Knights, I think he’s the only one who isn’t here right now.”
Dragon Knight Chester. Although Knights were Knights, it appeared he was a Knight who rode Dragons.
According to Sheila’s investigations, he was accomplished in both literary and martial arts, and his reputation was flawless.
Sheila said it was very suspicious, but that was just a normal opinion. He wasn’t related to very suspicious figures, even if he did something suspicious one time.
Although I thought that him having that suspicious behavior was probably a rumor, I didn’t really know why he would do such a thing.
“Chester-sama, I wish you good luck in today’s practice.”
“Please be careful to not get any injuries.”
“Haha. It’ll be fine. I have an excellent Healing Magician on standby, and my weapon is in its Habaki. Something would rarely occur.”
(TN: Habaki = a metal collar used to prevent a sword from falling out)
Just as you would have thought, I heard such a voice. A figure that appeared to be Chester was in one of the balcony seats, wearing a ceremonial outfit. He was accompanied by several noble girls and was gathering attention from the surroundings.
Well…it was said that he was the most successful out of the Knights. I really felt like he was picture-perfect.
Chester put on a smile, and after standing there while giving his greetings to the surrounding girls, directly approached Oswald.
“So, Oswald-sama is here. I’m so glad you could make it. Our plans have been delayed a bit. I’ll give notice and apologize as soon as I give my greetings.”
“Is that so? I’m expecting good things from you at the display today.”
“I shall live up to your expectations and work hard.”
With that, he gave a bow to Oswald.
“And Theodore-kun, I’m glad you could make it today.”
“Yeah, Lord Chester.”
“Please enjoy the display of our martial arts.”
“Allow me to have a look at it.”
His attitude was the same as before.
“It’s also a pleasure to meet these beautiful ladies. I call myself Chester.”
Although Chester greeted Grace and Ashley, Grace looked at him coldly for a moment and finished with a nod. The same went for Ashley. He did not even give a hint of a friendly smile and ended it with a light bow.
…Well, this was likely the case. Those two had heard and knew about his behaviour at the Guild, as well as Sheila’s information. Even if it was too late for him to be friendly with us, the more perfect he was, the more likely he would appear to be suspicious, rather than deserving our trust.
Besides, I had my own opinions, so even if it was a mere formality, it looked like we gave our greetings. Rather than looked, it was more that we actually gave them. Whether or not this was the reaction he was expecting, Chester’s expression stiffened for a moment as he smiled.
“This is quite difficult, you are making me shy. Well then, I’ll be going around to give my greetings to other people, so if you would excuse me.”
He immediately recovered and left.
Did he always think positively, or did he just smooth things over? Just then, there was one thing I didn’t understand… no matter how you looked at it, he wasn’t shy. That reaction was worthy of being nonexistent.
“He somehow reminds me of Byron.”
Yeah…the way he played the hypocrite in front of adults was well done, that guy.
In short, Grace’s evaluation of him was abysmal.
“He’s a person I don’t understand well. Rather than that, the embroidery of this tablecloth…is really exquisite, you know.”
“Yeah, that’s true. It uses a technique I’ve never seen before.”
I felt the two of them had pulled themselves together, but unfortunately they started their girls’ talk.