I returned from Duke Barga’s office to standby-dorm next to Laptiricia-sama’s private room. This is the room I’d sleep in and have my meals during my stay in the residence. The other escort, Ashley, would take her meals with Laptiricia-sama and the duke couple, but then return to the standby rooms.
As such, the standby room consisted of a living room with two connecting bedrooms, with twin beds. There was a restroom, but no baths.
In this world, bathhouses – falses similar to public baths – were common, and only some aristocrats had a bathroom in the mansion. Of course, in this mansion, the duke’s residence had a bathroom. It was for the Barga house and its guests. The maids also had a small private bathroom for their own use.
I’m the only one in the standby quarters, with no one else in the other bedroom. When I came back, I asked the maid who was cleaning Laptiricia-sama’s room. And she informed me that Ashley and Lapitiricia-sama went to bathe together.
While I waited for them, I selected the Avatar Customization from the TSS, removed the overcoat and German suit. Now, I only wore the thin powered suit with pants. But I could wear a rougher outfit with the day’s guard coming to an end soon.
When I was called to the office, I’d been given specifics on the dress code for the luncheon and evening party. Even though I was a guard, I’d be accompanying the duke’s daughter. She was making a social appearance, and the thing called formal clothing was required. I didn’t have anything of the sort, so I’d been offered a loan of clothes. However, I refused due to the function since it required undercover equipment.
I thought about a configuration that didn’t violate the dress code as I searched through the shop, keeping in mind I had to carry weapons. In the end, my luncheon attire consisted of a black frock coat, a white shirt, a grey vest, black pants, and a grey tie. The evening part would be a black tailcoat, white shirt vest, white tie, and black trousers.
In VMB, when I saw a player wearing a tuxedo while shooting, I thought “Aren’t they crazy?”. I doubted I’d ever thought there’d be a time I wore formal clothing while carrying a tomahawk… Life was something that couldn’t be understood.
I tried on various clothes within my TSS. Just when I thought I was satisfied, the knock came from the room’s door. It seemed like they were back.
“Shaft, I’m bac—…”
Ashley, who’d returned, was standing in the doorway. The soapy scent from the bath wafted in and reached me. Her copper hair was moist from the water. I wonder if she was going to dry her hair here?
“Are you going to come in? Isn’t it cold out there? If you stay there while wet, you’re going to catch a cold, you know.”
I wonder if she’s dizzy from the bath? Ashley’s face looked a little red as she came in, and began to dry her hair. I was sitting on a chair in the living room while tampering with the TSS. The daytime-use frock coat could hide weapons, but the night-use tail coat didn’t have much room.
An edged tool – the tomahawk – could be removed while in the castle, but would the baton or Wellrod be enough? I thought over whether I could still hide anything.
“So, you had those kinds of clothes, Shaft.”
When I looked up, Ashley stood in the bathroom.
“I was told by the Duke that we need to dress up for tomorrow’s lunch and the evening party. I don’t think these clothes are suitable for guards, but I can’t afford to embarrass Leptiricia-sama. “
“That so, but I think that it suits you really well.”
“Really? Thank you. I’m not used to wearing these you see. It’s a bit tight.”
“But… Only that black mask doesn’t suit you. I think that Schwartz suits you better than Shaft and that mask.”
Underneath the kevlar mask was not the zombie. The reason that I wore it in different ways after clearing the setting once when I customized the avatar. I got up from the chair and slowly removed the kevlar mask. Perhaps from her point of view, whether I was wearing the mask, or hiding the zombie face, such a thing meant nothing at all.
“It suits you.”
“Ashley, Shaft, would you both like to join me for black tea?”
I heard Laptiricia-sama speak up as the door connected to the neighboring room was opened. She could only see my back. Since she couldn’t see my real face – the face of Schwarts – I immediately put the mask back on, then replied.
“I will gratefully accept, Please, let me have a sip.”
The next day, the Barga couple left the mansion to attend a New Year’s ceremony, at the imperial castle. Lapitricia-sama attended the lunch party for unmarried sons and daughters, held at an influential noble’s home. There weren’t any nobles with rank, and that was to say, this was like a practice before the real thing.
The part’s host was an old lady named Capsine Madlastes She had already lost her spouse, and her peerage had been succeeded by his son. Now, she held a small party for the next generation of noble children. And it seemed like they were learning mannerisms and other things.
When I entered the Madrastes estate, the weapon’s recovery had not finished. I was uneasy as the baton and Welrod hadn’t recovered. However, the maid in charge of collecting the weapons smiled bitterly as I took out my Tomahawk from underneath my frock coat.
The lunch party’s venue was held within a separate building on the estate grounds. A two-story stone mason building, but from the outside, the terraces and windows on the second floor were spectacular. If the sun went down, it’d be illuminated by the lights in the room. It’d definitely be romantic.
First, I’ll take the girl to the dressing room on the first floor. From there, I’d go up the stairs and stay indoors at several spaces put assign for guards. During the party, Ashley would be with Leptiricia-sama.
Although there was a buffet, it was just basically there for others to meet and talk. Though there were only a few people within the hall and I could see the band. I hadn’t properly listened to this world’s music yet. It seemed like flutes and string instruments, so it’d most likely be a classically-styled melody.
The attendees, who’d been preparing below, came to the second floor one after another. Before long, all of them had gathered. I could see Laptiricia-sama and Ashley. Finally, the host, Mrs. Capsine Madlastes, entered to announce the start of the luncheon. The band began to make gentle sounds, and the boys shyly began to approach the girls – who were whispering to their attendants.
While I watched them all, I didn’t loosen my vigilance. I mapped the venue in an instant and monitored the movements of everyone. I listened to sounds and voices… And what I heard was a little too embarrassing, so let’s keep it hidden…
On the schedule’s first day, we finished the luncheon and returned to the Barga mansion. Tonight, a dinner party hosted by Duke Varga would be held here. This time, it was necessary to prepare for it.
This escort request was a busier job than I expected…