Laptiricia-sama’s trip to Veneer would end with tonight’s banquet. We still did not know if Cactus and Styphnolobium had decided to give up on assassinating her. But I wasn’t optimistic that they had. They were unlikely to attempt an attack during the banquet, but we shouldn’t be any less vigilant.
When we arrived at the La Vienne Rose, I was first off the carriage. I then opened the carriage door to allow Laptiricia-sama and Ashley, helping them exit. Tonight’s banquet was more prestigious than any other I’ve attended. Apparently, it was hosted by a Marquis, whose house was known for their strong magic. There was also security arranged for the venue by the Marquis. Just like me, who wore a Venetian mask and a black tailcoat, Laptiricia-sama and Ashley wore fitted evening gowns per the dress code.
This world somehow had a more advanced sense of fashion than my old world. Despite the medieval lifestyle and atmosphere – also outdated sewing technology, the fashion design was more modern than my world’s medieval period.
Laptiricia-sama wore a blue bare topdress while sporting what appeared to be diamond-studded earrings. It shone brilliantly over her white skin. Meanwhile, Ashley wore a red off-the-shoulder dress with a v-neck. She also wore a choker with a glowing red ruby that’d I presented to her as Schwartz. Both of them looked stunning. On the other hand, looked like a pro wrestler with my mask.
I took Laptiricia-sama’ hand and escorted her to the entrance. There, I was frisked after our invitation was confirmed. Ashley attended as a member of the Zephanel house instead of an escort; she was exempted from also being searched. Ashley didn’t talk about the Zephanel family. Was there a reason behind why it was difficult for her to do so? After asking the escort commander, I came to know the gist of it. Not that I cared about the noble stuff and all, but I was worried about her well being.
Entering La Vienne Rose, we passed through a revolving door. We were greeted by the sight of red. Even the tablecloths were red. The whole room was essentially filled with red. Several men and women were already mingling when we entered and a waitress sprightfully offered us liquor.
It would be some time before the banquet began. Until then, people would just socialize with others. Since I didn’t know anyone, I turned the wine in my glass as I followed Laptiricia-sama and Ashley from behind. I hadn’t drunk the wine yet, as I was still on duty. Laptiricia-sama and Ashley, however, appeared to be more well known than I thought. Be it a count or earl – even a middle-aged viscount – treated her like an old acquaintance. Meanwhile, the number of young barons and nobles soon appeared as the room became crowded.
When I tried to listen to the content of the conversations between these nobles, I heard national politics, forecast for the next year, business, taxes, women – yada yada. Not to mention, if the person tried to settle into a corner, or whisper, my sound sensors would still pick it up.
“This year was truly auspicious. A dungeon was closed and the Barga markets are lively with trade—-”
“The problem is the magic transfer team. My territory doesn’t have any yet. I should win some over, no matter what —-”
“I heard that magic recovery potions are flooding the market—”
“The price of magic water is in a freefall. But there shouldn’t be any other vien except the one I manage. Do you know anything—-”
“It seems that the southern pirates are gaining momentum—”
“This wine is delish—”
“Is there any seafood—-”
“I will graduate from the Magic Academy this year. Next, I’ll study—”
“My daughter had achieved success in mere two years, you should do your best—”
“Have you seen that young black noble—”
“Just how did Duke Barga secure the Black Mask’s aid—”
“Leader, give me another glass—”
“Marida Company’s new food really sold well—”
“Last night, there seems to be a lot of noise—”
“The daughter of that businessman will make an appearance—”
“How was the card?”
“Is the First Prince coming to the ball tonight—”
“Of course~ Only here can we drink such a fine vintage—”
“Moreover, it’s like the Second Prince is playing with fire—”
“The Third Prince’s fiancee is —”
“Isn’t it decided already?”
“Beyond the Gatekeeper of the Capital’s northern Labyrinth is—”
“The 150th floor was it? Nothing less from Raflessia—”
People spoke of various topics… and rumors of “Black Mask” had definitely reached the ear of the Veneer nobles. If the performance signboard I’d seen while I rode the carriage told me anything, it’s that the story had circulated – perhaps through bards or some other means. And apparently, the Marida Company’s bento sold really well. If only I had time to visit the company’s office in the capital. But the escort request had left me with very little free time. Maybe after the request was finished, I’ll give Marida a visit. I also wanted to visit the magic academy Marida’s daughter attended. If only just to see how they taught in this world.
In the end, I simply savored the wine’s fragrance in my glass. It smelled delicious, so I figured a sip wouldn’t hurt. It tasted slightly sour with a well rounded flavor. It was indeed delicious as they’ve mentioned. I had the urge to drink some more, but I endured; opting to enjoy the smell instead. While I did so, I returned my attention to listening to my surroundings. This time, on what Laptiricia-sama and Ashley were talking about in front of me.
Eventually, the curtain on the main stage opened wide. A female host appeared while saying “Pardon for the wait” before urging the guests to move toward the main ballroom for dinner. Thus, we proceeded as instructed. It was the role of the male escort to guide their guest to their seat. The tables and seats had been arranged in advance. Despite not having any actual influence, Ashley was seated beside Laptiricia-sama and tonight’s host,Marquis Venato.
Many long tables filled the venue for the banquet with 12 chairs each. Four groups were arranged at each table. I pulled Laptiricia-sama’ seat for her to sit before assisting Ashley. Only then, did I sit. Next, we waited for the others to be seated. Marquis Venato would be the last to sit. So that left us to wait on two more groups… If according to the table seating lists, the two groups would be the City lord, Marquis Venner, and… Lord of Dragrange Frontier Territory.
Lord of the Frontier was a title given to a noble with territory that shared its border with another country. Although, I’m not sure if that title worked similarly in this world. Kurtmerga Kingdom was a vast country, as such, I hadn’t heard anything regarding neighboring nations at all. I guessed I’d hear about them tonight when Ashley and the other spoke about it. It’ll be awkward for the other group to show up while we were talking – so I chose to stay quiet for now.