Chapter 204. Aquarius (2)

Alphonso nodded at my question. "Yeah, Yuria's friend wanted to come early, so we did."

Yuria's friend? To my knowledge, the only person among Yuria’s friends who could attend this banquet was Arelia, the third imperial princess. Of course, it wasn’t like I knew all of Yuria’s friends, so there was a possibility that a child of a high-ranking noble family was her friend.

"Oho, he seems to be from the Butterfly Tribe. I did not know you also hung out with members of the Butterfly Tribe?” Duke Asteria looked at Alphonso curiously.

Alphonso shrank back at the duke's gaze and hid behind my back as I said, "Yes, he's a friend of mine who lives in the same boarding house."

"By boarding house, you mean Mrs. Arscilla's?"

I nodded lightly. "Alphonso, say hello. This is His Highness, Duke Asteria. Even your uncle, General William-nim, often receives help from him, so you should give a good impression."

"Uncle?" Alphonso glanced at Duke Asteria as if he was still a little scared.

"Is this William's nephew? Come to think of it, before I arrived at the capital, I heard from William that his twin nephew and niece had come here to study, so this must be him."

When the duke talked about William, Alphonso hesitantly came out from behind my back and bowed to the duke. "Hello, my name is Alphonso Fendria."

"Yes, it's nice to meet you. My name is Heinz. Although I am a duke, I won’t impose imperial manners on a child from the Butterfly Tribe, so just relax." When the duke smiled mildly, Alphonso nodded with some relief.

"By the way, your connections are wider than I thought," said the duke.

I smiled and waved my hands. "It’s not that large. How wide would a new civil servant’s connections be? At most, they are just personal connections from the training center."

"Haha, is that right?" As the duke and I were smiling, the nobles of the banquet began to creep up towards the duke.

The duke sighed lightly as he saw the nobles approaching him. “My gosh, they are already coming.” 

“Haha, you are very popular.'

The duke shrugged lightly at my joke. "I am kind of popular. Well, I didn’t want this type of popularity anyway.”

As he said so, he gently beckoned me to leave. "Fortunately, there’s a friend of yours at the banquet hall, so enjoy the banquet as you wish. I'll enjoy the banquet at my own pace."

The duke gave a humorous smile. I felt sorry for the nobles who, seeing the smile, approached the duke to try and curry favor.

I also greeted the duke with a smile. "Please don't be so hard on them just because they are a bunch of suckers; at least leave them with something. Well, if you'll excuse me."

"Hahaha, I’ll keep that in mind."

When I took Alphonso away, the nobles that were loitering around the duke approached him like a pack of starving hyenas. However, I was not worried at all because the duke was a monster who could eat the pack of hyenas approaching him.

"Huha! That was scary,” Alphonso exhaled when we moved away from the duke.

"It was scary?"

"Yeah, should I say that he was cold? How should I put this...” Alphonso tried to express himself with his lack of eloquence but eventually gave up.

I appropriately changed the subject. "What about Yuria?"

"Yeah, Yuria was getting mad at my grandfather, so I came first because I was scared. Yuria will probably come with her friend soon.”

"Really?"

It seems that Yuria was nagging him about what happened in the sky over the capital. Let us offer a moment of condolences for the pushover great elder of the Butterfly Tribe. While giving my condolences, I put on my recognition blocking glasses.

"Oh, what are those glasses? Something feels weird." Alphonso was puzzled by the magic on my glasses. 

I disheveled Alphonso's hair and adjusted the glasses to exclude Alphonso from their effect, and asked, “Do you still feel weird?” 

“Hmm... No."

“Then let's go eat.” 

“Okay!”

Alphonso and I took empty plates and headed towards the food.

* * *

"I hate you, Grandpa!" While upset with Arpen, Yuria headed to the banquet hall with Arelia, who had been waiting for her.

"Yu, Yuria!" Arpen reached out, holding his chest as if he had been deeply hurt, but Yuria responded by closing the door roughly.

"Um, is that okay?"

When Arelia asked carefully, Yuria nodded with steam coming out of her nose. "It's okay. Grandpa needs to be scolded!"

Yuria had said it was a good opportunity because she thought her grandfather would only teach Den how to control mana or cast basic magic. He did such a horrible thing that it wouldn’t be strange for an ordinary magician to become traumatized, but he did that to Den, who didn’t know anything about magic. Yuria wondered how she would be able to face Den in the future, lowering her head with guilt.

Unaware of why Yuria was so angry, Arelia comforted her by linking her arm with Yuria. "Relax. He is family that you haven't seen for a while."

"That's true, but....”

While Yuria and Arelia were talking, a group of black-haired men whose bulging muscles seemed to be bursting out of their suits walked toward the banquet hall.

"Are they from the Crow Tribe?" Yuria sensed and admired the hidden mana of the black-haired men.

"Wow, impressive." It was different from magicians, but she could see that each person trained their mana and body to a frightening extent.

When Yuria was in awe of the men, Arelia tilted her head as she repeated, "It’s impressive?"

Arelia's eyes couldn't tell if they were impressive or not.

"Yes, the direction of their training is different, but even in my village, it's rare to have trained mana to that extent."

"It’s to that extent?" Arelia was astonished by Yuria's assessment. She couldn't believe it when Yuria said their abilities were surprisingly rare, even though the Crows were part of the same battle races.

Yuria nodded at Arelia's question. Then, someone spoke to them from behind, "Thank you for the review."

Being suddenly spoken to, Yuria and Arelia looked back in surprise. Behind her, a beautiful woman with black hair in one braid smiled and waved. "Excuse me for interrupting your conversation. Are you Yuria Fendria of the Butterfly Tribe?"

Yuria was startled by Hestia's question, and she asked, "Do you know me?"

Hestia nodded and smiled. "Yes, the great elder of the Butterfly Tribe was bragging that his tribe had one of this century’s geniuses."

"Oh, my grandfather." Yuria blushed and grew ashamed.

Hestia introduced herself, looking at the shy Yuria and thinking she was cute, "My name is Hestia. It is nice to meet you."

"Oh, yes! It is nice to meet you too."

As Hestia and Yuria greeted each other, Arelia's eyes were drawn towards the Blessing of the Goddess around Hestia's neck. "That jewel is….”

When Arelia recognized the jewels, Hestia smiled and said, "Oh, this jewel. Someone I know gave it to me as a gift."

When Hestia touched the star sapphire lightly, Arelia's expression hardened slightly.

Hestia looked at Arelia with interest as Arelia’s face hardened. "What's wrong? Is something bothering you?

"Oh, no. It’s nothing."

When Arelia avoided Hestia's gaze, Hestia smiled meaningfully. "Hnng, is that so?"

Still smiling, Hestia bowed her head slightly when she saw that the other Crows had stopped for her and were waiting. "It was nice to meet you. See you later at the banquet."

When Hestia passed the two and walked between the Crows, the Crows opened a path, flanking her on both sides in unison.

Yuria looked blankly at Hestia's back leading the Crow Tribe towards the banquet hall, and said, "Wow, she’s cool...”

When Yuria looked at Hestia with admiration, Arelia looked a little sullen, like she was dissatisfied with something.

"…Really?" Arelia asked.

Yuria was looking at Hestia and didn't see Arelia's expression.

* * *

My third sister and the people from my hometown would most likely be attending the banquet. As such, when should I attend? I thought about heading in around the middle of the banquet.

The gathering of the battle races in the capital was a kind of a political show, so the prime minister probably wouldn’t appear at the start of the banquet. Still, I must not lower my guard. He could have attended the banquet in an ordinary fashion, not making a spectacular appearance like Alphonso next to me.

The meal was delicious, by the way. As expected of a banquet where all the high-ranking nobles were invited, the food tasted incredibly delicious.

"Den, look at this! You can eat this cotton!" Alphonso smiled merrily with cotton candy in his hands.

"Really? That's amazing."

Alphonso shook the cotton candy in excitement when I smiled and pretended to be surprised. "Right? If you put it in your mouth, it melts. Do you want some?"

"No, I don’t like eating sweets during a meal. And don't eat too much of it; it's not good for your health."

Alphonso was slightly sullen by my refusal. "All right, got it."

By the way, I ate some last time at the princess’s ball, but this duck meat is really delicious. The sauce, in particular, is fantastic. Last time, I couldn't take any home because of an old man wearing a golden mask, but this time I'll be sure to pack some.

“Anyways, Yuria seems to be running late.” 

“Yeah.”

Alphonso was looking around for Yuria when suddenly the lights in the banquet hall went out.

"Huh?"

Then, the light became concentrated on the platform in the center of the banquet hall, shining on the prime minister. The people in the banquet hall were buzzing at the sudden performance.

The prime minister raised his hand to silence the murmur and spoke into the microphone, "Thank you, ladies and gentlemen and honored guests, for coming to the banquet."

The prime minister praised the people at the banquet, pouring out cringeworthy flowery rhetoric, while the audience listened as if they were used to it.

"This conference’s banquet has invited some special guests. Perhaps it will be an answer to the last question at the conference.”

When the prime minister smiled as he spoke meaningfully, the nobles of the banquet hall all looked puzzled. However, I became pale after understanding what the prime minister said.

Damn, it was way earlier than I expected. I thought he would reveal it at the end of the banquet. He must have pushed the schedule ahead because Arpen and I had made a fuss in the sky over the capital. I’ll have to cancel the plans to send stomach medicine to the prime minister.

At that time, the light focused on the second entrance from the right, one of the banquet hall’s five entrances, and the door opened as the prime minister announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, here is Hestia Blade, the deputy chief of the Crow Tribe, along with members of the Crow Tribe. Please welcome them with applause."

At the same time as the prime minister's introduction, my third sister led the people from my hometown into the banquet hall. The nobles were astonished at the person’s unexpected identity as they clapped.

The people following in Hestia's footsteps were those who I knew well. There was Elder Weger and the foreign minister ahjussi, diplomats, warriors, and the guards led by my eldest brother, Gallahad. My third sister had only brought the elite of the elite. Just looking at their faces, one would wonder if they were going to go to war.

The lighting at the banquet hall shined on the people of my hometown, and at the same time, it shined on the center entrance.

"And now, Arpen Fendria, the great elder of the Butterfly Tribe, and members of the Butterfly Tribe."

As the entrance opened, a group of white-haired and red-eyed magicians, including Arpen and Bendis, entered the banquet hall.

"Waa, it's Grandpa! Den, look over there."

"Yeah, I'm going to go to the bathroom for a second. Play together with Yuria when she comes.”

Alphonso nodded. "Huh? Yeah, okay."

I left Alphonso behind and tried to hide as much as I could by reducing my presence and seeping into the crowd.

"Next up is the Dragon King, Muk Draconium, and those of the Dragon Tribe."

Along with the prime minister's gesture, the lights lit the second entrance from the left. Through the entrance, a large blond man standing well over two meters tall appeared, waving in all directions as he led the Dragon Tribe.

As the people of the three tribes reached the center of the banquet hall, the lights turned on again, and the court band began to play music. During this moment, when I had to escape at any cost, someone grabbed my hand.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter