Akira, Klyn, and Dolph stood in the short line at the gates to the main that led to the inner castle where the Ball was being held. The three had decided to wait a short time before heading out so that the large crowd of people trying to get in would have lessened by the time they arrived.
The line moved forward slowly as everyone handed over their weapons and allowed the guards to make sure they were not hiding any small weapons on their bodies.
“I better get my sword back in perfect shape that was expensive to buy,” said a plump elderly man with a large walrus mustache.
“Fear not sir, Your sword will be held here in the weapons armory next to our own and will be taken good care of,” said the guard as he handed the sword over to a subordinate who ran off to stow away the weapon.
“Next,” said the guard motioning Akira and the others to move forward and hand over their weapons. But before that, they had to show the invitation to the ball.
Akira had thought of just keeping his sword in his bag and not handing it over but decided against it because it would put him under even greater suspicion.
Plus he still had his spear so he was not without a means to fight back. Not that he needed it against unarmored people who he could tear apart with his bare hands if he transformed.
“You can go, but you better not start any trouble,” said the guard after making sure there were no hidden weapons on them and even checked Akira’s bag that looked empty to him.
As the three walked through the gates Akira was able to once again see the gardens that he had spent many summers in when he was a child.
There were several small groups of people boisterously talking together as they slowly walked to the open doors of the large ballroom.
The sun was already starting to set as they entered the open doors and walked into the well lit large ballroom.
The ceiling of the ballroom was several stories high with several large crystal chandeliers hanging from long sturdy chains. The green magical fire that was used for lighting was flickering erratically making it so the crystals gave of glittering green light.
The large ballroom was already filled with several hundreds of high-class nobles, famous artists, and businessmen all in their own groups talking about whatever it is that fancy pants like them talk about.
Whenever someone of note entered the ballroom a guard near the doors would shout out their name letting everyone in the ballroom know of their arrival.
Since Akira, Klyn, and Dolph were nobodies, the guards ignored them as they walked by.
As Akira walked around the ballroom he had a hard time finding a spot to stand that was not already taken by a group of people. So he just kept wandering around with Klyn and Dolph following behind him.
Klyn was awestruck by everything he saw from the ballrooms smooth and artfully paved floor to how big the room was as well as the enchanting sparkling chandeliers.
“Excuse me who might you be?” asked a man from Akira’s side as the three of them were passing by.
Akira turned to the man and saw that he was looking at their clothes most likely wondering how they were even able to enter the ballroom.
They had all worn their best clothes to go to the ball but compared to the nobles they probably still looked like country bumpkins.
“My name is Akira, this is Klyn and he is Dolph,” said Akira pointing to the other two as he introduced them.
“I see… I have never heard of you before. Are you new merchants?” asked the noble.
Akira felt awkward talking to the man as he did not look at Akira’s face when he was talking to him but instead looked over Akira’s left shoulder the whole time.
“We are not merchants. We have been invited to the capital on business with the king,” replied Akira.
“Figures,” said the man turning away from them after losing all interest.
This happened several more times as they walked around waiting for the ball to start.
Klyn was now continuing to mutter insults under his breath at the nobles after each slight. This was the first time people had ignored him as if he was nothing, it was a learning experience he did not like.
“Hey, handsome who are you?” asked a nearby female voice.
Klyn looked over to see she was looking directly at him.
“Me?” he asked flustered pointing at himself while looking around to see if she was talking to anyone else, but there was only Dolph and Akira next to him and in his opinion hardly anyone would call them handsome.
“Haha, who else could I be talking to?” asked the woman with a voice that dripped with a sweetness almost to the point of being rather annoying.
Akira inspected the woman and after only a glance, whisperer to Klyn a warning, “Watch yourself she’s a local escort.”
“A what?” asked Klyn confused at the word.
“A prostitute,” said Dolph bluntly. “They’re all over this ballroom. All you have to do to tell them apart from the noblewoman is look at the massive amount of makeup caked on their faces and the cheap-looking jewelry worn everywhere.”
“No need to fight over me gentlemen. There is enough of me to go around as long as you don’t mind sharing,” said the escort as she watched them quietly talk to each other.
“My name is Meesa Orny,” said the escort as she held out her hand for Klyn to take.
Klyn had no idea what type of customs human nobles were accustomed to so he didn’t know what to do with the hand. He looked around trying to see what others were doing and saw a man that was somehow already drunk slobbering all over a girl’s hand that he held in his own.
Following suit, he took the girl’s hand and started to lick it to everyone’s surprise including the escort.
“You idiot! That’s not how you do it,” said Akira whacking Klyn upside the head.
“Really Klyn, what if the head shaman saw you acting like a young pup in heat. Get control of yourself,” said Dolph shaking his head in disapproval.
After trading a few more words they distanced themselves from the escort and walked over to the table full of fancy snacks and large pitchers of alcohol.
“Attention the night’s events will start now with speeches made by a few of our famous authors. Gather around if you would like to listen to them,” shouted a rotund man with a large white powdered wig that made his head look twice as big.
Akira and Klyn listened to the authors tell a few tall tales for a time before getting bored and going back towards the food table to eat more.
Many of the speeches and stories were outlandish in their attempts to wow and outdo the person that had gone before them.
When the stories and speeches by other nobles were done a knowledge quiz contest was held where anyone could join and win a prize if they beat the other contestant five times.
Akira was going to push the brainy Klyn forward to volunteer but Klyn was one step ahead of him and gave Akira a push.
Everyone’s eyes turned to him as he stumbled forward.
“We have our first contestant who will challenge him?” asked the wigged noble.
A tall and skinny scholarly man with glasses stepped forward.
The questions were hard and more like riddles than a quiz on a person’s knowledge.
Akira ended up randomly picking choices because he had no clue what any of it meant.
When Akira surprisingly won his fifth time. The scholarly man turned to Akira.
“I see you had a deeper understanding of the deep meanings of life far better than I do. You truly are on the next level!” said the man praising Akira as he shook his hand.
“Ah…Yeah…Thanks…,” mumbled Akira.
Akira walked back to the impressed Klyn who asked, “How did you know the answer to all of those questions?”
Akira shrugged and said, “I just got lucky when I guessed.”
This left Klyn stumped he had though Akira had used his brains to win. In the end, it turned out to be just dumb luck.
The contest continued as several nobles wanted to show off their smarts to their companions. There was no quick win again like Akira’s as many of the challenges lasted for several long minutes.
Akira walked around and talked with the few nobles that he could over a glass of wine catching up on the current events of the capital since he had long been out of the loop.
The contest lasted until several trumpets near the entrance sounded breaking through the noisy chatter.
“Princess Ruth has arrived! Prince Rodger has arrived!” shouted the guard before the trumpets sounded again.
Everyone inside the ballroom stopped what they were doing to watch as the prince and princess walked into the ballroom waving and greeting everyone in the room.
Princess Ruth wore a puffy pink dress full of frills along with an eye-catching red ruby necklace. While Rodger wore his clean officer military dress uniform.
“Here’s our chance,” said Dolph nudging Akira to go talk to Rodger.
The trio walked towards the royal couple behind several hundred others who had the same idea of trying to talk to them.
The line was long and unorganized with much pushing and shoving as people tried to get a better spot near the front.
When the nobles acted up near the three werewolves, Dolph just glared at them and they quickly backed away frightened.
It took over a half hour for the trio to reach the front of the line to talk to the royal couple.
Klyn was in front of Akira and made several quick and shallow bows to the two, looking like a chicken pecking at grain on the ground.
When Ruth offered her gloved hand for him to kiss Klyn made sure not to mess up this type and grabbed the hand and shook it vigorously nearly making her fall over.
Several loud Gasps could be heard throughout the ballroom.
Akira kicked Klyn aside as several nobles began to whisper about the faux pas.
Many angry stares were now looking at Klyn. Dolph stepped forward and brought Klyn away from the crowd and off to the side where he could be protected him from any angry noble.
“I take it that…Interesting… person is with you?” asked Ruth after Akira kissed her gloved hand that had a gold ring and a plain silver ring.
“Sorry, he does not know the customs of Beorin. It’s nice to see you again Ruth,” said Akira.
“You know my sister is still looking for you?” said Ruth saying something so explosive with a calm and neutral face.
“Still? I thought she would have given up by now,” said Akira who was slightly horrified at her persistence.
“I don’t understand it either. I have no clue why she goes to such lengths just for someone like you,” said Ruth looking over Akira.
“You didn’t come here to just trade pleasantries did you?” asked Rodger.
“That’s true, I was sent to talk to you about the possibility of meeting with the king,” said Akira.
“Just wait a bit and I will finish up here and we can continue talking on the matter,” said Rodger.
Akira walked over to Klyn and Dolph to wait for Rodger and Ruth to finish their royal greetings.
By the time they had finished, the time for the grand ball dance had started and Rodger and Ruth were forced, as the Highest ranking nobles in the ballroom, to open the ball with the first dance.
Everyone watched to the side as the two danced to a new slow tune by the castle’s famous band.
When the song finished and another one started the other nobles joined the floor and began to dance as well.
With their obligations finally over Rodger and Ruth were able to slip away to meet with Akira and his fellow clansmen.