Akira had been tortured late into the night. The torture technique was called ‘Jezebel’s super-powered crash course in etiquette’. Guaranteed to make you look like a noble or you will get hit on the head by a wooden stick for free.
For the first time since he had know Jezebel, he was able to see her serious side and it was surprising how different she was when she put her all into trying to teach Akira.
Thankfully he had been allowed to escape from the castle the next morning after being woken up early by Jezebel and told to finish any business he had to take care of. Before he had left he was told to make sure he returned to the castle before lunch was served.
Akira walked through the dirty streets of the slums headed to the plain building that housed the black market.
Knock! Knock! Knock!
After knocking on the door Akira stepped back and waited for old man Willy Wong to open the door.
The door opened all the way and a young burly muscular man wearing tight fitting leather armor appeared. He was definitely not Willy Wong.
Akira looked around to see if he had walked to the wrong building but saw it was the only one with a metal door.
“What do you want?” asked the man his large arms crossed in front of his chest.
“Uh…do you know if Willy Wong is here. If he is can I speak to him?” asked Akira.
“Never heard of him. I am the owner of this building,” said the man growing alert at the mention of the name.
Akira was slightly puzzled. He had come here to see if he could find a present for Jezebel. But for some reason, an entirely different person was now the owner of the building and had no clue who the original owner was.
“Who are you?” asked the muscular man.
“I am Akira. May I know your name.”
“I said my name is Akira.”
“No Whu Yu is my name. What can I do for you Mr. Akira are you here for the black market?” asked Whu Yu who had mysteriously become extremely nice upon hearing his name.
“Yes, I came to see if I could find something for a friend,” said Akira.
“Sir, there are many other stores that you could buy something from. Why come here?”
“Too expensive,” mumbled Akira.
Whu Yu gave an understanding nod and stepped to the side allowing Akira to enter the building before the metal door was slammed shut.
“Right this way sir.”
Akira was lead up a set of stairs and into the second floor passing multiple guards who looked more like local criminals than the guards he had seen at the castle.
At the end of the small hallway, there was another set of metal doors that were already unlocked allowing Akira to enter the large storage room that was dimly lit by torches.
“Please take your time. I’m sure you will find whatever you need,” said Whu Yu bowing to Akira before leaving the room.
Having such a strong person as Whu Yu acting so humble and even bowing made Akira feel strange.
Akira walked from table to table looking at the prices. The cost of a large portion of the items made his heartache. Most were just as expensive as the stores but these items were all of a higher quality.
If he wanted to get Jezebel a present, then he was going to have to spend a large amount of money. He could not just go out and buy something and call it a present.
An hour quickly passed by without Akira noticing since he was deep in thought as he searched for a suitable item.
As he walked to a new table an item on the table reflected the flickering light of a torch catching his attention.
He reached over and picked it out of the pile of expensive junk on the table.
It was a beautifully made hairpin made from a dark blue ore. There where multiple carved gems secured on top creating a flower. The petals of the gem flower were a light pink, while the gem in the middle was a deep red which made Akira think of Jezebel’s fiery red hair.
He looked at the price tag and his heart nearly stopped three gold and fifty silver for such a small hair clip?
Akira used his inspection skill to see if it had any traits that would justify it being so expensive.
Jarler’s Hairpin of tranquility (Rare):
On the year 420, this hairpin was made by the master jeweler Jarler.
He used the rare ore Yanium along with the best gems he could find to create this amazing item.
-Due to an ancient spell cast on item usage restricted to females
“Hmm, what an interesting item. Although I don’t know what it does, with tranquility in its name it shouldn’t be something bad.”
Akira pondered over whether or not he should buy it before finally deciding to purchase it. His heart ached as he handed over the money to Whu Yu and left the building with only a single item.
“That was the queen’s childhood friend? He didn’t seem like much of anything,” scoffed one of the guards.
“Quiet you!” shouted Whu Yu, “What if the queen heard that you say that. Our job is to run this place not bad mouth the queens choice in friends. If you’re lucky the queen won’t find out.”
“Ah! Ca..captain that’s not what I was trying to do!” pleaded the guard.
Akira returned to the castle after letting Varbu know that he most likely would stay out all night due to the banquet.
Jezebel was pacing back and forth in the castles front gardens while waiting for Akira to return.
When she saw him walk through the gates she rushed over to him.
“Hurry up, we have to get you into better clothes before the banquet. I can’t have you looking like a common country road bandit,” said Jezebel as she grabbed his arm and began walking quickly towards the castle.
Jezebel lead Akira to one of the many small rooms inside the castle. The room was filled with all sorts of cloth rolls and cured leather. Standing near a table with many tools were two beautiful young maids.
“I want you to take Akira’s measurements and create a new outfit for him to wear to the banquet tonight,” ordered Jezebel.
“Yes your majesty,” said both maids while bowing deeply.
Both maids picked up long cloth strings used for measuring and walked over to Akira.
Under the watchful eyes of the Queen, they began to thoroughly measure Akira writing the numbers down onto a piece of paper.
When they finished Jezebel dragged Akira over to the many rolls of cloth and began taking samples and placing it on Akira’s shoulder to discover the right color for Akira.
“I can’t let you go to the banquet in any old outfit. I have to make sure the color matches you also,” said Jezebel mostly mumbling to herself and no one in particular.
“Aha! This it is the one!” said Jezebel after testing multiple samples. She tossed the dark blue sample to one of the maids and then began searching through the leather samples for a similar color that would match the cloth.
When she found what she was looking for she gave the leather sample to the other maid.
“Use the cloth matching that color for a formal shirt, and use the leather for formal pants. They need to be done before the banquet,” ordered Jezebel.
“We’ll get right on it!” said the maids respectfully.
“Come Akira lets go have an early lunch and review the etiquette you learned yesterday,” said Jezebel while dragging Akira out of the room by the hand.
The two maids watched as the two left and felt pity for the man because from their point of view it looked like the queen was treating him more like a pet than a human.
Several hours passed as Akira was tested thoroughly on what he remembered.
“The banquet will start in a few hours you should go take a bath. The clothes should be done by now so I’ll have the maids bring the clothes to you,” said Jezebel.
Jezebel picked up a bell near her chair and used it to summon a pair of maids from outside the current room.
“Take Akira to the bath in the west wing. You are to help him,” ordered Jezebel.
Akira was about to tell her he didn’t need any help bathing but was interrupted.
“I have to go prepare myself as well since I am the host of the banquet I have to look my best as well,” said Jezebel immediately standing up and leaving the room.
“Sir, if you will please follow us we will take you to the west wing’s royal bath,” said a maid who looked to be in her mid 20’s with chestnut brown hair and was wearing a pair of glasses.
Akira was lead to a well lit medium sized room. The room was warm and humid due to the large bath in the center of the room that was letting off large amounts of steam.
Akira turned to the two maids.
“I can take care of myself, you both can wait outside,” said Akira.
“We can not,” said the older of the two maids who was somewhere in her 30’s with dark black hair.
“The queen has ordered us to help you. We can not disobey her commands,” said the youngest maid.
Akira sighed and took off all his clothes but his underwear and placed them into a pile on the ground.
The older maid picked up the dirty clothes and placed them into a nearby wicker basket.
“I’ll take care of washing his clothes,” said older maid picking up the basket and leaving the room.
Akira let out another sigh as if accepting his fate and started to walk towards the bath.
“Wait, sir where are you going?” asked the glasses maid stopping Akira.
“To get in the bath. Why?” asked Akira not sure what the maid wanted.
“You can not do that. You have to first do a quick rinse and scrub before entering the bath.”
“Why do it outside of the bath? Isn’t the whole point of a bath to clean yourself while inside the bath?”
“It is just the custom of royalty. To keep the bath water and bath as clean as it can you are to rinse the large amount of grime and sweat off outside of the bath that way you can enjoy the bath without the water getting too dirty,” replied the maid as if she was talking to a little kid asking her questions he should have know the answer to already.
“Where am I supposed to rinse myself?” asked Akira.
The maid pointed towards a wide wooden stool with small legs next to a stream of running water.
Akira walked over to the stool and sat down he looked around to find a washcloth but could only find a bucket next to the stream.
The bucket was picked up by the maid before he could even reach for it. She dipped it into the stream and brought it over to Akira and unceremoniously dumped the cold water onto of his head.
“Ah!” Akira let out a shout from the shock of the cold water splashing all over him. After a few more buckets full of water Akira was sputtering and shivering while wiping water from his face.
He let out another cry of shock as the maid started to use a sponge soaked in the cold water to wipe down his back and the rest of his body. She made sure to wipe down EVERYTHING.
Her hands reached for his underwear with the intent to remove them to wash every part of his body.
“I can take care of it just turn around and don’t look,” said Akira stopping her.
“No need to be shy I don’t mind doing it,” said the maid attempting to remove his underwear again.
Akira blocked her hand and grabbed the sponge and quickly washed himself with his back turned away from the unflinching maid.
He tossed the sponge into the bucket and stood up.
“Can I now get into the bath?” asked Akira.
“You may,” said the maid who to Akira’s horror began striping herself before he could even react Thankfully she was wearing an odd type of one piece underwear underneath her maid clothes.
Ignoring her and hopped into the large steaming bath.
‘Ah, this is much better,’ thought Akira as he sat down in the shallow end of the pool like bath with the water coming up to his chin.
His shivering stopped and his tense muscle began to relax. He closed his eyes and let out a sigh in content as the warmth from the bath seeped into his body.
He heard the splash of the glasses maid rinsing herself and then a short time later felt the disturbance in the water as the maid entered it.
Then the real torture began as the maid started to use a coarse washcloth to fiercely scrub his back.
Forcing him to let out another cry of shock.
“Sorry sir but you seem to have a lot of dead skin that the warm bathwater has loosened. Most likely from not taking proper baths for a long time. I will have to use a bit of force to do my job and fully clean you,” said the maid.
Twenty minutes later Akira stepped out of the bath with a miserable look on his face and his skin a rosy red from the hard scrubbing received from the maid.
He was now sure that anyone who liked taking baths like this was either insane or a pervert who liked being tortured.
No sane person would want to endure what he had just been through. The glasses maid took a towel and started to dry Akira off and handed him a warm fluffy robe to wear before drying herself off.
The maid led him back to a room where the two maids that had made his clothes for him were waiting.
The two immediately removed his robe and started to dress him in the new fashionable clothes.
Jezebel walked into the room while he was looking at himself in a mirror that was placed on the wall.
“I knew that color would look good on you!” said Jezebel happily after seeing the new clothes.
Akira turned to see a stunningly beautiful Jezebel in a puffy hoop dress that was a deep red. Her hair was tied back into a ponytail and on top of her head sat her crown. A very enchanting smell was coming from her.
She looked at the leather pants that were not to tight nor were they baggy. The dark blue coat that was buttoned in the middle only revealing a silk white shirt at the top.
When her eyes gazed at his hair she frowned at the mess of hair. The maids seeing this rushed to explain.
“Your majesty his hair doesn’t want to stay in place.”
“Hmph…bring me the special cream,” ordered Jezebel.
Moments later one of the maids returned to the room with a small metal tin in her hands and handed it to Jezebel.
Jezebel opened it and scooped a small portion of the white contents inside and started to use it on Akira’s hair.
To Akira’s surprise, this wondrous cream actually held his hair in place.
Stepping back Jezebel checked his hair from all sides and nodded to herself happily at her handiwork.
“Come on Akira lets go to the main ballroom the banquet will be starting soon,” said Jezebel.
And again for the hundredth time that day he was dragged out of the room by Jezebel as they headed for the ballroom.