Arc 4 Chapter 54: Banquet


Jezebel and Akira stopped before the large ballroom doors that were currently closed.

“We’ll have to separate here for now since I’ll have to take on the duties of being the host. You can mingle with the nobles if you want, just don’t get too friendly. There are a few snacks ready, but make sure not to eat too much since dinner will be served as soon as everyone arrives,” said Jezebel.

With a quick order from Jezebel, the royal knights guarding the doors pushed the large wooden ballroom doors open, allowing the two to enter the ballroom and go their own separate ways.

They had arrived early but there were already a few nobles that had come even earlier in order to try and get on good terms with the king and queen and other high ranking nobles.

Akira looked around and guessed that the room had to be the largest in the whole castle. It also had a very high ceiling which had many crystal chandeliers hanging from it using green magic fire to light up the room.

The room was divided into two parts one was the large open floor where dances and other entertainment took place, and to the side was a smaller area with multiple long and sturdy tables placed end to end with hundreds of chairs on each side.

Akira had no experience in banquets such as this. He did not feel like mingling with the few nobles that were already forming many small circles, chatting and gossiping about current events of the city and the whole country.

His eyes landed on a long table near the entrance that had numerous small bite-sized desserts and snacks along with small plates to put them on.

Many of them he had never even seen before guessing they were a specialty of the capital city.

Looking around Akira saw no servants near the table.

He hurriedly and secretly walked over to the table and grabbed a small number of each snack and dessert. Putting them into his bag so he could have a large variety of other things to eat when he was back on the road.

Akira left the refreshment table with a small plate that had only a few snacks on it to deceive others.

When the head cook who was in charge of keeping the table fully stocked throughout the night, went to check the refreshment table and was shocked. Half of everything on the table had disappeared.

It had been less than twenty minutes since nobles had started to arrive and half of what they had prepared was already gone. The head cook had expected to see hundreds of people eating snacks but there were only a few people munching on the food.

Akira stood at the corner of the room leaning on the wall behind him while he slowly ate the snacks waiting for the banquet to start.

More and more nobles were arriving by the minute.

Many of the nobles who gathered in the ballroom did not notice Akira and the majority that did, did not talk to him due to not knowing who he was.

The only few nobles that did greet him and traded a few sentences with him were the nobles of lower rank who were not included in the large circles of the high nobles.

GONG!

Everyone became quiet after hearing the gong.

Their attention turned to the queen who was standing on a small platform to allow her to see everyone and also making it easier for everyone to see her.

“Everyone has arrived so dinner will now be served please follow the servants as they lead you to your assigned seats,” said Jezebel.

Many nobles grumbled in dissatisfaction as they had wanted to rush to the table and fight over the good seats closest to the queen and king.

After a large number of nobles were seated one of the servants walked over to Akira to lead him to his chair. There were a large number of open chairs at the opposite end of the table far away from the queen and king. This was where the low ranking nobles sat.

Akira thought he would be placed here since he was not even a noble but the servant continued to walk past the open chairs moving towards the head of the long set of tables.

The other nobles noticed him as he neared the head of the table and was given the only open chair next to the queen.

A large mummer arose as the nobles who were envious began gossiping with each other wondering who this mysterious man was to be allowed to sit at the head of the table right next to the queen.

When everyone was seated Jezebel shouted,“Begin!”

Small discreet side doors opened from the walls and multiple servants streamed out all carrying large platters of freshly baked bread, juicy grilled meat, and numerous other cooked and uncooked vegetables and fruits.

The aroma was mouth watering so many dishes of so many different types all in one place.

“Hello, friend! My name is Iep Noocar. The lead noble of this countries ministers. May I ask your name?” asked the elderly noble sitting next to Akira with his hand out for Akira to shake.

“I am known as Akira,” said Akira politely, taking the hand of the noble and shaking it.

After learning his name every other noble at the table that had been eavesdropping made an effort to remember his name.

Akira enjoyed the meal greatly eating mostly in silence, while he tried a bit of everything.

Jezebel was happy seeing Akira eating everything she even gave him a few pieces of her own specially cooked food which Akira gladly ate savoring the taste.

Seeing this the jealous nobles sitting near Akira kept complimenting and toasting Akira, trying to butter him up in order to get in good relations with him and in doing so get closer to the queen.

Akira saw through it all and humbly accepted the compliments but did not take them to heart.

As the main dishes became empty the nobles sat around satisfied rubbing their stomachs. It wasn’t often that the capital had banquets.

Clap!

Jezebel stood up and brought the attention of every noble onto her.

“Many have probably wondered about the reason for this banquet being held today. It’s simple really nothing too deep, it was because I was able to meet my dear friend Akira, after many years of not seeing each other. I have also decided to gather a few gifts to give to him for his longtime friendship,” said Jezebel.

Without another word, two servants near the ballroom wall brought two items over to the queen.

The nobles were quietly talking to each other while watching all of this. It was a big shock that the queen would do something like this just for an old friend and even personally give him a gift.

“Stand up Akira,” ordered Jezebel.

Jezebel reached over and picked up a dark blue cape that matched Akira’s current clothes.

Silently Jezebel placed the cape around Akira’s shoulders their bodies touching, creating a scene that looked like they were both hugging.

“With this, you should look less like a country bumpkin and more dashing when you wear it with your armor,” whispered Jezebel softly into Akira’s ear.

A few seconds was all it took for her to fasten the clasp together before she stepped back.

Ding!

Dashing blue cape (uncommon):

A cape created especially for you!

– Resistance to fire +20% 

-Unknown effect Lvl 25 needed to unlock information.

She turned and grabbed a sword that was in a deep red sheath.

“Kneel,” ordered Jezebel.

Akira followed her instructions.

Jezebel placed the sword still in its sheath onto Akira’s right shoulder.

“I Jezebel, queen of Vussia, declare Akira, to be a friend of the country. Both gifts have been given to deepen our friendship. Rise and take the [Sword of friendship].”

Akira stood up and grabbed the handle of the sword that was presented to him and fastened it to his sword belt.

Ding!

Sword of Friendship (uncommon):

A sword created just for you!

Durability: 40/40 | Damage: 35-42

Jezebel turned to the hundreds of nobles quietly watching the rare event and upon seeing her gaze sweep over them they felt a slight shudder.

As if an unspoken command had gone out every noble stood up and clapped vigorously for Akira. Not daring to be less enthusiastic than the person next to them lest the queen see it and decide to punish them later.

“The main meal and gift giving is now over. Desert will be delivered shortly. To those interested the ballroom dance floor is now open,” said Jezebel.

Immediately as soon as Jezebel’s words were finished the band that had been quiet all through the meal started to play a slow tune meant for a waltz.

A few nobles and their wives left the table and stepped onto the dance floor and began to gracefully dance to the music.

More and more nobles began to join until there were only a few small clusters of people who were still quietly talking at the table.

Both Jezebel and Akira stood near the table watching the people dance.

Jezebel kept sneaking glances at Akira. After a few minutes of watching she made up her mind and grabbed Akira by the arm and pulled him towards the dance floor.

Akira was startled by this and noticed a large amount of the nearby nobles moved out of the queen’s way creating a large bubble in the center of the ballroom where there was only Akira and Jezebel dancing.

To the many people that were watching there were many words that ran through their minds upon seeing Akira’s dancing. To sum it up his dancing was an abomination.

He kept tripping over his own feet and stepping on Jezebel’s. The nobles seeing this display of horrendous dancing didn’t dare to mock or laugh at Akira due to the glares they received from Jezebel telling them to mind their own businesses.

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A few minutes of stumbling around passed until Akira had gotten a hold of the proper movements and was slowly improving and making fewer mistakes.

Jezebel laid her head on Akira’s shoulder while they were dancing to the slow music.

“Akira…,” said Jezebel quietly next to his ear.

“What?” asked the flustered Akira. He knew how bad this looked to have the queen hanging all over him a person who was not the king nor her husband.

“Why don’t you stay here and become my lover?” Jezebel asked whispering into Akira’s ear so only he could hear.

Akira stumbled and nearly fell flat on his face from the unexpected question.

His mind was all messed up with many different thoughts. He was silent while he tried to sort his feelings and thoughts.

First, he could not accept such a thing since he had to find his clan and complete the Ambassador mission along with Varbu.

Secondly, this would cause huge problems for Akira seeing as she was already married to the king who would most likely not approve of him doing something like that, and might send some people to kill him.

“The king won’t accept it,” said Akira trying to politely decline.

“Don’t worry about him. He’ll do whatever I tell him to,” said Jezebel hurriedly.

“I..I need some more time to think about it,” said Akira.

He was planning to ask for Jezebel’s help tonight after the banquet but now he was thrown off by her unusual attitude. He had a gut feeling telling him not to mention anything to her about his search for his clan.

This troubled him because Jezebel was one of his best friends and his only childhood friend he had a good relationship with.

Jezebel upon hearing his answer began to pout. She stopped dancing and dragged Akira to a small alcove that had a thin silk curtain blocking the view behind it. Inside was a row of plush benches with fluffy cushions.

Akira was slightly happy that he was now not surrounded and the center of attention constantly being stared at. He was also wary of Jezebel’s sudden change of attitude.

She sat down onto one of the specially made benches that were more like a couch without a backrest.

Akira could see her mood had turned sour. His mind was racing to figure out what to say to cheer her up.

The present he had bought earlier in the day came to his mind and he took it out of his small bag.

“Jezebel,” said Akira getting her attention. “I was planning to give this to you later after the Banquet was over but now seems like a nice and quiet time to give it to you.”

On his palm was the beautiful hairpin he had bought.

Jezebels’ eyes grew big in shock and her pout expression was immediately turned into a large smile.

“It’s so pretty!” she said immediately hugging Akira.

She took the hairpin and replaced one of her expensive hairpins she had been using.

“How does it look?” she asked.

“It matches you perfectly,” said Akira with a smile.

At that time a window that neither Akira nor Jezebel could see popped up.

-Scanning female host…

-Blocked innate skill found.

-Begin protocol to unlock and sync potential innate skill: 1%

 Ding!

New title! 
Ladykiller:
With your smooth skills, you can make many maiden’s blush with one word.
(Or it might be just this one person was affected)
+5 Fame

Charm stat received!
+5 Charm
Charm will make certain females like you even more!

Akira felt a deep dread in his heart after reading through the messages quickly. He had a feeling that his life had become a little more dangerous.

He didn’t need this type of stat! Especially right now with Jezebel acting weird.

He had looked away in embarrassment after giving her the present but after a long silence, he turned back to look at her.

When his eyes met hers, he could see a fierce fire of desire raging inside them, the hair on the back of his neck to rose up and a slight shiver went through his whole body.

“Um..so the..”

Before he could say another word Jezebel’s head shot forward her hands grabbing his head pulling it forward, allowing their lips to touch for a few brief intense seconds before they were separated.

Akira was too dumbfounded to react to what had just happened.

‘My first kiss,’ was the thought that went through his head.

Seconds later his head cleared and he quickly looked towards the thin silk curtain that covered the small alcove to see if any of the nobles still dancing had noticed.

He let out a sigh of relief as there was no commotion from the other side of the curtain.

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‘Dodged a bullet there,’ thought Akira wiping his forehead with his shirtsleeve.

“That kiss was my way of saying thanks. Follow me I have something to talk to you about in private,” said Jezebel as she stood up and walking through a pair of glass doors behind the benches.

‘Oh no! What now? I can’t take any more of this if she tries something again I’m out!’ though Akira.

He stood up and followed her unwillingly out onto a balcony that overlooked a small pond which had a few rare night birds swimming in the waters catching fish.

“I would like to ask for your help on something,” said Jezebel with a serious look on her face.

“What is it?” asked Akira letting out a sigh of relief that she wasn’t going to attack him again.

“There has been a rise in monsters in the nearby Forest of Fire. I was hoping you could help me clear them along with other adventures that I have given the job to, they will head out tomorrow.

I am also in need of a certain rare item that drops from the rock monsters. It’s called a fire stone. If you find one or more please give them to me when you finish clearing the monsters from the area.”

Ding!

New quest!
Exterminate Lava-rockmen:
Lava rockmen have been appearing in the nearby Forest of fire.
Kill them all!
Subquest: Firestone:
Jezebel is in need of fire stones hand them over for an extra reward.
Difficulty: D
Reward: Unknown
Will you accept?
Yes / No

“That seems doable,” said Akira accepting the request wanting to help her with this one task before deciding whether or not to stay in the capital for a few more days or head out in search of the clan.

Now that he felt a sense of danger he did not want to stay long it was a good thing they had most of their supplies already replenished.

“I only asked because I knew you were able to take care of the monsters that overran Nopor village,” said Jezebel.

“Don’t worry about it, I can help you take care of it,” said Akira.

The two talked with each other for the rest of the banquets duration.

“Goodnight,” Akira bid Jezebel a farewell as he left the castle with the other nobles so he could inform Varbu of their updated plans and prepare for the fight with the Lava rockmen.

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