Chapter 13 – Dinner

“I’m terrible at magic, Your Highness,” I explained. “The only things I can do are the automatic spells that come from my vampiric nature. I only use my blade while fighting. The enemy simply didn’t do well defending against me.”

Aerial melée fighters are rare, after all. An aerial melée fighter with the training of a knight? I might be unique among Owen’s royal knights in that regard. It’s a fairy knight skill, not possible for mortals.

Rod stared at me with a very different look than his previous ogling. “… just your blade?”

The King had been holding his silence; now he started laughing. “Roderick, my boy, it’s a natural mistake. Her mother’s magic abilities are so remarkable, after all.”

Mother sighed and looked at me with fond eyes. “Tiana has the magic energy, but doesn’t seem to have any talent for using it. Have you mastered any of the simple spells at all since you left? I asked Arken to tutor you.”

I grew a little red. “….no.”

“That’s weird,” Erin commented. “Not even simple stuff? I’m sure you’ve had your attribute test, right? What did it show?”

“Well… that I had considerable potential.”

“And what attribute?”

I couldn’t say it. Tiana’s embarrassment was so strong it had become my embarrassment.

“… I don’t want to say.”

“Why not?” Erin asked.

“She’s obviously embarrassed,” Amelia told her.

Out of the blue, Clara looked at Mother and exclaimed, “Oh!”

Erin looked over to her, puzzled. “What?”

Clara said, “Well, the Duchess is pretty famous for being an all-attribute mage. So, maybe Tiana…”

“Clara!” I cried out.

Mother said it instead, while nodding. “She’s embarrassed to have all attributes and still be unable to cast magic.”


Nothing is more humiliating than an entire table full of pity directed your way. I wanted to melt.

The King chuckled and came to my defense. “Tiana more than makes up for it with her blade skills. She’s a superlative knight.”

That didn’t help, since frankly, I still was still feeling like a failure as a knight. So, I just concentrated on my soup.

The next course came out very soon after that. Honestly, I barely kept myself from reacting, because it freaked the Robert Stewart side of me out. Tiana had seen it before though.

It was a stuffed squid. A single squid, about three feet long without the tentacles, on a huge platter. The eyeball was staring right at me as the footman began carving and serving slices to me. It hurt my manhood a bit inside that the part of me that was fine with it was Tiana, while Robert wanted to squeal and run away. I mean, that thing looked like some kind of monster.

I did manage to eat enough to not look odd, or at least I thought so. Mother was again looking at me with slightly narrow eyes. I realized that this dish was a Tiana favorite. She asked, “Are you possibly not feeling your best, dear?”

Smiling at her, I came up with the best excuse I could find. “I ate lunch somewhat late, Mother.”

Again, that odd cast to her smile. I tried not to think about it. To keep from contradicting myself, I ate only some of the salad and not too much of the meat course (venison.) Unfortunately, Tiana was a dessert maniac, and had to exercise self control to not just inhale every sweet in sight.

I was at least halfway through my serving of cake when Mother asked “Has your appetite returned, dear?”

Freezing just as I was about to lift another forkful, I gave a sheepish smile and put it down. “I suppose four months on the road has left me starving for sweets. I should stop.”

Roderick started laughing. “That’s what it is, Your Ladyship. She was saving room for dessert. You haven’t changed at all, Tiana.”

Turning red again instantly, I looked down to avoid everyone’s eyes again.

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The after dinner drink was brought out. I hadn’t thought about it before that, because I hadn’t been thinking about how young Tiana actually was, but I realized as Amelia and company were served that it is a little strange to serve fifteen-year-old girls dessert wine. It’s much stronger than normal table wine to begin with, but also, in Orestania, the wine and beer during the meals is watered down. The higher strength dessert wines and liquors are not. Fortunately, the glasses were small.

I took a sip of mine, and sampled the fruit tart that had come with it. Tiana’s taste buds were still screaming, SUGAR, WOOHOO! but I managed to not gobble it. Then I looked up and saw Rod across from me, giving me a warm smile.

“You don’t have to hold back, Ti.”

He had just used his nickname for me when I was little. What was going on with the idiot?

I gave him a smile back that was probably a little bitter. “A lady has to watch her figure, Rod.”

The King had of course been observing the conversation going on across him. He let out another chuckle and declared, “It’s good to see you two getting along. It makes me feel like I made the right decision.”

Tiana’s quick wit jumped right on that word. Decision? What decision?

I looked over at Mother, who was nodding. There was something they weren’t telling me.

“What decision?” I asked, dropping my eyebrows.

“Before we get to that, first we need to discuss your work as my knight, My Lady,” the King stated. “Which, as I said before, has been superlative. I’m quite pleased with it.”

“I have only performed my duty, Your Majesty.”

He nodded. “Yes, of course. However, I feel you might actually be wasted as a mere knight. I have a few other ideas for your future.”

“Your Majesty, I am quite happy to serve as your knight. I have no need for a higher position.”

“Yes, so I understand. Of course, I have not objected so far, because, if your mother never produced a male heir, you would become the next Duchess. However, it occurs to me that if she were to do so, then all your potential will be wasted.”

I flicked a curious glance her way.

Mother’s ability to read minds even though she claims she can’t is pretty uncanny. She leaned close, a mischievous smirk tweaking her lips, and said, “No, dear. I am not with child.”

The other girls were all suppressing giggles.

What potential is he even talking about? “Your Majesty, I am confused. There are many paths for advancement open to me as a knight.”

“I have a somewhat higher position than any of those in mind for you,” he answered. “For that reason, I asked the Privy Council to approve a pay increase for you. You will be working only part-time as a knight from now on, going on active duty only when the mission truly suits you best, so you need to earn more when you do work.”

Uncle Owen, I can live in the knight’s barracks for free, and the inactive knight stipend is already way more than I need anyway. It’s enough to support a family and a middle-class house.

“Why must I only work part-time?” I wondered.

His Majesty beamed at me as if he couldn’t be more pleased with himself. “My Lady Tiana, it’s because you will be too busy at the Royal Academy.”

For a moment, it was dead silence, except the shuffle of footmen in the background. A quick glance around told me the table was waiting for my reaction.


System crash. Core process stopped. Rebooting…

“You will be attending school, dear,” Mother stated. She looked quite pleased as well.


Tiana.exe still loading…

“You’ll be in the same year as Amelia and her friends,” Roderick explained. “Two years behind me.”

This is supposed to be a summoned hero quest to defeat the demon lord story. There is no ‘school’!

“But I’m already a knight! I’m already working! I live in the barracks! I don’t need to go to school!”

“Well, you’ll need more schooling for what you’ll be doing next,” Roderick stated, “after you move on from serving as a knight. In fact, I insisted on it. Father and Lady Pendor agree with me.”

All kinds of things were happening inside my skull now. Cars going off roads, steam locomotives destroyed in head-on collisions, Godzilla rampaging through Tokyo…

“You insisted on it?” I retorted. “And exactly how does this involve you?”

Only allowed on

“Tiana,” Mother said, in her I’m being very patient with you voice. “I know he’s just ‘Uncle Owen’ to you, but you are seated beside the man who is in fact our King. A bit more decorum, please, dear?”

I blazed red from ears to shoulder once I realized how I had been acting just now.

“Uncle Owen?” I heard Clara ask Amelia in a whisper.

“He made her call him that when we were kids,” Amelia explained.

His Majesty finally provided the explanation. “It has everything to do with Rod, Tiana. You must have more education, to prepare you for the role. To put it bluntly, you can’t have only minimal schooling when you become Rod’s princess.”

Rod and Mother were both looking at me, so pleased with themselves. Amelia grabbed my hand and squeezed.

System crash…

- my thoughts:
This is not BL in disguise. Really. I swear!
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