Wow. That’s a lot more people than what I was expecting. The whole dining room is filled and I already elaborated on huge it was before, so I won’t do it again. Most likely all the servants are working right now because there’s no way the usual number can service this many people. It’s almost like being in the streets of the capital again. Oh, and they’re all staring at me. Why me!? It’s Ilya’s birthday; stare at her!
“Good evening, everyone,” Ilya said and curtsied. Wasn’t she supposed to be nervous? She’s really good at hiding it. “I’d like to thank you all for attending my birthday banquet.”
Why am I up here again? Ilya said it was to prevent assassins from targeting her or something along those lines. Then, I guess, that makes me a bodyguard. An underpaid one, that is. Why do I feel like I’m a slave to nobles again? Hmm. Well, Ilya doesn’t treat me like a slave at all, so it doesn’t matter. What are we anyways? Traveling companions? Friends? Is this what friends do? I’ve never had any before, so I wouldn’t know. I thought Snow was a friend, but that bastard poisoned me. Ah, like I thought, the path of a genius is a lonely one.
“Aren’t you going to introduce the esteemed guest behind you?” Ilya’s dad asked. He was holding something in front of his mouth that caused his voice to echo through the whole room without shouting. I wonder how it works. Magic? It would’ve been so much easier to sell those p****es if I had one of those things.
Ilya glanced at me, her brow crinkling for a second. Her expression returned back to normal as she faced the crowd. “This is Lucia Fluffytail. For the Godking’s Brawl, she will be representing the Pentorn family. She is also my good friend, so please treat her as you would treat me.”
“My lord, she’s a masochist,” a voice whispered from my socks.
“Shut up, Puppers. No one cares about your opinion.” I made sure to whisper so no one in the crowd could hear me. I wonder if Ilya thinks of me as her friend or if she’s just saying that. Then again, I did save her life, so she should have a positive impression of me. And I feed her! I tried to give her lots of head pats and teach her tricks too, but she gets offended when I do that, so I stopped.
“Lucia,” Ilya whispered. “Say something to the crowd.”
Great, everyone’s staring at me again. What do I say? I was never taught any noble etiquette. Ilya, help!
“Say it’s my honor to be here tonight,” Ilya whispered.
Thanks for the help, but don’t read my mind! “It’s my honor to be here tonight.”
“And lower your head,” Ilya whispered.
I lowered my head. Ilya’s dad clapped, and a round of applause soon followed. “Let the banquet begin,” Ilya’s dad said and walked towards an empty table. He gestured for Ilya and me to follow after him. The center of the dining room was left empty with the tables close to the walls. Servants strode through the doors on either side of the dining room, bringing in trays with glasses and bowls.
I took the seat next to Ilya, who sat beside her father. It was a round table with twelve chairs, and the other nine chairs were occupied by demons wearing purple clothes. …Their fashion sense sucks. Their skin is purple, but they’re wearing the same exact shade of purple for their clothes? I almost thought they were nude.
“Welcome, Your Majesty,” Ilya’s father said to the man sitting beside him. So the naked-but-not-really man with wisps of white hair was the emperor. Interesting. Huh? You’re wondering why I’m not scared of him? Obviously, it’s because I’m not a demon. I don’t have to abide by his laws. …That’s how diplomacy works, right? Yeah, I’m positive that’s how it works; if I’m not his subject, I don’t have to respect him.
“Duke Pentorn,” the emperor nodded at Ilya’s dad. His attention turned towards Ilya, and he smiled at her. “So this is your daughter.” His eyes narrowed before widening. “She really is a fifth-circle magician.”
“Greetings, Your Majesty,” Ilya said and lowered her head, staring at the empty space on the table where her plate should’ve been. Why aren’t there any plates? Wasn’t this supposed to be a place with a lot of food?
“Mm,” the emperor nodded and Ilya raised her head. The emperor put his hand on the shoulder of the demon sitting next to him. “I presume you already know who this is? Daniel, I think you’ll get along well with Ilya, don’t you think?”
This person? He looks older than me! Then again, everyone looks older than me because I’m super-duper young. Mhm. Ilya nodded at Daniel. “Greetings, First Prince.”
“Miss Pentorn,” Daniel said and nodded back. His red eyes shifted and stared at me. What kind of look is that? You want to fight, old man? I’ll take you on any day!
Someone tugged on my sleeve. “Please don’t growl at him,” Ilya whispered to me. Was I growling? I didn’t even notice.
“I’m unable to sense any magical fluctuations from you, Miss Fluffytail,” Daniel said. “Could it be your attainments in magic are higher than mine? No wonder why the duke has chosen you to represent his family.”
Mm. Misunderstandings are the best understandings especially when it comes to people overestimating me. “That’s right. I bet I could teach you a thing or two.”
Daniel smiled while Ilya’s expression paled. “Please,” Daniel said and stood up while cupping his hands. “It’s always an honor to receive the guidance of an elder.”
Huh? Ow! Why did Ilya pinch me?
“You just offered to have a magical duel with him. He’s a seventh-circle magician,” Ilya whispered and bit her lower lip.
…Why did I act so arrogantly a few seconds ago?
“Oh, Lucia, please demonstrate your skills,” Ilya’s dad said, his eyes twinkling. “In magic.”
Damn it, old man! You’re just upset I beat you in a duel!
“Go on, what are you waiting for?” Ilya’s dad said and gestured towards the center of the dining room. “Usually the demonstrations are reserved for after the meal, but I’m sure no one would mind one match before.”
“Father…,” Ilya said. “I think—”
Wait! I still have Rogath’s ribbon with his four skills inside of it. I’ll just use that and make it quick. “It’s fine, Ilya.” I patted her head to stop her from speaking and gave her a thumbs up. “I got this.”
“Ladies and gentlemen!” Ilya’s dad said through his magical talking device. I followed after Daniel to the center of the dining room. “It’s a bit early, but these two couldn’t wait to begin the demonstrations! The meal will proceed after the conclusion of this duel.”
I stood opposite of the first prince. “What are the rules?”
“The loser surrenders,” Daniel said. “Please, take it easy on me.”
“The two contenders are the first prince and Lucia! Please don’t destroy my dining room again, Lucia. Ready, set, begin!”
I raised my hand and pointed at Daniel and shouted before he could react, “Topsy-Turvy, Upsy-Daisy, Twisty-Turny, Wishy-Washy!” The ribbon attached to my tail nearly scorched my butt from the heat that came off of it, but thankfully, nothing caught fire.
Daniel’s eyes widened and rolled up to the top of his head. Then he fell backwards like a log and started frothing from his mouth. …Was that supposed to happen? That didn’t happen to me when Rogath did it…. Maybe if I tiptoe away, no one will notice. …And everyone’s staring at me. Well, this is awkward. “So, uh, did I win?”
No one answered.