The Master of the Brave - Chapter 70
Chapter 70 – Banquet (I)
“Good night, Your Highness Raul, brother.”
“You honor me with your presence, Your Highness Cornelia.”
“Yes, that’s a beautiful dress, Cornelia. And welcome you too, Leticia-sama.”
“I am honored by your invitation, Your Highness Alfred. And you, Raul-sama, are in a very good mood.”
The four greeted each other in a peaceful atmosphere. The imperial family, the royal family and The Brave. The status of the four was at the top. As expected, none of them was approached by anyone else. The people around them were curious, but they did not stop chatting and laughing from a distance, although they directed their attention to the youngsters. Perhaps for this reason, Leticia’s smile and ladylike courtesy were noted with a vague mixture of discomfort.
“But wow, Letty. You look great in that dress. I knew you should have been more socially active.”
After exchanging the conventional greetings, Raul returned to his usual speech and praised Leticia’s clothes, but his gaze gradually began to wander as she looked at him. After the first time he confronted Leticia at the royal palace of the Kingdom of Lyon, when he was completely defeated, and having seen clearly her abilities when they traveled together thereafter, he was completely impressed.
“Hey, Raul, where’s Onii-chan?”
It was said that Leticia’s voice was so beautiful, clear and pleasant to the ears that it could be compared to the chirping of a small bird, but the tone it had now was cold and dark to all intents and purposes. It even frightened Raul.
“Well, I wonder if servant Wynn Bard can attend this banquet. His rank at court is too low.”
“Wynn-kun is in the waiting room, Leticia-sama.”
Leticia nodded slightly at the words of the Imperial siblings.
“I see. Even the Master of the Brave cannot attend, can he?”
“Huh? You already knew that, didn’t you, Raul? You are the Crown Prince of our neighboring kingdom, and also the guest of honor at this banquet offered by His Majesty the Emperor. He should not be allowed to attend.”
“So, Raul knew it, didn’t he?”
“W-Wait, Letty! I said maybe Wynn-kun could come to the party, but I didn’t say he’d be here… ouch!”
Leticia stepped on Raul’s foot very quickly, allowing him to see a smile on her face. Although Raul managed to keep his face expressionless as he let out a little scream. After seeing the two of them so closely and personally, Alfred leaned forward, trying desperately to contain his laughter.
“Oh, that’s a good atmosphere over there.”
“What a pleasure it is to see Prince Alfred getting along so well with His Royal Highness Prince Raul, the next king of Lyon. It will allow us to have a good relationship in the future.”
The truth was said, it was a conversation that amounted to a childish quarrel, but on the other hand, it seemed that the royalty and The Brave were deepening their friendship. Such phrases could be heard here and there from the nobles looking on from afar.
“Letty, if you think about it, you can understand it, right?”
“I shouldn’t have come…”
“Now, now, Leticia-sama. It is true that Wynn-kun cannot attend the banquet, but we can visit him in the waiting room.”
Leticia nodded. The banquet room. She couldn’t dance with Wynn to the elegant music the court musicians were playing in the middle of that great hall, but she could show him how she had dressed.
“Although, it is disturbing from my point of view and that of Raul-kun that both Cornelia and Leticia-sama enter and leave the room immediately.”
When he finally got his laughing fits under control, Alfred interrupted them. Cornelia, due to her position as imperial princess, was the one who should eat at the banquet with Raul, the empire’s guest. The same happened with Leticia, the daughter of a duke. Although she was The Brave, the one who was considered on the same level as the emperor or a high priest, as expected, she could not embarrass the royal family in such a way.
Just then the court musicians began to play. The nobles, who had been chatting and watching the four of them, cleared the center of the room to make it a place for dancing. A young single nobleman approached one of the women who had interested him and extended his hand, offering to be her dance partner, and everywhere the women responded with blushes on their cheeks. But instead of moving immediately to the center of the room, they held hands and turned their attention to the four guests of honor at this banquet.
“Well, I guess we’ll have to meet their expectations too. I wouldn’t want to interfere with the lovers who had the courage to dance. I would like Leticia-sama to grant me this piece, but I think Raul-dono should be the first to dance. Cornelia, unfortunately, you are with me. You are not allowed to touch the opposite sex until you find a fiancé. Although if you were in love with someone else, that would not be the case.”
“No. Sorry to disappoint you, but no, Onii-sama.”
Taking Alfred’s hand as he knelt down and offered it to her, the brothers walked quickly to the center of the circle of people. You could hear the sighs of the young nobles as they looked at the scene.
The women of Lemmrousell’s imperial family were only allowed to touch the men who would be their partners. In other words, if Cornelia was asked to dance, and the princess agreed, it meant that that person was considered to be her partner. Therefore, when the song began, there was great interest in Cornelia’s movements.
They were wondering who would be Cornelia’s dance partner for tonight’s banquet.
This led to a sigh of disappointment when Cornelia quickly took Alfred’s hand.
But that was only the first song. Who would apply to be her dance partner after Alfred? The interest of the nobles shifted to the next, as they looked at each other.
The daughter of a ducal house, comparable to the royal family, and the crown prince of a neighboring country. The Brave and the Sword Saint.
“Well… so, Leticia-sama, will you dance with me, please?”
It was impossible for this not to happen. Leticia took his hand. It wasn’t that she wanted to, but it was because if she rejected Raul here, someone else would request it.
Leticia entered the circle of people while Raul held her hand.
“Now that I think about it, I remember that when I met you, you took me to the middle of the room in this same way.”
“Although at that moment we were not holding each other’s hands, but strong swords.”
As they moved forward, the circle of people quickly moved away to create a space in the center. There, Alfred and Cornelia, who had come out first, were in front of them, and Alfred smiled at them.
As the four young men and women advanced toward the center, the court musicians began to play a new tune.
‘I wish I had danced with Onii-chan…’
Leticia thought to herself while being directed by Raul. As expected from royalty. Somehow, Leticia became angry with Raul, who was leading the way with total familiarity.
‘I was supposed to dance with Onii-chan!’
Dancing lightly in Wynn’s arms, taking steps, feeling his warmth as they turned and turned. Leticia looked at Raul’s face, which was taller than Wynn’s, as he took the steps.
Raul looked at her in wonder as he smiled, then Leticia smiled at him and stomp his foot as hard as she could.
The room next to the big hall. The assistants of the nobles and dignitaries invited to today’s party were waiting there.
No, in terms of the number of people, there could be more people here than in the banquet hall. When it came to the high-ranking subordinates of the nobles, they had much more power than the low-ranking nobles in the area. In the antechamber of the subordinates, there was much food and drink comparable to a noble’s banquet, having a feast for themselves.
It was a political activity of the followers. The head of the administration of the territory was, of course, the noble.
However, most of the tedious interactions were carried out by his entourage, the senior subordinates. Most of the lord’s work was done by their subordinates, as these others simply watched and sealed the final draft that they had negotiated and coordinated. They researched each other, learned from each other’s weaknesses, and exploited them to the best advantage of their Lord.
Negotiations and face-to-face deals were easy when the territories were adjacent to each other, but opportunities for interaction were limited when the lords of the land were as far apart as north and south.
Talking to those of the opposing factions and broadening suspicions within your own. Either those who do not belong to one faction, or convince those of the smaller factions of the advantages they could gain by joining their own. In some cases, this was done by trying to extract the most capable followers in the room for themselves.
This place was a battleground for the subordinates.
‘Is it time for the dance to begin?’
The beautiful music coming from the great hall could be heard by the ears of Wynn, who waited in the next room. In the room, the servants who had followed their master, the nobles, as well as Wynn, greeted each other, and various negotiations took place as they ate their food. Some of them went in and out of the room, probably to ask their masters about various matters.
In such a situation, Wynn was left alone in a chair. Wynn’s position was that of a subordinate of Princess Cornelia. He was a knight who only obeyed the orders of Princess Cornelia. However, he had been brought to this antechamber because the protection of the banquet was mainly carried out by the Imperial Guard, which was responsible for the protection of the imperial family in general.
When the banquet began, he was greeted by the guards of other nobles, private knights, and servants one after another, but after that, Wynn spent the time alone without exchanging a word with anyone.
Not that he was being ignored. In any case, he had the impression that those around him couldn’t decide how to interact with him. Even when they were exchanging greetings, he had the impression that they were interested.
He was the knight closest to the princess. And it should not be forgotten that he held the title of “Master of the Brave”. A knight who could become a force to be reckoned with politically in the future.
Many of their noble lords tended to ignore him because he had commoner blood, but for those in their service, they had to consider all possibilities. In other words, Wynn was a person who concerned them in his own right, but since they kept each other in check and there were many issues that had to be dealt with before him, they put them first and put Wynn’s affairs in the background, and as a result, a wonderful state of motionlessness had been created around him.
‘Umm… no place to be.’
Although it was an antechamber for the servants, a sumptuous meal was also served and, as Cornelia’s subordinate, eating it carelessly could be detrimental to the princess’ reputation. All he could do was take a few bites of the food and then pass the time with a drink.
“Um… isn’t that, uh… Wynn Bard-sama?”
They called him.
“Yes. That’s right.”
“Whoa! That’s right!
“See, just what I said.”
The one who approached Wynn was a female knight with dark hair, dark eyes, dark skin, and a face that somehow reminded him of a cat. And the other one had his blond hair cut off and was taller than Wynn by a fist. He had a bold face, and his body was also muscular and robust. A couple of youngsters in their twenties. They wore the armor of the knights of the Kingdom of Lyon.
“I’m sorry to show up so late. I am Manuela of the Knights of the Royal Guard of Lyon. And…”
“I am Thierry. Pleased to meet you.”
“Wynn Bard, subordinate of the First Princess of the Lemmrousell Empire.”
He shook hands with the two people who extended their hands to him, speaking fluently the official language of the Empire.
“Yay! Now I can boast at home that I have spoken to the Master of the Brave!”
Manuela kicked Thierry’s leg slightly with her right foot while making him scream involuntarily, with his eyes shining like those of a child and squeezing Wynn’s hand.
“You’re talking too loud! And how much longer are you going to hold his hand, you idiot. You are so rude.”
“I-I don’t care…”
“Oh, why not? Didn’t you say you’d like to meet him too?”
“I’m pretty sure that’s true, but…”
Thierry, who had been kicked, looked at his partner Manuela, with a look of pity on his face.
“Read the environment. Look at you, you’re attracting attention.”
Thierry’s loud voice was heard throughout the room, and the people who had been chatting stopped their conversations and looked at Wynn and the other two.
“We too are representatives of the Kingdom of Lyon, so you should consider your position!”
“No position, we are just young people here who have no one to deal with.”
“I ask you to consider Raul-sama’s situation, even if you are not dealing with anyone! Our failure is costing Raul-sama his reputation! Use your brain muscles too!”
With an affectionate smile, Manuela scolded Thierry in a whisper and kicked him in the other leg this time.
“Thierry, excuse me.”
Wynn almost laughed at the exchange between the two, but as they belonged to the Royal Guard, there was no room for such a thought. On the other hand, Manuela and Thierry were also impressed by Wynn’s standing position. He had undergone great training from an early age. He just stood there naturally, showing no signs of strength. But they were sure that even if they launched a surprise attack on him, he would probably notice.
Manuela and Thierry were chosen from the Royal Guard because of their close age to Raul Orto Lyon, the Crown Prince of the kingdom of Lyon, but, although they were dragged by Raul’s behavior, they could still keep a close watch on the actual Sword Saint. Therefore, they were confident in their discernment.
Both had longed to have the strength of the Sword Saint and had perfected their skills with the sword. To get closer to the admired Raul. This was exactly the same way Wynn had continued to perfect his sword skills to pave the way for him to become a knight. In addition, Wynn was the subordinate of the Princess of the Empire Lemmrousell, while Manuela and Thierry held a similar position with the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Lyon.
The more things they had in common, the faster they could know each other.
Neither Wynn nor the other two were important and powerful enough to join all the politicking going on in the room. They had plenty of time to talk to each other.
The conversation became animated when Wynn asked Manuela and Thierry about the heroic stories that Raul had starred in, and they in turn wanted to know more about Leticia. Finally, when they learned about the amount of training Wynn and Leticia had done when they were young, their expressions gradually became tense…
“This is how Leticia-sama has been taught.”
“It’s a funny thing to say that way.”
Wynn scratched his nose in shame at Manuela’s words. Both Manuela and Thierry nodded excessively to everything Wynn told them about the training he and Leticia had carried out. And from the looks in their eyes you could tell it wasn’t something they loved. They both listened attentively, as if listening to a great heroic feat. It was rare for anyone to have that attitude towards Wynn, and they were both older than he was, but they were both good knights, so Wynn had no choice but to laugh.
“Now that I think about it, Leticia-sama was indeed a genius. They call me her teacher, but…”
Rather, there were times when he wondered if a stronger mentor than he could have taught Leticia, making her show her talents faster and stronger.
“I am sure Leticia-sama would have shown her talents in a short time without me teaching her.”
Even Wynn himself thought it only happened that he just was with Leticia.
“No, that couldn’t have happened.”
Manuela and Thierry’s movements suddenly stopped. And a voice was heard from behind. They turned around and saw Leticia standing there.
“There’s no way that could be true.”
“H-Huh? Lett… Leticia-sama, why are you here?”
Leticia looked at Wynn with some disapproval, who hastily changed his call to be so carefree, but then turned her attention to the two, who were frozen next to Wynn.
“Who are they?”
“Thierry-dono and Manuela-dono of the Royal Guard of the Kingdom of Lyon.”
Manuela and Thierry bowed to Leticia with awkward movements.
“Guys, may I have the honor of speaking to my master?”
Smiling at the two of them while they were frozen, Leticia walked, crisscrossing her arms around Wynn’s arm.
“Raul wants you to come. And Onii-chan, don’t call me that formal!”
Leticia whispered in a voice so low that only Wynn could hear her, pouting.
“U-Umm. I’m here on official business, so I don’t think it’s a good idea to crossing arms with Letty.”
“It’s to keep men away.”
Said Leticia a bit abruptly.
“Ha, I see. Letty is a pretty girl, isn’t she? That’s why there are always men coming up to you.”
The two young knights of the Royal Guard of the Kingdom of Lyon were also nervous just because Leticia approached them. Especially for Thierry, who had a red face, probably because he was fascinated.
“A lot of men come up to me. Is that okay with you, Onii-chan?”
“Uh, uh, no, I…”
Leticia smiled happily at the dubious Wynn.
“It is true that it is to keep men away. But it is also to let people know that Onii-chan and I are close, with a close teacher-student relationship.”
Leticia nodded in a cheerful voice.
“…And if I hadn’t met you, Onii-chan, I probably wouldn’t have become anything…”
“Huh? What were you saying?”
The fact that Leticia smiled in a better mood than when she arrived at the scene caused Wynn to lose himself in the piercing gaze, not listening to what that low voice had said. And the pale pink dress Leticia wore. It was designed to accentuate her breasts a little, and Wynn’s gaze went back and forth. It was endearing, and Leticia smiled maliciously at him, bowing sharply.
“It’s nothing. Come on, Onii-chan, you have to escort me more firmly.”
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