The sunlight was streaming down at the end of spring, on a neatly arranged assortment of sweets on the garden table, but I only listened to the female noble in front of me while occasionally responding to her.
Sitting across from me, chattering away for the last hour was Senior Viscountess Daniela Felhi-Berendorf, aunt to Senior Baron Felhi, a financial minister of the palace, and she was a domain lord from the Artsbelf region northwest of the royal palace.
“Anyways, that knight really couldn’t read the mood! Choosing something like earrings to give a woman, he really lacks consideration!”
Since Earl Terejia was currently boating on the pond with the other male nobles, and other than the servants, only this woman was left with me, but her topics weren’t really something that would be meant for a six year old. I wonder if she’s actually saying all this to Kamil standing behind me who was being so still all this time like a statue.
At nineteen years old, she was actually younger than her nephew Baron Felhi, she had gotten married at sixteen and became a widow last year when her husband passed away, and she was only interested in the romance gossip between men and women at the royal palace.
Since her husband had passed away, she inherited his position and became the Viscountess of a small domain near the royal capital, but she left its management almost entirely up to her head steward, and it seems that she lives here in the royal capital instead.
Having her dumped on me as my conversation partner without taking into consideration the difference between our ages, of course this had to be an episode from my entrance into the florid noble society. She started from which young noblemen were nice and handsome, and continued with who seemed to getting along with each other and who danced with who. And currently, she’s getting heated up after she reached the topic of recalling about various unfortunate men.
“Ahh…… Is it that bad to give women earrings as a present?”
“It’s common sense for western nobles. Earrings should given from a woman to the man they love. For men, they usually only gift them to other men as a sign of true friendship.”
“I understand, so that’s how it was.”
What’s with this custom. A man giving another man an accessory as a sign of true friendship, seems like such a mysterious custom to me, so I replied reflexively with a perfunctory answer.
“It’s a venerable tradition. In the ancient story about Ugaria’s knights, two men who shared an earring each would protect each other’s backs on the battlefield.”
What’s with this, I wonder if this was a roundabout way of expressing homosexuality back in the day for them?
Two men sending accessories to each other, no matter how I look at it, I can’t see it as simply declaring true friendship to each other. When I nonchalantly checked Kamil’s expression as he stood behind me, he seemed slightly uncomfortable, and he didn’t really seem convinced either. It seems that my sense was most likely accurate.
However, if there really are records of the country that came before the Holy Ar Xia Kingdom, Ugaria, then it does make sense that such a custom is present in western Arxia.
Western Arxia has a strong sense for preserving traditions and customs from the Ugarian era. Since the Jugfena region has its own customs left by ancient times, probably the entirety of Arxia is like that as well.
“That’s why, for a man to give a woman earrings as a present, is like declaring he doesn’t see her as a woman. If only he had ever been to the royal capital, of course he should have known!”
As Viscountess Berendorf got even more heated up while remembering that man, I just replied is that so, and pretended to be taking her seriously. Right now, Earl Terejia is probably speaking to her nephew Baron Felhi about the main issue, and I was only speaking with her just in case.
When the nobles returned from their boating trip, today’s tea party changed locations to a different house for dinner.
Today’s goal was to get as much financial assistance from the kingdom as possible from the financial minister Baron Felhi and his noble colleagues, and since the earl had already contacted them about the issue via pigeon before, today we’re here to greet them as a matter of courtesy.
In fact, it seems that we’re staying here for an extra day in the royal capital specially so that I can make some connections with the nobles in the royal capital. Since we had accounted for an extra day’s time while visiting the royal capital, this is no problem.
“There’s no problem. Originally, I had loaned money to their fathers several times before as well.”
Earl Teresia unceremoniously returned with a nonchalant tone of voice. This earl, he didn’t simply have connections, he used debts from their parents’ generation to choose collaborators to work with this time, eh. Even I felt slightly chilly at his outstanding competence and abilities.
For something he did a generation ago to still have such a large impact, noble society must be indeed completely interconnected. When I thought about how he managed to increase the budget for financial support from the kingdom for the refugees to 1.5 times its original amount, I carved how important these types of things were into my memory.
The tea party during the day had been at Viscount Avon’s older sister’s house, and when we hurriedly joined the private dinner at Earl Trada’s house, we received a rather strange level of welcome for just Earl Terejia.
Well, after all, Earl Terejia is the younger brother of Marquis Rittergau, who is the prime minister as well as the Terejia family head. While he’s in the countryside now, there’s still probably many people that want a good relation with him simply because of who his older brother is.
As if to prove me right, Earl Terejia was immediately surrounded by people, while Kamil and I went around greeting the important nobles courteously, then Claudia joined us for some reason, and the three of us quietly had some food in a corner of this venue.
“W, why isn’t Charlie wearing a dress and you’re in knight attire instead?”
“There’s no time or money to get a complete set of dresses or accessories. Besides, in the House of Lords it’s been determined that the proper wear for minors should be knight attire.”
As we enjoyed the beef braised in red wine, I answered Kamil who seemed to be smirking for some reason with today’s excuse.
In Arxia, males have priority for succession to the peerage, so there wasn’t even a precedent where an underage girl has succeeded to the peerage before. Normally there would be more relatives. In my case, since my father had done his best to eradicate all his own relatives apart from his children, I was in the unusual situation of ending up being the only person with inheritance rights. Come to think of it, although he’s my father, that person might end up in the history books as one of the most evil villains ever.
So because of that, birthday celebrations for nobles with peerage had only rules for boys, and their formal wear was supposed to be knight attire for the same reason. And since I feel that wearing dresses is troublesome, it’s actually something I welcome.
“How nice, Elise-dono. I’d also like to be in knight attire rather than my dress.”
“My name’s not Elise, it’s Eliza.”
This time Claudia had mixed up my name with Elise’s, and she was wearing a sky blue dress. She’s tall and slender with a nice figure, she’s quite an eye-catching beauty. Since she usually liked to dress in men’s shirts and shorts to move about easier, today’s was a rare appearance for her. However, just like usual she had a mountain of food on her plates, and there was nothing ladylike about her.
And so, we spent some time chatting and having light-hearted fun, but Kamil who had been laughing suddenly fixed his line of sight on someone.
“……Ah, he saw us, Charlie. Over there.”
I looked over at the direction he indicated. Someone unexpected was standing there, what’s this, I turned around reflexively, he noticed me looking at him as well, and he smiled mysteriously just like before.
It was Margrave Molton.
His beautiful silver hair was shining brilliantly under the light of the chandelier.