“Oh, yeah. It will be at the royal castle.” (Fay)
Fay scratched the back of his head awkwardly.
“… I’m not really good at those kinds of things.” (Tougo)
“Ah, yeah. I thought you would be. You don’t look like the type to want to go to that kind of place…” (Fay)
Yeah. I’d much rather stay indoors than go to a crowded place.
“Even so, that’s sudden.” (Tougo)
“Hmm… That’s right. The letter arrived yesterday, and the party itself is the day after tomorrow.” (Fay)
…that’s really urgent.
“Apparently there was a glitch in the delivery of the letter. The guy who brought the letter was apologetic. Seeing that made me feel like something was wrong…” (Fay)
I understand that feeling.
“…So, I felt like I should take you with me.” (Fay)
“If there is a reason, I will go.” (Tougo)
“Oh? Oh, you’re okay with that!?” (Fay)
I’ll go if you have a reason. If you ask me if I’m interested, I’ll say no. If you ask me if I want to go or not, I’ll say I don’t want to.
But if Fay wants to take me, I’ll go. I will go if he asks me.
“…um, well, I’m happy about that… I’ll explain it to you, so please listen to me.” (Fay)
“First of all, it’s a party at the royal castle. Officially, it’s a ‘social gathering for the nobility and influential people.’” (Fay)
…As soon as you said “officially”, I can imagine that there is a meaning behind it. I don’t like it.
“The truth is, it’s really the ‘search for the princess’s fiancée.’” (Fay)
“Oh… the one the Dioren family people were talking about?” (Tougo)
“Yeah. That’s right.” (Fay)
That’s it. I heard about from the Dioren family that Fay was invited to the party.
“So. Do you remember what they were talking about? Apparently, they want Red Dragons and summoned beasts similar to that in the castle.” (Fay)
“Yeah. I remember.” (Tougo)
The Dioren family, as I recall, wanted summoned beasts “to suit the princess’s taste,”. In other words, the princess, the king, and the people of the royal castle wanted Red Dragons and similar summoned beasts.
And if we compare it with what we heard here and there… It would mean that “the castle wants summoned beasts as fighting force.”
“…so, you know why I was summoned, right? I have the Red Dragon.” (Fay)
So, I know this too. Fay was called because… He has a Red Dragon.
“The fact that the letter came at such a last minute may not have been an accident, but something they wanted to do. If it was at the last minute, I would have had no choice but to go to the party because I couldn’t take any action. If the means of transportation is a horse-drawn carriage, we have to leave today or we won’t even be able to arrive in Royal Capital before the party…” (Fay)
“That’s awful.” (Tougo)
It may have really been an accident, but… As far as I’ve heard Fay’s story, it feels more like an incident than an accident.
I don’t know if they’re trying to take the Red Dragon away from Fay, or if they’re trying to capture Fay, but… I guess the people in the Royal Castle want to contact Fay no matter what.
“As expected, if a letter containing the seal of His Majesty the King is sent out, I can’t help but go. I have a bad feeling since I was invited by name, not my father or brother, but by me, but I have no choice but to go.” (Fay)
I understand. I think Fay is having a hard time too.
“So, well, I’m going without being able to deal with anyone. I can’t bring a lot of escorts, and I don’t have time to find a good guard.” (Fay)
“I-I see.” (Tougo)
…Could it be that I’m treated as a bodyguard? I’m not sure what to do.
“Incidentally, it’s the members of the Royal Family who are terrifying when going to parties, but also the other nobles… I can imagine that the Red Dragon will affect it to some extent. There’s nothing I want to talk about with those guys, and if I’m not good at it, they can endlessly come up with things like ‘Would you like to marry my daughter’!” (Fay)
Could it be that I will be taken along to deal with those nobles? I’m less confident with that than being a bodyguard, but…
“So, back to the story, right?” (Fay)
“About the advantage of me taking you…” (Fay)
Bodyguard? Substitute? What is it?
With my heart pounding, I waited for Fay’s words…
“I can’t leave you alone!” (Fay)
Huh. I don’t know. I don’t understand.
“Um, don’t worry about me.” (Tougo)
“The point is, I can talk to you all the time. Or if you suddenly get sick, I’ll be in the break room with you and your guard!” (Fay)
“In other words, you want to use me as an excuse to escape.” (Tougo)
“Oh! You found out quick!” (Fay)
Yeah… yeah, well, I’m not confident about that.
“By the way… is this even allowed?” (Tougo)
“Yeah, it’s fine, but…” (Fay)
Besides, I was going to go if I was asked. If Fay is in trouble, I want to help him. Since I received a lot of help from Fay. If I can repay him, I would.
…but there are some things that bother me.
“Um, is it okay for you to be taking me?” (Tougo)
“Hmm? Oh.” (Fay)
“Don’t you usually bring a woman to a party…” (Tougo)
“No, I don’t have a specific partner, and there are no rules about that. So, it’s better to take you than to take a woman and have her misunderstand things.” (Fay)
I see. If that’s the way it’s going to be, I’m fine with it.
“Also, if I take you, Laocles will also come with you, right? Since they can see him, there will be a guy who feels like a ‘bodyguard’!” (Fay)
…I quietly look at Laocles. Then Laocles made a face like “I don’t care”. Yes. If that’s the case, let’s go together.
“But I don’t know what to do at the party.” (Tougo)
“Oh, that’s all right. You can just talk to me. Besides, it doesn’t matter if you’re a little rude. It’s a party for non-aristocrats, too.” (Fay)
I’m not very confident about my manners, but if that’s the case, I’m fine with it. Fay says it’s okay, so I think it’s probably okay. Well, even if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just give up and do my best then.
“But… that’s all, it’s not boring all the time. So, why don’t you go and watch the party? It’s not often you get to see something like that. Also, food will be served. Yes. The food at the castle is delicious, so you can come for that, too.” (Fay)
I’m not that interested in the food, but… I see. That kind of party is certainly not something that I can see often.
If it’s a place where beautifully dressed people gather, I’m sure …… it’s a very picturesque sight. I want to see it. Yes, I do.
“Incidentally… that’s right. It’s the Royal Castle, so let’s take a look at the paintings on display. Are you interested?” (Fay)
Yes, I am. I suddenly felt the motivation to join.
“Hahaha. Tougo, you’ve got that ‘I’m suddenly motivated’ look on your face!” (Fay)
…Yes. Because that’s how I really feel.
Later that day, I went into town with Fay and bought some clothes.
…Um, formal clothes. Well, I’m going to a party to the royal castle, so I need to wear clothes suited to that party. Neither I nor Laocles have clothes like that.
However… I went into a clothing store that Fay used often, and the clothes that Fay chose for me… Were somehow different from what I had imagined.
“…Um, isn’t it a little ruffly?” (Tougo)
What I’m being made to try on is some kind of ruffly shirt. I was like, “Yeah, I’m trying it on.” I’m not sure if this is really a man’s shirt or not. Is this really a man’s shirt? From my point of view, I’m very uncomfortable with it.
“Hmm? Well, but I think you could wear something like this.” (Fay)
What does that mean?
…On the other hand, Laocles has chosen normal, or rather, non-ruffly clothes. Well, he is treated as an escort, so maybe that means he shouldn’t dress up…
“Um… I don’t want something difficult to move in.” (Tougo)
“I see, but it looks good on you. …Then how about this one?” (Fay)
“No, this one is… No, this one also has a ruffly hem!” (Tougo)
…Basically, all the clothes in this world are like cosplay for me. So it was quite difficult to choose clothes that I wouldn’t be afraid to wear.
In the end, I ended up wearing a vest over a shirt with a little embroidery on the collar and no ruffles, and over that something like a long-hemmed tailcoat. Well, this is not making me hesitant. However, instead of a tie, I had something like a thin ribbon into a bowtie, and my shoes are long boots, so that kind of thing is, yes, cosplay…
After buying the clothes, I decided to get my summoned bests and art supplies ready while I watched the Redgarde family flutter about and get ready.
“What should I do with the Houou opal?” (Tougo)
“Hmm? Aren’t you going to make it into an accessory?” (Fay)
“Hmm… I was wondering if it’s good or bad to have this visible because it would be an announcement to everyone saying, ‘I have a summoned best’.” (Tougo)
In this world, jewels are a kind of weapon. So, is it better to make them visible or invisible…?
“Oh… Right. Hidden is better this time, maybe.” (Fay)
Yeah. I’d better keep my Houou hidden because Fay is going to make a lot of noise with the Red Dragon.
So, this time, the opal with the Houou in it will be hidden under my clothes so that nobody can see it.
Instead… I will wear a small jewel with nothing in it as a brooch on my chest. The idea was to look fashionable, in essence, to avoid being looked down upon.
“And now, the bamboo tube.” (Tougo)
“…bamboo tube.” (Fay)
“Yes. This one. It would be weird if I had it with me.” (Tougo)
So, for the first time, I decided to show Fay the bamboo tube. When I called it out of bamboo tube, the Pipe Fox jumps out of it and stares at Fay.
“What? Is this guy going into a place that isn’t jewel?” (Fay)
“Yes. He also goes into jewels, but he likes to go into tubes more than jewelry. …Oh, no, you can’t!” (Tougo)
The Pipe Fox got out of the bamboo tube and immediately started to enter my shirtsleeve. Well, it really doesn’t matter what kind of pipe it is…
“…pipe, huh.” (Fay)
Fay, who saw it, thought for a moment… left the room and returned immediately.
“Maybe you like this?”
Fay was then holding a cylindrical, beautifully crafted vial.
The Pipe Fox looked at the bottle in Fay’s hand, tilted his head a bit… Went inside for a moment, then quickly came out.
“Ah, don’t you like it?” (Fay)
“Um… what is that?” (Tougo)
“Hmm? A bottle. It’s just that there used to be a magic potion in it. I thought you might like it because it’s covered with magic.” (Fay)
I see. Magic…
“…Ah, if you look closely, this bamboo… really? Hmm, this tube has a lot of magic power in it. Is it some kind of sacred tree? I’m not sure it would pay much attention to any other tube.” (Fay)
…I see . Well, this bamboo is an amazing bamboo. It shines.
“So, it’s because it’s a “tube with high magic power” that it gets into Tougo’s sleeves, right?” (Fay)
“I see…” (Tougo)
The Pipe Fox just came out. When I asked him if that was true, he replied with a very sure “Kon”. Yeah, I see…
At any rate, I decided to take the Pipe Fox with me in the bamboo tube. Instead, I made a bamboo tube holder for it so that I can wear it on my belt. Now I don’t have to worry about carrying it around.
“Well, what about Laocles? To bring an alicorn, you’ll have to bring the shield…” (Tougo)
“…do you think I’ll be able to bring a shield to a party at the Royal Castle?” (Fay)
I doubt it. Yes, too conspicuous.
“Well… the Alicorn is either saying at home or temporarily in another stone.” (Tougo)
“Yeah, that’s right. Well, do you want to negotiate for him to be in the one he doesn’t use?” (Fay)
“I will.” (Tougo)
Alicorn is now in the jewel attached to the shield, so it’s better to have him move out in such a case. I can’t help it this much. I just can’t help it.
Then Laocles negotiated with the alicorn and accepted a temporary move without incident.
I checked the condition of my fox holder and prepared painting materials with a small sketchbook as well as portable drawing materials for the Royal Castle party.
Fay was also hurriedly getting ready… and after a good night’s rest, we were off the next morning.