Just the mention of being summoned to the capital sent a little shiver down my spine. Nothing I had heard about them so far, gave me any comfort in the thought of having to meet them face to face. I wondered what they could possibly want… Would it really just be because we defeated that demon. Could they have caught on to the fact that I was looking into a way to gain my relic. No, it couldn’t be that. They wouldn’t just invite us all there, no they would simply kill me. But saying that, I would still have to be on my guard when we went.
“They want to see us because of the completed quest?” I asked.
“Yes, it was quite the achievement.” Lisa answered.
“What for though?”
“To congratulate you in person of course.”
“Yes. Anyway, come with me and I’ll tell you all about.” Lisa said putting her arm around my shoulder, her large chest pressing against my side.
“O-okay.” I said glancing over at the others.
“Um, Lisa. We were in the process of meeting the guests as they arrived. I had hoped to introduce Theo to everyone.” Serin protested slightly.
“Really? Well, there will be plenty of time for him to meet them tonight. I’m sure you girls can manage on your own for a little bit.”
Without waiting for a response Lisa headed into the hall amongst the other guests, pulling me along with her for the ride.
“To tell you the truth Theo, I’ve been wanting to meet you for some time.” Lisa told me as we walked.
“Yes. I was hoping I would get a chance to see you at the guild, but my duties have been keeping busy at the moment and those girls seem to be keeping you busy.”
“Yeah, they have been looking after my training.”
“So I’ve heard.”
“Why’ve you been wanting to meet me?”
“Well, most of the summoned heroes either don’t last very long or set out on their own trying strengthen themselves and we rarely hear from them. They definitely don’t attempt something like you just did.”
“And it’s unusual for the women around here to take such interest in a rookie adventurer.”
“I did hear that most of the summoned aren’t cared for by the summoner.”
“Yes, you were lucky it was Lillia that summoned you. That wasn’t what I meant though. I heard that Beth the swordswoman had taken you on as a pupil?”
“Yes, she has.”
“And that even the sorceress Liz has been looking out for you.”
“Well, she has given me some advice…”
“Then you must show at least some promise. So, it’s only natural for me to have an interest in you. Then there is the matter of your custom skill tree, my staff told me about it. That’s quite the rarity.”
“They told you about that?”
“Yes, of course. It shouldn’t be a surprise that my staff keep me updated on the progress of our adventurers, should it?”
“I suppose not.”
Lisa walked us towards the drinks table. Having already drunk her first glass of wine, she placed down her empty and took a fresh full glass. Seeing that I had almost finished my glass, she picked up another and thrust it into my hand.
“Go on and get that down you. It isn’t every day that you get to drink stuff of this quality.”
“Thanks… Um was there anything specific you wanted to know about me?”
“Specific? No, I just wanted to have a chat and gather an impression from you. I know my finest adventurers like you and some of my desk staff have taken quite the liking to you too, so you shouldn’t be any trouble. Then again, I wouldn’t be doing my job properly if I didn’t make my own judgments on those working for us, would I?”
“I suppose not.”
“Look Theo, there’s no need to get nervous. I just wanted to meet you and have an informal chat. That’s all.”
“Okay… Do you mind if I ask you a question?”
“Are you a noble like Lillia and the others?”
Lisa burst into laughter this time.
“Do I look like one to you?”
“Well, I’m not sure if I’m the best person to judge something like that. But they did introduce you as lady Lisa.”
“I suppose the culture you come from is quite different to ours. No, no I’m not. They only treat me like that now because of my position. To tell you the truth, I don’t really feel comfortable at these kinds of events.”
“That makes two of us then.”
“I was born into a common family. I only got to where I am today through hard work and luck. One of the good things about the guild, is that it rewards work and talent. Even a commoner like me can rise through its ranks.”
I wondered just how an ordinary person could go far in the guild and whether this was a normal state of affairs, or just something that happened because of the shortage of manpower.
“I had no idea it was organised in such a way.”
“Well, it is one of the few places in this world where class isn’t the only factor in a person’s worth. The heads of each of the guild branches all had to earn their positions. Something that doesn’t even happen in the army.”
“That’s kind of reassuring.”
“So, you’re a fan of a meritocracy?”
“I wouldn’t say that I’m a fan of it exactly, but it is comforting to know that your superiors have had to earn their positions.”
“I don’t disagree with you, but if I was you, I wouldn’t go around letting everyone know that. A lot of people here are firmly of the belief that people are born to lead.”
“I have already picked up that much.”
“Just a friendly piece of advice.”
“I know. Thank you.”
“You do realise that those girls in your party are all from some of the most important bloodlines in the alliance?”
“Yes, I had realised… Well, I didn’t realise just how powerful Serin’s family were until today, but I did know she was a noble before.”
“Ha, outside of royalty, her family is one of the most influential. You should remember that for your own good.”
“I’ll keep it in mind.”
“Well, they have all worked hard to get where they are within the guild today and for nobles, they have a pretty good way of thinking about things. Not that I would tell them that.”
“Tell them what?” Asked Lillia’s voice from behind us.
“Oh nothing. I was just explaining something to Theo, it wasn’t anything important.” Lisa answered turning around to face Lillia.
Lillia along with Serin and Altria had all come to find us. It seemed that they were no longer meeting the guests as they arrived.
“Well, have you had enough of a word with Theo? You can’t keep him to yourself all night you know.” Lillia told Lisa.
“Aren’t you eager to have him back… I suppose I have spoken enough for now. Have you all given up with meeting and greeting?”
“All of the guests have arrived now. We were hoping to take Theo around, we thought it would be good if we all mingled together.”
“I see. Well, I’ll let you have your hero back. Theo, we’ll continue this another time. I’ll send for you at the guild once you have returned from the capital.”
“Well then, I’ll leave you four to mingle in your party. Please do enjoy yourselves. You’ve earned it.”
The girls pulled me away from Lisa and into the party. There seemed to be endless amounts of people here that wanted to hear more about our quest and about me. It didn’t take long for me to get bored with having to repeat the same story to the same questions over and over as the girls took me around the party. It started to become a little wearing, luckily a little over an hour of this and we had made our way around the whole hall.
After we had made the rounds, I walked to the back of the hall and leant up against one of the drink’s tables. I picked up a fresh glass of wine and let out a sigh. Lillia and Serin had continued to mingle with the guests. They seemed to be more than used to this sort of thing. I’d probably been there a minute or so when Altria came and joined me.
“You don’t enjoy events like this?” She asked leaning on the table next to me.
“It’s not that I don’t enjoy a party, but having to talk to everyone like that is a little tiresome.”
“I know how you feel. The humans and the elves place far too much importance on hobnobbing like that. I don’t find it enjoyable. The atmosphere is far too uptight to enjoy yourself, I wouldn’t call this a party.”
“I know what you mean.”