Altria and I had been standing at the back of the party, just watching the everyone socialise, for about half an hour. All of a sudden, the entire room’s attention was drawn to the far end. Someone had started banging a spoon against a glass, as if they wanted to give a speech. The crowd in the room moved a little and I could finally see who it was that had drawn everyone’s attention. Once everyone was quiet, she began to speak.
“I hope you don’t mind me saying a few words Serin?” Lisa asked before she began.
“Not at all, please do.” Serin said giving the go ahead.
“Thank you. I promise it won’t be long. I just felt as the head of the guild here, it would be appropriate for me to say something… So, on that note, I know that everyone here knows what these four achieved on their last quest. Seeing that the victories against the forces of the Demon Lord are far and few between, I’d like to raise a toast to the people of the hour. Please join me in congratulating them.”
Lisa stopped talking and there was a round of applause from the room as everyone in sight raised their glass in appreciation to us. It was something I really wasn’t expecting to see. After everyone quietened down Lisa continued.
“I don’t have much more to say, but let us all hope that this is only the first in a series of victories from them. I know it’s too soon to be looking far ahead, but I would like to hope that this is just the beginning in a change of fortunes. Thank you.”
Lisa stepped back into the crowd and the party continued just how it had been before. She really only did just say a few words. Still, it was nice to hear.
The party ran on for a few hours after Lisa’s speech. I spent a lot of the time trying to avoid being the centre of attention, hanging back and drinking with Altira out of the way. Every now and then Lillia and Serin would come and find me. Either to bring someone over that wanted to know more about what happened or about me, or to pull me away to talk with someone in the crowd.
At some point, when I had returned from talking to a group of noble women Altria had disappeared somewhere. I just expected that she had found someone to talk to herself. By this point the party was starting to thin out a little as the guests gradually started to leave. Only the more enthusiastic members were still here. After some time, Altria returned.
“You decided to socialise in the end?” I asked as she joined me again.
“Not really. I was just organising something.” She replied.
“Oh, you'll find out sometime.” She said a little aloofly.
I felt like questioning her more, but before I could ask any further questions, I was interrupted by Serin and Lillia returning.
“I see you two are both still hanging back here.” Serin said as she joined us.
“Well, this isn’t really my sort of thing…” I answered.
“I know, not to worry. You did speak to everyone that you needed to. The party will be over soon, I was wondering what you all wanted to do after?”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, I’ve had rooms prepared for all three of you. So, you are welcome to stay here if you wish?”
I was quite keen to see what the bedrooms in such a fancy place were like.
“Thank you, I wouldn’t mind staying over. Saves me heading back to the guild.” I answered.
“What about you two?” Serin said turning to Lillia and Serin.
“I’ll take you up on the offer.” Answered Altria.
“Okay, I will too if everyone else is staying over. Will be better than getting a carriage back alone.” Replied Lillia.
“Good, good. We can all discuss our plans for the capital in the morning. I’ll just inform the staff that we will be having guests for the night. I’ll be right back.”
Serin left the three of us there for a moment.
“So, when will be heading to the capital?” I asked.
“The day after tomorrow.” Answered Lillia.
I had wanted to go and see Liz to discuss what I had found, but it looked like it would have to wait until I returned.
“Yes, there are a few things that would be good for you to see while we’re there, so we’ll have to leave soon to arrive in time.”
“A new summoner is being given the rites. I thought you would be interested in the granting ritual.”
“Yes, I would!”
That was definitely something I wanted to see. I hoped it would help answer some of my questions.
“Good, then we’ll set out in time to witness it.”
The hall had almost completely cleared by the time Serin returned. There was just the odd guest here and there, saying their goodbyes as they made their way out.
“Everything is ready. Would you like me to show you to your rooms?” Serin asked.
“Yes please.” I was more than ready to head to bed.
All the talking with random strangers had taken its toll on me.
“Okay then, follow me.”
Serin took the four of us upstairs. The first room we came to was set out for Lillia. We quickly said goodnight and left her to go to bed. The next room was prepared for Altria, she readily headed inside and went to bed. After earlier, I had expected her to invite me inside. I guessed that she was going to act properly inside someone else’s home.
After leaving the two other girls in their rooms Serin walked me alone to my room. I had only briefly glimpsed inside the other rooms, but they seemed huge from the outside. I was excited to see what mine looked like. As we reached my room Serin and I stopped at the doorway.
“This is your room.” She told me.
“I guess this is goodnight then.”
“Yes, I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Um, thanks for everything today. I had a good time and I’m sure that reading through those books will prove to have been helpful.”
“Even after making you talk to all those people?”
“Yes, even after that.”
“Good, I’m glad you enjoyed yourself. Goodnight Theo.”
After that Serin left me. It felt slightly awkward, but I supposed she didn’t really want any of her servants seeing and thinking there was something going on between us. I had a feeling that the nobility kept things like that quiet here, unless they became official.
Once she had left, I stepped inside my room. It was exactly as I hoped. It was two times, no, probably three times the size of my room in the guild house. At the far side of the room was an ornate, king sized four poster bed. It looked far more comfortable than where I had been sleeping up until now. Looking around the room I noticed a door that led out. It turned out there was even an ensuite with a shower. I decided to take advantage of that a quickly showered before I headed to bed.
After cleaning up and drying off, I climbed into bed. It was just as comfortable as looked, easily the best bed I’d had since coming here. I wondered how Serin seemed to cope so well when on the road when she must have been used to this kind of comfort. I wasn’t laid there for long before I started to drift off to sleep. Just as I was about to drift off there was a quiet knock at the door.
“Hello?” I called out from my bed.
“May I enter sir?” Asked the voice from the corridor.
It sounded like Serin’s maid, Jill. I sat up in bed before answering.
“Yeah sure, come in. I am in bed though, just so you know.”
“As you wish sir.”
There was a brief pause, before the door opened and Jill, Serin’s bunnykin maid stepped inside. She looked to be a little uncertain as to what she was supposed to be doing here.
“Is everything okay?” I asked once she had entered.
“Yes…” She answered slightly fidgety. “Um, lady Altria asked me to come to your chamber. She said that you would like me to attend to your needs.”
“Altria sent you?”
So that’s what she had been organising when she disappeared for a while at the party.
I had a pretty good idea why she had sent her, but I had to ask.
“For what needs exactly?”
“It’s a little embarrassing, but I hope you will be satisfied with me.” She said undoing a couple of buttons at the front of her maid outfit.
“Woah hold on. You don’t have to do that just because Altria sent you.”
“Are you not happy for me to help you?”
“That’s not what I meant. I mean you shouldn’t just offer yourself up like that just because she sent you here.”
“Oh, I see, but I am more than happy to. I wanted to come.”