Chapter 0202 Capital City Thebes
The delegation ended up spending two nights in the city of Karnak.
The city of Karnak is the largest city in the Twilight Land in the direction of the Kingdom, and is the center of trade with the Kingdom.
Hence, it was gratifying that the entire delegation was able to stay at a proper inn.
The captive…Rosalia to be precise, who they obviously had to bring along, was able to stay in a room, albeit with supervision.
The rest were left frozen in the courtyard of the inn. Including Natalia, of course.
After handing over the prisoners, the diplomatic mission finally arrived in Thebes, the capital of the Twilight Land, five days after leaving Karnak.
As they passed through the gates and entered the capital, they saw the inhabitants of the capital lined up on both sides of the main road.
They were there to welcome the diplomatic mission from the Kingdom.
In their hands, they held a miniature Land flag and the Kingdom flag in each hand, waving them happily.
“What a spectacle…”
“Yes, it is.”
Ryo’s impression and Abel’s impression were probably completely different in content.
In Ryo’s case, it was, “I never thought I would see such a common sight back on Earth in this world”.
In Abel’s case, it was, “I wasn’t expecting such grand welcome for a diplomatic mission from another country”.
Either way, both were equally impressed.
Immediately upon arrival, there were to be an audience with the Grand Duke.
The head of the mission, Negotiator Ignis, would be in attendance, as well as the civil officials, Abel and Ryo.
“Um, since I’m an adventurer, I don’t need to be there right…”
“Like hell you don’t! The reason why we were allowed to travel in a carriage all the way throughout the journey was to fulfill this kind of task. The Kingdom even went through the trouble of preparing ceremonial clothing for us, and you dare say you wouldn’t attend?”
Abel explained with good arguments piled on top of good arguments.
Ryo became depressed, unable to refute at all.
Naturally, Ryo ended up attending the audience ceremony as well.
The audience itself ended without incident.
Ignis answered all the questions posed to the diplomatic mission, so Abel and Ryo could only remain on one knee and listen to the Grand Duke’s words.
Ryo’s impression was, ‘Even though he’s Miu’s grandfather, they look nothing alike’.
After the successful conclusion of the audience ceremony, the welcome banquet was a standing buffet attended by civil and military officials, ministers, and nobles of Land.
Ryo, who had never experienced a standing buffet-style banquet in the Kingdom, felt very nostalgic, partly because it was the first time since Earth.
Not that he ever attended a banquet in the Kingdom even once.
Led by Negotiator Ignis, the civil officials of the delegation were chatting with the people of Land here and there.
For them, this banquet was part of their job.
And Abel, the only A-rank adventurer, was also surrounded by many Land military officers and nobles.
Ryo could see that Abel was trying his best to hide his fatigue with a smile.
“Hang in there, Abel! ”
Ryo, who was having such an outsider’s impression of the event…was positioned in front of a table lined with food.
Enjoying his meal.
Normally, Ryo is not a big eater, and when he’s occupied, he settles for beef jerky, but with so much delicious-looking food laid out in front of him, and so many of the participants engaged only in conversation, he could only oblige….
That’s right, it was not a despicable thing to do, but an act driven by righteous indignation to save the food that had been cast away!
Of course, being a banquet venue, the meal had to be consumed in a dignified manner. All while standing.
Ryo, however, managed to successfully combine these two features ‘elegant gluttony’, which are extremely difficult to achieve together, and continued to devour the food in front of him.
The Land nobles were unable to approach the scene from a distance…and Ryo continued to eat.
“I see that the adventurers of the Kingdom are as voracious as they appear.”
A woman approached Ryo in a delightful voice.
Ryo turned his head to the side at the sound of her voice.
She was nothing short of a peerless beauty….
Ryo had the impression that there were many beautiful men and women among the Land nobles, but the woman in front of him stood out from the crowd.
A truly peerless beauty.
Ryo, who is a little lacking in his vocabulary, could only come up with those words.
There are only two people Ryo has ever thought of as a ‘peerless beauty’.
Sera and Elizabeth…both of whom are, oddly enough, elves.
But the woman in front of him was no elf.
Nor is she similar to the previous two.
If Sera is a ‘cool beauty’, Elizabeth would be a ‘delicate beauty’.
The woman in front of him could be best described as a ‘bewitching beauty’.
Ryo was about to reply when he realized that he had something in his mouth.
“Oh, you don’t have to hurry. I just couldn’t help but notice how deliciously you were gobbling up the food.”
The woman looked at Ryo with a smile on her face.
Finally, after finishing the food in his mouth, Ryo was able to speak.
The beautiful woman, who looked to be in her mid-twenties, put her hand on her chin for a moment and thought about something, then opened her mouth.
“You are the magician Master Ryo, right? I am Agnes.”
“Lady Agnes. I am Ryo, an adventurer from the kingdom.”
Ryo felt that she was a high-ranking noble, but of course, he could not kneel to greet her because he was holding a plate in his left hand and a fork in his right.
He only bowed his head.
“Do you like pasta, Master Ryo?”
Agnes asked, looking at the pasta on Ryo’s plate and the several platters of pasta set up right in front of him.
“Oh…I do like pasta too.”
It wasn’t that he was eating only pasta, but as he went on eating, more plates of pasta were currently just lined up in front of Ryo.
Unbeknownst to him, that would bring him good fortune.
“In that case…I would like to invite you to my mansion. I’d love to hear what you think of ‘Ramen’.”
The entire delegation, including the escorting knights and adventurers, was to stay at the state guest house in the castle.
And the state guest house has its own bathhouse!
“How wonderful! I guess the people of Land also know how to appreciate culture.”
“You really love taking a dip don’t you, Ryo…?”
While the audience only made him more tired, Ryo had an unexpected stroke of luck at the banquet.
And when he checked out the large bathhouse, he got even more excited.
When Abel saw this, he was so taken aback and that was when he uttered the previous line.
“You bet! Man is born to soak in a bath and die in a bath!”
“Like hell we do…”
It was as if Ryo was saying, ‘I have found the way of man is to take a bath’.
When they got out of the bath and went to the dining room, they found the members of the delegation, mainly civil officials, gathered there, looking at something.
“They all seem to be looking at something.”
“Yeah. Probably the negotiation schedule for tomorrow or something?”
Abel answered Ryo’s question nonchalantly.
In the first place, it had nothing to do with the two of them.
The reason was that their timetable had already been communicated to them and they knew that they had one tough schedule ahead.
One of the assembled civil servants spotted Ryo entering the dining room cafeteria and shouted.
At that moment, all eyes of the civil officials were on Ryo.
Ryo unintentionally said aloud.
“An invitation addressed to Ryo came in. The messenger over there brought it.”
Then, one of the civil officials indicated a man standing in the corner of the room who looked like a butler.
The butler-looking man bowed reverently.
He then proceeded to where the civil officials were gathered, took the envelope that was the reason for the gathering, and brought it to Ryo.
“Master Ryo, I bring to you an invitation from my lady, Duchess Alba.”
Hearing this, the civil officials were once again in an uproar.
Ryo’s reaction, however, was dull.
Wondering if he had such an acquaintance…having thought long and hard, he couldn’t come up with any.
“Yes. Lady Agnes would like to treat Master Ryo to some ‘ramen’.”
“Oh, Lady Agnes! I apologize for this. I am ashamed to say that I was unaware that Lady Agnes is the Duchess of Alba. I humbly accept your invitation. So please convey my best regards.”
Ryo took the envelope.
He had no idea the date and time it was set, but it was an invitation that he would need to attend at all costs…after all, it’s ramen! Of course, he’s never eaten ramen since he came to 『Phi』. Much less even heard of it.
Besides, it’s an invitation from the Duchess, he would have to be flexible with his other plans and give face…so accepting it was a smart move.
“Very well. I will convey your acceptance to Lady Agnes.”
With that, the butler-looking man bowed reverently again and left the dining room with very graceful steps.
Afterwards, Ryo was surrounded by the civil officials.
“Ryo. How did you come to know Duchess Alba?”
“How long have you known her…?”
“Duchess Alba is one of the most powerful dignitaries in Land. Her wealth is said to far exceed that of the Grand Duke, who leads the country…”
“She is said to be a very beautiful woman, but there are rumors that she is over 90 years old…”
“…A beautiful witch.”
Only the last line was Ryo.
“Witch…as in a female magician? I’m surprised you realized, Ryo. Duchess Alba is, in fact, a powerful magician.”
“If I recall correctly, she possesses the water-attribute…. Wait a minute, you are water-attribute too, aren’t you, Ryo? Now I understand, so that’s how it is!”
Ryo on the other hand, couldn’t make heads or tails of what he had come to understand though….
The civil officials seemed to be somewhat convinced.
The civil officials assumed that the connection was formed because Ryo is a water-attribute magician, which is rare among adventurers, and Duchess Alba also happens to be a powerful water-attribute magician.
They never would have thought that Ryo had met her while he was being a glutton at the banquet.
However, there was one person there who knew the truth.
“Right, when he shoved the role of guest of honor on me and went ahead to eat all those delicacies alone…”
Abel, the A-rank adventurer, blurted out.
The next day.
At last, the bilateral negotiations began.
Negotiator Ignis and the civilian officials would hold various meetings, sometimes simultaneously, at the reception hall adjacent to the guest house.
If the banquet was the unofficial job, this was the official job.
In the meantime, the knights and adventurers had nothing to do in particular.
Since the journey to and fro was their real work.
Abel and Ryo, however, were not among those ‘adventurers’.
They were invited to the Twilight Land Adventurers’ Guild headquarters, where they were assigned to attend several meetings and sometimes watch mock battles.
At present, there were no active adventurers in the Twilight Land above A rank.
As such, Abel, the Kingdom’s A-rank adventurer, got himself a major role.
As for Ryo?
Ryo was practically Abel’s accessory and even though he’s a C-rank, there was no chance Abel was letting him go.
His role was to be dragged around by Abel.
“Woe is me…”
Ryo’s mutterings were heard by no one but himself.