After the Feast 2
「u, um, Falsa-Kun? Calm down a little, ok? It’s not that I don’t like you or anything like that, but I think we should give a little more time to understand each other. Of course, we are already acquainted, but this is too sudden, we can first start off by exchanging letters and then build our relationship gradually from there and I hope……. 」
Palmina raised a few hasty protests, which are rare, but she does not seem to be showing any resistance.
The figurehead Julia opens her eyes wide, while the statue Zenobia has deep wrinkles between her eyebrows, but neither of them moves any further.
Seeing that some trouble might occur in this situation, Falsa moved his hands from the back of the neck of Palmina to her shoulder and started to slowly push her while pulling away from her body gently.
「Huh? What? Falsa-Kun? ….. aaa! That’s what it was. 」
Palmina finds a glistening sliver object on her chest and lets out a voice of understanding.
「I’m sorry Palmina that yours was the only one which was late, but I didn’t mean to hurt you. I wanted the two of us to be alone before giving this to you. It would have been better if the timing had been a little different… what do you think? 」
It was yesterday that he brought Barrette as a present for Zenobia.
Then Julia’s interrogation began and after he gave her the earrings, he started moving with Astarte as one of the 4 Heavenly King Mirage, to the Wolf-Demons territory.
However, because of being late for the scheduled journey, he returned late by transfer magic and as a result, his schedule for today was almost deadlocked.
He rushed towards the regional capital of Fouche after transferring, but was unfortunate enough to meet monsters and bandits on the way and so they arrived quite later than expected.
After reaching the Feudal lord’s mansion, the women were busy taking bath and changing clothes, then just after that, the banquet started and so there was no time for Falsa and Palmina to be alone together.
Falsa thought that the situation was also important for giving presents and intended to time it, but his miscalculations were Zenobia and Julia.
「I wanted to wear this necklace and attend the banquet……… what do you think about that, Falsa-Kun? 」
With the exception of Palmina, the other two appeared at the Banquet wearing Falsa’s present and are still wearing it, and it seems that she is sulking because of that.
「I know that you are just playing with me. As I can assure you that you won’t wear an ornament unfit for the occasion. 」
「But still, I am a little hurt. Falsa-Kun is such a bad boy, you first hurt a girl and then abandon her. 」
Palmina who had turned sideways said so with a sullen expression.
Even though Falsa thought this was unusual behavior from her, he scratched his head and made another suggestion.
「It’s true that I gave you a feeling of alienation…… well, how about going to watch Palmina’s favorite play when we return to the Imperial capital? This unworthy, Falsa Speke will escort you Ojou-Sama. 」
Falsa stood up from the sofa, moves in front of Palmina and Kneels while saying that.
Then he took Palmina’s right hand, slowly brought his mouth close to its back, and kissed it
Originally, this gesture was performed by upper-class people and was an expression of the highest level of respect from men to women, but now it is just an old custom that can only be seen in a play or at a ceremony.
However, Falsa went as far as practicing it in front of play-loving Palmina and acted like a knight who was loyal to the princess.
「Hmm, I will give you 25 points. Since I don’t have other options, I will just give you barely a pass. 」
「Well, I’m glad I got a passing grade, but can I ask you why you deducted 75 points? 」
With Palmina’s announcement, it seems that this time’s turmoil has been settled.
And as for Falsa who was proud of his conduct, asked about the details of the grading of Palmina, as he wasn’t convinced about the evaluation he got.
「There are 2 points for the deduction. First, you forcibly came closer to me and hugged me so minus 30 points for that. Second, you similarly kissed the back of my hand Minus 20 for that. You are not supposed to touch the body of a woman who you’re not dating. 」
「I understand the reason for the deduction, but then the calculation doesn’t add up correctly. Where did the 25 points go? 」
There was a reason for Falsa’s forceful hug, it was a mental calculation from him to make the other party incapable of making a calm decision by such unpredictable action.
As a matter of fact, that was a correct decision in that situation, from the point when he shifted her attention by hanging the necklace around her neck, Palmina’s emotions changed from anger to surprise, and then further transformed to Joy.
The change in emotion two times— to be precise three times as she was surprised two times—- was enough to diminish the anger which existed initially in Palmina, and the result of it is her current state.
However, this resulted in her calming down, and given Palmina’s personality, it was inevitable that his points were deducted.
「The twenty-five points, you see, are a secret to the bad boy, Falsa-Kun. I’m looking forward to the play at the Imperial capital. 」
Palmina with a mischievous smile on her face was from her usual saintliness and looked everything like a 19-year-old girl.
Falsa thought in his mind that he couldn’t have done anything better than this against her, that’s when the figurehead suddenly began to move.
「Wai, wai wai wai, wait a minute! What do you intend to by ignoring us and creating such a nice atmosphere huh? What exactly decided that Fal-ani and Pal-Ane will go out! 」
「that’s, that’s right! Both Palmina-Dono and Falsa-Dono suddenly made a promise, What the heck just happened here? It seems that Palmina-Dono was angry just a while ago, but what’s with the atmosphere right now! I am not able to understand it at all! 」
It’s no wonder the two of them raised a voice of protest.
Looking from the side, they saw Palmina getting angry, Falsa hugging her to give her a present and then promising her a date.
「aa-, Both of us were deceived by Palmina. In reality, she wasn’t that angry, she was just enjoying our reaction, right Pal Mina? 」
「tee-hee, it’s simply useless to realize it now Falsa-Kun, but when did you start to notice? I am seriously surprised. 」
「Since when you ask……. I suppose I was suspicious from the beginning, you said with a conviction that you wanted to attend the banquet, wearing the necklace. Considering Palmina’s character, it was odd for you to talk about it sarcastically, and the matter about wearing it to the banquet was far from impossible. Now, when I think about it, it is true that you were a little upset about being ostracized, considering Zenobia’s and Julia’s actions, but I don’t think Palmina is petty enough to get that angry just because of that……. but I was flustered at first. 」
After Falsa’s explanation, Julia and Zenobia’s mouth were opened wide and they had a blank expression on their face.
It may not be surprising, that they were covered in a cold sweat as they witnessed the exchange (farce) between Falsa and Palmina up close.
However, Julia, who has a good intuition, noticed something strange again and raised her voice over that.
「I understand that you two were playing a farce halfway through the exchange, but then I don’t think Fal-Ani must invite her to the play, right? You could have ended it there when you noticed it. You certainly did not have to especially give in to Pal-Ane’s desire …… no!? 」
「…. Pa, Palmina-Dono! Don’t tell me that is what you were aiming for from the start!? Just before returning to the Imperial capital, did you use the action of me and Julia!? 」
At the words of Julia, Zenobia also noticed an incongruity in Palmina’s actions and exclaimed in surprise again.
While facing Julia and Zenobia, Palmina’s usual saintly smile has returned and she is not shaken at all.
The protective wall like Saintly smile appearance of Palmina, which has been cultivated during her 19 years of age was thick and will not be shaken by the likes Julia and Zenobia.
「Oh my, calm down you two. I think there is a misunderstanding, but if I hadn’t acted like this, Julia-Chan and Zenobia-Chan would have remained frivolous like this for a long time, right? Especially Zenobia-Chan, wearing a hair ornament inappropriate for a Marquis’s daughter, I think the sharp-sighted people would have already noticed the incongruity. Actually, some people came to me to ask about Zenobia-Chan’s relationship, I think it was a little careless on your part, wasn’t it? 」
The Barette presented by Falsa to Zenobia is an expensive item, but it is disproportionate with her status as a Marquis’s daughter.
This doesn’t mean that the eastern hair ornaments are not valued or are not in trend, it’s just that it is common for high ranking nobles to wear more expensive ornaments with more precious gems in them.
Even it is manufactured with advanced techniques, the material is completely silver, so in the end, its overall value is low.
It is not an exaggeration to say that there was little sense of incongruity due to Zenobia’s sense of coordination, but there are still sharp-sighted nobles and merchants.
They probably thought that the fact that she was wearing an inferior quality ornament, must be a present from a member of the opposite sex who had a lower social status.
There are two reasons why Falsa was not considered as a candidate here, first, it was a common-sense among the nobles and merchants that the person who is the head of the imperial court mages and a viscount will give a more expensive gift, and the second is that he had shown an affectionate relationship with Julia by linking arms with her at the banquet.
Of course, only a handful of notices Zenobia’s hair ornaments, but the noble society is where rumors spread like wildfire.
And the so-called rumors are exaggerated to no end, and by the time it reaches imperial capital, it would have been dramatized into a tragic love story between a man of low status and a marquis’s daughter who is also the head of the Knights.
「Ua….., that, I was careless. Palmina-Dono, I’m really sorry. 」
Zenobia sinks easily, leaving only Julia.
Contrary to the previous situation, Falsa became a figurehead and watched the exchange between the three quietly.
Falsa understands from the bottom of his heart that men shouldn’t get mixed up in a discussion between women.
「And Julia-Chan, you too were careless. It’s not that I don’t understand your feelings, but you should know that it’s not good to stick to Falsa-Kun at a public place like a banquet, right? Falsa-Kun…… is kind to Julia-Chan, so you want to be spoiled by him but think about his position a little. If you indulge yourself unilaterally because he accepts everything, then it is proof that you don’t care about him. I think you must understand that he is patient with you because he cares for you……. what do you think? 」
「u, a,tha, that…. that….. I’m sorry. I behaved like a spoiled child. Fal-Ani, I’m sorry. 」
The saint Palmina is kind, very kind.
Kindness isn’t just about spoiling the other person, but it’s about valuing them and sometimes they have to be treated with strictness.
This time’s actions of Julia and Zenobia were condemnable, and Palmina understood that Falsa will not point them out.
And that is because he trusts that Zenobia and Falsa will reflect on their actions for sure and that Palmina will also scold them frankly.
It was originally a gathering to train the hero Julia, but in the time, they have spent together so far, the party is functioning quite well, is it a proof that the eyes of the first princess who made the selection of the members were brilliant?
「I…. yes, I’ll accept your apology here. 」
He replied in a rather offhand manner, but at this time Falsa was thinking of something quite different.
Falsa speculates that it was no accident that Palmina turned her eyes to him for a moment when she spoke of Julia’s matter as if trying to look through something about his attitude towards Julia.
But Falsa stopped thinking about unnecessary things because he could not look into Palmina’s mind, nor did he wanted to think too much.
「We strayed a little from the main subject here, let’s put together all the information about Viscount Fouche now. 」
Falsa regains his composure, claps his hands to gain everyone’s attention and goes back to the main subject.
Both Julia and Zenobia seemed to have a change in attitude as they both looked tensed.
Whether it was a coincidence or a necessity, that only Palmina who had her usual saintly smile remembered about her date with Falsa which was neglected.