Chapter 107 - Chapter 17: Test #6
Knight Saga often had tea party events.
Zephyr, the protagonist of the Demon World, could hold them himself or he could accept the invitation of the other royal children.
The function of the tea party was a social meeting. As it wasn’t an official event like the court gathering, it was smaller in size, but a greater degree of socialization was available.
The tea parties were for collecting and exchanging information, discovering new talents, maintaining their reputation and various media play.
‘Sometimes the “haha” and “hoho” along with the tea and cakes makes it seem far from a meeting.’
Although it wasn’t a court gathering, In-gong was dressed formally when he climbed into the carriage that Flora called. Felicia, Silvan, Caitlin and Chris were already on the carriage as they had decided to go together in order to show that a new faction had formed.
Felicia was wearing a white dress that contrasted beautifully with her brown skin. Among the members here, she was the most experienced with tea parties. She was well aware of the ‘correct meaning’ of the tea party.
On the other hand, Caitlin accepted the tea party at face value and was laughing. Her rosy cheeks and sparkling eyes showed that she had high expectations for this.
She had on a subdued blue dress, and Chris was looking out the window with a scruffy face. He was dressed in a black suit similar to what he had worn to the court gathering, but it was obvious that he didn’t want to participate in the tea party.
Silvan was looking more colourful than usual, looking like a sailor wearing a dress suit.
Chris looked at Silvan who had shifted to make room for In-gong. It seemed like it was burdensome for Silvan to sit directly opposite Chris.
Once Carack and In-gong took their places, the carriage started moving again. Five of the royal children and four aides were on board, but it didn’t feel crowded because it was a large carriage.
Baikal’s mansion was located in the eastern part of the Demon King’s Palace, and it looked more like a military fortress than a mansion.
The overall impression was sharp and pointed, while the dragon sculptures in various places created a sense of oppression.
Baikal’s troops were draconians. The blood of a dragon ran through them, so the people in the mansion would have considerable combat power.
'Indeed, the 1st Prince...’
Even if the order of birth was unrelated to succession in the Demon World, the eldest son was still the eldest son. As the first born and child of the demon king that had lived the longest, he received more expectations and support than the other children of the demon king.
It was one year ahead of Knight Saga, so In-gong wasn’t sure of the current situation, but Baikal should be getting more support than Zephyr from the draconians.
If he had to estimate the ratio, it would be 3:2.
With only 60%, it wasn’t a species-wide support, but the draconians were so fearsome that it was more than the support that some of the other royal children received.
They were guided to the reception room where the organizer of the tea party, Baikal, welcomed them.
"Everybody came together."
Baikal was a young man with neatly brushed hair who gave off a pleasant impression.
The pair of horns on his head, which could be called the symbol of the draconians, pointed straight to the sky and seemed to reveal Baikal’s straight-lined heart.
He was tall and broad-shouldered, but his muscles weren’t big like Chris and Carack.
The eldest one was Silvan, but he was Felicia’s escort, so he allowed her to greet Baikal first. It was a bit ambiguous since they were twins, but due to the female centered nature of the dark elves, Felicia was always the first to say hello.
Felicia bowed elegantly.
"Thank you for inviting me to the tea party, Baikal orabeoni.”
"Thank you for accepting my invitation.”
Baikal embraced Felicia and Silvan lightly, then turned to Chris and Caitlin.
Chris greeted him first,
“It is great to see 1st Prince.”
He didn’t kneel down, but the greeting was reminiscent of the court gathering. Baikal gave an embarrassed smile at Chris’ distant attitude.
“Chris, don’t be so stiff.”
“Thank you for your consideration.”
Chris still answered formally, so Baikal couldn’t help frowning. However, that only lasted for a moment. He greeted Caitlin with a bright expression,
"Isn’t this the first time I’ve seen you outside of a court gathering? It is great to see you, Caitlin.”
Caitlin responded shyly. Baikal laughed at how Caitlin’s reaction was completely different reaction from Chris’ and hugged her.
Finally, it was In-gong’s turn.
This time, Baikal greeted him first.
"Shutra, it has been a really long time since I’ve seen you face to face.”
In-gong responded smoothly as he looked into Baikal’s eyes.
It was because there was no information about the original relationship between Baikal and Shutra.
'Maybe there weren’t any exchanges.’
The draconians, Baikal’s mother’s side, and the Gandharva, Shutra’s mother’s side, were enemies.
However, Baikal then said words that In-gong couldn’t imagine.
“Isn’t it your birthday pretty soon? The gifts this year are insufficient. I will send it to your mansion on your birthday as always.”
In-gong panicked. Birthday? Did this mean that he sent a birthday present every year?
In-gong was reminded of the Day of Massacre.
Baikal had held the bodies of his siblings and sobbed. He had been furious at Zephyr and had gone crazy.
If it was Baikal, he might actually be interested in Shutra.
Baikal would know roughly when In-gong’s birthday was. Perhaps he had sent a couple of gifts a year. As the oldest, Baikal would care for Shutra, who was the youngest son. Despite not being children of the same house, they were still children of the demon king. However, no one else had cared about Shutra.
There was sincerity in In-gong’s voice. Clearly, In-gong’s reaction had pleased Baikal as he then said in an affectionate voice,
"It is natural between siblings. I should pamper you a bit more.”
His bright smile matched his tender voice.
Baikal led the party towards the reception area. There was already a guest who had arrived first.
“Zephyr came first. Zephyr, say hello to your younger siblings.”
Just like the others, Baikal treated Zephyr as a sibling.
At Baikal’s words, Zephyr looked at In-gong’s party and bowed slightly.
Felicia and Silvan laughed like they had expected this, while Chris sneered.
...And In-gong was convinced.
If Baikal was the light, then Zephyr was the darkness. It would have been awkward if Zephyr laughed and welcomed them like Baikal.
Zephyr, who had long blood red hair, didn’t reveal his feelings but gave off an enormous presence just by sitting there.
Baikal sighed like there was nothing he could do and assigned a seat to each of the party members. Silvan, Felicia, Chris, Caitlin and In-gong were all seated opposite Zephyr.
They didn’t wait long since the time had already been set. After finishing the seating arrangements, a bell sounded to announce the arrival of 3rd Prince Victor and 4th Princess Anastasia.
Baikal also greeted Victor and Anastasia with a bright smile. The two of them were seated beside Zephyr, with Anastasia naturally being a considerable distance away from him.
Finally, all nine of the demon king’s children had gathered. Baikal, who sat in the organizer’s seat, started the tea party with some prepared tea and cookies.
As Felicia had predicted, Baikal led the conversation into a friendly chat. However, he avoided topics that seemed somewhat sensitive, such as In-gong and the sword duke. It seemed as though he was going to avoid all topics that would stimulate competition.
Chris kept silent, while Silvan only occasionally participated in the conversation as he concentrated on eating the cookies and drinking the tea.
The conversation flowed primarily between Baikal, Anastasia, Felicia and Caitlin.
Whenever Anastasia pulled out a topic about In-gong, Felicia would cut her off and Baikal would change the subject. Caitlin mostly listened, but she occasionally helped Baikal with the transitions.
In-gong tried not to be conscious of Zephyr, who had remained silent since he first greeted them. His attitude was similar to the court gathering.
Victor kept a watchful eye on In-gong throughout the conversation. It seemed like he was trying to look for something.
In-gong consciously took a step back. When looking at it on the surface, Baikal’s tea party proceeded fairly cheerfully. Most of the siblings didn’t participate in the conversation, and Zephyr was sitting at the table.
The demon king didn’t want his children to harm each other. There was competition between the royal children, but there were to be no attempts on each other’s lives.
After all, they were siblings. Even Victor, who was staring at In-gong, didn’t have the slightest intention of provocation.
The one who changed this atmosphere had been Zephyr.
He had heightened the sense of crisis and made them do serious things to each other. Zephyr had planted the idea but hadn’t suffered.
The lycanthrope subjugation had been the peak. The demon king’s children no longer believed in each other and had even hated each other. The minimum safety line had collapsed.
Then the Day of Massacre began.
The children of the demon king hadn’t been able to gather together and every one of them died at Zephyr’s hands.
That was why In-gong wanted to become the demon king. He didn’t want such a future.
Anastasia suddenly turned to In-gong. In-gong smiled politely at her and Anastasia smiled back. There was an intense light in her eyes but no sense of hostility.
Baikal’s tea party was completed. Victor had looked disgruntled as the tea party continued on, but that was all.
Baikal was satisfied with this alone. The important thing was that they had a face-to-face conversation.
Victor and Anastasia left first, then In-gong’s party stood up to follow.
Just as they were about to leave the reception room...
A low voice captured everyone's attention. It was Zephyr who had stayed silent so far.
He reminded In-gong of the demon king at the court gathering. Zephyr made everyone nervous just by talking to In-gong.
“Give my regards to General Vandal.”
The sentence was short, but it had many implications.
In-gong replied with a blank expression,
Zephyr didn’t say anything more, and Baikal, who sighed as if he had seen something unbelievable, hurried In-gong’s party out.
As soon as they climbed into the carriage, Felicia slumped down and complained,
“Hah, I’m tired. Exhausted. Tea parties with Anastasia unni are always hard. How about Caitlin?”
Felicia was exhausted after her conversations with Anastasia throughout the tea party. She had been fine until she entered the carriage, so it was a truly impressive performance.
Caitlin smiled at Felicia’s question and replied,
"It was difficult but fun.”
Caitlin was like a field of blooming flowers. She was also a child of the demon king, so she used the things that she saw and heard. This meant her expectations had been low in the first place, making her satisfied with how it actually went.
When Caitlin asked, Silvan pondered for a moment before responding with a very serious expression,
"The cookies and tea were delicious.”
Felicia sighed at his heartfelt appreciation.
"Aigoo, I hope you were comfortable. All of you just left it to me. I didn’t expect much from Silvan in the first place, but I thought that Chris would help at least.”
Felicia cried out, and Chris just snorted.
"Noonim did very well alone. I didn’t feel the need to interrupt. Well done, Noonim. I can always rely on you.”
Felicia pouted at Chris’ words. It was a sight that could never have been imagined a few months ago.
Caitlin glanced between Chris and Felicia with a huge smile, then Felicia hugged Caitlin like she was a doll.
"Anyway, tomorrow is the tea party where the concubine children are invited. It is different from today since they are people we want to introduce to Shutra and our faction anyway. Relax and play games. Then after that, we will leave on our missions. You should have a good sleep today and tomorrow.”
In-gong had always left right after the court gathering, but this time, there was a lot to do.
However, there was still tomorrow. As Felicia said, they would have to leave for the missions the day after tomorrow.
“Shutra, it is good that you chose Evian.”
Chris said suddenly. It was clear that he was thinking about Zephyr’s last words.
Felicia nodded in agreement.
"Does Zephyr orabeoni also want to strengthen ties with General Vandal? General Vandal is very popular.”
If In-gong hadn’t chosen Evian, Zephyr would have.
Why did Zephyr speak at the end?
Was it a simple strike? Or was revealing that he was aiming for Vandal a diversion? Maybe it was just a ploy to confuse In-gong.
Anyhow, like Chris said, it was good that In-gong had chosen Evian. In-gong would use this opportunity to take Vandal away from Zephyr.
As the topic moved to Evian, Caitlin narrowed her eyes. She spoke with a face and expression reminiscent of Felicia a few days ago,
“Shutra, will you really go to Takar?”
How should he answer?
In-gong stayed silent instead of talking, and Felicia and Caitlin started murmuring to each other.
The next morning, In-gong’s party gathered early in the morning before the second tea party.
"This Amita has finished!”
Amita, who had been stuck in the workshop for a few days, ran into the parlour and shouted,
Silvan stood up excitedly.
“Ohh, my sword?”
"No, your sword isn’t finished yet. The readjustment of White Eagle is what was completed.
Amita answered coolly and Silvan’s shoulders slumped as he sulked. In-gong held back his laughter and asked Amita,
"Sooner or later, sooner or later! I will stay up all night and finish it by tomorrow morning! And shouldn’t your reaction be, ‘Ohh, show me?’”
"Ohh, please show me!"
In-gong instantly cried out along with Caitlin.
Amita shrugged like they felt better and said,
"Huhum, follow me to the workshop.”
Their tail waved in the air, and In-gong’s party hurried after Amita.
“Master, I have become great. I think that you should compliment me.”