Stuck in Gilded Party
The banquet was held in the countryside, in a villa of another great noble. It was a private and unofficial gathering for the nobles.
Outside the villa, the road was full with all kinds of exquisite carriages. Some men and women dressed in luxurious clothes were milling around the carriages.
The villa was not very big but it had a moderately sized banquet hall. There were only slightly more than 30 people at the banquet. Nicole carefully held Rody’s arm and slowly walked into the hall. Immediately, an attendant respectfully came up to them. With an elegant move of his hand, he helped Nicole take off her shawl. He then announced in a melodious tenor voice, “The Tulip Family’s Miss Nicole and Young Master Seth has arrived.”
Rody immediately felt numerous eyes look towards him. That was the first time he had seen so many nobles together. Not just that: they were high-ranking nobles. It was also the first time he was stared at by so many nobles.
Some of the stares came with respect. That definitely was due to the prestige of the ‘Tulip Family’. There were those with envy. That came mostly from nobles with slightly lower status and position. There were also stares accompanied with a slight smile. That came from families with good relationships with the Tulip Family. Of course, some of the stares were not friendly. Some of them had malicious intentions, looking to take advantage of the current predicament of the Tulip Family. The family’s influence was fading because their heirs had failed to live up to expectations. Their only talented and useful member was a daughter who could not inherit the family title.
Invariably, there were many young ladies looking at Rody. Rody’s costume that night was refined and chic. Along with the playboy’s handsome face and the shining blond hair of the Tulip Family, it somehow attracted some favorable attention. To the young ladies, Rody’s evasive looks made him seem shy. In fact, he looked cute to the ladies and that was contrary to the rumors of the playboy being very good with women.
Nicole calmly smiled and quietly greeted her friends. Her light and cheery smile was like a fresh breeze. She quietly coached Rody about the people present. She was telling him which ministers His Majesty recently favor, who came from which famous families, and their family’s allies. Rody could not remember them all. He could only understand about two-thirds and maybe only remember about one-third of all that he heard.
As it was not a formal banquet, only a small buffet was arranged. The guests gathered in separate groups according to their own familiar circles. Nicole brought Rody along with her to greet all the groups. She did not linger too long or engage in deep conversation with any group or treat them coldly. Occasionally, a young noble infatuated with Nicole would attempt to strike a conversation with her. Nicole would politely respond. She certainly did not have the appearance of the terrifying sorceress that had made Rody miserable and silent previously.
Rody nervously kept following behind Nicole but Nicole wanted to train him and urged him, “Go mix around by yourself. Be careful. Do not forget the common courtesy I taught you on our way here.” She then walked away with a few female companions.
Rody was thinking of going up to a group of girls but a few of those girls had started heading for the inner rooms. Rody was too embarrassed to follow them. He ended up standing there like an idiot.
A waiter offered him some wine in a cup made of pure gold. The wine that was as red as blood made Rody hesitate to drink.
He did not feel comfortable at the banquet, but that was not the case in the eyes of others. For the noble ladies interested in him, his actions only confirmed that he was not an ordinary person. He was handsome and came from an illustrious family. Was there anyone more suitable as a wealthy husband?
Of course, soon after that, Rody was surrounded by several noble ladies.
It is said that a skillful man knows how to strike up a conversation with a woman. However, this applies equally to women.
Within a short period of time, two noble ladies had ‘accidentally’ dropped their handkerchiefs in front of Rody. Three others had ‘hurriedly’ opened their folding fans and dropped them and another one ‘accidentally’ tripped on her skirt. She almost fell on top of him.
Rody remembered the instructions of his fake sister and acted accordingly. He picked up the dropped handkerchiefs and folding fans and carefully returned them to their owners. As for the lady who almost fell into his embrace, Rody was startled and hastily dodged. That noble lady almost fell onto the floor.
Rody had a headache because these ladies kept following him. Even though he had picked up and returned their belongings, they still stood by his side and refused to leave. They insisted on engaging in idle talk with Rody.
Rody was not good at conversations. Since young, he had not talked much to girls except Miss Nicole and the beautiful young maid at home. He felt uncomfortable having to deal with so many ladies so suddenly.
The noble ladies were all trying very hard to get close to him. Rody was alarmed. It was not because he was not romantic. Men don’t need to be taught such things. It was that he never needed to deal with girls before and also now there were just too many ladies. He was also nervous and afraid to make any mistake. He already felt like he was treading on thin ice, so how could he focus on conversing with women?
Besides that, only two of the women were attractive. However, Rody could see Nicole and Angel, two even more enchanting beauties, at home every day. It was quite natural that these noble ladies did not look interesting to him. Moreover, he was also a little attracted to Miss Nicole right now.
Although Rody was ‘suffering’ unspeakably from being surrounded by girls, in the eyes of many, he was in an enviable situation. Most of them sighed at the extraordinary skills of the Tulip Family’s Young Master, while some of those from powerful families were jealous of him.
“Seth. It seems like you and these ladies here are happily chatting,” A treacherous voice said. It came from a slender youngster with a fair and clear complexion.
With a warrior’s instinctive vigilance, Rody immediately felt the ill will coming from the other party.
Rody recognized him as the nephew of the Military Minister of the Empire. This Military Minister was in charge of logistics and supplies, an extremely cushy job. However, their relationship with the Empire’s Marshal family had always been tense.
Rody remembered that because when Nicole coached him earlier, her tone became heavier when she was emphasizing her explanation about this family. That had left a deep impression of that family on him.
Rody sighed, nodded and faintly said. “Your Excellency. I do not think I know you!”
The other party showed a hint of displeasure. He was the nephew of the Military Minister. Besides that, the minister had no son. As a result, he was established as the official heir of the family and the moment he returned to the Imperial Capital, he became an influential figure. When Rody said that he did not know him, it clearly meant that Rody did not respect him.
However, his expression immediately calmed down as he held his wine cup. He smiled and said. “I am Milo of the Lionheart Family. I was sent to the north this year to help His Majesty manage the military affairs in the north and to further develop the Imperial Capital. Come to think of it, we have never officially met.”
His sentence was sarcastic and had a hidden meaning. It meant that he was appointed by His Majesty as a Military Minister while Rody was just a playboy. So, of course, they had not met.
The ladies stood quietly at the side. They naturally knew Milo’s identity. In fact, if Rody was not present, Milo would be their target as a wealthy husband. Among them were two clever ladies who also knew that these two families were not in harmony with each other. They also knew that Milo was trying to find show off his superiority over him. Milo was now holding the military power of a minister. He was also held in high esteem by His Majesty. On the other hand, Young Master Seth may be the Young Master of the Tulip Family, but, he was not yet an adult and could not even get the inheritance. As a result, they were worried for the delightful youngster.
Rody felt awkward. He also knew that the other party came here looking for trouble. He did not understand the sarcasm in the other party’s earlier remark. As he had only started impersonating the Young Master recently, he was far from perfect in his role. His poor impersonation had somehow caused some discord between that big shot and himself. The feeling was kind of weird.
At that moment, a flirtatious voice sounded out.
“Lord Milo, Young Master Seth. The two of you seem very close. What are you talking so happily about?”
The voice seemed to come from a distance and yet sounded like it was just close by. It was a gentle, indulgent voice like that of a lover’s.