The Record of Unusual Creatures - novelonlinefree.info
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The Royal Family of Holletta was holding a grand banquet in honor of their otherworldly friends who had worked tirelessly to avert a catastrophic disaster from happening. It was also to welcome the first alien civilization that visited their planet. The banquet was held on the eastern side of the Royal Palace, in the Vaishamn Hall—it was a special place for hosting foreign envoys and other grand state banquets.
Originally, the banquet was supposed to be held when the elves arrived. But the pragmatic att.i.tude of the Aerymian Elves had the banquet delayed until the dust settled. Officials of the Royal Court who came to the feast earlier had no choice but to return home and wait. Hao Ren felt sorry for keeping these people waiting. But apparently, that was not what Hilda and her men thought: they put work above all else. On top of that, they already had their meal before they set out. So naturally, the banquet was to be postponed until their work was done.
The Aerymians were definitely not one of, but the single simplest and most honest elves in the universe.
The Vaishamn Hall was as grand as it got. The royal feast was dazzling with beautiful decorations all around and splendid costumes worn by its partic.i.p.ants. It was much grander than the secret meeting Hao Ren had attended the last time. The observant Vivian very quickly discovered something special about the personnel of the royal feast: aside from the Aerymian Elves who formed the majority, Hollettan people were not many. Some of them were senior officials of the Royal Court and clergies, while others seemed to be trained "escorts". These "escorts" dressed in fine attire, were well-mannered, and behaved almost like n.o.blemen. They were responsible for maintaining the atmosphere at the banquet and providing a.s.sistance to other n.o.bles. Strictly speaking, they were not considered as guests at the banquet, but specially-trained security agents.
Regarding the arrival of the Aerymian Elves, the narrative the Disciples of Glory sold to the public was somewhat different. The feast was held with a certain degree of confidentiality.
Hao Ren snorted after he heard what Vivian said. "Oh, that's why I'm not keen on meeting politicians; it's troublesome."
"Am I also one of your 'troublesome' politicians?" Ophra was heard from the side. She attended the feast in her armor. This armor was a ceremonial armor, which was more form than function. The edge of the armor was inlaid with beautiful patterns and lavender ornaments. She smiled and looked at Hao Ren. "But I agree, politicians are troublesome."
Hao Ren looked up at the marshal. "You're wearing this to the feast? Besides armor, it's still armor, eh? You know, it clinks pretty loudly as you walk."
Ophra shrugged. "Old habits die hard. In the beginning when I first took office, the whole country was at war. I followed King Geddon III, and since then, armor has been my only attire. I'm comfortable this way; it looks the best."
Lil Pea jumped to the edge of the table and touched Ophra's armor. "It looks best, it looks best... It's hard, I can't go inside. Not good."
The little one had gotten used to squirming in her dad's clothes, and she was using that as a benchmark to rate Ophra's attire. Ophra was not entirely happy, and this gave Hao Ren a little headache: Lil Pea was growing up, and soon, he would not be able to carry her around like that. That morning, he had used a ruler to measure her, and the baby had grown by a centimeter. He wondered how he was going to take care of her when she finally grew into a normal-sized mermaid.
He figured when that time came, the basin and fish tank at home would certainly not be enough to accommodate her. So, he first had to find a place and dig a bigger pool, then get some timber and other stuff for that purpose... Raising a child was really troublesome, he thought.
Lily was drooling as she looked at the food on the table. As if she was held back by a leash, she had no choice but to wait. "When can I eat? When can I eat? When..."
Y'zaks sat across the table, nodding like b.u.t.ter would not melt in his mouth. "According to human customs, it's time for the VIP to take the stage, say a few words, and leave the audience hanging before dinner starts."
Y'zaks was right. Soon enough, Mh.o.r.en and the pope stood up one after the other. They thanked Heaven and the earth, they thanked the G.o.ddess for creating the world, and they expressed their thanks for the help provided by the strangers from the Otherworld. As if that was not enough, the two men started the whole thanking process all over again. The table where Hao Ren was sitting at was closest to the two old men's table (because he was a VIP guest). Everyone could not help but be bored to death. Lily laid her head on the table and her eyes almost rolled to the back of her head. "It's taking forever. Can I just say 'you're welcome and let's get dinner started'?"
Lily's voice was by no means soft. Mh.o.r.en choked upon hearing her as he was halfway through his thanking. The old king looked at them with a smile, then turned to Hilda and said, "We welcome Your Majesty the Elven Queen to say a few words…"
Hilda nodded and stood up, raising her gla.s.s to a toast. "Let the dinner begin!"
What a speech—simple and straight to the point. Meanwhile, those Hollettan court officials, who had wasted no time in getting some shut eye, had expected the elven queen's speech to be just as long. They were caught by surprise and it took them a while before they came to their senses. Some old men had instinctively raised their hands to give Hilda an applause, but they stopped short of doing so when they realized that her speech was so short. It felt strange. Hoffman rubbed his s.h.i.+ny forehead and whispered to Hilda, "Your Majesty, that's it?"
Hilda nodded. "That's it!"
And so, the feast began. In accordance to Hollettan etiquette, they were obliged to keep their foreign guests entertained by carrying on casual conversation with them. However, they soon found that they were not able to keep up with the rhythm of these foreign guests: as soon as Hilda delivered her speech, the elves lowered their heads and had their meal in total silence like obedient soldiers. No one made a sound. No one looked at another person. The elves really liked the food, but they did not waste time in saying appreciative words. They just wolfed down their food, and within minutes, all that was left were clean plates.
Holding his gla.s.s, Prince Hoffman went up to an Aerymian official. All he could do was blink.
"Aerymians are known for their simplicity and efficiency, as well as their mantra of 'waste nothing'," Hao Ren said, looking up and smiling with a fork still in his hand. "The more formal the dinner is, the quicker they eat, because to them, banquets are expensive and a high amount of resources are consumed. Hence, they would rather eat at their own pace. Please don't be bothered by them."
Hilda nodded apologetically to King Mh.o.r.en. "This is our tradition. Please, do not be offended. We really appreciate your hospitality. It is just that, we are not very good at eating slowly."
She then pointed at herself. "By the way, because of my unique body, I do not need food."
Hao Ren was curious when he heard this. He asked, "I've wanted to ask you about that. but I forgot: if you can live without food or drink, where do you get your energy from?"
"From the surrounding environment, solar energy and natural radiations." Hilda laughed. "I experimented a bit not too long ago, and it seemed like I could survive in s.p.a.ce. However, I got tired after a long while. It may have something to do with the excessive radiation."
"Oh, solar energy recharging," said Becky. Oil stains were glittering at the corner of her mouth. She still liked to interject at the dining table. "Looks like Vimm can forget about the throne."
Hao Ren quickly hemmed. "Let's not discuss that."
"When the time is right, I will abdicate. I used to say that I was just waiting for him to grow up." Hilda laughed, not minding the topic. "I have already transferred a lot of power to him recently. Otherwise, there would be no way for me to come out as much as I wish."
Mh.o.r.en and Ophra listened to the foreigners, especially the queen herself, speaking about royal succession so casually. They were amazed. They had a hard time imagining how the Aerymian society developed to the way it was today.
At this time, Lily handed a big portion of barbecue to Hao Ren, holding it right in front of his mouth. "Try this. I think we should try making it at home. You and Battie need to keep the taste in mind and make it for me back home."
Hao Ren was touched. He had been feeding the dog for so long, and now, the dog was finally returning the favor, he thought.
All of a sudden, a senior royal knight hurried into the banquet ball and strode towards the pope.
It caught Hao Ren's attention.
He felt suspicious of the knight.