Soon, the group of people left. They were Irene’s distant relatives who lived off her parents and uncle. It was very common for Faustians and Aomarians to turn to their noble relatives for financial support.
The servants took the luggage from Locke’s hands. They contained Irene’s and his personal belongings, and some gifts that they’d ‘bought together’ for her relatives. After all, it was his first time meeting his so-called fiancee’s family. It would be inappropriate if he came empty-handed. Though, he actually didn’t spend a penny on those gifts; Irene had paid for them all by herself.
Her parents were happy when they saw that Locke had brought some gifts for them. It was rare to meet people who’d got class and were as polite as him. After spending so much time with Angelina and Glace, he no longer behaved like a crass commoner and was never taken for one ever since he’d arrived in Aomar
Byzalle, on the other hand, looked at Locke quietly and followed them back. They soon arrived at Irene’s castle. Although it was only a small town, the castle that stood in the centre of the town was exquisitely decorated.
Unlike the Faustian castle, this castle was far more refined. Without knowing it, Locke began to compare this castle with Cardoj’s. He concluded that both of them had their own merits. Although staying in a plain and simple castle would suit him better, staying in a comfortable castle like this seemed pretty good as well.
They held a banquet as Irene’s parents wanted to host a grand party to welcome their daughter home. Also, they didn’t want to give Locke, their guest, the cold shoulder. There was a lot of singing and dancing going on during the party and the maids were constantly serving the guests with tea and pastries, but Locke didn’t seem to be fascinated by it. The parties that were held in Faustian and Joaquin’s house were much fancier than this. Though, he felt more comfortable being here as there weren’t any nobles who bothered him and he didn’t have to socialise with anyone.
“Hey, kid. Do you go to banquets like this often?” Byzalle came over with a glass of rum in his hand.
“Yes. But I like the relaxing atmosphere here more.” Locke raised his glass of wine and drank a toast to the old man. Their glasses clinked when they toasted each other. Both of them smiled at each other and downed their drink.
Though rum was Aomar’s speciality, Locke preferred drinking wine for the sweetness; his favorite drink was beer though. Unfortunately, only commoners drank beer; it was rare to see beer served in a noble’s banquet as it was often associated with the poor.
Byzalle nodded at Locke and left with his empty glass. Locke could wander around in the party, but Byzalle couldn’t. Apart from him and his brother, there were other nobles such as baronets and knights from their territory, as well as barons from the neighbouring territories present, so he needed to entertain his guests.
When Locke saw how Byzalle laughed and chatted with the other nobles, it reminded him of Cardoj, his former boss. “They’re the same kind of person.”
“Why are you sitting here? Don’t you want to mingle with us young folk?” Irene teased when she appeared in front of him in a white dress.
Locke was taken aback at first. He then shook his head and replied, “I’m not interested.” It was his first time seeing her in a dress, and he took another glance at her unintentionally.
Unlike Locke who could just sit around and do nothing, Irene was one of the centres of attention tonight. Before she could talk much longer to him, several groups of young nobles went up to her and started a conversation. By the look of the way she talked to them, they were probably her close friends.
Although Locke had tried his best to keep a low profile, he’d still caught the eyes of the people around him. They wanted to see what kind of man was able to share a carriage with Irene. Unfortunately, they were disappointed. Locke wasn’t ugly, but he wasn’t handsome either. The only outstanding features that he had was his bright, spirited eyes. Plus, his physique hardened by years of military service was studier and more muscular than the other young nobles’.
The atmosphere of the banquet was still very easygoing. The banquet of a local noble wasn’t as strict and as formal as the ones that were held in the royal capital. Locke had been feeling rather relaxed and comfortable since the banquet started, until…
“Oh, I’ve heard that Miss Irene is back from the royal capital!” someone at the entrance of the banquet hall said. A middle-aged man with a hooked nose then strode into the hall.
A skinny young man followed closely behind him. There was another large group of nobles behind them as well. The number of people in the group was more than the number of nobles who were present at the banquet. The banquet hall that was initially quite empty became crowded all of a sudden, and the atmosphere turned weird.
“Welcome, Viscount Shimak!” Byzalle put his glass of rum down and gave Shimak a hug.
He then smiled at the skinny young man next to him. “Hey, Veyron, long time no see! You’ve grown much taller and stronger!” said Byzalle as he patted on the young man’s shoulder.
After hearing that Irene had returned, Shimak initially planned to bring his son to meet his future wife. But when he heard that she’d brought a young man along with her home, he had a bad feeling about it.
His face turned black with anger when he heard that the young man arrived there in the same carriage with Irene. The nobles who were behind him right now were not actually all from his territory; most of them were there to watch him make a fool of himself.
Though, there was no point crying over spilt milk. Since Byzalle talked to him and his son with a smile on his face, Shimak didn’t want to sour the mood.
There were too many nobles in the hall. Shimak looked around the hall for quite some time, but he couldn’t find Locke, who was sitting by the window.
“Uncle Byzalle, where’s Irene? I want to meet her,” said the skinny man. Although he’d never met her before, he’d admired this top student and wanted to get close to her since a long time ago.
“Irene, come and meet Veyron.” The silver-haired old man smiled and waved to Irene who was standing behind her parents.
As she walked towards them unwillingly, Shimak asked casually, “Where’s her classmate who’s from the royal capital as well? I want to meet him. I’ve never met another student from Princeton Academy other than Irene.”
The nobles in the hall immediately turned and looked at Locke who was sitting by the window. Locke had obviously heard it as well, so he had no choice but to approach.
“Hello!” Locke stood up and walked towards them. He then reached out his hand and greeted Shimak.
Shimak didn’t shake his hand. Instead, he squinted his eyes and stared at Locke. A while later, he asked, “Are you a noble?”
Everyone was shocked when they heard the question.