The banquet began.
A resplendent hall with ladies dressed in their finest as they giggled behind fans. That was what I had been expecting. But it was quite different.
Not a single woman was wearing a dress. Everyone looked plain.
However, there was food laid out on the tables and the lamps used here were filled with high-quality oil.
The hall was almost as bright as it was during the day, and it was clear that this place was very luxurious.
“It’s good that it doesn’t smell like beast oils.”
Back in my village, they made candles out of the fat of wild animals.
I tried to avoid using them, as the room would start to smell like beasts.
“Golan. Those clothes suit you very well.”
General Farneze patted me on the shoulder and laughed.
I was wearing clothes that look like I put a sheet over my head with a hole in the center.
Apparently, this was what they called formal attire.
“I was able to wear leather armor the last time I came to the castle.”
“That’s true, now that I think about it. It wasn’t even that long ago…but things have been happening so quickly recently.”
A Corps Commander had vanished and a General had died.
Well, as for the Corps Commander…Nehyor. I would beat him to a pulp if I ever found him.
“So, when will General Miralda arrive?”
She was supposed to be the guest of honor, but I couldn’t see her anywhere.
“Oh, it’s custom. We have to go and escort her once everyone is here. So she won’t appear for a while.”
This banquet. It was supposed to be hosted by General Farneze.
And so she had to be here from the beginning and take command.
The least important people were supposed to come first, which explained my early arrival.
“What about Felicia?”
“I’m not calling her. She is more valuable when fewer people know of her existence.”
Without a known strategist on her side, enemies will underestimate Farneze.
And so it would be best to keep her head low and trick the enemy.
She would be used as a trump card.
After that, all the Corps Commanders arrived.
I didn’t really know any of them.
Then there were the other castle officials. Some of them were races I had never seen before.
Seventeen years had passed since I reincarnated into the Demon World. I had done my best to gain knowledge from merchants, hunters and travelers who came to the village, but there was a limit to how much you could learn that way.
Especially when it came to races. The prejudices of the person would affect their words. And so it was best to meet people in person in order to understand them.
And so I decided to make use of this banquet and talk to people…
But I was mostly ignored.
Apparently, my clothes showed that I was someone of the lowest rank. I suppose it would have been different had I worn something with color or patterns on it.
“It might also have to do with the fact that I’m an Ogre.”
To be frank, we Ogres were known to be meatheads.
They were probably wondering why they should waste their time talking to the likes of me, when there hadn’t been such a fine banquet in such a long time.
“Well, there’s no point in becoming friends with such people.”
I told myself with resignation.
“Golan. The Generals are here. I will introduce you.”
“Yes. Thank you.”
General Farneze was the only person who talked to me.
She was the host, and yet she had time to see how I was doing. How touching.
“Tulart. This is Golan. The warrior who made fools of both Fara and Leninoth’s armies.”
“It’s an honor to meet you. I am Golan. The General exaggerates greatly, as I am but a humble Ogre.”
I said with a slight bow.
“I myself have heard of that plan. And of the battle on the hill before that.”
General Tulart was a Cyclops.
They were known for being very quiet.
“Tulart is just as strong as the late Gorgodan. Perhaps you can fight him one day, Golan? That’s what you love doing, isn’t it?”
“Ah. Well, if there is ever an occasion…”
I wasn’t obsessed with fighting at all. The General sure liked to make jokes.
After that, we talked for a little longer, but General Tulart only replied with a few words.
“I’m not articulate.”
“No, not at all.”
“We should talk with fists next time.”
Well, there was one person here who was obsessed with fighting.
I sighed with relief after I finished talking with General Tulart. But then a kind of crow Tengu with black wings approached me.
It was probably Dardaroth.
“Hey, Dardaroth. Are you enjoying yourself?”
“I would not have brought my men here if it were not a place that could be enjoyed.”
From what I had heard, General Dardaroth was adored by his subordinates. And his sincere personality led him to be greatly trusted by the other Generals as well.
Even when I just listened to General Farneze and him talking, I could tell that he cared about others.
It made me think that strength alone was not enough to make people obey. He was a good example to follow.
“It’s what you call…charisma.”
I had been thinking about the right word to describe him, but ended up blurting it out.
On the other hand, with Corps Commander Nehyor, the more I talked to him the more suspicious I became. In other words, my estimation of a person was quite reliable.
Residents of the Demon World weren’t the type to ‘kiss the hand they wished to cut off.’ In other words…their thoughts tended to be written too plainly on their faces.
However, those who stood on the top were better at hiding and deceiving. Well, I had a feeling that it was the case.
I continued to talk with General Dardaroth as if we were in the middle of a meeting, when Farneze finally came and jabbed me with her elbow.
“The guest of honor is about to arrive.”
The Kobolds suddenly started rushing around the hall.
“I see. General Miralda is finally going to make an appearance.”
The real banquet was about to begin.