69-69 Morning of the ball

 When I woke up, I could see the city of Mithra outside my window, pale and white in the blue early morning light.

 The moment before sunrise, when dawn is breaking and the city is about to wake up. ──── I like this time as much as anywhere else.
 It gives me the feeling that the day is about to begin.
 From a distance, I can see people coming out of buildings here and there.

 Last night, I minimized my daily training, such as swinging the black sword, and went to bed early.
 The room I stayed in had the luxury of having hot water at my disposal, so I was able to wash and refresh myself after working out. There were large bowls of fruit in the room that I was told I could eat freely, so I took some and ate it to moisten my throat, then went to bed feeling good while looking out the window.

 Thanks to ────, I'm feeling great now.

All right, let's get you dressed.

 I quickly changed into the clothes that Leanne and the others had prepared for me and went out into the hallway.
 It seemed a little early, but it was getting light and I wanted to take a look around since I couldn't go out at night.
 Leanne and the others were probably still asleep, so I went out quietly so as not to wake them.

Inez was standing in front of the door of the room where they had stayed. You're early.
Oh, Inez is early too. You're up already?
 Are the ...... leaners still sleeping inside?

Mr. Linneburg is in the middle of changing his clothes.
 She's in the middle of changing her clothes with Rollo, doing final checks on her outfit.

I see. I see you're all up early.

Since you went to bed early last night, are you all dressed and ready to go, Lord Noor?

Yes, I thought it would be best to change as soon as possible.
 Inez is still dressed as she was yesterday, are you going to change now?

 Inez stood in front of the door in her usual silver armor and skirt.

No, I'm going to stay like this. No, I'll stay as I am. This will also serve as my formal attire as a guard.
 This is also my formal attire as a guard.

"Oh, that's very kind of you to prepare.
 I don't know what to wear by myself.

 The black dress you prepared for me looked tight at first, but when I put it on, it felt very comfortable and I soon got used to it.
 It was the perfect size for my body, but I could still move my arms around and it didn't get in the way at all.
 The fabric was smooth and thin, yet it seemed to be strong.

I'm sure this dress was made especially for you to measure, right?
 ...... Wow, this is amazing.
 I've never worn this kind of clothing before, but it's very comfortable.

It's a very good product, made by the best craftsmen in King's Landing.
 It's woven with silver threads of mithril, which should make it quite strong, but if you handle it too roughly, it will break easily. Be careful with it.

"Yes, I will. I'll be careful.

By the way, it's still early for you to be awake. What are you doing here?

I wanted to take a look at the paintings and sculptures in this building and in the corridors.
 I wanted to take a look at the paintings and sculptures in this building and in the corridors, because I know I won't be able to see them until I get back to the kingdom.

"I see. But you shouldn't go too far.
 It's not good to get lost.

Oh, I'll try not to go too far, it's okay.
 I'm going to try not to go too far, I'll be fine. I don't need to see too much of the art stuff, I'll be satisfied with what I see.

I'll be happy to see a little." ......
 You should be back before the guide arrives.
 If you can't make it to the ball, you're screwed.

It's a good idea to take a look at the website to see if you can find any useful information.
 ...... Are we supposed to be dancing too?

No, ...... only the honored guests will dance.
 We are the guards, and our job is to make sure that Mr. Linneburg and Rollo are safe.
 We will not be dancing unless we are specifically asked to.

"Well, that's a relief to hear. I've never danced with anyone before. ...... I don't want to be asked to dance all of a sudden.  Can ...... you do that?
No, ...... me neither. I'm not very good at that sort of thing.
Is that so? That's surprising.

 I've always thought of him as a multi-talented man who could do anything.

Surprisingly, ...... I basically handle everything on my own. I'm not very good at mixing with others.
Inez has some useful skills, like that glowing shield. She seems to be able to do everything by herself.
...... Not everything. There are many things I'm not good at.

...... Dr. Noll, are you there?

 As Inez and I were having our casual morning conversation, a voice came from inside the room.

"Yes, I'm here.
Ines, may I ask you to open the door?

 When Inez opened the door, Leanne appeared from inside.
 She was dressed in an unusual white dress.

 No, white was not quite the right word.
 Just as she came out of her room, the dim corridor became brighter and brighter.

"I see you've already made your preparations. It looks good on you.

"Oh. Is that what you're going with?
 It's a very white dress. It's a little bright.

"──── Yes.
 It's mostly woven with holy silver thread, so depending on the angle, it should look silver or white.
 It's a great way to make sure you're getting the most out of your money.
 ──── Isn't that weird?

Yeah. I think it looks good on you.
 I don't know how to say this, but ...... you look like a princess from some other country.

...... Do you think so?
 I'm not too sure about that, but if you say so, it makes the new look worth it.

 I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to do it.
 ...... Good. It seems that she has more energy than yesterday.

"Oh yeah, ──── Rolo looks great!

 Leanne walked briskly into the back of the room and came right back out again.
 Her hand was holding the hand of the person at the back of the room, who was forcibly pulled out into the hallway.

 The person was about the same height as Leanne, wore the same kind of men's clothes as me, and looked to be a little younger than Leanne.

 It's ────

 It was ──── a boy I didn't know.
 There was a boy there, a stranger.

"──── who are you?
"No, it's me. Noll.

 The boy looked at me puzzled.

"Yes, it's Rollo, sir. ............ Don't you recognize him?

 It's true, his hair is whitish and his eyes are red.
 That's definitely Rollo's features.
 But he's definitely not the Rollo I know.

"Is that really Rollo? You look very different. ......?
"Hmm, isn't that right? I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that I've done a lot of work on his hair. ──── Yes, it's nice.
 I think you'll be very popular in aristocratic society with this.

 Lean proudly looked at the boy who looked like ──── Rollo, or used to be Rollo.
 I also took a closer look at the boy and ...... still couldn't believe he was Rollo.

I'm sure you'll agree.
 I'm still skeptical.

 I'm still skeptical, but ...... I'll pretend it's Rolo and talk to him.

 ...... Yes, it's true that if you think of Rollo, you might think of him.
 There is a face.

 But really, I didn't know who he was at first.
 The Rollo I knew was more of a ──── gloomy, insecure, slightly frightened, very dark boy with a very weak feeling. ──── Now he looks like a strong-willed, respectable boy.

I'm sure you'll be pleased to hear that. You look different.
Do you think so?
Yeah, he looks a lot better than the green-haired boy I met yesterday.

 You said you've been working out for the past few months, so maybe that's why?
 You said you've been working out for the past few months, so maybe that's why. Your physique is stronger than before and you look better.

 Also, yesterday his bangs were hanging in front of his face and I couldn't see his expression, but now his hair is neatly done and I can see his forehead and eyebrows.
 If I had to guess, I'd say that's the difference. ...... That alone makes a person look very different.

 Is that all that makes a person look so different?

 ──── No, no.
 I've finally realized that there is a definite difference.

 It's the ──── eye(s).

 Well, the eyes are different.
 Before, he had a very frightened and unsteady look in his eyes, but now he has a more confident look in his eyes. I feel that her eyes are much more powerful than before.

 This is probably the reason for the difference in impression.
 Until yesterday, I couldn't see it clearly because it was hidden by my hair.

──── You really look different, Rollo.

 Still, you've changed a lot since a few months ago.
 I don't know what happened to him, but somehow he's more confident now, and his appearance is more appropriate for what he is. I guess.

 ──── So, yes, the boy in front of me is still Rollo.
 I still feel strange, but I have to admit it.
 This boy is Rollo.

 As I looked at his face with this in mind, I felt that he was beginning to look more and more like ...... Rolo.

 ...... Okay, that's it.
 I felt that with a little more effort, I would be able to accept him as Rolo.

By the way, what are you doing up so early in the morning?

 As I was trying my best to accept my new impression of Lolo, Lean spoke up.

"......? Oh, you mean me.
 I told you a little bit about it yesterday, but I wanted to make sure you got a good look at what's here.
 I heard you're not supposed to look around at night, but maybe in the morning?
 I've heard you're not supposed to look around at night, but maybe in the morning?

I'm not much of an arts and crafts person myself.
 I'm not very knowledgeable about arts and crafts, but I might be able to give you a simple explanation.
Oh, that would be great. Please do.

"Yes! Why don't you join us, Ines and Rollo?
Yes, yes.
Thank you.

 So we walked around the cathedral together.

 Lean explained in detail the origin and history of the various works of art displayed in the hallway. As I expected, she had a tremendous amount of knowledge. I felt really bad for her, but her explanations were so detailed that I could hardly understand them.

 Anyway, all I could understand was that ──── seemed to be an amazing thing.

 As Lean gave me various explanations, I remembered that there was a large painting in the hallway on the way here yesterday, and we all decided to go see it.

There it was: ────. Here it is. I knew it was big.

 In a huge frame with rather ornate decorations, there was what appeared to be a human skeleton sitting on a heavy golden chair, wearing a robe filled with glittering jewels.
 To be honest, it was a creepy painting, and I wanted to know why it was displayed here.

"Leanne, this big painting ......, why is there a creepy painting of a clown hanging in this place ......? This painting looks like a demon to me.

 I said what I thought, just as I had done when I had seen many things before I came here.

 But ──── I felt Leanne and Inez's faces cloud over for a moment at my question.
 ...... Did I just say something wrong?

This is the icon of St. Mithra.
 I'm sorry, but I think it's best not to talk too loudly about what you think of this picture.
 If someone hears you, you'll be in trouble.

"...... Why?

The picture of St. Mithra in ...... is the most important object of worship for the Mithraists.
 It is the only holy ──── being that Pope Astila venerates, and that is Saint Mithra.
 There are many people in this country who would be offended if anyone spoke ill of it.

"You mean there are people who care about this ......?
 ...... I'm sorry, I didn't mean to.

No, ............ honestly, I feel the same way as you do, ...... but I try not to say it out loud. I think it would be better if you took into consideration the fact that it may spoil the feelings of pure people.

...... Well, I guess it's best not to talk about it too much.

 I looked at the big picture again, and ──── I still think it's a skeletal demon.
 But I'm not supposed to say that.

 This country is a bit cramped, after all.
 There are a lot of unusual and beautiful things, but ──── I think I'm much better suited to live in a kingdom.

I should probably go back to my ──── room. I've had enough of this. Lean's explanation was also helpful.
Yes, I think it's time to go, so that's probably a good idea.

 We went back to Lean's room together and had just finished a late breakfast when we heard a knock on the door from outside.

"──── Mr. Linneburg. I've come for you.

 When Inez opened the door, there was a woman in a white robe waiting for us.
 By this time we were all ready and ready to go.

Yes, everyone is ready. Please show us the way.
"Okay, ────, let's go.

 As the woman leading the way started to lead us, we saw the soldiers we had met yesterday, dressed in bizarrely shaped armor, walking in a line from the far end of the hallway.

"...... what is it?

 The soldiers walked straight towards us.
 It seems that the talkative prince is not with us today.
 Yesterday we didn't count them, but now there are six.

 We stopped and looked at the approaching soldiers. ──── They walked briskly and suddenly stopped right in front of me and surrounded me all at once.

They suddenly stopped in front of me and said, "Lord Linneburg's squire, ──── Lord Knoll, is it?
 We have orders from His Holiness the Pope to entertain you in a separate room (・・・・).
 You must accompany us now.

 Suddenly, they went out of their way to entertain me alone.
 I'm not sure what you're talking about, and when I looked at Leanne, she had the same puzzled look on her face as Inez.
 ...... Well, I suppose that's true.
 I'm not sure if I'd be able to do that if I were you.

...... hospitality.
 That's very nice of you to say, but ...... now?
 That's a little abrupt.  ...... And I'm the only one who's going?
Yes, you are to be entertained (・・・・) by all of us.
...... Oh, so ...... we're all going to entertain me? ............ I'm sorry?

 I turned around again and looked at Lean's face.
 I turned around again and looked at Leanne's face. In this situation, I should ask her opinion, because she seems to be familiar with the situation.

I'm not sure what to do. ...... Leanne, what do you want me to do? I'm told I'm being summoned.
Yes ────, I'll leave that to your judgment.

...... Oh yeah? ......? Do I get to decide ......?

 The most annoying answer came from Lean, who asked for help. ...... I thought about it for a moment and quickly came to a conclusion.

I'm going to go to the ────.
 It is the order of that ...... great Pope, isn't it?
 If you ignore it, you might get in trouble with them too.

Are you still going alone ......?
............? Yeah. It seems I'm the only one who's been invited.

"I understand ────. ...... Take care.

"Now, Mr. Linneburg, Mr. Rollo and Ms. Ines, please follow me. I will show you to the venue.

 After we finished talking, the woman in the robe walked off with the other three.

"Good luck at ────, doctor. Good luck.
"............? ...... Yeah, I'll see you later.

 Lean's parting words bothered me a little, but I said goodbye to the others and followed the six men in the strange armor through the vast cathedral.