Ayra had never stood in front of so many people before.
He had only ever given a research presentation in front of a few of his colleagues and his sunbaes 2 in the Labyrinth.
He wished someone would open their mouth to speak first, but everyone remained silent.
It seemed that as the one with the highest status, Ayra would have to break the ice.

     Eventually, he began to slowly speak, “Hello to all of you.
What a vibrant and energetic morning…”

     While saying whatever came to mind, Ayra called upon the stat windows of the nine people sitting close to the head of the table.
However, even though his mana was spent, the stat windows did not manifest.

     “……?”

     Because Ayra blankly stared at the empty air where the stats should have been displayed, Ginas, sitting directly next to him, cautiously asked, “As expected, is your headache quite painful?”

     When he said that, all eyes in the banquet hall looked towards Ayra’s flushed forehead.
Since his skin was so pale, the reddish lump was too conspicuous.

     Ayra slyly covered the injured spot with his silver hair, “I’m fine.”

     However, the retainers, who now saw that the wound was twice as swollen as before, were already whispering amongst themselves.
Ginas also flinched; he felt that the swelling was becoming quite serious.

     “I just haven’t…” As Ayra looked around him, a window suddenly popped up, and his words gradually slowed to a snail’s pace.
The wrinkles on the young governor’s forehead deepened.

 

[Loading….]

 

     “…woken up properly yet.”

     Loading? What did that mean? As soon as he thought that, another window appeared

 

[Tip: Checking multiple stats at once will multiply the time needed to process the information and mana needed.]

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     ‘Aha, I see.’ It seemed he still lacked the ability to overlap this status skill.
Ayra inwardly sighed and continued to speak, “In any case, I’m really fine.
Shall we start eating now?”

     Ayra lifted his silverware before anyone could say such nonsense like calling for the doctor again.
When he took a sip of the soup, the others finally also gripped their silverware as well.

     In the middle of the silence that ensued–only broken by the clattering of spoons and forks against the dishes–Ginas opened his mouth, “Ayra-nim.  There was no opportunity to introduce ourselves during the funeral; how about we proceed with introductions while we eat?”

     “Mm, okay.” Ayra nodded without much thought; starting for the seats closest to the head of the table, the introductions began.
Governor, knight commander, administrative minister, scribe, an elder…and then their son, daughter, daughter, son, son, and daughter again…

    ‘I didn’t think there’d be so many members in their households; is it supposed to be like that?’

    There seemed to be fewer than twenty retainers.
At least half those gathered appeared quite young, so they must be the retainer’s children.
Ayra was too young when he last lived in the Solar territory, so he barely remembered the retainers.
He knew nothing of the estate’s matters, so Ayra simply tilted his head.

     When Ayra turned his head to ask the governor if this was the right number of servants present, Ginas cleared his throat.
He knowingly pointed with his eyes to something below.

     Ayra followed his gaze, “Mm?….Ah.”

     While looking away for a moment, his sleeve fell into the soup.
Ayra, lifting his arm, lightly clicked his tongue and performed magic.
The eyes of those who pretended to not notice Ayra’s mistake widened when only soup flowed out of the wet sleeve and formed a bubble in the air.

     Though he had extracted pure soup, it still felt a bit weird to drink it again.
After spilling the droplet into the napkin, Ayra raised his head; the people quickly averted their gaze.
Everyone pretended to eat, expressions dark.

     In midst of the heavy silence, the minister who last introduced himself poked his son sitting next to him in the ribs.
The son’s vivid pink hair was quite memorable.
Unable to endure the pain in his side, the son gathered up his courage to ask, “M-my lord.
Excuse  me, b-but what’s with that ghost-like thing?”

     “Ah, this?”

     To finish the quest and revive the atmosphere, Ayra presented the spirit that was floating in a circle around him.
“It’s a cute spirit I made.
It’s named Pebble, and it’ll be with me from now on.
Doesn’t the lack of a nose make it cuter?”

     Ayra didn’t expect much welcome for the spirit, despite how he highlighted its cute aspects.
However, he didn’t expect the current cold silence that befell the table.
Some people laughed awkwardly, some avoided eye contact, and others hurriedly drew a holy sign beneath the table. 3

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     Ayra was flustered by the reaction.
These people, who had worked for many years in this territory, seemed like people that had never come into contact with magic before in their lives.
In particular, it was shocking that they would draw a sign of the cross as if they had encountered something evil.

     Pebble, whose ㅅ shaped mouth was poutier than usual, created another text window

 

[Tip: Most humans are ignorant, conservative, and xenophobic.  ]

 

     After that bitter comment, Pebble sank slowly onto Ayra’s shoulder, strangely sullen.

     ‘I’ve lived in the Labyrinth for too long–I don’t know what it’s like in the outside world.’

     Or, perhaps a rare mage had visited this land and created some mess–he had no idea! The vibe just felt incredibly strange and chilly.
In the nick of time, the skill seemed to have finished loading, and the vassal’s stat windows popped up next to their heads.

     Ayra thought, while looking at them, ‘Will a lord like me be truly okay with retainers like them? This territory…’

 

 

 

 

TL: Ayra…what kind of eldritch abomination artificial spirits have you been creating? Why is Pebble not having any tentacles or two eyes such a surprising thing for you….?

Aigoo = a surprised exclamation.  Sunbae = senpai (for those familiar with this japanese term.
It generally means their senior colleague, whether in career or school.  Drawing a holy sign = something similar to drawing the catholic cross.
They’re trying to protect themselves through religion. 

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