Chapter 11: Preparations for the Banquet
“Sit up straight.”
“Don’t get in the way, this is valuable material!”
“Which plates do you prefer?”
“Kaira, turn around. Ladies, make sure that these clothes fit.”
“This is how you dance the Flame Bird.”
“AUGH!” I screamed after three weeks of preparations for the banquet announcing me being Lord of Fire. The banquet was in one week, and I was already sick of the planning. “How long does it take for a whole palace to set up a party?!” I yelled as I stomped into the library, where Fire Seeker was in a chair, reading a book.
“Up to a year, why?” Fire seeker asked.
“Which one is that?” I asked.
“Why?” Fire Seeker asked.
“So I know when to plan my escape,” I explained.
“It’s the Banquet of the Dragons. Happens every twelve years. You just missed it,” Fire Seeker said.
“Yes!” I jumped for joy.
“Why don’t you go exert your energy somewhere else?” Fire Seeker asked, annoyed.
“Can’t.” I sighed, sinking into a chair.
“They’re preparing the plants and crap.”
“The training room?”
“They’re cleaning it.”
“Preparing the meals.”
“The tailor is in there, preparing all of the clothes and will kill me if I bother him.”
“The library? Oh. . . Wait.”
“Was that sarcasm?”
“How about that?”
“Let’s just say whenever I say ‘Obviously’, it’s sarcasm.”
“Y’know, the more I’m around you, the less and less I understand those girls,” I shook my head.
“What girls?” Fire Seeker closed the book.
“The ones that kept going ‘Oh he’s sooooo coooool!’ or ‘I wish he would make me his bride’ or ‘Have my babies!’ Y’know, the crazy ones,” I explained. Fire Seeker covered his mouth with his hand while turning away from me. “What?”
“Nothing, forget about it.” Fire Seeker waved his hand back and forth.
“Lord of Fire, the tailor is ready for you.” Lord Sorak came in.
“Let’s see what the what the tailor has in store for me,” I said.
I stood, arms straight and stiff, waiting for the assistants to finish dressing me. They fastened the sash and made sure the hem was straight. They made sure everything was perfect, even though it was only a preparation.
“Come in, Master Tailor,” one of the assistants called out. The door opened and the tailor inspected my outfit. I tried so hard to stay still, but after being still for, like, a day, I was itching just to move.
“I see you squirming. You need to learn to stop,” the tailor said as a passing note. He clapped his hands and the assistants stiffened. “This is the perfect dress design. The waist is now the perfect height. The cut fits the hips nicely. If you continue filling out the way you are now, this dress will accentuate those hips even further. I’ll go make it with the better material.”
“What? This is bad material?” I asked, looking at the silky material. It was better than anything I have ever worn in the alleyways.
“It isn’t. It’s just not fireproof,” the tailor said, inspecting further into the outfit. It was a red top with one sleeve going down my right arm and it went into a golden sash which had material going down my right side with more golden trimming. Underneath that were a pair of red pants.
“Yeah, that would be important, wouldn’t it?” I chuckled.
“Yes. All right. Get her into her other clothes,” the tailor said, focusing on the materials in the closet.
“Yes sir,” they said, starting to take off the outfit. There wasn’t another word from any of them.
“I’m so tired of all of this stuff!” I yelled in anger. I flopped into my bed, ignoring all of the servants who cleaned everything. They knew to stay clear of the bed, and I was thankful for that. I heard the door clack open. “NO! I’m not doing anything else!”
“That’s too bad. It’s dinner time,” Fire Seeker said in monotone.
“What’s for dinner?” I asked.
“Should I be jumping for joy right now?” I asked.
“No. That would only irk me more,” Fire Seeker said, turning his way out of my room. I pulled myself out of my bed and trudged after Fire Seeker. He didn’t look back once to make sure I was following him.
He stopped in the dining room, and I was expecting the other Lords to be there with me. But, they were gone. Fire Seeker sat down and I saw there was only one place right across from him. Fire Seeker saw my confused face. “They left a little while ago to govern their countries. They are the leaders of their own countries ” he explained.
“Oh. But I thought—” I started.
“That they would stay with you forever? No. Don’t be foolish,” Fire Seeker said.
“Not forever. I meant, until my training was done,” I said.
“That takes years. And Terratin and Aquaria will not govern themselves,” Fire Seeker said.
“Fine,” I huffed and sat in the seat across from Fire Seeker. We sat in silence, anger and annoyance starting to build in the air as we waited for the food. It seemed like hours went by before the servers came. They brought out the dishes and removed the covers of the food as they placed in front of us.
“It’s big this time!” I shouted gleefully. I quickly grabbed the fork and knife that were waiting to stab and slice the meat. The wonderful smell of beef filled the room.
“Thank you,” Fire Seeker thanked the servers before starting to eat. We both ate in silence, just hearing the bustle outside of the dining room. The metal of the fork and knife scraped against the surface of the plates.
After a while of eating, I decided to break the silence. “What’s gonna happen you when I get a master?”
“Pardon?” Fire Seeker said.
“I mean, you are the Fire Seeker. Aren’t you done with your job? I’m found aren’t I?” I asked.
“We’ll see what happens.”
“Will you get married and start a harem?” I asked.
Fire Seeker choked on his food. “What?”
“Isn’t that what you’re planning anyway?” I asked.
“I’d rather not think about marriage at this moment.” Fire Seeker wiped his mouth with a napkin.
“Why do I have to answer you?”
“Lord of Fire card, answer me.”
“It’s because I’m an idyllic, impractical, maudlin man. That is why.”
“I didn’t understand most of that.”
“Why do you think I used those words?”
“Oh, right. You’re an asshole.”
“Besides, it’s my family who wants me to get married right now.”
“’To whom.’ It doesn’t matter who as long as they’re rich.”
“Is your family poor or something?”
“Not in the slightest.”
“To my mother, enough is never enough.”
“Oh,” I said before returning to the meat.
“What about your family?” Fire Seeker asked.
“Huh?” I stopped shoveling food into my mouth.
“Your family, before you were on the streets,” Fire Seeker asked.
“I was kinda abandoned before I could remember any of them. So, yeah, no idea.”
“You can’t remember anything?”
“Was kinda a baby at that point. Can’t remember anything.”
“That’s. . . somewhat pathetic.”
“How did you survive the first years of your life without any food?” Fire Seeker asked.
“Probably the other orphans or something. I don’t know. I’m surprised myself. Usually kids on the street are orphaned when they’re like two or three or whatever. Well, those that survive. Newborns, not so much. I remember asking when I was a kid the older orphans, but they didn’t know. I just kinda. . appeared?”
“So, were you abandoned as a baby, or could it have been when you were two but you still don’t remember?”
“I don’t know. Maybe.”
“Wouldn’t you like to know what happened to your parents, why they abandoned you? Get revenge?”
“As nice as that sounds, I wouldn’t know. I don’t have a last name or anything to trace me back to. Unless we were old enough to remember, we won’t know anything about our old lives or our families.”
“Wow,” he cleared his throat, “Okay.”
We sat in silence.
The servers came and took the plates away from in front of us when Fire Seeker was finished with his dinner. We both stood up and walked away from the table in silence. Then, maids and butlers came flooded into the room after we left to clean everything again. I sighed as I tried to think of something to do to waste even more time in the night.
I sat in the bath, letting off some steam. Because I was the only person in the room, I could fill the room with steam. I finally relaxed as I sat in the tub. It was way nicer than the river and wasn’t too far from the room. I never knew how nice it was to be actually clean. My hair felt so nice after the baths, and I felt lighter.
There was a knock on the door. “Madam Kaira?”
“What?” I called back.
“Some one wants to see you this very moment,” the maid called out to me.
“Why?” I called back.
“It is someone who claims to be part of your family,” the maid said.
Imagine that. “Tell them I don’t really care,” I called before dipping my hair in and watched it steam up again.
“I’ll go tell him now ma’am, or sir. Whatever you want to be called!” The maid rushed off. I heard yelling afterwards, and it gradually got louder to when I could almost make out their words. I stepped out of the bath, grabbed one of the warmed towels from a rack, and quickly dried myself off as I put on the clothes I threw into a corner.
I opened the door and started to go toward the sounds of the yells. I almost got lost due to the fact that the palace was so damn enormous. I finally got to the source of the yells.
“I will say it again: Get out of this palace.” Fire Seeker’s voice was raised, but he was not screaming. There was a man that was certainly taller than the Fire Seeker. Fire Seeker was way taller than I was, but he wasn’t nearly as tall as the man who barged into the palace.
“I am here to see the Lord of Fire. Where is he?” The man asked. He looked nothing like me. First off, his skin was way lighter than mine. His hair was way too dark, his eyes were brown, and oh yeah, I don’t have any relatives.
“Wow, you’re dumb,” I said. Both Fire Seeker and that man whipped their heads around to look at me.
“Who are you?” the man barked.
“Who knows? Anyway, you should leave.” I tried to shoo him away.
“Go back to your room--” Fire Seeker started to shout at me, but he was interrupted by the man pushing past him.
“Where is the Lord of Fire?!” he shouted at me.
“Somewhere in this palace,” I said. “It’s pretty big, you should probably start looking.”
“You bitch! You’re going to tell me where he is right now!”
“You said you’re related to the Lord of Fire?”
“Yes! So, you’d better listen to me!”
“Then finding the Lord of Fire should be easy. Off you go!” I tried to shoo him away again.
“Bitch!” He raised his hand obviously ready to punch me. I closed my eyes and readied for the hit. When the hit took too long to land, I opened my eyes to see Fire Seeker holding back the man’s arm.
“You cannot harm residents of the palace,” Fire Seeker said calmly. The man’s face paled as he struggled to get his fist out of Fire Seeker’s grip.
“Wow, you’re more than just anger and smarts!” I whistled.
Fire Seeker glared at me. “I fought you before.”
“I’m not this guy.” I pointed to the man who still had a grip on my other arm.
Fire Seeker rolled his eyes before twisting the man’s wrist violently, making the man cry out in pain. The man released my other arm and tried to punch Fire Seeker. Fire Seeker just grabbed the other fist with his other hand so his arms were criss-crossed. Fire Seeker then uncrossed his arms while bringing them closer to him. The man stumbled towards Fire Seeker and in a fluid motion, Fire Seeker’s knee met the man’s face. Then the man was on his back with Fire Seeker’s foot on the man’s chest.
“What was that?!” I shouted at Fire Seeker.
“What?” Fire Seeker leaned away from me.
“That was awesome! How did you do that?! He’s taller and has more muscles than you!” I shouted.
“Muscles mean nothing if you don’t know how to use them,” Fire Seeker glared at the man as he laid on his back, blood pouring from his nose. Guards finally came in after hearing the noises.
“TRUST ME LITTLE GIRL! YOU WILL REGRET EVER MESSING WITH ME AND MY FAMILY!” The man yelled before the guards took him away.
“I ALREADY DO!” I yelled back. The guy started to yell again even louder, but no one really could understand him. It was rather funny to listen to. “Do people like that come here often?”
“More often than I would like,” Fire Seeker sighed.
“Complaints, claims to be related to the Lord of Fire, being the Lord of Fire, wanting to marry me, saying I was the father to their child.”
“Wow, how did you know that a child wasn’t yours?”
“I never slept with the women who claim that.”
“But how do you know?”
“Are you trying to imply that I frequently have sex with random women?”
“You’d be wrong.”
“Are you sure?”
“I am quite sure. Good night.”
“Night. Oh, yeah! Fire Seeker!”
“I really thought you would let the guy hit me.”
“Because you’re an asshole.”
“Is there a point to this?”
“Oh, yeah. I guess you’re not as much an asshole as I thought. So, thanks for that.”
The Fire Seeker just stared at me before turning around. “You’re welcome, and I suppose that you’re not as insufferable as I thought.”
“Night, Fire Seeker.”
“Good night, Lord of Fire.”