I was at a fully booked out high-end restuarant, wearing an unfamilar tuxedo, and staring at the myriad of dishes laid out before me.
In this kind of setting, the table etiquette I should use is…
“I’m supposed to use the utensils starting from the furthermost ones, right?”
“Kazuma, how many years has it been since you heard about that? Nobles are extremely sensitive to changes in trends. Right now, you should start with the innermost ones.”
Darkness, seated opposite me, said in an astonished tone.
Seriously? The etiquette is different in this world too?
Still, Darkness did start from the innermost utensils.
She’s a noble lady, so I’m sure she knows what she’s doing.
“I see. It’s a different country with its own culture, so it’s only natural for table etiquette to be different too. But I know about this one. This is called the finger-bowl, right? It’s meant for washing your fingertips.”
Saying that, I dipped my fingers into the bowl of water placed next to the table.
“That’s meant for washing your face. This is a restaurant directed towards serving nobles, you know? Both parties wash their faces with it before eating. It’s meant to signify that neither party has any ulterior motives as they dine with each other without wearing any sort of makeup.”
“… You’re kidding, right? I mean, there’s no towel, so wouldn’t your face be left dripping?”
“What do you think that napkin is for? Why did you put it on your lap in the first place?”
Seriously? Isn’t this used to keep any food stains away from your clothes?
“Today’s just practice, so it’s fine, but make sure you properly memorize the etiquette for tomorrow. Otherwise you’d embarrass me. Right, so first, let’s start with the soup…”
Seeing me caught off balance, Darkness began with a smile—
—A lady from some noble house requested to meet with me.
Right now, I am a celebrity famous enough to appear in the papers.
Just like how Iris wanted to meet with me in the past, a similar request seemed to have ended up on Darkness’s table.
Yes, a proper ojou-sama.
“A noble lady, huh… I’m sure she’s a girl who couldn’t lift anything heavier than a pair of chopsticks, fawns all over a small animal the moment she lays her eyes on one, and speaks to the flowers in the gardens…”
“Anyone who fits that description perfectly would be a very strange person. Just what do you think noble ladies are? The nobles might appear gentle on the surface, but each and every one of them have hearts as black as coal.”
Darkness, who is incidentally also one of those noble ladies, said with a sigh.
“Cut it out! This is a dinner that might restore the image of noble ladies in my mind after you have brought them so low. At least let me get excited about it before we meet.”
“Why don’t you explain to me exactly why your image of noble ladies have been brought down by me?”
Darkness gave me a glare, and I avoided her gaze.
“Noble lady sure does have a nice ring to it. Haa… All the nobles I’ve met with so far have all been full of weird quirks, so I shouldn’t get my hopes up, but it’d be nice if it was a gentle ojou-sama…”
I wistfully voiced my hopes about the noble lady, and Darkness bit on her lip as though she wanted to say something.
Eventually, she spoke up.
“… Say, Kazuma, it’s fine to look forward to it and all, but do you know the etiquette for dealing with nobles? Nobles are very sensitive to trends, you know? Are you familiar with the latest ones?”
—And thus, Darkness offered to coach me. And the next day…
“So you are Satou-sama, yes? I’ve heard many great things about you… I’m glad to finally meet you in person. I hope we can have an enjoyable conversation today.”
“I’m honoured to be in your presence. If you wish, I’d be happy to converse with you.”
After visiting that high-end restaurant yesterday, I greeted the noble lady under the watch of Darkness.
“Now, pardon me—”
When I washed my face in the finger-bowl-like item, the noble lady let out a soft gasp.
As I wiped my face with my napkin, I noticed that the patrons around us started staring at me.
“… A-As expected of an adventurer, you sure are quite wild… Ah, the soup is here. The soup of this restaurant is very rich…”
I grabbed the bowl containing the soup in both hands and noisily downed the entire bowl in a single shot.
I thought it was a little weird at first, but Darkness said that making noise while consuming it meant that it’s delicious.
There are similar customs back on Earth too, so I suppose it’s not unthinkable for it to be the case here.
… Just then, I noticed something was off.
The lady facing me was blushing bright red and trembling with embarrassment.
And next to her, Darkness was blushing too and shivering…
“You lied to me, didn’t you! Don’t you dare laugh!”
—After getting chased out of the restaurant, I gave Darkness an earful on the way back home.
“Do you have any idea how much I was looking forward to this? She’s a noble lady, you know? A proper Ojou-sama! How could you ruin it…!”
“Yes, yes, I’m sorry. Still, you should be a little thankful to me. That lady really does have an ulterior motive. Her family enjoys opulence and spends gold like water, and is rumoured to be on the verge of bankruptcy. Just as those rumours started to spread, she suddenly wanted to meet with you. Still… Pfft.”
She’s been constantly breaking out into giggling fits ever since we left the restaurant.
“How long are you going to laugh!? I know that girl was only getting close to me because of my fortune, but you still shouldn’t have have toyed with me like that! I even missed out on eating that restaurant’s dishes…”
“Pfft… Sorry, but her family does have quite a bit of pull. I couldn’t refuse her request without a good reason. I’ll buy some high-quality ingredients and cook you a meal once we get back as an apology.”
… High-quality ingredients, huh…
No, no, I’m not so easily swayed…
“And afterwards… Well, we can have a meal together. I’m a noble lady too, you know? Can you forgive me with that?”
Darkness said with a bright smile—