Chapter 20 - Feast and Favours

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The feast is all I imagined, only much grander and they are more people than I expected. As soon as we step out of the door, side by side, the night spring air, loud cheers and laughs and the smell of food envelops me and my hand unconsciously holds Ethan's upper arm for support as my senses rise drastically.

There are no clouds tonight and we can see the purple and blue swirls in the dark sky. Hundreds of stars dotted them, shining greatly. My heart always leaps at the sight of the night sky as it does now.

There is a flight of stairs we need to go down to reach the feast that is on a wide field of well-trimmed grass with long tables that are lined with foods and beers, and people by the sides. I take my steps down slowly to match Ethan's pace, still gripping his arm and knowing that people are looking at us.

As we descend, I realize that the sound of laughing and cheering from the feast is familiar to me and it reminds me of the Winter Festival in the Outlands. I had expected lords and ladies in proper attire with fine clothing and stern faces like those that came to the Outlands.

But this is different; the ladies are still in fine clothing but they do not wear enough rings and necklaces so that I can call them ungrateful of their wealth. The men are clashing mugs of beer and wine with each other, bellowing with laughs, arms hanging on their friends' shoulders. Their loud and gruff laughter makes me recall of the men that sang the song from the two empires. All of them are laughing loudly and freely, men and women of all ages.

I catch the sight of, maybe, the king of Valaria. My vision is covered as we get lower and lower. He seems to be sitting on a grand chair that is on a wooden stage at the far end of the feast, right next to a band of musicians, sipping some liquid from a goblet and clad in golds and jewels. For a second, I thought that he looked at me but I can't be sure.

As soon as our feet touch the grass, a servant girl comes up to us, holding a tray that holds goblets of wine. She bows to us or rather, to Ethan.

" Prince Caspien have been waiting for you, m'Lord. "

I hear Ethan sigh. " What does he want? "

" The prince wants to talk to you about the rumors that he had heard. " She glances at me for a split second before slipping her sight back to Ethan and I know that the rumors that she talks of are about me. Of course, it would be an amazing gossip for the prince to bring a girl from the Outlands.

Ethan jaw tightens. " Tell him he has to wait. "

The servant's eyes widen slightly and her mouth opens to protest but Ethan had already taken my hand and pushed her aside gently. She balances the goblets of wine on the tray carefully after it had moved when Ethan made her step aside. We do not have to push through the sea of people, they parted themselves, nodding their head to us as we walk past them. It smells of strong perfume and beer.

I am not a lady and I do not deserve to be bowed by these peoples. Yet it feels so good to finally have some respect from the Valarians and have them bow to me and not me to them. We reach one of the long tables and my mouth gaped at the line of food.

The smell of freshly roasted meat and decorated pastries makes my mouth waters like it have never been before and I realize that my stomach is growling. The Winter Festival has food too, yes but we always have to divide it so that we can all have a piece. But here, they're practically mine if I am to eat them.

I wonder how many days or even weeks of hunting it might take for me to make such a feast. Ethan takes a goblet of wine from a servant and takes a sip. We find two empty seats and start to eat. I reach for a chicken leg that's dripping with sauce first.

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