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Felicia's Birthday Party
Since it was not an investiture, the manners were not of great complexity. Lucien saluted the princess with a knight's etiquette and the princess leaned the sword against Lucien's shoulder.
"May your sword guard your will," said Natasha seriously.
Then Lucien took the sword from Natasha's hands, and followed her instruction to leave a willpower mark on Alert.
Alert was of an ordinary level one knight's attack force, and it could help its owner to be as sensitive to the surroundings as a level two knight.
While sorcerers called them magic weapons, the nobles and pastors called them extraordinary weapons, which did not require registration in their owner's spirit. The owner of an extraordinary weapon or item just needed to leave a mark of his or her will power to activate it. However, according to some makers' will, some of these weapons or items rejected certain kinds of users and their power could not be activated.
Carrying the sword, Lucien saluted the princess again and left the room. Watching Lucien leave, Natasha said to Camil gently, "You have any plans for this evening, auntie?"
In preparation for the birthday party that night, Felicia did not attend the class today.
During the break, Lott and Lucien were chatting casually. Lott told Lucien that this was Felicia's eighteenth birthday and this was her coming-of-age ceremony, thus many nobles and all the musicians of the association would be present.
"Are you feeling nervous? After all, this is your first performance after the concert," asked Lott.
In order to make sure Lucien could focus on studying music after his success, Victor was "protecting" Lucien with great caution. On behalf of his student, Victor turned down many invitations and offers for Lucien, and that made many people feel even more curious about this young talented musician.
"Not really," answered Lucien in a relaxed way, "I don't think there'll be that many guests tonight though."
"At least some of them will be there just because of your birthday gift for Felicia, the new serenade," Herodotus, who was usually very quiet, joined their conversation, and commented in a calm voice, "They're hoping to see what you can present a whole month after the concert."
"I agree with Herodotus," said Lott. "As the current host of House Hayne, Felicia's uncle should be there tonight, too. Hopefully he won't find an excuse to give Felicia and her parents a hard time."
"Well… we'll see, then," said Lucien thoughtfully.
In the early evening, Lucien got on the coach and headed toward the house where Felicia lived. This time he hired his own coach and felt a bit proud of it.
By the time Lucien arrived, it was already very busy in front of the luxury three-storey house. Lots of well-dressed ladies and gentlemen were getting off their coaches, chatting and laughing.
The house was originally built by the old count to host parties.
Through the gate, Lucien walked on the path and went through the garden. Then he saw Felicia was standing in front of the hallway.
She was welcoming the guests accompanied by her mother, wearing another bright red dress tonight. Red was House Hayne's color and the color always suited her very well.
"Thank you for coming, Lucien," said Felicia sincerely. "Lots of famous musicians came here tonight because of you, including Christopher, the president of the association."
"I'm quite sure they came because of you." Lucien smiled and kissed Felicia's hand without his lips actually touching the hand to show his politeness.
"Welcome, Lucien. We're all talking about you recently. You're such a genius." Felicia's mother greeted him. Felicia really looked like her mother, except for the hair, since her mother's was brown.
Lucien nodded to them and entered the hall. Lots of guests were holding their cups and talking to each other. It was a perfect chance for socializing.
"Hi, Evans." Many people greeted Lucien when he was walking. Their facial expressions varied. Some of them looked excited and curious, while some were throwing Lucien meaningful and unfriendly looks.
What would the so-called most gifted and creative genius ever present tonight? Everyone was waiting for Lucien's new serenade.
Among those serenades made for parties good ones seldom appeared, since their themes and styles were rather limited. Many musicians commented that these serenades were "not even close to being elegant". Thus, many of them tonight were actually expecting Lucien's failure tonight, and then they could teach this young genius a lesson.
Christopher, who was surrounded by many musicians, said to the many musicians who did not have much hope in Lucien, "He's still young, and we shouldn't be too critical with those younger musicians. We shall applaud for their success, and also be more tolerant of their failure. Just leave them some space."
When Lucien came over, the musicians ended the topic and started to talk about music creation. Lucien took a cup of water from a waiter and listened to their conversation quietly and politely, a few steps away.
Several elder musicians noticed that and significantly changed their attitude toward Lucien, since clearly he was not one of those young musicians who instantly become very arrogant after making some achievement.
Then Victor, Rhine, Lott and some other of Lucien's classmates arrived too.
It was already seven thirty in the evening, but Count Hayne was still not there. The atmosphere started to become a bit awkward.
Felicia's father, Urbain, looked every embarrassed. He was also very angry with Scott, his brother. Despite all the conflict they had in the past, Felicia is Scott's niece, and today was her eighteenth birthday. It was the current Count Hayne's responsibility to show up and send his best wishes to Felicia. Urbain was really angry with his brother.
Wringing her hands, Felicia looked embarrassed to the point of almost bursting into tears. On this occasion, Count Hayne's absence definitely would do damage to her reputation among the nobles.
Ten minutes later, the steward of Count Hayne finally arrived and said to Urbain in a polite but also cold manner, "Lord Hayne will not be able to come tonight, since he's sick."
Urbain's face looked very gloomy, and he was so choked that he could not even say a single word.
A few high-status nobles who were close to Count Hayne were waiting in their houses, since they were not sure if they should attend the party or not. After confirming that Count Hayne would not be there tonight, several servants who were waiting outside of the party house secretly left to report this to their masters.
Fortunately, some other nobles were still coming, since Urbain was still the clerk of the town hall.
Taking a deep breath, Urbain asked his daughter to stay calm and continue to welcome the guests.
"Too bad. If a family member is held in detestation by the host of the family, unless the member could awaken his or her Blessing and become a knight, the family member would always have a hard time in whatever they want to do." A musician named Comotz said to Lucien in a meaningful way.
Lucien pretended that he did not get it, "I believe no matter what a person wants to do, as long as he or she is persistent enough and works really hard, the person can be successful."
His voice was a bit loud, and it could be clearly heard since the hall was relatively quiet from the weird atmosphere.
Felicia heard what Lucien just said, and the fact that Lucien made such an achievement from scratch cheered her up. As a noble lady from one of the most important families in the Duchy of Orvarit, Felicia was way more privileged than her classmate and there was no reason for her to easily give up her dream.
After a while, Othello, the director of the association, came to Lucien, followed by Mekanzi Griffith and three young men.
Mekanzi greeted the other musicians present and introduced the three young men to Lucien, "Mr. Clemen, Mr. Baret and Mr. Julian are from Tria. They've read all the reviews of Symphony of Fate on Music Criticism and Symphony News, and they come here especially for you, Lucien."
"I'm glad to meet you. Thank you so much for coming." Lucien shook hands with them one by one. The three young musicians from Tria were all in their early twenties. Dressing tastefully, they were all very decent young men.
"Your teacher, Francois, had already introduced all of you to me through a letter he wrote." Christopher recalled their names, "I've listened to your music works before. All of you are very talented."
Francois was born in the Kingdom of Syracuse. When he was a teenager, Francois came to Aalto to study music and then achieved great success in music in his late twenties. A few years ago, Francois went back to Syracuse and became the prime music consultant for the royal family.
The three young musicians hurriedly saluted Christopher, who was known as the "living music legend", with great respect.
Mekanzi said to Lucien with malicious intention, "I hope your serenade surprises everyone here tonight, genius!"
"A serenade? I have a piece of serenade for miss Hayne tonight, too!" The black-haired Julian was the most talented and also the most arrogant one among the three, "We can present our serenades together."
Mekanzi seemed to be relatively acquainted with Julian.
When Lucien was about to answer, the whole hall suddenly quieted down. The sword "Alert" Lucien was wearing reminded him that someone he knew was coming.
Lucien turned around and saw a luxury coach stopping in front of the steps on the other end.
A tall, purple-haired beauty in her white uniform and black long boots was walking toward Felicia, with a pretty young lady walking with her arm in arm, while Camil was quietly following behind.
"Your Grace?!" Felicia exclaimed with great surprise.