asian, CharlotteCarrendar, creative, Dining Room Kyoko, dinner party, fantasy, Kazuhiko, Kyoko, role play., royals, SageWisdomce, story, The Capital, The Grand Dining Hall, The Grand Dining Hall Kazuhiko, writing
Kyoko’s heels clattered along the stone corridor leading to the dining room, where she had a dinner date with Kazuhiko and his mother. It was safe to say that the girl was incredibly nervous. Normally, she wasn’t so bad, but with the growing relationship between herself and the Prince, there was bound to be talk or gossip that would have reached the Queen’s ears.
She had to wonder if the Prince had even spoken about her to his Mother, and if so, what would he have said? Surely it was her Majesty that arranged the marriage in the first place for whatever reason it was. Kyoko still didn’t quite understand why she was chosen. Her parents never fully explained. Perhaps it was because she was raised to be dutiful.
Finally up ahead, she could just see Kazuhiko, and she waved as she approached him, wearing her red dress, with the tight closed in neck.
“I hope I am not late.” Kyoko said, apologizing if she was.
“You’re not late at all. My mother is still getting ready,” Kazuhiko said as he smiled at Kyoko. “You look lovely.” He lightly grabbed her hand hoping that she wouldn’t mind and led the way to the grand dining hall. The room itself was vast and their steps echoed on the polished, tan marble floor. The expensive dark brown wooden table made from the rich mesquite trees of the south held five place settings, which meant his whole family would be at dinner. As it stood, his father currently sat at the head of the table enjoying a tall glass of beer. He looked up at them and raised his glass in greeting. He was a man of few words, though he did seem pleased to see them.
Kazuhiko held the chair out for Kyoko before taking a seat next to her on his father’s left. They sat there in silence for a while until his sister arrived. She was wearing her uniform as usual and Kazuhiko wondered if she slept in the thing. Looking surprised to see the two of them at the table, she reached out her hand to introduce herself to Kyoko. “I am First Lieutenant Natsumi Takahashi. I’m sure my little brother hasn’t mentioned me. It is very nice to meet you.” She grinned at Kazuhiko teasingly and took the seat across from Kyoko. Kazuhiko glared at his sister humorously before breaking into a smile of his own.
The first of five courses was served before his mother arrived. She kissed his father quickly on the cheek before taking her seat on his right. Kazuhiko caught his father’s brief smile before his features went serious again. It seemed that the queen was the only one capable of breaking through the icy exterior of the Emperor. Everything about her exuded confidence and she was capable of bringing the most fearless of individuals to tears.
“Good evening, Miss Takiharah. You may call me Chinatsu. It is a pleasure to finally meet you,” she said breaking the silence. Kazuhiko held back a sigh of exasperation toward his mother. She was already testing Kyoko with her offer of informality. He wanted to warn Kyoko, but his mother was very perceptive and would be able to tell, so he picked up his glass of water feigning nonchalance.
Address her properly. She is testing your deportment.
Oh it was not your average family sit down dinner. No this was a full on formal occasion, which had Kyoko silently relieved that she had dressed up. Entering the room, Kyoko could not get over the lavishness of the setting. The table was like something out of a movie, with the King seated at the top of the table, looking regal and refined.
Kazuhiko had taken Kyoko’s hand and told her that she looked lovely. It brought a light rush of pink to her cheeks, as she replied “You don’t look half bad yourself, Kazu.” This was said as quietly as she dare, for the last thing she wanted was people listening in. Kyoko lifted her head a bit higher, when she was seated at the table by Kazuhiko and gave off the appearance that she was not at all nervous. Inwardly that was another story all together. Kyoko noted the King was enjoying a tall glass of beer, and he appeared to be in favor of the couple, showing something of a hint of a smile. That was the first test, Kyoko imagined, but truth be told, when Kazuhiko’s mother arrived, that could all change. Not wanting to draw attention to herself, she gently took her napkin and placed it in her lap, fiddiling with it a moment, as she gathered her thoughts. She had to remember her manners and protocol, which she could be tripped up on, if she was not careful.
One of the first members of Kazuhiko to greet them, was his sister;
“I am First Lieutenant Natsumi Takahashi. I’m sure my little brother hasn’t mentioned me. It is very nice to meet you.”
“I’m afraid he hasn’t as yet, Your Highness. It is an honor and privilege to meet you.” Kyoko was in awe of how beautiful Natsumi was. She certainly was a lot like her brother in mannerisms. They had like a playful yet respectful relationship. Kyoko only wished she had met her before. Perhaps she would be a kindred spirit, someone of her own gender to speak to, since Kahue had more or less closed her out. Beneath the table, Kyoko fiddled with her napkin, while above the table, she sat prim and proper. This really was like the firing squad.
The servants started to bring in the first of five courses, and this was when the Queen finally decided to make her entrance. It was a clever move. Being fashionably late to her own meal? It meant all eyes were upon her, including Kyoko. Watching closely, she noted the way the Queen kissed her husband lightly and took her place at his right side. Kyoko swallowed, wishing she could pick up her glass of water and hide her expression. Trying hard to keep the Queen from seeing any cracks in her facade.
The first shot was fired…..
“Good evening, Miss Takiharah. You may call me Chinatsu. It is a pleasure to finally meet you,”
Kazuhiko immediately spoke to Kyoko, mind to mind for he was worried about what was coming.
Address her properly, she is testing your deportment.
The young Nephailim rose to the challenge. Back perfectly straight, shoulders square and with a face that was practically unreadable, Kyoko replied.
“Thank you, Your Majesty. I am so humbled to be allowed to join in this festivity. Your kindness in welcome has warmed my heart.”
Was that enough, or too much?
Kazuhiko found himself falling for Kyoko more and more as the time passed. Her response to his mother’s challenge was flawless. So much so that he almost spit his water all over the table trying to hold back a triumphant chuckle. His mother tilted her head slightly and nodded in approval. Kazuhiko could see Natsumi grinning out of the corner of his eye and his father continued to sip his beer as if he were unaware of what was going on.
“I am glad to hear it,” Chinatsu responded seeming to take Kyoko’s response in stride. She took a sip of wine letting the air settle a bit before she made her next move. “I am so proud of, Kazuhiko. He is growing up to be the leader I always knew he could be and now he is to be married.” Kazuhiko wondered where his mother was going with the conversation. He had hoped he could avoid all the embarrassing stories about his childhood until later in the meal, but maybe she had decided to stop testing Kyoko. He could only hope.
“It takes a lot to maintain a successful marriage, but I’m sure you know that, Kyoko. Oh, I’m rambling,” she said giggling lightly. Kazuhiko hated the sound because it always meant trouble. It was her signature tell. “I only bring it up because I have heard rumors that you are joining the Rise Arsenal. Won’t that interfere with your duties as a wife.” Chinatsu had retired from the Air Brigade after The Great Time of Turmoil and had only reached Senior Master Sergeant rank. Kazuhiko had always believed she quit because she would rather lavish in the benefits of being queen. He wondered how Kyoko would respond as he had no idea what the correct response would be in this situation.
Kyoko felt like she was in a grand title fight. The strength and determination of the Queen, to see just how well Kyoko stepped up when it came to speaking openly about her time since arriving, and perhaps aspirations. One thing was for certain, she had no intention of letting the Queen get a low blow, if that is what she was aiming for. It was her understanding that the Queen was the one that had arranged the marriage, and Kyoko was specially chosen for this role. Surely she knew of the girl’s standing in her own air academy, but the question was, what was the Queen really looking for in a future bride? Again the Queen playfully danced around the subject, and whilst others may have started eating, Kyoko refrained. She had stopped sharing mind links with Kazuhiko on purpose, so that she might concentrate and give answers that were, the right ones.
I”have heard rumors that you are joining the Rise Arsenal. Won’t that interfere with your duties as a wife.”
“You are correct in what you have heard, Your Majesty. The Crown Prince himself has seen to it that I am to be tested for the right to earn a place in the Rise Arsenal.” Kyoko continued to speak confidently. “What better way to prove my loyalty to my future husband, than to prove my worth through combat and skilled testing. I am sure the realm would be in favour of a Princess that can fight her own battles, and not cower behind a veiled curtain.”
At this she reached for her glass of water and took a sip, before finishing with;
“I understand that you held a very high rank in the Air brigade after the Great Time of Turmoil. The King must have been very proud.”
The three people at the table who weren’t involved in the conversation sat on the edge of their seats. It was like watching an epic battle in the field and Kyoko was an excellent combatant. Though the queen had chosen Kyoko herself, she knew nothing of her personality, but she was honestly impressed. Kyoko’s words didn’t offend her but made her want to try harder. After Kyoko finished speaking, the table was silent. The Emperor looked up from his plate and started to laugh. Kazuhiko was so caught off guard that he dropped his fork and the clatter echoed through the hall.
“Enough talk. I would say it is time for dessert,” the Emperor said looking to a servant who stood nearby. He was notorious for his love of sweets and Kazuhiko was grateful for the change in atmosphere. “But father, we haven’t even made it through the first course,” Natsumi said joining in his laughter. “Never too early for sweets,” was his simple reply and with that, the battle came to a close. However, it was too soon to tell if the war was over. Kazuhiko was sure that his mother was not done testing Kyoko and he only hoped that one day she would fully accept her as his wife.
The meal went by relatively uneventfully with dessert being served, followed by the rest of the three remaining courses. Natsumi kept up small talk with Kazuhiko and Kyoko about the Air Brigade and the queen conversed quietly with the Emperor. Kazuhiko was glad that Kyoko had been self-confident yet civil to his mother. He looked forward to the outing at the club that night and turned to her grabbing her hand under the table.
Are you ready to go get changed.
Although the dinner might have been a success as far as fending off Kazuhiko’s mother’s volley of questions, she couldn’t help but feel like she had been the evening’s entertainment. Her final parting shot left no mistake, that Kyoko was well and truly able to handle the barrage of intimidating and wayward questioning, but her respect for the Queen was now at an all time low. Though she showed no sign of this outwardly, inwardly she was seething. The whole thing was a set up. When the Emperor called for sweets, that seemed to lighten the mood, and much laughter sounded out, but Kyoko did not laugh. Her eyes flickered between Natsumi and the Emperor, but every so often they would land on the Queen. It was clear that Kyoko was going to remember this night for a very long time.
Kazuhiko may well have been thinking more about going out to the club that night, then worrying about his mother’s antics, but only when he reached for her hand under the table and spoke to her mind, if she was ready to go get changed, Kyoko offered a polite smile and replied.
Yes, I think I have had enough to eat.
It wasn’t lost on Kazuhiko that Kyoko was mostly quiet for the rest of the dinner. Talking to his mother ahead of time hadn’t seemed to help fend off her usual schemes. He didn’t like the fact that Kyoko had had to deal with her antics, so he decided he would talk to his father in the morning before administering the test. The Emperor was the only one who could keep his mother in check. He excused himself and Kyoko from the table and tried to lighten the mood by continuing to hold her hand as they headed back toward her quarters.
“I’ll meet you here after I get changed,” he said letting go of her hand. He hoped that he could cheer her up when they got to the club. He would be quite annoyed if his mother somehow managed to ruin his night. His chambers were well-lit as usual when he got back to his room and his new clothes lay out on his bed freshly ironed. Marveling at the efficiency of the servants, he took off his vest and black collared shirt and set them aside on one of the fancy chairs that decorated his bedroom. He pulled the dark blue polo over his head and was grateful for the soft cotton texture against his skin. Next he switched pants and found some casual shoes in the back of his closet. He looked every bit the part of a civilian and he hoped it would be enough to draw attention away from himself.
After he was finished changing, he left the room and went to meet up with Kyoko. He wondered if she had contacted Senior Master Sergeant Ishara to join them and found himself hoping she hadn’t. He didn’t even know this man but already saw him as competition. Engagements, including arranged ones, weren’t set in stone. If Kyoko so chose, she could leave Desnonia and never return. It was up to Kazuhiko to do everything he could to get her to stay.
Walking along the corridors with the Prince, who held her hand the whole way from the dining room, she felt that he was at least trying to show some support, and affection after what she thought was a humiliating experience. Sure, she held up her end of things, but as to being felt welcome, she didn’t truly get that at all. The Prince remained quiet, till reaching a point near her quarters, where he released her hand, and then said;
“I’ll meet you here after I get changed,”
“Of course, and I’ll be waiting, Kazu.”. Kyoko said, watching him turn and walk towards his chambers, as she spun on her heel and then made the last few steps to her chambers in record time. She fiddled with the lock then pushed the door open with a fair bit of unnecessary force. She wanted to smash something. For a moment just standing in place when she had closed the door behind her. She closed her eyes, and shook her head, trying to shake the feelings she had, but it was like she had a bad taste in her mouth, and nothing was going to wash it away. Why was it, she had no qualms with doing military exercises, and such testing, but felt every inch of her being aggravated by having to be polite and yet confident in the face of the Queen’s questions.
“Why? Why did they arrange a marriage, if they wanted a poster girl of deportment?” She thought to herself, clearly now confused by what the expectations of the royal house were. Kyoko rubbed her cheek, and then lowered her arm, trying to think clearly. Tonight was to be one at the club, having fun with the other officers, and Kazu. But in her current state, she was ready to rip the head off the next person who asked her a question about what it was like to be engaged to the Prince. Kyoko paced the floor a few times, as she tried to reign in her annoyance, and then just picked up a tasseled cushion and screamed into it, just so she could let her frustrations out…quietly.
Letting the cushion go, it fell on the floor, and she looked down at her outfit and remembered she was supposed to be getting changed. The Club. Releasing a sigh, she kicked off her red shoes, and padded into her closet, to look for the dress she had bought when she went shopping with Kazu. As she got changed out of the red, she started to think about Kazu. Surely he was upset with his Mother’s antics. Half of her wondered why he didn’t say something or interject, but was it really his place too? She felt so strongly for the Prince, but was she good enough to be a Princess? She was now starting to have her doubts.
Coming out in a sexy cocktail dress, charming necklace and matching shoes, she brushed her hair out to perfection, and checked her make up, which was unblemished. Content enough with her appearance, she went to take her clutch, and then found a note under the purse. It must have been left by one of the staffers. It was from Ishara. He was going to meet them at the club. Kyoko half hoped he might take a shine to Kahue. They seemed suited in her view.
Turning off the lights, she stepped out of her apartment, and went to meet up with Kazuhiko.
Kazuhiko found Kyoko waiting in the hallway in front of her door. She looked breathtaking in her cocktail dress and he found himself feeling overwhelmingly under dressed, but the hour was late and he didn’t want to keep her out too long the night before her test. He beamed at her and led the way out of the castle. The club was quite far and walking seemed out of the question, so he ordered them a bicycle carriage that appeared to be manned by an invisible driver. It was another invention made by the witches. He helped her up into the seat and spoke their destination aloud. The cart instantly started to move forward, avoiding hitting the citizens who passed them.
“Will SMS Ishara be joining us this evening?” he asked nonchalantly. He didn’t want to let on his slight insecurity. Having Ishara join them would create a different atmosphere as Kazuhiko felt obligated to talk to the man if he should decide to join them. Hopefully Lucas could be the buffer between them being the friendly outgoing one and all.