Chapter 36

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Dinner Party with Everyone
After concluding the discussion on the terms and conditions, it was around lunchtime, so we decided to have a meal together.
I was covering the expenses this time.
I haven’t been to any fancy places myself, so I was quite curious.
Alizée had a recommendation for a restaurant, so I invited her to join us for the meal.

Although Alizée initially declined due to her duties, she agreed to come along, mentioning that we’ll likely be working together for a while.

Alizée led us to a charming establishment located in a prime location in the city.
I wonder if I have enough money for this.
Alizée probably knows the balance in my account, so I judged it should be fine and entered the restaurant.
At the entrance, there was a front desk and I saw Alizée conversing with someone.
Then, the receptionist comes over to me.

“Excuse me, Dear customer. Would it be acceptable to see your identification?”

“Yes. Is this sufficient?”

“… Indeed, a Copper Rank merchant. I apologize for the suspicion. In our establishment, we have private rooms available for merchants of Copper Rank or higher for business meetings and such. And you have requested the use of one, so…”

“Ah, I don’t appear to be a Copper Rank merchant, do I? I appreciate your dedication to your job. Please, don’t worry about it.”

“Thank you. I will show you to your table.”

Led by the receptionist, we arrived at a private room.
Inside, there were soundproofing magic devices installed, and when the door was closed, sounds from within wouldn’t be heard outside.
This seems to be commonly used for business negotiations.
It didn’t need to be such a formal room, though.

As the receptionist left and everyone took their seats, except for Alizée, the rest of us let out sighs.
Why did she choose such an expensive-looking room?

“Ladies, the reason I chose this room today is to assess your dining manners.”

“Dining manners?”

“As a Copper Rank merchant, you may also have dealings with nobles. If your dining manners are not up to par during those occasions, it would reflect poorly on you. To confirm this aspect, I arranged this room for today.”

“Dining manners… I’ve never learned them before.”

“So, let’s learn now.”

According to Alizée, the arranged cutlery was to be used from the outside, try to avoid making noise with the tableware, and you’re free to eat the bread.
This seems to be the general Royal Capital etiquette used throughout the entire country.
However, it seems that different etiquette exists abroad, and you may need to adjust depending on the situation.
It’s quite confusing.

After finishing the meal, Alizée’s conclusion was that I and Tomoa passed, Akumi needs a bit more practice, and Keuko and Uhina didn’t meet the requirements.
For now, I’ll buy a cutlery set for practice and have them practice here in the restaurant.

After the etiquette lecture, we moved on to a friendly get-together.
Keuko and Uhina began their adventuring activities in the same town at the same time.
Initially, they were both working solo, but they joined two other men after nearly getting killed by a group of goblins.
That’s when the original form of “Wildcat Claws” was created.
However, around the time they reached Blue Rank, the two male members started looking at them with desire in their eyes, making the atmosphere uncomfortable.
As a result, they disbanded the party and changed their base of operations, creating the current “Wildcat Claws.”

Akumi joined Wildcat Claws about a year after its formation.
Being unable to use magic at all and only capable of melee attacks, they were looking for a long-range attacker to join.
Akumi apparently can’t use regular magic, but she can infuse her arrows with magic to increase their power.
Her addition expanded the party’s range of activities.

Tomoa hides her ears and tail under her hat and robe, but she’s apparently a fox Beastkin.
Foxians apparently have high magic abilities but weak physical strength.
Most Beastkin races have higher physical strength and lower magic abilities, so they usually keep their features hidden.
Moreover, she has a bit of a complex about only being able to use mid-tier magic.
While she learned low-tier and mid-tier magic to deal with enemies like Orcs, she couldn’t learn high-tier magic.
She was struggling with this until Keuko, who was recruiting magic users, found her and took her in.

Since this team of four came together, Wildcat Claws started taking escort requests, or rather, they became capable of taking them.
Previously, due to the party’s unbalanced composition, they had been constantly declined for escort requests.
This is their first long-term contract, and they’re very motivated.
I hope they do well.

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