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105 The Banquet Pt 1

 "You have arrived," Junipère said while walking towards Xinya. "I thought for sure you wouldn't make it, but I'm so glad that you did. Thank you so much for doing this for me."

With a strained smile from holding up the cake Xinya said, "It was no trouble at all, I am happy to help you."

"Oh my! Here I am blabbing away, while you are holding that heavy cake." Seeing Xinya strained expression, Junipère rushed to the backdoor of the mansion and opened it. "Come, the kitchen is right through this door. You can put the cake down on the counter."

Junipère held opened the backdoor for them as Xinya and Melting Snow carried the cake inside, while Wandering Sound and Wei trailed behind. When Xinya first entered the first thought that passed through his mind as he looked around was how magnificent the kitchen was.

The kitchen walls were a lovely canary yellow, that stood out against the rustic brown hardwood floors, that was impossibly spotless. Not to say everything else wasn't, Xinya thought the whole kitchen looked immaculate.

It had a very unique antique feel to it, but it was also very large and elegant looking. It wasn't Xinya dream kitchen, but it could make his top twenty list. Seeing the wooden counter nearby, he started maneuvering his way over there with Melting Snow.

After setting the cake down on the table, Melting Snow let out a sigh, "I can finally relax. I thought for sure we were going to drop it on the walk over here. I was even too nervous to talk."

"You worried for nothing, little man. Roaming Wind and I wouldn't have let that happen to the cake." Wandering Sound said with a smile.

"Um...," Melting Snow begins, thinking about how Roaming Wind almost squashed the cake with her body. "Right."

Junipère walked over to the counter and started inspecting the cake. As he looked at it with a genuinely pleased expression appeared on his face. With shining eyes, he practically skipped over to Xinya.

Grabbing his hands once again, as he did when they were sitting on the bench by the statue, he said, "You have my gratitude. This cake is more wonderful than I expected it to be. Now I won't have to worry anymore."

"Your welcome." Just as Xinya finished speaking a notification popped up in front of him.

[Quest completed!]

[Reward: 700 experience/ 100 bronze coins/ unknown recipe]

[Gained Recipe Cookies & Cream Crepe Cake!]

Cookies & Cream Crepe Cake: Each layer of the thinly baked crepes has been smeared with cream and cookies, stacked into a tower to make a cake. The sweetness of the cookies blends seamlessly with the airiness of the whipped cream. After eating it you will gain, depending on the star rating +23-30 MP, +11-14 HP, + 5-9 STA.

"I have prepared something for you," Junipère said, removing his hands that were holding Xinya's, and started digging through his apron pocket. He pulled out a golden envelope and gives it to Xinya. "It's not much, but I wanted to give you something extra."

Melting Snow moved closer to Xinya and peered at the golden envelope and asked, "What is it?"

"It's an invitation to the banquet tonight," Junipère replied, answering Melting Snow's question. Then turning to face Xinya he said, "I thought maybe you would like to go since you made the cake for it."

"Thank you, but without my friends helping I don't think I would have been able to make it here," Xinya said. He knew his friends would probably want to go too, and he didn't feel right about being the only one going when they helped him get here. "Would it be possible to get invitations for them too?"

Smiling Junipère, "There's no need for them to have invitations, your invitation alone is enough. You are allowed to bring up to 5 guests with you."

"That's great," Xinya said with relief. He heard someone cheer behind him, mostly likely Melting Snow. Looking at his friends he saw Wei looking excited, Melting Snow practically bouncing on his toes. Wandering Sound, on the other hand, was just looking at Wei, smiling at her happiness.

Glancing at the clock, Junipère said, "I need to go set up the cake and the other deserts. Thank you once again and I will see you later at the banquet."

Junipère then proceeded to pick up the giant cake like it weighed nothing and rush out some swinging doors. Once Junipère was left, Melting Snow and Wei swarmed around Xinya, looking at the invitation in his hand.

"I can't believe I get to go to a ball," Wei said dreamingly.

"Technically this isn't a ball, a ball is a formal dance while banquet is a large celebratory meal." Wandering Sound explained.

Rolling her eyes at him, Wei said, "Shush!"

"You shouldn't ruin her dreams, Wandering Sound. She might start to hate you." Xinya said.

"I doubt that could ever happen." Wandering Sound replied while looking at Wei who just blushed and said nothing.

Melting Snow watched as the three of them talk, and shook his head, "Guys, your not focusing on the most important thing."

"What do you mean?" Xinya asked Melting Snow.

"It's a banquet right?" Seeing everyone nodding, but not understanding what he was getting at. Melting Snow continued, "Don't we need to dress up?"

Everyone finally understood what Melting Snow was worrying about. Xinya smacked himself upside the forehead, 'Of course they would need formal wear for a banquet.' he thought to himself, wishing he came to that realization sooner.

Remembering the invitation, Xinya opened it to make sure. Who knows maybe he would get lucky and they could just go as they were. Noticing what he was doing, the others looked at him expectantly.

Inside the golden envelope were two pieces of different types of paper, and five tiny silver pins, with different color pearls on top. Leaving the pins inside of the envelope he read the glitter gold parchment paper, that was the invitation. It read:

Banquet Invitation

You are cordially invited by the Mayor to attend a Banquet. It will be held at his home estate on the last day of the month at 9 pm.

Formal wear is required and tardiness is not accepted.

Sighing at the thought of having to buy some formal wear, Xinya begins reading the note that came with it:

Hi,

If you are reading this you must have brought me the cake, making me super happy.

I was worried you might not have any formal wear to attend the banquet. So I got these pins from a friend of mine. They are called Faux Outfit Pins, you stick them on your normal clothes and the pins will transform them into a different style. Cool right?! The ones I gave you are for formal clothes. They only last 5 hours, so don't use them, before the banquet starts.

Your friend, Junipère

"Good news everyone, we don't have to buy formal wear," Xinya told the group cheerfully, explaining everything that was in the note from Junipère.

"That's not good news, it's great news," Wei said, for a minute there she thought she might have to use the clothing coupon she had gotten.

Since it was only 8 pm in-game and the banquet didn't start until 9 pm they decided to walk around town to kill some time. As they walked, they found many places and shops they never have seen before. Xinya made a mental note to himself to explore them a little more when he has time.

~

Time flew by before they knew it, and it was already a little before 9 pm. They hurried and made their way back to the Mayor's mansion. As soon as they made it they saw a line of people forming outside of the mansion, waiting to gain entrance.

Getting in the back of the line, Xinya handed one of the pins to each of his friends. Melting Snow got the blue one, Wei the pink one, and Wandering Sound the purple one. There were only two colors left a red and a gold one. Xinya picked the red colored pin deciding to save the gold one for another time.

As if they were synchronized all four of them, pinned their clothes at the same time. Their clothes begin transforming into elegant formal wear as they did so. Each of the men's outfit was the same, a suit and tie with dressy leather shoes, but they were just in a different color.

Wei, on the other hand, was wearing a pink sparkling floor-length gown. She squealed at how pretty the dress was, spinning around in it. Xinya could see from Wandering Sound's face that he approved of her outfit as well.

Laughing silently to himself, Xinya wondered how long they had to wait to enter. The answer to that was ten minutes, they had to wait ten minutes before they were able to enter the mansion, but once Xinya saw the inside of the place, he knew it was worth the wait.

A butler led them down a magnificently decorated hallway that led to the banquet hall. Once inside the hall, the butler escorted them to their table. After they were seated, they begin looking around, admiring the view of the place.

The banquet hall itself was very large, with many tables littering the floor. There were elegant golden chandeliers that accented the room and red curtains that drape from the ceiling. Xinya saw that the banquet hall had a neutral coloring, that made some of the decor items stand out. Like the floral arrangements, candles, etc.

While Xinya was looking around the hall, he noticed a stage with a long table on top of it, that a few people were seated at. He knew that the table was reserved for the man of honor and his most important guests. He quickly noticed the man in the middle, from the way he was attired and his demeanor, Xinya knew right away that he was the Mayor.

Xinya stared at the man for a while, the Mayor was happily chatting with the man next to him, stroking his long black beard as he talked. Xinya watched as the mayor's fat belly jiggled as he laughed at what the man next to him said. He didn't seem anything like Junipère said, but Xinya knew appearances can be deceiving.

Just as Xinya was about to turn back to his friends, he could have sworn he saw something like a string connected to the Mayor's back, but when he blinked it was gone. Thinking it was just his eyes tricking him, he dismissed it.