A group of young noblemen were waiting anxiously to carry out their father's orders, waiting for today's leading character, Claire, to appear.
After the all the guests had gradually arrived, the banquet finally started.
While refined music played, Claire slowly descended the stairs with Lashia, Summer, and Qiao Chuxin accompanying her. Tonight, Claire was wearing a snow white dress with layers of lilac lace at the edges. At her waist, an extremely lifelike pink rose was embroidered. Small, delicate flowers on the collar, her soft, long hair curled to shoulder length, a lilac ornament adorned on her hair, she looked entirely like a fairy, like a fairy descending under moonlight, giving off a calming and carefree aura.
Claire slowly descended the stairs, successfully attracting every single person's gaze. The young noblemen that were previously indecisive over carrying out their father's orders were now resolute.
Duke Gordan's eyes slitted into thin lines. He knew that his goal for today had been accomplished. Duke Gordan quickly walked forward and extended his hand for Claire.
"Today is my granddaughter Claire's birthday. I hereby express my sincere gratitude for everybody honoring us with their presence......" Duke Gordan started the standard speech for formalities.
Claire smiled faintly, but her eyes were completely emotionless. She felt extremely uncomfortable. It was like she was a product being examined. But in any case, many people had come today, all noteworthy people from the capital. Many were nobles who she had seen before but whose names she couldn't remember were here. Their gazes were truly uncomfortable!
With a typical ending of the address, the banquet starting reaching its climax. Duke Gordan was like a butterfly as he made his through the crowd and intermingled. From time to time, he laughed loudly. Hearing it, one would know how good his mood was. That was normal; it was only his granddaughter's daughter, yet so many noteworthy people had come. Not only did the prince and princess come, even the Temple of Light's divine prince and princess came, how could he not be excited?
Claire smiled rigidly, refusing another young noble who she had asked to dance with before, wailing internally, when was it over?
"Claire......" A charming voice suddenly sounded from behind Claire. Once Claire turned to look, she saw princess Maurice's smiling face.
"Princess......" Claire smiled and greeted. Seeing Nancy standing behind princess Maurice, she said, "Your highnesses. Thank you both for honoring us with your presence."
"Haha, perhaps you were looking forward to us not to be here." Nancy made a rare joke. "I can see the impatience in your eyes very clearly."
Claire froze. Just as she was about to say something, princess Maurice started smiling. She lowered her voice and said quietly, "No need for niceties, haha, we're the same as you. I and elder brother also dislike such formalities, but we have no choice but to deal with it."
Claire remembered the scene of princess Maurice's birthday last time and couldn't help but smile. Summer and Qiao Chuxin were both enjoying a plate of tasty food, sitting at a back table. Ben leaned on the wall, bored and yawning. He watched the two girls eat happily. White Emperor was crouching on Ben's shoulder, hugging a piece of foie gras, nibbling it energetically. Walter hadn't appeared; he had been afraid that among so many people, it would be hard to avoid experts that could recognize him even with his aura hidden. What happened afterwards proved his apprehensions correct.
From far away, Liuxue Qing watched Claire being surrounded by people and smiled brightly. A sliver of profoundness flashed her eyes. Smile while you can. Liuxue Qing's gaze landed on White Emperor who was crouching on Ben's shoulder and she stared incently. Now she was a hundred percent sure that the two were accomplices from the night the goddess's gift had been stolen! Was there any need to guess who the main culprit was?
Amidst the lively hall, every person had on a smile. As for why they were smiling, only they themselves knew from the bottom of their heart.
"The pope has arrived." Suddenly, an incomparably loud and clear voice sounded abruptly at the door, trembling slightly. It pierced through the lively hall.
The pope arrived?!
It was not only Duke Gordan who was stunned, everybody in the hall froze.
Why would the pope come? Even for the princess's birthday, there was no way the pope would come!
A sliver of darkness flashed through Liuxue Qing's eyes. A good show was about to start!
"The pope has arrived!" The chamberlain's voice sounded once more, resonating and still with a slight tremble. Evidently, the chamberlain himself was also shocked senseless by the status of the person who had arrived.
Only then did Duke Gordan come back to his senses, hastily going forward to greet.
Everybody in the hall also came back to their senses and immediately started clamoring. In a moment, everybody in the hall was gossiping. Each person had a different expression, all guessing why the pope had appeared.
Leng Lingyun leaned against a wall calmly, expressionless. He had known beforehand the pope would come.
Liuxue Qing suppressed her inner excitement, looking calm although her heart was surging incessantly. Every time she saw Leng Xuanxuan's exceptionally friendly attitude towards Claire, a sense of danger would appear in Liuxue Qing's heart. The only reason why Leng Lingyun treated Liuxue Qing unlike other people was because she had always taken care of his little sister, Leng Xuanxuan. This was also Liuxue Qing's only trump card for getting close to Leng Lingyun. But if this card was gone, then she was afraid Leng Lingyun would treat her as coldly as everybody else. Every time she thought of this, Liuxue Qing would feel frantic and worried. Now the potential threat, Claire, was going to be eliminated, how could she not be excited? Even if it was a tiny, tiny danger, she would still not let it continue to exist, because in Liuxue Qing's heart, Leng Lingyun was her sky, her everything!
Claire also stood up, looking towards the main hall's entrance. The pope had actually come personally. Was it good or bad? Perhaps it wasn't as simple as coming to celebrate. Claire knew clearly the pope didn't hold her in regard yet! Was it about the goddess's gift?
Ben squinted to see the solemn and dignified pope who was walking in slowly and yawned, not caring. Didn't he even spit on the old man who was currently putting on airs that night? What was he pretending to be serious for?
Following the pope from behind was a red robed cardinal, someone Claire knew.... It was none other than the adorable old man, Lawrence. Lawrence was currently in formal attire holding up a beautiful embroidered box. He followed the pope from behind closely, his expression exceptionally serious. Claire felt truly sorry for him maintaining such a poker face.
Duke Gordan smiled apologetically as he approached the pope and greeted: "I was unaware that your holiness would grace us with your presence, please excuse me for not going out to meet you...." Internally, he was still somewhat apprehensive because didn't know at all why the pope had come.
But the pope smiled, saying amiably,"Surely, you jest, your grace. It is I who came suddenly without telling beforehand. I'm truly embarrassed." The more he smiled, the more Duke Gordan worried.
After hearing this, everybody in the hall started gossiping more. What exactly was going on? Even if Claire had been more noteworthy recently, she was still just a girl who had just turned fourteen. How could celebrating a birthday attract his holiness?
"Haha, many people have come. It is truly lively today." The pope's gaze swept through the crowd, seeing nobles he was familiar with along with the divine prince and princess. As his gaze landed on Claire, he shifted it towards Ben, who was standing not far from behind Claire. His eyes shined imperceptibly. Sure enough, the black clothed man was the shameless dragon from the other night! Looks like the divine princess's conjecture was completely true, Claire was the person who had stolen the goddess's gift that night. Thinking of that night when that dragon had spit saliva all over him, the pope started to feel a bit uncomfortable. He had already believed in the goddess's guidance firmly without a doubt. Claire's power wasn't really that strong, but she could summon a grandiose dragon, so of course she had something that surpassed others. The goddess was sure to have her reasons.
"I never expected that your holiness would come personally, your presence truly brings honor to my humble abode." Duke Gordan said politely, feeling happy, yet worried. It couldn't be that the pope had come just to say a few words.
Suddenly, the pope's expression became serious. He turned and said quietly to the hall, "I came today following the goddess's guidance." His voice was very quiet, but with the use of magic, every single person in the hall could hear his voice clearly.
In an instant, the hall quieted down. Everybody was stubbed. The goddess's guidance. In their hearts, the goddess was their faith, their pillar of support. Now that the pope said such words, how could they not be astonished?
Duke Gordan was also frozen, completely not understanding what the pope wanted to do.
Liuxue Qing clenched her fist tightly, holding her breath as she watched the pope expectantly. Her heart was about to jump out of her chest. The pope had already glanced at the black clothed man and had surely already confirmed his identity. Now he was going to punish Claire, that audacious thief!
Leng Lingyun sipped some sweet wine, bored. He leaned on the wall expressionlessly and watched the pope who was standing in the middle of the hall.
Claire looked at the pope's smiling face, an ominous feeling welling up in her heart. She felt like she was facing an old fox!
"The goddess's guidance?" Finally, someone had come back to their senses, starting the fire for the extremely intense atmosphere. Since the goddess had unexpectedly guided the pope here, then they were all going to have the chance of seeing the pope carry out her guidance, so much of honor! Everybody stared at the pope intensely, waiting for the pope's next words.
Ben blinked, a little suspicious. Did that old guy discover the black dragon that had spit on him was him? It didn't seem like it.... Because his gaze just stopped on him for a moment the left. Also, he didn't show much interest in his gaze.