3 Preparations : Debut

Despite her small stature, Lamilette had no problem carrying Paul to his mother's room. She, like most Dwarves, was blessed with remarkable physical strength and durability. Their only notable weaknesses, other than their small statures, was a general incompatibility with all types of Magic except for Earth and, on rare occasions, Fire Magic.

"We're here, Master Paul."

Bending down to make it easier for Paul to dismount her, Lamilette waited for the former to give her permission to stand before rising to wipe away a few beads of sweat.

"Thank you, Lamilette. Your services are greatly appreciated. Feel free to fetch some water for yourself and take a rest."

Adopting a faint smile, Lamilette lowered her head nearly ninety degrees before thanking Paul and quickly setting off. She would need to return by when Paul was prepared to leave, so she couldn't afford to dawdle. Paul was a much kinder Master than she had expected, but his father and her fellow servants were constantly keeping an eye on her. It would only take a single big mistake before she found herself executed, or worse.

After watching Lamilette scamper off down the hall, Paul took a steadying breath before knocking on his mother's door and announcing, "Mother, it's me, Paul. May I have your permission to enter?"

Immediately following Paul's words, the delicate voice of a woman softly replied, "Of course you may. Please."

Opening the door with a bit of effort, Paul found his mother sitting on the edge of her large, canopied bed with a faint smile on her face. He was still getting used to the fact that everyone looked like an anime character, but she, Lady Valentine Notos Greyrat, was among the most beautiful women he had ever met. She had long, silky, creamy blonde hair, fair features that included pale-green eyes, and a voluptuous body that practically taunted gravity.

Though she noticed Paul staring at her breasts, Valentine didn't mind in the slightest. There was a reason she wore formfitting, low-cut dresses that exhibited nearly three-quarters of her milky-white breasts. She, like other members of the Asuran Aristocracy, took great pride in her beauty and sexuality.

"My darling Paul...you're even more handsome than the last time I saw you. I almost feel sorry for all the young maidens whose hearts you will inevitably break..."

Since his mother was one of the few people he didn't have to put on airs around, Paul scratched the back of his head, a wry smile on his face as he replied, "I wish you wouldn't say things like that, Mother. I have no desire to traipse around like the other members of the Nobility. I just want to be a capable Lord and a powerful swordsman."

Amused by her son's response, a soft giggle emanated from Valentine's throat as she covered her mouth. She knew her son was unusually kind-hearted, especially for a member of Asuran Nobility. However, it was that very quality that would draw people to him. After all, if given a choice between a kind and capable Lord that treated them fairly and a corrupt Lord who viewed them as little more than playthings, most young women would choose the former. It's one of the reasons they had bestowed Paul an entire wing of the estate. With his nature, it was only a matter of time before he accrued a sizeable entourage and many others willing to serve him.

Finished with her laughter, Valentine pat the spot next to her, asking, "Will you sit with me?" in her characteristically soft tone of voice. Her body was weak due to a chronic illness, so she did her best to avoid exerting herself when possible.

Without any hesitation whatsoever, Paul trotted over to his mother's bed before climbing atop and sitting next to her. She immediately smothered him with her massive, nearly H-sized breasts, but Paul didn't struggle. He had gotten used to this form of kinship over the years. It sometimes made him feel guilty, but, having lost his previous mother at eight, Paul couldn't help enjoying Valentine's embrace. It made him feel calm and safe.

Running her fingers through Paul's hair, Valentine's expression softened as she whispered, "You aren't just my son, but the Sun that illuminates my life..."

Punctuating her words, Valentine gave Paul a firm squeeze that forced him further into her cleavage before releasing him and asking, "I've been meaning to ask, but have you seen your father anywhere?"

Though his cheeks were a little warm due to Valentine's actions, Paul's expression remained unflustered as he answered, "I believe he is helping one of our more recent hires get 'accustomed' to the mansion."

Understanding the true meaning behind Paul's words, Valentine supplied another soft giggle before extending her hand to continue caressing his head as she said, "Your father is a good man, Paul. Once you attend the academy and learn more about our society as a whole, you will come to realize he is one of the best..."

Though she was tempted to explain how humans 'needed' to have 'liberal' views on sex in order to maintain their superior position against the other races, Valentine didn't want to ruin her son's mood. She didn't understand why, but Paul lacked the arrogance attributed to humans as a species. He was a very thoughtful boy, and though it was bound to bring him endless difficulties in the future, Valentine was gratified knowing her son looked for the best in others rather than looking down on them. After all, it wasn't uncommon for boys his age and position to unintentionally 'break' a few of their servants just out of curiosity...

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As the days counted down to his public debut, Paul's official introduction to Noble society, Tabitha began teaching him how to dance.

While few people had any legitimate expectations for a five-year-old, the debut of a future Lord or Lady was an essential event in Noble society. If he wanted to avoid embarrassing himself or being regarded as a fool, Paul would need to perform well during his opening introduction and the dance that immediately followed.

While it was never overtly explained to him, Paul knew that one of the underlying purposes behind his debut was to begin scouting for potential marriage partners. Nobles from all across the Asura Kingdom would bring their similarly aged daughters along with them in the hopes of gaining the favor of the House Notos. They knew it was unlikely for their daughters to become Lady of the House, but securing a place as Paul's Second Wife or even his First Concubine was the next best thing.

Since it wouldn't be 'proper' for a servant to assist him in his lessons, Paul found himself in the care of a young girl from the Silvervine Family, one of the many Lesser Houses serving the Great House of Notos. She was only seven years old, but, like many Nobleborn of the Asura Kingdom, she was 'excessively' developed in some regions while utterly lacking in others.

With blonde hair, fair features, and pale green eyes, the Seventh Daughter of the Silvervine Family, Mary Silvervine, was an adorable yet unnervingly attractive young girl. She couldn't read or write, but she had been learning how to dance since she was four.

"My Lord is a fast learner. You've learned more these past five days than I did during my first three months of lessons. I'm certain you'll make a fine impression during your debut."

Without losing his focus, Paul continued to follow Mary's lead, doing his best not to step on her toes. Despite her praise, he was nowhere near the level of proficiency expected of him. It might not truly matter until he was ten, but he didn't want people thinking he was just another kid.

Interrupting the duo's practice, Tabitha softly clapped her hand together, saying, "It's nearing the time for mid-morning tea. Miss Silvervine, if you please."

After inclining her head respectfully towards Tabitha, Mary turned toward Paul to give a proper curtsy, saying, "It was my pleasure to be of service, Master Paul." before excusing herself to prepare the tea. Though she was the daughter of a well-respected family of Nobles, her standing within the Notos household was barely above a servant's. Her helping out Paul was an 'audition' of sorts to determine if she would make a good Maid, so she was doing her best to leave a favorable impression.

Following Mary's departure with his eyes, Paul was marginally surprised when Tabitha followed it by asking, "What do you think of Miss Silverine, Master Paul?"

Resisting the urge to exhale a sigh, Paul calmly replied, "She is very hard-working for someone so young."

Narrowing her eyes, Tabitha remarked, "What a curious thing to say about a girl nearly three years your senior..."

Without faltering, Paul supplied a curt nod, stating, "Age is not the factor that determines a person's maturity. Though it may sound arrogant of me, I like to consider myself mature despite my young age. As the future Lord of the Milbots Region, I must be."

Though she nodded her head in approval, Tabitha was compelled to ask the question Paul's father had tasked her with ascertaining the answer to, specifically, "What is your opinion regarding Miss Silvervine as a Maid? As the future Lord of the Milbots Region, you cannot avoid taking in servants, Master Paul."

Closing his eyes, Paul carefully considered his response before opening them to meet Tabitha's steely gaze as he answered, "I will consider such matters once I return from my schooling. While I understand the need to acquire competent staff, I do not wish to become dependent on others. I will make my decision once I have a better grasp of my responsibilities as a Lord."

Since Paul's reply was pretty close to perfect, there wasn't much Tabitha could say. She felt a bit of pity for the Seventh Daughter of the Silvervine Family, but the decision was ultimately Paul's to make.

Unaware that her chances of becoming Paul's Maid had decreased by a substantial margin, Mary returned with a radiant smile on her face and a tray of tea and snacks in hand. This caused Paul to feel a little guilty, but he justified his decision by reminding himself that he would have felt even worse about employing a seven-year-old that would 'spare no efforts' to serve him.

While it might be perfectly acceptable in the world he had found himself in, Paul had no intention of 'experimenting' with girls whose ages could be counted on his fingers. He wouldn't have much choice once he turned ten, but that was a matter for future Paul to worry about. For now, his biggest concern was mastering the basics of traditional Asuran Ballroom dance...

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With Mary's assistance and Tabitha's careful guidance, Paul's debut was an undeniable success. Standing in front of a crowd of Nobles was more nerve-wracking than he had anticipated, but it didn't impact Paul's ability to introduce himself. Rather, due to his eloquence, far exceeding that of a typical five-year-old, he earned an ovation and a substantial amount of lip service from the crowd.

Following his introduction, Paul gave a short demonstration of his dancing ability with Mary before accepting the offers of more than a dozen young girls, the majority ranging between the ages of 5 and 9. Most Nobles had their marriages arranged by the time they were ten, so the only older girls present were those from the more affluent families.

To Paul's surprise, there was actually a six-year-old girl whose name he recognized among the group seeking to dance with him. At the very least, he was pretty sure she was the person he imagined since her red hair and features were similar to one of the main heroines from the original series, Eris Boreas Greyrat.

"Good evening, Sir Paul. My name is Hilda, Hilda Redcow. May I have the honor of being your next dance partner?"

After recovering from his momentary stupor, Paul returned a curt nod and a polite smile as he extended his left hand towards Hilda and replied, "The honor is mine, Lady Redcow."

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