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I waited patiently for my lunch to arrive. While waiting in my guest room, I thought about what just happened downstairs. I was truly disappointed that I lost an opportunity to talk to Rijana, Bjoukia, and Bjoukin. The trio was friendly and appeared to be adventurers. I was hoping that I could get advice from them on locating a trainer for my starting profession. And if I felt comfortable enough with them, I was planning to ask to join their party at a later date.
The unsavory situation with Ebenthal had wiped out my plans. Furthermore, it had left a sour taste in my mouth. As a result, I was in a foul mood. Thankfully, my wait for my lunch wasn't long.
"Milord, it's Gendun. I brought your lunch," the boy said from behind the door.
I quickly unlocked the door.
The boy entered my room with a tray containing a platter of mutton chop with gravy and corn on the side, a biscuit, and a mug of ale.
Once he stepped inside, I looked out in the hallway, saw no one around, and locked my door. I turned around and looked at the boy, who had put the tray on the nightstand and set my utensils properly on both sides of the plate.
"The meal is included in your lodging," he announced.
"How much is the drink?" I asked.
"My momma said it's complimentary," he grinned, "for following her suggestion and going back to your room."
I looked closely at Gendun's face and I started to see the resemblance. "Amelica is your mother?" I asked.
The boy nodded.
I gave him a copper piece as a tip and, for good measure, I ruffled his hair.
The boy grinned again.
"If you don't mind, would you keep me company while I eat?" I gestured for him to sit on my bed. It was uncharacteristic of me because I was fairly reclusive back home. However, I was desperate to make friends in this gaming world and Gendun seemed like a good kid.
"Sure," Gendun beamed in delight and hopped onto my bed.
I ripped my biscuit in half and offered him the larger piece, which was accepted readily.
Suddenly a pop-up appeared before my eyes. "+25 Reputation, +50 XP." When I read the message I was shocked because the Merlin game I had played didn't offer any experience for interacting with NPCs. But then again, I didn't have time to do anything in the game aside from dungeon crawling. Since I had a guest in the room, I decided to set this matter aside for further investigation later.
"What happened to your dad?" I asked as I started cutting the mutton chop with my knife. Nobility ate with utensils and I may as well continue playing one by using utensils too. If I was eating alone, I would probably be using my fingers to grab the meat.
The boy shrugged while looking down at his knees. "Momma said he was gone before I was born," Gendun said sadly.
"I'm sorry to hear that. But you enjoy working at The Noble Lady and helping your momma, right?" I quickly switched the subject.
The boy's smile was back. "Vern might look like a mean, nasty orc, but he's really nice to me. He said when I'm older I could be his apprentice; he may even leave The Noble Lady to me when he retires from the business," Gendun said.
I loved this kid already because he was a fountain of knowledge inside his young head. "What did Vern do before he opened this inn?" I pumped him for more information.
"Vern used to be his clan's war leader. But his orcish clan lost a war to another clan and he was the only survivor," Gendun said. "Rather than living in the wilderness as a clanless orc, Vern decided to live in this town instead."
"Does your momma have a boyfriend?" I asked.
Gendun shook his head and grinned again. "Some of the patrons are interested in her but none of them interest her. I really like you a lot because you're very nice to me even though you're a nobleman and I'm a commoner. And just between you and me, I think my momma likes you too," he said. "But don't tell her I said that," he quickly added and grinned again.
"I won't. Pinky swear?" I offered.
The boy looked confused. "What's a pinky swear?" he asked.
I got up from my seat and stood in front of the boy. I knelt down and held out my right pinky. "Now you have to hold out your finger. We will hook our fingers together and say, 'Pinky swear.'"
Gendun followed my instructions and made the pledge with me. He beamed in delight.
I saw another pop-up. "+25 Reputation, +50 XP." Before I could ask Gendun another question, I was interrupted.
"Milord, is Gendun inside?" a light voice asked.
I immediately recognized the voice as belonging to Amelica. Shoot! I must have kept the boy in my room for too long! I walked across the small guest room and unlocked the door. As I opened the door, I braced for another scolding from the strict mother. However, my concern was misplaced.
The worried woman sighed with relief at the sight of the boy sitting on my bed. "A thousand apologies, milord," Amelica curtsied, "for my son bothering your lordship."
I waved my hand. "No, I wanted someone to keep me company while I ate lunch and I asked Gendun to stay," I said.