Chapter 3:

Playing on the baron’s nerves

Shadows of the Elite

Within the noble class, the dinner table holds great importance. It not only reveals the host's grace, their refined taste, and the discipline of the servants but also offers a chance for guests to converse and get to know each other.

Eleanor would never miss such an opportunity. Her goal was clear: to make her guests open up, peel away their noble facades, and reveal their true selves. Only then could she genuinely enjoy their company.

Theodore, however, saw the table differently. Not wearing a mask himself, he felt surrounded by anonymous nobles hiding behind their personas. He wondered how much he could discover about them, driven by his unrelenting curiosity.

Eleanor had selected her first target with ease. Baron Percival Stirling, known for his explosive anger, was an easy mark.

"I hope you're enjoying your meal, Baron," Eleanor said, her smile saying more than her words.

"You could have done better," he retorted.

"Oh, my apologies. Did something not meet your taste in this meal? I assume Chinese cuisine is unfamiliar to you. No blame there; it requires both skill and unique ingredients."

The Baron's pride wouldn't allow him to be treated this way. As a short, bald British old man, with a Goblin-like body, that's hidden behind tons of expensive clothes, a big burning cigar never leaves his mouth, his typical physique gives a glimpse of his terrible personality, he struggled to contain his anger.

Having never experienced Chinese food, almost bursting with anger, he excused himself from the table and left. Eleanor then signaled to Oliver with a wicked grin. As Oliver departed, Eleanor smiled and winked at Theodore, giving him a sense that something daring was afoot.

A short while later, a disturbance came from the lavatory, causing everyone, guests and servants alike, to rush and investigate. Theodore arrived first and asked everyone to stand back, struck by a terrible stench.

The room was a gruesome sight, soaked in blood, yet the Baron stood there unharmed. Theodore's eyes fell on a lifeless body.

"Nora, care to explain this?" he inquired of Eleanor, who had yet to enter the room. Even from outside, he could hear her laughter.

"It was just a prank! Don't take it seriously," she chuckled.

"Why on earth would you place a chicken here?" Theodore sighed. "Just get someone to clean this up."

Eleanor strolled over to the Baron with a sly grin and commented, "Baron Stirling, you really should work on your temper. You might end up hurting someone unintentionally."

Amidst the chaos, the Baron maintained an unreadable expression, his attention clearly elsewhere.

"I think you may have gone too far today, Lady Thornwood," Edmund Fairchild, playing his usual "good guy" role, said. "Baron Stirling owes you an apology."

Sir Fairchild had quite a reputation. Tall and handsome with blonde hair, his family owned a bank, and he was known for helping nobles with financial troubles. He was well-liked not only among the upper class but also for providing job opportunities in impoverished areas. However, he had never publicly acknowledged a romantic relationship and had never been involved in one.

"Well, when you put it that way," Eleanor replied, then turned to the Baron, apologised and asked everyone to return to the dinner table.