Both of you arrive rather late at the feast at the Bayashura Town Hall. A butler greets you with the finest flutes of champagne on a tray.
“Champagne?” He offers, with a haughty look on his face only befitting for such an opulent feast.
You refuse, as you do not want to ruin your appetite. Although perhaps the smell of food already did. The Mayor might have spent most of the royal family fortunes in hiring the best chefs around, but he clearly did not notice the flaw of having a ventilation system connecting the ballroom and the kitchen. Oregano, tarragon, cumin, red pepper, cinnamon… A blend of fragrance so strange and yet so familiar. Snapping out of your thought, both of you look at the hundreds of people swarming the room and try to make out an acquaintance or two.
On further scrutiny, there are many well-known food critics such as you who had been invited. Lupita Narita, the pastry connoisseur. Juan “Candyman” Mestizo, the famous confections critic. Even Old Stakerhand, a former cowboy-turned steak specialist, left his ranch to come to the feast. The town of Bayashura, despite being rather small, is supposedly famous for being one of the first town in Gastronesia which had all its residents’ tastebuds modified, and thus retains its rustic charm as a cuisine capital. Of course, that’s old wives’ tale now—no one really remembers the history anymore. All that’s important is that there is food here and now, and everyone is enjoying them.
Out of the corner of your eyes you spot Mayor Shunjaya making his way towards you. Wearing the lavish Gastronesian traditional clothes, the fiftysomething Mayor seems out of place in the midst of suit-wearing gentlemen and ladies clad in shimmery evening dresses.
“Bon Papa, Omnom! My favourite guests–at last, my dear boys, at last. Great turnout this year, eh?” He remarks, sounding pleased. “Mingle, gentlemen, mingle! Mi casa e su casa- my home is your home, that’s how they do it in Spain and that’ll be how we do it here! The feast will start soon enough, but not before you boys talk to everyone and promote our own little town, yes?”
He wipes his sweaty forehead and laughs rather uncomfortably. “After all, tourism has dropped the past years… We all need a little income to keep going. Especially with the rising food prices and whatnot…” He trailed off, frowning a little. Realising that his other guests are starting to stare, he forces a rehearsed smile and said, “Well, I’ve been such a downer, haven’t I? Enjoy the feast later, gentlemen, and remember, mingle!”
Mayor Shunjaya gave you both a pat on the back, left to talk to other guests, and you are left to mingle around with the guests.