TL: This is a huge word padding chapter.
Chapter 105 – The festival dancers
On the very day that the little prince woke up and inspected to be free of the poison, the royal family sent out a delegate to negotiate with the Academy of Light. It would be good if official permission was obtained and allow the prince to be taken care of by professional nutritionists, healers, maids, and other professions for a while.
It had to be done this way as the Academy of Light treated its students equally and discouraged them from receiving special treatment.
“The king is actually quite a realist, judging from his actions.” Sue was drinking afternoon tea with the Demon General and remarked: “You want to say that Fedrus isn’t sick in the past?! Of course not, but the king only seems to remember only now, that his son needs to be taken care of properly…… If he was not certain that the poison in Fedrus’s body hasn’t been cleared, he wouldn’t have spent any effort in taking care of a son that had no use, don’t you agree?!”
“Are you sure you’re not overthinking?!” The Demon General tutted and shook his head.
“It’s not that I’m overthinking, it’s just the way how he handles things that really causes one to overthink.”
“Hah……” The Demon General picked up his teacup and placed it down: “Regardless, that’s someone else’s father, and someone else’s son…… Are you trying to seek redress?”
“Do I look like someone with free time on her hands?” Sue rolled her eyes: “It’s just that I realized the old king likes to be a cheapskate.”
When Fedrus was at his best, with the queen as his mother, and was a magic genius that came once in a hundred years, he appeared like he was the best candidate to become the next king amidst the citizens and nobles’ praises. The king therefore treated him with great importance, making sure to have his son to be involved in all matters, happily raising him to be his successor.
Then it was a cliche case of a genius standing out too much and getting ruined. Someone attempted to assassinate little Fedrus and nearly succeeded, even causing irreversible damage to his body. Did the old king expressed his shock?! His anger?! But even if he was shocked and angry, he chose not to do anything and acted like everything was normal, ignoring his little son. And after his son came back to the kingdom with much effort, he gave a flimsy excuse to cover up the news of his son’s disappearance.
Sue could almost see Fedrus’s future if she did not purge his poison. Another son of the king would become more and more brilliant due to the mastermind’s schemes and plans, while Fedrus would be forgotten because he was not in the spotlight any longer. Then that particular son in the spotlight would eventually become the next king……
“Well, it’s not as if I can’t understand why the king acted this way,” Sue sighed, “it’s not easy to be a king. Failing to prevent the assassination is one thing, showing off that he failed to prevent it and letting everyone know it is another. His title might as well be a fake if he allowed that to happen, especially he has to deal with the cunning aristocrats and the other various demi-races who are hiding in the shadows.”
It was survival of the fittest. If the people around his sons were not capable of winning the throne, it would not be wise to pick the weakest one and allow the citizens to be ruled by him. Thus the king was the biggest blade of grass. Once the winds of change pointed to a faction with the biggest capabilities, he would choose to bend towards them without any shame.
As long as his son was not someone with a terrible personality and a human trash who was not capable, he did not really mind which son became his successor. At the very least, the successor managed to beat his other siblings and was a result in itself, right?!
This was why Eins’s father was not investigated.
While it was true that Sue kept a good job in hiding the secret of Fedrus being poisoned and curing him, but unless everyone was an idiot, they would have suspected that she did something behind the scenes.
The reason why things were not being investigated was that it was not going to be easy to keep things under wraps, and even become awkward. Eins’s father was someone in the army. Investigating him would surely invite the people in the army to have thoughts. Why was he arrested?! Because someone tried to poison the prince. Why would the prince be poisoned?! Because the throne was being fought for……
This scandal was too shameful! Too shameful, damn it!
Which was why it was best to pretend that nothing happened. Everyone involved was someone who dealt with politics and understood the rules. It was enough to fight in the shadows, because if things were brought out in the open, the situation would not be able to be salvaged……
Thus, after everyone recovered, they acted as though nothing had ever happened, and things went back on their original path.
Perhaps due to a wary mind, Eins’s father did not permit his son to get too close to Sue. Of course, he was unable to explain himself, and merely increased the frequency where he appeared as a guest lecturer in the school. Sue’s initial deduction was that he had devoted his remaining free time to the Academy of Light, after reporting to his job in the army.
He was really quite selfless. Sue inquired and came to know that he did not charge for his lessons. He was good, but no matter how good he was, it was impossible for him to be invited to the class every day. The school had their own lecturers, and it was not economical for them to pay high fees by inviting guest lecturers.
Obviously, it was different if it was free of charge. It was folly not to use someone who was talented and enthusiastic. The principal was pleased and grateful, and approved almost every time Eins’s father wanted to teach, making it easy for him to enter the Academy of Light.
“Someone who put in effort silently but is unable to divulge his feelings, and the other person who is clueless about how he was used by an evil person and hurt the person who loved him the most……” The evil person Sue who knew how to make use of children remarked: “This is such a painful and messy outcome…… It’s a love that’s full of artistry and makes one regret.”
“……” Fedrus bent over silently and brought his fists over to his stomach in pain…… The Elven King above, his stomach hurt…..
Even though the queen also wanted to use this chance when Fedrus was undergoing rehabilitation and get him to leave Sue, the king thought it was fun to have the little girl to stay by his side. Thus Fedrus received the permission to bring back a bunch of servants to his dormitory, and Sue even received a few gifts under disguised reasons from the royal family.
The reasons for sending the gifts included birthday’s presents, weekend’s presents, harvest festival’s presents, valentine’s…… Cough! In any case, there were all sorts of reasons used. The presents from the royal family were never heard to be refused, unless there was pressure for them to be refused on purpose. Of course, it was another thing if the presents were used as bribes.
Sue understood her position very well and opened her gifts. She gauged each magic gem’s approximate value, and immediately knew it was gratitude for curing the little prince. This could not be brought up openly, but he knew it, she knew it, everyone knew it…..
“It’s unfortunate that your store isn’t ready yet.” Ash pulled Fedrus up from the ground and put him onto the sofa, sat on the other side and sank his back into it, and extended his long legs comfortably: “I thought I would be able to see your restaurant open for business pretty soon, but I didn’t think there would be so many things happening.”
“Yeah. First is the exams, then your duel with Tegwyn, the creation of the Wolf Taxis, being poisoned and curing it. Finally, it’s the rehab and cleaning up the mess……” Sue groaned painfully: “Setting up the restaurant is actually the last thing to do. I just need to clear the ship and place some furniture on it. Decorations could be dealt with later on. The most important thing is that I am unable to find a head chef even though I have been looking for days……”
“I’ll lend you the chefs that my mother sent to me.” Fedrus took on the initiative and tried to ease her problem.
“Thanks. But I’m scared of your mother getting all upset and poisoning my food in the future.” Ash brought up a pretty scary suggestion: “I heard the Demons don’t want to leave just yet right?!”
On the surface, the Demon Race was here to cure the Fedrus’s poison, but now that he was fine, logically, they should pack up their things and get lost.
But their true goal had not succeeded yet. They were unable to kidnap Sue back to their territory, yet they could not stay because they were unable to give the kingdom a proper reason for staying behind.
Sue was a little speechless at Ash’s suggestion: “…… Your thoughts are really bold. That’s a Demon General; he’s an excellent warrior who has fought countless battles. That face and that body……”
No matter how you looked at it, that was not someone who worked as a chef. You even wanted his men to cook dishes?! Bro, those fujoshis would cry…….
(TL: Not exactly sure why they would cry….. Also, don’t bother looking up this term if you don’t know it anyway. Don’t ask anyone either, they might look at you in a funny way.)
“I just feel that you can ask them. It’s not a loss if they refuse.” Ash shrugged nonchalantly: “It’s not really a thing to be rushed anyways. I don’t think you can open your restaurant before the harvest festival starts. Why not have fun these few days before thinking about it?”
“Now that you mentioned it, what activities does the Harvest Festival have?!” This foreign world was feeling especially unfamiliar to Sue and she asked like a country bumpkin.
“It’s a harvest, so everyone comes together and celebrates,” Fedrus had trouble describing it, “there aren’t many activities, and it’s just to let various groups show off their products and let the passersby taste them for free. Whichever group who gives away the most things would mean that they have gotten a good harvest this year, which also means that they are better than the others….. Of course, there are those who sell them.”
“Something like a donation drive, hmmm.” Sue narrowed her eyes: “Which faction has more money?!”
“I heard a little about how the harvest festivals are really interesting back in the Beast Mountains.” Ash pondered and added on to the discussion: “There would be a chosen dancer every year in the capital, thanking the chief god for the year and praying for the next year’s successful harvest……”
“This….. I don’t think a dance is a meme that will catch on.” Sue said it bluntly and pointed out that Ash was a country bumpkin.
Fedrus hurriedly nodded as well: “Yeah, the harvest festival is really big and we will specially pick dancers each year….. But what’s a meme?!”
He felt that the phrase was not really a praise.
“The most interesting thing is the process of choosing the harvest festival’s dancer.” Ash clapped his hand with a fist, looking fascinated: “I heard that you need to sign up for eligibility. They will then compete on the big stage with dances and their knowledge in etiquette…… After numerous challenges, the public and a few famous aristocrats will vote and choose the best candidate…..”
“Where’s the meme?!” Fedrus was puzzled.
“Ignore him, a kid wouldn’t understand.” Sue finally understood why it was interesting. It was hard for those who did not experience through the process to understand. The interesting part was not the dance itself, but having a bunch of hot girls duking it out for pride and accomplishment.
It was especially interesting if there were some scandals involved, and the entertainment value would explode several times…… In a peaceful lifestyle that mostly lacked popcorn events, it was certainly boring.
Someone came in with a smile and interrupted them: “Calling it interesting isn’t wrong. I heard from the guild’s assassins that a few girls quarreled and fought over something…… They were wearing low-cut dresses at that time……”
“…… Lawrence, can you knock before you come in?!”
“Oh. My apologies.” Lawrence knocked on the door a few times as a gesture and brought a tray before them: “I was thinking it’s about time to have afternoon tea, do you want it?!”
Sue took a piece of cheese before anyone else reacted and said: “No matter how much you twist it, it’s a bunch of girls trying to get famous. I don’t get it, it’s just a title of a dancer, and the winner changes all the time, what’s so good about fighting for it?!”
“If you don’t understand our culture, it’s obvious you wouldn’t know why they do it. Not only do the dancers get acknowledged by the public, but they are also exempted from tax for the following year. It’s also a considerable feat in history…… Most importantly, the king rewards the dancers after the festival is over…..”
Even though rewards might be as little as a tip, they could be huge at times. It was not a stable income and it hardly made Sue interested. But if it came from the kingdom, then it might be something to take note of. After all, the king would surely think about his face. The little girl who danced real hard for the kingdom’s future year…… If one did not pay them even a penny, or gave too little, it would appear petty…..
“Hmm, so how much are they rewarded?!”
Sue decided to consult the previous records.
“I think it’s 4000 gold coins last year?!” Lawrence thought for a moment before giving out his answer, and confirmed it with Fedrus: “Your Highness, it’s 4000 gold coins?!”
“I think so. It’s the same for the past three years, and the rewards can only go higher.” Fedrus nodded.
“Four thousand?!” Sue was drooling. This was about the equivalent of her wages for a month….. There was no such thing as having too much money, and she felt that she needed to could show off her skillsets…… Dancing ballet, classical, folk, salsa dancing or whatever. Even though she did not really know much about them, it should not be a problem to shock the public a little. Those novels usually described a world with older civilizations tend to be shocked from modern songs and dances…..
“This is a dance competition, not a fighting competition……” Lawrence discovered a certain kid becoming emotional, and he hurriedly tried to throw a bucket of cold water over her and bring her back to reality. “The girls who are chosen are usually famous ladies within the capital. It’s not really discrimination, but other than conducting themselves perfectly, they must be skilled in dance techniques…… These girls are trained under strict discipline, otherwise they would not be able to perform well.”
“My conduct definitely has no problem at all, at the very least I’m teaching etiq…… Cough, err,” Sue coughed a few times to change the topic, “the only problem for me is dancing, but I believe if I have the foundations for it, I will be able to learn a new dance.”
“Mmmm, I believe in Sue.” Fedrus clapped to show his support.
“……” Lawrence was defeated by the little girl with unreasonable confidence, along with another person’s blind faith, and he shut his mouth. Ash, however, was pondering for three full minutes and pointed out a sharp question: “Does Sue’s age meet the requirement?!”
Usually, in a formal setting, no one would imagine that a five-year-old kid would be able to take the role of the main dancer….. The existence of a dancer of her age was mostly a side character, acting like an innocent and foolish chibi, working with similar chibis to bring out the beauty of the main performer.
Even if these kiddies were brilliant, they were still used as objects to allow some famous person to pick them up and show them off, representing how much they protected the young…….
Sue fell into great despair. This body was just too inconvenient. Her only option was to use her artifact and disguised herself as an adult. But it was another irritating problem to make another adult identity…… If she were to apply using her identity as the Dark Count from the Demon Race for this human festival?!
Fine, even if the king and the nobles and the commoners were out of their minds and accepted this crazy combination, would the king really dare to use four thousand coins to pay her?! This might be seen as some kind of political friendship gesture and the likes…… And she had to respond in kind by doing some kind of contribution…… Just how stupid would she be if she did something so senseless?!
It was not just the nobles’ young daughters who were busy, even the Academy of Light’s female commoner students were also involved……. The academy had etiquette and dance classes, and even if they were not raised with discipline from young, they were not any lousier than them.
Also, the voters did not merely look at just their etiquette and dancing. If they had the same dancing score, the ones who had other skills would be favored.
Putting aside the choice of selecting them based on their body figure and appearance, there was the additional talent of writing poems, showing off skills like cooking or something, aiming to become the perfect modern beauty…… There was also the idea of pretending to be good at something on stage, either capable enough to fool others, or treating the public as though they were fools.
In any case, these were basically how things were. The scores were compiled together so that everyone had a chance……
When the selection started and gradually became competitive, Tegwyn and Fedrus actually became involved. There was a rumor that the girls would have the chance to pick one of the two princes and join the royal banquet that was held after the festival.
Sue was gloomy upon hearing the news: “This is probably the old king’s handiwork, and his goal is to see which prince is more popular. It’s hard to tell if there is any other meaning to it though.”
The princes were not freebies. How could a small little dancer have the choice to pick between the two of them as their male companion?! Even if they were from a noble family, it was not possible for them to have a status that allowed them to choose the princes. The only explanation was the king’s meddling to gauge the public’s response…… While there might be a certain deviation from the results or one might win the popular vote by luck, it was definitely something to think about.
For example, if the two princes tried winning over the winner’s choice…… even though it might not be a pleasant thing to do, they would have put themselves in the limelight.
It seemed like the old king could not hold it in any longer and was starting to train his successor.
Fedrus was also surprised at hearing this news and immediately went off to find Sue without joining in the festival’s fun, acting like a rabbit that had found big bad wolves surrounding him, and was deeply worried over losing his innocence and chastity.
Sue was not sure how to teach this child what to do. The main problem was that she did not have the patience to do so, and she could only bring him out to find the Demon General. The latter was proficient in all sorts of lies and deceit, and if she were to put him in a modern society, he would be a legend in the advertising world. It should not be a problem to console the boy.
The Demon General also agreed with Sue’s analysis and smiled at Fedrus: “I think Sue is correct, your father isn’t really asking you or prince Tegwyn to join the banquet with a girl. It’s enough to be superficial…… Think about it, which girl would trouble an underaged boy?!”
“If you think about it a little more, which girl would choose to go with an underaged kid?!” Sue also helped to pour a cold bucket of water: “If it’s a pretty girl at her prime, she would pick the young and dashing Tegwyn, and not act as a nanny for a child who hasn’t reached her waist.”
She thought Tegwyn had a clear advantage in this.
Honestly ruining Fedrus’s chastity at his age was sort of hard, unless the girl belonged to a faction that was opposed to the queen.
“You’re saying that I can’t compete with my second brother?!” The little prince received a double punch and was shocked.
“You really can’t compete against him in this particular matter.”
He was just naturally behind. His age could not be changed; this world’s pollution index was too good, and it was impossible to create some kind of age-inducing alchemy drug…… Fedrus needed at least ten more years of hard work to beat Tegwyn in this field.
The Demon General laughed: “I have another piece of news. I was actually lazy to raise it if you didn’t look for me, but since you’re here……. Little prince, did your mother tell you something the past few days?! Like taking care of a certain House, or visiting someplace more frequently?!”
“Hmmm?!” Fedrus frowned: “What do you mean?! Can you please elaborate?”
The Demon General lowered his voice: “Even though many people vote for the dancers that they choose, as well as having judges to select them……. Have you ever thought about the fact that a winner has already been chosen?!”
“Nepotism?!” Sue was shocked: “Whose influence is this big? What about the public vote?!”
“Yes, there’s a public vote, but ultimately the candidates that are eligible are always chosen internally,” the Demon General took out a small book and flipped it lazily, pointing at certain points and explaining, “amongst these candidates, there are those who don’t know how to dance, some are illegitimate children who have never received etiquette training…… One has a record of stealing, another who has a bad temper and frequently quarrels with another…… Blah blah…… The last one isn’t a vir— Cough! Cough! Young girl!”
“It looks like there aren’t many good choices in this year’s selection. Is this a coincidence or an artificial selection to pick a particular winner?!”
“It’s not important if it’s a coincidence or not, since if there are no unexpected events, the winner is basically confirmed,” the Demon General closed the book and tapped it with a finger, smiling, “and this winner is now negotiating with the queen. It’s not going to be the princes who are going to choose her, it’s her who’s choosing the princes……”
“Go ahead, Fedrus, seduce that girl with your sexy looks, I believe in you.” Sue turned to the little prince and encouraged him.
Fedrus was stupefied: “Sue, do you really think I’m sexy?”
Upon seeing the fact that she wanted to respond immediately, he quickly added: “You must speak with your conscience!”
“…….” What sexy appearance did a chibi have? Unless that girl was a pedophile, otherwise there was no way Fedrus would win against the second prince…… Sue looked up at the sky.
The Demon General laughed: This isn’t a problem about sexiness. The family members of the dancer are not fools and hinted to the queen. Now, what is important is how friendly Fedrus and Tegwyn are, or at least who is more capable to the dancer’s eyes…… Perhaps they will make their decision based on seeing which side gives more advantages.”
“Is that all?!”
“I think it’s all unnecessary. A verbal agreement can be broken at any given time. First of all, even supporting the dancer is a little strange. The king is probably looking at it as a simple test because the festival isn’t overwhelmingly important…… Saying that the dancer’s family wants to coerce the queen for more advantages is wrong, they are instead saying who they want to stand with.”
“You’re not wrong in saying that, so what’s the second point?!”
“The second point is on the prince—” Sue rubbed her chin: “It’s still the same thing. A verbal agreement is too easy to break off. What’s the best way for an arranged marriage?!”
“……. Arranged marriage?!” The Demon General answered after a moment of hesitation.
“Pfffff……” The little prince spat out his drink and his face was red: “Stop joking around, you two!”
Sue ignored him and finished her analysis: “In any case, the dancer’s family is probably making a promise, whoever is willing to marry their daughter, they will show support during the banquet….. binding them on the same chariot, and it will not be easy to break their alliance off.”
“Tsk, tsk, tsk!” The Demon General tutted and smiled till his eyes were crescent-shaped, and he pulled the little’s prince hands with a nefarious smile: “The little prince is growing up…… Even though there are many things you still can’t do, having a woman beside you isn’t bad.”
Sue also faked dabbing her eyes and sighing: “The kid is all grown-up already. Time is like a butchering knife…… In the blink of an eye, I’m already an old person at the age of five…..”
Fedrus was so upset that he jumped up with a face that looked like he was about to cry: “You’re too much!”
These two bad people! He was unable to protect his chastity. It was fine if they did not think of ways to help him, but they actually laughed and ridiculed him on the side……
“Do you know who’s the girl?! How’s her appearance? Personality?! The most important thing is being respectful and virtuous.” Sue dragged the Demon General into the gossip zone.
“Don’t worry, the girls who are capable of becoming candidates typically have good conditions. I’ve seen her before, there’s no need to worry about her face and appearance, and the important point is she also has a good family,” the Demon General was also discussing it in a perverted manner, “he definitely can get it up and have it fight for at least twenty years.”