The city was filled with lively music.
Groups of people in flashy painted costumes danced comically to the lively tunes.
Above our heads, strings with light blue and white flags, each resembling the light of the first magnitude star, were strung together with decorative ropes of woven flowers and tied to colourful houses.
Everyone, young and old, was rejoicing under the clear sky.
Celebrate the wonderful, clear day.
“Rille-nee, look! Look what they’re doing over there!”
I, too, put down my pen today and spent the morning wandering around the bustling city with my beloved sister.
The capital was also festive, but it became even more festive once in a decade.
It was the 60th anniversary of the founding of Traus Kingdom, and it was also the 50th anniversary of the end of the war.
The history of this kingdom, which was founded during the war, is still young, and many people who experienced the war are still alive, which was why everyone was delighted to celebrate the peace.
There were no classes during the week-long festival and Rille-nee was also given time off. Franz, the head of the medical department, told Rille-nee that she should have fun since she had never been to a festival before.
Although she had been born 10 years earlier, she had no idea whether this festival was celebrated in her hometown. We didn’t have time to enjoy things like festivals.
By the way, it seemed General Owen hadn’t invited Rille-nee to the festival. Well, of course he wouldn’t. His job was to act as a guard at the festival.
I don’t have to go around the festival alone thanks to that. None of my friends were people who I could casually invite to a festival.
I thought about inviting Connie, but she was busy accompanying the Chancellor’s wife who was also enjoying the festival.
There seemed to be twice as many stalls than usual.
People came from outside the city and perhaps even from other nations. We occasionally passed people who wore different clothes and spoke unfamiliar languages.
“Aime, tell me if you want to eat anything. Onee-chan will buy it for you.”
Rille-nee proudly took out her purse. Don’t put it up in the air like that, someone might steal it.
But well, we are at a festival.
“Hmm, then I want that!”
I pointed at the sweet-smelling fruit pie. The stall owner was selling the pies on the large platter to customers by the piece.
“700 bele for a slice!”
I knew it was expensive!
I grumbled in my mind at the vendor’s sales pitch. It was more than twice the price of normal bread.
“I’m sorry, Rille-nee. This is too expensive. Let’s get something else.”
She put her arm out in front of me and ordered two slices from the owner.
Oh, how cool!
“Here you go.”
She handed me a pie that was wrapped in a thin sheet of paper after paying stylishly.
I could feel the slight warmth of the pie through my fingertips.
I bit into the pie from the end that was pointing out of the paper and the melted fruit inside flowed all over my tongue.
Sweets are a symbol of happiness.
Honestly, I wasn’t that hungry, and I thought it was overpriced but I was enjoying the happiness that I felt from buying this without having to bargain.
“We’re able to buy sweets now…”
I never imagined that a day like this would come.
The owner was moved to hear that the pie was so delicious and offered us another slice each. Lucky.
“We can afford this luxury thanks to Rille-nee’s hard work.”
“No, it’s thanks to the fact that you are amazing enough to catch the attention of a powerful person.”
“That was just the start. I’ll treat you to a meal when I get a job, Rille-nee.”
I’m going to enjoy the next festival with Rille-nee.
I can’t wait to stand on my own two feet.
The sounds of trumpets suddenly resounded through the area.
Then, I heard the loud sound of percussion instruments from the main street and people began walking towards the sound.
“It must be the parade. Let’s go, Rille-nee.”
We put the rest of the pies into our mouths and hurried to the main street.
I pulled Rille-nee through the crowd (my small body came in handy at times like this) to see my friend in his finest clothes and forced my way out from the muscle wall of soldiers who were keeping the crowd in check.
I saw a band leading the way in the magnificent procession.
They were playing a variety of long golden metal instruments which looked like trumpets. Each section of the band played a different part of the song.
There were many other percussion instruments being played loudly too. The intensity of the music was amazing. It shook me to the bones.
Following the band came an army of high-ranking knights in magnificent armour, riding beautiful horses with long, trimmed manes and long necks.
The knights looked imposing and the horses who were not agitated by the noise looked very smart.
Rille-nee raised her voice.
I followed her gaze and saw General Owen astride a white horse before asking her why she had raised her voice.
Oh, he’s doing his job properly.
He wasn’t wearing a helmet and I could see his handsome face clearly.
A high-pitch scream came from behind us as the General passed us. They were women who would shriek when they saw a handsome man even if they didn’t know who he was.
“He’s far away.”
In contrast, Rille-nee was quietly looking at the General’s back.
“I don’t know if it’s because I see him so often, but this distance between us is the truth.”
“… Well yeah.”
It was ridiculous but the difference between them couldn’t be ignored.
“Do you feel lonely?”
I asked her while looking up at her and she looked surprised, then she turned her attention back to the parade.
She tilted her head as if she was wondering if she was.
Finally, a large, roofless carriage, decorated with flowers and light silk, arrived behind the knights.
The blonde King and his family waved and smiled at the crowd.
The King, with his fine beard, and the beautiful Queen sat side by side, and on their left and right was the Princess, who looked like her mother, and Alec, in a formal outfit. They all had bright blonde hair.
I know that Alec won’t be able to hear me even if I raise my voice, so I kept quiet and looked up at them from below.
If I’m not mistaken, Alec’s mother, the Queen, is from Tilney Kingdom.
I couldn’t tell from her facial features since they weren’t much different from people in Traus, but there was something different in her aura. That discrepancy might have accentuated her unparalleled beauty.
Alec was also handsome, but I didn’t feel the same thing from him, so he must be like his father.
The King seemed like a cool man who is elegant and calm.
He looked gentle yet dignified, and his large size made me think of a large tree. You reflexively bow your head when you see him in front of you.
The appearance of the King, who was both the ruler and priest of this kingdom, caused people to wave their small flags enthusiastically and cheer even louder.
“… It’s a spectacle.”
I looked at the scene for a while then muttered my thoughts.
Rille-nee looked at me.
“People don’t like it when there’s no one below them but they feel insecure if there’s no one above them. The king is a pillar of support for his people.”
“What? I don’t understand. What are you saying?”
“I’m just saying that this kingdom still needs an authoritative bloodline.”
The ideology of worshipping blood doesn’t sit well with me. I had discussed this topic with Cliff, and I couldn’t agree with it because his reasoning was weird.
But I believe it’s a necessary ideology in this world when I saw Alec and his family being cheered at by the people while we’re at peace.
Status wasn’t just for enjoying preferential treatment.
“Commoners, nobles and royals all try desperately to protect their positions because status is only a vague standard determined by people and can be overturned in one day if people change their perception.”
Stagnation and being constant with the past are the easiest way for peace. Basically, we can’t mix the highs and lows.
“――― But I’m on Rille-nee’s side.”
“I will help you be happy in the end no matter what you want.”
No matter what it is or who she wants to be with.
Rille-nee looked a little troubled when I declared this.
“Aime should be thinking about her own happiness, not mine.”
“Your happiness is my happiness.”
“I can’t be happy if you’re not happy, so think about yourself too, okay?”
“Of course, I think about myself. I’m not worried about work since I became a mage. But I’m not interested in getting married yet.”
I admit that I’ve never thought about it in my previous life either. I feel like I’ll never get married.
I don’t have the time to find a partner and I don’t have the confidence to maintain a family.
I think my partner would say, “Which is more important? Work or me!?”
But huh? Why am I thinking about this?
I shouldn’t be thinking about this during a festival.
“―――Well, let’s put those difficult things aside for today. Don’t worry, life will turn out the way it’s supposed to.”
Alec and his family had passed us long ago and we were already in line for some unknown bigshot.
We wove our way through the crowds and made our way back to the street filled with stalls to see if we could find anything interesting.
We had been looking around for an hour.
We were looking for a decent meal for lunch instead of sweets, so we went to a delicatessen.
Bread with crispy meat in it was good and soup with vegetables wasn’t bad either. The mashed sweet potatoes which were mixed with wheat, baked, and topped with a special sauce was also good.
But not all the food was good. What should I choose?
I discussed lunch with Rille-nee and we decided on soup with various ingredients that would fill our stomach. We lined up at the shop and heard some yelling going on next door.
The owner of the fruit skewer dipped in honey was yelling at a customer who had a scarf wrapped around her head.
From what I could hear, the customer had apparently taken a fruit skewer and bitten into it without paying.
“I really had money on me. Where did I drop it?”
I looked away for a moment, but the faint sound of the customer’s voice compelled me to look back.
She was dressed in a plain green skit and a dark-red stole, just like an ordinary person.
But her accent clearly belonged to the upper class.
I definitely recognized it since I live among nobles.
I was even more surprised when I stepped out of the lines and looked at her.
She had the same white skin and deep blue eyes as my friend.
“Yes, here! I’ll pay!”
I shoved money from my wallet to the angry owner, pulled the girl’s hand and left.
We walked to a place where we could talk. Rille-nee chased after us.
Then, I looked at the girl’s face and covered my mouth with my hands.
I was tired from imagining what would happen after this and let out a sigh.
“Why are you here, Princess…?”
“Huh? How did you know?”
―――WHY?! Why are the bigshots in this kingdom strangely quick to adapt?!