Blue water was flying through the air in the square where the chapel stood.
Screams and cheers resounded at the same time.
We were in the middle of an unexplainable festival event where people pour blue dye all over each other in hopes of receiving the blessing of the Sky God.
We happened to be passing by as this event started, so Princess Philia insisted on participating.
Adults and kids alike were holding ladles, scooping up blue water from the large jars placed around the square, and pouring it over everything in sight: the sky, the ground, the people and objects.
It was impossible to pass by without getting any on your clothes.
“You put your guard down!”
Princess Philia hit me directly with the blue water. Now you’ve done it!
It was a truly useless event but that was why it was fun.
I no longer cared about status or courtesy. I will get her back in a magnificent way, but this isn’t me being disrespectful, since the more you get hit with this blue water the happier you’ll be.
My clothes were a mess, but I couldn’t care less since I was having so much fun. I also poured a lot on Rille-nee too.
Giedt, on the other hand, thought it was disrespectful to dirty the Princess, so he took the role of her shield at first, but when the person he was guarding poured water on his head and he turned blue, he lost all motivation and backed down.
He immediately tried to take the Princess back to where she belonged at first since he was on patrol, but Rille-nee and I took him to the back alley and blackmailed him, or rather, made him succumb to the puppy eyes (plus her upturned eyes) of the beautiful Princess Philia. It was too simple, though I can’t say much since it also worked on me.
The dye eventually ran out and the event concluded.
Princess Philia had a big smile on her face.
“I haven’t had this much fun in years!”
She was out of breath but still seemed excited. I could see her cheeks were flushed as she wiped off the dye on her face with a towel that was provided by a kind person.
No one would believe that this person, who was covered from head to toe in blue dye and playing around like a kid, is the Princess.
We didn’t have a change of clothes but the early summer breeze should dry our clothes quickly.
I wrung the water out of my clothes and put on the robe that I had taken off to avoid dirtying it, then I noticed a steady stream of people walking in a certain direction.
They were mainly men who were waiting with great enthusiasm. They hadn’t taken the towels that were offered to them, so they were still covered in blue dye.
Princess Philia caught an appropriate person and asked, and the man told her, “It’s carriage racing,” with a lovestruck expression on his face.
A carriage version of horse-racing. Of course, gambling is also involved. I knew that there was a racetrack in the capital and that it was usually open for business.
The men were trying to bring themselves good luck by wearing the colour of God all over their body before the race. I don’t think the Sky God will get involved in your life that much.
Princess Philia seemed interested, so the man started asking her if she wanted to go see it with him, but Giedt chased him away, then we headed to the racetracks.
“Oh yeah, why are you wearing an eyepatch today?”
I asked Giedt who was next to me as we walked, and he answered without taking his eyes off the Princess, who was walking in front of us.
“It’s annoying when people get scared all the time when I’m in town.”
Well, it does look a bit peculiar.
His prosthetic eye has wonderful features, but I guess it must come with a lot of hardships as well. It would be better if they resembled the shape of an eye a little more.
“Can you still see?”
“More or less.”
Apparently, he could see through the eye patch. Incredible.
“Let me take a close look at it later. I won’t act like last time.”
“I refuse. I don’t want anything to do with you.”
“Nothing good will come out from getting involved with you,” Giedt said, but it isn’t my fault that the Princess is here with you. Your bad luck is to blame for you being there at that time.
When we arrived at racetracks the race had already started, and the area was filled with a strange feverish atmosphere.
The oval track where the carriages were running on weren’t bricked up and the dust created by the wheels was horrible.
There weren’t any seats for spectators and the guests, and the carriages were only separated by a flimsy rope, and it was scary because the carriages were passing real close to us at high speeds. Rille-nee screamed and Princess Phlia cheered.
The carriages used to race are different from those running on the streets.
First, they have no seats. There was only space for one drive to stand and they were custom-made and lightweight, so that they could be used for the racing. They came in various colours and shapes, and there were numbers written on them in large white letters.
The horses tethered to the carriages had shorter necks and thicker legs than the ones that the soldiers rode at the parade.
The horses ran quite close to each other during the race, and it seemed that they needed to be powerful as well as fast. The horses weren’t long and slender, but rather short and stout.
A small man on a table beside the spectators was tapping on a wooden board with the names of the competitors on it and asking for wagers for the next race in a high-pitched voice.
“Aime and Rille, can you lend me a little bit of money again? I’d like to try this!”
I would normally stay away from something like this but today is a festival.
Princess Philia pestered me about betting, so I decided to try. Well, horse-racing has a higher chance of winning than a lottery ticket.
We’re just betting on a single number.
“Carriage 5 is good. That’s the most profitable, right?”
“Yes, but that just shows how unlikely it will win.”
Giedt said to Princess Philia, who was trying to choose a carriage solely based on its pay-out.
“3 seems good. He’s not a favourite, but he was very close in that race. It’s risky to bet on a single carriage, so let’s also bet ―――.”
“How often do you go to these races?”
This time, I retorted. He did seem strangely familiar with this kind of place…
“It’s not good to get carried away.”
“I’m not making any stupid bets. Ah, don’t tell the Captain.”
If you’re more worried about him getting mad at you than my warning, then you should stop.
“But I think I’ll go with 5.”
Rille-nee looked back at the paddock instead of the board that showed the bets.
“Look, Aime, Princess, you too. That horse has a cute flower pattern on his neck!”
“Oh, it really does. That carriage is prettier than the others. I think I’ll go with 5 too.”
Princess Philia agreed with Rille-nee.
Giedt kept rambling on and on, “The pretty ones are the ones who lose all the time,” but no one listened to him, so he slumped his shoulders in sadness.
“There are 5 carriages, and by my calculations, they all have a 20% chance of winning. I’ll also bet on 5.”
“If things go the way you calculate then it wouldn’t be a bet.”
You’re right, but if you’re going to bet, then bet on the dark horse! It’s not like we’re betting a lot of money anyway. It’s just for fun.
I made my bet and Giedt looked fed up with us, then the race started shortly after. By the way, Giedt didn’t make a bet since he was still on duty.
Carriage 5, which was carrying our hopes, was off to a late start which made Giedt gloat, “See, told you”, but the leading carriages unexpectedly crashed at a curve in the latter half of the race.
Amidst the yells and screams, carriage 5 came trotting in from behind, passing the overturned carriages, and became first to cross the finish line.
“We did it!”
Princess Philia jumped up and down and high-fived me. Rille-nee was more shocked than happy.
She got back the money she spent at the festival! Beginner’s luck is awesome!
This is the kind of thing that causes people to become addicted to gambling.
“We can go around the festival some more!”
Fortunately, Princess Philia had other things to see and buy, so we ran to our next destination after we received our money.
“I can’t believe this…!”
Giedt clenched his fist in frustration.
Data analysis is important but it’s all luck in the end.
We then continued to enjoy the festival by going to the theatre, watching a throwing sword performance, and eating food when we got hungry. It’s nice to have money.
“My maid would faint if she saw me eating while walking.”
I know how exciting it is to do something bad without anyone knowing TN: Generally, it’s seen as bad manners to walk and eat in Japan >.>… been told off by old ladies for doing this before T-T.
There’s no one to tell her off and she’s not being observed by strict people. She was free today.
But don’t let your guard down! There are patrolling soldiers, like Giedt, at the festival.
“Ah, Princess, the soldiers are coming.”
I spotted the armoured figure in the crowd, so we turned our backs and pretended to look at the stall. Rille-nee and I guarded the Princess’s left and right while pretending to be cheerful town girls.
It would have been nice if he had just walked right past us, but the soldier stopped when he spotted Giedt.
“Why are you blue?”
He wasn’t from the platoon I knew but he seemed to be acquainted with Giedt. He was talking to him in a friendly manner.
The soldier still hadn’t noticed us yet. I carefully looked behind me, so I could interrupt him if he was going to betray us.
He didn’t know how to answer. His right eye looked back at us slightly and our gazes met.
I didn’t glare at him, but I conveyed my thoughts to him, and he dropped his shoulders slightly.
“… I got hit when I was in the square earlier.”
He casually moved to the side to hide Princess Philia from the soldier without saying anything else.
“Haha. You’re slower than I thought. Be careful.”
The soldier patted Giedt on the shoulder and went back to patrol.
Apparently, he hadn’t received word that Princess Philia sneaked away yet.
Princess Philia looked in the direction the soldier had walked off him and laughed when she saw that he had completely disappeared into the crowd.
“I was so nervous.”
“… I see.”
I said to Giedt, who seemed tired.
“Thanks. It was the correct choice to ask you to come with us.”
“… How angry do you think they’ll be at me after this?”
Giedt growled in a whisper so that the Princess wouldn’t hear him.
“I hope they only get angry at you.”
“Hey, that’s not funny.”
Well, it certainly isn’t funny since we might get punished. But well, I’m sure it’ll be alright if Princess Philia sticks up for us.
“――― I wish I could have walked around like this at the last festival too.”
Princess Philia, who had been smiling all day after visiting various places, suddenly stopped smiling and whispered.
Her eyes were following a couple who had walked past her for some reason.
I wondered what was wrong with her since her aura changed all of a sudden, but I heard the sound of singing before I could ask her anything.
A guitar-like string instrument was being accompanied by the low notes of a flute where we had splashed the blue water around, and a tall woman with black hair was standing in the centre of the singing and inviting the crowd to dance with her.
A number of people leapt out into the square as if they knew this was going to happen from the beginning.
It was a chaotic and messy dance. People in threes and fours were taking each other’s hands, spinning themselves around, and stepping towards each other and stepping away.
Anyone could easily dance with them since it was chaotic.
I also took Princess Philia and Rille-nee’s hands.
“Let’s dance. The past can’t be changed, but we can have as much fun as we want right now.”
Rille-nee took Princess Philia’s other hand.
The Princess smiled again.
People stomped their feet to the music which was getting faster.
I held a stranger’s hands, spun around and stepped away, skipped while clapping and turned to link arms with someone who was passing by.
Then I saw a boy who was standing alone.
“Come on, Giedt!”
I quickly grabbed his arm, and he planted his feet firmly on the ground.
“Hah?! No, I don’t know how to dance!”
“I don’t know either! You can just laugh and spin around!”
I pulled him to the centre of the square. If you don’t have fun at a time like this then when will you have fun?
I smiled at his awkwardness.
“Say, I don’t think your left eye is scary at all!”
I raised my voice so that he could hear me through the joyful sounds.
“Hah? What’s with you all of a sudden?”
“But if it really bothers you and is the reason for why you won’t interact with others, then I’ll make you something as good as the real one someday! I wanted to be a magic technician when I looked into your eyes! I’m really grateful to you!”
Giedt was stunned. It was as if he had been told something he never thought he would hear.
I spun him around and let him go.
Someone immediately caught him, and he became part of the circle.
I caught Princess Philia as she flew by when the tempo got even faster.
We held each other’s hands while spinning around and someone’s clothing decoration caught onto the edge of the Princess’s scarf.
Her scarf flew off her head, revealing her shiny blonde hair.
Both Princess Philia and I cried out at the same time. I quickly reached out to chase after the scarf, but the Princess grabbed my hand and wouldn’t let go.
I looked at Princess Philia and saw that she was smiling at me.
“Don’t worry about it, let’s dance.”
I couldn’t chase after the scarf that had disappeared in the crowd, so I could only nod.
People soon started looking at her.
But she continued to dance freely until the song ended.
Soon, soldiers heard the commotion and rushed to the square, and Princess Philia was immediately taken out of the circle.
“Thanks. I had a good time.”
The Princess quickly said her goodbyes when we chased after her for a short while.
“Can I consider you all as friends?”
“I’m glad. Let’s meet again sometime.”
That was all she managed to say.
We were quickly driven away by the soldiers and Princess Philia left our sights. Giedt followed after them.
“That was fun.”
Rille-nee whispered and I nodded as we watched them walk away.
“I hope we can talk again someday.”
I know it’s probably impossible, but it’s nice to have hope.
It was already dusk, and the area had already turned red.
The festival was still on at night but we felt as if it was already over for us, so we decided to return to Anna’s boarding house.
|↑1||TN: Generally, it’s seen as bad manners to walk and eat in Japan >.>… been told off by old ladies for doing this before T-T|