Episode 3: First Meeting – Chapter 8.1
The royal road was a large artery that passed through the city and immediately led to the main gate of the Palace of Kailis. In front of the palace were two plazas that stood symmetrically on either side of the road: Hatsua Plaza on the east and Sispanian Plaza on the west.
At the center of each plaza was a fountain bearing a statue of the founders. The human form of Sispanian stood in Hatsua Plaza, and on the other side King Hatsua stood in Sispanian Plaza, and both were positioned so that they looked at each other from afar.
The two statues were originally constructed to face the royal palace, but legend said that Sispanian, who came to the plaza as dragon to see the statue of Hatsua, changed the position of the statues and left.
As a result, the two plazas were a popular attraction for tourists and couples.
However, the people who visited the plaza from this dawn did not even set their eyes on the two famous fountains, instead competing for space so that they could stand as close to the palace as possible.
Today was the birthday celebration of King Rumein.
Early at dawn, a grand platform was built on the royal road before the palace gate. It was here the subjects would greet the king on the occasion of his birthday. For those who had to stand far away, large crystal plates were erected in front of the two fountains. Images of the royal family would be projected onto the magical devices so they could be seen from afar.
Security guards swarmed the plazas, ready to handle any possible incidents. In the morning, the palace maids came out and began a swarm of activity, cleaning the platform and piling up commemorative gifts for those in the square.
Of course, the exterior of the palace was not the only place that was bustling. Preparations for the event were also in full swing inside the royal palace.
Calian nervously let out a long sigh.
For the first time, there was no breakfast, as everyone was too busy preparing for the festival.
Schatten had arrived just when Calian was stepping lightly out of the bath. As Calian was not yet presentable, Yan lowered the bedroom curtain before allowing Schatten in the room.
Schatten could only be viewed through the curtain from Calian’s side, and the prince noted that the tailor’s face seemed to have emaciated overnight. Judging from the fact that Schatten was still wearing the same clothes as yesterday, he likely pulled an all-nighter mending his clothes. Calian again allowed him use of his carriage with his gratitude and apologies.
Yan drew the curtains away after Schatten left. Somehow Yan was more nervous than Calian, and the attendant’s face was as stiff as solid clay.
“I’ll repeat today’s schedule for you while you’re preparing.”
Calian had lost count how many times the schedules had been droned into his ear.
“You will congratulate His Majesty the king at 9 a.m., and at 10 p.m., you will be attending the event at the plaza. The lunch banquet begins at noon with the queen.”
Calian finished Yan’s words.
“At 2:00 p.m. there’s tea with the capital city noblemen, 5:00 p.m. with the local aristocracy, and at 8:00 p.m. is the banquet which ends at 11 p.m. I memorized it all.”
Yan laughed. He seemed to have realized how many times he had repeated the schedule.
“That’s right. We will have a meeting with the ambassadors tomorrow, so it’ll be helpful if you listen to the noblemen’s conversation today.”
All Calian was looking forward to was the banquet, as Alan would come by when the banquet was almost over. Calian was impatient to see the mage, but at the same time he felt relieved.
‘Yes. It’s rather a good thing. I can’t get out of here before then.’
It would be a hectic day, and if Alan came and left in the middle of his scheduled activities, it would be a disaster.
Calian did not expect much from the meetings with ambassadors from countries or, to be exact, from Secretia. He knew the mission did not include Chase, and none of the Secretia nobles coming would expect to meet with Calian.
‘I don’t remember who will come. But even if I know someone, I can’t go and ask if Prince Chase is doing well these days.’
At this time Bern had very poor relations with the nobility of Secretia. They opposed Bern when he said he would give up to throne to his half-brother Chase, the son of a concubine. Nothing could persuade him otherwise.
And so, he received a knighthood from Chase.
‘I can remember their faces when I swore my loyalty to my brother.’
Yan’s voice interrupted Calian’s thoughts. This time Yan had a cautionary tone, but of course Calian had already heard it before.
“When you greet the nobles, I’ll announce who you are from behind. Other than that, I don’t think there’s anything else you need to say. But if you have a word for them–”
As Calian watched his attendant fret, he drew himself from his memories and a mischievous smile twinkled in his eyes. Calian interrupted Yan again.
“If they forget my name, they’ll look towards the competent senior servant to tell them. And while I may say a greeting, I don’t speak my name directly. I am royalty after all.”
Yan shook his head with surprise.
“Prince, please keep your words down.”
Calian flashed a grin.
“But they don’t know my name. Everyone just seems to say, ‘Oh, is it that Calian?’”
Calian didn’t mean it, so Yan didn’t answer. He just looked at the prince with a bitter expression on his face.
“That will be different after today. Stop worrying about yourself. You are not going to make a mistake.”
Calian had lifetime experience of being a prince, and even a knight. Calian was more confident than anyone else he could transform himself into a perfect prince in front of everyone. So, while he was waiting for the festival, a thought came to his head.
‘The assassin will come anyway, so I have to take this opportunity to upset Queen Silica’s plans.’
Should he stand out or try to go unnoticed? Regardless of his choice, Silica hated Calian’s existence, and he was bound to be in her sights. And so, like cat fur in one’s eye, he was determined to be as much of an irritant to her as possible.
Oblivious to his thoughts, Yan worriedly watched the prince. Soon Yan’s serious voice caught up with Calian’s playful smile.
“And, prince. Most important of all is your health. If you don’t think you’re able to attend all the events, please don’t try to endure it and tell me right away if you’re tired.”
Calian clasped Yan on the shoulder in reassurance.
Now today’s first change of clothes was his ceremonial outfit.
He dressed in a white dress shirt and black pants, a tight black jacket with two rows of gold buttons. Added to it was a waist-length jacket with a collar that came halfway up his neck.
Added to that was a red cape that came down to his knees. The maids fixed the cape over his jacket, and he watched as they joined two golden cords and tassels across it. Marilyn gave him a final once over and spoke with a satisfied expression.
“You’re ready, Your Highness. It really suits you.”
Calian observed himself in the mirror and nodded lightly.
He did look a bit thin, but other than that the ceremonial outfit fit him well.
Threaded in gold on his jacket was the dragon crest of Kailis. Indeed, it was the first time that he had worn the crest, so he couldn’t pull his eyes away from the mirror.
‘The crest of Kailis is not unfamiliar to me now.’
Rather, he was worried that Secretia’s crest would be unfamiliar.
While Calian kept turning to look at the details in the mirror, Yan was pricked with anxiety. He was afraid the prince would break the mirror at any moment, even though Calian did not do such a thing anymore.
“Your Highness, is there anything you are displeased with?” Yan asked cautiously.
Only then did Calian’s eyes turn away the mirror. Fortunately, he was not in a state of melancholy that Yan was worried about. No, it was quite the opposite in fact.
Calian replied with a grin.
“I do look good from time to time.”
Yan’s expression changed to a smile of relief.
Calian left the room, and Yan, who had a look of wonder every time he saw this new Calian, quickly followed him.