The main gate of the Kyris Royal Palace led directly onto the Royal Road – a large artery that passed through the entire city. In front of the palace were two plazas that stood symmetrically on either side of the road: Hastuara Square on the east and Sispanian Square on the west.
At the centre of each plaza was a fountain bearing a statue of the founders. The human form of Sispanian stood in Hatsuara Plaza, and on the other side King Hatsuara 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 a dragon to see the statue of Hatsuara after his death, turned the two statues to look at each other and left.
As a result, the two squares were sought after tourist attractions of Kyris, there were many visitors and couples who came even on normal days.
However, the people who visited the plaza from 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, this would be where King Rumein would stand to greet his subjects. 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.
Guards in charge of security were 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.
“Haaaaa,” Calian nervously let out a long sigh, he finally felt how important today truly was.
For the first time, there was no formal breakfast as everyone was too busy preparing for the festival.
Schatten had arrived just when Calian was stepping out of the bath. As Calian was not yet presentable enough to greet outsiders, Yan lowered the bedroom curtain before allowing Schatten in the room.
Because of that, only Schatten could be viewed 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 sent him off with his carriage once again, feeling both grateful and sorry.
Yan drew the curtains away after Schatten left.
“I’ll repeat today’s schedule for you while you’re preparing.” Somehow Yan was more nervous than Calian, and the attendant’s face was as stiff as if it had been molded out of clay.
Calian had lost count how many times the schedules had been droned into his ear.
“At 9am, you will be formally greeting his Majesty formally for his birthday, at 10am, you will take part in the greetings at the plaza. From 12pm, there is luncheon with their Majesties the King and Queen-”
Calian stepped in,
“At 2pm, I will be greeting the Central Aristocrats, at 5pm I will be greeting the Outer Aristocrats, 8pm Banquet ending at 11pm – I’ve memorised it all.”
When he interrupted him, Yan laughed. He seemed to have realized how many times he had repeated the schedule.
“That’s right. You will have a meeting with the foreign ambassadors and envoys 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 today would be anyone Calian thought worth meeting.
‘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.’
During this time, Bern had very poor relations with the nobility of Secretia. They opposed Bern when he said he would give up the throne to his half-brother Chase, the son of a concubine. To them it was only natural that the son of the Queen, Bern, become King – not one person supported his notion.
Nothing could persuade him otherwise, so he received a knighthood from Chase.
‘I can still 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 the same thing so many times that it was getting boring.
“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-”
Looking at Yan’s face full of worries, Calian drew himself out of past memories and a mischievous twinkle entered his eyes,
“….If I forget anyone’s name, I should look at Yan, the most competent senior attendant Yan will tell me again, who they are. I can say hello first but I should never say my name or introduce myself since I am royalty,” Calian spoke formally
“Your highness, please lower your words,” the startled Yan said as he bowed low,
(Tani’s TMI Time – To lower your words is to speak informally – it means to speak to someone as if they are on a lower/equal level to you – when you speak to someone formally, you are raising them to a level higher than you – either due to status or just politeness.
As Royalty, Calian should never lower himself or even put himself on the same level as Yan, not only is it demeaning to the status of the royal family, it can actually get Yan in a lot of trouble – in fact it borders on treason.
Basically he’s teasing Yan.)
“Ah but do you think there would be anyone who doesn’t know my name? Everyone seems to refer to me in a rather special way, ‘Ahh.. that Calian!’,”
They were words that were said with wide round eyes and a smile but of course, they did not have a good meaning which is why Yan simply looked at Calian with a bitter smile instead of an answer.
“Anyway, that will change too, from today onwards so stop worrying about everything. I won’t be making any mistakes.”
Calian had been a prince for a long time – was that all? Not only had he been a Prince for a lifetime, he had also been the Crown Prince and a Knight. Calian had more confidence than anyone else that he could act as the perfect Prince in front of people. So, while he was waiting for the festival, a thought came to his head.
‘The assassin will come anyway, so it would be better if I took his opportunity to mess with Silica’s plans and turn it all upside down,’
The only question that remained was – should he stand out? Or act invisibly?
Regardless of his choice, Silica was the type of woman who just hated Calian’s existence, so no matter what he did, he was bound to stand out in her eyes. 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, your highness, the most important matter 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. You must,”
They were words he added with concern for Calian’s deteriorating health. He wondered if anything would change even if he did yell Yan – but knowing Yan, he would most definitely try to do something about it so that Calian could rest.
“Alright, I will, don’t worry,” Calian clasped Yan on the shoulder in reassurance before looking down at his own arm, then his clothes. The royal ceremonial uniform felt unfamiliar.
He dressed in a white dress shirt and black pants, a tight black waistcoat with two rows of gold buttons. Added to it was a waist-length jacket with a collar that came halfway up his neck.
And finally, 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.
“The preparations are complete, Your Highness. It really suits you.”
Calian observed himself in the mirror and nodded lightly. Marilyn’s words were a little dry – but he could tell she was not lying. He did look a bit thin, but other than that the ceremonial outfit fit him well.
Threaded in gold on his jacket was the crest of Kyris. Indeed, it was the first time that he had worn the crest on his person, so he couldn’t pull his eyes away from the mirror.
A five-pointed star and a dragon. ‘It’s strange that the crest of Kyris 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, “Just that I’m already really handsome,”
Yan’s expression changed to one of joy.
Calian left the room, and Yan, who had a look of wonder every time he saw this new Calian, quickly followed him.
His small carriage stood waiting in front of Chermil Palace. Judging by the fact that it was a lone carriage, both Randall and Franz must have already left.
‘Randall I understand, but even Franz?’
It was unexpected, but even so Calian wasn’t late yet. After the driver confirmed that Calian and Yan were on board, the carriage began to move at a steady pace.
Because of the large number of visitors to the royal palace, there were many carriages streaming in and out of the grounds.
The carriage soon arrived at the Arpia Palace, where the king’s study could be found. The original schedule was to head to the Camila Palace, the king’s residence, but because the festival preparations had gone overlong the lengthy formalities were removed and there was only to be a brief greeting at the king’s office. Calian appreciated this development. The most difficult part of the schedule was changed into the simplest.
However, after a time Calian turned to Yan with a puzzled expression.
“Where are they?”
Randall and Franz were nowhere to be seen. Yan’s pupils trembled nervously. He didn’t know either.
Calian gave a rueful smile. “Well, there must be some things you don’t know after all,”
Yan was at a loss for what to do.
Then, someone approached them. It was the Grand Chamberlain, who managed the royal household and gave the impression of a profound old man with his pure white hair. He bowed politely to Calian.
“Hello, Prince Calian,”
Calian acknowledged him with a light nod.
“Where are my brothers?” he asked.
Then the chamberlain looked up at Calian and replied gently,
“They have already returned to the Chermil palace. His Majesty the King has said that some urgent work had come up, so the format was changed. For the same reason, today’s lunch was canceled. I apologize that you weren’t informed in advance.”
What the hell is going on here? Calian replied with a confused look.
“So you mean that he has already met my brothers separately?”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
He could hear Yan inhale sharply from behind. He could tell what he was thinking without looking at the face.
‘I didn’t tell you what to do when you meet His Majesty!’
Yan was so careful about manners even when Calian already had his separate etiquette classes.
However, the king didn’t have enough time to meet the three princes at once. Calian couldn’t understand it. No matter how one thought of it, seeing the three at once would take less time.
Whatever the reason, he had to follow the king’s wishes, no matter how fickle.
“Then may I go inside now?” Calian asked.
The chamberlain replied with a bow. “Yes, Your Highness. Right away.”
This was the first time he would meet Calian’s father. He never thought such a first meeting would be such a difficult one.
‘The first meeting will be alone.’
Calian had never thought he would miss Franz and Randall’s presence as much as he did now. All the nervousness that had left him upon hearing that the formalities had been cancelled slipped right back onto his shoulders.
He secretly took a deep breath as he walked toward his office.
Calian could not find any memories of private meetings with his father. Even when he was Bern, he had never met privately with his own father the king, as they were not on good terms with each other. Chase was the only king he had ever met alone, and the solitude with Chase were brotherly encounters. Nothing like this.
Calian entered the royal office with a serious look on his face.
He was like a swan swimming on a lake. Though calm on the surface, underneath he was as breathless as if he had done five laps on the shores by Chermil Palace. He repeated the words he would say dozens and dozens of times to himself, but they all flew away when his gaze fell upon the king.
Two chapters in one day hell yeah!
Let me know what you think!