While Calian was starting his lunch, a strange tension settled amongst the nobles who were gathered in the first floor hall of Senyu Pavilion. Although it was the last day of celebration, the crowd was even more lively than it had been on the first day.
“On the 2nd day of celebration, Great Mage Alan Manasil stayed in the Mages’ Union Headquarters all day.”
“Mages who are part of the union suddenly began to scurry around, but no reason could be identified.”
As such rumours quickly spread, unbelievable pieces of news hopped on the train.
“It was none other than the third prince, Calian, who will be Alan Manasil’s very first student.”
“Apparently Alan Manasil has already finished talking to King Rumein regarding this issue.”
When the nobles weighed the impact of their relationship, their panic gushed out like fierce waves of confusion.
However, there was also a place where this news didn’t reach – namely because the owner of the room hadn’t woken up yet, despite it already being late in the morning.
A loud noise sounded from outside his residence door. At the same time, the door flung open and somebody called him in urgency. It was the senior attendant who was in charge of waking him up every morning.
“Your Highness! You must wake up now, Your Highness!”
The attendant didn’t speak in a soft voice, nor did he ring the bell. He stood outside the bedroom curtains and loudly called for his master.
His eyes fluttered open only after the attendant cried out once again, shedding light to his light green iris.
Despite all the things that were out of the ordinary, he slowly raised himself as everything was merely a nuisance. He pressed his hands against his aching forehead and crumpled up his face into an annoyed expression.
“What… do you think you’re doing?” He glanced at his attendant who was standing on the other side of the curtains, anxiously pacing back and forth.
The attendant frantically spoke up once again. “Prince Franz, you must wake u-”
Just then, another figure appeared behind the attendant and reached their hand forward, pushing him to the side and pulling on the curtains.
A strong scent devoured the room. The scent of Ranieri.
Franz stood up with a grimace.
“I’m coming in.”
She wasn’t asking if she could come in. It was always like that. She didn’t know how to ask first and be considerate of others.
A set of pale fingers drew the curtain. The hem of a mint-coloured dress and a pair of lemon yellow heels entered Franz’s bedroom. It was Silica.
Franz’s attendant followed behind Silica. He was clearly flustered out of his mind.
Although this had happened multiple times before, he seemed to have trouble with becoming accustomed to it. Franz flung his hand at the attendant, gesturing him out, and the attendant bowed deeply to his master before leaving in a hurry.
As the door closed, Silica covered her face with a fan. Knowing that she would be scowling, Franz didn’t bother looking at her face.
Silica looked around the room slowly.
“This room reeks of alcohol.”
The scent of Ranieri is overwhelming the smell of alcohol.
Instead of speaking his mind, Franz tapped on the half-empty glass next to his bed with his index finger. His actions spoke in his stead: ‘it’s bound to smell like alcohol since I drank some’. Of course, he was going directly against Rumein’s orders by drinking.
Silica’s eyes turned fierce, but the voice that seeped out from behind the fan was still as calm as ever.
“You’re only fifteen. Fifteen-year-olds aren’t supposed to be pickled in alcohol. And you haven’t even gotten up yet even though it’s almost time for you to leave for your next schedule.”
For a moment, Franz thought that he had heard Rumein’s voice – hiding behind his documents – overlap with Silica’s.
Franz began to drink right after his coming-of-age ceremony on the day he turned fifteen. Even so, it was unacceptable for him to always reeking of alcohol. On top of that, he had even made a public appearance while wasted.
“How very disappointing,” spat Silica.
“I believe that isn’t why you came to visit.” Franz picked up the half-empty glass. It was difficult to tell whether his bleary eyes were the result of sleep or alcohol. What was certain, however, was that he didn’t seem intent on conversing.
“Why are you here?”
Silica clenched her fan tightly in an attempt to hold in her anger.
“What would His Majesty think of you when he sees you acting like this all the time? Even if I try my best to-”
“I don’t… want to hear that,” said Franz languidly, still not looking at Silica.
Silica’s eyebrows twitched, but she managed to calm her voice once again.
“You’re becoming more and more impolite. You didn’t show that kind of attitude when you were conversing with His Majesty, did you?”
‘Me? Conversing with him?’ Franz opened his eyes halfway and scoffed.
“Please leave after stating your business,” muttered Franz. He paid no attention to his disheveled clothes. He merely exuded reluctance to speak.
“Calian has enticed a mage. There is unrest amongst the nobles who heard that Alan Manasil has accepted Calian as his student.”
Franz had brushed past Silica and was heading towards the couch when he halted. He lowered his gaze and stared at the glass in his hand. The liquid inside sloshed around.
However, that was it. Franz showed no further reaction.
“…so what?” he sighed.
Silica turned to face Franz. She knew that Franz had understood what it meant and why she had run all the way over to see him.
Therefore, rather than spewing a lengthy explanation, she chose to ask:
“Do you plan to continue disappointing me?”
“Stop that. Trying, I mean.” Instead of answering Silica’s question, he once again told her what he had always told her. Before Silica could go on, Franz interjected,
Franz raised his hand with which he held his glass and pointed at the door. Silica stood still and stared at Franz for a long while.
However, Franz’s hand did not budge no matter how much time had passed.
“Don’t be late… today or ever.” Silica folded her fan and stared into Franz’s eyes once again.
“Do not let anything get in your way.”
Silica turned around brusquely and left. The door slammed shut and Franz dropped his hand that was pointing at the door.
Franz stared blankly at the glass of unfinished alcohol in his hand. He clenched his teeth and hurled the glass at the wall.
The glass shattered into a million pieces and scattered all over the floor. Some of the shards bounced off the floor and cut Franz’s hand, causing it to bleed. The attendants and maids who were hesitantly waiting outside the door all rushed in when they heard the crashing noise.
Franz hung his shoulders low as he gazed at the droplets of blood that dripped from his fingertips.
“Your Highness, your hand is bleeding. We must tend to-”
“Out! Get out! Piss off!”
After lunch, Calian changed into his ceremonial attire. The antidote seemed to be working, considering that he could breathe more easily now. The fact that he didn’t drink his morning tea thanks to Alan’s sudden visit must have also added onto his improved health.
While the maids brushed Calian’s hair and did a final check, Yan explained the schedule for the final day of celebration.
“You will soon be heading out to watch a horseback riding show. The venue is about an hour away from the palace. From 8pm, you will be attending a ball.”
The reason as to why the princes were all taught how to ride horses and why the King was heading out to watch a horseback riding show on his birthday was simple: Rumein loved horses.
In any case, Calian also enjoyed spending time with Raven. He had no qualms with the King’s tastes.
“Is that the show that the Brissen Merchantry had to cancel?” asked Calian.
“Yes indeed. If you would remember, Viscount Brissen had visited to join Your Highnesses for dinner when he came to the palace as an apology.”
A show large enough for the King to attend was usually organised by a large merchant. Part of it was because there was no theatre company that large, and another part was because most large stages were owned by a merchantry.
“It was decided that Pollun Merchantry would be in charge of the show this time. It’s our first time watching a show that isn’t organised by Brissen.”
“Pollun?” That name sounds familiar. Calian knit his brows and closed his eyes. After thinking for a while, he opened his eyes in a sudden realisation.
“Yes. He’s a young baron called Melfir Pollun. I heard that he’s quite a clever and able man. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but it’s almost as if Brissen yielded the show to them.”
They gave it to Pollun because they didn’t want to get hung to death.
Instead of saying his answer out loud, Calian’s eyes sharpened as he finally remembered what had happened. Calian remembered Melfir Pollun from this one famous incident that had spread its news all the way to Secretia.
A member of the royal family – moreover, the first prince – was injured during this incident.
When the royal family was leaving the grounds after a horseback riding show, a temporary structure that was built for the show collapsed. Randall, who was walking down the stairs, was struck by the falling structure and fell to the floor below.
Although the injury wasn’t fatal, he broke his leg and had to rest in Tensil for about a month.
So that’s supposed to happen today, huh. Since Rumein watches so many horseback riding shows, I never even thought that it would be today.
Calian tapped his finger on his knees. It wasn’t simply an accident.
They later found that the rope that held the structure in place was tampered with using a sharp object. Although that in itself wasn’t a good enough evidence to conclude that Melfir tried to harm the first prince, Randall was the grandson of the King of Tensil. After Tensil’s strong complaints, Rumein sent Melfir to the gallows.
Upon hearing about this incident, Bern had had a discussion with Chase about the verdict being too rash considering that the deed was too sloppily executed for it to have been targeting a member of the royal family.
Chase seemed to have figured out something, but he didn’t tell Bern what he had realised. Bern remembered this incident because he had been trying to guess what it was for a long time.
It’s extremely unlikely that Pollun was the culprit.
Only an idiot would leave such a crucial evidence behind in his own show venue after targeting a member of the royal family. If he really was a clever and able man as Yan had concluded, he would use this show as an opportunity to connect with the royal family – not as a stepping stone to being executed.
Brissen is the most suspicious after all… why did he target Randall? It was only to injure him, too. Or was he just after Pollun Merchantry?
Did Pollun even pose that much of a threat for Brissen to involve Tensil and the royal family?
Bern nor the Old Calian remembered much about the merchantry. Calian frowned.
“Your Highness…?” said Yan hesitantly. When Calian turned to face Yan, he asked in a soft voice.
“Is something bothering you?”
He must have been concerned since Calian was frowning at the mirror without saying anything. Calian smiled and shook his head.
“No, I was just lost in thought.”
Calian noticed that Yan always seemed uneasy whenever Calian took his time in front of the mirror. Just how many mirrors did the Old Calian shatter?
Calian stood up and assured,
“You don’t need to worry about the mirror anymore.”
“Yes, Your Highness,” muttered Yan, embarrassed that his thoughts were read.
Calian pretended not to notice. Instead, he asked,
“Will Baron Pollun come and greet us during the show today?”
“During a show, the host usually sits next to His Majesty. He will greet you before the show begins.”
Calian could not stop himself from being suspicious about Brissen’s intervention. Something fishy was going on.
I’ll save him first and find out what’s going on.
The first thing that Calian must do was to ensure that Melfir Pollun wasn’t executed. Grasping the situation would come after that.
Original Translation: Wordexcerpt
Edited by: Tani Andris
There were some minor grammar changes but this translation was well-done, I combed through it using the raws and it looks fine to me.
I’m going through and editing chapters that have been previously translated which takes about an hour or two per chapter since I comb through every line. But it means that I don’t have to spend ages re-translating everything which is great.