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Chapter 37: Circus
The travelling circus troupe—Abyss Ring, was a large one, employing hundreds of people.
Putting together many performances such as animal acrobatics, mid-air acrobatics, acrobatics on the ground and clown performances, the rows of caravans went around the continent, holding events in each nation.
The last time the troupe had visited Palcemith was two years ago. It was a performance celebrating the Crown Prince Vikram reaching adulthood. Crown Prince Vikram was greatly impressed by the artistic performances unfolding in front of his eyes and personally bestowed a medal to the leader of the troupe, Ducali Druid. The leader expressed his deep gratitude and promised the Crown Prince that the Abyss Ring circus troupe would visit Palcemith whenever he requested of them.
They had come this time on the occasion of [The Light of the Spirits], that could be called an opening act to the Dragon God Festival and would stay till the Crown Prince’s enthronement ceremony, that would be accompanied by his marriage to his fiancee. With all that, their stay in Palcemith would last two months. They would easily make a killing.
Escorted by Jolga, I entered a single balcony seat prepared for us, a shawl wrapped around my head.
The balcony seats were partitioned by thin curtains of different colours, in a manner that made it difficult to peep into the happenings inside. Behind the curtains, one could snuggle up to their partner on the rattan round sofa that had fine pillows on top, and enjoy the performance while comfortably relaxing. The side table had chilled glasses and a bottle of champagne, in addition to an assortment of fruits prepared.
As I rushed to lean into the back of the sofa, Jolga looked around the balcony seat, deeply interested, and devoted his attention to the stage beyond the curtains.
“It’s a lot more luxurious than I imagined.”
“Jolga. Is this your first time at a circus?”
Jolga tilted his head in confusion at my question, lost in thought. In the end, he gave a vague nod and took off his coat and shoes. Climbing onto the sofa, he embraced me.
“I have seen it many times as His Highness’ guard. …But this is my first time appreciating it as a guest. I don’t remember it much.”
“Hm, it seems like a tedious job.”
“Being a personal guard is like that. At any rate, I won’t get tired. Tonight, it is Lutora who is serving my role.”
…Is it fine for him to be preoccupied with the other?1
As Jolga and I were engrossed in conversation, I sensed someone waiting for us outside the canopy. As the other requested to enter the room, I fixed up my shawl tightly over my head, and calmly leaned on Jolga’s arms, crossing my legs.
The moment, Jolga gave his permission to enter the room, a plump middle-aged man stooped down to access the canopy. He wore a frock coat with a gaudy design, accessorised with a chain and monocle, and held an equally garish top hat in one hand. Twirling the moustache of his Van Dyke style beard with his finger, the man bowed to Jolga and subsequently glanced at me in his arms, his expression revealing his utter disbelief.
“I’m Jolga Von Oswein. I’m glad tonight’s feast was successful.”
“I’m grateful for your words. Knight Commander Jolga Von Oswein. Thank you for gracing us with your presence. I am the troupe leader of Abyss Ring circus, Ducali Druid. Pleased to make your acquaintance.”
“Troupe leader Ducali, I see. I appreciate the invitation.”
“Don’t mention it! …Please, call me Duke. It will be my honour for the renowned Knight Commander to appreciate the wonderful performance of our troupe.”
“I see, I’m looking forward to it.”
“Please do. Also, your companion is…?”
“Ahh…this is Anri. My apologies, but please spare him a self-introduction. …He’s a little shy.”
Jolga gently crept his palm along my back and shoulders as I hid my face. He turned to face Ducali and gave a smile.
“Anri said he wanted to see the circus, so I arranged for a seat…It’ll be a little embarrassing if His Highness got wind of this. Please do not let him find out.”
“I understand. Please be at ease. The seats His Highness Vikram and his fiancee Nasha will view the performance from, are special seats prepared at the front, close to the stage. They should not be able to see into the balcony seats.”
“That’s reassuring to know… By the way, Du—”
Jolga called out troupe leader Ducali’s nickname, uttering the words I had taught him.
“I happened to hear that after the main program ends… a [Dog Show] will be held.”
Ducali’s eyes grew wide behind his monocle, and he exclaimed.
He must have never imagined those words coming out of Jolga’s mouth. He asked Jolga, his voice laced with wariness.
“Sir Jolga, pardon my presumptuousness, but whom did you hear it from?”
“From the Former Prime Minister. I have quite a few opportunities to chat with him lately.”
At Jolga’s reply, Ducali nodded in understanding.
“I see. I had certainly heard on the grapevine that you two were eagerly networking…but for the Former Prime Minister to trust you to the point of telling you of this, it truly is a strange twist of fate.”
“Well…once we had a heart-to-heart chat, I came to know that we had a lot of chemistry.” 2
Hey, you mongrel. Don’t insinuate our relationship! Well, that definitely would make it more interesting though.
“What!? Ohoho, this is excellent. Goodness gracious, we can hold no candle to His Excellency’s astuteness…I was worried after seeing experience a fall from grace… But seems like he already had an authority such as you in his pocket. As expected of him.”
His moustache seemed to perk up as he made an expression of satisfaction. Ducali took out a ribbon with red and white stripes from his coat pocket. Handing out the ribbon that exactly matched the colour scheme of the tent to Jolga, he once again bowed.
“Please pin it to your body. It is proof that you are “visitor” to the [Dog Show] that will be held after the main event. Please do not tell this to others.”
“Then, see you later.”
The moment Ducali slipped out through the gaps of the curtain, the outside grew noisy. As the cheers and applause drew close, the imposing figures of guards within the tent grew in number at the same time.
It seemed like it was time for the Crown Prince and his fiancee Nasha’s arrival.
I took the ribbon from Jolga’s hand and wrapped it around my wrist.
If this is the only pass, I should take care of it.
“It really is there, the [Dog Show]…”
Jolga, who didn’t quite understand, must be thinking that the so-called Dog Show would be dogs balancing on a ball, crossing obstacles, and leaping through rings of fire. If that were true, this would have a very happy conclusion. But that wasn’t the case.
I held out my wrist that had the ribbon wrapped around it. Jolga stretched his hands and tied the ends of the ribbon so that it didn’t easily come undone.
At long last, the tent erupted in applause, as Crown Prince Vikram held his fiancee, Nasha’s hand as they entered the tent together, waving their hands at the audience.
Wow, even though her sister just had that horrible fate befall her, she had a bright smile on her face.
Maybe Nasha would say something along the lines of, “I have to be happy for my sister, Melia’s sake too.”
Although the two were surrounded by guard knights, they still happily held their hands interlocked as they reached their special seats and sat down. …Are you still showing off your fake closeness? Or was it simply that some strange bug had hatched in their brains?
Even Jolga cringed a little. It certainly felt visually damaging.
But everyone planning on watching the Dog Show. It was very important to carefully observe Nasha’s face.
Keep this in mind.
“Pft… can’t wait to see what happens ahead of this.”
I couldn’t see where they were from here, but I was sure that the orphans from the Shrine and Malacia too, were somewhere inside the tent.
Malacia had a few men he had to contact once the main program was sorted, and I too had to make Jolga watch the Dog Show. Our actions were different, but I might be the only one betting on my life.
“Then… let us begin.”
The lights turned off, and the tent was plunged into darkness. The moment light returned to the tent.
Inside the ring in the centre of the stage, were entertainers suited up in glamorous stage outfits.
Standing in front of them, Ducali stretched both his arms wide and said the words that signalled the curtain-raising.
『Ladies and Gentlemen! It’s Showtime !』
Hasr: Lol Jolga is so pure. Next few chapters are super spicy~
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