Chapter 50: Festivals
“Lately, the atmosphere on campus has been unsettled.
The plants have grown thick, and the green has become dense.
As I look at the restless students from the shade of the trees and say this, William-sama casually opens his mouth.
“It’s because the day of the festival, which only happens once every seven years, is approaching.”
I ask, wondering.
“It’s a traditional festival in the capital. In the old days, there was a legend that two people of different social classes who were deeply in love sent lanterns into the sky every day for seven years to confirm their love for each other, and they were able to marry thanks to the blessing of the god of love who was moved by their courage.
He closes the book he was reading, and turns to face me.
“Those two people are said to be the second king and queen. Since then, the capital has continued the tradition of sending lanterns into the sky once every seven years.”
“I see… I didn’t know that.”
As I say this in admiration, he shakes his head.
“It’s not surprising that you don’t know. It’s a festival that only happens once every seven years, so only the people of the capital know about it. Except for certain people.”
As I tilt my head at the suggestive words, William-sama smiles.
“People who are thinking of someone, or couples. This festival is a perfect opportunity to express your feelings. Of course, I’m also struggling with how to invite you to the festival… Hey, will you come with me?”
Ever since the two of us went out to the opera house, William-sama has frequently invited me somewhere like this.
It’s meaningless to resist in front of that smile.
As a servant, I don’t have the option to say no, and I just nod in response to William-sama’s question.
(Is it true? Is it only because I’m a servant?)
That inner voice that rises from the depths of my heart is once again shut away by my reason.
The sparkling lights, the lively stalls, the couples meeting and greeting.
…somehow I feel out of place and cramped.
In the festive atmosphere of the festival, I feel uncomfortable and William-sama looks at my face as if worried.
“Leah, are you getting drunk? Do you want to take a break somewhere?”
I quickly weave words to clarify William-sama’s misunderstanding as he lowers his eyebrows.
“No, I’m fine. It’s just that I feel overwhelmed by the atmosphere…”
“Ah…because love is revered at this festival, there are many people who are not afraid to show affection in public…it was me who invited you, but to be honest, I feel a little overwhelmed too…”
William-sama bitterly smiles as he avoids looking at the man and woman passionately kissing in the shadows of the shop.
At that moment,
A woman’s voice stopped us.
When we turned around, there was a cute, young girl with a charming appearance standing there.
Her cheeks were red as she looked straight at William-sama.
“Yes? Do you need something from us?”
William-sama asked, and the woman hesitated shyly.
“Well…I, I fell in love at first sight! Please become my lover!”
Her voice was so loud that it made my ears ring.
The surroundings became quiet, and then suddenly erupted.
“Whoa!! Hey, she’s got some balls!”
“Yo, playboy! You have to give a good response, or you’ll be a waste of a man!”
“Best wishes to the new couple!”
Various jeers flew around, and the girl’s cheeks reddened even more.
Just as William-sama, who was flustered and struggling for words, was about to open his mouth,
A young man ran up to the girl.
“What are you doing, don’t run off! Let’s go!”
He tried to pull her hand and lead her away.
The people around stopped him.
“Come on now. Don’t be so rude, buddy. That lady just made a once-in-a-lifetime confession to the playboy over there!”
After hearing that, the young man opened his mouth in shock and turned to the girl.
“…You’re kidding, right?”
The girl pressed her bright red cheeks with her hand and lowered her face.
“It’s true, Carter.”
The young man looked stunned for a moment, but then his eyes sharpened and he glared at William-sama.
“I don’t accept it…I don’t accept it…”
He muttered, and then suddenly pointed at William-sama and yelled,
“I’m the one who will be bound to Jessica! I challenge you to a duel!”
The surroundings became quiet again, and then,
“Ohhoo!! A love triangle!”
“This is getting interesting!”
“I’ll bet three copper coins on the playboy!”
“I’ll bet five copper coins on the newcomer!”
The excitement rose even more and irresponsible jeers poured down.
William-sama was dumbfounded by the surroundings that were getting more and more heated, but he quickly regained his senses and tried to speak in a hurry.
“Wait, I’m sorry, but I have no intention of responding to that woman’s feelings…”
But before William-sama could finish his words,
“Oooh!! I won’t hand over Jessica!!”
The young man, who didn’t even hear William-sama’s words, charged towards him while waving his arms.
I quickly stood in front of William-sama and blocked the young man’s fist, and twisted his arm.
“Ow?! Ow, it hurts it hurts it hurts!!”
The young man struggled and flailed about.
When I called out to him, William-sama nodded.
William-sama took a step towards the girl.
“To the person who approached me. I’m sorry, but I can’t respond to your feelings.”
He told her with a confident voice.
She shook her eyes and then looked down dejectedly.
I don’t know when it happened, but I let go of the young man’s arm.
William-sama turned on his heel and spoke to me.
“Leah, shall we go?”
I responded to William-sama’s words with a bow and naturally followed him as he walked through the broken crowd and left the place.