Sixteenth day of the Darkness calendar, the Wind Carving day
The city was still bustling with the Freedom Festival, but with all of the holidays of the past year now behind, the palace knights were busy preparing for the Festival of Creation, and its parade signifying the coming of the new year.
Every corps would be wearing specially tailored gorgeous uniforms and would march from Volance palace up to the gate of the lower-class district. This year, the Overlook Tower Square was chosen as the destination of the procession.
The Darkness God Corps were also preparing for the parade, but compared to the other corps, their numbers were few. No matter what they did, they would be outmatched by other corps both by the speed of execution and the number of ideas that they could come up with, hence their preparations were calm and lacked the bustling fervor that one could see amongst the remaining palace corps.
Instead, the Darkness God Corps paid much more attention towards mitigating the damage caused by the rumors about the relation between their Captain and the Evil God. They were especially focused towards quelling the perpetrators who were spreading the rumors, but their efforts did not yield the desired results.
Evil beasts were rampaging in every country and people started gossiping that Gazzetta has become the safest country to live in during these times. These rumors added even more oil to the rumors about Yuusuke since some gossips blamed the “God of Calamity, the Captain of the Darkness God Corps” for the rampaging beasts and claimed that he was a pawn of Gazzetta.
Reifold was trying his best to eliminate the sources of these rumors, but he was not a native of Fonclanc and his spy network was not as strong within Fonclanc. He tried his best to support his allies, but his status didn’t make it any easier for him to grasp the loose end of the threads.
“Yo, how are the parade preparations?”
“Uh, it’s you Reifold… They are moving forth little by little I guess.”
Reifold came to meet Yuusuke, who was occupying one of the guards’ resting rooms and was sitting before a pile of small trinkets that he was preparing for the festival. Reifold took one of the trinkets off the table, inspected it in his hand, and finally spoke of the matters after putting the trinket back into the pile.
“The king is worried about the evil beasts, and has instructed me to ask if you have any convenient tools that would help to subdue them.”
“I see, I can strengthen some equipment if he wishes me to, but ten days hasn’t passed yet since the last time I did that.”
Yuusuke had proclaimed that he could only use his divine arts once in ten days and used this limitation to slowly improve the equipment of the palace knights. If others were to catch wind of his true capabilities, there would be no end to the requests and Yuusuke wanted to avoid that at all costs.
“That’s right, the way you care for your subordinates is certainly impressive. I think it might have also affected other captains.”
“What do you mean by …”
An angry voice interrupted them. Violet entered the room taking long strides, making her twin tails sway around her. She threw a cold glare at Reifold as if he was trying to put strange thoughts into Yuusuke’s head, she rudely stepped in between the two. Reifold spread his arms out, faking surprise, and gave up after bowing respectfully to the noble girl. Following the bow, his body got surrounded by the light wind, and before anyone else had a chance to notice, ripples in the air made him invisible and the spy was gone.
“I swear, that guy has no tact at all…”
“Was it okay to send him off like that?”
Yuusuke was worried that Reifold might have had some secret mission for him from the King, but Violet answered with a voice so stern, that he had only heard it twice since Driadria and the Evil Beast institute disaster.
“Even if my Father has used him to send a message, I cannot trust that man.”
“There is no way I can ignore the King’s request!”
“You don’t have to because you answer directly to me.”
Violet waved her index finger before Yuusuke’s doubtful face, pressing her opinion, and then walked off toward the archery field where she had arranged a training session with Sun. Originally the princess intended only to peek at what kind of accessories he was creating, but seeing Reifold poisoning his mind again she couldn’t hold herself and intruded upon the conversation.
“Uahhh, I can’t let my guard down even for an instant.”
“Wah, that scared me. I thought that you had left the room.”
The self-proclaimed forest clansman had appeared again behind Yuusuke’s back before the youth even moved his eyes away from the door as if emerging from some hidden passage from somewhere within the room.
“So… about those that harbor ill towards you… how would you change them?
“I also cannot ignore Violet, can I?”
Reifold smiled sadly, as if saying “too bad” and left the room, this time for good.
A group of storehouses, facing each other in parallel rows, were constructed in an area a small distance away from the palace carriage boarding place. Usually, these storehouses were used by the knights to keep, maintain, and inspect their vehicles.
However, with the Creation Festival drawing near, the area was bustling with palace knights, decorating their carriages, having meetings, rigorously practicing their performances for the parade, and doing all kinds of similar preparatory work.
“Let’s install the water supply here, I think that a bucket of water down there should be enough for half a day.”
“I don’t know whether we should turn off the lights after that.”
Yuusuke, with Rashanasha as his helper, was decorating a corps autonomous carriage in the Darkness God Corps’ storehouse. The Darkness God Corps did not have any distinct theme like the other corps, that were drawing inspiration from the fire, water, earth, and wind symbols of the Great Four Gods faith, so Yuusuke decided to wield his customization powers to his utmost to prepare his carriage.
“But wouldn’t this stand out too much?”
“I guess so.”
The two of them giggled, already amused and thinking about the reactions of the spectators. Razshia, who rarely had a chance to leave the mansion would also be enjoying the festival, escorted by Yuusuke’s mansion guards. The two were looking forward to showing her their performance.
The first day of Volnar’s month of Fire.
The Darkness calendar has ended, bringing the Freedom festival to a close. Tomorrow the Creation Festival would start. This festival, marking the start of the new year was opened with the first rays of sunlight shining off of the shouka crystal-like material covered rooftops of the tallest buildings surrounding Volance palace.
Earlier in the morning, the pompously decorated corps carriages had lined up on the road before the storehouses, similarly decorated horses harnessed to them. The knights had also exchanged their traditional uniforms for showy ceremonial ones.
The Fire God Corps were wearing crimson mantles decorated with feather-like decorations, made out to look like a bird’s wings and fine ornaments, affixed to the uniforms with gemstone-encrusted clasps.
The Water God Corps had exchanged their armor-like uniforms for vivid water-blue long-hemmed robes. The knights were boarding their carriage holding small stage props which were probably needed for their performance.
The Earth God Corps uniform was a glossy high-grade leather armor. Instead of horses, their carriage was pulled by earth golems, manipulated by three knights.
The Wind God Corps uniforms were rather modest. The knights were holding buckets with festival props hidden under their lids.
Finally, the Darkness God Corps were clad in obsidian color armor, decorated with finely detailed golden ornaments. They were the last in the parade lineup, riding an open roof carriage, based on the bun that was introduced in the commoner district.
The parade moved through the highborn and middle-class districts with little performances and went all out only after entering the commoner district. Unlike the other years, it was decided that after crossing the district gate, the knight corps would line up before the platform that was erected for the royal family in Lookout Tower Square. The platform was surrounded by city guards, but that did not discourage the huge crowd that gathered to view the spectacle.
The tower itself was closed off to the spectators until the day after the festival. The knights had decided that it is much easier to watch over the festival from the many floors of the tower instead of erecting temporarily raised platforms. Yuusuke’s creation had allowed them to perform their duties with relative ease.
“They are coming! The knight’s procession!”
“They are as flashy as always. It looks like a river of fire is flowing down towards us.”
“The procession will have trouble reaching the district gate! You cannot stand there, move away! Don’t sit there!”
“Okay okay calm down now! Don’t push so hard, it’s dangerous. Calm down!”
The procession briefly disappeared behind the division gate, before the vanguard, the Fire God Corps, carrying ceremonial lances, their spears flaming like torches, had finally entered Lookout Tower Square. Approaching the King’s platform, the anticipation for the finale had peaked.
“Oooh, they are finally here. Yuusuke is at the very end, and I can’t see him from here.”
“Uh uhm… Violet-sama, is it really alright for us to be here?”
“Don’t worry don’t worry, my dad will let it slide.”
King Esvobus was seated on a huge throne at the front of the royal family’s platform. Violet was seated next to him, attended by Rashanasha and Razshia. The two girls could not hide their tension as they took their seats in the chairs near their princess.
Violet had brought them here after hearing from Yuusuke that it would be dangerous for a famous former singing princess and a Darkness God Corp’s servant to attend the festival after all the rumors that were spread during the Freedom festival.
Razshia was super nervous. On top of this being her first time to the festival, she was seated near the royal family. Yet she still raised her eyes towards the district gate in anticipation of the incoming procession. She had helped to prepare Yuusuke’s corps’ carriage, but she was nonetheless looking forward to seeing the spectacle and the spectator’s reactions.
The Fire God Corps captain Krielov headed the procession. Approaching the royalty’s platform, he strengthened his divine art, making his ceremonial spear erupt like a water fountain. The sparks from his spear were shooting into the sky, following his performance, balls of fire began shooting from the gaudy decorations of the carriage, earning him claps and cheers from the audience.
Next the Water God Corps carriage, decorated to resemble a ship, passed by the king. The water art users opened their props and myriads upon myriads of healing arts-infused bubbles had sprung forth and spread around the area. The bubbles didn’t have any strong healing effect, but it did make those that were affected by them feel slightly more energetic.
Giant humanoid shapes appeared from the district gate, causing the crowd to stir. These were the construction golems that were rarely seen by the commoners, that were made to pull the Earth God Corps carriage. While not showy or decorated, the nearly four-meter-high giants pulling the carriage gave off an immense aura.
*Thud Thud* heavy steps following each other, the giants had passed the platform, giving the way to the Wind God corps. Their carriage was decorated by thin strips of cloth, dancing in the air as if to reach for the sky under the effect of the arts. Approaching the platform, the corps had announced their special performance.
“Oooh, as expected from the final carriage.”
A storm of flower petals had assaulted the lookout tower square. Controlled by the wind, the petals joined back together to form a pillar of flowers. The knights continued to add more flowers into the pillar from the top of their cart.
Spectators were awestruck by the magic of the dancing flowers in the middle of the night.
Up until the last year, the Wind God Corps had signaled the end of the parade and were followed up by the King’s grateful speech. That was not to be this year, however, as the newly formed Darkness God Corps had yet to play their part. There were all kinds of rumors floating around them. The audience was eagerly looking at the district gate, awaiting what the newcomers to the festival would show them.
“Hmm, it’s jet black…”
“Is it moving by that special mechanism that had surprised even the Princess?”
The pitch-black carriage was decorated with tiny lights. The small lights, resembling fleeting light of the stars in the night sky had started to increase in number, their lights flickering in and out of the night.
The crowd grew restless. The lights that had covered the carriage had gone out, before suddenly springing back to life all at once. The lights then started flickering in a predefined pattern that made it look like the lights were moving around the carriage.
“Oh-oooooh! This is amazing! I have never seen anything like that before!”
“Excellent! What a performance! No matter how I look at it, it’s amazing.”
“It’s beautiful! This is what Shia had called electrolytic reaction!”
“Yes,these are the same devices that are used in Yuusuke’s mansion.”
These lamps were made based on the small Rinlamp souvenir that Yuusuke had gotten for Violet in Driadria. Mass-produced and attached to the carriage’s frame, the small gimmicks had provided the necessary illumination. Manipulating the lamps themselves was difficult, but Yuusuke had gotten around that by installing additional gimmicks to shield the light off. Additionally, he had installed red, blue, and yellow filters that made the illumination completely unique.
Shifting colors had steadily enveloped the carriage. Everyone in the tower square, be it spectators, guards, knight corps, or the king, everyone was left completely speechless by the sight.
“They love it! They love it!”
“I think that I would be the same as them if I could see it from the side.”
“Ahaha, I feel the same!”
Vermeer, assisted by Shaheed, was driving the carriage. Fonke was responsible for covering the carriage with a thin wind shield to protect the gimmicks from the dust. Aisha and Isotta were checking the condition of the solar moss and helped Sorzak to provide it with water.
Yuusuke was standing on the top of the carriage with Sun, setting the timing for the next show.
“Yuusuke-san, I can see Shia-san and Rasha-san over there.”
“Wow, they are actually keeping Violet company.”
The princess was waving her arms toward them, and even the King looked to be enjoying the event. Rashanasha and Razshia had also shyly waved their arms at Yuusuke and Sun.
“Good, I think the time’s right. Let’s go with our final performance!”
Yuusuke had stretched his arm and called out the customization screen for the parade carriage. The crowd stilled, waiting for the meaning of the Darkness God corps’ captains sign. Then, one by one the small lights started separating from the carriage.
Starting with the front bumper of the carriage, the effect gradually spread over the vehicle. Yuusuke based this technique on the shift map that he had repeated many times when he traveled to the Rufk village a little while back.
The tower square had once again erupted with cheers.
Everyone who could afford it had gone to see the parade, thus there were hardly any people left in the other parts of the commoner district. In one of the corners of the district, in a small alley, stood a small deserted store.
The store’s shelves were filled with strange medicines of unknown origin and other illegal goods. It was the so-called black market store that dealt in goods that one could never buy in any common store.
“Master, are you really going to use this thing?”
There was no trouble with the quality or the effectiveness of the product, the store keeper simply seemed disgusted by his patron. Usually, he didn’t care what his clientele was paying for, yet this product was an exception.
“If you want to continue to hold business here, forget me.”
“I understand. You look like a servant of some lord. I don’t have any wishes to end up in prison.”
“Then forget this ever happened.”
The man finished, leaving the store with the bundle that the storekeeper wrapped to him.
**Sadly, there will be a delay of at least two weeks until the next chapter.**