Chapter 89 Victory Celebration (Part 1)
This year’s winter was completely different than the previous year’s. In the previous years when the Months of Demons ended, Border Town’s residents had to stay for one more month within Longsong Stronghold’s slums. They waited until the snow had completely melted, only then would they head back home.
Back at the town, they always saw a complete mess. After a few months with no one taking care of the houses some of which had already become dilapidated. Some of the less sturdy huts had been overwhelmed by heavy snow and some of the townspeople’s houses had been used by the demonic beast’s as hiding place.
Everything was broken and in disorder. For example, the cupboards and the tables were full of bite-marks and the remains of their meals still lay within the corners. Obviously these houses had been used as shelter from the snow and as their lair.
They often had to spend a week repairing the houses. Replacing all the moldy furniture, cleaning out the lingering smell of rot and so on. This was the procedure to which the residents were already accustomed to.But this year, it could even be said that Border Town seemed completely new, the snow was quickly swept away, and the prince provided to each family home’s door a multi-colored banner. From afar, the previously monotonous and dilapidated town had become colorful. When the colors mixed together, it looked like a sea of flowers.
The castle also spread the news, that on the first day after the Months of Demons, his royal highness would hold a grand celebration ball in the town square! Everyone was invited, and if that wasn’t enough no one had to pay a coin and would also be given free food!
What is a ball? It is a social occasion that only the upper nobility was allowed to attend. The townspeople only knew of them from the stories of the influential, experienced and knowledgeable merchants. Yet even then, they were never allowed to attend. If what the merchants had been telling them was right, then even with all their money it still wouldn’t be enough to receive an invitation. But now His Highness would allow anyone to attend?
“Your Highness. You wouldn’t do that, right?” Carter asked disapprovingly, “There will be neither a band nor will there be any lead dancers! So who will control the rhythm of the ball? Besides, in this kind of remote place, even the nobles aren’t necessarily able to dance, so citizens will only mess everything up.”
During Carter’s time in Graycastle, he had only ever attended one ball. It had been hosted by a marquis to celebrate the birthday of his daughter. The music played was graceful string music mixed together with passionate drum beats, while the dancing contained many rotations and tapings. But if the instruments were played individually, the ladies would dance to the melodious string music, while the men displayed afterwards a fast and powerful dance in rhythm with the sound of the drums. During breaks, attendants would shuffle through the crowd and hand out drinks and snacks. Up till the last song, the men still had time to find and invite their favorite woman to a dance, and if they were lucky they would not only be rewarded with a dance, but also with some sort of romantic interaction.
Carter sighed, although he was still to young to invite his favorite girl, he could still remember the aftertaste of that elegant and romantic atmosphere. The nobilities are trained daily in maintaining their elegant demeanor, can the villagers who had to instead fight with the demonic beast daily compare with them? God, he could not imagine such a scene within Border Town.
“Lead dancer? Yes, well,” Roland had commanded the militia to remove the stone sculptures and the gallows from the town’s square, “Iron Axe and the militia member will take over that part.”
“That sandman?” Carter was stunned. As the captain of the Hunter Team, and with his performance during the Months of demons, Iron Axe had finally gained the recognition of the Chief knight. Even his alien appearance wasn’t mentioned any longer, however, the other one was still from the Moji Tribe, how could he know the etiquette of the Kingdom of Graycastle?!
Yet Roland only mysterious smiled and said: “Because I’m the one who is organizing the ball, it won’t be the usual kind, you will understand it when you see it.
He didn’t have much preparation work to do, his biggest job was to remove the obstructions placed in the town square, and instead to put a pile of wood at the center. In addition, they had built tables out of stone, used to carry the barbecued food. Yes, this was the plan Roland had come up with – a combination of campfire with a wild barbecue.
Roland had long thought about the problem, how to increase the people’s sense of belonging to Border Town. After a long life working under their previous lord, the concept of status and nationality was set too deep within these rural and illiterate villagers. Only their property and the lives of their family were of their concern. The more backward the people were, the more short-sighted they would become, this was a law for the development of civilization, “Civilization can only be as big as the greatest ideas of it’s people,” Roland thought deeply.
But this does not mean that lifting their spirits could be ignored, and this victory celebration was one of the methods he had figured out to transform their thinking.
In fact, he found it hard to understand that there was no general celebration after the end of the Months of Demons. Facing the invasion from the demonic beasts once in a year was just like a natural disaster. To overcome such evil was naturally worthy of remembering.
So he had decided to name the first day after the end of the Months of Demons as “Victory Day”. So that within all of the territory belonging to him, this day had now become a public holiday, on which many kinds of celebrations were held. As long as he was able to do it for three to four years, this kind of celebration would become a tradition and would even later carry on without Roland. And with time the people would gradually feel that their own and other people under the governance of the Lord was indeed differently.
Even so, it wasn’t noon yet, the square was still full of people. The members of the militia were lined around the pile of wood so that no other could come near it.
It seemed that the free distribution of food was quite attractive, I think that at least half of the town’s inhabitants had come, Roland thought. In the end, more than one thousand people stood side by side, filling up the complete square beside the woodpile, there was no place for any other activities. He even discovered that some children had climbed up on the roof of the surrounding buildings so that they had a free look of everything.
Since it was their first time with this celebration, there were still some shortcomings. Roland thought that it was now the right time to enter the stage and to hold his speech.
This was now his second public speech he had held on this square, thanks to this his attitude was much calmer than the last time.
“My people, good afternoon. I’m the fourth Prince of Graycastle, Roland Wimbledon.” He still used the same introduction as last time, but today its effect was completely differently than it was the last time. His voice hadn’t fallen yet, but the crowd already cheered, “Long live the Prince, His Royal Highness!” “Long live His Highness!”
Roland suddenly felt a kind of warmth spreading through his chest, this time, he hadn’t arranged for any propaganda from his own people. So when he heard the spontaneous cheers from his own militia and the townspeople, he felt a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in his heart.
When their voices finally calmed down a little, he continued, “The Months of the Demons is finally over! Thanks to the militia’s heroic struggle, the demonic beasts weren’t able to cross the wall one step. This year Border Town had only to pay a very small price to fight off the demonic beasts. This proves that, as long as we unite, even if we don’t rely on the power of Longsong Stronghold, we can still get a foothold here! They wanted to threaten our town with food, the fear of hunger and cold, trying to force us to yield. But today’s victory told them, that all this was futile! “
“Right, I do not want to go back to that place anymore!”
“With His Royal Highness, we don’t need to fear a day of hunger during the winter!”
“At last they cannot blackmail us any longer, His Royal Highness is too kind!”
“Let us celebrate this splendid and glorious triumph together,” Roland shouted, taking advantage of the rising emotions within the crowd.
“It is a day to be remembered, and I declare that from now on the first day after the end of the Months of the Demons will be known as the ‘Victory Day’! The celebration today is precisely for this purpose! My people, enjoy this day to the fullest! Now, let the dance begin!”
With this a torch was thrown into the pile of firewood, the flames jumped up, instantly setting the whole atmosphere on aflame.
TN: Please no spoilers! I will delete every comment which contains spoilers!