Chapter 186 The Star of the Theater (Part 2)
The moment May spotted him, she immediately put away all thoughts of returning to the stronghold.
“My God, M-May!” When May came over, Irene exclaimed in disbelief. Irene grabbed her hands and pulled her towards the knight, “Darling, do you know who she is? She is the most famous actress of the Longsong Theater, Miss May! Whenever she performs, the people who want to see her play line-up from the theater’s lobby and into the streets!”
Although the phrase “darling” caused May’s heart jump, her perennial acting habits allowed her to reflexively smile and give a little nod, “Hello.”
“Ah, of course I know about her. You’ve even told me about her being one of the most famous actress in the West, there aren’t any nobles who do not know the name for the star of theater,” he sighed, then spoke in an apologetic tone to May, “My wife is a little lacking in her some manners. I’m Ferlin, welcome.”
He didn’t announce his name or his status, and even concealed his family name. May’s heart was filled with sadness, but on the surface she maintained her utmost elegant expression, “I’m familiar with you. Everyone in the West knows of the First Knight of the Western Territory, ‘Morning Light’, Sir Eltek. I must apologize, because of the stress of theater work, I was unable to attend your and Irene’s wedding.”
“That’s a thing of the past,” the knight said with a smile as he shook his head. “Nowadays, I’m just a teacher, and I no longer belong to the Eltek Family, so you really don’t have to be so polite to me.”
He then waved in the direction of the others and continued. “Let’s go back. We can talk later, but first you have to finish your application for temporary residence.”
Teacher? May was startled, does that mean he’s now a court tutor? The town’s Lord is indeed a prince, but the Prince would never lower himself to find a knight to take on such a role, ha. And what’s all this about applying for temporary residence? Shouldn’t Irene be taking the group of us to a local reliable, and safe inn to stay at?
“I really did not expect you to come here. If you were to play Cinderella, it would certainly cause a sensation!”
“Is that so?” May had some doubt about that. She had never heard the name of that drama, which indicated that it had probably been written by a new playwright. Moreover, it wasn’t like she had spare time for rehearsal, she’d only come here… because she wanted to see how Morning Light was doing, and if there was some way she could help him.
After entering town, May realised that there was definitely something wrong in this place. The town was located on the border of the kingdom and the only role it served was to be an outpost for the stronghold, so why did it now look like a newly built city? The road everyone was walking on was covered with dark gray gravel, and there was no mud to be seen anywhere on the whole road. Furthermore, the streets were too wide, practically allowing two carriages to pass each other side to side.
“What kind of road is this?” Sam asked the question that was in her mind aloud. “It looks strangely flat.”
“Hehe,” Irene smirked, “When I first arrived here it was still made of mud, but now it’s become like this. Furthermore, the road still isn’t finished yet; the masons have said that this is only the foundation for the actual road.”
“Then they’ve fooled you,” Rosia retorted, “Everyone knows, only houses need a foundation. Things that are already lying on the ground can’t collapse, so why should they need one ~ah?”
“Really, they mix a kind of fine, grayish powder together with stones and then they spread it out. Afterward, they sprinkle water on it and compress it with a stone roller until the road has become flat and smooth. In the beginning, I also thought this was the new sort of road, but the mason said that this was a practice developed by His Highness, it seems to be called… water whatever layer. In short, this is still only the foundation!” Irene turned around and continued leading the way, allowing her long plait to swing with each step, “In the future when more people and carriages start using it, the ground will be paved with slate. Only then will the true road be finished.”
Paved roads? May coldly laughed inside her heart. Other than the inner city of King’s City, which other city in this kingdom could cover its roads with slate? Having such a broad and flat road was already good enough. There were still many mud roads in Longsong Stronghold.
Along the way through the town, she saw how many houses on both sides of the road were being demolished, regardless of whether it was a clay-tile roofed house or a wooden house. Although they were clearly not new houses, they still a far cry from being called uninhabitable. “Did the Lord drive them away because they were blocking the road?”
“No, they’ve all moved to another district.”
“District?” May asked.
“It is the new residential area, where everyone gets exactly the same brick house to stay in,” Irene explained. “All the original residents had been assigned one, that means there will be no leaking or broken houses in town.
Everyone can be allocated to a brick house? May could not believe her ears, this was even more exaggerated than paved streets. Does she have any idea how much such an idea will cost? But since she was in front of Ferlin, she still had to swallow her words.
There were a lot of other pedestrians on the street, so they would occasionally be stopped by people who wanted to greet Irene or Ferlin. Thanks to this, May found out that Irene was also one of those so-called teachers.
“Aren’t you going to perform in the play?” She asked. “Why do the townspeople call you a teacher, Irene?”
“Because that is my job. I will only be performing part-time. After all, Border Town can’t have a theater.” Afterwards, Irene told the story of how had been summoned by His Highness, “Although it will be an open-air performance and the audience will only consist of civilians, the pay will be still calculated according to that of the stronghold. I think this is a good chance. At least, in this way I can still practice.”
“You are right, you are right. As long as I can go on stage I would be satisfied.” Ghent and Sam nodded again and again.
And open-air performance for civilians! May simply didn’t have the strength to retort. Compared with Irene, she could not understand why the Prince came up with this idea or what his intentions were in the end. Could those people whose purpose every day was only to have enough to eat and stay alive really comprehend the romance and its twist and turns of a drama?
In this manner, they finally came to a stop in front of a two-story building.
“This is the teachers’ building, right now Border Town only has nine teachers. Therefore there are still many vacant rooms left. Ferlin had already applied for you to stay inside the house and he’d also got the rights for you to temporarily stay in two rooms. So you will be living here during the show.” Irene handed out two keys, “Ghent, Sam, this one is for you. Rosia and Tina will get the other one, eh, Miss May’s…”
“I’ll stay with you,” May suddenly blurted.
“I came here to see how the lives of my theater companions were,” she said with a smile. “After all, we have already been working together for such a long time, and you probably also will never return to the stronghold, so I want to talk some more with you. Are you going to hold this against me?”
“Of course not!” Irene happily took hold of her hands, “I’m just worried that the room is too small for you to live in. There are also a lot of things I also want to ask you!” Then she turned around to face the other four, “Let’s first put away the luggage, then you can come over to my room and we can sit and read the script together.”
May climbed up to the second floor and followed Irene and Ferlin into their new home.
Stepping in, her last hope was shattered.
Although she didn’t want to admit it, this small room gave off a comfortable and clean feeling. The tablecloths and curtains were obviously new; recently purchased and made of a red and white thin cotton. The floor had been swept spotless, they had a linen carpet in the living room. In it some strange cups had been placed on a low table, which attracted May at her first glance.
Stepping forward, she picked them up to take a closer look, but even after a moment she was still unable to identify its material or why it was so light. It was a bit like wood, but the surface of it was smooth and full of brilliant color; it was nothing like those cheap goods affordable by civilians. Depicted on top of the cup were also two people who were affectionately holding each other.
“It is a charming cup, right?” Irene, said as she leaned over , “They are too expensive. They were sold for five silver royals at the convenience market and the four of them made a set, containing all different postures of people. To celebrate our first payday, Ferlin insisted on buying them for me which in the end resulted in us spending our whole salary. That fool.”
“Convenience market?” May deliberately ignored the other part.
“Right!” Irene said, nodding, “The Lord has opened a market at the town’s square, where they are selling some very fine daily necessities, but their prices aren’t low either. If you want, I can take you there tomorrow and you can have a look.”
May had mixed feelings in her heart. The situation was completely different than she had expected it to be. She thought that, as a defeated captive, and a knight for whom no one had been willing to pay ransom, even if the Lord had released him, his life would still have been very difficult. And since Irene didn’t perform regularly, she wouldn’t have had any savings. Therefore, besides accompanying him during his hardship, she wouldn’t be able to help him in any other way.
At that time, Ferlin Eltek would have seen any assistance she gave as sending charcoal during snowy weather. Maybe even one step further, by relying on her influence, she could try to persuade the local Lord to allow to her redeem the First Knight. That way, she would have been able to completely reverse the knight’s heart.
But… she found that all her ideas had come to nothing, and not only didn’t he not need her help, furthermore he was also leading a good life in Border Town.
Should she go back? But, if she now chose to leave, Ferlin and Border Town would from now on be forgotten forever.
May fell into a swirl of confusion.