23. And the Curtain Rises Again
“Alright! Please drop in and have a look! It’s the newest play of the traveling troupe—the Glass Star!”
Housewives on their way home from shopping. Children chasing after each other. Shopkeepers and their customers in the middle of transactions. In a plaza crowded with many people, there was a man who announced in a loud voice.
“It’s about to start! The theater fee is only two silver coins! The handsome boy over there, why don’t you stop by?”
“I only have gold coins right now. Do you have any change?”
The man immediately beckoned to a boy who seemed to be in his mid-to-late teens and was glancing at the signboard. He was a good-looking boy, no flattery intended, dressed in clothes which indicated his wealth.
However, he may also had been spoiled by his parents. He had smooth, white, hands which seemed to have never experience any hard labor. His manner of speech and behavior also stood out.
“Of course! Although I’m confident that I’ll make you say, ‘I don’t need the change!’.”
“Fuun, well, waiting for you to fish for the change is indeed a hassle.”
While lifting the cashbox, the man inwardly clicked his tongue. It wasn’t uncommon for rich children to exclusively carry gold coins—and consider fishing for silver coins a hassle.
“So, what is the play about?”
“That question has been asked a lot! This play is set in a magical academy that is attended by a lot of noble children—a love story which transcends status! It stars a beautiful and innocent daughter of a Count, and the wise and courageous, yet poor, Baron’s son! How will they stand up against the evil prince who is attempting to tear them apart!?”
One small gold coin was the equivalent of 20 silver coins. If the man could also receive the change, the profit would equal that of ten customers. There was no way he could miss that opportunity.
“Hee, what an interesting setting. Who wrote it? It doesn’t sound like an adaptation of an already-published work.”
“Hehe, actually, the story originated in a large kingdom I visited before I came to this one. I brought it from a young, genius, writer before it could be published. I haven’t sold it as a book anywhere yet. That’s why, you can’t see it except in our play.”
The rich boy widened his eyes, and exclaimed in determination—
“—I see! Then I should definitely see it! I don’t need the change!”
The boy inserted the coin in the cashbox—with a clink, it fell inside the box. The man could hardly see it, since the coin was concealed by the boy’s hand. However, there was no mistaking its golden glow, which spilled from the gap.
“Yes, please enjoy! Will the love of the two prevail over the prince—!?”
“Fufu… ‘the love of the two’, huh? Does it actually exist, or not? That’s the real question.”
“I wonder who the actual villain is…”
When they passed each other, the boy, who entered the tent, muttered dubiously.
“Oh, last but not least, the kingdom you were in before this one was Elgacia, right?”
As if trying to confirm something, the boy disappeared into the tent shortly after making that remark.
What was the intention behind said remark?
“Hey! The handsome brother over there! The play will start in five minutes! Would you like to see it?”
Well, rich folks often had weird natures, at any rate. As long as he received good payment, there was no problem.
The man regained his composure, and continued to call in customers.
Two hours later.
“Fuu~ my, such a wonderful play.”
The rich boy exited the tent, shaking his head in an exaggerated manner. Around him, the rest of the audience was walking with excitement as they exchanged their impressions regarding the play.
“Did you like it? Thank you!”
During the play, the call-in man, who assumed the duty of a gatekeeper, quickly asked.
“Yes, truly, it was such a wonderfully fake play. I could barely hold my tears.”
“Huh? I see, tears… from laughter?”
For a moment, the man wondered what the rich boy was trying to imply. However, he decided that the boy was probably praising the creativity of the work—the man soon regained his calm, and agreed with the boy.
“Fufu, but, there’s always truth in lies. Can you think of the gold coin I gave you just before as an information fee?”
Towards the increasingly dubious remarks of the boy, the man tilted his head.
“Oh, it seems that the meaning of my words are loss on you… well, don’t worry. It’s useless to think too much about it, anyway.”
The boy waved his hand.
In the end, the man couldn’t grasp the boy’s meaning at all. One thing was certain—the boy was making fool of the man.
“Oi! Apprentice! Time to count our profit! Bring the cashbox!”
He couldn’t help but be annoyed. There were many customers with bad attitudes. Well, again, as long as the payment was good, he didn’t have to get emotional.
“Hehe, Leader, a rich boy came today. Instead of paying two silver coins, he paid us with one small gold coin…”
Summoned by the leader, the man, whom was an apprentice, rushed to report about that day’s profit.
“Oh! We’ve made a huge profit, then! Where is it? …Huh?”
“Leader? What’s wrong?”
Since the boy was the last customer, the coin should be at the top of the cashbox. The leader probably thought the same, and opened the lid of the box.
“Oi! This isn’t a small gold coin!”
As soon as the leader looked inside the box, he screamed in astonishment.
“B, but, it’s definitely a small gold coin… I never thought that it was fake—”
—far from making a huge profit, it was a big blunder. The apprentice paled, and started making excuses.
“N, no! It’s the opposite!”
As it turned out, the leader’s surprise came from the exact opposite reason.
“It’s not a small gold coin, but a LARGE gold coin! Its worth is twice of that of a small gold coin!”
The apprentice rushed to catch the cashbox which was about to be dropped by the shocked leader.
—A large gold coin. Twice the worth of a m gold coin. It was the equivalent of ten small gold coins. In other words, 200 silver coins… it meant that the boy paid for 100 customers…
“If it’s rich folks, they usually carry small gold coins… but if that boy was only carrying large cold coins…”
For that boy to reject the change…
…was that boy an influential aristocrat? No, he must be more than that.
‘Royalty.’ Said muttering was swallowed by the wind.
Meanwhile, around that time.
“The Beautiful Countess, the Clever Baron, and the Evil Prince…”
Fuu—the boy kept walking, sporting a meaningful smile.
“Shouldn’t they be ‘The Ugly Countess’, ‘The Stupid Baron’, and ‘The Deceived Prince’, instead?”
After he was far from the tent, he shrugged his shoulders.
“…I think I need to gather more information.”
His mouth, which showed an innocent smile, suddenly arced and the smile turned into a wicked one.
“Tobias! Tobias Gardner!”
The boy suddenly clapped his hands and beckoned for someone’s name while looking around at his empty surroundings.
“Did you call for me?”
Soon after, a large young man appeared from the shadows. With sharp eyes and bristling brown hair, the man seemed sturdy, especially with the big sword he carried on his waist.
“As soon as I return to my kingdom, there’s something I need to do. Practice erasing your presence again. I shall explain the reason later.”
“Understood. Then, can you explain what is it that you’re about to do?”
“Fufu, that’s right.”
To the man who asked expressionlessly, the boy answered happily.
“Peeling the skin of an ugly, horrendous, witch, I dare say?”
In a sense, it could also be called monster extermination—
—why, doesn’t that just sound exciting?
***T/N: A girl just happen to dislike your narcissist fk of a bro and she’s immediately an ‘ugly, horrendous, witch’ in your book.
–Aight, off with this one’s head, too.
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