As the name suggests, the Foundation Festival was a festival to celebrate the founding of this country.
Nobles would open salons everywhere, parties would be held in the palace courtyard where high-ranking nobles would be invited. As for people of my age being invited to such parties, well, it depended on your parents. You could participate if your parents decided to bring you, but if your parents ordered you to stay, that would be your fate.
Then what did the common folk who had no such ties do?
The answer was none other than the scene that spread out before us.
A belltower that rang periodically stood in the central plaza of the royal capital. There were colorful tents all over the place which were stores for the merchants. There were open street stalls tightly lining the plaza and continuing along the wide road to the market. If you looked above your head you would see strings hanging between the buildings that had colorful flags attached as they flew in the wind. Everything that we experienced through our five senses was new. There were countless people of different sizes and shapes moving along the road. Coarse bartering and shouts towards customers banged and shook my eardrums. There was a vulgar, heated atmosphere that surrounded us.
It was very different compared to the sophisticated way that nobles enjoyed themselves. This was a neighborhood overflowing with motley waves of people with an intensity. This was an area very far from the category of ‘nobility’ that I had never stepped out of before.
“Yes, it really is…”
The words of marvel escaped my lips, Mishuli could only agree. It was very rare for her to even leave the mansion, so this site would be even more astonishing for her than it was for me. I steal a glance at her. Her eyes were moving here and there, catching every unusual thing while looking slightly restless.
This was where the festival was held for people who were a class below nobles. The ‘citizens’ who were the most numerous in number within this country. And it was all spread out before us.
During this festival season, many people came from all over to gather at the royal capital. There were stalls that sold food, clothes, jewelry and other household goods from all over the country. It was said that in this season alone the capital’s population would increase by thirty percent.
Information about the market held during the Foundation Festival was not so different than what I had in my head as knowledge. But there was a big difference between knowing something and seeing it in front of your eyes. Even this scene that was laid out in front of us was only a portion of my knowledge.
The voices that urged customers to take a look, the overwhelming flow of people, the heat you felt on your skin, all of it was very stimulating to me. I trembled at these things I was experiencing for the first time in my life.
As I had thought, the world was so big.
I was happy that we came. I was happy that I was able to bring Mishuli here with me. At this moment, I and Mishuli’s worlds had opened up just a little.
And by jumping into this world that was before us, that world would open even wider.
We were not alone. The world was not made for just us two. It was better to feel this for yourself than to be told it.
And so I gripped Mishuli’s hand tightly.
“Now, let’s go. Mishuli, don’t get separated from me!”
“Yes! I won’t ever let go!”
Today would surely be a wonderful day. For me, for Mishuli–also for the third person who has been silent without saying a word for a while now.
“Oh, that’s right.”
I stopped right before I was about to rush into the market, my hand in Mishuli’s.
After all, a most distinguished person who had helped I and Mishuli come here, was standing right next to us. I must show her my appreciation, I think, as I turn to give her a smile.
“Let us enjoy this day, Surfania!”
“Thank you for helping us, Miss Surfania!”
Surfania had aided us in our escape today, but her eyes had glazed over at the sight of so many people she had never seen before. She said only:
“I want to return home and read a book…”
It was in a gloomy voice that did not quite match the fervor of the streets.