Fantasia of the Dream-Protecting Acrobats ~Western Country & Central Country~

Chapter 8

We departed from the plaza and returned to the Comus tent to discuss the plan with the ringleader.

Murr: I found the ringleader! He's over here!

Marie: Um! Excuse me-

Ringleader: Marie! You're back late. I was just about to close up the tent.

Marie: I have something I need to talk abo--

Ringleader: Was the outfit you got satisfactory? Did you try it on? Will you be in the show now?

Cain: Aaaand he's still as impatient as ever.

Marie: No, it's not like that, I just, the trapeze is-

Ringleader: What, you're quitting? Well, then I suppose we'll have to remove the trapeze from the program officially.

Ringleader: Tomorrow we'll put up a new program. You go ahead and take the rest of the day off, and we'll discuss matters more fully later.

The ringleader was so busy talking that nobody could get a word in edgewise. Marie's expression grew distressed.

Akira: (Oh no, if things keep on like this, we won't get to show Marie's trapeze show to the lion statue...)

Akira: Excuse me!

I took a deep breath, preparing to raise my voice in hopes of getting his attention, but--

Rustica: Mister ringleader, wouldn't you like to take a break? Please, I invite you to come have a relaxing cup of tea with me.

Ringleader: I'm sorry, but can this wait? I'm busy talking to Marie right n--

Rustica:《Amorest Viesse》

Ringleader: What in the--!?

Akira: (Rustica produced a table, a tea set, and lots of sweets by magic...!?)

Right in the corner of the circus tent, in the blink of an eye, the scene was set for a spectacular tea party to begin.

Ringleader: What on earth is going on-- whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa!!!

Rustica puppeteered the ringleader around with magic too. He was spun around as if he were dancing and then was seated down on a beautiful chair.

Rustica: And here's a bouquet of flowers, too. Their gentle fragrance should help you to relax.

Ringleader: Ah--???

Rustica procured bouquets of softly-colored flowers and placed them around the table, inside the ringleader's clothes, on his head, and everywhere else you can think of.

Akira: (The ringleader looks like a snowman made out of flowers...)

Chloe: R-Rustica! The ringleader is shaking! He's going to be so angry...!

Ringleader: ..... Ahaha.

Ringleader: Ahahahahaha! What is all of this! Ohohoho!

Shylock: My, he seems to be having a good time.

Murr: He's got a big ol' smile on his face!

Ringleader: How wonderful! I should do something like this for our next production!

Rustica: I'm flattered that you enjoyed it.

Ringleader: Yes! I'm certain that audiences will get a real kick out of this!

Rustica: I'm glad to hear that. I'm certain you work very hard at making sure this circus is a fun time for everybody.

Rustica gave Chloe a pointed look, while he poured a pot of tea that smelled of flowers.

Chloe: ...!

Chloe nodded at once, and raised his voice to get through to the ringleader.

Chloe: Listen, ringleader, sir! We have an idea to make your circus even more fun!

Ringleader: Well, out with it! A show that puts your costumes on display? Or maybe something like that flower show just now?

Ringleader: If it's something good, then we can rehaul the entire show tomorrow to incorporate it. Yes, I think the idea of a totally new centerpiece performance sounds wonderful, don't you?

Marie: Wait, sir! This is my idea, not Chloe's.

Ringleader: ... an idea from you?

Akira: (He's making an attempt to listen...!)

Chloe and Rustica watched over Marie as she spoke. She was nervous, but she was trying her best.

Marie: Ringleader, sir, please let me perform on the trapeze again.

Ringleader: ... what?

Marie: I was taking time off because I was very worried about a dear friend of mine.

Marie: But that doesn't mean I should have been calling off performances.

Marie: It was disrespectful to the audience, to the other members of the troupe, and to you, the ringleader. I'm so, so sorry.

She then did her best to explain to the ringleader what her circumstances were.

She didn't want to leave her friend who was not long for this world. She also wanted to perform her trapeze show for him to see.

Ringleader: ...

Marie: I'm sorry for being so selfish, and for asking to be in the show again, and for wanting to be allowed to perform for my friend, even though I've caused such huge gaps in the schedule.

Marie: But... but I'll make the show more exciting than ever. So please!

Marie bowed her head.

The ringleader, who had been listening uncharacteristically quietly, exhaled deeply and nodded.

Ringleader: ... I understand. The trapeze show is our signature performance. There are a great many people waiting for your performances.

Ringleader: I'm familiar with the lion statue you're talking about. I will see if I can arrange it with some people behind the scenes.

Marie: Sir...!

Ringleader: Starting tomorrow, I hope to see you put on the greatest show you've ever done! A show that nobody will be able to look away from!

Marie nodded her head vigorously, smiling widely at the ringleader's words.

After the ringleader went back to work, we had a strategy meeting of our own for the next day.

Chloe: So, what we have to do is...

Shylock: Broadly speaking, we have two tasks: bring the guest of honor here, and prepare a seat for him.

Shylock: He's not small, so it might be a bit of an undertaking to find a place for him.

Arthur: I'll ask the city for permission to move the statue and bring him here. These kinds of negotiations are routine for me.

Cain: That's very kind of you, but are you sure? I feel like it might cause a bit of a diplomatic incident if they find out that you're the Central kingdom's prince during negotiations.

Arthur: I know. I'll just be careful not to let them know who I am.

Arthur: Because he's such an iconic symbol of the city, he should probably stay in the square for the sake of the tourists and people who want to see him during the day. We'll have to move him after sunset.

Akira: So you'd arrive just before the show begins?

Arthur: I believe that would be best. Oz, would you be able to help us in that case?

Arthur: Considering the state he's in, I would very much appreciate your guidance on how much magic to apply.

Oz: Very well.

Under normal circumstances, it would be simplest to just have Oz magically transport the statue, but Oz's magic doesn't work after sundown.

Keeping this in mind, Arthur chose to ask Oz for guidance and supervision instead.

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