Chapter 7: Sheep? and Festival
There were hundreds of sheep on the other side of the bridge.
"Why are they all here?"
In the middle of the sea of sheep, someone was calling out to me.
"Oh, how do you do? ...Ehhhh! I mean what are you doing there?"
"I'm sorry about this but I can't control them yet, can we stay here for a while?"
"How did you end up with that idea!?"
"Well, from what I see... This bridge is the only way to get across. I could push them all inside there and practice being a sheperd!"
"Practice being a sheperd? What the heck are you then!?"
"Oh, I am one of the druids of this forest."
"I understand. No. How does sheep and druids go together?"
"Hmmm... You see..."
He told me that his parents were both druids. His father taught him everything he needed to be a druid.
He is taught to protect the forest and all the things that live in it because it was where they got their power. If a forest gets destroyed, their magic power would go down a lot.
"But I wanted to be different!"
Being a sheperd was his dream. I don't know how he got that dream. He said it was always been his dream since he was a child.
He would always sneak out of the forest at night to look at sheep from farms nearby.
"I see... But why do you think I'll let you in? We've had enough weird people here, you can go somewhere else."
"Ehh... How about I give you some of my sheep? I've been trying to check if you have sheep inside this place but I can't find any."
"How do you even do that?"
"With my <Sheep Sense>! I developed this extraordinary spell to find missing sheep!"
"What's going on Sir Atup?"
Mr.Rick was walking around and seemed to have spotten us.
"Oh... That's a lot of sheep!"
"Yes it is."
"Are you taking that sheperd in too? We would really appreciate the addition of sheep to our livestock!"
"Hehehe! Of course, they are as good as yours! I'll also take care of them for you!"
"Welcome aboard, Mr...?"
"It's Gnak Gnok. Nice to meet you."
"I'm Rick and this is Sir Atup. Welcome to our Mountain Kingdom. Please follow me, I will guide you to our farms."
Oh boy... Gnak forced his sheep to go across the bridge and follow him with a spell.
He's abusing his control over animals. Well... (sigh). But maybe... I can also rely on his skills as a druid.
I just hope he keeps his animals from running around.
I call Nai from his house nearby.
"Yes, Sir Atup?"
"Can you go with Mr. Rick? They might need someone to build some animal pens."
Now that's out of the way... Time to get back to guard duty...
"What is wrong with you?"
"It's just that... those sheep... they're..."
"Are they a dangerous kind of sheep? Something with poisoned meat perhaps?"
"THEY'RE CUTE!!!! TOO CUTE!"
Ah... What the hell... She's screaming. She caught one of the sheep passing by and started hugging it.
"Hey stop that."
"Hehehe... I'll let her keep that one!"
She started putting a leash on it and making it her pet.
The residential area was very busy. Something was happening.
Nai and Atab were placing tables in the gathering square in the middle.
Atab was also cooking a wide variety of food. There stews, steaks and soups. There were also some salads from the palace kitchen.
"Oh, Sir Atup!"
Atab saw me looking curious and decided to approach me.
"Do you want to help out too?"
"What are you guys even doing?"
"We're having a festival!"
What does that word mean again?
Atab went back to cooking when he saw Nai waving at him.
Was it... some kind of celebration? But... for who?
Tero was passing by and saw me.
"Oh, Sir Atup. Nice place you've got here. I have to thank you again for letting me in here."
"No problem. As long as you don't hurt anyone here, you can stay for as long as you like."
"Really? Thanks! By the way, I really love festivals! Before I just look at them from afar. And demon festivals is really boring you know..."
"Ah... Is that so?"
"Yeah, See ya later!"
He went on his way.
If something weird was happening, I could always ask Rick. He's the most reliable person here. I put some alert traps on the bridge before I left it.
Anget was still behind me... Riding her pet sheep, Meee Ro.
She was smothering her face on its fluffy body.
I saw Rick while I was walking towards the castle. He was in the residential area too for some reason.
"Mr.Rick, what is happening here? Is there some kind of celebration happening?"
"Oh, Sir Atup. You see..."
He told me that the Princess was getting bored in the castle. Everytime when he sees her, she always looks tired and that's because she has nothing to do but read books.
I think she might have gone through all of the books in the royal library already.
"I see, I see. This might be a really good idea. I'll help out."
"Okay! That's great! What you need to do is..."
He told me how the festival would proceed and it would also start at night.
"Princess! You need to see what's happening outside."
"Oh, Sir Atup. What's the matter?"
"Please cover your eyes with this cloth too. We need to make sure your are safe."
She blindfolded herself.
"I would now guide you there. Please be careful."
I can't believe that I'm part of this scheme.
"Here we are."
"What is it... Oh! Wow..."
There were bright lights coming from the special lanterns that Milu made. The streets of the residential area were also filled with stalls.
Food, drinks and games were present. The castle staff also joined in the festival preparations.
"Woah... Is this... a festival?"
"Yes it is, Princess Gibail."
"Let's go there!"
She immediately ran towards the stalls. I talked to Rick who was nearby and was monitoring a stall of his own.
"Bread and cookies, huh?"
"Hehehe, I've always loved baking. If the princess asks for snacks, I usually bake them myself."
"I see... I think this idea was a success. How did you come up with it?"
"Oh, I didn't. Atab and the others thought of it when I talked to them about cheering the Princess up."
"Is that so?"
They were really helpful this time. I wouldn't be able to think of this if he asked me.
"Please escort the Princess for the rest of the night."
I left Anget with Nai since this is a special occasion. I quickly catch up with the princess.
"Hmmm. Hey, Atup?"
"I told you to call me Gibail, right?"
"Uh- Yes, Gibail!"
"What do you think will look better on me? That blue hat or the red one?"
We were at the stall of one the castle staff. Her specialty was making clothing and hats.
"Hohoho. Take your time Princess."
I don't really know what looks good and bad on a girl anyways. I'll just go with my favorite color.
"Red looks good."
"Okay. Please give me the red one!"
"Sure, here you go Princess Gibail."
She put on the hat and continue to roam the stalls. She looks very happy.
Next we went to a potion stall by Milu.
"Hehehehehe... If you want to look pretty like me, take this potion-desu!"
"What does it do?"
"Princessu, just drink one and the effects will be seen already. It will make you look slightly younger!"
"Eh... I don't think I want to look like a child."
"Whattttt-desuuuu? Looking young is the best! I will make someone test it! Nai-san!"
Nai who was eating at a stall nearby came closer.
"Drink this potion-su! I want the princess to see the effects-desu!"
"Okay, okay... Youngsters these days are pushy."
A few seconds pass after Nai drinks the potion.
Nai... became a child again. Like Atab's age.
I can't stop myself from laughing and the Princess was giggling too.
"See? It's a perfect potion-desu!"
"You can come back anytime if you change your mind-desu!"
We moved to another stall nearby. It was the... sheep stall.
"Everything you need to take care of sheep! Every product here is also made from sheep!"
He had clothing and some sheep dishes.
Unsuprisingly, Anget was here. She was buying sheep clothing. Maybe she wants to look like a sheep too.
"I'll take one of those coats mister."
The Princess tried on the Wool Coat that Gnak made. It looks good and it's getting chilly nowadays too.
Anget saw the two of us and glared at me. After that, she rode her pet Meee Ro towards the gathering square.
The most important part of the event is at the gathering square so we went there after the princess tried a few more stalls.
"Welcome! Princess Gibail!"
Everyone was gathered there.
"We would like to thank you for letting us live here."
"Thank you for accepting us!"
Everyone was giving their thanks to the Princess. Indeed it was still her kingdom so everyone needs permission from her first.
"You're welcome everyone but you don't really need to thank me so much."
She steps on the stage Nai made earlier.
"I am glad to have you all here. It makes me happy to see new faces too. And..."
She starts to tear up a bit.
"I haven't have so much fun in a long time... Thanks everyone!"
It's her first festival in years... She's got to be really happy.
"Start the feast!"
Everyone started eating. They were laughing and joking around. Even the Princess joined in.
Rick approached me.
"Thank you for helping us, Sir Atup. We haven't seen this side of the Princess in a long time..."
"You're welcome, Mr. Rick."
"I have a request..."
He looks very serious this time.
"This is about the future of our kingdom..."
"What is it? I'll do anything if it's for the kingdom."
"We need an army. Of course we can't just recruit anyone."
"I want you to keep doing what you were doing. Convince outstanding individuals to work for us. They have been a great help and we need more like them."
"You're saying that we should accept travellers and migrants to our kingdom?"
"Yes and you will be the one deciding if they are worthy to be part of our kingdom."
"I understand. I will do what you say and will keep a lookout for people like them."
I don't entirely approve of this idea but he's right. We can't just rely on ourselves anymore. I also felt it, sometimes I get so tired that even a day of relief is a blessing for me.
We also can't be too sure of our enemies. I might have fought off groups and small armies on my own before but that doesn't mean I'm the strongest person around.
On the stage was Tero and Atab playing some sort punishment game.
They were doing weird dances and making funny poses.
I decided to forget my worries for the future that night. I celebrated and had fun with everyone.