Chapter 103:

Village Festival

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

The team was able to recover enough after a day’s rest to walk around the village festival. Along the main street between the tunnel the group had been ambushed in and the building where the raid had taken place, many stalls for food and games had been set out.

The white buildings had ribbons of various colors hung on them, and lights on ropes provided ambiance. The village had been put on halt for everyday functions, and everyone was in the streets enjoying the festivities as they ate and drank.

Gwyn walked down the road, taking in everything he saw. He wondered about the significance of each thing in the festival. The clothes, the décor, the food. He carefully studied it all until he accidentally drank too much sweet Aqueenian liquor and lost focus. He ended up breaking out in dance with some of the other miners.

Odell and Rheba were greeted by some miners that they had helped in the auditorium as they tried some of the food at the stalls.

“Hey! We wanted to thank you for your support back there. We are not sure we could have made it out so easily!” One miner said to Rheba.

“It was reassuring to have a warrior like you at our side!” Another said to Rheba.

They continued to shower Rheba with praise when Odell chimed in.

“Hey,” he shouted with a mouthful of sweet food, “What about me? I helped take down the leader!”

The miners looked at each other and laughed.

“That’s what we heard; we just have trouble picturing it with how you were running from those guys earlier,” one said with a laugh.

“I just didn’t have my Needaimus!” Odell shouted.

The miners laughed as Odell tried to justify how good of a fighter he was with his Needaimus.

Harlan had taken one look at the glowing festival and gone the other direction. She had quietly asked Mamie for access to the central building and began the extensive project of collecting all the books Grimes had thrown around to put back on their shelves while also reading what looked interesting in the process. Every book had come off, which worked in the Zenotote’s scientist's favor as she was able to implement a new classification system.

Hal stood in the middle of the festival with his arms crossed. He looked at each booth with an uninterested look in his yellow eyes. After looking, he walked over to a stall selling jewelry. They were simple shapes, circles, squares, and the like that had been quickly cast from Grimes melted down the throne. The booth hastily was polishing, engraving, and fashioning the shapes into necklaces in real-time as they got orders. Hal purchased 3 of the circle shapes with names engraved on them. Once he donned his Needaimus, No.5, he slid the jewelry into his abilities vault.

It’s nice of you to get gifts No.5 mused. Hal didn’t bother answering.

Fiona tried to enjoy herself at the festival but was showered with praises by everyone in the village who wanted to greet and thank their princess. She did her best to keep appearances the same way she witnessed her elder siblings Donn and Hermina do many times before, but it still came off as awkward.

Whenever she thought she had escaped, she encountered more that wanted to greet her.

“I’ll shake the hands of everyone in the village at this rate,” she whispered as she finished talking to yet another group.

“Lady Fiona!” a shout came from the distance.

The fan club happily strode down the street, except Sinatra, who relied on crutches to move. Each was bandaged as they waited for their repaired bones to set. Fiona met the group halfway down the festival rows.

“I’m glad to see you are all up,” she told them. Each of the group made goofy grins.

“We’re happy to you as well!” they shouted in unison with enough exaggeration that they almost fell over. Sigfried and Simeon had to catch Sinatra. The trio began to laugh.

Fiona made a small chuckle along with them.

“Anyway, Lady Fiona!” said Simeon

“We needed to tell you before we forgot!” said Sigfried

“We have decided to become knights in Quenth!” Sinatra finished.

Both Simeon and Sigfried began to pull on Sinatra’s cheeks.

“Hey, why did you get to tell Lady Fiona anyway?” they asked.

Fiona made a small cough to get their attention, then smiled at them.

“That’s great to hear. I look forward to seeing you again once I return,” she told them.

“Lady Fiona!” the trio shouted as tears ran excessively down their faces.

Fiona made a nervous laugh as they showered praise on her.

As the festivities slowed down for the first night, Mamie guided her daughter, Bonfilia, to a secluded section of the village. A small fountain in the village corner saw little attention even on days when the festival wasn’t going on. To Mamie, however, the spot was special as it was where she met her odd husband doing paperwork out of the office. It was where he had eventually proposed to her, and the running water of the fountain made it the perfect place for Bonfilia to complete the Aqueenian Final Rest ritual. She walked her daughter through the process and let her carry it out. The small child seemed to dance with the flow of the water as she acted out the movements under the night sky.

The festivities carried on for several days, with the team happily engaged in the activities. As things began to wind down, the group had finally healed enough to set out in the morning after the festival concluded.