“Shin you went out with lady Serea yesterday, didn’t you?”
“I did. It was very meaningful.”
I was in called into my father’s office in the morning.
He was sitting in front of a large desk and smiling while looking amused.
Of course, father should have gotten a report on everything that happened, so I will have to talk with that in mind.
“You went to see Hamlet.”
“Right now, a portion of the nobility is saying that it is an insult to the royal family, that its extremely profane and provocative, and that performing it should be immediately forbidden.”
“I guess that some people would think like that......”
“How did you see it?”
He gives me a wicked grin. You could say that he is waiting to teach me what the next king is supposed to do, based on what I answer. We have these sorts of exchanges all the time.
If I gave a weird answer he would admonish me, saying that that that behaviour is not fitting for a king. It is a serious battle between my father and me. At times like this, I have to answer as an adult.
“If you listen to it cynically, it’s very clever.”
“How is it clever?”
“I think that it properly follows the teachings of the church. The protagonist doesn’t chose death, since god forbids suicide, the king who committed murder is made to confess his sins, and the theme becomes that even the king cannot escape from his sins in front of god. All of the characters who committed sins end up dying. It’s a tragedy for everyone who was caught up in it.”
“In his previous work, he made a comedy about the corruption of the church, so he was almost crushed by them. Now that he was chastised by the church, he is trying to get in their good graces. Shakespio is quick to reverse course.”
“The murderer of the previous king, gets enraged by a scene of regicide in a play, because he has something to hide. If the king forbids the play from being performed, the people who watched it would think that the king banned it because he himself has a guilty conscience. That’s how the play was made.”
“Shakespio sure is up to something.”
Father starts go chuckle.
“Maybe the play was made under the influence of the church to raise God’s name, or by anti-Midland nobles who want to diminish the king’s authority by having the play banned so that the world can see how small minded the king is?”
“I wouldn’t go that far. It’s probably just some mischief from the playwright. There was also a scene where the protagonist ordered the other actors to exaggerate their performance more and there was also a mischievous scene where the actors themselves were made to talk about their dissatisfaction with the playwright. The scriptwriter has a bad personality.”
“So, he's trying to figure out how far he can go? If the king gets angry, he will be seen as close minded. If the king keeps quiet even after he is made fun of after ignoring it, Shakespio will be full of himself. What would you do?”
“To put it bluntly, for a play, the story is boring and full of contradictions. The characters are all idiots who always make the worst possible choices so it’s not even worth talking about. If it was me, I would go and watch the play from the seats reserved for nobles, and in the middle of it I would start to doze off. After it’s finished I’d say, ‘What a boring show.’. That would be enough to pay back the arrogant playwright who wanted to test the king’s character right? That’s only one of the ways to handle it though.”
His majesty bursts out laughing, while clapping.
“Splendid! I’ll do just that.”
“Thank you very much.”
“Your growth makes me very happy. You can go back now.”
“Then, if you’ll excuse me.”
Whenever father asks me for an opinion, he already knows what he will do, but he asks me anyway.
I let out a relieved sigh since I think that I was able to give the correct answer this time.
This is just another part of my education as the next king......
In the afternoon, the new lesson is starting.
“You two are the prince and the lady of the ducal house right? But I’m the teacher here, so both of you call me teacher.”
And now, the dance lesson in the ballroom of the imperial court is finally starting.
The two of us line up in front of the teacher.
“Shin-chan, Serea-chan, the two of you have learned the basics of dancing already right? To the extent that you won’t embarrass yourselves.”
“More or less. I wasn’t really serious about it though.”
“That’s no good. The two of two of you are supposed to be the model gentleman and lady in the country, you have to be the pair that everyone else looks up to. Any little mistake you make in your etiquette you can make up with your dancing. High society is that kind of place. Dancing is a weapon, solet’s make sure that you can use it properly.”
“That’s a good answer. Those who can dance well are very popular. Shin-chan will have ladies lining up for him, and Serea-chan will be flooded by marriage proposals. Let’s learn to dance in style!”
“......We are fine without those. The two of us are already engaged after all.”
“Oh, my God, of course you are. I'm sorry.”
This teacher sure is an interesting person, since she said what she did, fully aware of out circumstances. She probably said It to get a laugh out of us since we are kids.
Don’t stiffen up. You are a kind teacher.
“Well then, pair up.”
I raise my left hand, in order to take Serea’s hand.
“Stop, no good. Shin-chan, your personality is showing, you can’t take her hand on your own. A gentleman doesn’t move, he invites the lady to come on her own. Let’s go again, from the top.”
I raise my left hand, walk up to Serea, and hold her hand, and her body......
I’ve never been this close to Serea before.
Actually, there was that one time at the jewellery store, but that was different!
It’s totally different from when I was practicing with my elder sister or little sisters.
My fiancée is so close to me, its only our top halves but we are tightly clinging to each other, my body selfishly refuses to do anything. Its the same for her, she is bright red, and looks really embarrassed.
“Stop, no good. There is no dance where you are supposed to be so stiff. What do you two think dancing is?”
“No, that’s not it. That’s not dancing. What’s the point of dancing while looking nervous and sweaty in front of everyone. You dance in order to have fun. If you dance while having fun, everyone around you will enjoy themselves as well, your partner will enjoy themselves, and most of all you will enjoy it. Come on, smile, smile!”
Uhh, smile, smile.
Aaaaaaah! I can’t help but be conscious of the fact that I’m stuck so closely together with my bride to be.
“It’s fine even if it’s a dance you have already done, let’s start with one round. Yes, one, two, three, four. One, two, three, four!”
Clap, clap, clap, clap. Following the teacher’s clapping, we start doing basic steps, as clumsy and disconnected as they are.
Slow, slow, quick, quick, till we reach the wall of the hall, then check and turn around.
Whoops, we both start wobbling.
“Your posture is wrong. Straighten your back more, pull in your stomach! You wobble when turning because your centre of gravity isn’t in the centre. Now, again!”
It was lame, but we managed to finish one round.
“Good, well done. Shin-chan what does it mean for a gentleman to lead?”
“Eh, lead? Things like supporting the girl and watching the surroundings.”
“That’s not it. The role of the gentleman is to make the lady shine. To be the stagehand, who makes the lady even more charming and beautiful. A way of dancing in which you make yourself stand out, take all of the initiative and act all self-important is very unpopular.”
I said it before, I don’t need to be popular... Is that your standard for everything?
“It’s the gentleman’s duty to make the lady smile, entertain her and make sure she has a wonderful time. If you make all of the gazes of the venue gather on your partner, if you can show her beauty to everyone, you will be a top class gentleman. Never forget that!”
That’s right. The reason the two of us want to dance, is to show everyone that she is my irreplaceable partner.
Both Serea and I will have to dance with various people while socializing, but Serea has to have the most fun, and look the most beautiful when dancing with me. We have to learn until we are good enough to pull that off.
“Serea-chan you are too stiff to do it well. Dancing isn’t just following the steps. Technique isn’t that big of a deal. Entrust your body to the music and enjoy yourself. It would be shameful for the gentleman you are dancing with if you don’t look happy during the dance. For starters, keep that in mind. But this is just practise, so you can forget about all of that, just dance while having fun!”
“Experience Shin-chan’s lead and believe in it, entrust yourself to it. It’s fine if you can’t do it right away, but for now, enjoy the delight of dancing together fully. You can be embarrassed or bashful about it later. I promise you, love sprouts from dancing. Now, let’s try it again.”
Clap, clap, clap, clap.
One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four.
Slow, slow, quick, quick.
It’s so pleasing when you pull it off! It’s fun! After doing one round around the hall, we both had faces saying ‘We did it!’.
That's how we practiced dancing together for two hours.
“Are you guys ok, are you tired?”
Both of us were covered in sweat from head to toe.
We could feel each other’s body temperature, heartbeat and breathing, and even the smell of sweat. The worst part of them all was the sweat on our palms, I had no idea whose was it, but our clasped hands were sopping wet.
We both grab towels to wipe our hands.
“You will be doing this for the entire time period allotted for dancing during parties, you know? That goes doubly for the two of you since you will be the leading actors of the party, you have to be able to dance with all of the ladies and gentlemen who ask you for a dance, without breaking a sweat. Being wallflowers isn’t allowed for the two of you. You have to pay attention not to be seen wiping your hands on a handkerchief between dances, since that will make your partner a laughingstock. You also need a lot of endurance.”
“I perfectly understand......”
“You need to keep your back straight at all times, always walk straight as an arrow. Make sure that every move you make looks beautiful and graceful. If you have any free time I want you to do some running. From now on, Shin-chan, you can’t be thinking about erotic things the entire time!”
“Eeeeeeeeeeh? I’m not thinking about something like that.....”
“Ok, embrace Serea.”
“Put your hands around her neck, stick your bodies together, now do it!”
I hug Serea, who still smells of sweet sweat, and hold her moist and damp body in my arms.
Ah, there is something hard on her chest. Is it the ring I gave to her? She is wearing it on herself... ...
Somehow, that makes me happy. But because of that my of seeing her suddenly changed from Serea my dance partner, to Serea my fiancée. With my chin on her shoulder, I could feel her body heat from her chest, stomach and waist, I could feel her tender body and her hot breath on my cheek......
This is bad!
It’s up, and her waist is too close.
“Okay, that’s it for today. Even if you are alone, practise the steps. Miss Serea, you really are loved, aren’t you. It makes me jealous. Well then, see you tomorrow.”
The teacher is winking at me. Thank you very much for releasing me before a great disaster happened.
I wipe myself down with water from a basin in the men’s antechamber and change my clothes.
As I waited for Serea, since I finished changing first, she came out of the women’s antechamber.
“When you do it seriously, you really get tired right...”
“Yeah... but it was fun.”
The two of us lean on a wall, and slowly slide down to sit.
“......Since I was so sickly, I remember never being able to exercise. It was so bad that with this level of exercise I would collapse in 5 minutes.”
“Is that so......”
“So, doing this kind of thing now, with a healthy body, to be able to run and to jump makes me extremely happy. Even though I used to hate having dancing lessons, it’s pretty weird right?”
“It’s the same for me. The only memories I gave of dancing are bad ones, ones where I would get kicked by or stepped on by my sisters, or where I would get yelled at If I fell down. This is the first time that I have ever thought that dancing is fun.”
“Ha ha ha ha ha!”
We laugh together.
“At any rate, the teacher was really interesting right?”
“Yeah, I almost ended up laughing countless times!”
The teacher was a man.
He is a slender and cool looking guy but, he was really weird. He talked like an older girl, and his movements were a bit shady.
But in the end he was really fun!
TN: Well, this was the longest chapter yet(had 1000 more words than the last one), I barely made it in time, but it was a fun one. It’s interesting to me that the characters are acting, for the most part, appropriately for their age(well as appropriate you can get with a genius prince who can grasp political intrigues at the age of ten), which is very rare in these types of stories. One of you readers pointed this out a couple chapters ago and I keep noticing it more and more now.
Just a clarification, it’s Shakespio on purpose, that’s how the author wrote it, so I kept it as is.
 Wallflowers as in standing by the wall of the venue and looking pretty but not doing anything.
 Ok that was kind of a plot twist, for those who don’t get it yet, in the entire chapter, the teacher uses a very feminine way of talking, uses female pronouns for himself etc, which is a lot harder to translate into English, since in Japan there are many different ways to say ‘I’, for instance:
The MC uses ‘Boku(僕)’ which is usually used by younger boys
The FL uses ‘Watashi(私)’ which is usually used by girls when it comes to kids, but is also used as a gender neutral one when speaking politely
And then there is the teacher who used ‘Atashi(あたし)’ which is a very feminine one, and add to that the fact that he is only referenced by the ML and FL as teacher, I was 100% sure that it was just some sassy older girl before this last part.
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