"There are too many people here!"
"What did you expect?"
" Not many people!"
"Why? It's literally a festival-"
"THE EMPEROR ISN'T INTO FESTIVALS!"
The woman gives a deep sigh, tired of the responses from who continues his observation of the surroundings. Remarkably concerned about the number of people gathered, who will be the audience. Not far away and directly towards where they'll be introduced, is the huge throne with decorative gold dragons. The seat itself looks intimidating and because of that, he's scared of what it will be like for whoever sits on it.
"Hoseok, did you finish dressing up already!?"
"YES I DID!"
"Leave it, he's drowning in a glass of water again. Otherwise he wouldn't be Hoseok with all the letters."
He pouts and turns his attention outside. How can they ask him to be quiet? They will put on a show in front of the emperor of Korea. The great and feared emperor of Korea. Some call him The Mad Emperor, some call him The MURDEROUS emperor, Insane, Heart of Ice, Cursed Prince and a long etc. Hoseok is genuinely scared of this. He thought it would be a stop like any other they've done. They are traveling entertainers. They go from town to town putting on shows and taking whatever the town in question wants to give them. Food, money, clothes, anything is welcome in exchange for giving them some entertainment time.
That makes them happy. It's strange and they admit it, but that's how simple their concerns in life are. Not to mention that with the past war, people need more reasons to think about other things, to be happy, to smile even for the three or four hours the show lasts. If it went well, it will be much longer.
Korea is an empire that is barely made up thanks to its new ruler, but the man is so... weird. Rumor has it that he doesn't bleed, that he never smiles, that he doesn't even have a heart in his chest. With such a preamble, you can understand very well why Hoseok is so nervous. What if they make him angry? What if he doesn't like what they do and sends them away? He's a fickle man. He blows up at the slightest opportunity and there are decapitated heads adorning poles near his imperial palace. To let everyone see what it means to be a traitor or to make him rage.
Hoseok appreciates his head in place.
And no marauding crows.
"Easy. There's no way he won't like it," states the woman next to him, named Jihyo. "And as far as I've known, there have been no deaths from presenting a show he doesn't like." She adds laughingly and Hoseok gives a tight-lipped squeak, his black, neatly combed hair working to show off her swollen veins.
"What if he doesn't like it, what if he sends us to punish us, what if he turns me to stone with his eyes?" whines Hoseok and Jihyo pats her back.
"It's just one person and if that were to happen, the well side is that you'll be valued stone."
"THAT DOESN'T CHEER ME UP!"
~ * * * ~
The murmurs of the crowd are completely silenced as a pair of horses arrive, escorting the carriage where two people are seen getting off. The first wears a pink hanbok, long semi-loose blue-black hair with braids and decorative dwikkoji in the same tones. He bows slightly to the second person getting off the cart. People are quick to kneel down and lower their heads.
"If only they knew there was no need for such a fuss," says the one in pink hanbok in a low voice. "O Are you beginning to like this happening, my lord? He left his gat on the seat."
"What a careless emperor." Exhales who stands five steps behind. Receives a light laugh.
"And yet he has everyone scared."
People watch the emperor of Korea walk by: Min A-Gust, a man of relatively short stature, blond hair tied up in a topknot; the only son and albino of Emperor Min Ho-Joon. No one moves to hear him walk yet. No one wants to be looked at by him. With rumors flying around about it. Agust looks around slowly. There are too many people in this place and all still with their heads down. He stops and approaches a man who seems to be shivering.
"Are you freezing?"
"Don't torment them, my lord" asks the man with blackish hair and blue highlights that grow in intensity from the light. "If you do, the show will never start."
Agust snorts with annoyance. He's walking down the fucking road and people are whining. They're so ridiculous. He reaches his throne and takes a seat. Soon his two generals, usual bodyguards, arrive; one of them his advisor: Kim Nam-Joon and on the other side, the commander of the royal guard, Jeon Jung-Kook. Each one takes a seat on a less ornate chair because of course, it is not his throne. The last and closest is the one who came with him in the carriage, Park Ji-Min. People don't know exactly what position he occupies in the royal family. The only certainty is that whoever touches him will lose his head and be eaten by crows.
The people rise from their reverence and go back to chattering. With less intensity. Agust rests his elbow on the armrest and his cheek on his knuckles. He closes the and awaits the start.
"No one is spared the surprise that you wanted to be here. They thought it was a false rumor." communicates Jimin in a low voice and faint smile. Agust exhales in annoyance.
"It's my fucking hometown too, this is the closest thing there's ever been to what I remember from my childhood."
"Childhood before the war turned it to shreds."
"Don't remind me." says Agust. Jimin gives a chuckle without disturbing his expression.
"Sometimes you are so childishly tender, my lord." Agust furrows his brows in annoyance.
Agust largely ignores what the presenter says. It's the usual, thank you for coming, we'll do our show, thank the emperor for being, blablablabla. He doesn't care. He opens his eyes as the music starts and watches the introductions happen. A slight smile appears on his face, unnoticed by anyone watching the show. He wanted this so much.
Listening to the music, seeing the dances animated and following her; the people clapping and cheering the performances. The happy, carefree and enjoyable atmosphere. Agust exhales softly, with all he has to do, this is the perfect relaxation he needed.
He is struck by the fact that drums are placed on the stage and the drummer appears in a long string of fabrics. As if they were a living being that slides down to reveal who is going to play. It is a smiling person who starts them by beating them with thick sticks that guide the dancers to appear.
"How strange is that one Isn't it?" asks Namjoon in a low voice to Jimin. "I've never seen anyone do something like-"
"Now he's even changed his hair color." Jimin interrupts, impressed.
Agust furrows his eyebrows, leaning forward. How does he do that? He's the only one. The others who have to change costumes discreetly retreat through strategically placed holes in the floor, but that specific one just brings out a long cloth that covers him and demonstrates another aspect. Change of clothes, hair, make-up, everything.
However, that's not why he stands out. At least not for Agust. But the energy with which he moves. He's different from the others. Much more alive, much more vibrant. Jimin looks sideways at the emperor who returned to his gesture of apparent indifference. All to see the star of the show.
It's a bad sign.
"A thank you to the emperor for coming to see us!" He announces loudly with huge smile and strands of hair sticking to his face due to sweat. "And for making this possible!" He opens his eyes slightly. "On behalf of my classmates and I Thank you so much!" He makes a pronounced bow as does the rest of him. "This presentation is dedicated to you, your majesty!"
A long cloth emerges and makes him change clothes. He wears a hanfu with long sleeves that start green and degrade to yellow. Decorated with scales and flowers that on his back are shown as part of a dragon. The other dancers wear green clothes alike and Agust is able to recognize that this is a folk dance from China.
A country with which they have been on good terms for some time now. It is calm and almost seems to annoy that central person. Until with a last drum sound a faster, livelier music is made and the cloth emerges again, changing him from clothes to a hanbok, long black hair braided over his shoulder at the same time as animated twists and turns accompanied by those who play the instruments: they dance samulnori.
One of the dancers makes a huge flare of fire, which takes the shape of a dragon. The people applaud and exclaim in delight, the dragon moves until it reaches Agust and vanishes, turning into smoke and circling the sky. Without realizing how, there is the smiling dancer in front of him with a large bouquet of flowers.
Jungkook takes it and gives it a cursory glance. He makes sure there is nothing that could hurt the ruler. Agust watches him wave goodbye and disappear in that fluid, inexplicable billowing fabric until he returns to the stage to close the scene. Agust receives the bouquet with a note among the colorful flowers. Among yellow -gold buttons-, green -roses-, red -more roses-, purple -mugunghwa-, and pink -larches-. Take the small piece of paper.
Thank you for ending the war and that we can now travel more ( ◕ ᴗ ◕ ✿ ) it is an honor to present our show to you.
May you enjoy it and have a happy reign ( ◡ ω ◡ ).
(Or is it called emperoreign? New Year? How do you congratulate that? Ignore this please)
Agust bows his head, Who the hell is this guy? He turns his eyes back to the stage. The paper in his hand goes flat all over, hardened for no reason and Agust's eyes glow dimly. A chilling green color, just like the now rock-hard paper.
"My lord?" Jimin finds the gesture strange. Agust takes one of the flowers and repeats the same as on the paper: hardening it to look like a green rock, better known as jade. He hands it to Jungkook who looks just as surprised as Jimin.
"Go give it to him." Agust orders without further ado. Jungkook nods without asking reasons. Agust stands with the bouquet on his legs as he continues to watch the show.
~ * * * ~
"For the love of Korea tell me that you didn't leave the note in the bouquet."
"What?! I SEEN HIM SO BITTER AND I THOUGHT THAT COULD MAKE HIM A LITTLE HAPPY!" whines the dancer who hurries to wipe off his sweat. Jihyo looks with every intention of hanging him.
Didn't he see what all the people did?! That guy has a look of ice. They have been able to stay on the scene because they are professionals, but his stare is piercing. It's worse than being seen by thugs or knowing you're going to be drafted into the army. That Hoseok would dare to give such an informal note to the emperor is minimal to run away.
"He has not sent for anyone to be killed. Let's assume with that that all is well." assume one of the grooming dancers.
"Besides! Who knows, maybe he's in a good mood today."
Hoseok hurries off again. Jihyo snorts with her hands on her hips and gives a startled squeal, bowing to Jungkook who enters the tent.
"Where's the lead dancer?" he asks directly and almost tensely. What his "message" means is a touchy subject.
"H-he- w-well he-"
Hoseok continues the dance in the center position until stopped by seeing something strange not far away. Some kind of fire that-
"THE BUILDING OVER THERE IS ON FIRE!"
People instantly rush over, running away from where hepoints until explosions sound, not only from that direction, but all around andeven under them.
Merci pour la lecture!