Chapter Twenty-Eight: The Harvest Festival I

After a stay of several months at the woodland sage’s house near Milinia, it was finally time for the harvest festival. After patrolling the area had finished, everyone had gone back to preparing for the festival itself. Throughout the last day of preparation, numerous people had come up to Cobal and Mana and helped explain to them what the festival normally looks like. The mornings were a time off, where everyone put on their nice clothes, said their thank you to the gods for a good harvest that year, which was either done in one’s home or at the small temple near the town square. Then the festivities would start. Cobal and the others had just finished getting ready and were now headed towards town from Dionil’s place.
“It’s been a couple of years since I actively partook in the festival,” Dionil admitted. “I mostly just observe from a distance and maybe check in for a little bit during the banquet.”
“Not a big party person?” Mana asked.
Dionil nodded. “I much prefer peace and quiet, but you knew that already.”
“I was that way as well, back in the old world. I remember getting invited to a party where several of the teachers would bring their own food. They would each make something from their culture and then we’d eat all of it. It was a fun idea for sure, but I just preferred eating in front of the television. Sometimes your coworkers can be great friends but a lot of the time they’re just people that you get along with decently and that’s it. There does seem to be a different atmosphere here though. I’m very curious to see how this festival is. I would lie if I said I wasn’t at least a little bit excited.”
Cobal smiled. “We have massive balls at the castle where nobles from many houses are invited. Their daughters will then try and win favors with the princes or rich nobleman’s sons. It’s amusing to watch from a distance but my brother is way better at navigating those kinds of situations. I’d much rather stay on the sideline and just eat the food.”
“We have the ocean festival, which is like the harvest festival but we thank the ocean for all the fish it provides,” Cassandra added. “I hope it’s similar to our ocean festival because that’s always a lot of fun. We go to the beach and eat all sorts of fish until the sun rises.”
They all laughed.
“I’m just excited to go to a festival, I haven’t really ever been to one,” Kimi said.
Dionil smiled. “Well I’m sure it won’t disappoint.”
Lights started to slowly protrude through the shrubbery and it wasn’t long before they reached the outskirts of town and the sound of people enjoying their time washed over them. Because the forest’s canopy blocked out so much natural light, they started lighting the lantern lights early in the day. It really helped with the atmosphere.

Cobal saw some of the stands he helped build with the people just the previous day. They were now packed with all sorts of wares and vendors were standing behind them haggling with the people who wanted to buy their stuff. It was very different from the fancy platters at the castle. People did wear their nicest clothes and because elves already had an air of dignity surrounding them at all times they looked even more impressive when they dressed for the occasion. About four seconds passed before everyone who he arrived here with, except for Dionil, had run off in some direction. Kimi had found some children that wanted to play with her, Cassandra had seen a stand that was selling all sorts of tools and Mana was staring at a display of jewelry. Dionil laughed. “You kids go and have fun, I’m going to catch up with some old friends while I’m here,” and he walked off as well, leaving Cobal standing alone for a little while, unsure where to go or who to talk to.
“Excuse me, you’re the prince right?” Someone asked from behind him. It was a young elven woman, probably not even thirty years old, who was still more or less a child in elven age.
Cobal turned around to face the young woman, who had long hair on one side and a buzzcut on the other, a more rugged look compared to a lot of the elves who preferred to keep their haircut very symmetrical. “I am indeed and who are you?”
“My name is Masia, my father asked me to come get you.” She started walking before turning around again. “Follow me,” she said with a smile on her face. She led him through the small crowd that had already gathered this early on towards a familiar sight. They made their way to the forge, where only a little while earlier they’d all visited together. “So you’re Jerasi’s daughter?” Cobal asked.
She nodded.
“You know, now that I know it, I see the resemblance.”
Masia pouted. “I look nothing like him at all.”
Cobal laughed. “Sure, sure.” She laughed as well.
“Are you going to hold up the line and keep me from doing any business?” A voice sounded from behind the small stall that was in front of the forge.
“I’m sorry, it looks like you’re not really attracting many customers to begin with so I figured I wasn’t in anyone’s way.”
Jerasi looked at him annoyed before cracking a slight smile. “I finished your weapons.” He reached below the counter and pulled out two weapons. “I thought about it for a little bit and ended up deciding that the best way to go would be a rapier and a dagger. They’re pretty good work if I do say so myself.” He handed both of them over to Cobal. The rapier looked magnificent. The metal looked extremely supple and the handguard was shaped both intricately yet sturdy at the same time, giving it a comfortable grip with great protection. “The idea is your hands are safer so you can block attacks close to the hilt.”
Cobal laughed. “I do understand how a rapier works, but I appreciate the heads up.”
Jerasi nodded. “As for the dagger, I had Dionil assist me with it. It’s a magical focus that allows you to store magical power in it. I don’t know what that means for you, since you’re not a mage, but Dionil said it would help you out if you kept your training going.”
Cobal nodded. “I don’t see how that would help, seeing as my magic training has not been very successful, but Dionil is a sage I suppose, so he knows what he’s doing.”
Jerasi nodded. “Now these are a gift from me to you. I don’t want anything in return except  the promise that you won’t die when wielding these.”
“I’ll try my best.” Cobal put them on his belt. “Thank you so much Jerasi, if there’s ever something I can do for you in the future, you just let me know.”
“Of course, if I think of something I’ll come find you. Now go enjoy the festival.”
Cobal nodded. Looking around he saw that Jerasi’s daughter had already left, probably to go to some other stalls. He noticed Mana a little ways away and went over to go check on what she was doing and show off his new swords.

“I see you’ve already found a stall you like,” Karnisal said as they walked up behind Cobal and Mana, who both turned around. After Cobal met up with her they’d been going from stall to stall, looking at the different wares. Mana had already bought some tea mugs for Dionil that were handmade and carefully painted. The man who sold them said it was something he did after work to pass the time. He joked that his wife was always so happy when the festival rolled around because then the large pile of crafts would finally be gone and the house would be tidy again. On their way here they passed several other stalls, including some food stalls where both of them indulged. Karnisal found them at a jewelry stall where an elderly woman was selling all sorts of beautifully crafted rings, necklaces, bracelets and even some piercings. Cobal didn’t wear a lot of jewelry besides his signet ring as proof of his position. Mana had her necklace that she was given in Aquana and a ring that she was already wearing before coming to this world.
“Karnisal, good to see you here. I hope everything that went down yesterday has been resolved without issue?” Mana asked.
Karnisal nodded. “There were a few elves who unfortunately were wounded by the attack, but none of them were in danger of serious harm. There might be some scarring on a few, which is a shame, but we’re all very proud that such an unprecedented attack on our people was dealt with properly.”
“That’s good to hear,” Mana replied.
“Enough of that though, we can go back to important matters after the festival is over. Today we celebrate the harvest.”
“That sounds good to me,” Cobal said. They all laughed.
“Anything catch your eye?” Karnisal asked them.
Mana nodded. “There are so many skilled crafters here, And everything is unique. Coming from a world where mass production and efficiency are more important than craftsmanship, seeing a place that lacks these things is refreshing.”
“Did your world not have skilled crafters?” Karnisal asked.
“Oh, we had those too, for sure, but imagine if I can make one mug a day and Cobal can make ten thousand a day. My mug can look as beautiful as you can imagine, but how am I ever going to compete with Cobal if that’s the case.”
Karnisal thought about it for a moment. “I see, that is problematic.”
“Wouldn’t it mean there are way more things and you can help way more people?” Cobal asked.
Karnisal smiled. “You still have much to learn,” he said.
“What do you mean by that?”
“That’s for another day, for now let’s just enjoy ourselves without questioning the morality of societies.”
Cobal looked at Mana who seemed to give Karnisal a strange look before returning her attention back to the piece of jewelry she was holding when their conversation started. “I think I’ll buy this one please,” she said to the old woman behind the stall.
The woman grinned. “An excellent choice.”
Mana paid for the piece of jewelry and put it in her pocket for the time being. They continued strolling through the festival until they eventually found another stall that was selling clothing.
“You should buy this for sure,” Mana said, after browsing through the clothes on offer.” She held a button-up shirt with a flower petal print on it. Cobal mostly wore expensive but inoffensive clothing. Something this flowery and bright was definitely not what he would normally buy.“I don’t know if it’s really my style,” he protested, but Mana insisted.
“Just try it on, and if you really hate it we can put it back.” She pushed the shirt into his hands. “I’ll go look for something for myself.”
Cobal sighed and put on the shirts. Putting the floweriness aside, the shirt did fit really well and felt pretty comfortable.”
“Who are you and what did you do with Cobal?” Mirgia asked. Apparently he was standing on another side of the stall, looking through clothing himself as well.
“Don’t you think it suits me?” He asked with a grin.
Mirgia laughed. “I do and I don’t, if you know what I mean.”
The two talked for a moment before Mana returned. There was a house right behind the stall where you could go to try on the clothes and she’d gone in there with something she’d picked out. She showed up wearing a beautiful flowery dress that reached just to around her knees. It was a light blue color with green and white flowers on it. She had a matching hairpin tying her hair up as well and for a moment Cobal didn’t have the words to organize his thoughts.
“What do you think?” Mana asked, as she slowly spun around to show it off.
“It looks wonderful on you,” Cobal said, regaining his senses.
“I think it’ll be a good choice for my speech later today.”
“Definitely,” Mirgia said. A bell was rung in the distance.
“Looks like the banquet is starting soon, best make your way there,” Mirgia said as he waved the two goodbye.
Mana paid for her dress and Cobal’s shirt and after she put her regular clothes back on they both headed to where the banquet was being held.

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