Songs of Failure

Chapter 2 part 1

During the next few days, Jin and the rest prepared for the oncoming Lotus Festival. Such a festival was a nationwide event, therefore the entire kingdom was going to celebrate it.

Reyna, their leader, picked a location not far off from the capital citys center, Sigmund. They were going to perform on a lake. The entire crew would be suspended on a boat at the center of the lake; it dominated the entire place and would be the focus of attention in that area.

The location was in the capital city of the Phacan kingdom, which was filled with aristocrats and merchants. A performance space like that was very hard to get; it covered most of the lake–which was the only, and biggest one–in the capital city, with an audience mainly catered to the rich and noble. Reyna paid a hefty sum in order to take the place in advance.

Jin was organized to be the main dancer of the event.

During the old days when he had just joined the group, Reyna and a retired dancer usually led the main dances. It was either her or the other person. As the other dancer retired from the group, Leyya filled the spot with Reyna.

Then, after a couple of years, Reyna was more inclined on managing the group and gradually left the spot of the main dancer. This led to Jin filling in the role as his looks and skills were the only one up to standard in terms of the main dancers requirements. Reyna still danced when needed to, but her work developed more into the manager of the troupe.

The rest of the group stood just below the deck of the boat. The boat was designed for performances, therefore the deck was wide and the railings were only as low as a persons ankle. The boat was oval but it leaned more towards being circular.

Under the deck of the boat, the group was preparing their clothes and accessories. Jin stood out the most, being the main dancer of the event. He wore peach gauze harem pants* that looked light and airy as they swayed by its owners movements. Studded gems were placed on the silver embellishments that wrapped around the garter of Jins waist.

The silver embellishments hugged Jins waistline, swirling and curling to form a beautiful spectacle on his lower body. It made him look thinner and more delicate paired with his jade-like skin*.

Similarly on his feet, silver vines crawled from his ankles and traced the contours of his cute little toes–the vines reached his calves and bloomed in different directions. On his wrist were two silver cuffs that connected a silk fabric of the same peach color from one hand to the other.

His bare chest was decorated with hanging silver threads that circled his back and connected to an intricately detailed choker. His head sported a dangling tiara made of silver chains and jewels that fell on his cascading black hair.

Jin was really a beauty–an adrogynous one.

Sephile, one of the dancers within the troupe, watched Jin do his final preparations and snorted in the corner before turning away. Another dancer, a new one this time, followed closely behind Sephile.

The person in charge of the production and logistics of the boat shouted to notify the group that they will be performing in two minutes. Rheb walked towards Jin, his clothes similar to his except with less jewelries and his clothes being a pastel light blue, ”Nervous? ”

Jin chuckled in reply. Hed been doing this ever since he joined the group, and only the desire to dance and entrap others into the performance remained. He knew about his charms; every pretty rose had a thorn to accompany it. He liked using it to tease people.

Rheb looked at Jin and confirmed the other didn have any lingering nervousness before the performance. He knew it was useless to ask, but he still did it anyway out of consideration. Rheb patted Jins arm in fellowship, ”You got this, pal. ”

”Give us your best performance as always, Jin. ” Reyna dropped as she passed.

Jin flashed a smile and looked down at his place. Moments later, the floor they stood on started to rise together with the other members. They all took their spots as the platform continued to move into the light.

In the center of their circular formation, the sunlight hit Jin and the silver he wore. This attracted the attention of the other people on the street who were planning to just walk by. The silver emitted reflected light and made his skin glow in return.

Soon, the sunlight started to hit the other members and they shone with the same light as Jin as the platform was raised on the same level as the deck.

Others who saw the face of the man in the middle saw a smile that was filled with confidence and allurement. Once they looked, they couldn take their stares back.

Just then, someone struck a lyre and the people in the circle moved. The drums accompanied the lyre and the footsteps of those on the boat stepped in sync with the beat. If you could focus, you could hear little jingle sounds fluttering from the boat.

Cloth danced with skin and silver turned into gold underneath the sun. Jin and the rest moved in practiced synchrony on the boats surface. A wave of his hand commands a sea of silk to cascade in the air; a flick of his wrist produces sweet jingles that tingles the hearts of those watching. He swirled into a beautiful flame with the suns heat and dipped into a cascading waterfall behind his back.

His hair traced the direction of the wind and shone with a sparkling contrast against the peach, silver and white. Every step on the cool hardwood floor bloomed into a delicate pattern that twirled into an array of colors and silver flashes.

Then, his dark eyes locked with someone in the crowd.

He smirked and seducingly traced his fingertips against his navel, bringing it all the way to his chest, then collar bones, and then mesmerizingly taking it to have a quick dip at his bright mouth.

It all happened in a flash. After that moment, he turned around to find a new victim.

Carsus was left staring at the scene. He was slightly stunned. He was standing underneath a makeshift street tent that was propped up by four wooden posts. It looked like a large square table with the table surface made of cloth instead of wood.

The tent should have left him quite inconspicuous underneath its shadow, as compared to the others that bathed directly under the light. He lifted his eyebrows and followed the quite beautiful man in the center of the formation with his eyes.

He wasn planning on leaving the castle this morning. However, Ilmond stubbornly insisted that he had to drag him to view the first day of the Lotus Festival, as he himself was the king. He, on the other hand, didn find out why it was necessary for him to preside over such a useless festival.

The lotus was Phacan Kingdoms national flower, by the way. There was a tale in which the founding king was saved by a white lotus a long time ago. He was wounded in his quest to create a great nation, until a white lotus came up to help him patch his wounds. From then on, the founding father brought with him a little white lotus wherever he went–and in the end, he and the white lotus founded the Kingdom of Phacan together. There was even a myth that the white lotus held mysterious healing powers.

Carsus thought of it to just be a myth. He didn really believe it as something to be true.

It didn really require much of his efforts, and all he needed to do for the festival was to show his face around. Ilmond already prepared for him to officially appear in front of the crowds later on. More than that, his chancellor brought him out the castle to show him he liveliness and smiling faces of his citizens so he might be able to e more motivated as a ruler.

He walked around the noisy bustling streets, expressionlessly watching people rush by him as he disguised himself with a scarf that covered his golden hair as well as the bottom of his face. The sun was particularly scorching as he moved against the hot masses of bodies that filled the streets.

After a while, Carsus decided to rest with a few of his entourage under a street tent—the exact street tent they took shelter in at that moment. In the next second, he heard the twang of a lyre playing and turned his head to find a dazzling sight.

A man with his head bowed down showed a hint of a smile, playfully tugging at the heartstrings of the onlookers. When he looked up, a pair of soulful eyes and petal-like lips were carved onto his features. Such an enticing beauty captured the hearts of many.

His long black hair flowed freely just like his dance. As he watched, he felt like he was being led by the person into the dance, like he was part of the dance–like he was a part of his movements.

At the end, a crowd of onlookers gathered by the lake. Carsus had been watching the entire spectacle from a gap in between two peoples heads. By the time the last beat of the song was played, a person stood behind the two people watching, just blocking Carsus view of the boat.

Carsus withdrew his eyes from the scene and looked at Ilmond by his side. ”Bring them to me later on. Specifically the man in the middle. ”

Ilmond, who also watched the group of dancers from afar, gave an affirmative sound towards Carsus. The man in question turned and left the tent while the others followed suit.

On the stage, the first dance of the festival was finished. Jin bathed in the moment, absorbing the crowds heated stares and expressions. The silent surroundings gradually recovered its noise and liveliness, with mixed applause coming from different directions around the lake. His feet still felt the texture of the polished wood and itched to continue moving.

Some of his comrades were lightly panting, and a bead of sweat rolled down from the top of his scalp. They were dancing in the heat after all, it was bound to get quite hot. Still, it was not enough for the group to feel tired—in fact, far from it; the group was brimming with adrenaline and excitement. They were just getting started. Jin was no different.

The lyre sang again and the drums accompanied it. This time, some cheers and whistles were generously provided by the crowd. Jin glanced at where he saw the handsome man earlier and found the place he once occupied to be empty. Hmm…a shame, Jin thought. He heard the music start and the newly budding thought was thrown at the back of his mind.

Jin started getting into position once more and the world blurred into a beautiful mix of lights, applause, and color.


*Jade-like skin: Pale, soft and glossy-like skin

*Harem pants:

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