The Melancholy Of A Clown - Chapter 0
I’m a clown.
As I don’t have a name, I’m not on any list of names.
As I don’t have a voice, I can’t say anything.
As I’m inconspicuous, everything is visible.
A foolish smile has long since hung from the lips of the nobles. As it is an opening that I’ve heard multiple times, I find that it’s something that I can disregard. If you would lend me your ear, you would know that I am merely showing off my arrogance.
I live in this royal palace with unparalleled freedom. Even if I pointed out a Marquis’ ugly wig today, I would survive. To them, I am but a rude and ignorant clown, unworthy of directing their anger at. I am a trivial existence that pokes fun at everyone, and gets ridiculed by everyone.
On the other hand, these lofty nobles would already have been listed in three or four kill lists by the time they turn twenty, and with a drunken blunder, they could be framed as traitors and purged; if they are found to be isolated from their allies, they would be targeted by their enemies immediately.
Ah, the suffering that humans endure in the name of power…
We continue living by fooling one another.
Oh my, Count, that tart is used for eating and not throwing. Please give me a moment. Cooking up amusements would be quite difficult when one is dead.
With a bitter smile, I had finally begun ridiculing the behaviour of the decapitated queen. The Queen, who was only nineteen, bites on her thumb when she was nervous.
At the insulting line I had thought of then and there, the aristocrats could not find respite from their laughter.
I had only conversed with the Queen when she was still alive. After she had accidentally stepped on my foot, she made a fuss about it, unaware that she was dealing with a lowly clown. I couldn’t see her well due to my habit of smiling with my eyes bent generously.
“Oh my, I’m sorry. Are you alright? It seems that your shoes have gotten dirty. By the way, isn’t today’s banquet quite wonderful?”
At the same time, she tried to rouse the ladies-in-waiting by patting on their shoulders with a drunken smile, which I found to be lovely.
Yes. She wasn’t very clever. If I had to describe it, she had a bright expression, although she was unacquainted with the schemes of the royal court. If it was not for her family’s ambitions, she would have met an ordinary man and led an ordinary life. She was a girl that succeeded in loving the King in the midst of a fierce fight in the shadows. If she had a sin, it would be that she was too naive.
Everyone, your judgment was right. She shouldn’t have felt wronged. Living in the royal palace while preserving her childhood innocence was a felony, wasn’t it?
The more vulgar the joke, the louder the nobles’ laughter became. The dignified appearance of the dead Queen was twisted into that of a pr*stitute that seduced the King. A smile without ulterior motives turned into the coquettish attitude of a pr*stitute. Soon, her truthful appearance disappeared, leaving behind falsities that were filled with malice. I took the lead to spit upon that image, and sprinkle soil on it.
For now, I had to become the person that hated the Queen the most.
Just then, the curtains opened and Princess Verona walked in, surrounded by a group of her ladies-in-waiting. Her golden hair and crimson dress were like the torches that lit up the room. The frivolous atmosphere calmed down instantly, and even the most immature people readied the befitting etiquette in accordance to their status.
Everyone rose from their seats and bowed to the eldest daughter of the Channings.
We see the crown that was about to be placed on the Princess’s head in the future. Although she has yet to be formally crowned as heir, she was unmatched, whether it was in blood or ability, so we regard the crown as a reality even though we are aware that it’s but an illusion.
A cruel lump of gold that will weigh on the Princess till the moment of her death. For a Princess, that weight might be heavier, but it will make others bow their heads in turn.
“Are you sharing a toast here? Had I known that this was going to occur, I would have finished my work sooner.”
The Princess approached the nobles, staring at them with blue eyes that are filled evenly with depth and width. Crafty yet reliable, oppressive yet gentle, it was a gaze that every imaginable paradox coexisted. It was a gaze that moved dozens of people with ambition, evoking their loyalty,
Those that were attracted to that lofty view would fall into the misunderstanding that they were more outstanding than they actually were. If the Princess made up her mind, she could create the misconception that she had endless trust in the other. Who would endure instead of feeling pride at the fact that they had gained limitless amounts of trust when they entered the Princess’s discerning eye?
But those who have served the Princess for a long time would know. Both trust and anger could fill her eyes endlessly.
The deferential attitude of the nobles was out of fear rather than true love.
The Duke of Langston, who liked to flatter others, intervened.
“We were recalling the last moments of that idiotic Queen. It was still a mystery how such a woman managed to be seated on the right of the throne.”
The Princess gave a nonchalant response to that.
“I, too, have my doubts. How could Father marry a woman that’s younger than his daughter?”
When His Majesty the King became the subject of her joke, as long as the Princess did not laugh first, everyone else must remain silent. The Princess laughed without restraint. As such, sharp smiles spread like a flame instantly.
It was an honour that the Princess was conscious of me, who was in the corner of the room.
“Didn’t I say this before, clown? There isn’t a need for you to lower your pride for us, as we’ll laugh at even the smallest of things.”
It seems that the Princess had overheard my extremely vulgar joke through the curtains before she had entered the room.
Embarrassment appeared on the faces of the aristocrats present. Those that were throwing cushions at me to put them into my chest up until a few moments prior, suddenly felt a sense of shame.
Oh my goodness, Princess. How should I thank you for this? But I’m a court jester. A clown would never feel ashamed of their jokes. The moment that you feel ashamed, your luck as a clown would run out.
The Princess dismissed the ladies-in-waiting with a hand gesture.
“It has gotten late, hasn’t it? Everybody, you may leave. I will be retiring now. I hope that you all will have a good evening, too.”
Then she beckoned for me to come closer, and whispered such that only my ears were privy to her words.
“My father’s in an unpleasant mood. The royal palace will be quite noisy for a while, so play the lyre by my side until I go to sleep.”
The Princess moved forwards alone. I lifted the harp from my waist and followed behind.
Only the footsteps of the Princess resounded through the hallway where portraits of the previous kings were hung. My shoes, which were made of thin leather soles and colorful fabrics sewn together, wouldn’t add to the racket of the castle in the slightest. I am no different from a ghost here. I used the lyre’s tuning sounds to replace my presence.
When it became clear that only the two of us were left, the Princess spoke softly in a dignified tone.
“No matter what the aristocrats had demanded, they should not have crossed the line of humanity. Do not give them the opportunity to be vulgar. The environment influences how much a person would fall. As a member of the royal palace, you must maintain your dignity.”
Are you talking about dignity to a mere clown? I was no different from nobles and knights in the eyes of the Princess, a part of the royal palace. Haha, I’ve never heard a better joke than this in the 20 years of my existence.
What could I do when I was the one who gave them permission? Also, where was the guarantee that it would make them better humans?
But still, I answered.
The Princess, who was skilled at learning, swordsmanship, and socializing, had another outstanding talent. How should I term that talent? Some may call it her silver tongue, others her golden heart. I think that it was both.
Those who have tasted even the slightest bit of the brilliant future within the Princess’s head will become completely addicted. Even I, exhausted beyond words from the antics of the nobles, momentarily forgot that they’re hopeless loafers.
The Princess signals for me to halt, and she enters the bedroom first to change her clothes. A lot of people had this thought. A Princess that changed her clothes by herself! Oh My God! How unbelievable! Could it be that royalty also has hands and feet?
Yes, of course she does. Our Princess Verona would even send her innermost attendant, her chief lady-in-waiting back home at night.
I sat in the hallway and practiced the lyre. What kind of music should I play for her tonight? The Princess liked a melody to add to the stanzas of poems, she also liked humming tunes that were devoid of lyrics. She would then use difficult terms to criticize my performances, but I completely didn’t understand them at all, so I appreciate the exquisite language that the Princess’s beautiful voice delivers like I was appreciating music.
As commanded, I stepped into the bedroom. This place, that was like a sanctuary that many men couldn’t infringe upon, was very familiar to me.
My steps felt particularly heavy today. It wasn’t simply fatigue.
It has been a busier day than normal. I was called to provide entertainment from room to room, from group to group all day long. As there were happy people and sad people, people that wanted congratulations and people that wanted comfort, ones that loved and hated the Queen, they all needed me.
However, amongst them was the man closest to the Queen. His Majesty the King had yet to receive my comfort. This was because the Princess had pillaged me over here.
Such merciful pillaging actually existed.
The Princess sat before the dressing table in a white dress, brushing her hair. Our gazes met through the mirror.
“What are you doing there? Take a seat.”
I’m entirely yours right now. Please enjoy it.
The Princess laid down on a blanket made of the feathers of northern swallows.
“Sing Cicero’s song. Do you remember? The one that you had made for that woman.”
Of course. I had rewritten a poem by the greatest literary writer of Winsland, Cicero, for the Princess six years ago. It seems quite timely to sing it for you now.
The beauty of things wanes in the face of beauty,
Removing coincidence and nature from the ornamental cycle.
The infinite lines of poetry will follow when you become a part of time.
Your winter will never melt,
Your wickedness will never end,
Even death will wander haughtily in our shadow,
As long as a person can breathe their eyes will see.
This poem will bring ruin upon you alive.