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Hansel and Gretel: Festival Edition
When we got bored and thought that we had explored the festival on day 1, Luca, Kiri, and I decided to spar for the upcoming competition.
After that, it was the usual routine of going home and waiting for the next day to come.
However, tonight was quite exciting, as the twins were trying their costumes at home! They wanted to practice their acting one last time, but with the costumes on. Still, they forbid us from seeing their practice…
“No, no! Onee-chan, Onii-chan, Mom, Dad, no one is allowed to see us! If you want to see us being Hansel and Gretel, then see us tomorrow!” Freyja said with a very serious face.
“…Spoiler isn’t good,” Freyr calmly said as he nodded.
Although it was true that we initially asked since we wanted to see their performance beforehand, their reactions were so cute that we couldn’t help teasing them about it.
I was so happy teasing them—and then I suddenly thought of something.
I guess it was normal for the youngest child(ren) in the family to get teased like this? Then, if the twins weren’t there, would it be me getting teased or made fun of like this?
…For some reason, I felt like I was saved from something horrible thanks to the twins’ presence, tehehehe~
And then, I—the one who was supposed to be the youngest and the ‘victim’ to this family tease—joined the rest of the family as one of the teasers…
Well, we couldn’t help it, they were cute, after all!
…Is that what my parents and Alt-nii were thinking of when they teased me?
Ah, that couldn’t be helped, then.
I couldn’t wait to see them performing in their class’ drama tomorrow. That included Leticia, too. I wonder how she’d fare being the witch in the story…
With my parents both attending tomorrow, I wonder if Luca and Leticia’s parents would attend too?
I didn’t have to wait too long to know the answer to my question, as tomorrow—Day 2 of Harmonia Academy’s Quinquennial Festival—finally arrived.
The day started with me, my siblings, plus Clavis going to the school together. Ah, with the addition of Niina. Meanwhile, Mom and Dad would be coming before the twins’ drama performance, after they attended their work first.
Since the twins were busy preparing for their drama, Alt-nii and I were the ones who welcomed Mom and Da—or just Mom.
“Mom, where is Dad?” I asked as I tilted my head. Mom chuckled a bit before she responded.
“Your dad is currently with the king. They seem to be walking around the academy. Nostalgia, I suppose?” Mom explained.
“Hee, so Titus-sama came with you?” Alt-nii nodded.
“And I am here as well.”
Suddenly, a familiar voice of a lady surprised me. When I turned to the side—towards the source of the voice—I saw the queen with her son. In other words, Queen Shaula and Luca were there.
Next to them was Queen Shaula’s personal maid. I also believe there would be several hidden guards here.
The perks of hanging around the royal family would be having free bodyguards, huh?
“Queen Shaula!” I curtseyed reflexively as I greeted her. Alt-nii also bowed in greeting.
“My, my, exemplary as always. Now then, shall we head to the auditorium?” Queen Shaula smiled.
When I finished greeting her, I realized that Queen Shaula was wearing simple dress. Her appearance was also modest. Could it be that she didn’t really want to be discovered?
I could somehow understand, though. The main reason she was here was to see Leticia’s performance—as she was her mother. It wasn’t as if she wanted to show up as the ‘queen’.
She was really a nice woman. Other nobles might probably want to put on their appearances to declare their statuses. Ah well, no wonder King Titus fell for her.
Though Queen Shaula just implied that we would be heading towards the auditorium, it didn’t mean right away.
There was a quick path that could lead to the auditorium where the younger ones’ performances would be held, but we ended up taking the long way, because Mom and Queen Shaula would like to look around the academy.
Queen Shaula wasn’t a student in this academy, but from the looks of it, she had visited this place before. Therefore, she could engage in a conversation to compare things with Mom. Mom looked here and there with a somewhat nostalgic gaze.
Looking at Mom like that, I wonder if I would be looking at my previous self’s school like that? …If I ever got the chance to visit it again. Not that I would like to.
After walking around for a while, we finally arrived at the auditorium and found ourselves some vacant seat. Or more precisely, I saw Iris and Carbuncle, guarding some vacant seats at the place with a good view to the stage.
Niina and Clavis went to sit close to us, followed by the set of the Loera main family. Kiri and his adoptive parents also showed up and sat close to us.
Dad and King Titus became the last ones to arrive. It seemed they really took their time during talking about nostalgic things in this academy.
When I looked around the auditorium, I saw Briar-Rose along with the miracle twins. I waved when they accidentally saw me. They—or more precisely—Briar waved energetically. I saw Ristea-san next to Valerie and Dmitria—and then the two males nearby… Are they Ristea-san’s husbands?
Our seats weren’t that nearby, so I couldn’t really see them clearly.
Right at that time, the lighting around us was dimmed—only the lighting on the stage was still on.
Ooh, it’s finally starting!
When the curtain was raised, two children spread the banner with this writing:
[HANSEL & GRETEL ~HARMONIA EDITION~]
They spread it for a while before they inched closer to each other, closing the banner, revealing another child behind them. Then, the children who held up the banner lined up next to the child that was hidden. They went to the corner of the stage.
The children were wearing Basic Level’s winter uniform. The ‘hidden child’ began narrating slowly.
“Once upon a time, there lived a harmonious family in a village. The family was blessed with 10 children.”
As she narrated, a pair of children who dressed up like a husband and wife entered to the middle of the stage, followed by 10 other children.
WAIT A SECOND—!
I knew from the title of the drama that it was going to be a spin-off of the Hansel and Gretel story, but… 10… 10 children?!
The one standing right next to the narrator then opened his mouth.
“Among their children, there was a pair of twins born with magical power.”
At this time, the twins—who else could it be than Freyr and Freyja?—they stepped forward so that everyone could see them clearly.
Then, the other child next to the first narrator began narrating.
“Sadly, magical power was deemed as weird and unusual in that village. The magical twins were subject to the villagers’ prejudices…”
“Hey, hey, look, aren’t that the twins of the Harmony family?” A gossip-loving ‘aunty’ whispered as she stole a few glances at the twins who were plucking wild grasses in somewhere not their home, for some reason.
“Eeh, Hansel and Gretel? Aren’t they gossiped to be… uhm, witches?” Another ‘aunty’ whispered.
“Eekh, they are [cursed], then? Why are they still here?!” The third ‘aunty’ raised her voice reflexively.
The twins seemed to hear such a loud voice, as they stopped plucking the grasses and stared with their flat expressions at the gossiping ‘adults’.
“Wah, be careful, you might be turned into stones by their stares!”
“Eh, stupid, isn’t that Medusa? It’s another different story!”
“Anyway, let’s run before they do something to us!”
The three aunties ran away in a funny attitude, leaving the twins staring into nothingness.
Narrator 1: “The twins were so used to this treatment that they paid no mind to the nosy aunties. They continued to diligently pluck the wild grasses that grew in the village…”
Narrator 2: “Why would they pluck such random wild grasses?”
Narrator 3: “Of course, it’s for plot purpose.”
“…,” I suppressed my laugh. How did they come up with such idea?
Narrator 1: “Nevertheless, the twins didn’t give up and tried to get close to children their age.”
Freyr and Freyja then stood up and approached a group of children that showed up after the three ‘aunties’ ran.
Narrator 2: “They tried to give gifts in order to make friends.”
Freyr walked close to the children and extended his hand—that carried the grasses inside.
Freyr/Hansel then spoke, “Here, food.”
“……..,” I didn’t see that coming.
Narrator 3: “But alas, the twins were so estranged from other people that no matter what they did, they were viewed as strange.”
Narrator 2: “It might also have something to do with how the villagers all thought that they were already strange and that the children were advised not to get close to them.”
No, wait, in the first place, giving the other grasses and saying it was food… it was… strange.
To break the silence, Gretel/Freyja also opened her mouth and said, “Bow down to us and we will play with you!”
Naturally, the other children went away from the weird Hansel and Gretel.
The ‘sad’ and ‘heartbroken’ Hansel and Gretel went home and told the story to their family.
The whole family tried their best to cheer the twins up.
“What? They refused such fine grasses?!” The father was enraged.
“Such a waste of food!” One of their brothers commented.
…The people in this story eat… what?
“They don’t want to bow down to ask you to play? My, let’s try kneeling down next?” One of the sisters tried to give advice to Gretel.
Absurd. The family wasn’t estranged because of the twins’ magical power—it was because of their peculiarity!!!
Then, the family had a warm dinner and went to sleep.
Narrator 1: “But in this fateful night, the twins woke up and accidentally overheard their parents speaking…”
The ‘mother’ said, “Oh dear, what to do? Our family is getting more and more estranged…”
The ‘father’ cheered up his wife, “Now, dear, don’t be sad. We promised we’d stand together as family no matter what happened, ever since the twins’ birth, right?”
“But I’m worried about the other children as well… If our family were to be estranged even more—”
“Then, we have no choice but to move. We’ve been here for too long that the villagers discovered the twins’ magic.”
“Are we going to move from place to place whenever the same thing happens?”
“…We don’t have other choice.”
“……Dear… I pity the children…,” the mother sobbed.
Narrator 2: “Hansel and Gretel who saw their sad parents also felt sad. They looked at their sleeping siblings lovingly.”
Gretel then said to Hansel, “…Because of us, our family has to move?”
Hansel responded, “…Seems so. Because we can do magic…”
As they did so, the twins chanted a bit to gather magical sparks around them.
“…It’s because of this gift that the others view as curse,” Hansel said sadly.
“We can’t bring our family down with us… Isn’t there another way?”
“Shall we leave, just the two of us? That way, our family can stay here.”
“But… where should we go to?”
Wait, wait. You guys don’t get it. I think the reason your family is estranged is because you are all weird…………………………. not just because of your magic…………………..
I couldn’t help but comment in my heart.
“Have you heard of the evil witch who’s living alone in the forest that’s located in the mountain nearby?” Hansel asked Gretel.
“The evil witch…,” Gretel widened her eyes as she seemed to know the tale of the evil witch.
“Who is that?” Gretel tilted her head.
“You don’t know?” Hansel asked.
“No,” Gretel shook her head.
“…I don’t know, either,” Hansel also nodded.
“But I heard the witch could do magic like us. Perhaps she will take us in and help us?” Hansel asked.
“But, she’s evil, right? I heard she ate children…,” Gretel asked in her worry.
WAIT, YOU DO KNOW HER!!
I started to see that this drama was really a comedy. The audience couldn’t stop laughing from the beginning of it.
“Freyr and Freyja are so cute!” Alt-nii chuckled.
“Well, look at their good acting,” Dad said proudly.
“They’re going to see Leticia soon?” Mom speculated.
Narrator 3: “Using their magic, Hansel and Gretel stealthily left the house after packing up some grasses to eat.”
…So, is it normal or not to eat grasses in the story’s world?
Narrator 2: “But they were tired, so they slept first before embarking on their journey.”
Hansel and Gretel then hid themselves in the huge amount of dry leaves on the ground, sleeping ‘comfortably’ for ‘a night’ there, without being discovered by anyone.
Narrator 1: “As the sun started to set, Hansel and Gretel departed to where the evil witch was living.”
Narrator 2: “It took them several days to finally discover the witch’s house.”
As the narrator narrated the story and as the twins walked on their places…… the scenery on the stage were changing.
I guess they were using magic or a magical device to do that.
Then, the setting finally stopped changing, revealing a house that seemed like it was made of cakes.
“Hwaaa, Fr—Hansel, look, it’s a house of cake! Seems delicious!” Freyja almost slipped her dialogue.
“Do you think we can eat it? I’m hungry,” Gretel/Freyja said.
“I don’t know. Is it as tasty as the grass we ate?” Hansel asked.
“It seems tasty, let’s just eat the whole house! We’ve run out of the grasses for 3 days already, I’m starving! Don’t you feel hungry too?” Gretel decided.
“Ok, let’s eat the evil witch’s house,” Hansel agreed.
The twins then were portrayed chewing on the house…
And then with a “boom!” the house disappeared.
“…,” I was rendered speechless again by the way this story developed.
“Aaaah, so full!” Gretel/Freyja plopped on the ground as she hit her ‘full’ belly.
“The cake is as tasty as the grasses!” Hansel/Freyr also plopped on the ground.
…Grasses are the tastiest food there?!
Narrator 2: “It was at this time that the evil witch returned.”
Leticia, who was wearing a cute witch attire, entered the stage.
“Aaah, my house! My house, it’s gone!! Nooo!!” Leticia, the witch, panicked.
“There are two children there! Oh, they seem to be so full… are they the ones who ate my house? Such evil children! I shall make them learn their lessons!”
Narrator 1: “The evil witch found the children to be eyesore, so she wanted to punish them for no reason.”
No, wait. It’s obvious the twins were at fault!! Narrator, open your eyessss!!
Leticia approached Freyr and Freyja and stomped her feet along with the wooden cane she was holding.
“Bad children! You should receive your punishment for destroying my house!!”
“Is it wrong for starving children to eat? Aren’t you too stingy, witch?” Gretel/Freyja stood up and talked back.
“In the first place, why made a house from food?” Hansel/Freyr stood up as well, patted his pants, and asked.
Whoa, look at them, committing the crime of causing the witch to be homeless, and yet so confident…
“Because I AM the WITCH! I can do ANYTHING I want!! It’s up to me what my house is going to be made of!” The witch said angrily.
“…Food is meant to be eaten, so we did nothing wrong,” Gretel shamelessly declared.
“Let’s build a new house for us to live in, then,” Hansel swiftly decided.
“…Us?” The witch tilted her head.
“Yes, Mother!” Hansel immediately said.
“What?!” The witch was surprised—so do the audience.
“Listen, I never have children!” The witch protested.
“You do now,” Hansel nodded nonchalantly.
“Look at this, witch!” Gretel/Freyja said as she made a plant grow near them.
“Eeeh, you can do magic as well? Are you really the children I never knew I have?!” The witch exclaimed in surprise.
“Mother!” Gretel and Hansel called out.
“My children! Where have you been!” The witch cried out as she hugged Hansel and Gretel.
Narrator 3: “The family of three finally reunited.”
“Let’s rebuild our house with magic!” Hansel commanded.
The witch, together with her missing children, no, together with Hansel and Gretel then built a house made of plants and earth.
Narrator 2: “The three of them then spent their days full of happiness in their new house. Hansel and Gretel started receiving magic training from their new mother.”
On the stage, the witch seemed to be instructing Hansel and Gretel various things about operating their magic.
The scene was supported by the changing scenery behind them—from morning to afternoon, from afternoon to evening, and repeat the cycle.
Narrator 1: “But one day, when Hansel and Gretel were out hunting for food in the forest…”
“Hanseeeeel, Greteeeel, are you there?” The twins’ siblings shouted in search for Hansel and Gretel.
Hansel and Gretel were hiding in the bush reflexively. When they noticed it was their siblings, Hansel and Gretel slowly went out of their hiding.
“Hansel, Gretel! There you are! We have been looking for you!” The siblings hugged the lost twins tearfully.
“Where have you been? Mother and Father are also looking for you near here. Let’s gather.”
Then, the children went to meet with their true parents.
There, Hansel and Gretel narrated the whole story.
“Is that so, Hansel, Gretel?” The father asked.
“Yes, so you don’t need to worry about us anymore,” Hansel nodded.
“Ah, that is good news indeed…,” The mother used her handkerchief to wipe her nonexistent tears.
“But you see, there is another problem,” one of their siblings hesitated.
“What is it, Brother?” Gretel tilted her head.
“You see, sister… We were driven out of the village,” One of Hansel and Gretel’s sisters answered.
“Eeeh?!” Hansel and Gretel exclaimed in surprise.
“I wonder why we were expelled, even though you two have left…,” the mother continued to use her handkerchief—again, to wipe her nonexistent tears.
“We have tried everything from offering the finest wild grasses to all of them, gracing them with our presence and even letting them kiss our feet…”
…I think that’s precisely why.
I wanted to lit a candle of condolences to this family’s nonexistent common sense.
“I see… Don’t worry, Father, Mother, brothers, sisters. I have a plan,” Hansel said, prompting them to gather closer to discuss the idea.
Narrator 1: “Then, the Harmony family hid somewhere in the forest while Hansel and Gretel went back to their self-proclaimed mother witch.”
Hansel then initiated the conversation, “Mother witch, I have something to tell you… A confession to make…”
The witch tilted her head in confusion, “What is it, dear child?”
“Leticia is cute, isn’t she?” Queen Shaula proudly commented.
“She is,” I nodded.
“What’s with this stupid drama…,” Luca shook his head lightly.
“You said that, but you were laughing too, weren’t you?” I asked.
“…But I agree, Luca, this drama is so stupid it’s funny,” I couldn’t argue with him about this.
We both nodded in silent as we continued to watch how the drama would unfold.
“Actually…,” Hansel then narrated their whole journey.
“So, you’ve been lying to me all along? You are not my long lost children?!” Leticia said as she covered her mouth in disbelief.
…Uhhhhh, witch, snap out of it.
“I’m sorry, but I really love you, Mother Witch!” Gretel said with her puppy eyes.
“Don’t you love us, too?” Gretel asked as she clung to the witch’s cloak.
“Gretel is right, though we were lying to you at first, but our feelings to you are true! Your feeling to us… It’s true too, right?” Hansel also asked.
“Yes, I already thought of you as my children!!” The witch stated.
The three of them bawled as they hugged one another.
“Then, can we stay here?” Gretel asked.
“Of course, you can. But what will become of your family?” The witch asked.
“Let’s build a castle here and everyone gets to stay together as a big family!” Hansel suddenly declared.
“Ooh, that’s a nice idea!” The witch happily clapped her hands.
“Castle, castle~ Are we going to rule over the world?” Gretel casually asked.
“World domination isn’t too bad! I like it!” The witch gave her thumbs up.
“Let’s start making our castle then conquer the world!” Hansel raised his hand.
“Ouuu!” The witch and Gretel also raised their hands.
Narrator 2: “Then, the three worked hard with the help of the Harmony family to build a very big castle that they can live in.”
The stage showed the family of 10 plus the witch, working together hand-in-hand to build the castle.
Another “BOOM!” and a wider smoke appeared on the stage before it revealed a castle.
“Now that the castle is built, let’s conquer the world, starting from our village!” The father declared as he evilly laughed.
“Let’s rule over the world and let them see the greatness of wild grasses!” Gretel declared.
“I will help, as the head of the Harmony royal family!” The witch raised her hand that was holding a cane.
Narrator 1: “Thus, the Harmony family began to conquer the world very quickly with their strong magic power.”
Wait, the ones possessing magic power in the story would be the witch, Hansel, and Gretel…
Narrator 3: “In the end, they managed to conquer the world successfully and spread the joy of eating wild grasses.”
Narrator 2: “The family and also the ones they conquered then lived happily ever after.”
Uh, so, the reason that the Harmony family’s behavior was so weird like that (asking others to kneel or bow down…) was because they secretly wanted to rule over the world?
I was still trying to digest the whole story when all the actors on the stage lined up together and said, “THE END,” together as they bowed.
The auditorium was silent for a moment before it broke in claps and cheers.
“What kind of story is this?!”
“Really, great rewrite of Hansel and Gretel!”
…It seemed like everyone was healed—no, everyone enjoyed the drama along with all of its absurdity.
The events in the drama happened so fast that it didn’t give anyone time to think. Still, it was very amusing.
No wonder the twins were so against us seeing any of this.
If we were to get any spoiler of this drama, this performance wouldn’t be as funny as it was.
They really did well in holding their impulse to tell us about this masterpiece they were working on, huh?
After the drama was over, the twins and Leticia immediately went to our place. Their faces were brimming with the aura of: ‘Did I do well? How was it? Praise me!’
We couldn’t help but praise them and pinch their cheeks.
As Alt-nii and Clavis were going to compete soon, we decided to move to the Colloseum to watch the battle unfold. Not all of us followed there, as my friends had other things to do. For example, Ein had to prepare himself to participate in ‘War of the Intellect’ that would happen at the same time as my participation in the freestyle combat competition.
It was too bad that I couldn’t see Ein in action, but he promised he’d show us the record that his parents would definitely take, so it would be fine, I guess?
Back to the combat competition! Since it was the first day of the competition, it was a match between the same levels. Ah, the twins’ team’s fight was scheduled for tomorrow, luckily for them. It would be a bit tiring for them to directly fight after performing as the main characters in the earlier drama, right?
Anyway, Alt-nii’s team fought against another team of the Advanced Level and won.
Then, some time after Alt-nii’s team’s fight, it was my team’s turn to fight against fellow Intermediate Level student.
The result of the battle was… we won splendidly.
After waiting for a while to see the next lineup for the match (for tomorrow), we finally got to see the match lineup—eehh?!
Wait a minute, is this real?
Tomorrow, on Day 3 of the Harmonia Quinquennial Festival…
My team would be fighting against Alt-nii’s team?!!
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