“Good morning, your highness. May the glory of the ancient trees be with you.”
Eight old and strong voices echoed in the large hall that reminded me of a giant tree shade. I looked at the old eight individuals, nodded and slightly bowed to acknowledge them.
I was embarrassed after waking up because mom and Lucia were so lax about the whole thing… The two of them acted as if it were completely normal to get dressed in my room with me present. I strongly suspect that they don’t see me as a man. Actually, I think mom just sees me as her son, while Lucia just sees me as her fiancé. Is that why they’re fine with being naked in front of me?
After they got dressed, we had breakfast… I couldn’t believe that elves just have some strange tree fruit for breakfast… Last night there was roast meat and bread… But this fruit is so sweet. After breakfast, I followed mom to a large chamber for meetings in the palace. The chamber had Roman characteristics. It was a cylindrical room with a semi-circle ceiling which wasn’t covered. There was a huge tree right in the centre of the chamber. The trunk of the tree stretched out from the ceiling, and the leaves covered the dome illuminating the chamber with a green light.
The dust lazily danced in the light beam of the sun. The floor wasn’t really a “floor”, and was sprawling with weeds. Wild flowers were blooming on all sides as the butterflies flew around in between them. There were also small green balls that illuminated a green light similar to that of fireflies. These things look like the work of the construction workers and gardeners of the elves.
It looks like the exterior was constructed by humans while the inside was constructed with nature in mind, befitting the style of elves.
Mom said we came to this chamber to meet the eight elders of the imperial capital. The eight are the same eight who greeted me earlier. I don’t know what the lifespan of elves are like, but based on human standards, they look well advanced in years.
Mom sat on the throne behind the largest sun ray, smiled and said. “Please don’t stand on ceremony. I asked you all to come today because I have a matter I’m concerned about.”
One of the elders looked up at mom and respectfully asked.
“What is causing your highness grief? It’s been rare to see you bothered since you ascended the throne.”
I stood to one side and watched them. Lucia dressed in her emerald skirt stood to one side and was clearly bored and couldn’t stop fidgeting. She’s a retainer, yet she’s completely ignoring etiquette. Has she no fear?
“I’m bothered by the Earth Dragons and I don’t need to hide that fact. My son failed in his campaign against the dragons and almost died. That reminded me of how dangerous they are, so I want to order our army in the North return here. They specialize in hunting wild beasts. Do any of you have any thoughts?”
The eight elders looked at each other and the leader hurriedly raised his hand, and said: “No. It is not plausible. The Northern area is the juncture of the large demons. The large demons have always harassed our borders. We cannot recall out troops now, otherwise we may suffer huge losses. It is an implausible decision.”
Mom brushed her blonde hair, sighed and said.
“Then I’ll take my personal guards with me and personally go subdue them. My personal guards are all experienced warriors. They won’t cower at the sight of the dragons. Even if I face hordes of them, I definitely have a good chance at winning.”
“You absolutely cannot do that! You and your personal guards are the foundation of the country. How can you leave because of some insignificant Earth Dragons. Please reconsider it, your highness!”
“Do you have a good plan then?” Mom took a deep breath, rubbed her temples to calm herself, and said: “All of you are my brother’s trusted retainers. After succeeding the throne, I have not mistreated any of you once. In that battle, you all performed valiantly. So why? How come not one of you accompanied my son when he set out that day?”
The eight elders looked at each other, their eyes frightened, and I don’t blame them. Even I could sense that mom was getting angry. She stood up and looked down at them. Her milk white dress looked like it was going to go up in flames. She looked down at them and coldly said: “Oh, I see. I see how it is. I see that you’re all cowards! I can smell your fear. You’re scared. So what makes you think my son doesn’t know fear?! Logically speaking, you eight should’ve accompanied him on his first campaign to guide him. Instead you threw a few new recruits at him just to make up the headcount! You’re the retainers my brother trusted! I can’t believe that you’ve all become such cowards. You’re not qualified to stand under the ancient tree! Have you upheld the oath you made? My son almost died fighting the Earth Dragons, and yet you’re all acting completely indifferent?!”
“Please calm down, your highness!! We didn’t avoid it on purpose… We just did not feel too well at the time, and therefore could not accompany the prince!”
“Oh really now?”
Mom smiled coldly, looked at them and hugged her own arms. To make an analogy, when mom is being her usual self, she’s bright and warm like the sun; right now, she’s as cold as ice. No one would dare approach her. She looked down at the eight of them with her blue eyes, now sharp as a blade, and said: “Okay. You’re all fine now, right? It’s your turn to go hunt them for once. Show me what you’ve got, and kill all of those dragons!”
I saw their faces turn as white as a sheet. To be honest, these eight haven’t given me a good impression. They’ve just kept rambling on and on about this and that, not letting anyone go, and rejecting other’s ideas while they find a way to back out. Are they really qualified to be elders?
“You always claim to not fear death, but fear dying for no good reason. None of you feared death when you were young, so why are you scared now?” Mom turned around, and her long gold hair was like a long whip, whipping at their hearts. “I order you as the ruler of elves; you have two weeks to resolve the matter with the Earth Dragons, otherwise, you can go explain yourselves to my brother! Now, out!”
“Your highness! Your Highness! Please reconsider it! We cannot lead an army at our old age! Your highness!!”
The eight of them then chased my leaving mother as they trembled. Lucia charged out in front of them out of the blue, stretched her arms out to her sides, blocking them off as she swept her gaze across the eight of them, and said with an expressionless face: “Her highness said leave. Please leave.”
As soon as they saw my mother’s milk white back disappear at the door, they immediately turned around, knelt at my feet and cried: “Prince! Your highness! Your highness, please, we beg you. Please talk to her highness. We… We cannot do this! We…”
Before I could say anything, Lucia dashed over so quickly all I saw was an emerald shadow. Before I knew it, she held her dagger against the throat of the leader of the elders and gave them a cold glare. Lucia was expressionless before, but it’s apparent that she’s fuming now. She said: “Her highness ordered you to leave! If you dare to bother the prince, then don’t blame me for what happens next. I don’t care if you’re elders. Don’t approach my prince.”
“Uhh… Lucia. You don’t need to do that…” I smiled bitterly as I stretched out my hands. Even if we don’t like it, they’re still elders, so we shouldn’t do this. They haven’t done anything bad either; they’re just pussies is all. While it’s true that I look down on people like them, I can understand it since they’re old. I mean they probably don’t have that long to live anymore, so being afraid of death is normal, and neither is there any point in them going on a hunt.
“Are you sure? Well, Okay. If you say that then… ” Lucia obeyed me and nodded. Her hostile aura dissipated in an instant as she withdrew her blade and stood aside, but continued to vigilantly watch them. What are you acting like that for? It’s not like they’d suddenly sneak attack me…
I feel like mom doesn’t really intend to have them go to battle. I mean, what meaning would it have to send eight old people to the battlefield? I think she just wants them to help out with resolving the issue. They’re considered eight highly experienced, knowledgeable and wise people. I think mom’s trying to get them to assist financially by threatening them with their lives.
“Thank you, your highness. Thank you. Your highness, we beg you, please appease her highness. We’re already several hundred years old. We just want to spend our remaining time in peace and appreciating our life under the ancient tree. We have no desire to go to battle. Furthermore, what use would we have? Blades cannot harm an Earth Dragon. They… They cannot be killed!”
I looked down at the crying elders.
Lucia drew her blade as she stared at them out of the corner of her eyes and asked me.
“Your highness, do you want me to silence them?”
I shook my head, crouched down, looked at them, and said: “If they can’t be killed, then how do you explain these Earth Dragon scales in my hand? As long as it has life, it can definitely be killed. Tell me. Tell me the living habits of Earth Dragons and everything related to them, and I’ll go convince her highness.”
The leader of the eight wiped his eyes, and trembled as he asked with disbelief: “Your highness… Why do you wish to know about that? You must not let something happen to you again. If something happens to you, we really will lose our heads. Do you know how many people were executed last time when you almost died? You must not let anything happen to you. If something were to happen to you, her highness really will slaughter the entire city.”
“If you don’t tell me, your heads will roll right now.”
Lucia looked at them, folded her arms, bet down slightly, and said to one of them at their side: “When the prince asks you a question, answer it, and spare the useless nonsense!”
“Right, right, right… But all the books related to Earth Dragons are at our homes, we do not have them here with us.”
I stood up and said: “Let’s go to your house then. Let’s go now.”
I suddenly turned around, looked at Lucia who was following me and said: “Oh yeah, Lucia…”. She paused for a moment, and asked: “What is it?”
“Well… I think mom put a spell on the palace doors… As soon as I leave, she’ll find out… Could you take me outside via another route?”
She nodded, and said: “The spell was only cast on the door, so if we jump over it, then you’ll be fine. You can’t fly, nor are you as dexterous as I am, so I’ll just carry your over.”
Stunned, I looked at Lucia who was much smaller than I. Pulling me up from the floor would be difficult for her, and she’s saying she’s going to carry me over the palace doors? Please don’t underestimate the doors. They’re four to five metres tall. She’s skilled and dexterous so jumping over the door on her own won’t be a problem, but she’s bringing me along for the ride?
“It’s okay, my wind elves will help out.” Lucia seemed to be able to see my hesitation. She just jumped up and down casually, but her jump height easily exceeded the imagination of humans. It’s more accurate to say that she flew up, except she’s only gliding in the air.
Say, uh… You’re wearing a skirt, so could you be a show a bit more self-awareness?
I asked a final question.
“And also… I’m going against mom’s will here, so why aren’t you stopping me, Lucia?”
Lucia is the captain of the imperial palace’s secret guard unit. They take orders directly from my mom. In my mind, she’s not only my fiancé, childhood friend and bodyguard, but also a pair of watchful eyes whose job is to keep tabs on me.
She tilted her head to one side, squinted her sleepy looking eyes, and asked: “Huh? Why do I have to stop you?”
“You said you wanted to leave, so I’ll help you leave. I’m your fiancé. As your fiancé, it’s a given that I must support you, right?” And even if something does happen, you’ll protect me, so I’m not worried.”
Could you please not say something so touching while looking at me like it’s completely natural? I’m starting to understand why this prince likes her. Lucia is a little silly, always looks like she’s half-asleep, she’s not shrewd, and has no confidants. So her love for the prince is sincere and devoid of selfishness. No one could resist her passionate and sincere love.
I stretched my hand out tightly grabbed Lucia’s small white hand. The corner of her mouth lifted up into a grin. She grabbed my hand, turned around to face me, got up on her toes and gently kissed me on the lips, and said: “I love you… my prince.”
Sorry everyone, but I’ve been conquered.
I couldn’t give a shit if I’m the elf prince or not! All I know right now is that I like Lucia! I’m the one that’s going to marry her at the end, so who cares if I’m the real prince or not. Wait. I am the real prince!
I lightly pulled her in at her hips, and she followed into my embrace. She hugged me around my neck and I could see a blissful look in her squinty eyes. I slowly leaned over, and went for her gentle and exquisite lips…
” Your Highness…Let us be on our way!”
You people really know how to rain on my parade.
Maybe I should’ve just let Lucia slit their throats back there.
*** I thought you’d all be curious as to how the main protagonist looks, so here you go.***
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