“Your highness! Your highness! Ah…”
An imperial guard woke me up as though a fire had broken out. I opened my eyes while trying to distinguish left-from-right, top-from-bottom when I saw him standing in front of me in a very awkward manner. Someone was on top of me. Let me correct myself there. There was someone lying next to me, and had me locked in her embrace with her long white leg boldly wrapped around my waist.
Lucia’s head was placed on my neck, and I could feel her slow and steady breath on my skin, while She locked me tightly in her embrace with her arms. No wonder I had dream of a whale squashing me. To be fair, the way she embraced me wasn’t a problem, since we were engaged anyway, and sleeping together wasn’t an issue either. The problem though, was that there were bits of clothing tossed to the side of my bed. Lucia must’ve returned in the early morning, somersaulted into my room, stripped herself, and then jumped into my bed…
If she were sleeping with her clothes on, we wouldn’t have a problem, but she’s sleeping naked so we’ve got a massive problem! This guard has seen what shouldn’t be seen, so I could have him executed for it. He turned around, knelt down and said: “I deeply apologise, your highness! I had something urgent to report, so I stormed in right after I knocked! I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! I’ll leave now!”
I stretched my hand out to stop him and struggled to get Lucia off me. I covered her with the blanket and said: “Wait… Don’t you have an urgent matter to report? What is it? Go ahead and tell me. Don’t worry, I’m not angry. It’s urgent, so do tell me.”
“Understood… Thank you, your highness! Umm… Well… Our recon unit has discovered that the situation concerning the Earth Dragons may have gotten troublesome. Based on their movements, and the fact that they are coming together, we suspect that they plan to attack the capital by attacking the West city walls.”
“Why would they attack the walls of our capital? They’re not soldiers… Wait… The holy spring…”
The holy spring is located in the inner parts of the imperial palace and is heavily guarded. Normally, not even I would be allowed to enter without a legitimate reason. They must be looking for a better habitat after having theirs destroyed. They’ve set their eyes on the holy spring. The holy spring is nature’s gift, but it’s also the source of power for elves, so we can’t let them destroy it.
I pondered it for a moment. Why did the Earth Dragons start preparing for an attack today of all days? They’ve been roaming the Black Forest up to now as they usually do, which gave me time to make my own preparations. But judging by the current situation, it looks like we’ll have to hurry and set out. The only location where I’ll have a chance of killing them is the canyon located in the Black Forest.
If they leave the Black Forest and enter the plains, then GG me. If a horde of them attack us, they’ll destroy the walls in one fell swoop. I nodded. There were only two days left since the day I passed down my orders. I gave the elders five days, but I don’t know how many they’ve got operational right now, but I ordered them to give it everything they had to manufacture as many as possible. In the worst case scenario, we should have at least three, right?
If they don’t even have three ready, then I seriously will put them on the front line as meat-shields.
“Alright, I’ll get out of bed right now. Order all the imperial guards I’ve ordered, to get equipped. Order them to leave the palace in small units and rendezvous at the designated point.”
The guard nodded and ran out of my room. I looked at Lucia who was still enjoying her blissful sleep and sighed. She must’ve just returned. She hunted alone and didn’t get any rest. I originally intended to stay home and spend the day with her today, but it looks like fate has decided to throw a wrench in my plans.
“Lucia… Lucia… Lucia, wake up, wake up, we’re heading out. Lucia…”
She twitched around on the bed out of annoyance, tightly hugged my head, and said: “Let me sleep a little longer… Just a little longer…”
My head got wedged in between her two soft and warm mounds. Her boobs aren’t as big as mom’s but they’re still decent, not to mention, the skin of an elf is slippery and supple. Moreover, she had a nice fragrance on her. I took in a deep breath, and my brain hummed. You know… My body was reacting the way it does every morning…
If I turned my head, my hair would’ve brushed against her most sensitive parts… I’m a normal man so… When a girl clings to me, not to mention she was a girl with an overly sexy body and beautiful skin being, and the fact that she’s my fiancé… How could I possibly resist…?
No, I mustn’t do this!
Now is not the time to be doing this sort of stuff. As a solider, I must always uphold the three rules, and keep the eight codes in mind. I must resist the temptation! I must focus on serving the people! How can be doing this sort of stuff when the enemy is encroaching upon us?! I mustn’t do this. This isn’t something a soldier should do!
I violently broke free of her, wrapped her in the blanket and tried my best to wake her up. She let out a shriek, opened her eyes and angrily said: “Is something the matter, your highness? I just managed to get some shut-eye. Please let me have a rest today. I hunted a deer yesterday, and then I had to lug it to the temple…”
“Wake up. I’m sorry to wake you, but we’ve got trouble. The Earth Dragons are banding together. We can’t wait any longer, we have to leave now.”
As soon as she heard the words “Earth Dragon”, her eyes opened wide. This is the first time I’ve seen her fully open her eyes. Her emerald eyes lit up like a wolf’s in the night and was filled with blood thirst. She nodded and then returned to her usual sleepy-eyes expression, and said: “Your highness, get changed. My…”
“Your clothes are right here.”
I pointed towards her clothes and she responded with a nod. She threw off the blanket in front of me without a single care, picked up her clothes and got dressed. She was wearing her leather armour, which was different to the clothes she wore at night. It’s a tight-fit, but it was distinctively armour, not clothes. She picked up her machete and strapped it to her hip. Then she put on her shoes, strapped her bow and arrows to her back, tied her hair into a ponytail, grabbed my hand, and said: “Let’s go, your highness. I’m ready. But before you leave, you need to put on some armour.”
My hand holding my coat froze in place. She was right. I needed armour since I was going to battle, and so I took up my arms. But where would I get armour from? Lucia looked at me and then walked up to my wardrobe and pulled it open. She rummaged through it and pulled out a very nice leather armour. However, contrary to what I imagined, it was thin. Thin as a piece of cloth. But it definitely felt like leather.
“This leather armour was made from dragon skin. It may be thin, but even the most powerfully fired arrow won’t pierce it. Wear it inside.”
She put the armour on for me and took out a short green robe. The back of the robe was really long. It was split down the middle like a dove’s tail and came down to my knees. It draped around my shoulders and came around to the front of my legs and split at the hips. On the chest was a green front shawl, which had the smell of elves trees. The long red cloak on the back fluttered in the wind, but the gold thread on it had signs of wear-and-tear.
When Lucia took the robe out, her eyes were filled with awe. She handed me the clothes very formally with her head down like she was holding an infant or the country in her hands. This robe must’ve symbolised the soul of the elf race, something which was to be treated with the utmost respect.
“Please put this on, your highness! Please do not forget the courage of the previous king, and the gift of the gods! Gods, previous kings, I ask that you bless his highness with glory and protect his life, the heart to overcome the ups-and-downs to protect the tree forever. Never forget the people watching over you. We will soak the cloak with the blood of our enemies, and nourish the tree of life with the bodies of the enemies. Please do not forget the glory of the elf race and your own. Please do not forget the blessings of the gods. As the wearer of the armour, you will return victorious with this armour, or be buried with it!”
I don’t know what I should do, because I’ve never had to shoulder such a heavy burden before. Once I put this battle robe on, I’ll be carrying the weight of all the lives of the elf empire on my shoulders, and the hopes of the entire race. It’s just as Lucia said: Either I return triumphantly in this armour, or perish with it in battle.
My body reacted on its own. I doubt that was due to my own thoughts, but rather the owner of this body, the prince of the elf race. It must’ve reacted out of a sense of responsibility. He was bent on making up for his mistakes, and standing up for the people who suffered for his sake. The people’s king, the acknowledged king and the blessed king. The king must protect his people. When the lives of the people are threatened, all kings must come to the forefront wearing this battle robe and lead the charge.
I was hesitant, but the prince clearly wasn’t.
I bent over and accepted the robe. I calmly wore it on, adjusted it so that it was on properly, and sonorously pressed the huge world tree crest against my chest. I felt my heart beats and the cape behind me flutter. My body warmed the battle robe, the robe soaked with the blood of countless foes.
In this very moment, I’m carrying the honour of the entire imperial family. I failed last time, but I won’t fail again. This is my responsibility as a king. Since I was reincarnated into this body, I have a responsibility to shoulder his burdens, which includes both mom’s gentleness and Lucia’s love. This time, I will inherit the glory and majestic power this body was meant to inherit.
Once I put the battle robe on, I felt a strange warm energy flow through my body. Was it the blood or courage and burdens of the previous warriors who wore it? I could see the wars of the past, battlefields filled with roars, and rivers of blood. The sky was covered by smoke and dust, while the air was filled with the scent of blood.
Everything in the past was displayed to me via this robe.
Elves may love peace, but that doesn’t mean they fear war. Elves have never retreated from the battlefield before.
I looked at Lucia, took a deep breath, and said: “Let’s go.”
She nodded, took out a machete, attached it to my belt, and said: “This blade is to be wielded by the commander. Her highness wielded this very blade in the last war. This time, it’s your turn to wield it, your highness. Last time, you treated it as a hunting game and was completely unprepared, but not this time. Seeing you like this, we understand that this is war, not a game.”
I gave her a nod, brushed my cape aside, and pulled the door open.
As soon as I opened the door, I heard the clanging of metal. The sun shone from the large window and onto the rows of golden metal. Gold itself is cold, but I could feel the heat of the blood and honour of the warriors exuding from their armour. The palace guards formed rows and knelt down on one knee with their right hand placed on the chest, as they looked up at me solemnly with dignity.
My relationship with them in the past wasn’t bad, but this is the first time I’ve seen them look at me with respect. The usual me is nothing more than a prince, but right now I was a unit commander. The palace guards in front of me right now are the ones who’ll be staying behind in the palace. They won’t be joining my campaign, but they knelt before me nonetheless.
They weren’t greeting just me, but also the traditions and glory of the elves, the past heroes and their current commander. They were greeting the new heroes who were about to set out.
“Please rise. Please fulfill your duty to protect the imperial palace and her highness.”
The steady sound of all the elves in the corridor echoed as they stepped aside to make way. I made my way through the crowd with Lucia and stopped by the door to mom’s room. I looked at the timber door and took a deep breath.
“Go let her highness know. If she knows you’re heading out to battle, she’ll be worried sick.”
“That’s precisely why I don’t want to see her.”
I lowered my hand that I was about to knock with and gently placed my hand on the door. I sighed and said with a smile: “Let’s go, Lucia. I’ll bring back the head of an Earth Dragon to appease her.”
“Wouldn’t it be too big to bring back? How about bringing back something else for her?”
Lucia smiled and held my hand, and I responded by holding hers tightly. My glove separated our hands, but I could still feel the warmth of her hand nonetheless.
Lucia who was following me down the stairs, said: “Your highness, your job is to protect the country. Mine is to protect you. Just as you will give it your all in this battle, I will do my best to protect you. I once questioned the direction I was walking in, but I now know my own abilities and the direction I wish to go.”
The sun shone on us like waves hitting the shore. The sunrays inhibited my vision a little. Lucia, who was standing beside me and holding my hand, looked like she was coated in a warm-golden light. She looked at me with her emerald eyes which were filled with gentleness and determination, albeit looking half-asleep.
“To repay your gentleness and love, I would like to ask you to let me hold onto the drug we will use as bait.”