“Her majesty didn’t come to the conference today.”
“I heard it had to do with his majesty’s return.”
“Yeah, the only thing or person in the entire empire who could stop her majesty from coming to a conference would be his majesty.”
The throne which her majesty always sat on in the conference chamber was empty today. The retainers below whispered amongst each other. Those who were ordered to “off themselves” last time now had swollen red faces. They sneaked glances at each other to see others have more swollen faces than themselves. The reason the relationship between the two factions have become more harmonious today is probably because the representatives of both factions this time are elders.
They respected each other and weren’t impulsive like the young n’s who were still wet behind their ears.
Castell walked up to the middle of the two rows of tables, clapped his hands and said with a smile: “Alright, everybody. Her majesty is not feeling well today, so you may all leave early today.”
“My, my, long no see, Castell.”
One of the old fat men from the formal clothing faction looked at Castell, pointed at him with his fingers which resembled lotus roots, laughed out loud and said: “You sneaky bastard, where’d you run off to? Did you go off to make some big bucks?”
Castell replied with a smile: “You sure know how to tell jokes. I only made a trip to the elf nation as an envoy.”
“Aren’t you modest? Hahahaha. Castell, Castell. You’re our envy. You’re the only retainer who can freely enter the inner courts.”
He put his back into patting Castell on the shoulder as he said: “What I mean is, we’re just mere retainers. We aren’t favoured by her majesty like you Castell.”
Castell turned around as he looked at his dignified rectangular face, chuckled and said: “You’re exaggerating General Carter. I’m not favoured by her majesty. I just happened to start serving her earlier. Furthermore, I am not the only one permitted entry into the inner court. I have to report in before entering. His majesty is the one who can freely enter and leave the inner court.”
“Oh yeah, his majesty has returned. I haven’t gone and paid his majesty a visit yet.”
The fat blob walked over to Castell’s side, tapped Castell on his chest with his hands which had gems on every finger, and said: “Let’s get together one day and invite his majesty to an evening party. Our dear prince has returned and we didn’t even pay him a visit last night. Shame on us.”
“Yeah, we should hold an evening party.” General Carter nodded and continued: “Castell, is his majesty free right now? We didn’t pay him a visit yesterday so we need to go and apologise today.”
Castell pursed his lips into a smile. These people who are always up to no good really don’t learn. Since they’re aware that they can’t win favour with her majesty, they’re trying to win his majesty’s favour instead. They’ve also come to the realisation that whichever faction wins his majesty’s favour will consequently win favour with her majesty. It’s just as they say, whether it’s a prince, a wealthy and powerful retainer, or a general, none can compare to her majesty’s favour. The moment they’re bestowed with her majesty’s favour, will be the moment they control half of the empire.
“Sorry, but I don’t know where his majesty has gone… His majesty is a free and easy-going spirit, so I presume he’s left to palace to go play somewhere.”
The fatso thumped his chest and proudly said: “My, that’s not good. I’m acquainted with all the shops. His majesty should’ve mentioned it if he was going to go out. I can guarantee that it wouldn’t cost him a penny to entertain himself and eat out on the streets.”
“Hmm… Perhaps we should organise a parade for his majesty. I’ll go arrange it now.”
Castell stopped them and said: “Don’t be hasty. His majesty must be tired from his trip and has yet to rest up. Instead of tiring him further, how about letting his majesty play freely for a few days? You can go pay his majesty a visit afterwards.”
“You’re right, you’re right.”
“Let’s do that then.”
I don’t know anything about what Castell said, but he was right about two things. One, I’ve indeed left the palace. Two, I really am exhausted.
If someone were to sit beside you and watch you sleep while cleaning their sword with a piece of cloth, I don’t think you’d be able to sleep either. That’s right, Nier sat on the chair next to my bed last night and stared at me the whole night while cleaning her sword with a piece of cloth. I couldn’t even fall asleep.
Or rather, I didn’t dare to fall asleep…
I have a very important task to complete today. I need to get an armour made using these materials mom gave so I need to find an experienced blacksmith. The skills of blacksmiths in the elf nation allow them to create simple pieces of armour, but they’re not the best choice when it comes to crafting high-grade armour. While it’s true that magic has been cast on the Earth Dragon armour, it still requires the handiwork of humans to create light armour which allows ease of movement and isn’t easy to spot.
But… I really don’t want to bring Nier along…
Nier however wouldn’t back off half-an-inch. She followed me without wearing any expression and I couldn’t shake her off either. The palace guards in the elf nation were a headache, but I couldn’t even eat breakfast with this cold female bodyguard with her hand placed on her sword following me around! Nier’s “just ignore me” aura scared the boss of the meat bun stand shitless.
Lucia doesn’t reveal her weapon and usually dresses like a young girl, but not Nier! Wherever Nier goes, the atmosphere around her becomes imposing. Is it too much to ask to let me take a stroll on the streets?!
“Umm, Nier, could you possibly head back first? I really don’t need any protection.”
“Please don’t misunderstand. I couldn’t be more eager to drag your corpse through the streets. However, I’d fail her majesty if I did that. Just pretend that I’m not here, you can just ignore me.”
Aren’t you cursing me?! You really want me dead, don’t you?! Speaking politely like that doesn’t change the evil fact that you me dead!
“Nier, I think we need to have a chat as to why you want me to die so badly…”
Nier titled her head, looked at me confused and asked: “Don’t you think that you’re an unnecessary existence, your majesty? Don’t you at least have that teeny amount of self-awareness?”
The earnest tone you said that with really hurt me…
I definitely need to shake her off…
I scanned the streets. Humanity’s city streets are wider than the elf nation’s, but the streets weren’t spacious. The scent in the air was stronger. The scent of different foods and fragrances were mixed together. Carriages went up and down the streets non-stop. It was the same scene that I witnessed upon my arrival. This place was bustling like a modern day metropolis.
I squeezed in and out of the crowds. This is what I learnt from the Celestial Empire*. It’s a skill you need to navigate food courts, public transport stops and tourist attractions. I could find a spot for myself regardless of how crowded it was. What do you think, Nier? You can’t keep up with me when you’ve never experienced travelling during Chinese New Year, can you? How are you going to catch me?
“Your majesty, you’re headed towards the flower district.”
Nier followed closely behind. I never lost her!!
I slowly noticed the change in the environment. There were yellow flags hung atop the buildings on both sides. An arched gate separated this area from the rest of the world. There were women dressed in short yellow skirts revealing their arms and legs on one side. The majority of them were chattering in groups. On the other side were women in long skirts made from silk or otherwise expensive silk. They clung to the arms of men, walking with them along the street happily.
This must be the red-light district.
I turned around and saw Nier looking in that direction with an extremely disgusted look on her face. It seemed that she hated the area. I looked inside and found that it was a subdivision of the city. However, the alleys between the buildings were narrow. They’re perfect for setting sexual traps even gods couldn’t escape. You know the type where the girl seduces the guy into going into an alley with her, and the moment the guy pulls his pants down, there’ll be a few hunks that come in claiming to be her brother, boyfriend or whatever, and then either threaten to sue you for sexual harassment and extort money from you, or outright beat you up and run off with your wallet? I imagine I could jump from the second floor since it doesn’t look that high anyway.
Alright, I’ll shake Nier off here!
I don’t believe a girl would take the initiative to come here. Additionally, she’d have to share the space with men. Nier will definitely wait at the door. I’ll escape through the window, jump down into an alley and get away! Perfect!
“Oh, right. I was planning to come here. I know it’s daytime, but I’m craving it this morning. Nier, do you want to come in with me?”
I pointed to this so called flower districts huge yellow flag and smiled naughtily.
Nier looked at me even more disgusted…
*Celestial Empire = A name used to refer to China. It was a translation of Tianchao (天朝), a name for China.
Flower District is the old phrase for red-light district.
Translator Comments: Regarding the suggestion about moving it to a bigger site, it has it’s merits but also it’s drawbacks. And putting aside my asshole nature and desire to top them, we were discussing the finance growth side of things. To address that and play devil’s advocate, it’s a feasible method, but at the same time fruitless. To elaborate, a growth in readers increases the probability of more monetary support, but at the same time, that probability is minute. The reason is, it’s very, very rare that someone can’t afford something in life – putting third world countries and bankruptcy aside. It’s about “value”. The question is “Is this/that/he/she worth x amount of dollars/x amount of time.” And you’d be hard pressed to persuade me that you couldn’t afford $1 a month. If you actually can’t afford $1/month, you’d be off someone trying to make a fraction of that to survive, not here. If you actually can’t, I suggest you stop reading and go sort your life out by the way. What they’re really saying is “This isn’t worth $1/month”. And that’s fine, I’m not going to call you a jerk, stingy or whatnot. I’ll just grind, try to push further and find ways to make it worth $x/month. As of current, we have nearly 4k readers here for Son-con, and more reading on aggregate sites (which I’ll soon deal with), so 5k+, and 51 believe it to be worth their monetary support. Jacking it up to 10k and extrapolating therefore, most likely won’t make much more than a minute difference. And as for the big-wigs, I’ll find a way to over-take them, I’m good at that.
That’s that, and now here’s my promised bonus, enjoy: https://www.facebook.com/lordwujizun/videos/260850121066846/