“Your majesty, what are you doing here?”
There were no winds that could blow my cape upwards on the balcony, nor did I have a cigarette that would make it look like I was deep in thought. I only had a glass of red wine in hand. I took little sips of the red wine and felt it pass through my mouth, then down into my gut.
Nier stood behind me and looked at me. Maybe she came to look for me since she didn’t see me in the large hall.
“Nothing, just… thinking about some stuff.”
Nier turned around to leave, but I turned around and called her. She turned around and looked at me blankly. I looked at her with my glass in my hand and didn’t utter a word. Nier didn’t move. She just stood in place, silently awaiting my orders. The wandering winds blew onto me and lifted Nier’s ponytail up and across her green eyes. Her green eyes were gleaming under the moonlight.
“Nier, has our relationship eased up a little recently…?”
Nier looked at me and calmly replied: “It’s the same as always.”
I had another sip and then let out a long sigh. After that lecture from the Regent, I came to a realisation. My relationship with Nier hasn’t changed her, and we haven’t fallen in love with each other after spending time together, but it was because I ordered her to kill like the empress usually does for the first time back at the slums. Nier is most happy when she has her long sword in hand and is completely covered in blood. Nier initially hated my weakness, but that was the first time I ordered somebody to kill.
Nier looked at me and said: “There’s nothing we can do about it.”
“Nothing we can do about it?”
Nier looked at me and continued: “Her majesty bestowed me with a weapon so that I could kill people. I have the rights to kill, so killing is the same as my life. It’s a right. I don’t have any feelings about it.”
I smiled helplessly. Killing people is a right? In my past, I believed that we can’t kill because murder was against the law, and that nobody had the right to take the life of another unless the law deemed necessary, which was why I didn’t kill. I didn’t have the right to kill. But after coming here, I’ve attained the right to kill as well as a tool to kill. It was like I came to that realisation when we are at the slums and therefore gave the order to kill them all.
It truly was as simple as eating or sleeping, just as if I was born the same way. Murder really is just like a mundane task in a day but most people don’t have the right to commit murder. But now I have said right, and I used it. And after I used it, I surprisingly didn’t feel anything. I told myself those men deserved to die, and forgot that the person who should’ve judged them was the law, and not me. I used the power of a prince to kill for the first time.
What’s scarier is that I actually felt happy about it.
My hands were clean because Nier was the one who spilled their blood. It’s more accurate to say that my relationship with Nier was set straight, rather than having eased up. Nier is a killing machine, and I’m the person that has that killing machine. My past self would’ve treated such a weapon as decoration or a toy. I would’ve made Nier lose her life purpose. But when I gave her the order to kill, my relationship with Nier immediately reached its perfect form.
Nier is a weapon and I’m the one who wields that weapon. With the empress behind me, I could open fire wherever I decided and blood would spurt forth like fireworks because that was my right, the right of a prince. All of this belongs to me. The land, the homes and the lives of the people were all mine.
People can’t kill people, not because they can’t, but because they don’t have the right to.
I now have the right. This power is just like the wine in front of me. I wasn’t used to it at first, but I’m intoxicated by it now. This world transformed me the moment I gave the order to kill.
I looked at Nier and asked: “Nier, do you know what the consequences for killing someone is?”
Nier casually replied: “There are no consequences.”
I pointed at myself and asked: “Then what if I killed you now? What would happen to me?”
“You’d get a bit of a lecture from her majesty for spoiling the mood.”
Nier wasn’t scared. She just stood there leisurely. If I were to drop my glass and tell Nier to kill herself right now, Nier would actually use a shard of my glass and slit her throat with it. That, is power. It’s what I now have. I can kill whenever I want. I can force other countries to sign agreements unfair to them. I could even pick a random woman and throw her onto my bed if I chose to. Not only would they not resist, they’d even feel happy and proud about it.
That’s the right and power of a prince. I can overrule the law. I can overrule everything. I now finally understand why people enjoy a carefree and happy life at the risk of destroying their country. It’s like how people smoke despite knowing the harm it brings. Power and wine, intoxicate people and get them hooked the same way tobacco does. You can’t quit once you experience it.
I’m glad I’ve come to understand this. Otherwise, I’ll end up using this damn excuse to numb myself each time and get Nier to kill. Nier would be very happy that way, and there will finally come a day where I drink a glass of wine mixed with blood. No, it’ll be worse. The empress wouldn’t restrain me and I’d become a tyrant. I’d even pursue power here and forget all about the elves.
I don’t know how many glasses of wine I had, but my mind was still blank, or rather I’ve just come to my senses. I only felt giddy about ordering Nier to kill and stamping the agreement with the seal because I was drunk.
I turned around, looked at the bright-light city and gently called: “Nier…”
Nier, from behind asked: “What is it?”
“I think I was wrong… Maybe I was too weak in the past.”
“It’s not too late to realise it now.”
I clenched my teeth and smiled weakly. My power has become like a plug-in over here. Isn’t it always the case that dimensional travellers have some sort of cheat skill? My identity after my dimensional travel must be my cheat skill, which has allowed me to enjoy all of this, as well as my right and power to carry out acts of brutality. I can’t let go of these things. I can only accept this power.
But that’s not a problem. Power is a good thing. It’s just that it needs to be caged. It’s good that I understand that now. I know that I have the power and right to kill people, but I won’t kill people on a whim. I know I have the right and power to kill, so I won’t stop Nier from drawing her sword when I’m in a pinch from now.
My moral standards from before aren’t my bottom line, but merely an attitude for carrying out tasks. My previous morals were handcuffs on me, but it’s now my scabbard. I’ll use my morals to decide whether or not I should kill, but I won’t let it hinder my decisions.
“I’ll order you to kill a lot more from now.”
Nier went back. When she returned, she brought with her a bottle of wine and a glass. She poured herself a full glass and then stood to my side. She knocked the glass of red wine back like it was water expressionlessly.
Nier is not a good drinking companion. She didn’t utter a word and her expression never changed regardless of how much she drank, as though she was a block of ice. Regardless of how much she drank, she was still cold deep down. You can’t enjoy a drink with her as your companion.
But she puts me at ease.
What I didn’t know was that Nier was thinking about a lot of things just as I was that night.