“You look a bit down today, prince, did someone try to kill you on the way here? Don’t come here if that’s the case. What would I do if you ruined my place?”
“No, I was just playing with the children for a bit. But what you said hurt me. I thought we were friends, but you’re more concerned about your shop than me.”
The red-haired lady laughed in a heroic tone. She picked up the alcohol bottle by the side and gulped a few mouthfuls. She then wiped her mouth and said: “Yeah, that’s right. I’m quite proud to have become friends with you too, your majesty. But you have to consider it from my perspective, because I built this workshop piece by piece. Everything in here was created by me. Everything in here has me to thank, not you or the empress. I can help you out of friendship, but that doesn’t mean that I have to sacrifice everything for you.”
“You’re right. You’re right.”
I impatiently waved my hand and then sat down, and said: “You smoked again, didn’t you? Didn’t I tell you there was gun powder over here? If you don’t want to get burnt up with your workshop, go smoke outside or make another room.”
“Prince, you’re even fussier than my mom. If I had to go outside every time I wanted to smoke, I must as well live outside. And where would I find the money to make another room? It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter. I won’t ignite the gunpowder, don’t worry. Oh, right. I’ve finished the gun you asked for. Here.”
She bent down and grabbed a gun leaning on the wall, handed it to me, and then picked up her pipe. I ran my hand over the gun. The gun was really heavy, but there was nothing that could be done about it. Plastic doesn’t exist in this world. To be able to make this gun is a pretty decent accomplishment. Lucia can control wind which is why I didn’t design for there to be an air pump. However, I’ve already managed to give it the ability to fire consecutively. As long as one can create an air pump, they’ll be able to fire steel balls like a machine gun.
The gun had rifling done too. If it were to fire steel balls… It’s probably not the best idea to tune it so that it can put holes in peoples’ bodies. There are no wars here, so a bit of brutality probably isn’t going to matter. I pushed the door open and looked at the height of the building. I then asked: “Can I make a rather ridiculous request? Umm, can you make a chimney higher than this?”
She took a puff from her pipe, then looked at me dumbfounded and said: “If I had the money to make a pillar that high, wouldn’t I have enough to make another room? You sure know how to crack jokes, your majesty. If you want to get it done, then you’ll need to use your wealth and power as royalty to find a place to get it built. But do you mind me asking what you’re trying to do?”
“I want to make lead bullets. If lead comes down from that height, its liquid form will automatically become spherical in shape, however… Since you can’t make it, I’ll just have to trouble you with making lead bullets then. As for the dimensions, can you make them the same as these steel balls?”
“Okay, okay, okay. But I don’t think I can make many. It would’ve been great if I had access to such a convenient method like the one you described, because my handiwork rate is very slow. And prince, a full moon is approaching. As a half-blood, don’t cause some big incident while you’re here with humans.”
“I know. I won’t cause trouble… Oh, yeah, when will there be a full moon?”
“The moon will be full tomorrow night. The elves will have another sleepless night again. Are you ready for it, your majesty? Oh, yeah, I’m a bit curious about how you react on a full moon night, your majesty. The libido of elves tends to rise to incredible levels on that day. You better not lay your hands on some maid and have an illegitimate child or else it’ll become a huge issue.”
I smiled weakly. As if I have those sorts of thoughts at a time like that. I mean, there’s not a single spot on my body that doesn’t hurt when it kicks in. It feels like somebody is ripping my bones out of my body. But I have witnessed the part about elves having elevated libido levels during full moons… If mom had lost her mind, I probably would’ve been done in already.
I couldn’t see Lucia that time. What would Lucia be doing in a corner where I can’t see her…?
No! I shouldn’t think about that. All I’m thinking about are eroge* plots. I returned the rifle to its place. I don’t want to walk around with a long gun on me. This sort of stuff should be kept secret. I can’t let people see it. I’ll wrap it up properly and take it with me when I leave. I stood up and said: “I’ll be off then. Thank you, big sis.”
“Huh? Are you leaving already? Aren’t you going to leave me with anything today?”
Are you hoping to pry my brain again? Sorry, but I’m not an encyclopedia… I can’t just draw blueprints at the drop of a hat for you. The number of blueprints I can remember are limited too. If I show you anymore, I’ll have to show you assault rifles. I smiled weakly and said: “I don’t have an infinite number of ideas to share either. This should be plenty, right…? And if it were up to me, I’d suggest researching bullets instead of rifles.”
“Yes, yes. What you say makes sense, your majesty. I won’t see you out, bye your majesty. I hope you have a beautiful night, especially tomorrow night.”
What a thoughtful wish… I still don’t even know if I’ll make it through tomorrow night in one piece. I sighed. Nobody here can help me suck my mana out, and neither can I use magic. I’ll probably die from the pain. It’s such a nuisance without my elf-mom by my side.
I saw Nier holding a small wooden sword as she taught the young boy swordsmanship as soon as I exited the workshop. Nier held the small wooden sword with one hand and took a firm stance. The young boy tried his best to hit Nier, but Nier easily deflected all his attacks. In fact, she didn’t even move her feet.
When Nier turned around, the young boy shouted and swung at Nier who wasn’t looking. Nier easily deflected his attack without even looking, and simultaneously attacked his wrist, thus disarming him.
“You’re so good, big sis! You’re so good! You’re stronger than the prince!!”
The children surrounded Nier and were evidently surprised, and complimented her using words that hurt me. Nier smiled and crouched down. She stroked the kid’s head and the said: “Not bad. You have the basics of swordsmanship. Does someone at home practice swordsmanship?”
“Yeah!” The young boy nodded resolutely and then happily said: “My older brother learns swordsmanship! He’s going to challenge the people in the palace next. I heard that you could be conferred a position of an official if you can defeat someone there! I’ll definitely go there once I’ve mastered the sword too!”
“No!! You are not to go!!”
Nier’s sudden angry shout scared me. I looked at Nier surprised. Even the kids got scared as they looked at Nier fearfully. The boy retreated two steps out of fear and looked at Nier while trembling. Nier was aware that she shouted at him and went silent for a moment. She then softly said: “Sorry… I shouldn’t have shouted at you… It’s just… it’s just… Don’t ever… Don’t ever take part in that challenge… It’s impossible to succeed. It’s impossible…”
As soon as he called her, Nier quickly pulled him into her embrace.
“Promise me. Promise me that you’ll never participate in that challenge. Don’t ever go there, even if you starve to death…” Nier paused. She looked ahead of her in a daze lost for words. She’s a Valkyrie. Everything she had, from food, water and living was provided by the empress. She doesn’t have a salary. She’s a poor child, but can she save these kids from starvation?
The boy leaned on Nier’s shoulder and stared at me.
I smiled helplessly and walked over. I touched him on his head lightly and softly said: “Listen to big sis. If your family is struggling, come to the palace gate and hand this handkerchief to the guards, and then report to me. If I’m not there, just hand this handkerchief to the guards and let them know that I told you to come and grab some food. Trust me, you can exchange this handkerchief for white bread.”
I pulled my personal handkerchief out and handed it to him. I then looked at all the children and said: “You’re all my friends. Whenever you run into trouble, just come to the palace. But remember; always hold the belief that the world is benevolent, regardless of how sad you may feel. Don’t forget your dignity and kindness even if you starve.”
The children looked at me. They looked at each other at a loss for what to say or do, and then nodded.
I rarely saw those children afterwards, and even forgot how they looked. Maybe they became one of the men by my side. Maybe they became a blacksmith that made one of the weapons I wielded. Maybe they became scholars, or maybe they were still struggling to get by. Whatever the case, I believe that they were all kind.
*Eroge = Erotic Games
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