The tea that the elves have here is pretty similar to the tea I used to drink, but isn’t the exact same either. The leaves elves put inside their tea aren’t tea leaves but tree leaves. They also grind the tree leaves into miniscule pieces. They use a colander to hold the grinded leaves and then pour the boiling water in. It results in an orange coloured liquid which is the tea the elves drink.
However, there were different colours. The table next to us had green coloured tea. I looked at the orange coloured tea in front of me and took a sip. How should I describe it…? Why did it taste like red bull for some reason…? It had a similar effect as red bull as well, except it was more apparent. I was referring to the wake-up call from it by the way.
Mera removed her face veil, gently lifted up her tea cup, and after taking a sip in an elegant manner, she smiled and said: “This type of tea can relieve fatigue. I had quite a bit of work today.”
“I’m sorry for bothering you.”
“Not at all. I will prioritise your request, your highness. Moreover, my main job is making perfumes. Creating potions was never my job. It was just that the people asking for my help were neighbours so it was hard to reject them.” Mera smiled and continued: “After all, the deer hunting festival is an important event for elves, men in particular. Killing a white deer king is the most glorious accomplishment possible. The male elf who succeeds will be heralded as a hero. When he achieves that, the girl he likes is bound to fall for him. Further, it would be a great honour for the female elf to marry him after he successfully kills a white deer king. That would be the most blissful outcome possible.”
“Is that so? So you’re saying that the deer hunting festival is a chance for the male elves to prove themselves?”
I smiled and glanced over to Lucia. Would it be a joyous occasion if I were to participate and successfully kill a white deer king, and then take the opportunity to get married with Lucia? I think Lucia would be happy as well because she’d be marrying a prince who’s been recognised as being outstanding, right?
I mean, girls usually take pride in being able to marry an outstanding man, don’t they?
“Is that not so?” Mera laughed, and then pursed her blood-red lips, looked at me and said: “Female elves are all concerned with whether or not they can give birth to outstanding children, because we have no means of withstanding the rigors of war and military service. Even Miss Lucia by your side would be substantially weaker and slower than males if she did not have the buffs provided by the wind elves. Consequently, female elves must give birth to strong children in order to ensure the elven lineage continues.”
I looked at Lucia feeling slightly surprised. But I guess that’s normal. Lucia was always very concerned with the wind elves’ buff. She must be unwilling to let go of the wind elves’ buff to ensure she’s able to protect me… If I think about it like that… That means that Lucia can’t get married with me because she can’t forego the buffs as that would mean that she wouldn’t be able to protect me. So… It seems that the fault comes down to me in the end…
“No matter what you may think, we all want to be a mother’s…” Mera smiled weakly, then looked at me with envy and continued: “Motherhood must be a trait we all share as females. I think Miss Lucia would want to have strong and healthy offspring with you that she would be proud of as well. To be honest…I too… I too really want to get married, run my shop with the person I love, and when we have children, we could go pick flowers together…or play games where we guess the scent of flowers…”
Lucia’s expression didn’t change, but based on what Mera said and the queen that I saw, I feel like… What Miss Mera said is right. Female elves are all highly conscious of their identity as a mother. So Lucia must also want to get married….
Alright, it’s because I’m too useless to protect myself…
Why do I suddenly feel guilty, like I’m the one that’s causing Lucia trouble…? It’s like parents who want children but the father is impotent. The mother may not say anything, but the father must feel unimaginably guilty… I now feel a bit uncomfortable…
Should I participate in the deer hunting festival…? I think that Lucia would happily agree to marry me if I could prove that I could be a qualified husband and father, and then propose, right…? I really think I should participate in the deer hunting ceremony for Lucia’s sake. I’m sure I can catch a deer.
Maybe I really can’t… But I’ve got a gun! If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to hit it from further away than the others!
Mera wore a slightly fascinating expression as look as she looked out the window. She looked envious but lost at the same time. She sighed softly and said: “It is a pity, my race… Sigh… Never mind, your highness…”
“Can’t…” As soon as I was about to ask her, I knew it wasn’t a good idea. The elves treat lineages with a lot of importance. Even I must wear a head cloth when I go out, so Mera must also only be permitted to marry others of her own race. However, since she’s not interested in the men of her race, she’s subsequently destined to not get married.
“Haha… Your highness… You wanted to ask me why I will not get married with somebody else, correct? In that case, allow me to ask you, your highness, I do not mind not titles and whatnot. I can be your mistress and give birth to your children, would you be willing?”
“Of course not! Your race and ours are different! The blood of royalty cannot be shared with outsiders, and even more so, cannot be mixed!”
I didn’t say anything. Lucia, however had already stood up. Her hand reached for her waist and for the first time, she wore a look of anger.
I reached my hand out and pressed it onto Lucia’s shoulder, looked at the people around us and apologetically smiled. I then said: “Sorry, if you’re being serious… Please allow me to refuse. It’s not due to the issue of lineages, but because…I don’t want to betray Lucia.”
I looked at Mera and Mera looked into my eyes. She smiled in a way that was hard to decipher the meaning of. I don’t know why, but it felt like her red eyes could see through me entirely.
“Is that so? You are a benevolent king then. The only previous ruler who did not mind our lineage was your mother. She did not mind the lineages of any elves.” Mera smiled weakly, wiped the corner of her eyes and then said: “But not all elves think that way. We were initially alienated. No elves were willing to accept us. Only her highness accepted us and treated us with equality. She was the first elf who did not mind lineages, an elf that did not mind the lineages of others, she was the kindest elf. You are a benevolent king.”
“Yeah…? But that’s because… I’m the queen’s son, right…?”
“That is correct. I believe that a queen whom is willing to allow her son to be a half-blooded elf will definitely not mind the lineages of others. However, your majesty, do you know what the biggest difference between you and her highness is?”
“Yes. You and her majesty are both benevolent kings. However, what do you depend on to protect your benevolence?” Mera looked at Lucia and smiled. She then said: “For instance, if Miss Lucia leapt over and cut my throat before, how would you have protected me? However, her highness is different. Her highness is able to use her own power to protect her own benevolence. On the other hand, your highness, you lack strength.”
“His highness has me!”
Lucia proudly exclaimed: “His highness does not need strength. I will protect his highness’s benevolence and justice!”
“Ahaha, why did you get so worked up before then?” Mera smiled helplessly as she looked at Lucia and said: “You are your own strength. That is not his highness’s strength. If somebody truly tries to trample on his highness’s benevolence, would you really be able to protect it? Or should I say, would his highness be able to hold onto it? Benevolence without strength to fortify it will be trampled on by people.”
The emergency alarm rang. The elves froze up at first and then quickly ran out of the tea house, and towards their homes. Mera smiled and stood up. She wore her face veil on, then left a silver coin and said: “Well, it looks like you must return now, your highness. Please send her highness my greetings. It was a pleasure to meet you, your highness. I wish you a safe return.”