“Your highness, relax your arm. Don’t be scared. The feathers on the arrow won’t get you… Don’t let your hand shake. Hold it tight. Hold it tight. Aim at your target, pull it back and fire the arrow!”
I let my hand go. The bowstring trembled and then the arrow flew through the air in a perfect straight line and found its way to the target.
“How was it? How did I go Lucia?”
I excitedly thumped my chest. That was the first time I fired an arrow. I hit my target on my first shot thanks to the keen senses and natural affinity for archery gifted to me by my elven DNA. I think I hit a bull’s eye for that matter.
Lucia nodded and then said: “Now, your highness, please pierce the first arrow on the target with your second arrow.”
Lucia picked up the bow and arrow by the side, skilfully loaded and fired the arrow. The arrow swerved through the air and then split my arrow sitting on the target right down the middle…
“Just like that.”
Lucia shrugged and said: “Not all elves are born with this ability. It’s a skill that requires intense training from a young age. Elves learn archery and swordsmanship in their childhood and only by continuing to practice until adulthood are they able to become a qualified warrior. The imperial guards are required to be able to release bees into the air and then shoot their wings as they’re flying around.”
“In other words…”
“As I said at the start, you don’t need to learn archery, your highness. It’s impossible to achieve practical results which can be utilised in battle in such a short timeframe. You should choose something easier, your highness.”
I pulled out the revolver I made back at the nation of humanity. Lucia checked it out and gave a frown of contempt. She then said: “Is this the guns humans use? Please forgive my bluntness, your highness, but please do not sully a pure white deer king with that filthy thing.”
“You’re concerned about the means when you’re going to kill it anyway?” I laughed wryly and then said: “Cover your ears for a second, Lucia. The sound that you hear might cause you some discomfort.”
I aimed at the target and pulled the trigger, quickly firing six shots. The bullets pierced the wooden board and left six holes on the board with traces of smoke left behind. I’m quite confident with my marksmanship. My six shots were spread out around the bull’s eye and they weren’t too far apart.
“I can hit a white deer king with this even if I don’t have a bow and arrow. And didn’t you say that a white deer king could smell the mana on an elf? I don’t have the scent of mana on me and this doesn’t require any chants, so I should be hidden to a white deer king as long as I’m not seen, right?!”
“No, your body odour is very strong.” Lucia looked at the gun in my hand with dissatisfaction. She then looked at me and said: “You have the scent left behind by the queen, and since she’s a half-deity, her mana is really strong. I think the smell of mana on you is stronger than us.”
“…Can it be washed off…?”
Lucia shivered all over and with a hint of fear said: “No… It can only go away via natural means… But I think her highness will go crazy if she can’t make contact with you for a week.”
I nodded to indicate I understood. I then sighed and said: “Doesn’t that just mean I can only rely on a gun then…? However, I don’t intend to use a gun. I just wanted to make you happy, but if it doesn’t make you happy, then it’s not worth it.”
I put the gun away at my waist and decided to stash it away somewhere properly once I returned, not taking it out with me again. Lucia lowered her blushing face, grabbed my sleeve and softly said: “I already agreed to marry you… You’re in such a rush… I… I haven’t prepared myself mentally…”
I rubbed her head, looked at the time and said: “Let’s go. Let’s head out after we finish lunch. Didn’t she say your perfume would be ready today?”
Lucia lowered her head and giggled. She then put her small hand into mine and I held it tightly. Her long fingers jerked and slid themselves in between mine. I laughed softly and crossed the lawn with her as we returned to the palace. Mom was still absent today. I heard she left at dawn. It looks like she really has gone off to take responsibility for the deer hunting festival… To be frank, I’m actually extremely scared of the deer hunting festival she’s organising…
But mom wouldn’t go and do something unreasonable for such an event, would she? If she were trying to cheat, she wouldn’t go about it so blatantly, would she? I actually really detest cheating. Cheating is unfair on others and what’s won through cheating is meaningless. Not only will you not win honour, you’ll also end up being mocked by others.
Lucia and I left the palace in the afternoon. We arrived at the front door of Mera’s workshop which resembled a greenhouse. I knocked and from inside, a lazy voice responded: “Please come in.”
Lucia and I passed through areas with all sorts of flowers and then walked up to Mera in front of the table. Mera stood up, elegantly bowed and said: “Good afternoon, your highness. The perfume you asked for is ready, Miss Lucia. It is inside the box just by the side of your hand.”
However, I noticed that behind her elegant movements, she was worn out physically and her face looked haggard. She dropped back onto her chair after she bowed and fell into a daze as she looked at the flowers on one side. I frowned. I guess her workload has increased recently? I mean, there are a lot of people who are after potions after all.
I picked up a small wooden box by the side that was made with surprisingly good handiwork. After I opened it, inside were wood chips acting as a buffer. And amidst the sawdust was a tiny glass bottle purple with an elegant purple liquid inside. Though it was sealed inside the bottle, I could smell the pure fragrance inside which elevated my mood.
I closed the box and suddenly noticed some carved text on a small corner of the back of the box. I checked it out and noticed it was the text used by humanity. It was a box manufactured by some place. I chuckled and said: “This is a box made by humans. The craftsmanship is good.”
Mera looked over my way with a puzzled expression. When she saw the hand in my box, she got surprised, quickly stood up and reached her hand out to snatch the box in my hand. She then grabbed a wooden box from elsewhere and shoved it into my hand, and said: “Sorry, sorry, your majesty… This is not…is not…”
“Ah… I mean… Your highness….”
She wearily sat back down, then pinched the corner of her eye and let out a heavy sigh which left me stunned as I looked at her. The entire vicinity got really awkward. A hint of suspicion crept into Lucia’s eyes. She extended her hand out and said: “Miss Mera, please pass me that box so I can examine it. A box from humans, you getting flustered, and the way you addressed his highness were all abnormal.”
“It was just a slip of the tongue….”
Miss Mera exhaustedly whispered a sentence and then passed the box to Lucia and said: “This perfume was made for humans. There are no problems with it. Go ahead and examine it if you wish.”
Lucia opened the box with suspicion, took out the cork and leaned in towards the bottle to take a sniff. She then looked at me puzzled…. What are you looking at me for?! I don’t know what sorts of poisons or tricks you elves have, and neither can I tell how they work. I can only tell if it smells good or not.
“I’m taking this for safety purposes. Lucia placed the bottle back into the small wooden box, and then held the box up and said: “I can’t let anything that could potentially threaten his highness go.”
“And so you are taking it to his highness’s side?” Mera raised her head. Her red eyes were filled with exhaustion. She couldn’t force out a smile. She continued: “If it really is dangerous, you should leave it here. You are saying you are going to carry something dangerous with you while you are with his highness?”
“I’ll just pour it out then.”
“Sorry, Miss Lucia, but this is my business transaction. You have no rights to interfere with my legitimate business affairs.”
I smiled and said to Lucia: “Give it back to her, Lucia.”
Lucia stayed still at first. She then snorted with a tinge of unhappiness and placed the wooden box onto the table. She then pouted her lips and said: “I did it for your sake…”
“It’s alright. I trust Mera won’t harm me. And even if she wanted to, she wouldn’t have the chance.” I looked at Mera with a smile and said to her: “Miss Mera, I’m really sorry. Lucia doesn’t suspect you, it’s just her job. I hope you don’t mind. Also, thank you for your perfume. Here is your payment. Oh, right, I hope you can catch some rest, because you don’t look too well.”
“Thank you, your highness.”
She smiled weakly, then looked at me and softy said: “You really are a kind king. However… Please do not think too well of a person.”
“Well, you can’t just go around being suspicious of people randomly either. I trust you, Miss Mera. You’re my friend.” I smiled and took Lucia’s hand. I then said: “After hearing what you said yesterday, I’ve decided to participate in the deer hunting festival, as well as propose to Lucia after the festival.”
Mera’s entire body trembled. She then smiled as she stood up and said: “Congratulations.”
“Thank you. I’ll definitely invite you when the time comes!”