“Good morning, mom.”
“Good morning, son. Come over here and give mommy a good morning kiss….”
That’s enough. Good morning kiss, goodnight kiss, all we’re missing is a goodbye kiss at noon for when I head out.
Mom pulled me into her embrace and kissed me on my lips before letting go. She plucked a berry off, put it in my mouth, smiled and said: “Mommy has finished preparing the deer hunting festival. Now we have to make sure you understand the rules…. Ah, Lucia, good morning.”
Just when I sat down on the chair, Lucia walked in, bowed slightly and said: “Good morning, your highnesses.”
“Were you alright last night, Lucia?”
When I woke up this morning, I was lying on my bed alone which is very rare. Lucia didn’t come over and neither did mom. I did complain about finding myself being hugged upon waking up in the mornings, but I felt a little lonely this morning. I was worried that Lucia caught a cold or had an accident last night.
“I’m okay. I just got wet in the rain causing my body to be relatively cold, so I was worried I’d disturb you, your highness.” Lucia picked up a berry by the side and put it in her mouth. Mom gave a nod of approval and said: “It’s been tough on you Lucia. You’ve had to go on patrol every night. I’m not worried with you by his side.”
Lucia smiled and said: “Thank you, your highness. Protecting his highness is my duty. And further, his highness is also my fiancé.” The two of them exchanged looks and giggled… It certainly looked like an amiable mother-in-law, and daughter-in-law relationship, however, I noticed mom was putting her weight onto her foot which was stepping on mine underneath…. The desire for elves to monopolise things is too intense don’t you think?!
“Let us continue then. The goal of the deer hunting festival is very straight-forward, and that’s to kill a white deer king. As it is tough to kill a white deer king, he who succeeds will become synonymous with the terms tough and brave.” Mom looked at me, smiled and said: “There are many rules involved in the deer hunting festival. When it starts, I will use my magic to send you to a random spot in the wilderness of the deer. You will not know each other’s’ location. You must first determine your location and then locate the tracks of the deer. There are also regulations for what you can bring with you. You can only bring swords or daggers for self-defence, bows and arrows for hunting, as for magic items, you are only permitted to use flares. If you get severely wounded or wish to quit, you just need to shoot it up into the air and people will come to your aid.”
Mom extended her fingers out and counted them one by one: “The others are, killing others is prohibited, you are prohibited from killing innocent animals, and you are not permitted to commit arson… In short, you are not permitted to destroy the environment or kill a large number of animals. You can use poison, but you must poison a white deer king and not bring harm to other animals. That’s about it. There’s no time limit for the deer hunting festival but I do hope Lucia and you can quickly kill a white deer king.”
“Wait! If we’re placed randomly, how do I locate Lucia?!”
I looked at mom stunned. Turns out you can’t form teams for the event! But I guess it’s only fair…. It’s supposed to be an event where you show off your own prowess after all. If you want to form a team, you’ll have to form it after entering the field. But I still don’t know how large the field is. If the field is ultra-large, then I’m basically never going to find her!
Moreover, I need Lucia. Without Lucia, forget killing a white deer king, I don’t even know if I’ll be able to return alive. I don’t have wilderness survival skills like regular soldiers. I can deal with long treks, but I’ll starve to death in the wilderness!
Furthermore, I’m completely clueless as to what’s edible here. I have basic common knowledge to utilise in humanity’s nation, but I don’t recognise any of the stuff here. I’ll get poisoned if I just eat random stuff, won’t I?!
What happens if rabbits here are carnivores…?
“Oh well, mom must’ve taken it all into consideration already.”
Mom smiled as she took out two metal coat of arms and placed them on the table. That’s the seal of the royal family. The logo on it was a big tree that looked just like the one at the peak of the watchtower of the imperial palace. The exquisite metal shined under the sunlight. Mom gave us one each and said: “Mommy has cast a spell on these. When you two get separated, the tip of the tree will point you towards each other’s direction, so you just need to follow the tip of the tree. Also, when danger lurks around you, son, the coat of arms will turn red to notify you. When you come into contact with something venomous, it’ll also light up.”
I took the metal coat of arms and nodded. This is some useful stuff. It feels like I’m cheating, but I was born less capable than others. This isn’t some plug-in that’ll allow me to one-shot a white deer king. It’s just a supplemental item. Uhm, mom’s fair about this.
“Let mommy have a think of what else there is…. Ah, that’s it. Take this potion with you, son. If you sprinkle it on your body at the deer hunting festival, you’ll be able to erase the scent of your mana. And there’s this too. Smear this fragrance over your body and the deer won’t flee even if they see you. Ah, there’s this too. When you find a water source, sprinkle it in. After the white deer king drinks it, it’ll come running over to you on its own accord. If these don’t work, this is the horn of a white deer king. This is the one your father killed. When the time comes, mommy will go and kill the white deer king, you just take this horn as proof and all will be well.”
I looked at mom with my eyes and mouth wide. Mom pulled out admin-level cheat items from a bag by the side and placed them on the table. Mom cheerfully pushed them over towards me and then said: “Now we’re good. I think you should be able to kill a white deer king in three days. Mommy has even finished preparing your wedding ceremony. Yep, it’ll be in the palace. Everybody will be able to enter. I presume Lucia might even get pregnant this month….”
Lucia, embarrassed, lowered her head, but she revealed a happy smile on her face….
“That’s too fast!! That’s too fast!! Wait! There’s something before that that’s not right, don’t you think?!”
I looked at all the potions and rune stones on the table and clumsily pushed them back to mom. Mom stayed motionless for a moment and then smiled and said: “What’s wrong, son? Aren’t you participating because you wanted to marry Lucia? Since that’s the case, mommy prepared everything for you. The deer hunting festival is but just a process. I don’t want you to go and suffer either. Your objective will have been achieved if you kill a white deer king. Isn’t it all fine then?”
“But this is cheating! It’s not fair on the other participants!”
“It was unfair to begin with. They’re all either soldiers or hunters. What skills do you have, son? If you participate, it’s unfair on you.” Mom frowned and then in a comforting tone said: “Son, isn’t your goal to get married? So why does the formalities of the deer hunting festival matter? You should be more focused on your wedding ceremony, not the deer hunting festival.”
“But that’s… That’s not the wedding ceremony I wanted to give Lucia…. I’m achieving it by cheating…. Lucia…”
I had a weak argument. Mom was right. At the start, I said I wanted to participate in the deer hunting festival to get married, so mom set things up so that I who doesn’t have any skills could win the event. Otherwise, I’d have no way of winning, and would in fact prevent me from holding the wedding ceremony.
I clearly don’t possess any skills and yet here I am talking back…. I feel like I don’t have any way to refute…. I wouldn’t be able to get married with Lucia if I don’t rely on these things. But if that’s the case, then what’s the point of me participating in the deer hunting festival?
Lucia looked and me and leisurely said: “It’s fine, your highness. I don’t mind what means you use to win, because I’ll always love you. My goal is to get married to you….”
“I’ll just use them then. We’re the only ones who know anyway. Mom won’t blame you because of this anyway.” Mom smiled and stroked my head. She then grabbed the pile of stuff and threw it into the bag and placed it before me. I raised my head up and looked at the cloth bag before me. I felt bitter. I wanted to retort. I wanted to win using my own abilities, but then I can’t win on my own….
“…. Thank you, mom.”