“Welcome home, your majesty.” Castell raised his cup of wine, smiled and added, “To her majesty.”
“To her majesty.”
The two of us drank the wine in our cups and a maid walked over to refill our cups. Castell picked up his fork and knife, looked at the steak and thing that looked like mashed potatoes before him and said: “Your majesty, I was the first to be invited to dinner by you upon your return which is basically the equivalent of setting an omen into motion. However, you need not be so concerned about me, your majesty. By the time you ascend the throne, I will no longer be of much use.”
“No, I think otherwise.”
I looked at Castell and pushed a small box placed on the table over to him. Castell paused before taking the box. He looked at it and said: “Is this not a commonly seen wooden box? Your majesty, I thought you had something to give me. It looks like I read too much into it.”
“No, look at the letters on the back of the box.”
I placed my fork and knife down and said: “Help me investigate this trading company. Find out for me who’s in charge of it and where he is at, as well as anybody else connected to the company.”
This is Mera’s box. The humans burnt everything when they fled. The imperial guards couldn’t find anything worthy investigating. The group of people had no backgrounds or identities like phantoms. However, they didn’t destroy Mera’s things. This is the thing I found which I thought would be most worth following up on.
I don’t really want to disturb mom. Mom actually already knows and killed a big group of people. I don’t know if these people are connected. She just killed a group of mercenaries who’d been buying guns recently. I don’t think they’re connected.
I don’t think that humans who want to assassinate me in elven lands would ever buy rifles on the market, but instead manufacture them themselves. Therefore, this company should be a firearms company. Then I need to investigate the person in charge.
Castell flipped the box over. He looked at the letters on it and frowned slightly. He thought about it seriously. I didn’t rush him. I just quietly watched him.
“This must be about the assassination attempt on you, correct?”
Castell placed the box back down a second after. He then let out a breath of air, smiled helplessly and said: “Your majesty, if that is the case, I suggest you do not investigate the matter. They want to assassinate you and you intend to offer yourself up right to them? That is not rational, I feel……”
“Get back to my question, Castell.” I repeated myself and cut off Castell’s lecture. I’m feeling very annoyed right now. I want to know who caused the death of my Mera. I wanted to know who plotted the assassination. If I can find out who was behind it, I’ll pierce his heart with no mercy.
I looked at Nier standing erect by the door like a Jing Song tree, and said: “I have Nier here, so my safety is guaranteed. I want to know who was behind it.”
Castell sighed and said: “Your majesty, I do know that company. However, it would be pointless for me to tell you because that company has already closed down. They did not trade weapons but sea-goods. That said……. It is not as if they do not have a reason to want to assassinate you…….”
I looked at Castell. Puzzled, I asked: “Why?”
“Because you brought Castor under the banner of the empire.” Castell looked at me with a smile, waved his hand and continued, “Because of the high tax fees in the past, several sea-goods were monopolised by several companies. Others who wanted to do business didn’t have capital or resources either. However, now that you have brought Castor under the jurisdiction of the empire, with no taxes for sea-goods, the market is no longer balanced. The companies that had a monopoly on sea-goods can’t sell their goods all of a sudden due to the price hike. That is probably why the company closed down. I think sea-good businesses and Castor businesses hate you for that. Hence, they would want to assassinate you in the elven nation.”
I looked at Castell. I choked. What he said makes sense. If that was the reason I do believe that they would spend money to hire mercenaries to assassinate me. But are they really just normal merchants? They were able to threaten the dark elves. Or am I underestimating the power of merchants.
“So you mean that the assassination was purely out of their personal hatred for me and it’ll be fine now since they failed? If that’s the case, I want to completely destroy them so they have no second chance. I don’t care if they’ve closed down; I still want to find the person responsible!”
“I did not say that.”
Here we go, Castell and his unique tell-half-the-story answers.
Castell looked at me with a smile and said: “Your majesty, I only said it was a possibility, I did not say it was certain. If the company just closed down like that, I think it would be the aforementioned reason. However, while the company has closed down, it is now a shell that the church bought out and conducts trades. But they trade statues.”
“That is right. The church bought the place up. Every statue in churches need to get blessed by the church in the imperial capital before they can be used, the church first purchases statues to the capital and then sends it off to different regions. They have both small and large statues. However, because Castor’s sculpting quality is relatively high, right now, Castor is importing……”
I lost my patience. All this stuff you’re telling me is meaningless. I just want to know who the one that got my Mera killed was, and who else was involved.
“So you’re saying the church has a part in it?”
I looked at Castell. I shook my head with frustration and said, “There’s no personal enmity between the church and I, or rather I don’t have anything to do with the members of the church.”
“Neither do I.”
Castell shook his head again. He then cut the large piece of beef up into smaller pieces and said, “It’s just that if there is something going on behind the scenes in the church, many people will be involved. Your majesty, the number of people connected to the church exceeds your imagination. Right now, the person with the power to advocate religions is not her majesty, but the pope. Her majesty and the pope stay out of each other’s way, with each keeping the other in check, and both need the other. In other words, once the church gets involved in the matter, you will no longer have the empress’s protection, and you will be on the case alone.”
Castell looked at me with a mocking look. He shrugged hopelessly and looked at me without saying anything. He probably thought I was going to give up since this world was far too dangerous for me without the protection of the empress.
“It doesn’t matter. I’ll go alone if I have to. It doesn’t matter if it’s the church. I’m going to investigate the case. I must find out exactly who was behind it. They owe me a blood debt, and I want those who owe it to pay with their own blood.”
Castell raised his head and looked at me with more surprise than ever. I looked back at him. I don’t know what my gaze looked like,, but according to what Castell told me afterwards, I looked vicious like a wolf that was about to bite into its prey.
Castell picked up the napkin by the side and wiped his hands. He searched for the words, then shook his head and said: “Your majesty, I cannot reveal anymore as that would be bad for your safety. You have already gone through an assassination; do you still not understand how much danger you are in? I will not let you fall into danger. Your majesty, please remember well, a moment of anger is useless. If I let you get into danger, I would have let her majesty down. Therefore, I will not give you any more information. Further, I hope that you will not continue to investigate the matter.”
“What about my safety then?! They made an attempt on my life once, so there will be a second attempt!”
Castell looked at I who was enraged. He smiled and said: “Let her majesty resolve the matter. You do not need to get involved. I am saying this sincerely out of consideration for your safety.”
I looked at Castell. Castell’s expression didn’t change. However, it was the first time he seriously rejected me. Perhaps the church was as dangerous as he said.
I looked at the small box before me and took in a deep breath. I then stood up, grabbed my cape and walked out of the dining hall.
Nier called out to me from behind but I completely ignored her and continued to walk straight out of the outer court.
Since you’re not willing to help me, I’ll rely on myself investigate it!
I will not let Mera’s death be in vain just for the sake of keeping myself safe!! I will definitely, definitely, definitely give Mera the justice she deserves. This is my resolve, and my justice!
Jing Song is a type of tree that’s tall and straight.
1 Bonus Son-con Chapter
Thank you for all your generous donations, we have reached the goal, and I will now get to translating the bonus chapter.