“Welcome home, your majesty.”
“Uhm, thank you.”
I awkwardly looked at the ministers below bowing at me and forced a smile while waving.
Mom happily sat on her throne with wrapped her arm around mine while she looked down at the retainers below. At the front of the conference chamber is mom’s throne. And right now, there was a black veil covering her face while mom and I were squeezed together tightly inside the small space. Mom smiled and patted her thighs. She then reached her arms out and held me in her embrace with me sitting on her thighs…….
WAIT!! Isn’t there something wrong with this emperor-hugging-his-princess kind of situation?! Mom cheerfully hugged me and kissed my forehead non-stop. If I had grown up here in humanity’s lands, I bet mom probably would’ve held me like this every day while dealing with work.
“Your majesty, next is a completed annual report of business operations in the Empire right now.”
The fat head finance minister by the side respectfully handed up a document with both hands. A Valkyrie walked up to take the document and passed it behind the black veil. Mom took the document and took a look. I quickly snuck a glance but found that it was meaningless. It was mainly just about what businesses were trading, losses and profits, how many businesses closed down this year, how many new businesses started up and whatnot.
It’s similar to the chamber of commerce’s summary. The earnings of the businesses listed are used to figure out how much tax they need to pay. Mom didn’t look too interested and passed it to a Valkyrie by the side. In a bored fashion, she then pinched my cheek and said: “Is there no news which can interest me such as some nation scheming something or a revolt starting somewhere?”
“Your majesty, those things have not happened. Not only has it been a peaceful year, harvests this year have been good too. At present, the gifts for your majesty are currently on the way here. One batch has arrived thus far. The goods received were silk and agate. We have placed them in the warehouse of the inner court. Please take a look at them, your majesty.”
“The warehouse of the inner court?”
Mom paused for a moment and then asked, “Is there still room in the inner court’s warehouse?”
“There was. However… it is full now.”
Mom suavely waved her hand and said: “Share what can’t fit among yourselves then. Take home some silk for your wife and daughter. As for the agate, use them to make jewellery. It’ll be New Year in two or three months, so consider an early New Year gift from me to you all.”
The retainers below all cried out together: “Long live your majesty.”
It looks like mom isn’t just a tyrant-empress. She’s very generous with her subordinates. Mom began to stroke my hair again and bit my ear….. Stop, please, I beg you, mom. I’m not your toy. You said you wanted to discuss things with me so I thought I’d be listening in by the side. I never thought I’d be coming here for you to play with me! The important thing was that I didn’t dare to resist, so I could only let mom kiss me and then touch me, and then kiss me again, and then touch me again however she pleased.
I had originally planned to head out today and conduct some investigations, but in the end, I ended being forced to stay here until the conference was over.
“Ah, today’s matters are over now. Winter is coming soon and mommy doesn’t really want to move…… I just want to continue holding you forever like this, son.”
The people in the conference chamber had slowly left. Mom let go of me entirely, kissed my face and then looked at me with a smile and said: “Son, do you have any plans today? If you don’t, have some wine with mommy. Mommy doesn’t really have any stories to share with you, but holding warm wine in winter while watching a stage play is quite a nice experience too.”
“I’ll pass…… Thank you, mom, but… I want to head out today. If it’s at night…… Tonight. I’ll drink with you tonight.”
I desperately escaped from mom’s embrace, but when I noticed mom’s somewhat disappointed gaze, I felt slightly bad. Mom looked at me and nodded with hesitation. She let out a helpless sigh and said: “Alright then. Since you want to go out, it won’t be nice if mommy stops you. But come back early and be careful. Remember to come to the inner court at night. Mommy will prepare some good wine and wait for you.”
Perhaps it was because she hadn’t seen me for a month, resulting in her being a bit clingy. After walking a good distance, I turned around and spotted mom watching me from the door of the conference chamber.
Nier appeared behind me. With her hand on her sword handle, she asked: “Your majesty, where are you going today?”
I looked up at the sky, sniffled and said: “I don’t intend to go straight to the church. Come with me to the slums first. I want to see big sister.”
“So… I will get to see the children then?”
Nier’s pitch went slightly higher. I smiled and said: “Yes. You haven’t seen them for a month since I was gone, right? Go and have fun with the kids this time since you can’t leave the palace while I’m not around.”
Nier evidently picked up her pace. I smiled helplessly. I wonder if I’m following Nier or if Nier is following me. The two of us left the palace and walked to the market we always went to. Although it was winter, the market was bustling as always. However, the goods being sold were different. The items being sold now were centred around the theme of winter, broths, and something that looked like pork.
I noticed a big crowd lined up outside a building before us. Every single one of them took a paper bag and headed back. I stopped and asked Nier: “Nier, what are they selling?”
Nier narrowed her eyes and looked at me. She said: “That’s salt, your majesty. Winter is coming so everyone is doing the best they can to turn food that spoils easily into salted meat or dry meat.”
“Salt huh……?” I nodded. Salt is a necessity for humans. Humans can lack anything but salt. And since winter was coming soon, salt is naturally a hot commodity, since there are no modern salt-manufacturing factories in this era. I looked at the seemingly endless line, frowned and asked: “Why don’t people go and buy it elsewhere?”
“Because only companies with exclusive rights in the empire can sell it.”
Ah, I get it. Salt has transformed the nation. It’s the lifeline of the peoples’ finances. It looks it’s the same in every era. Nier looked and lost interest. She tugged the corner of my shirt and said: “Let’s go, your majesty. Don’t tell me you want to watch them buy salt.”
“Uhm…… let’s go.”
I nodded. This has nothing to do with me, I’m just a little curious. Nier and I slowly made our way through the chattering crowd and walked up to a familiar door. I noticed that Nier’s gaze was gleaming. I chuckled and then walked in……
I slipped over with my first step. It turned out that the sewage water covering the floor in the slums had now turned into ice. I fell backwards because I slipped. But I didn’t hit the ground. Instead, I crashed into some soft and warm cloth. I wasn’t facing up to the sky but Nier’s expressionless face looking down at me.
Nier looked at me who fell on her, and then extended her hand out to help me up and said: “Please be careful, your majesty.”
After that, she pat her chest. I stared with my eyes and mouth wide open as I watched her knockers bounce. So that soft and warm feeling wasn’t cloth but……. I rarely saw Nier’s knockers after she wore her thick cape on. After the experience, I think I now know her chest measurement!
“Let’s go, your majesty. Please watch your step.”
Nier walked over without a care while I followed behind with my face and ears bright red…….