Humanity’s early mornings were very cold. While there’s no rule about staying indoors late at night in the royal capital, drunkards lying on the streets and cleaners were found early in the morning. Winter had come so the night patrol units had an extra job and that was to pick up drunkards, because if they didn’t, the drunkards would freeze to death.
The guards up on the city walls spotted me walking up the tower, and bowed to salute me. I nodded and then walked out of the tower while the guards surrounded me and stood on the city gate. Humanity’s city walls were massive. Looking down from the top would make you dizzy. The freezing early morning wind pricked all my exposed skin. I reached my hand out to stop Luna who intended to walk out of the tower and softly said: “It’s windy outside, so wait for me here.”
Luna paused for a second. She then smiled and said: “Alright, your majesty.”
The guards at the top of the city walls noticed me coming up and saluted me. I nodded and asked: “How much longer until the church’s heavy-goods horse carriage arrives?”
A guard answered: “There is roughly half-an-hour before it arrives.”
I looked at the end of the street. The sun had just come up. Its bright rays shone in my direction and the cold breeze came along for the ride. The breeze blew my thick cape away. I looked at the bright sun in the distance. People say that looking at the sun can make one happy, but I wasn’t feeling any hope or joy. To the contrary, I could only feel the ice-cold air and hear the wind whistling. Every breath I took felt like I was breathing in ice, pricking my organs.
“Masks are very useful, but if you wear them for too long, it’ll merge with your original nature. It’ll merge with your skin and become part of your flesh, stopping you from removing it forever.”
But what choice do I have? If wearing a mask could help me resolve the problem before me, I’d be willing to let the mask sit on my face for that long. I made up my mind that night in Luna’s arms. I can’t protect anyone right now. I might lose Luna who gave me warmth for all i know. Since that’s the case, I’ll wear the mask of a tyrant and cut down everything in my way. It would be heroic even if I were to spill a river of blood.
I’m Luna’s hero so I’m willing to spill a river of blood for her sake. I’ll go all the way even if I must pick up my blade out of hatred. If I get tired, I can cry in mom’s arms for a while. When I don’t want to wear the mask, I can still take a breather. I’m much luckier than mom was, because I at least get the opportunity to remove my mask every now and then.
“Your majesty, look after yourself. Do not let yourself catch a cold.”
A person suddenly appeared in front of me. My cape which had been blown away once again sat on my shoulders. I lowered my head and looked at Luna who was standing in the wind with a smile in front of me. She wrapped my cape around me and buttoned it up. She then reached her hand out to grab the cape which was blown by the wind.
“Your majesty, let me hold your cape for you.”
Luna stuck tightly to me and held my cape down. I looked at Luna’s small head. Her back was exposed to the cold wind. I suddenly felt an urge to pull Luna into my cape and hold her in my arms. My arm moved, but then I slowly lowered them. Guards were around me. I can’t hug my own maid in front of them.
I clenched my teeth and turned to walk toward the tower. The guard captain walking in front asked: “Your majesty, the church’s goods horse carriage will be here any moment. Did you want to wait here or……”
“I’m going to personally inspect it.”
“I said I’m going to personally inspect it. What’s wrong? Did you take bribes from the church and then turn a blind eye to them?” I chuckled aloofly, looked at the captain and said, “Do I need to get someone to investigate you or shall I mention something to her majesty?”
“I dare not! I apologise! I did not! I make sure to inspect very carefully!” The captain knelt down like he was faced with death. The empress’s punishment was probably more terrifying for them since they saw her more often. I chuckled coldly, walked past him and finally arrived at the bottom.
Horse carriages that come from outside the city need to register and those coming into the royal capital for business need to pay tax. However, the amount is very small. It’s just five silver empire coins. I saw four large horse carriages stop at the entrance. A few guards were speaking to the coaches. I walked over and they looked at me. They were frozen in place for a moment before they swiftly saluted me; “Your majesty!”
I ignored the guards and directly asked the coach: “What do you have?”
The coach stayed still and silent. He then revealed a flattering smile and replied: “A Statue of god. It is statue that the church uses.”
“Is that right? Get off. I’m going to inspect it.”
I drew my gun, pointed it at him and said: “Get off.”
“Alright, alright, alright!! Put your gun down, your majesty!” The coach looked shocked. He tossed the reins aside and jumped to the side. The guards saw me come over and reach my hand out to open the carriage. I shouted loudly: “Get lost, all of you. I’ll kill anyone who dares to approach this carriage! Get lost!”
All of the guards froze up and then immediately left. I won’t let anyone touch this horse carriage before me. Although there’s no way they can hide anything in the statue, I might not be able to spot it if they fumbled with them in some way. I walked up to the rear of the carriage and pulled the door open. There really was only a statue of god inside. A Large statue of god lay in the carriage. I imagine it would take a few people to carry it out.
The statue was made of stone and had oil spread on it. I reached my hand out to touch it. It certainly felt like stone. It was cold and rough. I then formed a fist and hammer-fisted it hard. I only heard thuds which indicated it was solid inside.
I stood still for a moment and then pulled my gun out and aimed it at the statue inside. Just as I was about to open fire, the guards cried out and leapt over, blocking my front view.
I looked at them and pointed my gun at the head of the guard at the forefront. I shouted: “You all looking to die?!”
“Your majesty! You cannot break the statue of god! This is a statue of god!”
“There’s no damn god in this world. The food you ate and the things you use were all given to you by her majesty, and yet you still believe in god? Get lost, otherwise I’ll kill you and then run a spear through your corpse!”
“Your majesty!! You really cannot damage the statue! God will get angry! We cannot let you do this! We will stop you even at the cost of our lives!”
I looked at the guards who didn’t back down and thundered: “What if her majesty orders you to leave then?! Do you intend to go against her majesty’s orders?!”
“But it is not her majesty who is ordering us right now! Her majesty would not give such an order because she is the incarnation of god!”
The guards retorted me. They blocked the statue, completely stopping me from damaging the statue.
I took in a deep breath and looked at the guards. A moment later, I then put my gun back, whipped my cape and said: “Luna, let’s go.”
I can’t kill the guards over this. These guards aren’t my subordinates. They don’t devote their loyalty to me. If I kill them now, the military units will get angry. I would just be encouraging them to stand on the church’s side. I definitely can’t do that.
The coach who was standing by the side shouted: “Your majesty… this carriage……”
With my back facing them I said: “Send them to the church. When is the next time you’re coming?”
“Three days later.”
I nodded and then turned around to give the coach a villainous smile like I’d achieved my goal and said: “Bon voyage then. I certainly can’t damage your statue. It would be bad if I hurt the guards for damaging your statue, but if an accident were to happen while you were transporting them, then it’s not my fault.”
“Your majesty, you…!”
“Luna, let’s go.”
I turned around and strutted off, leaving the shocked coach and guards. You won’t allow me to damage the statue did you say? Sure thing. It’s not my fault if an accident happens to you on the way to your destination. I’ll definitely personally smash the statue. There’s no way that statue is normal.
The brilliance of god shall never shine in the shadow of the shrine!