Editor: Areth Kyntaul
I silently placed my fork and knife down, and then I looked at om who was opposite me sobbing softly.
I smiled helplessly and said, “Mom, I’m just making a trip to the small village. You don’t have to be so worried about me. Instead, I’m worried about you in the north, mom. Be careful, mom, it isn’t too peaceful up north after all.”
Mom raised her head, and I noticed her eyes were teary. She then smiled and said, “Son, you don’t have to be worried about mommy. Mommy will be fine. You’re the one who will be in danger. If they really are illegally trafficking elves, they definitely won’t be unarmed. Promise mommy that if there is danger, ignore everything and just run.”
Mom leapt across the table in a slightly aggressive way, pressed both hands on my shoulders and anxiously demanded, “Promise mommy!”
Mom’s jugs were bouncing right in front of me. I looked at the mounds of white flesh blankly. I think it’s too awkward for me to be staring at mom’s jugs when the mood is serious. But mom didn’t care. Her eyes were full of anxiety.
I looked at mom and nodded, “All right, mom.”
Mom retreated afterwards. Though I promised mom, she didn’t look like she was appeased at all.
She wiped her tears and spoke in a hoarse voice, “Mommy really doesn’t want to let you go, but mommy knows that mommy can’t stop you. It’s just that mommy wants you to cherish yourself and not be so focused on enacting justice. Mommy… Mommy is begging you… No matter what happens, even if you must kneel on the ground and beg for mercy, think about mommy. Think about mommy.”
I looked at mom’s gaze and clenched my teeth. What she said made me feel deplorable. I’d rather die than beg for mercy. Even I have a spine. But when I looked at mom’s gaze, her pleading gaze, I had no way of refusing.
No wonder people say that both of one’s parents must be dead for one to achieve greatness. When one has nothing tying them down, they can charge forth without any hesitation, putting even their life on the line.
Witnessing her tears, I couldn’t leave mom regardless of how strong my heart. I can’t let her be sad, even if that means that I will forever be ordinary.
This must be the difference between Elizabeth and Vyvyan I guess. Elizabeth really cares about me, too. But she would let me go and face danger without hesitation, only helping me out when it was most dangerous. Vyvyan, on the other hand, held up the entire sky to allow me to be carefree. She wanted for me to have freedom, and be free of concern, under the sky that she held up. This was a lifespan problem, as well as a problem of hope.
But I can’t just be mom’s obedient baby anymore. mom will only protect me, not those around me. Without mom, nobody would even give me a handkerchief when I cry, let alone seeking revenge.
I reached my hand out and pressed it firmly on mom’s hands.
“I promise. Mom, I’ll definitely return to your side. I definitely will.” I said in a serious tone.
Mom looked at my eyes and held my hand tightly. She nodded and softly said, “Remember to return, my son. Mommy wants to look at you for longer, even if it’s just for one more second.”
I looked at mom and gently said, “Uhm. All right, mom.”
Life isn’t as cosy as it once was in the elven lands, for humans have influenced things here. I came here to solve the matters over there, too. The church truly is a large entity. It’s taken me two months of investigations to get to the bottom of this. I have proof against the church, and Castor, now so I can slowly deal with the church when I get back. If my investigations go smoothly this time, I’ll definitely find the church’s weak point to exploit.
“Son, these are for you.” Mom wiped her tears and then softly coughed. She then picked up a small gold block from the side and placed it on the table. I paused before saying, “No, no, no. Mom, I don’t need much money.”
“No, if mommy wanted to give you money, mommy would’ve just given you gold coins. This is gold Galle Village produced.” Mom looked at me and continued, “Galle Village is a really prosperous village because they produce gold. It’s one of the places we source our gold. Galle Village sends us gold as a tribute. This is Galle Gold. Its purity level is extremely high.”
I picked up the gold block. It was very thick and heavy. It didn’t look level on the surface. There were slight bumps and dents on it.
This was the first time I actually saw a block of gold up close. I had never touched gold blocks before so I didn’t know what the problem with it was.
“Mom, is there a problem with it?”
“If you’re asking about a problem with it… Mommy can’t put a finger on it either…” Mom sighed heavily and continued, “If there is a problem, it should be that the amount of gold Galle Village produces is ever increasing… The amount of gold found within the gold produced has also increased more and more.”
“Isn’t that good? Maybe their production skills have improved.”
“Not really. Did you know that when you were born, Galle Village already had… No, not when you were born, but even earlier on. Mommy and onii-sama were still in swordsmanship training at the time. The village was already famous for its gold production. It’s been twenty years, and the humans looted the place once during that time. Not only has their goldmine not diminished, but it’s even continued to grow. That’s where I think the problem lies.”
I nodded. Honestly, I don’t know how long a goldmine at one certain location lasts. My knowledge of goldmines goes as far as goldmines in Warcraft. But I, too, think that it’s somewhat odd for them to continually be able to improve the quality of gold produced, despite having been mined for so long and being looted.
But I can’t tell by looking at this gold block.
Now we’ve got a big contradiction. An area with a goldmine mind shouldn’t be exceedingly poor. So why would Galle Village be elf-trafficking? Is it because they’re close to the human borders? If that were the case, why would they have to choose an area that produces gold when there are plenty of other places which are close to the human border? Moreover, they might even be women in the gold-producing area.
Now, why is that?
I think that the sudden increase in the quality of their gold and humans buying and selling elves must be correlated, but I’m unsure what the connection is. Maybe there isn’t any at all. I’ll find out once I get there.
I returned the gold block to mom. I didn’t want to add another heavy item to my already heavy bag. I want to go and find out what exactly happened there. The Shadow Squad at Galle Village reported that there were no problems. They appear to be holding a celebratory ceremony for a good harvest. It looks like they don’t rely on mainly just gold to maintain their livelihood, but also agriculture.
It’s a good opportunity to sneak into the village while the celebratory ceremony is being held, so I need to get there in two days.
Inside of the church’s castle, Nier looked at the candlelight in front of her and raised her head up.
“Your Excellency, have you finished writing your letter?”
“Yes. This is my response.”
The Pope smiled and handed the letter to Nier. After checking to see that the seal wax was stamped on properly, she carefully put it in her clothing. She nodded, stood up, made a small bow and said, “Thank you for looking after me during this period. I shall now take my leave. Goodbye.”
“Wait, wait, wait. Esteemed Valkyrie, please wait. It would be rude of us to send our envoy back on an empty stomach.”
The Pope stood up, raised his wine-cup up, chuckled and continued, “Please finish this feast we prepared for you, and then leave tomorrow morning. The letter is not an urgent matter. What do you say?”
Nier looked at the dishes on the table. Her gaze stopped at the cup of wine in front of her for a while. She then shook her head and replied, “No. I shall take my leave now. Her Majesty is still waiting for the letter.”
“Then just have one drink. A toast to Her Majesty!”
The Pope generously raised his cup of wine up high and finished it in one shot. The wine running off his mouth looked like blood. Nier stood in place blankly. She couldn’t refuse the first toast that was offered to the empress. She picked up the cup of wine and fell into a daze as she looked at the wine swish inside.
“What’s wrong, my dear Valkyrie? You cannot refuse the first toast offered to Her Majesty.”
“… That is right. A toast to Her Majesty.”
Nier clenched her teeth, raised her cup of wine up and finished it in one go…
And then the cup of wine dropped to the ground…