“Good morning, your majesty. I shall continue serving as your bodyguard from now on.”
I looked at Nier and nodded with a smile. To be frank, I was quite surprised to find out that Nier was still able to be my bodyguard since I thought mom might not let Nier come back. But this is good. It looks like mom doesn’t mind our relationship. Wait, what?! We never had any relationship to begin with!
Nier stood up and calmly walked up behind me. Her expression didn’t change. She was the same as usual, like nothing happened yesterday. I placed my tea-cup down. Luna came over and filled it up again. I then sat on my seat and looked at the window with a lazy smile. There was nothing for me to mind.
Everything was resolved in a blink. The judgement or whatever that comes next has nothing to do with me. Freya set everything up as “his majesty’s adopted sister”, saving me quite a lot of trouble. Normally speaking, a ruler would be very concerned if his subordinate was so competent and smart. But I trust that Freya won’t betray me because we both share the same pursuits and because I saved her.
It’s just as she said. She needs me to revive her household. There’s no harm to me if her household is revived, and I get a smart individual to help me, so that puts my mind at ease a lot more. Freya is a very valuable asset to me.
After I finished the next cup of tea, Luna knew I wouldn’t have another. Luna knows me really well. She came up to take away the cup and refreshments. I stood up, grabbed my cape by the side and wore it on my shoulders. Nier followed me out of the dining hall and asked: “Your majesty, what plans do you have for today?”
I looked at Nier, smiled and replied: “Um, I want to go and see the children. Only you’ve seen them after all so it’s not really fair. Are the kids well after going through that?”
“They’re alright. Though they’re very scared, we rescued all of them. While a few of them met with misfortune, the rest are fine. The dean is currently taking care of them.” Nier looked at me. Her expression becomes much more amicable when we discuss children.
I nodded and said: “The dean is a good man to be able to take care of the children whom are completely unrelated to him with absolute dedication. It’s not an easy job.”
“Yes, however, your majesty, I gave all the money to the dean because I truly don’t feel anything towards money……”
“That’s alright. I trust that the dean’s will is more valuable than money.” I trust the dean. If I have seen how ugly and dark the human heart can be here, then the dean is the one who possesses humanity’s unique kindness and generosity. He’s not wealthy. The orphanages finances are tight as can be, yet he does all he can so that the children can maintain a normal life. The orphanage doesn’t receive an allowance like officials. It’s completely voluntary on his part.
I believe that when the thirty-thousand coins are placed before him, he will only be thinking about how to improve the children’s lives with them, and not how to repair his office.
Compared to gold, the dean’s noble heart and soul is the most valuable asset. One with that much wealth may not necessarily possess a heart as pure as his.
We walked past the market and saw the public notice column announcing the news of the church’s judgement. The people whispered among each other as they discussed the matter. Most of them were saying “no wonder why his majesty destroyed the church”, “I can’t believe the church did so many bad deeds”, “Look, her majesty gives us money and free salt.” Based on their discussions, it looks like the people are leaning towards us.
It went just as Freya said. What the people require is guidance. We would rather let the church take up arms than let them continue wielding the power to preach. If the church wanted to engage in peace-talks, they will have to give the authority to preach to the empress, otherwise they can forget it. That’s what’s most important. As long as we have the authority to preach religion, we can get the people to voluntarily trust us.
It’s the same for everyone. Belief and faith is a tool.
I left the place and smiled helplessly. I thought back on how crazy I was the last few days. Calling people to go and destroy the church was like a dream. I’ve never tried doing that sort of stuff. Though I’d dreamt of myself being mighty in my fantasies, I was an ordinary person at the end of the day. But I truly did it now. I can go and do anything as long as I want to. It’s just that I have to sometimes do that which I don’t want to do as well.
I turned my head around, looked at Nier and asked: “Nier, do you think what we did the past two days was meaningful?”
Nier paused and then replied: “I don’t know, your majesty. I have never wondered whether or not what I do is meaningful or not. I only consider whether or not it is necessary.”
I stayed silent at first. I then smiled and said: “What you say makes sense, Nier. You don’t have to walk behind me. Hasn’t our relationship improved these last two days? Can I be considered your friend now?”
“No, you are still the prince, and I am still a Valkyrie. It’s just that I’m no longer against being your bodyguard that’s all.”
Nier looked at me. The look on her face didn’t change at all. She was still proud and lonely. However, that was what I admired about her. Nier isn’t nobility, but she has the dignity and pride of a Valkyrie. Even if it was a lonely pride, even if her path was one of bloodshed, she never hesitated to continue walking it.
Perhaps we didn’t come out at the right time. Maybe everybody was laid back recently. Or maybe there was some important festival, but we were getting squashed in the crowd. Though it was sometimes squishy in the past, this time, it was virtually enough to separate Nier and I. Nier desperately tried to stand behind me, but she couldn’t make her way over.
“Her majesty’s birthday is coming. Tomorrow is the ceremony so everyone is coming out to buy things now.”
From behind, Nier desperately tried to speak. I smiled helplessly as I continued squeezing my way forward. This situation is shocking. I’ve only seen such a situation when they raise the flag at the plaza on the national holiday. I was proud of it at the time. But this time, it’s just the empress’s birthday and yet they’re so excited……
Okay, the empress does indeed equal the empire. I’m actually worried. If all the vassal states around and the people trust the empress, can I bring them under control if she passes on? It looks like I need to be as qualified as the empress……
I reached my hand out and grabbed Nier’s hand. I then struggled to pull her over to my side. Nier reacted surprised. She looked at me and exclaimed: “Your majesty, what are you doing?!”
“If we hold hands, we won’t get separated, right?”
“But I can’t draw my sword like this!”
“I don’t think anyone will try anything funny with me at this time. Since you can’t draw your sword, they can’t either.”
I smiled as I held Nier’s hand. Nier’s hand was stiff, allowing me to just pull her along as I wanted. She didn’t give me any reaction. But being able to hold her hand meant that our relationship had improved a fair bit.
“In that case… I’ll be in your care then, your majesty……”
Nier looked at his majesty’s back and at her left hand that he was holding. Her heart beat sped up again without her being able to control it.
Why? Why do I feel strange every time his majesty touches me? I suddenly want to smile and randomly feel annoyed. Why? Why can the man in front of me make me feel flustered?
*When he referred to national holiday, he’s talking about Modern China’s national day.