“Your majesty, I have verified it. The church already knows of his majesty’s actions last night. The market is now less a batch of guns. Perhaps they are plotting against his majesty.”
The two of them stood up and swiftly left the inner court. The two of them were dressed in commoner’s clothing, or you could also describe it as dirty and short in length like that of sailors. Although they had the scent of wine on them, their eyes were very sharp nonetheless. They were the ruler’s informants, her eyes and ears, spread out at every corner of the empire. If the Valkyries were the empress’s sword, then her informants would be her shield. Nobody knows who the ruler’s informants are. Maybe they were their own parents, maybe it was the person selling apples on the street. In short, if you don’t do anything shady, nobody will find trouble with you. However, if you have any ill-will, you’ll basically get taken away the next day.
“Your majesty, about today’s conference… Ah… What are you-?”
Castell walked into the empress’s room and saw her putting on her riding boots. The empress rarely wore this military get-up nowadays. Her usual military get-up was a formal military uniform. What she was wearing now was battle attire. She stomped in her shoes and set her sword which she had not unsheathed for around a decade on her waist, and then whipped her long hair before looking at Castell and repling: “I’m going to go and help my son.”
“But… did you not say you were leaving it to his majesty to handle? It looks like his majesty is doing alright… Further, if somebody wanted to hurt his majesty, you could just send guards or the Valkyries.”
“I’m his mother. He doesn’t know what danger he is facing. Shielding her child from danger is a mother’s responsibility. I can’t leave this in someone else’s hands. I’ve never protected my child before. I regretted it deeply after last time. If I see my son get hurt in front of me again this time, I won’t be able to forgive myself.”
The empress walked up to the door and shouted: Alice!”
Alice appeared like a flash of light from the side, bowed, looked at the empress with a smile and asked: “What are you orders, your majesty?”
“Alice, go and help my son. He should be heading to the church by now. If they’re headed there, I don’t feel confident that Nier can handle it alone. Don’t take any other Valkyrie. Go alone. Ah, also, when you take action, be conscious of what you do. This is the royal capital. Don’t make it too bloody.”
“Are you starting to lose a little bit of confidence in Nier? You should say that you are more confident with Nier by his majesty’s side.” Alice smiled and then bowed and continued, “But, order received. I shall head out now. But, who will you rely on to keep you safe, your majesty?”
“I’ll rely on the sword my husband gave me!”
The empress patted the long sword at her waist and then with a proud smile said: “My sword hasn’t seen blood in a long time. I want to see what bloodshed looks like again too. Don’t worry about me, Alice. This morning exercise will be quite fun to me. It’s much better than discussing things at conferences.”
“In that case, I hope you be careful.”
Alice got up and left the inner court. If the Valkyries move, then it screams that something major happened. However, if Alice acts alone, she won’t attract as much attention. Further, since Alice took action, it meant the palace was facing the most dangerous crisis because Alice was the empress’s bodyguard and yet she wasn’t by her side now.
That indicated that the empress was going to personally take action.
“Your majesty… thank you very much.”
Nier stood in front of me and bowed deeply. She gripped two sheets of paper in her hands tightly. They were the land deed and loan contract. To Nier they were tickets to realising her dream. I smiled as I shook my head and said: “It’s nothing. I just happened to still have the opportunity after finding out what I wanted. It’s just as I said, as long as I can, I’ll save those children. But it wasn’t thanks to me, Nier.”
Nier looked at me puzzled. I pointed to her name on the papers. I never expected Nier’s handwriting to look so good. I never thought her hands that wielded a sword in such a trained way could write such nice-looking letters. I continued: “It’s your name that’s on here. In other words, the orphanage is yours now. The kids here were all protected by you. Every dollar they spend is provided by you. So the credit is yours. When you see the children, stand proud and accept their blessings and gratitude.”
Nier stayed silent. A moment later, she blinked rapidly. She looked at me and said: “Your majesty… your majesty… thank… thank… thank you so much… thank you, thank you so much…….”
“You don’t have to thank me. Didn’t I already tell you? The credit is all yours. I didn’t have anything to do with it. The church better not pull me into it if they’re looking for the person responsible. I don’t want others to know about something so embarrassing.”
I looked at Nier and gently stroked her head. She didn’t react in any way this time, instead gripping the papers in her hand tighter and shaking a little. I softly said: “You’ve saved me too many times Nier. You’ve helped me understand a lot of things. You’re someone I always admired, Nier. I always rely on you, so I’m very happy to have been able to help you this time.”
“Your majesty… I… I… You are the same as her majesty. You are someone that has helped me.” Nier raised her head and I noticed some tears forming in her eyes. She looked at me with tears and in a hoarse voice said, “But, you protected that which I wanted to protect but couldn’t. Thank you so much.”
“You don’t have to thank me. As I told you, I’m very happy to have been able to help you. You can rely on me in the future if possible. Although I’m pretty stupid and don’t know how to wield a sword, I will definitely give my all for you. I’m serious.”
I reached my hands out to cup Nier’s face. Nier closed her eyes and let me wipe away her tears. Nier had always worn a determined look in my presence. These tears didn’t suit her. Nier would be so beautiful if she could smile. That’s why I’m always jealous of those children who can put a smile on her face. If possible, I want Nier to show me a smile too.
I felt the atmosphere start to become somewhat weird so I quickly let go. It’s a bit too early for the male and female leads to celebrate a victory. I’ve just found out what I wanted to know. Next is destroying this church and then there’s the elves.
Since the church still has elves, that means they must have some location to lock up the elves. However, I already have an answer. I found the answer to all my questions with that ringing sound.
I looked at Nier and said: “Let’s go, Nier. Let’s go and give the money to the dean of the orphanage and then go to the church again. I have absolute confidence this time. There won’t be a problem.”
Nier nodded in agreement and followed behind me. We passed through the busy crowds and arrived where we hadn’t been in a long time. However, our arrival this time must be like gods arriving. How will the children welcome Nier who protected them?
But, my smile was stiff on my face.
There were no smiles from the children or the deans smile in sight. Nothing. All that was left was a hanging plaque swaying as well as a smashed front door.
We were too late.
It looks like the church acted extremely quickly. They had taken away all the orphans in the time we had the collision and negotiation.
Nier looked at everything in front of her blankly and dropped to her knees. She curled her body up in torment. She gripped the sheets of paper she treated as a miracle before. Nier’s body quivered intensely and she wailed like a roar. She wailed like a lioness looking at her vandalized den.
I clenched my fists tightly and breathed heavily out of anger. My rage could virtually explode from my body. I crouched down and pulled Nier who was wailing into my arms tightly. Nier grabbed my clothing tightly and cried loudly in my arms. I clenched my teeth tightly and looked in the direction of the church with fury. I said: “Don’t worry Nier. I swear on my life that I’ll bring those children to you in one piece. I definitely will! I’ll put my life and reputation on the line. I’ll have this church pay this blood debt with their blood!”