Editor: Areth Kyntaul
“Are you rested, Luna?”
Luna sat up in a groggy manner as she rubbed her eyes. She then looked at me with puzzlement for a while before realising what I asked her. She quickly stood up and replied, “Yes, yes. I apologise Your Majesty. I fell asleep…”
I gently stroked Freya’s head that was rested on my thigh and responded, “We can only take a short break. We’ll have to begin the attack very soon. I recruited a group of mercenaries at the inn and paid them with the church’s gold-blocks. Using the church’s gold to destroy the church. How ironic.”
Luna nodded and went silent for a moment. She then said, “Your Majesty, are you going to kill the people inside? I… I am not trying to defend the church. It is just that… just that… I feel that… have you not killed… too much recently…?”
Luna looked at me with a somewhat scared expression and softly continued, “Your Majesty… the prince… the prince that protected me… is gone… When I look at your eyes now… Your Majesty… you… have you killed too many people? … Why has your gaze started to become frightening?”
I looked at my hands. People I’ve killed… I’ve only killed two. One was Mera, and the other was the messenger. I’ve only killed two people… I felt suffering when I killed Mera. I felt despair. But when I killed the messenger, I certainly was feeling enraged and ecstatic.
Mom said that one should be disgusted, feel hopeless and hurt when picking up a blade. If they feel full of joy and excitement when they pick up their blade, then they have completely lost their humanity. Even elves, who have no concept of life and death, hold life in high regard. But I’ve already started to kill out of my personal rage.
And it was an innocent person that I killed. I killed someone completely unrelated to this incident. I killed an innocent person, just because I was angry.
I haven’t killed many people, but how many people have died because of me? I’m not distinguishing deaths between those who wanted to kill me or those who plotted against me from the dark. People started dying because of me from my first trip to humanity. No, it started when I set out to slay the Earth Dragons.
I initially thought I was as pure as a white lotus, but I was covered in bloodshed way early on. Since when did I who is bathing in blood start to feel indifferent about killing people? When did I start thinking about killing all those who were a threat to me, as opposed to killing to save another? I think it was when Mera died in my arms; when her blood sprayed on me.
I took in a deep breath and looked up to the castle that was lit up by fire-torches and softly replied, “There’s nothing I can do about it. Luna, staying by my side isn’t all rainbows and roses like a fairy tale. I have no way of maintaining my kindness since I’m to be covered in blood. I’m not a pure angel in the mud that won’t get stained. I was basically born in a pool of blood.”
Excellent elven and human warriors became bones in the ground during the war for their son because of me. After I grew up, countless people then made attempts on my life for their own gains, and countless more people died for my sake. The recent group’s corpses have only just turned cold. Some of them died without their eyes closed. Bloodshed has always followed me, so I can’t maintain my purity either.
If I was just an obedient child in Mom’s embrace, then the bloodshed of the outside world would have nothing to do with me. But I stepped into this land, which means that I have no way of staying out of it.
“Luna, you don’t have to be afraid of me. Even if I change for the worse, even if I drown in blood and can’t pull myself out, I will not bring harm to any of you because I will always remember that you are all by my side. You all will forever be my most cherished treasures. I don’t need any titles or glory if you can all stay by my side safely.”
Luna shook her head gently while looking at me. She took hold of my hand and said, “No… Your Majesty, I will not be afraid of you. My life, body and soul are all yours. I am your personal servant. I will not fear you. It is just that I do not want to see you become like Her Majesty. Your smile can warm up one’s heart more than the sun could. I do not want to lose that warmth, so… If you start to indulge in killing, if you start becoming a killer, I will definitely stop you. I definitely will not let you become like that.”
I looked into Luna’s eyes, smiled helplessly, and held her hand tightly. Her hand that was subjected to the cold due to the travelling was finally warm again.
Luna clasped my hand tightly, gently breathed onto them and softly said, “Take care, Your Majesty. Be sure to stay safe… Though I do not know what sort of method you intend to use, you must survive…”
“I know. Thank you, Luna. I will definitely be safe.”
I nodded and then gently shook Freya awake.
While Freya can’t fight, she is the most reliable when circumstances suddenly change.
Freya rubbed her eyes as she sat up and yawned. She then turned her head around and looked at me slightly surprised. She asked, “Onii-sama, are you not going to rest?”
“If I sleep now, I’ll only have nightmares related to Nier.” I stood up and stretched my numb limbs.
Night had fallen. The town before us had lit up their fires, and the island in the centre of the lake had lit up their lights, too.
“Gee, boss, you’re here early.”
We heard loud voices coming from behind. Over ten mercenaries carrying swords, bows and arrows as well as a few carrying guns walked up to us from behind. They looked at the castle in the centre of the lake and, with eyes brimming with greed, said, “This is a big job. Boss, as promised, once we conquer it, we’re going to take what we want to from the castle.”
“Uhm. Take whatever you like. I won’t ask for the gold I gave you back, either.” I looked at the leader of the mercenaries, smiled apathetically and added, “The question is if you have the guts to come with me.”
He scoffed and then said with a smile, “If there’s money, forget a castle, I’d even dare to assault the royal capital. But do you have a plan to assault the castle? We have prepared boats, but not cannons. We’re prepared to plunder, but there is no way we will assault the castle on a small boat.”
“We don’t need cannons. Give me a boat. I’ll head over there first and then you’ll be able to just enter. I’ll open the castle gates. You just need to kill everyone armed inside. Oh, right, let me put this out there first. Do not harm ordinary citizens, only kill soldiers, and do not kill clergymen. Of course, I may change my mind.”
“But how do you intend to open the castle gates? Are you going to trick them into opening them?”
I jumped onto a tiny boat and regained my balance after a bit of wobbling. I answered, “I have a weapon more powerful than cannons. Today I shall show you what is meant by technological advances.”