I couldn’t sleep too well that night since a young guy is bound to have perverted thoughts after sharing a bath an older-sister type female. Whenever I shut my eyes, the scene in the bathroom resurfaced in my mind. I can’t knock on Luna’s door to do “that” with her either…… So I was mentally degraded the next day of the journey…… Luna looked at me somewhat concerned and asked: “What is the matter, your majesty? Did you not sleep well last night? Or did you miss Miss Nier?”
I smiled helplessly. They were connected somewhat, except that I wasn’t missing Nier…… Luna could’ve helped me out…… But what am I going to tell Luna? I shook my head and replied: “Nothing, Luna. I just didn’t get enough sleep. But it’s all right. Let’s continue.”
“You must speak out if you do not feel well.”
Luna looked at me hesitantly. I looked ahead and didn’t say anything. Luna doesn’t know how to ride horses so she rode with Lorana. If Luna gets tired, I’ll let her rest in a Earth Dragon carriage. I reckon the Earth Dragon carriage is my best invention yet because it’s particularly stable and it has plenty of space. Mom originally intended to give me a few more Earth Dragons so that I could make a small room out of one carriage. Inside would be a bed and I could take a few maids with me too, but I turned the offer down.
I’m going for business, not a vacation after all. I need guards, not maids holding me back. I looked behind me at the horse carriages and Earth Dragon escorts in the middle. The Earth Dragon carriage escort walked steadily on the ground like an old ox. For safety’s sake, I spread the weapons out in the five carriages. That way, they won’t end up all lost if we get attacked. Repeated-firing guns are extremely lethal weapons to humans after all. They’re one of my secret weapons for my journey south this time.
I asked Mommy-Vyvyan to cast a time-boundary around the Earth Dragon carriages transporting large volumes of ammunition and gun-powder, to keep the gun-powder within its safe timeframe. The only way to remove the boundary is by opening the door to the storage. This way, if someone were to attack my escorts and explode my carriage carrying gun-powder, my guard unit won’t be completely wiped out by the attack.
My guards are currently armed with one sword and one gun which has a barrel that allows for six shots. We will only have to open the storage for them to reload gun-powder if we enter a prolonged fight. If we’re only entering skirmishes then they shouldn’t need to empty their guns, and we can reload after reaching safety.
The great plains of the south certainly live up to their reputation. We’ve been travelling for half a day since leaving the royal capital yet we were still in the wild great plains. There were only harvested crops and Earth Dragon cages in the snow. Lorana felt unwell due to the weather so she was curled up atop her horse and silent. She wrapped herself up with her thick cloak. I felt sorry for her. She couldn’t withstand the cold winters here despite living in humanity’s lands for so long.
We’re still not that far from the royal capital so we should be able to see inns and hotels. I usually like hotels more because I don’t want to trouble an inn as the prince. Inns are tiny with only one or two people working there. Asking one or two people to take care of the hundreds of people here would be too exhausting, and we’d be hogging society’s resources.
It shouldn’t be so prosperous further south since the population in the desert isn’t as large and they don’t have as much money. The people there don’t want to come to the royal capital either. Due to the routes, the five nations of the desert rarely ever interact with the Rosvenor Empire in the south. Mom only sent three armies there when she expanded her territory. The five nations of the desert were powerless to resist and therefore became vassal states. However, because of how far apart they were, the governance over the five nations was very relaxed. They just had to send tributes on time and acknowledge that the Rosvenor Empire ruled over them. Needless to say, they had to accept the protection of the empire’s army stationed there.
The empire’s army only provides protection. They do not meddle with the public safety and internal politics there. As such, the five nations haven’t changed as a result of the Rosvenor Empire’s rule. Perhaps that is why the people of the five nations don’t have any intent to revolt.
But since Castor loaned money from the five nations of the desert, the five nations should be rich nations since they produce a large volume of metal. Those metals aren’t worth much money in the desert in the south. In the north however, the minerals are worth precious gems. The black fuel the empress’s army uses comes from the desert as well.
Consequently, the desert’s five nations has always been an important trading spot. Melodious bells have always rang out in the desert as merchants bring over exquisite hand-made goods to exchange them for carriages of minerals and silk to take back. As long as you can make it through the sandstorms and the attack of bandits in the desert and return, you’ll have great chances of making big money.
However, that’s precisely why only about half of the people who come manage to return safely. The Rosvenor Empire’s merchant groups are the only groups who are able to leave the desert with goods. Castell is also the only one who can provide the royal family with a constant import of minerals, fuel and silk.
The purpose of our journey into the desert this time is to locate a new mine. According to the reports received, the mine has an abundance of minerals. As a result, lots of people are after the rights of ownership to it, especially investment-merchants up north. The large volume of people coming to the desert for it is crazy like the gold rush in America back then. We’re pretty much behind the ball.
The intel came from an adventurer. But when they found him, he was already taking his last breaths. He said that he saw a sky full of gold lights. If he wasn’t carrying a rock with gold in it, nobody would’ve believed him. They believed him because they saw him carrying the rock as it was a very rarely seen ore. If it could be found on the surface that meant there had to be more underground.
Thus, everybody is looking for the place he claimed he saw gold lights everywhere. He couldn’t point out exactly where it was himself. He only provided a rough approximate. Hence, nobody has located it up until now. Not even Lorana could find a clue when she personally went.
I don’t know if we’ll be able to locate it this time. I really hope we’ll be able to find it. However, I am aware how of how grim my situation is. Both of Socina City’s powers have sent out their people, all sorts of other idle forces as well as the bandits roaming the desert. It really is a chaotic field in the desert. There are no allies and sides. Bullets and blades are your only capital for negotiations.
Maybe I’ll witness plenty of bloodshed in the desert.
I turned my head around and took one final look at the royal capital in the distance. The glorious golden text “long live the emperor” written at the tallest tower in the royal capital’s slowly vanished from sight as the sun set. I looked in that direction until we were enshrouded in darkness, until I couldn’t see the gold reflection any longer.
That was my final glimpse of a cultured and peaceful place. I might not get to enjoy any peaceful days for the coming time.
“Your majesty, let’s hurry and find a place to rest. I’m about to freeze to death.”
“All right, sister. Scouts, go and see if there is a hotel ahead.”