Karana didn’t say anything else to me after that. She left after leading me to my room, so that I could get a good rest. We were going to talk again tomorrow.
The room wasn’t large. It was very simple. It was as though it was reserved for an ascetic monk. Philes and Shusia were on the other side. Although Philes wanted to stay with me, I turned him down.
It should be very safe in Socina City. That’s what my subconscious told me.
It was the first time I sat on a bed in another nation at peace. I looked at the room which only had a candle swaying. The baths here weren’t as wide. Next to the fire was a large wooden tub. Once the lid was removed, the steam would fill the entire room.
I removed my gear. It had been several days since I finally got to immerse myself in hot water. I leaned onto the wooden tub, and let out a comforted moan as my entire body went limp on the side of the tub. I looked at the ceiling that didn’t look as though it was cleaned and spaced out.
“The people of the city are the city’s lord, are they not?”
‘She said that a little too soon…’
I shook my head with a smile. Karana is a highly idealistic lord. She understood that the simplest principle in this world was, at the same time, the most difficult to fathom. That was what helped her persevere in her battle for her ideals. Her idea doesn’t fit with this era of imperialism. She can only see a small ray of hope no matter how hard she tries. In fact, sometimes, she won’t even see hope.
Despite that, she still worked hard, nonetheless. She made her residence the same as residences outside. She distributed all of her money to her people. She’s a very excellent lord and very smart woman; however, she gave everything to the city. She’s different to Nara. Nara leads Karnashun herself, while Karana wants to serve her people wholeheartedly.
However, this will not help Socina rise. The city on the snowy mountain was dull as ever. The people weren’t living in prosperity. Based off of the numbed and stern expressions of the people today, I could tell that the lives of the people in this city were by no means superior to those outside of it.
There were also the elders who couldn’t understand her. As a matter of fact, they publicly opposed her. If I decided to be cruel back then, she would’ve lost everything.
‘Is she lost?’
‘Does she feel that the path she treads is wrong?’
‘Does she feel that her efforts are futile? Does she cry to herself at night?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘But there’s one thing I know, and that is the path she is walking is correct.’
‘Perhaps there will be some minor mistakes and troubles. Perhaps she’ll reach a strange path. Perhaps her ideas will not be accepted in this world. Perhaps all of the nations will oppose her.’
‘What I do know, though, is that there was a country who took the same path as she is taking.’
‘That country is now standing strong in the east. It rose up and became a glorious nation from rock bottom. Karana’s thinking isn’t wrong. Karana’s vision lies further beyond any other, but she’s suffering, too, for she is doing the right thing in the wrong era. She’s chasing a light in the distance that can’t be reached in this dimension of darkness. ‘
‘She has a great ideal and the prospects look good; sadly, her timing is wrong. She’s in an era where the battle is the hardest, saddest, most confusing and despairing. Revolutionising this society’s systems and thinking is not attainable in a short timeframe. Karana might not see her ideal come to fruition. In fact, she might not even see a ray of it.’
‘I wonder if she’ll give up.’
I discovered the water had become slightly cold after I slightly opened my eyes. Luckily, I returned to reality, or I’d be ill tomorrow, without a doubt… ‘I don’t get sick as a half-elf, do I…?’ I stood up in the tub then wiped myself dry and lay down on the bed. The hard wooden board on my back made me feel nostalgic. It felt as though I returned to my room in my bedroom back then.
Perhaps it was the nostalgic feeling that made my first night in Socina City feel so comfortable, allowing me to have a particularly restful sleep.
A maid woke me up the next day. Philes, Shusia and I went downstairs together and headed to the dining hall. Philes massaged his neck uncomfortably. He softly said, “What is this place…? The bed is less comfortable than our beds at Troy City… It’s basically a plank of wood! Your Majesty, are we not welcome here…? This is no way to treat guests!”
“If we could see Karana’s room, I’m willing to bet it’s even worse.”
I pat Philes on his shoulder and solemnly said, “Philes, your task is to protect me, not to come here on a holiday. Why are you complaining about your treatment already? Philes, have you mistaken your duty?”
“No, Your Majesty. It is just that ever since being on jobs with you, even Karnashun provided us with very good treatment. I never imagined that we would be treated this way here, which is why it has thrown me off…”
Philes glanced toward Shusia with concern.
‘Oh, so your heart was aching, because your sweetheart didn’t get a good night‘s rest, huh, you little punk?!’
I laughed, “My room was the same as yours. We’re all living in the same conditions. This is Socina we’re talking about. We’ve all seen that the living conditions here aren’t good, so don’t complain. After all, I was sleeping when you were sleeping on the wooden boards, as well. Karana was sleeping, too. Nobody abandoned you.”
“True… If you are not complaining, we, indeed, should not be complaining either.”
Philes nodded, and then asked, “So, what is your schedule for today, Your Majesty?”
“I’m going to go and discuss some business with Karana, which I estimate will last until noon. Go and buy some clothes with the guards during this time. While not everybody can buy a new suit, you can get thicker scarfs and gloves. Here’s my wallet. Go ahead and spend it.”
I handed Philes my rattling wallet. Philes lingered for a moment before waving his hand and rejecting me, “No, no, no, we cannot use your money, Your Majesty. We…”
“What do you have? Didn’t that come from the salary I pay you? Moreover, it was my mistake for not preparing thicker clothing for you all, so it’s only fair that I should be responsible for getting you sufficiently warm clothing. If you’re all quivering, you won’t be able to protect me, either; so take it.”
I shoved my wallet onto Philes chest. I checked to ensure that nobody was around before leaning over to his ear and whispering, “Remember to save some for yourself. Shusia is your girlfriend, after all. Buy her a hairpin or something. Don’t be stupid and spend it all for the guys. Give your girlfriend something.”
“Your Majesty that is not such a good…”
“You’ll be fine if nobody knows!”
I looked at Philes’ dumbfounded face. Boy, did I want to give him a punch or roughly rub his cheeks – ideally both.
‘If you lack EQ that badly, your only choice will be to go for the innocent Valkyries.’
“Ah, Your Majesty. Good morning. Did you rest well last night? Ah, I asked an unnecessary question. Seeing you look so energetic, it appears that you slept well last night.”
As soon as we arrived at the main hall, we saw Karana in her purple dress. It was a very simple piece of clothing without any patterns, and she didn’t have any ornaments on. She only had a sapphire chest emblem at her chest.
I looked at her with a smile and responded, “I slept very well. Thank you for looking after me, Karana.”
“Not at all. I am aware that the living conditions are simple and crude to you. I am glad that you have no complaints. Now then, please come and have breakfast with us. While we both have things to say to each other, let us maintain a lighthearted atmosphere for this final relaxing breakfast!”