It was just as I expected. Breakfast was simple, too.
Karana didn’t waste the precious sun in Socina. After breakfast, she invited me to take a walk together with her in the backyard.
I plucked a flower from the side out of curiosity. However, by the time I reached the rear of the palace, what I saw was no longer flowers, but snow sculptures. Every snow sculpture was exquisite. The sculptures were of two people in an embrace, kissing, walking hand-in-hand, and even reading together. I could see their affection for each other in their eyes.
I could tell that the female was Karana while the male was tall and big in stature. But despite them being snow sculptures, I could discern that the male was most likely old… At least, I haven’t seen a young man have the beard of an experienced elder. For some reason, I felt that the man was old enough to be my father…
‘Don’t tell me that he’s the previous lord.’
Karana nostalgically looked at the snow sculpture, “There are no pastimes in Socina, so I just sculpted these. Sadly, when I picked up my tools, I struggled to figure out what to sculpt. I did not know what memory I had that was worth sculpting into a snow sculpture that would last for millenniums and beyond. After deliberation, only my husband – who is the previous lord of Socina – came to mind.”
“The previous lord…”
“Yes. Our love is akin to the icy snow. It is pure, true, flawless, and yet short.”
Karana nostalgically touched the ice sculpture. She then looked up at her late husband’s face and softly lamented, “Your Majesty, you might find it unbelievable, but my husband was already fifty-seven years old when I married him. We were truly in love, though. I firmly believed that our love was pure despite the insults and gossiping behind our backs, because if I wanted status and wealth, I had a better choice…”
She then looked at me, and I understood what she meant. She had the opportunity to leave this frozen snowy city way off in the distance at the time to come to the Royal Capital instead, which would’ve transformed her from a country bumpkin into the Royal Princess of the empire.
Nevertheless, she chose not to. She married a man that was decades older than her, not for money and power, but purely out of love.
“Your Majesty, I know how challenging it is to realise my goal. I did not think this way in the past. It was because of my husband. He tried hard all of his life. By the time I came to understand it, he had already travelled so far and walked for so long for the future that he might not realise. We were both aware that our ideal was very unrealistic in this world. In fact, Her Majesty mocked it once. Nonetheless, I guess it was because we could understand each other that we were able to embrace each other forever, never letting go.”
Karana let out a long sigh. She looked upward, and then narrowed her eyes. I could still see her transparent tears run down the corner of her eye, though. In Socina, even tears quickly turned to ice.
I didn’t speak. I just looked at the ice sculpture. The two in the sculptures looked so determined as if they had accumulated courage and determination over tens of thousands of years. Their love is truly too pure and too beautiful to the point that such love couldn’t exist in this world.
The two embraced for an uncertain future. One fell, but the other clenched her teeth and continued to forge ahead with her best efforts. I believe that they didn’t pursue the ideal for money or fame, but purely for themselves, and the hope their loved one had for them. Their efforts shined especially brightly on this snow mountain similarly to saussureas growing on a snowy mountain, in that its pure and proud.
“I love him very much. I have never seen a man with such a strong sense of justice, so gentle and yet so determined. I would not hesitate to make an enemy of the entire world to be by his side; hence, I dared to refuse Her Majesty’s offer to be your wife. Honestly speaking, now that I know you, you are actually an ideal partner, as well. Unfortunately, I had a better candidate.”
Karana wiped the corners of her eyes. She took in a deep breath as she looked at me. She tried to steady her vocal chords and in a raspy voice cracked a joke.
“I would say this lord was a lot more impressive than I am.”
I looked at the snow sculpture and replied in earnest, “I work hard for a target that’s right in front of me, for myself and for the people around me. He worked earnestly for an uncertain future and everyone. The only expectations that I carry are the expectations of those around me. He, on the other hand, carried the hope of all of humanity.”
Karana nodded. She then looked back at the ice sculpture and murmured softly as though she was speaking to herself, “However, Your Majesty… I, too, sometimes find myself confused. My husband and I tried so hard, but why is my city still the same? Why do I not see any prospects? If my decision and method is correct, why do I not see the results that I desire? Why do I feel as though nothing has changed?”
I looked at Karana. It was the first time that I detected weakness and puzzlement in her purple eyes.
She was truly lost.
No matter how determined one may be, if their efforts show no results after so much time and effort, they’re bound to feel lost. Feeling lost, however, doesn’t mean giving up.
I turned to face Karana front-on and sincerely said, “That’s fine, Karana.”
She seemed to have been frightened by me. She turned to face me with a blank expression. She wondered what I was going to say next.
I looked at her and spoke at a somewhat fast pace, “Karana, believe in your goal. Your goal can be accomplished. The fair world that you want where everyone strives for the same world will be realised. You will see your people thrive, corrupt officials done away with and a country strong enough that nobody can threaten it in the future. You can do it.”
Karana smiled then touched her hair gently. She then thanked me, “Thank you for your encouragement, Your Majesty…”
“It’s not encouragement!”
I interjected, and then pressed my hand on her shoulder. I then solemnly said, “It wasn’t encouragement. Karana, I’m not encouraging you. I’m telling you what the future will be. Your husband didn’t get to see it and you might not get to see it, either; but, the people will see it, nevertheless. As long as you persist and as long as you don’t quit, your goal will be realised in the end.”
She looked at me with a dumbfounded look. She then smiled helplessly, “But this is encouragement, is it not? Nobody is certain what the future will be…”
“No, I’m certain.”
“Because I’ve seen it with my own eyes; or rather, I witnessed it. I truly have witnessed it. A group of people, who had the exact same idea, established a nation with the same image as the one that you want! I, personally, witnessed it…”