“Prince Troy, I do not think we need a self-introduction. You would loathe me if I introduced myself, right?”
I looked at the young man in front of me. His fingers were curved similarly to an eagle’s claw. Despite being dressed in formal clothing, he looked similar to a vulture standing on a dry tree branch, surveying my place.
We sat on either side of a long table. In front of us was a cup of tea. I didn’t know what he thought coming here, but he told me he’d give me a response I was after.
“It’s all right. Your father’s mistake is not your mistake. I understand that,” I stated.
He smiled before replying, “I do not think everybody can understand that. I am so glad that you can understand that, Your Majesty. But nonetheless, I am ashamed by my father’s deeds. You will not blame me, but my father’s deeds have been etched in my heart and forever shame me.”
“Don’t mind it too much. Your father did, indeed, err, but he is your father, nevertheless. You can only say that he failed as a vassal.”
“You are truly lenient,” he replied with smile. He then sighed, “They say that you are a benevolent lord, but I think that you are a very fair lord. You are able to treat my father and me as two separate individuals and be considerate of me. You truly are a lord that sees things as they are. I think that you must be a fair King.”
I couldn’t help but smile. In reality, I didn’t always think level-headedly, like this. After Luna died, I killed an excessive number of innocent people, so I promised to not take up a sword again. I had Ling Yue to thank for making me understand that. I needed to do my best to avoid reverting back to that state.’
Mommy Vyvyan was right. I shouldn’t take up a blade with a desire for vengeance and murder. I shouldn’t pick up a sword with joy and madness. It wasn’t benevolence or weakness, but a type of respect for life, facing people equally and fairly. I should kill based on crimes committed and not based on my mood or desire. I didn’t want to become the type of monarch Mommy Elizabeth was. What I want wasn’t for everybody to fear me, but to wholeheartedly submit to me.
We both had a sip of tea. With a smile, he said, “I know that you require money at the moment, but unfortunately, the merchants do not trust you.”
I leaned onto my backrest and responded with a forced smile, “That’s right. I can’t help it, either. I can’t rob them. I can’t help it if they don’t trust me. However, their concerns are not baseless. After all, not everyone can trust a nation that’s just been established. With that said, I will show them how foolish they were to not trust me.”
He nodded, “That is right. I believe that you can make them regret it, so I do not want to be someone who regrets. Your Majesty, although my family has not contributed to the North, my father did accumulate overwhelming wealth for our tribe. As opposed to calling it our tribe’s treasury, it would be more appropriate to say that we are the treasury of the North.”
I straightened up. I sincerely and eagerly asked, “You mean?”
He responded with a smile, “That is exactly what I mean. It belonged to the North to begin with, not our tribe. I think that we should return it to its owner now. As you said, you should be able to make everybody who suspected you regret their decision. You can revive the North, so if this money can allow you to develop the North, then it would be considered a minor contribution toward redeeming my conscience. I do not want my child to forever carry the blame of being the sinner who brought about the destruction of the North.”
“So you want to erase all of your father’s mistakes with the money you have on hand now?”
“Yes. I had the idea when I heard you were lacking money. Additionally, you have given me a very good impression today. Subsequently, I trust you. I believe that the North can be revived by me returning the money my father embezzled back to the North.”
He looked at me. He made an open hand gesture with both hands and continued, “I do not need any of this money. I am not here to loan you money, but to give you money, I mean, return you the money you rightfully own. I hope that you will not feel averse to this. This rightfully belongs to you, so please accept it.”
He placed a set of keys on the table, and then pushed them over to me, “I shall send you the chests of money the day after. Your Majesty, I hope you can spend this money on the North.”
I smiled, and then looked at the keys on the table, “As I initially said, your father’s deeds have nothing to do with you. You do not need to be responsible for his blunders. Your father is dead, so your tribe’s faults have all been erased. Hence, you have no need to give me money… Still, I need the money. If I take it all without giving you a penny, then I would be betraying my conscience…”
“Those were your father’s errors. They have nothing to do with you. The person sitting before me is, erm, sorry, but what was your name?”
“Alex, Your Majesty.”
“Uhm, the person sitting before me is Alex, not that elder’s child. There may be a large gap in our status, but we should speak and discuss business on equal terms now. Therefore, we should conduct this deal on fair grounds.”
I placed the keys in the middle and went on in an easy-going voice, “The fact that you were able to try and compensate for your father’s mistakes is proof that you are different to him. You are a hero who treats the North with sincerity. I can’t take that which belongs to a hero. I can’t cause a hero’s family to starve and lack warmth. Alex, did you know that there was a time limit on the interest I gave them?”
“I did not go to the meeting that day…”
“Uhm. So, Freya!”
Freya stepped out from a room after I called for her. She bowed, and then looked at the two of us, “Onii-sama, do you have orders?”
Alex froze and looked at Freya in a daze. In a surprised voice, he asked, “You have a sister?”
“Yes, she’s my younger sister.”
I gave Freya a smile. She shyly blushed then asked again, “Onii-sama, do you have orders?”
“Uhm. Freya, please tell Alex the remuneration specifications and details we shared last time. Alex, here, will be providing us with money. Once you’ve finished discussing everything, accept the deal. Mr. Alex, I’m very grateful for your help.”
Alex didn’t seem to hear a word I said. Instead, he spaced out as he looked at Freya. He stood up not knowing what to do. It was as though he didn’t dare to leave with Freya. Freya looked at him and smiled, “Do you have any other questions? Mr. Alex, if you do not have any other questions, please follow me.”
“Ah, Oh, oh, Uhm, All right…”
I watched Alex awkwardly leave with Freya and gently cleared my throat.
‘Uhm, I’ll let Gerald deal with this guy. You’re right. I don’t want to hand my sister over. I’ll get jealous if you date my sister.’