“So in other words, you have prepared everything, Big Sis?”
Lorana placed two leaves in her mouth and closed the iron box. The leaves were similar to mints and chewing gum in the world I came from, and they were also addictive, a trait which was shared with tobacco. However, I didn’t like the taste so much. It wasn’t very chewy.
With a smile, Lorana explained, “All of the machines are ready. I’ve tested many machines for the sake of experimentation by using all sorts of different mana powers from outside. Also, I have a basic idea. I have a detailed plan for an entire factory, including firearms, firewood, machinery, metal and so forth. I can create them as long as I’m given a workplace.”
“It’s going to be rough on you, Big Sis.”
“Not at all, it’s my hobby.”
Lorana laughed as she picked up a Brilliant Moon Stone on the table. The transparent crystal stone glimmered with a faint blue light. It resembled twinkling stars. Lorana solemnly said, “Look at this stone, Your Majesty. Look at it. Don’t you think it resembles god’s creation more so than we do? It can accumulate and replenish mana with the moonlight. Isn’t that the most primitive version of us? We’re now the lowly magical creatures when compared to it.”
“But we extracted it, so we’re much nobler than the damn stone is.”
“That’s true. With that said, if that’s the direction you’re taking it, then you would be relatively nobler, Your Majesty. After all, you were the one who extracted it. I’ve lived in the elven and human lands for so many years, yet I never saw this stone before. Not only have I had the privilege of seeing the stones, but I’m able to create so many things. This has to be the best catch I’ve had in my life. You know, Your Majesty, for someone like me who invents machines, creating what others produce doesn’t give me a sense of achievement, same with producing things that others can also produce. The things that I’m now manufacturing are things that only I can manufacture.”
Lorana was right. I wasn’t talking about just the sense of achievement she gained from the mana-powered machine, but also the fact that she was the only individual who could create the mana-powered machines. Ling Yue was in charge of mining the Brilliant Moon Stones. Ling Yue’s family’s Brilliant Moon Stones were only provided to the royal family’s buyers. Consequently, nobody else had the right to touch the Brilliant Moon Stones. Even if they manage to acquire some from elsewhere, they didn’t have the ability to create the machine.
In truth, people already had the idea long ago. They just couldn’t obtain Brilliant Moon Stones. Brilliant Moon Stones only existed in records. There were people who wanted to create the machines powered by mana. Said people were humans, themselves, and elves who interacted with humans. According to what Lorana said, some elves are highly curious about the outside world, and these curiosities were most easily seen in their interest for things humanity invented that could replace magic. Aforementioned things were machines.
Lorana was the best example of an elf intrigued with humanity’s inventions. She was a sword instructor. Her skills with a sword were without equal among the imperial guards, and she was the most trusted elf. After seeing humanity’s society, however, she no longer wanted to return to the elven lands. Instead, she resided in the industrial area, which also acted as the slums, to research machines for almost a decade.
“But we’re still missing something, and that’s pure mana. Of course, the best mana would be the mana in the elven spring water, but we have Vyvyan; therefore, we don’t need something so far away. Have your Mommy Vyvyan come over, and transfer mana into all the mana-powered machines. Then we’ll be able to begin production. By the way, Your Majesty, I have new ideas for the new cannons. You can come and take a look.”
Mana-powered machines didn’t actually have any noticeable difference. They were actually the same as steam-powered machines except that they ran on mana. Mana-powered machines were the dream of scientists in the world I came from, since mana was a pure energy source, in the sense that it didn’t create pollution. The bonus was it could be replenished at night.
What Lorana needs to do was make something that could measure mana. Elves had utilised mana for thousands of years, yet they haven’t ever researched their own mana. They only classified mana by volume, not to mention that was merely their way of categorising individuals, not something to measure the volume of mana with. I wasn’t using mana as an energy source to burn, so I needed to have a way of measuring the volume of mana we had. That way, I could judge how much mana was required for different machines in different places as opposed to wasting mana or running on shortages. All of it was in Lorana’s hands. I… I couldn’t use mana. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even know what criteria to grade mana with.
“I think you will still be needed for measuring mana, Your Majesty?”
“What’s needed?” asked Lorana. She opened a box and threw another two leaves into her mouth. She then smiled and continued, “Mana grading, of course. Your tribe is most knowledgeable on that topic. The Galadriel tribe is the tribe that places the most emphasis on bloodlines and purity. As such, your tribe definitely has the best criteria for grading mana. I think we will need your Mommy Vyvyan for it.”
“Putting it another way, my North is still going to end up being established with Vyvyan’s help?”
Lorana laughed: “If you want these mana-powered machines, then yes, absolutely. It’s nothing to be ashamed about, though. You don’t need to worry about anything, either. Unlike humanity, the elves don’t care what Vyvyan does for you, her reasons for coming here, what she did here and what the elves can gain from this war. The elves don’t care about what she does. All they care about is her. By that, I mean her mana. That’s all they care about.”
“Humanity is different, Your Majesty. After victory was obtained in the war, humanity desperately wanted to gain some benefits from the expedition in the North.. From their standpoint, it would be best if they could rule the entire north, so you can’t accept the help of any human. Otherwise, perhaps even your Elizabeth won’t be able to stop the greed of humanity.”
“I can accept Vyvyan’s help, but not Elizabeth’s?”
Lorana solemnly explained, “That’s right. Vyvyan doesn’t represent all elves. Elizabeth, on the other hand, represents all of humanity. Your Majesty, that is humanity’s governing system. Elizabeth is the reason for the existence of the entire empire of humanity as well as their coal, for lack of better word. Using machines as an analogy, Elizabeth is the Brilliant Moon Stone. Do you think the machine, otherwise known as humanity’s empire, can operate without the Brilliant Moon Stone?”
I felt as though Lorana had something she wanted to say. She looked at me and then smiled. She spat out the leaf in her mouth: “What I mean is, don’t rely on Elizabeth, Your Majesty. Elizabeth isn’t just your mother alone. When dealing with her, you must prioritise her identity as the Empress of humanity first and foremost.”