“Onii-sama, have you not been working too hard recently?”
I paused. I placed the document in my hand down and looked at Freya feeling somewhat surprised. I asked, “What are you talking about, Freya?”
Freya sighed: “I said, are you not working too hard now? I did feel that you were a bit slack after your children were born, but are you not too serious about work now? You have slept here for nearly a week now!”
I smiled and placed the stuff in my hand down.
After the coronation ceremony for my ascension, the North was basically on the right track. We successfully collected taxes for the first time in winter. At the same time, the small team put together to explain the laws and the foundation of our ruling system to the denizens, which was law, did their part. After that, mining commenced in various places and different factories were constructed for different minerals, which began operating, too.
The North evidently came to life in a matter of months. However, we ran into all sorts of problems right after that. The society of the North wasn’t what it currently was. The probability of conflict was high when we grouped people together. Freya and I couldn’t take everything into consideration, which revealed themselves as problems when we went to implement things. After completing our law system and sorting out the reports on current circumstances from various situations, we planned out the development for the year, the next five years and the next ten years. Dealing with the letters from the nobles virtually ate up all of my time.
I wouldn’t do something just because the laws couldn’t be enforced on everyone. It had been a few months since laws were promoted. We executed more than a thousand people for committing crimes incurring capital punishment. The most we executed at once was one hundred and twenty-six people. It was the punishment for a tribe attacking another tribe next to them, stealing their food for winter and killing the mediator I sent. As a consequence, I had my team exterminate them. Their corpses and village remains were left to remind everybody what the consequence of violating the law was. The laws were the foundation of building our nation, so I didn’t allow any sympathy or exceptions.
I don’t know how long I slept at my office for. I just feel that there’s no end to my work. Freya didn’t slack off. The two of us gave our absolute best, yet there was still a mountain of things waiting for us to handle. I signed countless documents, discussed many things and gave the messengers countless letters. It was as though there was a mountain of things to do daily.
It had been a long time since I went back to see my wives and kids. My moms would occasionally come over to help me deal with some things, but I honestly had no time to go out. I was apologetic to my wives and daughters, but I really didn’t want to leave; I didn’t want to leave this place owing to my excitement and sense of duty as a ruler.
I was the ruler of the entire North. I had a bizarre sense of pressure. The pressure made me feel as if I heard everybody’s cries, as if I could see the Imperial Palace burning down and as if I could see the tragic situation when Evelyn was on the throne. I saw those scenes whenever I wanted to sneak back to my wives and kids and slack off. My entire body went numb every time I thought about those things. It was as if my ascension wasn’t a dream fulfilled. Instead, it resembled walking into a prison, locking my soul and physical body up in the small room.
I was constantly afraid. Afraid that the scene I saw would happen. It felt as though I was pushing my family into an abyss of no return whenever I slacked off. The tremendous fear only calmed down when I worked.
“To be honest, Onii-sama, Royal Princess Nier and Imperial Princess Lucia have visited me already. They said they hoped you could visit. They know that you have lots of work, but surely you can come back at night, right? Honestly, Onii-sama, I also believe you should make time to go home and spend time with the Princesses as you did in the past.”
“You were the one who felt I wasn’t serious at work.”
“Do you not think you are going too far now, though? You previously cared about your family too much; however, you are now neglecting them. Onii-sama, family is very important. You need to work, but you also need to take care of your family at the same time. You have taken things to an extreme.”
I looked at the documents I needed to sign on the table that Freya was pointing at: “Umm, what should I do, then?”
Freya honestly answered, “Empress Elizabeth, Queen Vyvyan and I shall deal with them together. I believe that the three of us will be fine. I think that you best go see your children and wives tonight. Honestly, your children are seven, eight months old now. They will soon be able to call you ‘Dad’. My Onii-sama, I hope that you will be able to be by their side when they can call you ‘Dad’. I hope you listen to me this time.”
I nodded: “All right, then.”
Freya lingered for a moment as if she didn’t quite believe me. In a hesitant tone, she asked, “Really?”
I nodded again and smiled: “Really. What’s wrong, Freya? I’m seeing my wives and girls. Is it so strange for me to go see them? They’re my wives and children. I said that I would see them, so I will.”
Freya chuckled softly: “No, the point is, you make promises, but then persist in your old ways every single time. I have basically lost faith in you. I have helped you plan things out. In a few days’ time, the mana-powered ship we created will be tested on the water. Onii-sama, you can take your wives with you on a cruise for some fun. It would be very nice to make a trip around the continent. If you feel that would take too much time, you can return once you reach Castor.”
“Why do I feel as though Castor’s boats would be slower?”
“That will be up to you, Onii-sama. In short, let us just settle on the trip. The children, Her Majesty and Her Highness shall stay. It will be just you, Miss Nier and Miss Lucia. Miss Ling Yue will be giving birth in a few months, so it is best for her not to be on a boat.”
I remarked, “You’re very prepared. It seems as though you’ve prepared for a long time.”
“Well… mm… We only had a few days to plan, but it was an idea Miss Nier came up with in the spur of the moment.”
“Nier?!” I exclaimed. I was genuinely startled. It was the first time I heard of Nier having something she wanted to do. I stretched my back out and smiled: “It sounds as though I have to go this time, then. To be honest, Freya, I feel guilty going out for fun.”
“You need not feel guilty, Onii-sama. You have now become obsessed with work to an unhealthy degree. You do not actually need to be so serious when dealing with national affairs. There is room for mistakes. You need to relax. Believe in yourself, and believe in the things we laid down. I can say that everything you are currently doing is correct with my head held high. Nevertheless, you cannot be too serious; else, the Hero King will pass away soon, you know?!”
Freya smiled, as she said the one thing she’d come to regret most…
However, we were oblivious to it at the time…