“For the Alliance” is no Longer a Slogan (Part 8)
Drinking afternoon tea wasn’t a custom in the North – at least, not before I captured the North. Because the North lacked access to the mana from the elven spring water, the North almost froze entirely. Relying on the Moon Fox Tribe, alone, to raise the temperature didn’t warm it up enough for them to be in the mood for an extra party at noon. The custom actually came from the elves.
Elves loved the sort of drink made from tree juices. Humanity didn’t share the same tastes, but they were similar. Ever since the elves’ Imperial Capital rose from the ground and under Vyvyan’s leadership, elves developed a hobby for having tea in the afternoon, but they wouldn’t eat anything. Of course, very few elves enjoyed having beer and rabbit thighs at noon as Lucia did. The nobles and vassals residing in the North tried to adopt the practice in order to live as the imperial family did. Honestly, Ling Yue and I disparaged the flavour of the tea. Anthropoids didn’t consider the tea extracted from plants to be fantastic. Nonetheless, Ling Yue eventually got used to it.
There was basically no work in the afternoon. After finishing my discussions with Nara, I could let my subordinates take over. The North had recovered from Freya’s outrageous acts during my absence, as well. Consequently, I could leisurely kick back at noon. Freya was on duty in the office. The various vassals and nobles were busying themselves in the Imperial Palace, while I was in the flower garden, enjoying afternoon tea with my moms.
Mommy Elizabeth still made me sigh. I didn’t intend to tell Vyvyan about what happened between me and Mommy Elizabeth, though. I was no longer willing to agitate Vyvyan again. She was already uneasy about Dragon Mom. If I added to Vyvyan’s list of aggravations, she might’ve done something I didn’t want her to.
The three of us sat at a small circular table. On the table were simple snacks and a pot of amber-coloured tea. In front of us were plain white tea cups with a clear tea swishing inside.
Vyvyan still hadn’t picked up her teacup. Instead, she looked at me with an affectionate look. She had her left hand gently placed on my thigh underneath the table. Meanwhile, on my right hand side, Dragon Mom was mumbling in an extremely nervous manner. I knew she was far more nervous than eager at the table. She never had afternoon tea before, and I was aware she prepared for a long time for it, so she had to be trying to recall every minute detail she needed to pay attention. She looked forward to having tea with me. She didn’t want to ruin our time together. I didn’t punish her for what happened at the dining hall before, but she felt guilty about what ensued. Subsequently, she kept repeating to herself over and over to not allow a problem to happen a second time.
I picked up my cup of tea and had a drink. The taste was the kind you’d find outside the forests of Duargana. It was the nice scent of mana and the forest. I shut my eyes; I could seemingly see the forest and feel the soothing warm sunlight as the tea swished in my mouth. It was as if I was drinking tea from my homeland.
After my mana flowed smoothly, I could feel lots of things that I couldn’t feel in the past, such as the taste of the tea. Seeing me take a drink, Vyvyan, too, raised her cup and had a small sip. She shut her eyes to savour the taste of home that she’d been away from for so long. Dragon Mom picked up her teacup in a flustered fashion. She was afraid that she’d stain the tablecloth with a drop of tea. She took a sip.
“Without the forest there, would we still be able to feel this beauty?” I wanted to ask that very badly, but I suppressed my curiosity. Instead, I looked at Dragon Mom and, with a smile, asked, “How is it, Mom? This tea should be from the forest close to the elven Imperial Capital with the greatest abundance of mana. The tea should taste fantastic, so I don’t know if you’re used to it.”
“Uhm, it’s okay. It’s okay.”
Seeing Dragon Mom respond so anxiously told me that she wasn’t telling the truth. It was understandable. The tea wasn’t something somebody could discern as good or bad in one or two tries. For Dragon Mom, who was experiencing our lifestyle for the first time, being able to get accustomed to it was good enough. I smiled, and then turned to Vyvyan.
I had two goals I wanted to achieve at the afternoon tea. One, I wanted Dragon Mom to experience a different lifestyle and adapt to it. And two, which was more important, was I wanted to bring up the three way alliance with Mommy Vyvyan.
Although I knew that it was very easy for the elves and North to come together, as we didn’t have any conflict with each other – besides the Galadriel Tribe despising and refusing to acknowledge the elves in the North – the reality was that they held no enmity toward the ordinary elves. Further, the ruler of the North was their Prince. As for Vyvyan, there was bound to be no problem there. She couldn’t ask for anything more than to always be by my side. Vyvyan clung on me more than she did in the past after we returned from the desert. I could even see her blonde hair flickering at the door when I was working. Consequently, I thought it was simple for the elves and North to form an alliance. We didn’t even need agreement from the elves. I just needed to mention it to Vyvyan. The elves wouldn’t object if she told them what was going to happen, either.
The most integral part was the alliance between elves and humans. Elves and humans had a very poor relationship just as Vyvyan and Elizabeth’s relationship was. The war from a decade ago basically destroyed any final shreds of respect the two races had left for each other. Countless on each side died ten years ago in the war for their son. Elves slew countless humans, while humans brutally killed countless elves. That also created countless tragedies similar to Luna’s tragedy. The long lifespan of elves allowed them to continue the resentment from that era, while humans who continued to reproduce and the Rosvenor Empire’s pride wallowed in the humiliation of having to retreat after their failure. Humans and elves signed an agreement to not invade each other, with some merchant humans and elves still travelling to each other’s lands, but the truth was that the two races had never stopped wanting to gnaw the other due to their resentment for the wounds they suffered.
While we just established a military alliance, it was established without any prior discussion between the people of both respective races. There was no substance to the alliance. It was merely allowing humanity passage through the elven lands. Moreover, it was only established out of consideration for me, hence the compromise. In fact, the enmity between the two races gradually grew more apparent as a result of the alliance.
Elves didn’t fear war, while humans still wanted to take down that white city that they failed to capture back then. Elizabeth and Vyvyan weren’t friendly with each other, either. For the two of them to put down their differences and fight side by side was harder than trying to slay a dragon without Ying.
“You mean an alliance?” asked Vyvyan.
In a nervous tone, I explained, “Not quite. I think a united kingdom would be a more appropriate term. It would be more convenient to rule the continent if it were run under a united rule. Additionally, our respective wealth and technology can circulate among us. Obviously, these things aren’t my goal. My goal is to make it possible for you two to be by my side.”
What I said may have sounded somewhat confrontational and have not been presented very well. That said, I was sure Vyvyan understood what I mean. She placed her cup of tea down and affectionately stroked my head: “Mommy can always stay by your side even without it. Mommy can instantly teleport back to Duargana as long as I’ve set up a magic formation, so there’s absolutely no need for any of that. Of course, if you want to, Mommy can head back and prepare to establish an alliance between the North and elves. We don’t have any need for humanity.”
“But, at the end of the day… Mommy Elizab-“
“You only have one mom! That, of course, is me!!” Vyvyan firmly cut me right off.
I noticed Dragon Mom to my right, frown. However, due to the incident earlier, she resisted and held it in. I looked back at Vyvyan.
Vyvyan was starting to become a dangerous individual. It was best to not agitate her in that situation. I had to change the way I worded it. Frankly, I thought it’d be hard to get Mommy Elizabeth to agree to the suggestion, but I finally realised that Mommy Vyvyan was the hardest one to convince. Elves were incredibly stubborn species. That applied to both their emotional problems and grudges they had. They adamantly clung to them.
I took in a deep breath: “Mom, whatever the case is, if the alliance only exists between the North and elves, we won’t be able to unite the continent. Humanity is unquestionably the rulers of the South of the continent. It’s pointless for just us two to form an alliance. Though I’m aware that elves and humanity have a very bad relationship, it’s been ten years already. Holding grudges isn’t a long-term strategy. Mom, the grudge between you and M-, cough, Empress Elizabeth should be set down now, right? Aren’t I with you two now?”
Mommy Vyvyan looked at me with a certain connotation in mind but didn’t reply. Instead, she had another nip of her tea. She gazed at the flower garden instead of responding. I anxiously awaited her response. If Mommy Vyvyan refused, there was room to wiggle about. If she kept silent, I couldn’t say anything. As a matter of fact, I’d lose the opportunity to fight for a chance.
“Son, perhaps you don’t quite understand one thing.” Mommy Vyvyan broke the silence after a long silence. However, she didn’t look at me when she spoke. In a soft voice, she elaborated, “Sometimes women don’t want an equally shared love. An equal share only puts us at ease. What we truly want is a fearless, biased love. The same goes for your wives. Mommy wants even more, though. I don’t want to share you with that woman, not even now. Not in the least.”