When I returned to my room in the outer court, Nier rushed over to welcome me. She anxiously asked, “Your Majesty, what exactly happened? Your Majesty, why are there Valkyries searching the outer court and questioning people here? Is there a culprit in the outer court? Also, also, a Valkyrie came to see me… What exactly happened with Her Majesty? It’s been a long time since she had a Valkyrie kill themselves. What exactly happened?”
“Well, simply put, there was an incident in the Royal Palace. The high-ranking finance official was assassinated in the rear flower garden, which was why Mom was a little tense, but that’s all. The culprit has been captured; therefore, there’s no need to worry. Things will soon return to normal. Were the Valkyries rude while they were in the outer court?”
Nier shook her head: “No, they weren’t.”
“Uhm.” I headed upstairs.
Because Mom went crazy, the Valkyries from just before went crazy, as well. However, the Valkyries appeared to maintain their rationality in Nier’s presence. At least, they wouldn’t be rude to the people taking care of my outer court with Nier around.
The Valkyrie I sent to the outer court came down the stairs. She was frightened upon seeing me. Nevertheless, she bowed to me: “Thank you very much, Your Majesty… I…”
“It’s fine. The matter has been resolved; the culprit has been captured, so you can head back now.”
The Valkyrie was bound to be safe with Nier at the outer court. Nier wouldn’t let a Valkyrie kill herself. Plus, she could take shelter from Mommy Elizabeth for the meantime.
I couldn’t deny that I stepped out of line with regards to how I handled the matter. I was a mere Prince, and I clearly indicated that I wasn’t succeeding the throne at Hilles City. Mommy Elizabeth called the shots. I couldn’t do anything that would be detrimental to her throne, yet sheltered one of her Valkyries. In other words, I interfered with her reward and punishment system. That said, I didn’t care all that much anymore since I couldn’t allow Mom to do something undesirable while I was present.
Ever since doing that with Mom, I felt that we didn’t care about it so much. Mom stopped concerning herself so much with the outer court. That was the reason I dared to shelter some of the people in the palace. I was sure Mom wouldn’t barge straight into the outer court even if she wanted to kill the Valkyrie. Not to mention that the one and only successor, Daisy, was also there.
Nier followed behind me. Quietly, she asked, “So, what will become of the culprit? Her Majesty will definitely kill a lot of people this time, won’t she?”
I shook my head: “Initially, that was the case. Luckily, I managed to calm Mom down. The official wasn’t killed over a personal vendetta or for money but as a result of the conflict between the churches. It doesn’t have much to do with the royal family. It’s just that he died on the Royal Palace grounds. The two churches don’t have an amicable relationship. If we allow this to escalate into a big fight, it will be bloody. That’s why it’s best to think about how to keep the damages and losses to the bare minimum and have the two churches rein in their followers.”
Nier nodded. I turned around to face her and, in a soft voice, added, “You should stay inside during these days, Nier. The outside is rather tumultuous at the moment. There’s always bound to be overzealous people with the churches. Daisy and you will be in danger. If they dare to kill in the Royal Palace, then they’ll dare to kill you. You and Daisy should stay at the outer court and not leave unless absolutely necessary.”
“Understood.” Nier obediently nodded.
I smiled and then rubbed Nier’s head. She came closer wrapped her arm around mine: “What about you, then, Your Majesty? Will you stay at the outer court to keep us company? You’re not letting me leave, but what about you?”
“Me? I have to sort this out… It happened in Mom’s Royal Palace, therefore has nothing to do with me. That being said, the new church’s headquarter is located at Troy City. Troy City isn’t an ordinary city. It’s my city, and it’s the place where our three nations connect with each other. If conflict breaks out there, the alliance will crumble. I went to great lengths to form the alliance, so I can’t let them destroy it.”
Nier looked at me with mixed emotions then softly sighed: “Though you now have dragon scales and magic, you’ll still be in danger. You never let me feel reassured… That said, you’re right. I really want to stay with you to protect, but… but… there’s Daisy to consider, too…”
I grabbed hold of Nier’s hand: “I’ll be fine. You don’t need to worry about me. I might always be in danger, but I return to you every time, don’t I? Furthermore, I have confidence here in humanity’s lands. Their weapons can’t hurt me, after all. Trust me, Nier. I won’t be in any danger. Both of the churches want to be the state religion with the royal family’s support; thus, they will never attack me. To add to that, I won’t go to the centre of the fighting; I’m just acting as the mediator for the two parties, aiming to suggest terms and conditions that both parties can accept.”
“You must be careful.”
“With Her Majesty by my side, I’ll definitely be very safe.”
I nodded, and Nier reciprocated it.
“So, what do you want to do next, Your Majesty? Do you want to have lunch at the outer court? If you need, I shall immediately go and prepare. Is there anything specific that you want to eat?”
“Ah, no. I want to make a trip to the inner court. I need to see the pope and Mom. The issue can’t be delayed. Anger will erupt if this drags on. I’m sorry, Nier. Take good care of Daisy. I’ll be back for dinner.”
Nier was understandably disappointed. Still, she allowed me to leave for work. I gave her a kiss. I wanted to see Daisy, but I would probably end up delaying things for a long time if I did. Hence, I quickly left.
Mom was surely speaking to the pope. The pope was bound to be emotional when he found out that the culprit was caught. That wasn’t a ticket for the old church to judge him for the reason that, from the royal family’s perspective, he had to die. So accordingly, we had to discuss a time to judge him together. And one more thing, which was that we had to discuss the matter with the new church. We had to confirm the bishop of the new church wasn’t involved. Additionally, we had to calm down the churches so that they could discuss terms and conditions.
We had to take those steps, as we couldn’t allow Hilles City to be plunged into chaos. It was Hilles City, the Phoenix’s Nest, Mom’s city that we were talking about.