“My, Your Majesty, Miss Nier, we are so honoured you still remember our orphanage, not to mention that you brought gifts. I was thinking about preparing summer clothing for the children, and you have brought us materials. Your timing is impeccable. Thank you so much. May God bless your kind souls,” said he orphanage’s dean.
The man in charge of the orphanage still had his signature eyes-shut smile. He looked the same as before. Actually, he was a little plumper. The orphanage was on track, after all. Furthermore, they had land that nobody would take from them. With nothing to worry about, I guess the dean put on some weight.
Nier and I gave them the presents. The dean cheerfully served us teas. With a smile, he corrected himself: “Sorry, my greeting was incorrect. You are now His Majesty and Royal Princess, Her Majesty, correct? I know about your child’s baptism. How blessed. I knew two people in love with each other would be happy together, true?”
“You didn’t know that we’d get married when I last came, did you?”
“What do you mean? I noticed it the first time. You were always looking at Royal Princess, Her Majesty.”
“Ah… okay, okay, let’s go see the kids.”
Face glowing red, I quickly tried to switch the topic. However, Nier noticed it, so she came over with and wrapped her arm around mine with a soft giggle. She must’ve overhead us by the looks of it. Nonetheless, I dare say she would’ve been disgusted to hear that if we were in the past.
I handed the candy to Nier. She cheerfully went off to look for the children. I set the material onto the table and told the dean to go see the tailor. I remember the tailor worked for the royal family. With my hand-written decree, they would make clothes for the dean for free. Although he was reluctant to make so many pieces for free, they worked for the royal family, so there was no refusing.
The dean and I were upstairs as before. Nier played with the children down below. We looked down as we did the first time I visited. I looked at pretty Nier and the sunlight. I softly laughed: “How nice to have such peaceful days. If there was no trouble when I came back, then it would be perfect. Something annoying had to happen during this trip, though. By the way, I also noticed you have chosen the old church, correct?”
The dean smiled. The golden hoary leaf hanging by his chest gently swayed. After a quiet laugh, he answered, “Is that what everybody refers to them as nowadays? The church is different to how they were in the past now. In the past, they would extort people for money, but not now. Nowadays, the church will provide us with money and living expenses every year. They will also let our children help out at the church. They have helped us in many ways. Therefore, I am very grateful to the church, and I believe them. Recently, a new church has surfaced, correct? It is a good thing for religion to flourish. I may not be religious, but the two different religions have developed independently, so they can develop a better creed, I would assume.”
“It’d be nice if they didn’t fight.”
“Fight, did you say?”
It sounded as though the dean didn’t know what happened. I didn’t elaborate. Instead, I turned my attention to the children. Smiling, I inquired, “You said that the children went to work? Where do they usually go to work? In the church?”
“Not exactly. It depends on which location requires help. For instance, they might help at the unloading zone. Things are convenient for the children there, as well. Despite the guards inspecting the adults’ goods, they never inspect the things the children carry. As such, the church usually asks the children to move and transport things.”
“They’re not transporting any illegal goods, are they?”
I recalled the salt incident. I couldn’t believe they thought of making statues with salt to get them into the city. Had I not had a lick, I never would’ve figured out their trick.
“Is the church still trying to transport illegal goods? What is it this time, gold? Gold needs to be handed to the royal family. Only a small amount circulates among the people. Illegally transporting salt is one thing, but gold? In the best scenario, you’ll just lose your hands. In the worst scenario, your head will roll. If the children are transporting gold, then they would be able to avoid inspections. Does the church have the guts to do that, though?” I contemplated.
“It definitely is not gold. Although they do not inspect the children, they still take a look. Inside is firewood. They must be using it to start fires.” The dean laughed as he waved his hand.
I smiled helplessly. I must’ve been too jumpy. I did notice there were lots of fire braziers and fireplaces in the church. That justified them requiring a rather large amount of firewood. It would make sense for them to transport firewood, then.
I nodded: “Tell the children: if there are illegal goods, tell them not to touch it and to report it; otherwise, trouble will definitely come knocking. For instance, if they move gold, they’ll have their hands amputated in the best case scenario. Don’t let the church turn you into accomplices.”
“Your Majesty, you may be a little prejudice against the church due to the past incident. The church is now totally different to how they were in the past. I believe the church will not accept that. Hence, you do not need to worry about them doing anything.”
I shook my head: “Small favours aren’t representative of one’s true nature. It’s fine as long as the children are fine. However, if I’m being honest, I, too, have something I want to do. As you mentioned the unloading zone, I shall go and take a look. The current relationship between the two churches is capricious. A fight could break out between them at any moment. I need to ensure that neither side are transporting anything dangerous, especially weapons. They must not be allowed in.”
The dean smiled: “Mm, there sure is a lot for you to pay attention to and worry about, Your Majesty. I shall not keep you, then. Your daughter with Royal Princess, Her Majesty must be very cute. It is a pity I did not get to see her.”
“If you want to visit the Royal Palace, just mention my name. I’m sure the guards will let you in. In saying that, the status quo is quite volatile. I don’t want to bring my daughter out, since I rarely have safe moments.”
The dean wouldn’t dare to go to the Royal Palace even though I said that as it was heavily guarded, and nobody was allowed to approach it.
I went downstairs and called Nier. Nier, however, seemed to want to go home… Perhaps she missed Daisy because she saw the children… I didn’t plan on going back. If I said that, though, she would probably be put on the spot.
I had to end the day’s exploration there. It was dangerous for me to go to the unloading zone by myself. If the church was doing something there, it was best not to alert them. I didn’t think anything would happen if I was one day late.