“Our patriots have not returned, and we have not heard from them since they were dispatched. It seems they have sacrificed themselves in the line of duty,” an aristocrat bent his knees before the curtain and reported.
The patriots consisted of children from eight aristocrat families who undertaken the best training. Lin Dongqing’s return to the imperial capital wasn’t delayed. Their patriots were fearless soldiers. If they were to die, they’d, at least, scratch their foe. Nonetheless, they completely vanished on the mission without even scratching Lin Dongqing.
The music behind the curtain abruptly ceased, accentuating the sound of a glass shattering behind the curtain. The Empress aggressively rose to her feet went over to the curtain, fuming. Had the maid not knelt down and grabbed her sleeve, she would’ve brushed the curtain open. Nobody was permitted to see her face unless they were a personal assistant or aristocrat.
“Th-then, my brother… does that mean that my brother…”
“I am very sorry, Your Majesty. However, you can rest assured. We will use all of our might to try and retrieve your brother’s corpse. No, we will see that it is done!”
There was nothing the man on his knees could do at that point besides trying to retrieve the Empress’ brother’s corpse. All of the aristocrats had to send their children, including the Empress. She couldn’t personally go, so her brother, who always wanted to go on an adventure, was the only candidate.
My brother is never coming back after his first time out. He’s always been by my side. He’s always fulfilled his duty to our parents. My brave and beloved brother is… is… a corpse out in the cold in another nation with that one sentence?!
The Empress weakly reclined in her seat. Despite there being a curtain, the sight of her holding her head in agony was still visible. She thoughtlessly wagged her hand to send everyone out. She didn’t try to think about her mother or cry. She was trying to suppress her tears.
The Empress was no longer the girl who cried when she saw her best friend leave the palace. She was the nation’s Empress, the incarnation of a god. If she cried, misfortune would befall her nation. She sat on her throne made from the wood on the continent of legends where her kin also resided. She and the country were tied together. She no longer felt bliss or otherwise. She was merely an entity that had fused with a tree, forever looking over her vassals and people. And trees didn’t cry.
“All right, you may all leave. It’s a waste of manpower and resources to use your forces to retrieve his corpse, so forget it. Distribute money to all the families that participated. Give them our gratitude for everything they do for the nation. Go. I’m tired. I need to rest for a bit.”
The man prostrated himself and bowed with the utmost respect before leaving. How much of his condolence was for the Empress and how much was for himself? Only he would know.
“I need to speak to you two,” I told the boy and girl.
I let the two of them stay at our place for the meantime. Nonetheless, they didn’t take part in our daily life activities. They lived as the elves did, except that the elves didn’t distance themselves because we weren’t on good terms. The reason the elves led a different lifestyle to us was due to our slightly different active or bedtime hours. Furthermore, Linna avoided interacting with other humans, including our maids. The two kids, on the other hand, were cautious, fearing that I’d kill them or sell them off one day.
“You plan to kill us now?” The boy already had his leg treated. The boy showed no manners as I didn’t have Leah with me.
“If I was going to kill you, what would I have wasted time and energy bringing you here for? I could’ve just killed you on the spot. You aren’t cattle I need to feed to enjoy on my plate.”
“So, what is it?”
The boy wanted to bicker, but the girl tapped him on the head. She apologised with a bow. Then, she shot him an angry glare. Despite not liking the idea, he nodded in the end.
I tried my best to avoid showing my hostile reaction to his disgruntled scorn. “If there’s a chance, I want to go to your place. With that said, I don’t think your people understand my language. You can, though. Regardless of how you learn it, I need your help. If you help me, I can send you back.”
“So, you want to go to our place?” Unlike the girl whose eyes lit up with delight, the boy was clearly alarmed. He stared at me as a hunting dog would. “What exactly are you planning? I don’t plan to let you go. I won’t bring a threat home. I’d rather die here!”
“Unfortunately, while you like to stay here, I don’t want to let you stay. This is my house. I don’t need someone who doesn’t pay rent leeching off me. What could I possibly conspire to do in the South? Use that tiny brain of yours to think. You can’t compare to me, but you do have brain cells to rub together, right? I need a cane to walk. You think I’m you with your, ‘blah, blah, blah I’m going to kill someone today?’” I couldn’t resist a verbal jab in the end. I don’t know. It just somehow ends up that way when I talk to men. I suppose I don’t like men.
“Pfft, I refuse to trust my assassination target. I refuse to let you come to my place. Since you bragged about your brain, you would realise I’d be courting death by taking you back. I believe that only our patriots and determined people would not fear death. As for a a man who hides in a carriage and relies on women to protect him, I can’t see no courage.”
“Oh? But I saw a group of idiots. Women whooped their rears… I don’t want to argue with you. I’m asking a serious question. I’m not afraid of death. I have something more important to discuss with your leader. If you can come with me, I’d be grateful.”
“And if I refuse?”
“Then, you can stay here, and I’ll go by myself.”
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