“This is your medication for today. Your condition has successfully been brought under control. Please rest a lot and take your medication on schedule. You will be able to recover.” Luna placed a tray onto the bedside cupboard and bowed to the man on the bed.
The man nodded and set his book down. He picked up the medication and expressed, “Thank you, Luna. Please thank Queen Vyvyan and King Troy on my behalf for taking care of me. If the circumstances were different, I would personally pay them a visit.”
“I am sure His Majesty would not let you run around until you have recovered. He stressed I was to take good care of you. The best way to repay His Majesty would be to not let his efforts go to waste, Mr. Dongqing,” Luna opined with her signature gentle smile.
After Troy and Lin Dongqing hit it off and befriended each other, the tension between their nations didn’t affect their friendship. The fact that Troy had his personal servant take care of Lin Dongqing was a testament to their friendship.
“Good evening, Prime Minister Dongqing, am I disturbing your rest?”
The young girl with luggage outside let herself in straight after knocking. She bowed to Lin Dongqing and greeted Luna with a smile.
Lin Dongqing locked his brows. Knowing Princess Freya, she would never disrespect formalities unless there was something urgent. He might’ve aged, but his mind still functioned at its peak. He, as a matter of fact, knew what she was about to say but chose to wait.
“Luna, thank you for taking care of Mr. Lin Dongqing. You may leave now. Please shut the door behind you.”
Luna bowed and retreated to the door. Prior to leaving, she reminded, “Princess Freya, please do not aggravate Lord Dongqing for he is still sick.”
“I believe Lord Dongqing already knows why I am here, but I will take a graceful route.”
Freya sat down on the bed after Luna gently shut the door. Smiling, she reported, “I was sent here to check on your condition. You look a lot better compared to when you first arrived. I believe His Majesty will be pleased.”
“Yes, please send my gratitude to His Majesty on my behalf. I did not think I would be treated so well, especially under these circumstances. I was prepared to be rejected at the border.”
“His Majesty would not turn down a close friend.” Freya giggled and took hold of Lin Dongqing’s hand. Freya could tell Lin Dongqing wasn’t in the mood for jesting from his gaze and silence. Discerning what he was implying, she maintained an ambiguous visage as she elaborated, “Of course, as you mentioned, I am here with the grimmest news you do not want to hear. The situation has escalated to a stage that we can no longer control. To put it plainly, your aggression has crossed our bottom line. We made it clear that we would not allow you to build any base on the ocean in the east, yet you stationed your air force there, had your navy provoke us and your vassal state declared war on ours, resulting in a massacre. His Majesty will not sit idly by and let you assail his vassal state. As such, we are enemies as of today.”
Lin Dongqing nodded calmly: “I see. Though I had prepared myself mentally, I still feel hopeless. I will pack my luggage and leave. I would like to request you ensure my safety.”
“Rest assured, Lord Lin Dongqing. We will not send out an edict to force your departure.” Freya placed a hand on Lin Dongqing’s shoulder and added, “You know as well as I do that war serves no purpose. War is but a procedure to achieve goals in the political arena. To achieve political goals, we need to negotiate with somebody who we can communicate with. You are our most trusted friend. We look forward to sitting at the table with you, not fighting you in a war.”
“You are speaking to the wrong person, then, my dear Freya. I have retired as prime minister. I will not take up any post in the government.”
“You jest, Lord Lin Dongqing.”
The two could read each other’s minds solely through eye contact; both could see the burning desire to win in each other’s eyes.
“We are well aware you are the kingdom’s engineer in the shadows. When the new prime minister steps down after the imminent defeat, Queen Sisi will have you clean up the mess. Accordingly, the last person we will parley with will undoubtedly be you.”
Lin Dongqing raised an eyebrow and laughed, picking up on the subtleties in Freya’s statements. “You sound very confident that you will triumph. If I negotiate at the table after our victory, I will not hesitate to bite off everything I can chew, which means, everything. Troy and I are both privy that neither of us will involve our emotions when it comes to our respective nation’s interests.”
“You sound very confident that you will triumph,” Freya copy and pasted. She rose with a smile and bowed: “War is not our goal. It is but a means to an end. Our aim is not to create a strong nation but a great one; that is the biggest difference between our two nations. Queen Sisi’s kingdom is powerful. Howbeit, its conduct is far from noble. Noble countries will not be defeated. To borrow a phrase from my brother,” Freya narrowed her eyes and emphasised, “A just cause enjoys abundant support, while an unjust cause finds little.”
“I wanted to say the same thing. The definition of ‘noble’ in your hands is read ‘tyranny’. Please pass this on to King Troy: A just cause enjoys abundant support while an unjust cause finds little. A noble country will not be defeated.”
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