Lucia followed who was following behind me, saw me carrying parchment rolls. Confused, she asked: “Your highness, what are we doing? You’ve been in your room writing and drawing all day since last night. What are these things? Please forgive my ignorance, but I don’t understand a thing you’ve drawn.”
I smiled and replied: “This isn’t anything miraculous. It’s just a blueprint of the ballista we mentioned yesterday. Mr Castell didn’t provide us with a blueprint, so I drew one up myself.”
Surprised, Lucia looked at me with admiration and said: “You know how to operate machines?! You look unstoppable! Your drawings look so complicated. If you could draw all this up in one night, then the humans aren’t particularly skilled.”
I silently chuckled to myself. This is one of the advantages I have coming from another world. I don’t have the memories of the owner of this body, but my own memories are still intact. The humans are quite skilled. I don’t know how powerful the magic of elves are, but I do know that human creativity knows no bounds. Every fantasy novel has this quote: Never underestimate humanity.
Lucia, who was walking side-by-side with me down the street asked: “Are we going to the elders just to return the books?” Mom is still in a deep slumber, but if she were to wake up, then it’d be impossible for me to do the things I want. Mom, please forgive me for being so stubborn… I will take care of you until you wake up afterwards.
“That’s one reason.”
I stood at the front of the elder’s large tree. I’m still reluctant to admit that this tree is a house… I knocked on the trunk and waited. The door opened not long after, and I was greeted with an old gloomy face. His eyes lit up when he saw me. He quickly greeted me and said: “My, my, it is an honour to have your highness personally pay me a visit. May I ask if you are here to bring us good news? It would be nice if it were about us having to go to battle…”
I looked to the sides of the ancient tree. This fellow refuses to contribute, and yet he keeps asking me, hoping for the best. I’ll bet he’s already made preparations to go to battle. As I looked around, I noticed a shiny line-up of spears next to the tree. Was he drying them out or something?
“No, I’m here to return your books and pass on an order.”
I placed the books in front of him, shook my head, smiled bitterly and said: “However, this is not an order from her highness, but from me. Do I have the rights to order you as your prince?”
“I am just a decrepit skeleton. I would be willing to throw my life away for you, your highness,” is what he said, but to me it sounded like “I’ve got one foot in the casket already, whether it’s one more job or less one job, it’s all the same to me.” I smiled, passed him a sheet of paper and said: “I want to create these things. Prepare the materials yourself. You are supposed to set out in five days. If you can create them and give them to me before then, then you won’t have to go. Otherwise, you can take those spears, go out there and bring home some good news for us.”
Shocked by what he had just heard, he quickly took the parchment from me. For me to be able to draw something on the level of engineers with a parchment this is incredible. I admire myself. I drew a ballista. Castell never told me how a ballista was made. To people of this era, a ballista should be considered advanced technology, but not for me, since I was a student in the mechanics department in the army. I learnt how to make weaponry and armour. I remember there was a blueprint for a ballista like this in class. From the standpoint of modern day people, this would be considered a mere toy. But I must say, drawing it just based off my memory alone was a real chore.
Moreover, the design I came up with was no ordinary ballista. I added gears, chains and standard magazines to create an automatic ballista. I just need one of them to obliterate all the Earth Dragons.
“Wh-what might this be…?
“Ah, don’t worry about that. The theory behind it is written there, you just need to obtain the resources for me. You people should be able to create this with your wealth and man-power, right? I don’t need many, just five will do. The arrows are important, so make sure to make the arrows out of steel. The more arrows you make, the better. Also, make sure they’re to keep the dimension consistent… Ah, make them with dimensions similar to these spears.”
He trembled and cried as he said to me: ” B-but, your highness, w-we can’t possibly complete five of them within five days! Even if all eight of us elders went all out, we still wouldn’t make it in time. Th-that’s asking too much… Even if we could produce high quality versions, we wouldn’t make the arrows in time.”
I shrugged and said: “Divide up the work and you’ll be fine. One family work on the gears, another work on the crossbow, another on the magazine, and then just combine the parts together after. It’d be hard for you to make five ballistae in five days, but you could make tens of gears in five days, right? Problem solved, right? You guys…”
I suddenly remembered as I was mocking them that ballistae were new to people of this era. They don’t yet understand the concept of a production line… Fuck, what have I done?! Haven’t I just forcibly triggered the development of society here?!
“I see! I see! Genius! That’s genius!! You live up to your title, your highness. You are as intelligent as the goddess! You truly are the son of her highness. A true genius! Leave it with us. Five days. We should be able to complete your request in five days! We won’t be able to face the previous emperor, if we fail! May I also ask, does this mean we won’t have to go to battle?”
“I’ll personally lead the campaign after you complete them; you people just focus on providing me with what I need. I’ll be waiting to hear from you. Oh, right, I almost forgot something even more important. I’ll leave training men to operate the ballistae up to you as I’ll be taking them with me. Goodbye.”
I touched both sides of my head cloth to confirm that my ears weren’t revealed and then pushed the door open. To be honest, I don’t know why mom always fusses over my ears. I thought the whole kingdom knew that I was a half-breed, but it looks like I was wrong.
After bidding the elder goodbye, Lucia and I returned to the street. Although I technically left the palace grounds last time, I basically got called back instantly, so I never got a chance to look around. It’s only morning and yet there are so many people moving about and it’s bustling with noise like city regions in the modern day. The air was filled with the flower scent elves loved and the scent of food. Elves like meat, so I could smell the scent of grilled meat filling the air.
There are a lot of things I have to do now, but I want to take a stroll on the streets. Lucia had her head down as she followed me. After the incident last time, Lucia has been acting awkward around me. Perhaps she’s afraid I’m angry at her, and feels guilty about it since she’s partly responsible for mom’s condition.
Her loyalty to her highness is absolute, even though mom tried to burn her alive. As soon as she regained conscious, she knelt by mom’s bed and never left. In fact, she’s more loyal than I, her son… Just as importantly, I asked her to take care of mom while I was focused on drawing last night.
It looks like she’s still suffering from the guilt. I keep saying that it wasn’t anybody’s fault, but that’s just me being stubborn. Meanwhile, she’s always running to mom’s side to accompany her. Before the doctor diagnosed mom last night, her magic went out of control but was brought under control after. Once she wakes up, she should be fine. I let out a sigh of relief. If something were to happen to mom and I got crowned emperor before learning to deal with diplomatic fights, I’d be dumb-founded. Luckily, mom will be around for several hundred years.
I grabbed her hands, and she looked at me with a surprised look. I smiled and said: “There’s nothing to do now and mom’s condition has stabilised, so let’s go for a stroll.”
Lucia looked at me and then looked away… Her eyes didn’t look like she was half-asleep this time, but embarrassed… Oi, oi, oi, what are you shy about now? Didn’t you already touch… Pretend I never said anything. I mustn’t think about that! She’s normally fine with holding hands or hugging so why is she acting like this today?
She just got burnt once…
That said, she still held my hand tightly nevertheless.
I curiously looked left and right as we strolled down the street. The designs of elves make sense, at least that holds true for places close to the imperial palace. The homes of the elders fit with the characteristics of elves, but normal families live in wooden homes completely covered in green. It looks like elves really love the colour green.
The stone path was very well kept and neat. It wasn’t messy like the human cities of the past. Elves like neatness and cleanliness. The elves on the streets might not wear expensive clothing, but they’re always clean and tidy. The clothing of elves resembles Western styles. Their clothing reveals their beautiful body lines, beautiful neck and moon-like breasts.
Even your ordinary female elf would have crystal clear eyes, their smiles pluck at my heartstrings and the way they carry themselves mesmerizes me.
Aahh~, elves are so beautiful…
Lucia tried to hide herself using me, and said: “Umm… Your highness… We shouldn’t hold hands in public, because… I’m not supposed to reveal myself in public… Everybody recognises you. If they catch you holding my hand, they’ll give you grief… And I belong to the Intel unit, so revealing myself… Ah!”
A horse carriage zipped by and I pulled Lucia into my embrace with one arm.
Out of frustration, I said: “That was close… What was that guy thinking? What’s the rush?” I looked down at Lucia who was clinging to my chest and asked: “Are you alright, Lucia?”
She nodded slightly and then looked up at me. She smiled bitterly and cried: “Why? Why is it that no matter how hard I try, you always end up protecting me in the end… In the past, and now… Why? Why can’t I protect you properly for once? I’m already trying my best. I’m giving it my absolute best… So why? Why do I always bring you nothing but trouble…?”
Tears started to form in her beautiful emerald eyes. She grabbed my shoulders and cried on them whilst crying: “Why? Why do I always cause people trouble? Her highness, you… I … I just want to help everyone… I’m not qualified to be your wife as I am now… I… Why…?”
I was caught off-guard and paused for a moment. I never thought she was worried about these things. She’s regretting and feeling guilty. She’s placed all responsibilities onto her shoulders. Lucia is a bodyguard. She’s the captain of the unit responsible for protecting us from the shadows, but she put my life in danger. I’m so stupid for not figuring that out. I was stupidly trying to figure out what she was upset about. I never comforted her.
I’m not qualified to become a ruler. I don’t understand peoples’ hearts at all.
“In my eyes, you’re very strong, Lucia… Regardless of what I ask of you, you successfully complete it. You’re always there by my side to protect me. I think you’re great, Lucia… Really…”
I rubbed my head, smiled bitterly and said: “I can’t use magic, but you can fly like a bird… You’re amazing, Lucia. I feel safe with you by my side. I can sleep in peace at night because I know you’re there to protect me… If mom and you don’t come and raid my room at night… I’m not strong. I’m also depending on you, Lucia.”
“But… But… I’m your fiancé… I can’t always depend on you… I want to protect you… But I always put you in danger instead…” Tear droplets that resembled pearls rolled down her face, but I believe those tears were bitter as gall bladder. She wants to protect me and stay by my side. Lucia’s love is sincere. Lucia was suffering.
“Easy! Since you’re my fiancé, we need to protect each other. Isn’t it a man’s responsibility to protect his wife? Don’t hide, Lucia. You didn’t do anything wrong. You’re my fiancé. I’ll have to announce it sooner or later, so why should we care about what others think now? I’m honoured to always have you by my side!”
She violently hugged me and squeezed me tightly, as she unleashed her cries on my shoulder. I helplessly smiled as I embraced her. If I was this strong and capable in past, I wouldn’t have died single.
Oh, I get what she meant now.
That day, the prince of the elf race’s fiancé was revealed to the public…