“You want to participate in the deer hunting festival, your highness?”
Lucia looked at me feeling slightly surprised, put her cup down and said: “Your highness, the deer hunting festival isn’t fun. It really isn’t. Killing a white deer each month is hell for me. A white deer king is even tougher to kill.”
I threw two berries into my mouth and asked: “But it can definitely be killed. Lucia, don’t you kill a white deer every month?”
“Yes, but white deer and white deer king are different. The white deer king is an animal with intelligence. Its feeding zones are not fixed while deer themselves don’t have lairs. They’re very sensitive to mana, so they flee as soon as they detect an elf in their vicinity. Also, a white deer king will retaliate when it’s cornered. Its horns are incomparably sharp. A white deer king is tough to deal with.”
“Wait a second… Are you talking about a unicorn?”
“Unicorn?” Lucia tilted her head to one side out of puzzlement, thought about what I asked and nodded with approval. She then said: “Uhm, that’s a befitting name. Your highness, you’re really good at naming.”
“…Alright, let’s just say I came up with the name then.” I smiled wryly and then asked: “How did people kill a white deer king in the past then?”
“They used a variety of methods… Traps, poisons, hitting them in the arrow from a distance, ah, the previous king slayed it with a sword up close. He was great. No. he was amazing.”
Lucia shrugged and then said: “I’m okay with accompanying you, and I’m fine with killing the white deer king too. I just don’t understand why you want to participate in the festival though. If you just wanted the experience, I think you should lose the idea. Sleeping on lawns, squeezing into caves and fighting off hunger aren’t pleasant experiences.”
“I’m not doing it for the experience. I truly want to kill a white deer king…”
“Why? All the people who want to kill the white deer king all have their own wishes. Someone like me who has no wishes wouldn’t participate. So I want to know what your wish is, your highness.”
I looked at Lucia. I felt my face get warmer and warmer as I looked at my crush sitting by the dinner table in her milk-white long skirt with her hair tied up into a simple ponytail.
The early morning sunrays shining onto Lucia’s white skin made it glimmer with a faint golden colour. She looked at her shoeless small feet kicking underneath the table with a lazy gaze. Her white stockings looked like an angel’s wings under the sunlight. She lifted up her cup of milk and slowly brought it to her pink, cherry blossom like lips.
I looked at the beauty, Lucia, who was as beautiful as an angel from heaven and in a bland tone said: “I want…to get married with you.”
Lucia spat her milk out. She panicked as she placed her cup of milk down and wiped the milk off the corner of her mouth. She coughed as she desperately tried to look at me. Her face went red, but I wasn’t sure if it was because she was coughing or because she was shy. She took in a deep breath to stop her coughs, and then gasped for air as she looked at me. She stuttered: “Wha-…what did you say…? I… I won’t…won’t…get married…will get married… will…”
“But I want to let you have a wedding where you receive everybody present’s blessings… You do realise you’re the wife of the prince? As such, you have to have a different wedding… I can’t get everybody to respect the wife of the prince, but I believe that everybody will respect the wife of a hero.”
As I looked at Lucia, Nier’s words came back to me, echoing in my ears. Nier helped me understand that that night. I’m a prince. I’m different to normal people so I should naturally be respected by everybody. It’s normal for me to feel happy to have a person kneel down before me because I was someone who was supposed to be deserving of the respect of others.
I wanted to hold a wedding for Lucia that would make everybody envious because she’s a prince’s woman.
“I… I… I… I will get married to you, your highness! It’s just… It’s just… It’s so embarrassing…”
Lucia lowered her head and nervously pulled her legs together. She lowered her head and snuck glances at me. She muttered: “If…if that’s the case…there’s…there’s no need to… I… I don’t have any desire for a grandiose wedding… I’m happy as long as I can be with you. Honest… And then… And then have a few kids… I want three… I don’t mind if they’re boys or girls… And then… And then I won’t need the buffs provided by the wind elves… I’ll learn to cook… Look after our children… And then you’ll ascend the throne… And I’ll hold a lantern as I wait for you to return each night…”
A tranquil and happy smile crept up onto Lucia’s face. She clasped her hands tightly, raised her head, smiled and said: “Therefore you don’t need to prepare any wedding ceremony for me, your highness. I can’t be any happier as long as I can be with you, and as long as I can be with your forever. Your gentleness is warmer than the sun. I’ve always found my happiness from you, your highness.”
I walked over lightly and gently hugged Lucia. Lucia followed along with me and rested her head on my chest as she listened to my heartbeat. As I gently hugged her, I pressed my hands onto her back and stroked her head, relishing in her warmth and fragrant scent. Perhaps it’s the memories of this body. Perhaps I really have fallen for Lucia. But in that moment, I just wanted to hold her tightly, never letting go.
I rejoiced. Coming here, I feel differently to other people who travel through dimensions. Others want to grow and create something grand. If it were somebody else, they might have already held power in the elf and human nation, and would probably be carrying out a revolution right now. Or maybe they’d already have a harem and be enjoying it. I’m different though. I don’t want to chase or create anything grand, nor do I want to hit on girls left and right. I just want to lead a peaceful life with Lucia and then peacefully pass away.
Is a story like that really boring? Well, that’s my dream though. I wasn’t gifted with any cheat skills when I came to this world. I don’t understand the intricacies of this society and so I can’t create democracy. I don’t understand the financial technicalities here so I can’t create a wealthy country. I only know how to create guns, and I have to face limitations of the time period when creating guns too. Hence, I can only hold Lucia tightly. This is already a great blessing and happy outcome for me.
“Back then, I hugged Lucia and shared her dream to have kids and lead a happy life. But it looks like it’s a reality now.”
Many years later, I sat in a lighthouse by the seaside, breathed in the smell of the sea breeze, and looked at the slightly mottled face opposite under the fire amidst a tornado and reminisced with a smile.
“But you are different to how you are now. Back then you insisted you didn’t want to change the world. But now you are bringing justice to everyone with your body on the scale.”
I smiled and picked up my tree-leaf tea on the table. The veins on my hand that held the cup trembled. The prophet across from me looked at me, knocked what originally was sheep hooves and asked: “In that case, your highness, could you tell me what caused you to change your mind? What made you go from the king who led a peaceful life into becoming the ‘Hero King’ that everybody in the mainland sings praise about?”
“Don’t mention that name. The mention of it annoys me.”
I placed my tea cup back down with a smile, looked at my hand which was like tree barks, lowered my head and continued: “That was around when the deer hunting festival was held I believe… Yes, that was when I made up my mind… I’ll never forget what happened that month even though bigger and more tragic events took place afterwards. I’ll never forget that deer hunting festival…”