“Son, I heard about what happened to you yesterday.”
I sat at the table and had my head down as I looked at the bread and honey in front of me. I quietly replied: “Sorry, mom.”
Nier was standing behind the empress opposite me. She had her hand on her sword handle as she trained her eyes ahead of her. She didn’t look at me.
“Ah…… No! That’s not it! Mommy isn’t criticising you! That’s not what mommy meant!!”
Mom waved her hands in a flustered fashion and loudly said, “Mommy wasn’t faulting you! Don’t be upset, son! Mommy really wasn’t blaming you! Really! Mommy is just worried about you. Mommy is very happy to see you happy. Mommy won’t criticise you because of what happened. Honest.”
I raised my head with a bitter smile on my face. I looked at mom who was desperately trying to explain herself, afraid that I would be upset, and replied: “It’s fine, mom. It was my mistake. I didn’t listen to your advice. I was overconfident and acted on my own, causing you trouble. I’m very sorry, mom. I’m very sorry. So please don’t worry mom. Critique me as you see fit.”
Half of my apology was to the empress, and the other half was to Nier. Mom stayed mull for a moment and scanned me as if it were the first time she’d seen me like this. Nier on the other hand didn’t budge. And no, she didn’t shift her line of sight. A moment later, mom smiled and in a relieved tone said: “Son, criticising someone is meant to serve to inform them of their mistake. Since you’re aware of your mistake now, what reason is there for mom to criticise you? What’s happened has happened. What we need to think about isn’t why it happened, but how to resolve it. I understand your method now. I don’t think your thinking was wrong. It’s just that you acted too hastily. This is good. Learn to keep your calm in the future, son.”
“Yes. Thank you, mom.”
I lowered my head and finished the food in front of me. I then stood up, looked at mom and said, “Mom, I’m leaving now.”
“Hmm? What’s your plan, son?”
“I don’t have any plans. I don’t intend to leave the palace today.”
“That’s good. Have a good rest today, son. You don’t have to do anything about what happened now, son.”
Mom smiled and nodded. She then said, “Drink with mommy again tonight, son. A shipment of wine from the desert came this time. Mommy really likes it.
I nodded and then left the dining hall.
The empress watched her son leave and then let out a sigh of relief before patting her chest. The empress looked more nervous than her son was before. She let out a big breath of air and said: “I’m so glad. I’m so glad. My son isn’t angry. He’s not angry. I didn’t make him upset. I’m so, so glad.”
Nier didn’t say anything as she stood behind her.
“What’s wrong, Nier? I’d say it’s more correct to say that my son was apologising to you instead of me just now.”
Nier looked at the empress and replied: “I dare not, your majesty. How could I be angry with his majesty?”
“Is that right?”
The empress smiled as she looked at Nier. She then stretched her back and then wore a serious expression, and said: “Call my scouts over. I shall order them to launch an investigation.”
“Roger.” Nier bowed and then turned around. The large window where the sun shone through highlighted her entire body. Today is a rare warm day late in autumn. The sun was no longer cold. It was warm now. In front of the window, the empress walked across with the maid in black and white in tow. The maid wore a bright smile on her beautiful white face.
“Sorry, your majesty.”
Nier realised she actually spaced out for a moment. She then left the dining hall. When she raised her head up, she could see the bright sunlight. If not for what happened yesterday, she could probably be out of the palace playing with the children around now……
I can’t think like that. Nier shook her head to throw away those thoughts, leaving her with just her expressionless look and her hand on her sword handle. She faced the opposite direction and walked on resolutely and alone.
Luna followed me by my side and asked: “Your majesty, where are we going?”
“To look for Castell.”
I continued, “Castell’s business office is in the palace. I finally know where to find the copper coins.”
“Your majesty… you……”
“Ah. You’re right. I’m not going to give up.” I replied nonchalantly. I then clenched my teeth and said, “I don’t care about some orphanage or kids right now. All I want to find out right now is how my friend died and who tried to assassinate me. But before that, I need to confirm where the copper coins have disappeared off to. There are only two possible places, one is the palace, and the other is the church.”
Luna smiled and said from my side: “Although I don’t understand, I hope it works out.”
Castell’s office is actually located right at the forefront of the palace. That should be the place where there is the most amount of people coming and going. While this is the royal palace, it’s not as though people are completely forbidden from entering. it’s just that the inner court area is off-limits. This is the office of the chamber of commerce. People who come and go are probably merchants or nobles looking to go after something.
“Luna, wait for me here.”
“Alright, your majesty.”
When I entered the palace, there were people coming and going in the large hall. I pushed the people standing at the front counter aside, and looked at the surprised look of the receptionist and said: “Call Castell here.”
“Mr. Castell is currently……”
“I said, call Castell here!”
I looked at him and in a cold tone said, “I’m the prince, Troy. If you dare waste my time with one more word, I’ll make it so you never leave this place.”
“Yes! Your majesty! Please calm down!”
The receptionist got up in a panic and left. A moment later, Castell appeared before me with a smile. He scanned me and said: “Good morning, your majesty. It is rare for you to take the initiative to come and look for me. Do you have business with me today? It looks like you are not in a good mood.”
I looked at him and in a cold tone said: “I want to see your treasury.”
Castell basically got splashed with a bucket of water by what I asked. It was the first time he looked at me with a puzzled expression. However, he quickly recovered his laid-back composure. He smiled and said: “Your majesty, there is nothing to see in our treasury. Did you want to check the books or store something?”
I looked at him and repeated myself: “I said, I want to see your treasury. Take me there now.”
“Her majesty delegated the duty of running this place to me. If you are here to inspect it under her majesty’s orders, I shall allow you passage right away. Otherwise, I cannot allow you to see the treasury even if you are the prince. I cannot allow you whether it is in terms of regulations or reason.”
Castell continued looking at me with a smile as he rejected me.
I smiled and pulled out my handgun at my waist. I aimed it at my own temple. Castell reacted with shock. He looked at me and in a startled voice exclaimed: “Your majesty, what are you doing?! Calm down!”
“Oh yeah? Calm down? I said I want to see your treasury.” I looked at him and coldly continued, “Didn’t you say you needed her majesty’s orders? Didn’t you say you only follow her majesty’s orders? If you don’t take me there, I’ll pull the trigger right now. You’re right. I can’t order you. But do I need to tell you what her majesty will do if I die before you?”
“Are you threatening me?!”
“That’s right. I’m threatening you.”
I looked at him. I narrowed my eyes and chuckled coldly. I then said: “How about we give it a try? If you don’t take me, I’ll pull the trigger right now. Everything will be over once I die anyway. As for what will happen to you, I don’t know. Castell, you don’t think you’re somehow different to the Valkyries, do you? I always knew how to make you all obey me, but I wasn’t too willing to use it. But I feel like using it now. Take me to the treasury now.”
Castell looked at me utterly shocked as if it was the first time he saw me act like this. I narrowed my eyes as I looked at him while continuing to hold my gun to my head.
“Alright, I will take you there. However, you must put your gun down first, your majesty.”
A moment after, Castell took a step back and made an invitational gesture. I nodded and put my gun back to my waist before following him.
**IMPORTANT: Extra chapter will be released tomorrow, but only readable at lordobsidian(dot)com, and you will need to get the link from the disqus comments section in tomorrow’s chapter as it will be archived and won’t be on your updates. Will remind you again tomorrow.