Another morning of no note. Breakfast, dressing up, preparing for departure.
A refreshing morning like yesterday never happened.
Finding myself in good mood, I asked the elves.
"What would you like to do? Should we tour the empire? Or should we go straight to the elven forest?"
Serena's face clouded momentarily before replying, 'We will comply with milord's wishes'. Not just her, all the elves said that in unison.
(How'd they even synchronize the timing anyway?)
"Well, since we'll be there and all, might as well stay two days to look around."
That was the end of it, and sure enough it was another flag thing which I had no way of predicting. It became the impetus for us to stay at the empire, being none the wiser that it would drag me into another mess.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
Less than two hours after departure, the scenery before us opened up. The path we had been taking sandwiched between two thick forests suddenly turned into a leveled highway.
All around is now a sprawling plain. And the sight of a white plaster wall occupying the entire horizon far out. I can't see the edges.
I spaced out for a while before I realized that it was a giant man-made structure.
The empire now lies before us. I was so surprised by the size I slowed down to a walk.
"Man it's far bigger than I thought it'd be. Or more like, aren't we here super early? Forget a week, we got here in just three days... Huh?"
"Forgive us, milord. All of us were so impatient we deployed spirit magic to drastically raise our speed. That applies to me as well. Seeing milord keeping up with us without any issue or fatigue whatsoever, we got ahead of ourselves and..."
(Ah, so this was why they looked down when I asked this morning...)
I'm a man who can't read room. Too full of myself with no room to spare in my head.
My question this morning was an impulsive one, without realizing that was boorish of me.
"No no, I should apologize for asking that this morning. I don't mind a change of plan straight to elven forest now."
"No, as servants of milord, we should have never put our feelings above milord's. It's our failing."
(I never asked for that though. Rather, please be tougher on me...)
I blurted out an idea akin to a puerile trick here.
"Then how about this. Let's buy some souvenirs at the empire for your homecoming. Unusual food, expensive weapons, all kinds of sundries, useful tools and maybe even some recipes? We'll buy up lotsa of stuff and bring them back. I'm sure the elves back home will be delighted with your presents, so it's worth taking a detour."
(Yup, I feel sorry at my own simple mindset.）
"It'd make it worth your impatience, right?"
The elves all had their mouths opened wide and stopped moving.
Apparently, my suggestion was so mind boggling to them, they kept at it for a while.
I had to wait to see if it would be a rejection or otherwise.
(Huuh? It wasn't anything dramatic... What's up with this long pause...)
And then the six elves started weeping one after another.
(Eh!? Eh!? Wait!? What did I say to warrant that!? Should I comfort them here? Heck, what should I even say here? I got no clue... someone, anybody help...)
"Not only milord think so much about us, you would even put our country's advancement into consideration. Milord, you're so kind to us despite being a human. We swear loyalty forevermore to you hereafter."
I was taken aback by how she spun those words even while weeping really hard.
(Frankly... it's heavy. But I mustn't say it out loud. Why does everything I say gets interpreted so leaps and bounds out there every single time anyway?)
"Err, let's keep going for now."
I walked off with lumbering heavy steps thanks to the conversation we just had.