“I understand what you mean now, Your Majesty.”
We finally returned to the guest hall. Karana sat to one side and looked at me. She leaned her body forward and said, “You want to know about the North, correct…? To be frank, I myself do not know it well, since the routes leading to the North are primarily treks between the snowy mountains. There are few people who manage to reach the North, let alone those who can draw a map of it and return. However, I promise that I shall do my utmost to assist you. Although my palace is not grandeur, I do have confidence in our library, for it is where my husband’s lifetime of blood, sweat and tears is.”
“I’ll leave it with you, then, Karana. Even if you don’t have a map, I still want all the information you have on the North. Anything will do.”
We both stood up. Karana looked at me as if she was smiling, yet not. She said, “I do not quite understand why you want information on the North, as it is neither rich nor have there been any legends on it. Other than the anthropoids that attack us every year, virtually nothing is made there.”
“Yes. During winter every year… well, perhaps it is winter all year round at Socina City from your perspective. During the few months when it is coldest in the year, anthropoids from the mountains will attack us from all sorts of unimaginable places for food. Sometimes, they even kidnap human women. Consequently, Socina City is under martial law during that time.”
I’ll be honest. I had no idea about that. I only knew that trolls attacked the elves. The elves had an army stationed in the North, though; therefore, it wasn’t a huge issue during the annual attacks. Socina City is just a small city. I doubt that their army is large enough to seal all of the routes. Since their army in the vicinity is managed by the Empress, Karana has no authority to command them.
‘Wait. Doesn’t that imply that I can’t head North from here, either? The mountain paths here lead to the North. Doesn’t that mean that the elves that were exiled to the North could actually have come here to Socina, and then returned to the south?’
‘Did those elves flee back here, or did they die in the North? Or did they not discover this route?’
‘I don’t want to waste my time and energy on those elves whose status are unknown. I’m just wondering if I can head to the North through here. If I can, it’d be very convenient for me to reform ranks and replenish supplies if I marched my army North from the elven border and here together. Additionally, if we needed to do battle, we could mobilise the army as separate units, and then attack together.’
“Do you know what routes are accessible?”
“We have only confirmed a few. It is not a simple task for humans to reach the North, though, given our physical capabilities. The weather in the mountains is, frankly, too cold, after all. Moreover, we might run into snowstorms or avalanches. If the anthropoids could survive there, I think that the anthropoids would not take the risk in coming here, either.”
She then giggled softly before resuming, “I think that I can understand what you are thinking. But nonetheless, I do not think that expanding in the North is a rational move. However, for you to have told me so many unbelievable things, I think that trying to stop you with rationality would not work.”
I smiled helplessly. I got swept up in the moment and told Karana all about my previous life in the other world. I’m not sure if she believed me for not. Maybe she thought that I made up a story. She didn’t cut me off, though. To the contrary, she looked at me with envy as I told her about the world that she had never seen before.
“I shall do my best to provide you with an answer as soon as possible.”
Karana and I walked to the entrance of the guest hall. Karana extended her hand out toward me then tilted her head with a smile, “Although you told me about Marxism, something theory and some machine that could fly as if you made them, I choose to believe that they exist. Perhaps you really did come from that great nation. I really, really, really want to go to that country. Since that group of people were able to get a nation that was dead broke to flourish; that means that our persistence is correct, right? That is enough for me. As long as we can prove that it is right, I feel consoled for my husband.
Karana gently wiped the corner of her eyes with a smile. She looked at me with her sincerepurple eyes that also showed that she was relieved to hear that. She then continued, “However, I wish to know more. I wish to know more about my ideal. I wish to know what is wrong and what is right. I wish to know more. I wish to know the results hundreds and thousands of years from now! Come to my room tonight, Your Majesty. I wish to know more. Your Majesty, I mean, Comrade; that is how you pronounce it, right…? What a nice way of addressing someone.”
She chuckled in a slightly shy manner. I suddenly felt revered when she addressed me as “Comrade”. Before me was the first person to suggest that theory and also my successor. I held her hand tightly. With a smile, I replied, “The production ability at the moment isn’t enough to make bliss and happiness attainable for everyone, but you’re headed in the right direction with your goal, Comrade. Don’t give up; believe me. This world will eventually become a red-flag world.
‘What’s this considered? It’s as though Karana and I have formed a friendship between revolutionary comrades!’
We held each other’s hands tightly.
‘I don’t know how long she’ll have to work for here or how considerable the sacrifice will be. I don’t know how much will change or how long it will take, but I still believe that said future can be realised here with the efforts of countless people.’
‘That will also change this world to be more similar to my old home.’
“Vyvyan, why are you here again?”
“Am I that unwelcome?”
Elizabeth sighed. She looked at Vyvyan, who was covered in mist from head to toe, and said, “You can come, but do you have no sense of timing? You chose to come here when I’m bathing. Do you want me to argue with you or fight with you when I’m covered in steam? I’m not in the mood for that stuff right now.”
“You’re in a good mood, aren’t you?”
“Of course. Lots of good things have happened lately, after all.”
Vyvyan snickered, “What I bring up next might just rain on your parade. If I were you, I would reinforce your defence lines at the Northern border.”
“The Northern border? That’s where our boundaries intersect. What, you want to fight with us? Did you forget about my son?”
“I’m talking about the border at the canyon up North!!”
Vyvyan looked at Elizabeth; in a serious tone, she explained, “The anthropoids and trolls up North have attacked too frequently. I feel that the situation is dire. Additionally, The North is colder this year. If the races in the North can’t survive up there, their only option is to launch an attack against the South. As people with no retreat route, they will be fearsome opponents. If I were you, I would prepare as soon as possible!”
Elizabeth froze for a moment. She then stood right up from the water. She hesitated for a moment, and then exclaimed, “Large canyon… to the North… the city located there… is Socina! My son is there right now!”
“Hurry up and call him back, then!!!”
“I know! I’ll go and write a letter now! Aaaahh!! Why don’t we humans have an instant messaging method?!! I’ll organise an army; nevertheless, I need to call my son back first. I swear that if my son gets hurt, I’ll personally reduce the North to smithereens!!”
“Ah, we’re in consensus this time. If you want to destroy the North, I’ll help out…”