The next day, Metheus’ ‘cooking mission group’ made their way to Fortren. Naturally, I was the one who led them, and we were escorted by Kerenos and other knights. Behind me, there were lines of chefs from Metheus, who had been recruited in the meantime. They were a mixture of users and NPCs. Since yesterday, I had been cooking with them all night long. Making hundreds of servings of weather cooking wasn’t an easy task.
“Are you sure you’re okay? You can sleep.” Helena, who sat across from me, looked anxious. She was one of the people who watched me cooking all of last night.
I told her, “No, I can bear it.”
In fact, I could make it three days in advance, but I wanted to make it as warm as possible. Thus, I cooked all of yesterday. Still, it was hard. I had to quickly restore Jinny’s power. If Jinny restored her power, then I wouldn’t have to worry about freshness and shelf life with weather cooking. In simple terms, it was like a refrigerator.
“Please sleep. You look really tired.”
Kim Sujeong was sitting right next to Helena. The reason she was present was because Helena asked her to come. They decided to go shopping.
“Father, Father! Should I make a breeze so you can sleep?” Punghee sat next to me with her white hair covering her deer-like eyes. She was so cute that I couldn’t help smiling.
“It’s fine.” As I spoke, I scattered Punghee’s white hair with my hands.
Punghee complained while fixing her hair. Then Kim Sujeong opened her mouth, “Punghee, would you like me to tie your hair?”
“Really? Is that more comfortable?”
“Yes~ then I’ll tie it up. Come sit here.”
Punghee immediately sat down next to Kim Sujeong. Kim Sujeong pulled out a comb from somewhere and started combing Punghee’s hair. It was very silky, luxurious hair. “Punghee, your hair is really good~ what is the secret?”
“Um, are you eating well and sleeping well?”
Helena was also interested and approached Punghee.
“That’s kind of you to ask~ I’m eating well and sleeping well. You should also eat and rest well.”
Then Helena turned to me and complained that it was difficult these days. It felt like I was stabbed for no reason, so I summoned Jinny and pretended not to know anything. It was to fill the carriage I was sitting in with soft clouds. In an instant, a cloud cushion formed where I was sitting. Oh, it was fluffy. I should’ve done this earlier.
“Give me a comb. In our world, it is tied like this.”
Suddenly, Helena took Kim Sujeong’s comb and taught her how to tie hair. Helena was once a noble and she knew how to tie up hair in various ways. Kim Sujeong watched with admiration. Punghee saw her reflection in the mirror and smiled with a satisfied expression. The three people looked so good that I couldn’t help smiling.
I leaned back on the fluffy cloud chair and pressed my head against the window. I felt sleepy in the sunlight and soon fell asleep.
It took an hour before we reached the royal palace of Fortren. There was a delay in leading the mission group and in the first place, Fortren’s royal palace was a bit far away. Along the way, the cooking delegation sat up a free food tasting on the streets and the people of Fortren were served the food. There was no discrimination because I ordered them to serve the good regardless of whether the people were rich or poor. In particular, the poor people ate the food and praised me. Some even bowed.
In any case, I was able to meet the Merchant King, ‘Kirius,’ in Fortren’s royal castle. He had a long beard and long white hair tied back. The man who looked like he lived in the Joseon Dynasty looked down on me from a throne covered with all types of precious stones and there were servants lined up next to him. The throne had a diamond spoon stuck in it that symbolized identity.
“Fortren is full of rumors about the cooking delegation you sent. I am deeply grateful that you took care of the people I can’t take care of due to a lack of ability.”
“I am glad you are pleased, Your Majesty.”
Just like every time I met an important NPC, my body and mouth moved on their own as I expressed sincere greetings to Kirius. Aren, whom I knew well, was standing next to Kirius.
“Thank you for coming this long way. I would like to personally serve you tea. I hope you won’t refuse this request.”
I looked up and saw Aren giving me a small nod. It meant to agree.
“Thank you, Your Majesty. I will accept.”
Therefore, Aren and I moved along with Kirius. In a quiet room, we sat facing each other with teacups filled with tea between us. It was Kirius who broke the silence first.
“This tea tastes very good. It is the most expensive tea available from Metheus recently. Drink it.”
He was truly a capitalist. He came out with the most expensive tea. Kirius recommended it first, and both Aren and I each picked up a teacup filled with tea. I took a sip, and sure enough, the tea tasted excellent. I suddenly asked a question, “How much is this tea?”
“Hmm. Was it $20 million...?”
I instantly gasped and swallowed the wind. What type of tea cost $20 million? Kirius read my expression and laughed. “Don’t worry and drink. I won’t charge you for it.”
The atmosphere relaxed at Kirius’ joke. Now it was time to get to the point.
“I heard you wanted to meet me...” I spoke carefully as I looked at Kirius.
He made eye contact as he slowly sipped his tea before putting down the teacup. “Do you know the lights that have recently risen all over the continent?”
“A few appeared in Fortren. Fortunately, Aren here moved quickly and prevented others from getting their hands on it.”
Kirius nodded to Aren. Then Aren rose from his seat and brought over a jeweled box. I opened the box straight away. As expected, the Star Fruits and Pandora fragments were contained there. Just then, Kirius told me, “I’ll give these to you.”
I raised my head and stared at Kirius in a shocked manner. Kirius laughed once again. “You look so surprised.”
“You are just giving it to me? Or do you have something you want? If you have something you want, then I’ll listen to it.”
“Hoh, you are quick-witted as Aren said. I am in the position of Merchant King. I won’t give out something if it doesn’t benefit me. There is just one thing I want to request.”
I cocked my head in a confused manner. Then Kirius glanced at Aren before turning back to me.
“There will be an election soon. Maybe Aren will be the next great Merchant King after me. I want to ask you to be a good friend to Aren. This is my small sincerity.”
Kirius’ eyes were serious. Was this the charisma of the king of a nation? I couldn’t refuse Kirius’ request. In fact, I also wanted to maintain a good relationship with Aren, so it was a natural choice.
“I will do so.”
"Thank you. Then Kirius started to talk again. “Um, I also want to ask you for another thing...”
I cocked my head and Kirius’ eyes shone.
“Do you know that the Parta Principality has perished?”
Meanwhile, Helena was at Aren’s mansion. She hadn’t been here in a long time. Aren’s mansion was very old-fashioned. Most of them were old antiques. Aren’s frugality was known despite him behind second-in-line in Fortren. Therefore, she wasn’t surprised.
‘I just never thought it would be this much.’
Helena felt a greater respect for Aren as she walked through his mansion. It was normal for people who had a lot of money to spend it, but Aren didn’t do so. He created the Karstein resistance to secretly help those who weren’t cared for. Helena knew his actions from beginning to end and felt he was really cool. It was at this moment that she saw the spider webs in the mansion. It wasn’t easy to not have many servants. Helena was proud to serve this man.
“Ah, it is here.”
It has been a long time since she came here so Helena was a bit lost. She couldn’t find Aren’s room. Then as she walked, she could see Aren’s room in front of her.
Helena knocked on the door without hesitation. A few moments later, the door opened and a familiar old man appeared. Helena knew him. He was Aren’s only butler, Alfred. Helena bowed her head and greeted him. “Hello, Alfred.”
“Oh, if it isn’t Helena. Have you come to see Aren?”
“Yes. He told me to come.”
“I see. Then come in and wait.”
Alfred opened the door and stepped away while Helena carefully entered. There were books all over the place. Helena saw it and marveled once again.
‘I wasn’t having a hard time.’
She thought it was hard while she was struggling with the piles of documents and work. Then the moment she saw the various books, documents, and papers on Aren’s desk, she started to reflect on herself. She really wasn’t having a hard time.
Alfred wondered, “What type of tea...?”
“...Uh, I like black tea. You can give that to me. Do you perhaps have it?”
Alfred suddenly smiled. “Aren’s favorite is also black tea.”
“Oh my, really?”
“Yes. Truly, you... no, it’s nothing.”
Alfred watched her with an unknown expression, shook his head, and disappeared to get the tea. Helena wondered about Alfred’s reaction.
However, these thoughts didn’t last long. Helena’s eyes were caught by the various books in the wall cabinet. She was interested in the books because she had loved reading since she was a child. Helena stopped carefully and examined the cabinet. Most of the books were related to the economy. There were also things about the monarchy and the situation of the Ark Continent. She was examining them when a book caught Helena’s interest.
“Eh? Isn’t this the same name as me?”
It was a book called ‘Saint Helena.’ Helena pulled out the book straight away. It was a book with an ornate gold leaf engraved on the light blue cover. It seemed to be quite old based on the slightly worn edges. Helena turned to the first page.
“Is it a poem?”
She slowly started to read the poem. The book was thin, so it didn’t take long to read at all. She finished the last page and saw these words:
-I will forever remember the always shining angel who was my joy.
The words were very touching. At the bottom was a name ‘Sarah.’ It seemed to be written in her handwriting. Additionally, her photo...
The woman called Sarah was a beautiful woman with the same red hair as Helena. Looking at her slender nose and eyes, Helena thought she was a very beautiful woman.
“By the way, who is this...?”
There was no way to know.
Helena was about to close the book when she discovered there was one more page, hidden behind what she thought was the last page.
Helena opened it straight away. She was so surprised she couldn’t say anything. There was a photo of a woman called ‘Sarah’ and a man in front of a cabin. Meanwhile, a smiling little girl was standing between the two. It was the two or three year old Helena who was smiling.
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