Chapter 36 - Contrast (3)
"I know why you are so obsessed with being a guard,” Elsanad spoke.
She was checking the shape of her earrings in the mirror. When she touched it with her fingers, the transparent earrings moved and scattered light at various angles. Elsanad was satisfied with the brilliance and quietly laughed.
The reflection in the mirror showed Elwina’s sour expression.
"But how long can you keep it up?”
"I will do it for as long as I want.”
"There is good in the world Elwina, as well as poison.”
Elsanad rose from her seat.
She spent most of her day working as the highly respected mayor of Arnin. The only personal time she had to herself was when she prepared her appearance before going to the city hall in the morning. As an elf, she was sensitive about her appearance and painstakingly managed it.
Elwina, who inherited her blood, was no different from her. Fortunately, both of them had prominent beauty among elves, and were never dissatisfied because of their appearance. However, unique hobbies would form due to their high sense of aesthetics.
In Elwina’s case, it was dolls.
"There won’t be much room for your collections anymore.”
She made the dolls directly. There was only one of them in the world so she appreciated their unique charms.
“I’m tired of pretty elves. I need new materials.”
As a guard, she was able to see many groups of people travelling to Arnin. The strangers and members of other species gave her a type of inspiration different from the elves.
"It is awkward because you’ve only loved elves. Then are you planning on making an orc doll?”
Elwina didn’t answer, so Elsanad turned towards her. Her daughter had a confused expression on her face. Elsanad burst out laughing.
"Elwina, I’m glad that you are forsaking the prejudice against other species, but I am worried about your blush all of a sudden. Did you meet an orc?”
"It has been a really long time since an orc has entered Arnin. Maybe it is a good thing for Arnin.”
Elsanad rose from her seat. In her elegant dress, beautiful earrings, and necklace, she looked like a goddess from a piece of artwork. Elsanad’s secretary, who was watching them talk, opened the door.
“Mayor, it is time to go.”
Just before she left the room, she looked at her adorable daughter Elwina. "Daughter. I know I have been negligent towards you since your childhood. I have always felt sorry about that.”
Elsanad stretched out her hands and hugged Elwina, patting her on the back. Elwina looked at the secretary like she was embarrassed by the sudden embrace, but she soon hugged her mother back.
"I am your mother, but I am also the mother of all of the citizens in Arnin.
"I'm aware of that. You don't have to worry. You’ve always said that since I was a child.”
"I appreciate your understanding. If you can live in a happier and more beautiful Arnin, isn’t it worth it?”
Elsanad released Elwina from her arms.
"Most of the plans that I first thought about are currently ongoing. Once I am mayor again after the election, I will do what I can for Arnin.”
"At that time, I want to retire and spend more time with you.”
"Next time, show me your dolls again. They are beautiful.”
Elwina smiled. Elsanad touched her daughter’s cheeks. She was a stubborn daughter, but she looked like an angel when she smiled. She was reminded of her dead husband.
"Then, I'll be going.”
Elsanad kissed her daughter on the cheek and left the room. Her secretary followed. As soon as they left home, she turned to business straight away. "How are they? Is it going well in the slums?”
“I’m glad. It is my long-cherished wish, so I am sorry that I felt any doubts.”
They entered a carriage. As the carriage moved through Arnin, citizens waved and greeted their mayor. Elsanad smiled at the citizens through the window.
"Everybody is happy, I think.”
“It is all thanks to you.”
"The old Arnin wasn’t beautiful. It made me sick.”
Elsanad’s secretary, Alsein shrugged.
He was firmly dedicated to his boss, Elsanad. However, her passion and enthusiasm was solely based on her own strict standards of beauty. This often led to gaps between ideals and reality. It was his role to point this out.
"The citizens of the slums will also smile like that,” Elsanad said.
"The cost of the new buildings seems to be excessive. Don’t just try to make it pretty when building. I know that you are sensitive to beauty, but you have to compromise. In particular, the statue of benevolence in the slums is a bit...”
"...Isn’t it okay?”
"It won't work. It is a waste of money.”
“Yes. I strongly oppose it.”
Elsanad’s ears dropped. Alsein’s heart weakened, but he didn’t give in as he declared, “It is nonsense.”
"I understand. I will take care of it.”
Elsanad wanted to build a statue of the Goddess of Mercy in the slums. It would look good, but the cost was a problem. She was crestfallen, but Alsein pretended not to know. She looked out the window and suddenly laughed.
"Alsein, look. A sheep cloud.”
Alsein’s gaze moved. A cloud in the sky was shaped like a sheep. It was a rare and beautiful sight. Elsanad’s eyes lit up like a girl who liked pretty things.
Elsanad grabbed Alsein’s shoulder and enjoyed it. Alsien also smiled.
Crockta wiped out the Thawing Balhae Clan, which had been committing evils in Arnin. Most of the clan members were rendered unable to play the game, and Ian got some revenge for Lenox. But the Thawing Balhae Clan wasn’t based only in Arnin.
Arnin was just the beginning. He still had to clear them from a few other cities. However, Derek’s contract still remained. Crockta’s work in Arnin wasn’t over yet. These were the conditions.
Kill Elsanad, or help Ilya win the election and become mayor.
According to the contract, he could kill those who took part in the crime. Derek’s goal was to make his business partner, Ilya, hold the reins of power in Arnin. If Mayor Elsanad was killed, and if her wicked deeds were publicized, things would become easier.
But Crockta decided to watch some more. It was sufficient if Ilya was elected mayor.
Ilya was questionable.
There were many suspicious and unknown things about him. No matter how long he had been preparing, he knew all of the information about the Thawing Balhae Clan and guided Crockta through their secret passages. Most of all, the man who seemed to be the leader of the Thawing Balhae clan in Arnin was surprised when he saw Ilya’s face.
Then Ilya had blocked the man’s mouth by killing him.
Crockta, Jung Ian, had gone through all types of things as a soldier. He wasn’t always on the right side. He often saw those involved in power cover the truth with deception and move people according to their will.
To him, his task here was over so he was just playing around now. Thus, he didn’t intervene anymore and just watched Ilya.
“Arnin’s citizens! I have something I must tell you. It is the truth. The dirty and ugly truth.”
Ilya stood in the square and shouted at people.
It was Arnin’s election season. Support for Elsanad was overwhelming, so the vote was close to a formality. They would run the competition, but the winner would always be Elsanad.
But this time might be different.
"What type of person is Elsanad? A clean person? A mayor who makes sacrifices for Arnin? If so, you have been tricked. She isn’t such a person.”
Ilya shouted. His words, enhanced through magic, rang out through the square. The citizens passing by stopped. It was irritating to hear such things about their beautiful mayor. The citizens were interested in what Ilya was saying.
"As you all know, not every place in Arnin is beautiful. There are slums. You don't want to see it or admit it, but Arnin doesn’t just consist of rich elves like you. There are the poor and persecuted. And Elsanad!”
He spoke about how Elsanad joined with those cursed by the stars, trafficking and enslaving elves through them.
The citizens didn’t believe it. To them, Elsanad absolutely wasn’t such a person.
But Ilya held the clear evidence high in the air.
“Take a look at this book! All of their transactions with Elsanad have been recorded here!"
Ilya opened the book and thrust it before the eyes of the spectators. It agitated the crowd. Ilya didn’t stop. His powerful voice resonated in the square. People started to believe his words.
Ilya’s fellow elves among the crowd led the response.
Crockta watched silently and turned away. Ilya was suspicious, but Crockta had no evidence. Whether it was true or false wasn’t his problem. Crockta just wanted revenge for Lenox. It wasn’t the same as justice. It was up to them to do their share.
At that moment...
There was a disturbance in a corner of the square. Mayor Elsanad’s carriage had appeared. City Hall was just across the square so Elsanad was confronted with Ilya as she arrived at work. The citizens had interested expressions on their faces.
Elsanad didn’t know what was happening and just wanted to pass through the square. But Ilya blocked her horse-drawn carriage. The driver asked him to move aside but Ilya was adamant.
"Elsanad! Reveal the truth! You can’t fool us anymore!”
The driver spoke inside the carriage. Then the carriage door opened and Elsanad stuck her head out. The citizens shouted as her beautiful face was exposed.
Elsanad’s eyes widened. Ilya’s expression didn’t change as he approached her and shouted,
"Elsanad! All of your crimes are recorded here! Are you pretending not to know? You are a corrupt mayor who sold the elves to those who are cursed for the sake of your own self-interest!”
At that time, Alsein spoke to the driver of the carriage. He had a sense of what Ilya was trying to do. "Move around that person. Leave now.”
"Let’s go. Mayor, please ignore this. That person is trying to incite the citizens. You don’t need to deal with it.”
"There is no need to move as he desires. Just go. Leave now.”
The driver moved the horses. The carriage redirected and moved around Ilya to leave the square. Ilya looked back and shouted louder.
“Look at this! Elsanad is avoiding the truth and running away."
The crowd murmured. A smile appeared on Ilya’s face. He once again raised his voice.
"Let’s find out the truth about Elsanad, who has lied to the citizens!”
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