The city doors were much sturdier than I imagined. There were double doors, so if one was broken down, there’d still be another layer of doors inside. The defences were basically the same as the elf capital. I suppose both races had similar thought processes when building their city walls.
As we went down the street, a very luxurious horse carriage was stopped in the middle of the road. Every one of the horses were white. Not a single strand of fur had been contaminated with another colour. I think the body of the carriage was made out of Rosewood. How do I know that? It’s because I’ve seen that type of wood in the Forbidden City. There was a beautiful pattern engraved on it. I believe that gold was poured onto it after the pattern was carved on. The gold pattern shined brilliantly under the light of the sun rays.
There were two cavalrywomen by the carriage. Both of them had chest plates that were blindingly shiny. They stood silently by the carriage. They didn’t utter a word. In fact, they didn’t budge. They were motionless like statues. But as I said, they were females just like Nier. Nier extended her arm out and stopped me. She then took a big step forward, went down on one knee and respectfully said: “Your majesty, the prince is here.”
The curtain of the carriage got pulled open and I heard a calm voice. The voice sounded beautiful like the sounds of nature. Someone with such a beautiful voice must be a beauty. But even though it was a female’s voice, it carried a dignified tone that you couldn’t help but obey. Is this what majestic means?
“Pull back the black veil!”
Nier seemed to have got frightened. Surprised, she raised her head and exclaimed: “Your majesty!”
“I said, pull it back. I’m his mother. What sort of mother hides behind a black veil when her child is right before her?”
The empress sounded slightly annoyed. Nier paused before walking over to the carriage, tippy-toeing and pulling back the black veil by the window. What’s the purpose of the black veil…? Is it to prevent others from seeing the empress? They weren’t this fussy in the elf nation. Didn’t I run freely through the streets even as a prince?
Ah… I take that back. I didn’t get to run free on the streets. But that was because mom was over-protective!
“Come over here, my son. Let me get a proper look at you.”
Nier retreated to one side and ignored me. I scanned my surroundings because I still felt a sense of fear. This is so much scarier than when I saw my elf mom. Mom is a queen but she’s approachable so I quickly accepted her. But I’m frankly quite scared of approaching this dignified empress who’s calling me her son and telling me to come over.
Nier didn’t speak, but I could read her lips contemptuously warning me: “Hurry up!”
I quivered as I walked towards the carriage. There was a very big window to the side of the carriage. Inside, a face so beautiful it was virtually mythical, scanned the surroundings outside. It was different to the elves. It was a human face. No, it was what humans considered unbelievably beautiful. Her facial features were aligned as if somebody calculated their placement and shape with a super-computer. Her white skin was so exquisite I really wanted to touch it. A mean pair of black eyes unlike my elf mom’s gentle blue eyes scanned me. Everywhere she looked at felt uncomfortable like I was being stabbed with a sharp knife.
Her rosy lips were thin like a blade and formed the shape of a strange smile. As opposed to saying that she was glad to see her child returning home, it’d be more accurate to say that she was looking at a fun pet to play with. She didn’t wear a skirt or formal clothing. Instead she wore a very simple and unadorned blue military uniform. The buttons right at the top of her collar were done up tightly, but her bosom looked like it was going to burst forth from underneath her clothing.
The size of her bosom was surprising even when compared with the elves.
I… I can’t feel a hint of motherly love…
What should I say…?
Her fingers were white, slender and long. But between her thumb and forefinger, the thenar space, were calluses. She stroked my head… No… It was nothing like the gentle and considerate type of stroke my elf mom gave me. She was putting a lot of her strength into “stroking” my head… Are you really my mom? Why don’t I feel any motherly love at all…?
“Uhm, it’s been a long and tiring trip for you, my son. I’m glad to see you back safe and sound. Return to the palace and rest up.”
She pulled her hand back and sat back in the carriage properly leaving me with a beautiful silhouette.
That’s it?! That’s it?! That felt like she didn’t even do anything! I figured you’d have some sort of special motherly love for me since you went to war over me! Why do I feel like you came here just to fulfil the responsibility of a job…? Are you sure this is the woman that fought with the elves a decade ago over me? Are you positive it’s her?
Nier pulled me to the side or else I would’ve been trampled by the horses.
“Allow me to reintroduce myself. I am Nier Gilliante. I am her majesty’s bodyguard, a Valkyrie. I am the sword instructor for the first squad and their captain. I am tasked with protecting you during your stay here.”
I went with Nier, shoulder-to-shoulder. Nier rode on horseback with her back straight. Textbook posture if you like.
I nodded as I looked at Nier. Since I had a fiancé in the elf nation, do I have one here? I looked at Nier and asked her with the intent of testing her: “Hey, uhh… Nier…”
“Please call me Gilliante.”
She coldly cut me off…
I replied with a derided smile: “But I feel Nier is easy to say.”
“Have it your way.”
“Nier… Umm… What sort of relationship do we have?”
“I told you at the start. I am your bodyguard.”
“No, I mean… In that way…”
“Please be articulate as to what way. Please pardon my foolishness, but I don’t understand your question.”
“Well, uhh… For example… Lovers…”
Nier finally showed some expression in her eyes… But it was a look of disdain like I was trash, like I was the disgusting mud on a horse’s hooves… She always faced me and answered my questions without being overbearing previously, but after my question just now, she looked at me disgusted… I felt like my pride just took a big hit…
Has anybody ever told you that your gaze hurts people?!
Nier looked at me sternly and said: “No, we don’t share any relationship. It’s just that you were protected by others during your previous visits. I haven’t heard of you having any fiancés or lovers either. Please try and maintain your dignity as a prince. By that I mean, be considerate in the way you handle matters and interact with the opposite sex. Do not ruin the environment in the palace or her majesty’s reputation.”
“Yes… You’re right…”
Is there a problem with my identity?! Did they get it wrong?! How did it end up with my bodyguard completely drilling me?! How did it end up with my bodyguard bossing me around…? I truly suspect that I’ve come to a fake kingdom, with a fake mom and a fake bodyguard…
The carriage went down the road. The civilians by the side remained kneeling and didn’t dare to raise their heads. There were only wishes of good fortune like a tsunami. Isn’t it the norm for civilians to be scattering flowers into the air in these situations? This is very formal and whatnot, but it feels oppressive as well…
The palace was right at the centre of the capital. I was so shocked I couldn’t speak. The design and size of the building could compare to the Forbidden City. I think the main door of the palace was made from gold. At the very top, there was a twin-headed eagle carved from gold looking at both sides majestically, which reminded me of Russia. Below the twin heads were some words. I originally wouldn’t have understood it, but I do now.
Long live your majesty.
That’s what the text below the twin-headed eagle said.
When I entered the palace, it felt like I entered the Forbidden City. It was built in a European style, but the layout and scale of could only be matched by the Forbidden City. Inside, you could see countless beautiful little forests and gurgling streams. You could see ancient and beautiful stone bridges on the road. The architecture was comparable to that found in the elf nation’s palace. There were many different types of people in beautiful clothing going back and forth in the palace.
We were headed towards a palace which was magnificent as the Great Kremlin Palace. The carriage passed a large plaza, went around said palace and continued onwards at the back. We however, stopped at the front of this palace.
“Servants, come and help the prince rest up. I have to go and see her majesty.”
Nier dismounted and passed the reins to the servant who came over without much thought. Another servant congratulatory helped me dismount and then said: “Your majesty, please come to the outer chamber.”
Huh? I don’t live with the empress? No wonder why we don’t have any feelings towards each other. Family members not living together and having so many rules… My elf mom feels so close because she loves me like a mother, while the empress before me…
I can only sense her majestic aura as an empress…
Well, whatever… I looked at the surrounding architecture and praised it. This is basically a European version of the Forbidden City.
Current time in the inner chamber.
Nier stood to one side and looked expressionlessly at the empress who fell onto her bed as soon as she got back as if she died.
“I messed up! I messed up! Ahhh!! Why do I get so nervous in front of him that I can’t even speak?! I want to give him a hug and kiss him too… Ahh!! He didn’t even call me mom! He must hate me! He must hate me for not being anything like a mom…”
The empress hugged her pillow and rolled around on her bed like a young girl who’d just seen her crush but couldn’t find the courage to speak to him and was now regretting it.
“Your majesty, you shouldn’t refer to yourself as ‘mom’…”*
“I know, I know… But I messed up again!! I want to be able to hug my son whenever I want like that woman… Aaahhh! Why am I so stupid…? Why do I have to act tough like that…?! Aaahhh! I fail as a mother! I want to be a good mom too… I upset my son again!!”
“I will leave for now…”
Nier knew that the empress was in no condition to handle anything when she was in that mode. The empress who gets so nervous upon seeing her son she doesn’t know what to do, always regrets her actions after the act and hates herself like this for a long time…
It takes roughly three hours for her to get over her it… Probably just three…
*She was telling her to use the method of referring to oneself emperors and kings use (朕) because she was referring to herself as “mom”.
Bonus: Follow the link below to view best girl, Nier’s in-depth profile.