I overestimated the height of this place and my jumping ability. My leg hurt like it broke when I landed. I tried to stand up straight but bent over and fell to the ground. A few men dressed haggardly surrounded me as I groaned and held my leg. The leader of the group was as skinny as a monkey. He looked at me and smiled, revealing his yellow teeth. He pulled a dagger out from his waist. He knelt down, pat me on my face with his knife, and said: “My, my. We scored ourselves one early in the morning and he’s even broken his leg. Whatever shall we do? How about you just obediently hand over your wallet? If you refuse, you’ll never stand up again.”
I held my leg, looked at the dagger before my eyes, took a deep breath and exclaimed: “You guys should hurry and run… You may still be able to escape with your lives…”
His stinky breath that escaped his mouth when he laughed nearly made me gag. He gave me a strong kick to my gut. I coughed, groaned and grabbed my belly. It felt like my insides were being jumbled around. He laughed aloud and said: “You’re going to prevent me from escaping in that shape? You’re worried about our lives? How about you worry about yourself first?!”
A dark shadow from above landed. I heard the fluttering of a white cape and the friction of a sword being drawn from its scabbard. I held in my pain and shouted: “Stop! Nier! Don’t…”
A warm liquid splashed onto my face and my nose was filled with the scent of blood. I opened my eyes and saw the skinny guy acting tough in front of me moments ago slowly drop to the ground. He got stabbed through his chest and fell down right before me. His eyes were filled with fear. His body was still jerking. I watched as his eyes stopped moving before me.
“WHOA!! SOMEONE’S BEEN KILLED!! SOMEONE’S BEEN KILLED!!!”
His comrades standing around scrambled to escape and Nier tightened her boots to give chase. I held the pain in and reached my hand out to grab Nier by her wrist.
“Don’t… Don’t… Don’t… Don’t… Kill!”
Nier looked at me puzzled. A short moment after, she sighed, gave me a nod and proceeded to wipe her sword down with a torn off piece of cloth from the guy’s shirt before sheathing it. I used the wall to support myself up. I coughed softly and looked at the corpse on the ground speechless.
His eyes weren’t even shut. Nier pierced his heart in that split second. I knew it’d end this way which is why I told them to run. I couldn’t stop Nier. Even a mugger shouldn’t have to die. Someone just died before me as if it were nothing.
I couldn’t erase his terrified eyes from my mind. I don’t get it. I don’t understand why Nier kills so casually. I’ve never killed anybody. Heck, I’ve never hit anybody before. I used my hand to wipe the now cold blood off my face. I looked at the pool of blood underneath the corpse that was getting bigger and bigger. I was scared whenever I saw his eyes… I’ve never killed anybody and yet now somebody had just been killed in front of me without rhyme or reason. His corpse was slowly turning cold, while the person who took his life was standing to one side without any guilt as if nothing had happened.
I clenched my fist, looked at Nier and asked in a shaky voice: “Nier… Do you enjoy… Killing people?”
Nier calmly replied: “No.”
“Do you feel guilty about killing people?”
Nier looked at me and said: “To me, killing people is both my job and the meaning of my existence. Her majesty saved me when I was about to be sold off to this sort of place to serve rotten nobles and rich families like you. Only the Valkyries have treated me with equality. Her majesty bestowed me my dignity and gave meaning to my life. My life, honour and everything else were all bestowed upon me by her majesty. I have no way of repaying her, so I can only present her with the heads of her enemies. You’ve never experienced the suffering I went through. You won’t understand the significance her majesty and the Valkyries hold to me. You don’t understand us, so don’t order us around. Killing people is a job to me, not a hobby. I don’t feel guilty about it just as the world doesn’t feel guilty in its treatment towards me. Her majesty is the only one who treats us with gentleness and fairness. We devote our loyalty to her majesty. The life of others does not concern us.”
I looked at Nier. Her eyes were calm and had no hints of emotional fluctuations. From her perspective, there’s nothing wrong with killing people. There are no laws or morals in her world, only her majesty’s existence. There’s no way that I could convey logic to her because the only being she believed in was her majesty. This was clearly a crazy form of loyalty. Actually, no. This was no longer loyalty.
I scratched my head, sighed and said: “Anyway… Thank you, Nier… You saved me there… But, you had no reason to kill them. They were just mugging me. That’s not deserving of the death penalty, yet you disregarded the law and killed him. The fault lies with me… I didn’t stop you… Anyway, since you are to follow my orders now, I’m going to give you your first rule you must abide by, and that is, you are not allowed to kill without my permission.”
“As you wish, your majesty. But please remember, if her majesty orders me to kill, I will not hesitate to draw my sword.”
Nier looked at me calmly. She doesn’t have a craving to murder, but neither does she hate it, so she won’t question this order of mine.
“That, I’m aware of. I’ll talk to her majesty when we return…”
I looked at the bustling streets outside and recalled the painful, grimacing and sad cries that day, as well as the citizens kneeling on the ground not daring to raise their heads. Can this empire’s regime truly really continue on this way? You can’t rule a country for long with oppression. Do the citizens here fear her or respect her?
I’m not sure.
Nier kicked the corpse blocking the way away, folded her arms, looked at me and said: “Where are we going now, your majesty?”
I looked at her, paused and said: “Let’s go and buy some clothes.”
“You don’t need to buy clothes. There are tailors in the palace.”
“I meant buy clothes for you.”
I pointed towards her military uniform she’s worn for god knows how long covered in blood, held my head and said: “How do you expect me to take you around when you’re covered in blood like that…? Let’s get you some clothes first before we continue.”
“There’s no need. I don’t need any other clothing. This was handed to me by her majesty so I won’t change no matter what.”
“Then what about the blood on you?!”
“Sorry for rejecting your offer, but I’m only comfortable in military uniforms.”
Alright then… It looks like I won’t get to see Nier in a skirt… Patrol soldiers shouldn’t give us a hard time if they see her Valkyrie uniform. I responded: “Since that’s the case, wrap your cape around you properly. We’re heading to the industrial area where the blacksmiths are.”
Nier nodded and then wrapped her cape around her tightly. Nier looked really cool with her white cape on. But whenever the memories of the things she does comes to mind, I can’t help but feel she’s scary, and not cool…