When I awoke again, I noticed a familiar classical flower pattern overhead. I turned around and saw Lucia who hugged my arm tightly as she took even breaths. I then lifted up my left arm, looked blankly at my arm that was smooth and without a wound mark, and fell into a daze.
Everything was surreal like a dream. It was like the entire contest was just a dream of mine and I never actually participated in the deer hunting festival. My hunting gear should still be hung up on the wall, while Lucia should’ve just finished her night patrol, and I was in a daze as I looked at the cheat-items mom gave me.
The deer hunting festival was so weird that nobody wanted to admit it. It turned into something else completely. I was supposed to be the one who killed a white deer king, and yet it became a “come kill me” plan. Talk about the mantis stalking the cicada while unaware of the oriole behind.
A lingering fear continued to loom over me after experiencing the dagger stabbing through my skin and into my chest. The memory of being oxygen deprived while sniffing my own blood after having my throat slit gave me goose bumps. Such a realistic memory couldn’t possibly have been a dream. It was a true experience, the experience of living through a chaotic and dangerous deer hunting festival. I wasn’t this scared when I was down in the sewers at humanity’s nation, but I in all honesty truly felt helpless this time.
Had the white deer king not arrived in time, I’d most likely be a cold corpse in mom’s embrace by now.
“Your highness… Don’t… Don’t go… I beg you… I beg you…”
I suddenly heard some soft whimpers. Lucia hugged my arm even tighter, closed her eyes tightly and a tear formed by her eye.
I gently stroked her head and softly said: “It’s alright, I won’t leave.”
Lucia had medical herbs placed on her red and swollen eyes. I don’t know what she went through outside, but her body was covered in wounds and her breaths were weak. Her eyes were so swollen they didn’t look like they could open. I was worried and afraid that what she cried weren’t tears but blood.
Lucia moaned and then continued sleeping. I pulled my arm out from Lucia’s grasp and pulled her blanket over her who was curled up. I sat up, grabbed a shirt by the side and wore it on. My body hasn’t actually recovered much. All my joints hurt each time I moved, and I was still feeling dizzy as well. However, I had something more pertinent to attend to. Mom took Mera away at the end of the event. Perhaps she hasn’t been slain yet. I don’t know why, but I wanted to see Mera again, even if it were to be the last time.
If you’re wondering whether or not I hate Mera, the answer is, of course I do. I hate her. I really hate her. I was so kind to her and yet she turned around and tried to kill me. I treated her as a friend, a close friend, and yet she chose to kill me over her tribesmen, even though they weren’t one and the same.
However, she was a great help during the matter with the Earth Dragons. She’s my only friend who could go out for some tea with me. We discussed many things. I learnt a lot from her. Not only is she a friend to me, she’s also an intellect that I respect even though she drew her blade on me. Besides the hatred I felt, I felt wronged.
It’s like when you thought you were on friendly terms with someone, and you became friends, but that person doesn’t actually consider you a friend.
I wanted to know what Mera thought of me.
I wore my boots on, turned around to look at Lucia’s small sleeping face and sighed. I then bent over at my waist and gently planted a kiss on her face before affectionately stroking her head. I have Lucia to thank for keeping me alive. She carried me on her back through the forest as she forged forwards. She shared all the food with me. She had to carry such a huge burden on her tiny shoulders. I truly pitied her, and loved her more than ever. Lucia didn’t abandon me during times of hardship, so what right do I have to abandon her in the future?
I failed this time, but I insist on marrying Lucia, and then making sure to take good care of her.
I wrote a note to leave behind in case Lucia woke up and cried because she couldn’t find me. I then stood up and held my head as it still felt fuzzy and pulled my door open.
I wanted to know two things, first, where Mera was, and second, what happened to the white deer king. I don’t think mom would’ve harmed it after seeing it help me. She probably let it go and even cancelled the deer hunting festival. But there’s a chance that it may have been brought back, and then become a monument by the doorway. I genuinely think that’s possible.
God knows what mom would do. It’s highly probable that mom would eradicate Mera’s entire race if I got hurt, so I genuinely believe she’d destroy the continent if I died. While the empress is able to raise an army for my sake, the most fearsome person who could actually destroy the entire continent is still Vyvyan.
A warm body fell down as I swung open the door. It looks like she’d been sitting up against the door the entire time. Mom fell over before me and was quietly asleep. She didn’t wake up even after falling over. How long has it been since she last slept properly? Normally, mom would cling to me and insist on sleeping together, yet she chose to guard me from my door instead as she was worried she’d affect my wounds and rest.
I crouched down, looked at the worn out look on her beautiful face and frowned. While mom is sometimes overprotective, that’s just her expressing her motherly love towards me. Mom truly loves me. She truly is an outstanding mother. She fulfils the role of a mother dutifully whether you’re talking about looking after me, educating me or showing concern for me.
I gently carried mom and was quite surprised when I realised mom was so light and petite. She was almost the same as Lucia in my arms. I carefully carried my sleeping mom and placed her on my bed. Mom moaned softly and then opened her eyes. Mom looked at Lucia hesitantly with her blue eyes and then turned her head around to look at me.
I noticed that mom was about to call out so I reached my hand out to cover her mouth and then hushed her. I pointed to Lucia who was sleeping next to her. Mom twisted her body back and forth with dissatisfaction and then nodded before I let go. Mom looked at me and quietly asked: “Are you feeling better, my son?”
“Yeah, I’m feeling much better. That was close.”
“It was. Mommy was really worried about you, honest. Mommy was so scared…. Don’t abandon mommy… Don’t leave mommy behind alone…. Mommy only has you alone… How can mommy live… without you…”
Tears flowed forth from mom’s blue eyes. Her arms quivered as she reached out and hugged my neck tightly. I knelt down, reached my arms out to hug mom and gently leaned my head into mom’s embrace. Mom hugged my head tightly as she sobbed while gently stroking it.”
“Mom, I won’t leave you…. I’ll always remain by your side… I truly love you…. I love you.”
“Uhm…. Mommy loves you too…. You’ll always, always be my most beloved son.”
As a Chinese person, I rarely use the phrase “I love you”. The phrase itself is far from being a commonly used phrase. I sincerely wanted to say that to mom in that moment. I was truthfully scared when I had my throat slit. I was scared to death. I was so scared I wanted to run into mom’s embrace. No wonder why soldiers call for their mother when they’re injured and despaired. They aren’t weak, it’s just that when they’re face-to-face with death, they instinctively recall their mother’s safe embrace.
I hugged mom tightly and breathed in mom’s unique fragrance which could calm me down. My nose was sore. Mom just held me tightly in her arms as she sobbed softly….