I heard quiet chirps from the birds and the gentle breeze brushed against my face like my lover gently running her fingers through my hair. I heard a crushing sound overhead. The breeze teased the tree leaves and the tree leaves reacted with a crisp rustling sound. It was like I could hear the sun’s dance steps through the gaps between the leaves as it shone its light onto me.
I could feel a gentle and soft touch on my head along with the touch of something smooth, and supple like silk. I opened my eyes and saw mom’s smooth face looking at mine. She stretched her finger out. A few tubby blue birds surrounded her fingertip and chirped something. Mom looked at them with a tranquil smile.
I slept on mom’s thigh while we were under the shade of the three. Mom sat elegantly while she played with the birds and stroked my head at the same time. I don’t know when I fell asleep either. Maybe it was when I was washing. Maybe it was after washing. Mom carried me here under the tree where Lucia and I played
I rubbed my eyes and called: “Mom…”
The birds looked like they got frightened. Their plump bodies circled twice in the air and then they swiftly flew away. Mom lowered her head and stroked my head while wearing a gentle smile. She lowered her head and kissed me gently on my lips. She then smiled and said: “Good afternoon, son.”
“Good afternoon mom… How long did I sleep for…?”
I used my hand to cover my eyes. My memory of the short event in the morning came to mind. I could only forget it when I slept. I couldn’t forget Mera’s beautiful final smile. My heart aches each time I remembered it. Mom raised her head and looked up at the sky. She smiled and said: “Not too long, probably only an hour or two. However, we haven’t had lunch yet, so how about we go out together?”
I looked at mom and asked: “Can we?”
Mom gently touched my forehead and endearingly replied: “Of course. Mommy rarely ever has a chance to go out with you. Mommy wants to go out and have fun with you too. Mommy has put matters aside for the meantime since mommy wants to keep you company.”
I sat up and recalled what mom said to me while washing me. I assume she put work aside just now to keep me company. I didn’t continue down the path mom prepared for me. I took the initiative to carry the weight of the crown. Mom didn’t intend to stop me. She just wanted to spend more time accompanying me.
I sat up. Mom stood up, patted the grass off her and then smiled as she wrapped her arm around mine. It felt different when Lucia did it. Their sizes are completely different. I felt like my arm was getting swallowed into her twin valleys. However, mom didn’t seem to be aware of it. She just chuckled and hugged my arm as she leaned against me. She was cute like a girlfriend.
I didn’t really want to go out, but I had things I had to do. Mera’s final wish was for me to look after her plants and flowers, as well as her records. I only knew Mera for two months which was like a passing fragrant scent. She suddenly appeared by my side, and then she left on her own accord, leaving me with a painful memory.
What sort of life did she lead? What did she go through? How many family members did she have? What did she like? What did she hate…? I didn’t know the answer to any of those questions. She didn’t tell me anything. She didn’t even give me a chance to understand her. We met by chance, but our ending was tragic. Will I find her last fragments when I go to her place? Will I see the achievements of the last dark elf? This must be my final salvation.
Mom and I left the palace. When we arrived at the street outside, I suddenly had a feeling that something was amiss. I just went through a huge crisis, yet the streets were bustling as usual. Nothing had changed. It was like everything had been set up and everything that took place only took place in the palace. It made me feel as though it was all fake. It felt as though Lucia was by my side and I was off to pay Mera a visit now.
“Let’s go, son. What do you want to eat?”
I came back to my senses when mom called out to me. I silently nodded. I wasn’t really that hungry. I was aware I hadn’t eaten for a while, but the sad feeling lingering over me suppressed my appetite. Mom looked at me and quietly sighed. She then revealed a consoling smile, pointed to the teahouse and said; “Let’s go have some tea and then have some refreshments. Son, mommy knows where you want to go.”
I raised my head to look at mom. Mom smiled. She then thumped my chest and said: “Mommy knows whatever you’re thinking… Mommy knows where you want to go. Mommy will take you there after tea. Your body won’t hold up otherwise.”
I nodded. Mom then intimately hugged me around my waist and we entered the teahouse. When the people in the teahouse saw us enter, they paused for a moment and then quickly rose to greet us. Mom smiled and greeted them. They then turned their attention to me, bowed and said: “Good afternoon, your highnesses!”
I froze up. Normally, they gave me a separate greeting when mom was with me. But this time, they greeted me the same way they greet the queen. It was a first.”*
Mom whispered in my ear: “You brought a white deer king back so everybody sees you as the prince who subdued a white deer king, thus receiving the respect of the people.”
The simplicity of the reason left me speechless. Further, I didn’t bring the white deer king back. Mom forcefully brought it back… That reminds me, I need to go and pay it a visit. I think it must be uncomfortable for it in the stables.
I looked at them, pointed then revealed a smile and said: “Uhm, thank you all.”
I used to feel uncomfortable and somewhat apprehensive when they greeted me like that, but now I felt like it was something I deserved.
I am the prince after all, so I should accept their greetings.
After our tea was served up, I asked mom: “Mom, Mera’s body…”
Mom took a sip and then looked at me and said: “The same as the rest. She’ll be hung up at the city doors. Did you want to give her a proper funeral? I can do that much. Her crime of treason was erased the moment she died. It’s only right to give her a proper funeral since she’s your friend.”
I took a drink. People say that taste is an everlasting memory. I now believe that quote. The same taste reminded me of my time with Mera. The two of us sat here, drank tea and talked about all sorts of things. When I quickly scanned the building, it was as though I could see her dignified and elegant body leaning against the wall, gazing outside the window in a lonely manner as if she was just a visitor in this world.
Her joking yet serious voice seemed to pass through time and death and make its way to my ear once again.
My nose started hurting. I took in a breath of air, shook my head and said: “Just do what must be done… That’s fine. That way, Mera will be able to always watch me, even if it’s my back as I leave.”
Mom went silent for a moment. She then revealed a smile and said: “Alright.”
“Don’t cry… Your highness… I will…watch you…become…become…an outstanding king…”
Mera… Who would’ve thought that your so-called “watch you” would mean watching me in this way…