Nier mounted her horse and rode by my side, looking forwards without saying anything. Sigh… I thought she’d show me she that she missed me a little or something upon my return, but instead, she hasn’t said a word. After politely greeting me, she’s worn a poker face and ignored me. Doesn’t she feel anything after the heroine saves the hero event…?
I smiled and said to Nier who was by my side: “Nier, you haven’t changed at all in the one month I haven’t seen you.”
Nier turned her head to look at my eyes and without any facial expression said: “Yes. But you have changed.”
I paused. I looked at Nier and out of puzzlement asked: “I’ve changed?”
“Yes.” Nier looked at me and nodded. She then turned back to face the front and calmly said: “I do not know what you experienced with the elves, but I can tell that your gaze has changed. You have lost a fair bit of that useless gentleness “
I paused for a moment and then touched my eyes. Puzzled, I asked: “You can tell?”
“Yes. You can see if someone has resolutely resolved to do something from their gaze.” Nier nodded and then said, “I do not know what you want to do, but as long as there is something that you want to do, I will not hate you.”
“I thought our relationship had improved quite a bit after what happened previously……”
“Please do not think like that. My opinion of you has not changed much after what happened last time. I do not have any intent of improving my relationship with you. Please don’t misunderstand.”
Nier swiftly cut me off. I smiled helplessly. It looks like Nier hasn’t changed at all. But it seems that Nier no longer feels hostile towards me. Yeah, I did quite a bit that one month, so Nier’s opinion of me has improved a fair bit. It’s much better than her hateful gaze she had for me at first.
The two of us rode our horses into the palace. When we dismounted, servants came over to take the reins. Nier, standing next to me said: “Your majesty, please head to the inner court and greet her majesty now. Or did you want to go to the outer court to get changed first? I think that your current attire isn’t appropriate for seeing her majesty.”
“I think I’ll go and see her majesty now. I don’t think these clothes are bad.”
To ensure that I was clean for today, I took a hot bath in the inn I stayed at last night and changed my clothes, so I think I should be alright.
Nier pointed to the coat of arms on my cape, frowned and said: “That’s the elves’ coat of arms. You are currently wearing elven attire. I do not think her majesty would want to see you in elven attire.”
I nodded, looked at Nier and asked: “Ah…… True. I’ll go to the outer court and change first then. Oh, right, is Luna here?”
Nier stood still for a moment. She then shook her head and replied: “I don’t know. Luna is at the outer court while I stay at the campsite, so we don’t see each other.”
“Really? …… I thought you two were friends……”
“Why do you think that I want friends so desperately?” Nier continued in a frustrated tone, “I am a Valkyrie. I belong to her majesty, so I don’t need friends or whatever, nor do I want to have positive feelings for someone. My sword will not slow down due to emotions.”
“…… Nier, you really haven’t changed at all, huh……?”
I smiled helplessly as I looked at Nier. Nier was alone, but she had her hand pressed on her sword handle proud as she stood before me and casually nodded. Nier has always been insistent about everything to do with her. She was proud and resolute. While I can’t understand her thinking from my perspective, that’s Nier’s everything. It’s what she believes to be correct and her belief.
I have no right to question somebody with a firm conviction. She shone with brilliance to me. Perhaps it was because she possessed the determination beyond what a normal person has. She said that she could tell if a person had a resolve or not. I seem to understand that a little when I see her.
I slowly walked to the outer court. As soon as I pushed the door open, voices from inside called out in unison all of a sudden: “Welcome home, your majesty!”
I got a fright. I smiled helplessly as I looked at the maids lined up neatly and said: “Thank you. Thank you for everything… but… were there always so many maids? It’s the first time I’ve seen you all……”
“There were not so many last month. However, her majesty ordered us to increase our staff numbers.” An elderly maid looked at me, elegantly saluted me and said: “Your highness, it is the first time we are meeting. Previously, there were very few servants here at the outer court. We have increased the number of servants, and we will be in charge of taking care of your daily living needs. I am the head maid. If you have any requests, please do not hesitate to speak.”
“Ah, thank you….. But I don’t think I need so many people here to help just me alone. We should just continue as we did before with Luna looking after me.”
I scanned the maids. Luna is relatively easy to recognise, but I couldn’t spot her right away since all the maids had black and white uniforms with their hair and ears covered with a head cloth. That said, I quickly noticed a small head at the back of the line smiling at me.
The head maid looked at me and said: “Your majesty, if there is only Luna, Luna will have too many tasks to handle alone. In the future, Luna will only take care of your daily needs, while we shall handle the rest.”
“Alright, thank you for your hard work.”
“It is our duty.”
The head maid bowed deeply and then waved her hands. Following her wave, the maids all bowed deeply too before leaving. I guess she’s right. Previously, it was cold and empty in the outer court. There were only a few servants. There were enough of them to look after me, but there was no one to clean and manage the other rooms. There should be enough people to clean the other rooms now too, right? Moreover, it’ll be easier to see guests; otherwise they’d need Luna to help in the kitchen too.
The maids all went off to carry out their duties leaving only Luna standing before me with her bright smile. She looked at me and bowed deeply. She then smiled and said: “Welcome home, your majesty.”
“Uhm, I’m back, Luna.”
I walked up to Luna and she looked at me with a smile. She then looked left and right before opening her arms and saying: “Your majesty, can I hug you for a bit? I… really missed you……”
I smiled and nodded. I then hugged the beautiful body standing before me, and Luna responded with a smile and a hug. But there was no sexual lust behind this hug. It was purely a hug of friendship and comfort. We gently embraced and felt the warmth of each other.
It was a very short embrace as we immediately released each other. Luna blushed a little. She adjusted her hair and then said: “I shall take you back to your room then. Your majesty, you must be tired from your journey.”
“I’m alright. I’m used to it.”
“Is that right? Are the elven lands… the same as before?”
“I’m not too sure what you mean by how it was before.”
“Is that so….? Well, that is only right……”
Luna let out a soft sight and then seemed to realise something. She immediately turned her head around, smiled as she waved her hand in front of her and said: “No, no, no. Please do not mind me, your majesty. I honestly do not want to go back. I am a bit happier here than I am there.”
“I don’t mind, but I’ve brought you a present.”
I pushed the door to my room open. My room hadn’t changed at all. Wood was in the fire. I could hear the flickering of the flames in my room. The warm air brought life to my somewhat cold limbs. My clothes were neatly arranged on my bed. Luna stood behind me. She reacted surprised and asked: “My present?”
“Yeah, wait a second……”
I placed my backpack aside, removed the commander sabre for Nier from my belt and then took out a simple head cloth from my pouch I always carry with me. This was the most common head cloth in the elven markets. I saw Lucia wear it before, so I bought a similar one.
Luna looked at the head cloth before her slightly shocked. She looked at me with disbelief. I smiled and said: “I couldn’t find anything from the elven kingdom to bring back for you, so I bought this. I know that you may not be able to return to the elven kingdom, but nobody can forget their homeland. I think that this hairpin will help you feel like your homeland isn’t a strange unknown place when you think of your home.”
Luna looked at me blankly. Her green eyes slowly started to tear up and then tears started to run down her face. However, she wore a blissful and nostalgic smile on her face. She grabbed the head cloth tightly and held it against her chest as though she was protecting her most cherished treasure.
“Thank you… your majesty……”
“You don’t have to thank me.”