“Her majesty is missing?!” Alice spat out a mouthful of wine and coughed intensely. She looked at Castell who was rarely flustered. Castell nodded. He tugged his hair and shouted: “Yeah! Her majesty is missing! Only her clothes and her sword are in her room! She didn’t take her sword with her! Where did she go?!! Today is her majesty’s birthday and she’s missing!”
Alice wiped her mouth, smiled helplessly and replied: “Don’t worry. Just go to the outer court and ask if his majesty is in. Today is her birthday so it’s not too much if the two of them go out to play. You want to make a bet? I bet her majesty will get angry if we go looking for her now.”
Castell stood still. He then took in a deep breath to calm himself down. He picked up the wine by the side and gulped a few mouthfuls like he was drinking water. He put the wine bottle down and shook his head. He then sat down to the side, sighed and said: “Jeez, her majesty has been playing along with his majesty’s crazy antics ever since he came back. His majesty is getting more and more daring by the day. He even dared to destroy the church.”
“Isn’t that good? Doesn’t her majesty need that sort of prince?” Alice smiled. She stretched her hand out to stroke Castell’s head. While the two of them had an obvious size discrepancy, their ages were the opposite of each other. Alice treats Castell like her child.
“While you say that……” Castell smiled helplessly and stood up. He continued, “But I miss the way her majesty used to be. She’s becoming more and more distant from her past self.”
“It’s not bad if his majesty can keep it up, but her majesty is being influenced by him. If this continues, her majesty will be in danger. She’s in too deep in her motherly role. If this continues, she won’t be able to continue being a suitable empress. His majesty must pay attention to his influence on her in order to maintain her majesty’s character as the empress.”
Castell froze. He then looked at Alice and paused before asking: “You mean to say that her majesty is becoming weak due to his majesty?”
“Clearly so. Look, ever since his majesty returned, has her majesty resembled an empress at all? She’s been learning knitting, cooking… That’s not how an empress should be. Her majesty’s blade is rusting. A mother can’t maintain such a vast territory. We need an empress, not an idiotic mother who only thinks about her son.”
Alice placed her cup down on the table. She looked at the wine in the cup swish back-and-forth gently. In a serious tone, she continued, “I know that it’s not his majesty’s fault, but he is causing her majesty’s downfall. We must take action to wake her majesty from her slumber……”
Castell jumped up out of his seat and broke out in a cold sweat. He looked at Alice and asked: “Are you planning to revolt?! We’re all going to be dead if we kill his majesty! Moreover, he is her majesty’s only son! What are we going to do about the throne if he dies?! Who is going to succeed the throne?!”
“His majesty can die once he gives birth to his child.” Alice looked at Castell calmly and continued,
“Do you want to just watch her majesty’s downfall like this?! What’s the big deal about dying for the empress of the empire?! Even if we do die, her majesty will understand our good intentions.”
Castell stared at her blankly. He could see Alice’s determination in her eyes. She wasn’t joking.
“Son, I don’t know if it’s such a good idea for us to sneak out like this……”
“Don’t worry mom. It’ll be fine even if you’re not there.” I held mom’s hands and walked on the streets. Mom smiled helplessly as she pulled on the dress she wore and then replied, “It feels a little strange to be able to come out here…… The last time mommy went out to play was when mommy was in her teens. Your father was still by mommy’s side back then. Mommy hasn’t worn a dress in a long time. Mommy’s not used to it.”
I smiled as I turned my head around to look at mom and said: “Dad accompanied you in the past, and I’ll accompany you today. It’s too sad to still be stuck in the palace on your birthday. I know that you don’t want to be flamboyant which is why we snuck out. Don’t you think it’s nice? I think that what you need most isn’t a present, but freedom. Today, I shall play with you outside the palace mom.”
Mom looked at me first. She usually always wears a face-veil when she appears, so nobody knew how she looked. Only gold coins had her face printed on them. However, nobody would stare at a gold coin, so nobody recognised her as the empress of the empire. Mom changed into a dress and tied her hair up, giving her the vibe of a venerable lady, a very beautiful venerable lady.
Her usual majestic aura completely vanished. Her new look felt somewhat strange to an unsettling degree.
“Son, you’re becoming more and more like your father.” Mom grabbed hold of my hand with a smile and then walked up to me and continued, “Alright then, I’ll play together with you outside for my birthday this time then. Being able to play with you outside of the palace has been the one thing I have yearned for most.”
I smiled as I walked by mom’s side and replied: “Mom, I don’t have any dating experience with girls, so this is practice for me too.”
Mom smiled and came over towards me more affectionately. She wrapped her arm around mine and then interlocked her fingers with mine. She looked at the street stalls and said: “Alright then, mommy shall be your woman for once. I’ll listen to you today.”
Mom and I strolled through the city on that day. Mom was the ruler of the empire but she wasn’t familiar with the royal capital. However, we didn’t have any real destination we wanted to head to either. We sniffed the air filled with the fragrance of food and searched for the foods mom liked to eat. Watching mom waiting for the food to cool with anticipation, watching her blush a little as she tried on hair accessories carved from jade at the store, watching mom hold her ticket tightly as she watched the horse she betted on run in the racecourse made me feel like mom was no different to any other young girl.
Perhaps it was as mom said. Maybe this was her true nature. I smiled as I watched mom smile frequently, causing my heart to throb a little. Mom is almost forty, but you couldn’t tell from her beautiful face and body. When we walked on the streets, I noticed people gathering to check her out too.
Although she’s my mom, she made me look good since she was so beautiful.
All is good as long as mom is happy.
It’s mom’s birthday. If mom can smile and obtain happiness from me, then I have fulfilled my responsibilities as a son. Honestly speaking, I’m very happy too.
Looking up at the sky, I noticed the sun was starting to set. How I wish this day could repeat itself. But I know mom will sit on her throne in the conference chamber tomorrow as the empress as she listening the ministers argue.
It’s nice to have this nice experience just this once.
“Aaah!! I’m so mad! I thought that number three was the fastest! Number three looked the plumpest! I’ve rode horses for so many years, there’s no way I’d be mistaken! This must be a scam! It must be!”
Mom stamped her feet and complained after we exited the racecourse. I smiled helplessly and consoled mom. I said; “It’s alright mom, that’s a guarantee with this sort of stuff. Let’s wait for a while because I heard that there will be fireworks to celebrate your birthday.”
Mom wrapped her arm around mine. Then a loud bang and light came from behind. I turned around and saw the fireworks in the sky. They weren’t the modern day type of fireworks. They didn’t form a shape, but the colourful sky still attracted a good number of people. After the races in the racecourse ended, we could watch the fireworks. Mom held my arm tightly. She raised her head up to look at the lights in the sky with a calm look in her eyes.
Next to her ear, I softly congratulated her: “Mom, happy birthday.”
Mom nodded as she watched the fireworks. Tears slowly flowed out of her eyes and reflected the colours of the fireworks. Mom pressed her body against mine firmer. She hugged my arm tightly, closed her eyes as she leaned on my shoulder and softly said: “Thank you. Thank you, son. This is the happiest birthday mommy has ever had. With you by my side, mommy is truly happy. Truly very happy……”
“Me too. I’m so glad that you’re my mom. Happy birthday mom. I love you.”
Twenty years ago, the young girl once held a man and watched the fireworks overhead.
Twenty years later, she watched the fireworks in the sky while hugging the treasure that man left for her.
The most blissful and dear treasure he left for her……