The journey south was actually quite joyous. To avoid revealing my plan, I took a detour to the elven border first so that the envoys would see my final traces at the elven lands. Once I got there, I took another path south. When we got to the royal capital, we rested for a while also for the purpose of letting Lorana buy new supplies. We stayed inside the royal palace at night. There were no other flourishing cities further south so this was the soldiers’ last rest and supplies replenishment stop.
“Your majesty, your washed clothes are ready.”
Luna came up to me with a pile of clothes and placed them in front of me. I nodded then stood up and put the book in my hand down. I looked at my outer court feeling a little nostalgic and said: “I haven’t been back here in a long time. This place is quite nostalgic. Luna, how are the maids?”
Luna smiled then looked around and replied: “The maids were very happy to see you return since they get really bored when you are not around. Your majesty, when will be the next time we return? To be honest, this place is filled with memories for me. Lots of things happened between you and I here after all, and they were all very happy things.”
I grabbed hold of Luna’s hands. She didn’t resist and instead looked at me with hope. I stroked her head with a smile and replied: “I too really like this place. Too many things happened here. I met Nier and the rest of you here.”
Luna’s gaze turned blank when she heard Nier’s name, but then she quickly returned to normal. She smiled and said: “It is getting late, your majesty. We need to continue the journey tomorrow, so you should go and take a bath. After that… rest up, your majesty…… Without Miss Nier… you… you……”
I smiled and then stroked her head. I don’t hate sleeping with Luna. Luna’s very skilled. It’s just that I’m married now. It’s not right for me to be intimate like that with Luna again. But because Nier rode my hips every night, I’ve felt a little lonely and agitated the last two nights without anyone by my side.
Luna looked at me and held my hand. She softly said: “Your majesty, I am alright. If you need me, I am alright with it…… Plus, I really like it too…… If possible……. Please let me take care of you tonight, your majesty… since we will be heading into danger and… if… if I die……”
I covered her mouth then kissed her forehead and said: “Don’t say that sort of stuff, Luna. You’ll be fine. You’re my only personal servant. I won’t let anything happen to you. If something happens, I’ll do my best to protect you because you are the one and only for me.”
“Have a good rest.”
I stroked Luna’s head and then picked up my clothes and left the room. I closed the door gently and let out a soft sigh. I touched my chest and felt the small protective talisman thump gently with my heart beat. I took the talisman out and gentlly ran my hand over the somewhat rough surface. I smiled and said to myself: “I feel like you’re still by my side, Nier. Am I wrong?”
“Please enjoy, your majesty.”
After placing a serve of grilled meat and frozen fruit wine on the tray down, the two maids got up and left. I soaked myself in the warm water comfortably. It was so comfortable that I moaned. Immersing myself in this bath of warm water that’s like a swimming pool is seriously too comfortable and too blissful. I reached my hand out to tear up the piece of grilled meat in front of me and then had a drink of the frozen fruit wine.
This hot-outside cold-inside feeling was marvellous. The soothing feeling made my mind go blank. I didn’t want to think about anything anymore. Being useless like this feels pretty good too.
Hot water and women can weaken one’s resolve and body as I thought!
I closed my eyes and listened to the water gently swish around. The only sound around was the sound of water swishing around and running water. This soothing feeling……
Why was there the sound of something entering the water all of a sudden? Is it mom? I’m already used to it if it’s mom. I’m used to both Vyvyan and Elizabeth’s behaviours. Now what? I don’t care if it’s a booby face-wash or groping me since they’ve done it countless times already anyway.
But nobody came over. The person who entered the water seemed to stop moving. That’s when I suddenly realised that I was in the royal capital right now! I’m in the royal capital! Elizabeth and Vyvyan couldn’t be here! One of them is at Troy City while the other is at the imperial capital, so they can’t be here! So who’s next to me right now?!
Luna. Luna is a maid. She isn’t allowed to enter my bathroom unless I call for her. Only my personal vassals may enter my bathroom. Which means only Nier, Lucia and Freya would be allowed to enter my bathroom. But then none of them are here with me!
I opened my eyes and noticed that half of the grilled piece of meat had been torn off. I saw red hair waving around before my eyes. Lorana lowered her head, tore into the piece of meat and then gulped mouthfuls of my ice-wine down. She then let out a big sigh and then her body shivered. She said: “You sure know how to enjoy yourself, your majesty. It feels pretty damn amazing to eat like this.”
“Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey!! Why are you here next to me?”!
I shrieked before covering my chest and retreating to one side. She wiped the water that splashed on her face as a result of me jumping up with annoyance and said: “You don’t have to react so surprised do you, your majesty? You’ve seen plenty of female bodies, haven’t you? Is there still any need for you to be surprised like that about this? Moreover, I’m old enough to be your mother so I don’t care about your body. So there’s no need for you to be shy.”
“No, no, no…… Wh-wh-wh-why did you appear next to me?!”
“Didn’t you ask me to come?!”
“No! Why did you come into my bathroom!”
“You want me to strip around those soldiers?” Lorana frowned and then pinched my shoulder to pull me back over. She then draped her arm around my shoulder. She waved the grilled piece of meat around as she explained, “Your majesty, I don’t want to change in front of others either. I’m a woman at the end of the day. I’m like this around you because I see you as my son.”
“Don’t be like that. I already have two moms, so I won’t need a third. Further, if Vyvyan and Elizabeth discover that you see yourself as my mom, they’ll seriously get angry. Plus, there’s that Valkyrie, Shusia. She’s here as well, so why didn’t you go and have a bath with her?”
“She’s playing around outside with that punk Philes… Ah……”
She realised she had a slip of the tongue so she covered her mouth as she looked at me. I didn’t allow anyone to leave the grounds. You’re my guard, a soldier. What sort of soldier leaves to go play whenever they want? But I’ll turn a blind eye to this…… I looked at Lorana, got a little serious and said: “I’ll overlook it. But how much do you know about the desert we’re headed to?”
She looked at me and then replied seriously: “Not much. However, there’s one thing you must know. There’s no room for mercy or softness in the desert. You will also never be able to tame the desert, so please do away with your sympathy and merciful nature while we’re in the desert. Only blades can open a path in the desert. Your kindness is useless in there.”