“Troy, is it a good idea for us to go so far?”
Lucia looked at her surroundings that covered up the sky and fearfully grabbed the corner of the young man’s clothes in front. Well, as opposed to calling him a “young man”, it would be more correct to refer to him as a boy. His young face still had the pink flush similar to that of an infant. He scanned his surroundings with his black eyes that contained the excitement and nervousness of exploration. He held the hand of the girl behind him and promised, “It’ll be fine. Nobody will come into the forest. Plus, there are no wild animals in this section, so there shouldn’t be any problems, Lucia! Even if there is any danger, I’ll be sure to protect you!”
Lucia looked at the very frail silhouette before her eyes and nodded with a serious attitude before tightly holding his hand.
He was just a young man that couldn’t do anything, yet he carried himself as if the hero who’d save the world. She, herself, was very scared to enter this forest that had nothing. She was far away from the city, and he was the only one next to her. However, Lucia’s fear went away thanks to the young boy.
Guess that could be considered a form of trust and reliance.
“What is the flower we’re looking for…?”
“Ah, it’s the type of flower that grows on treetops. I heard that it’s extremely hard to find and very rare. I had to spend two silver coins to acquire this information from that dirty person. The flower is on the tallest tree in this forest!”
Troy resolutely thumped his chest, and then said, “Today is Mom’s birthday, so of course I have to gift Mom the most beautiful flower in the world, because Mom is the most beautiful and noble person in the world. Only the world’s most beautiful flower is worthy of her!”
Lucia nodded with adoration and responded, “Yeah, you’re right. Her Highness really is amazing! But, Troy, what do you think I have to do to be as beautiful as Her Highness?”
“Ah…” Troy paused for a moment then frowned to think about it. He hesitated for a moment before replying, “I think you’ll be as pretty as Mom after you grow up, Lucia…”
Lucia looked at Troy with determination and sternly replied, “No! I must be more beautiful than Her Highness. That way, you will choose to hug me when you see Her Highness and I. Otherwise, you’ll only hug Her Highness.”
Troy blushed a little. Despite being a kid, he still felt shy when speaking about dating with the opposite sex; or rather, he was blushing, because he was dating the opposite sex. However, the one the young boy was dating was his own mom.
The two of them walked through the forest of dead leaves, searching for the tallest tree in the forest. This forest was far away from the Imperial Capital. Vyvyan journeyed here for her birthday which is why her son is here. Vyvyan didn’t inform anyone as to why she came here, but she did choose this place.
This isn’t a great place by any means. There were no famous scenic spots. It was just a deep forest. This forest sat on the border of humanity’s territory. It was far away from the elven territory. Few elves have been here, but Vyvyan chose to spend her birthday here.
For some reason, Troy didn’t care, either. Troy was focused solely on figuring out how to get his most beloved mom a unique birthday present.
“Found it! It should be this tree!”
The two arrived at a rare flat area. There was a small creek that ran down from a huge tree. The bark of the huge tree was very odd. It wasn’t the usual dark brown colour; instead, it was dark red akin to condensed blood. But a beautiful flower seemed to be visible at the treetop, yet at the same time not visible.
Troy excitedly ran over and looked at the huge tree that would take lots of people to actually surround its circumference. He hesitated for a moment then turned his head around to look at Lucia. Lucia lingered for a moment, and then looked up at the huge tree. She tore her skirt and then said, “All right, all right, I’ll climb it…”
“Thank you so much, Lucia!”
Troy cheerfully grabbed hold of Lucia’s hands tightly. Lucia looked at Troy and then said, “However, Troy, you have to repay me with a skirt… I really like this one…”
“Easy done! Easy done! I’ll give you as many as you like.”
Lucia nodded and then walked up to the tree. She then proceeded to grab onto the tree in a very trained fashion. She then proceeded to quickly climb up to the top of the tree comparably to a beetle. Troy watched Lucia pluck the flower on the treetop with excitement. Lucia then slid down the tree, looked at the flower and exclaimed, “What a beautiful flower.”
“Yeah, I know. Thank you so much, Lucia!”
Troy excitedly grabbed the flower and carefully put it where his chest was. Lucia’s eyes looked at the flower with envy, but she didn’t say anything. She, instead, tied up her torn dress. Just as the two were about to head back, two silhouettes suddenly appeared from within the forest. The two, who appeared, gave Troy a heavy punch to the face as soon as they turned around.
“Troy!!! No! Stop!!”
His vision became blurry…
There seem to be something warm coursing down his face…
He could taste mud in his mouth…
He could seemingly hear Lucia’s cries in his hazy state, as well…
“Oh man, we’re going to strike it rich this time for real. Look at quality of this elf. She’s a high-quality elf. She must be the child of a noble elf. If we sell her, we’ll be able to make loads more than the few last orders for sure!”
“Yeah, man. She truly is quality. What about him…?”
His face was buried in the mud while a heavy shoe was rubbing his head with a painful burning sensation. It felt as though his nose was stuffed full with mud. The individual speaking overhead kicked his head with irritation and replied, “Screw him. Just leave him here. He’ll die soon anyway, won’t he? Let’s take the girl and leave now. Undue delay may bring trouble. Let’s get moving.”
“Troy!! No! Don’t! Let go of me! Let go of me!! Save me!! Save me!!!”
A bag got pulled over Lucia’s head. The two of them watched Lucia struggle, but then one of them tripped just as they were about to leave.
He swiftly turned his head around. Something tugged at his ankle. The force of it was weak as a tree root. Nonetheless, there was without question something tugging on his ankle.
Troy struggled to raise his head. The blood on his forehead slowly coursed down his face. He clenched his teeth stuffed with mud and tightly grabbed the man’s leg. He exclaimed, “I will not… let you… take Lucia!”
“What’s this punk talking about?! Get lost! We gave you a chance to live, but you don’t want it?!”
He kicked Troy’s head and Troy cried out in pain but he didn’t let go. He kept his firm grip on him.
Inside his young eyes was fury. He roared at them, “I will not let you take away my Lucia! I won’t let you!! Only I can take Lucia away! I won’t let you!! Ever!”
He lost the ability to speak before he could finish what he had to say, because a sharp arrow had pierced his throat while the other guy… hmm… he vanished?
Put it this way. His blood pierced through his body and escaped from within, comparably to a hedgehog’s spikes, causing him to explode and become a puddle of blood. So it’s more appropriate to say that he vanished, would you agree?
Vyvyan caught Lucia who was falling down, frantically tossed her aside and then tightly hugged her child lying on the ground. She fearfully wiped away the mud on Troy’s face and sobbed as she looked at him.
“Mom… Mom… Here…”
Vyvyan pulled Troy, who was crying, tightly into her embrace. The tip of her nose stung while her tears uncontrollably coursed down her face. Troy tightly hugged Vyvyan and wiped his tears while in her embrace. Vyvyan kissed his forehead and cheeks while tightly hugging him. In that moment, she had a strong urge to return him into her belly, absorb him… to keep him by her side forever…
For Vyvyan, her most precious gift was always by her side.
As long as her child was by her side, she had her most cherished and blissful gift…
“Mom, let me personally wear it on for you.”
I gently pulled up Mom’s long black hair that was nice and smooth as water, despite her not adding any ornaments or looking after it. I gently pinned the hairpin on top for her. The hairpin was similar to a flower. It sat unspeakably beautifully in Elizabeth’s hair.
“Thank you… Thank you, son…”
Elizabeth hugged me gently. After we paid for it, we turned to leave. The owner of the store looked at their silhouettes from the rear and wiped his sweat off his forehead. He said to himself, “I can’t believe they’re mother and son… They look as if husband and wife…”
*When Elizabeth said “Thank you… Thank you, son…” She actually used 皇儿 which is the empress, emperor would refer to their children. I left it out since it’d be strange to say “son… I mean, son…” But based on that, you could infer that this was when they snuck out of the palace toward the end of volume 4.