I don’t know what happened in the carriage, but after they got out, Elizabeth didn’t look well. Without saying a word and while ignoring everybody’s gaze, she pulled me straight into her embrace. She gave me a gentle kiss on my forehead then in her hoarse voice asked, “My son… just how many… burdens have you carried… for that so-called bloodline…? How much did you have to put up with?”
I had no idea what Mommy Elizabeth was talking about. I was honestly baffled. Mommy Elizabeth didn’t explain anything; instead, she winsomely stroked my head, completely ignoring the gazes of the Valkyries behind her and the denizens. I didn’t care, though. Mommy Elizabeth is about my height. Other than having to bend at the knees a little when she pulled me into her bosom, it was quite nice.
Alice cleared her throat in a muffled voice from behind. Elizabeth let go of me, and then scrubbed my head. She gently cleared her throat then looked at me and said, “Have you met all of the rulers of the vassal states? Son, were there any lords you are particularly interested in? I think that the one you are most interested in will definitely be the most outstanding among them.”
‘Frankly, I could split the lords I’ve met over the last three days into three categories. The first category is the ones who clearly have a good impression of me. Karana and Nara belong to this category. The second category is those who don’t hate me. They politely try to ingratiate themselves with me. Prince Bagrott is one such example. The last category is those who are clearly hostile towards me. They view Castor as their leader, and of course, that includes their regent and a few lords from the desert, because I killed their people and supported Karnashun.’
Elizabeth and Vyvyan walked next to me. Lucia and Nier went off to the room to prepare first. I answered Mommy Elizabeth as we walked. Elizabeth wore an ambiguous smile as she patiently listened to everything I had to say. I didn’t finish until we arrived at her room and sat down.
“Son, your performance has been quite good to be able to know all of the lords and appropriately handle that matter.” Consoled, Elizabeth stroked my head, and then said, “Son, you need not worry. You can’t get everyone to like you. Dislike isn’t a useless emotion. You just need to think about how to make those who hate you, fear you.”
Vyvyan suddenly hugged me from behind. I felt something heavy pressed down on my head. Vyvyan wrapped her arm around to my chest and said, “You humans’ matters sure are complicated. If we were in the elven lands, I’d just need to crown my son. There’s no dislike or not dislike with us.”
“Bloodlines are everything for you elves, after all. Humans’ birth origins don’t cause them to be affixed to a certain status, though. Humans can get everything they want through their own efforts, and therefore naturally need power to maintain everything of theirs, too. What you have is oppression, while we have power balances.”
Vyvyan pouted and responded, “I feel so sorry for my son right now. He hasn’t even gotten any good rest this whole entire time. Look at how thin he has become. Elizabeth, my son didn’t come here to suffer senselessly. I really want to duel you right now. I want to separate your neck into as many pieces as my son has lost in weight.”
A heavy and intense murderous intent came from behind me. Vyvyan was serious…
Elizabeth stroked my face while feeling apologetic, too. She sighed, “I don’t want my son to suffer, either; nevertheless, he must undergo this experience to train himself. Son, don’t blame Mommy. Mommy doesn’t want to be so heartless, either, but… but… you truly do need to walk this part of your journey.”
“Speaking of which, aren’t you doing this just so that you can abdicate the throne and live your own life? Is that what a mother should be doing?! Isn’t this the most selfish idea you’ve had? You accuse me of being unlike a mother while I do everything for my child’s happiness! I do everything for the sake of letting him be with Lucia and for the sake of allowing him to live happily forever. I do everything for my son! You do everything for yourself! You don’t love Troy! You just want to give your lonely self a family!”
Vyvyan randomly got angry.
‘Actually, I’m certain they had an intense argument already and this is just the continuation of it. The two of them arguing is normal. I wouldn’t be surprised if they met with their armies at this point. Except, I have no idea what they’re arguing about this time.’
“I’m different to you!!”
Elizabeth jumped up and roared back. She yanked me out of Vyvyan’s arms and pulled me tightly into her bosom, thereby nearly asphyxiating me. She looked at Vyvyan and retorted, “You can accompany my son until the end, but I can’t. I only have a few decades of life. This is the only time I can spend with my son. I didn’t fulfil the duties as his mother when he was young, so I want to make up for my own mistake. I want to keep my son company at his side. Is that strange of me to desire so?! Is it selfish?! I just want to take care of my son! I just want that sort of life!”
Vyvyan looked back at Elizabeth. She took in a deep breath, clenched her teeth and thundered, “My son has been put in danger here with you over and over! Over and over! You said you’d protect him well every time, but he comes back covered in wounds every single time! Aren’t you the Empress?! Aren’t you the leader of this empire? If you can’t even guarantee my son’s safety, by what means are you going to protect him?! You’re a failure of a mother! How are you going to look after him?! My son has been hurt here time and time again! And I bet he’ll get hurt again this time!”
Elizabeth locked me in her tightly embrace as if she was hanging onto her last straws. She choked on her words as she said, “I won’t let me son be in danger. I’m by his side this time. I will make sure that I am a qualified mother. I will protect my son. I will protect my son even if it costs me my life… I want to live with my son way too much… I… I don’t have memories of my son… I’m truly afraid that I won’t even have a memory worth recalling when I get old… I… I……”
Elizabeth started to tear up. I gently hugged Elizabeth, who was crying, and gently stroked her back. I then looked at Mom and sincerely said, “Mom, don’t worry. I chose all of this myself. Even if there is danger and even if it’s tiring, I can make it through it, because I don’t want to just be a kid at your sides. I want to become a great person as you two, as well!”
Vyvyan looked at me with a blank look. She wore a very complex expression as though she was complaining but at the same time praising, as well as a nostalgic feeling from her soul. It was akin to the spectre of reason. She silently looked at me. A moment afterwards, she looked up at me and gently stroked my head. She said, “Mommy won’t stop you, son. You’re Mommy’s best son, and the best man in Mommy’s heart, but… if you feel that humanity doesn’t suit you…, come back to the elven side… You can become an even greater Elven King there…”