‘Poems and songs are nice things. It’s just that I haven’t heard any of them since coming here. The annual meeting banquet wasn’t a dance ball, but a banquet where everyone was seated separately. Everyone would then write a poem to recite, so it could be considered a very literature and art oriented gathering.’
‘Poetry in this world isn’t different to the ones from the world I came from, because their text has something which resembles letters. However, their pronunciation contains a degree of level and oblique tones. Poetry needs to rhyme, and the number of words used must be equal. While the requirements aren’t high, it’s not possible to just write them with the click of a finger, either.’
‘Composing poetry is comparable to drawing for the Empress. It’s a little difficult for her… I’m standing at the entrance to her room in the inner court right now. I’m here to console her in name, while I’m here to ensure she doesn’t act restlessly and whimsically, in actuality. As Vyvyan can move around freely, Elizabeth goes to the outer palace every moment she’s free to avoid letting Vyvyan have time alone with me. In reality, however, Vyvyan doesn’t get the opportunity. Lucia and Nier cling to me during the day, and then the two of them cling to me at night; consequently, I basically don’t have time to be alone with Vyvyan.’
‘But despite that, my two moms will still do everything to get close to me, so I can only get her to compose her poem in peace by standing at the entrance of her room. That said, I now feel that mom isn’t struggling to compose a poem, because she’s restless and whimsical, as she doesn’t want to compose a poem, but that she’s being restless because she can’t think of anything.’
‘Mom looked at her pen and paper in front of her. It feels as though asking her to compose a poem is tougher on her than asking her to draw. Well, I guess that’s not right, since Mom is very happy to draw as it’s what she wants to do. Composing poems wasn’t something she wanted to do, though… That would explain why Mom keeps looking left and right and even playing with the feather on her pen all day.’
I placed the book in my hand down. I looked at Mom, who was bored out of her skin, and said, “Mom, hurry up and compose your poem. You have to read it out tonight.”
Mom looked at me and smiled helplessly to reply, “But Mommy doesn’t want to compose a poem… Mommy is horrible at this sort of stuff. Mommy never paid attention during any of these classes when Mommy was young. Mommy either wagged lessons or angered the teacher until they left, so… Mommy regrets it now…”
‘It sounds as though Mom was a very mischievous princess when she was young. But I guess it makes sense. After all, if she wasn’t mischievous, she wouldn’t have run to the elves alone and got taken back by them.’
I looked at Mom then opened the book I was reading and replied, “It doesn’t seem as if the requirements are very high to me. Why can’t you compose a poem, Mom? And nobody will say anything even if you do make a mistake or two.”
“You can’t say that. Mommy’s poems will be saved so Mommy must compose a good one. That’s why Mommy burns Mommy’s drawings…”
‘Oh, so mom is aware of her limitations…’
Mom patted her thigh, and then looked at me with a bright look in her eyes. I knew what she wanted. I walked over and sat on her lap…
‘Why do I feel as though I’m a dog…?’
Mom hugged me from behind then reached for her pen and nodded with satisfaction. She said, “This does give me a reassuring feeling, all right. Mommy can compose in peace now, but… Mommy doesn’t know what to write…”
I looked at the blank sheet, “Is it hard? You should be able to compose one soon with your skills, Mom.”
“Writing a four line one isn’t a problem, but the important part about poetry is being able to express your inner feelings. Mommy values Mommy’s feelings. If Mommy can’t express them, the poem is meaningless.”
‘Why does it sound as though it’s Mom’s excuse to me?’
“Your Majesty, Prince, Your majesty… ah…”
A maid came in and was stunned to see us like this. I, however, cared nothing for shame. The two of us looked at the maid naturally without getting flustered. Mom asked, “What’s wrong? Did something come up?”
The maid looked at us with a dumbstruck and replied, “Ah… Sorry, Your Majesty, Miss Freya wanted to borrow His Majesty for a bit.”
Mom nodded. I walked to the door then quickly turned my head around to look at Mom, “Don’t go running off when I’m not around, Mom. When I come back, I will be checking to see what you’ve done. If you haven’t finished by then, I’ll be having dinner with Mommy Vyvyan tonight.”
Mom revealed an astonished expression.
‘I think I went a little overboard with my threat… but seeing mom immediately sit straight up and think seriously, I think it’s all right. After all, I can choose not to go to tonight’s banquet and let Elizabeth deal with all the people from the vassal states, while I eat with Mommy Vyvyan. That was the scariest thing to Elizabeth.’
After leaving Her Majesty’s room, I noticed that the maid next to me kept looking at me with a very odd gaze.
‘Should I prove to her that I’m her biological son and not her lover or something…? What’s wrong with a mother hugging her child?! What’s the problem?!’
Freya didn’t ask to see me for anything important. She just wanted to confirm who would hold power once Her Majesty and Her Highness went off to hunt. There was also the question of having the Valkyries act as guards, since I couldn’t let my condition on full-moon nights get exposed. As such, all Valkyries will be stationed inside the palace, and I’ll have Alice guard this floor for safety sake.
‘Alice may not serve me, but she is Her Majesty’s bodyguard unit’s captain, so she should be Her Majesty’s most trusted person.’
‘I had Nier and Lucia go with my two Moms to have some fun. Staying in the city would be a little too restrictive for them. I can handle things here alone. I don’t have time to go out to play with them. With the Empress here now, the Valkyries weren’t so free.’
After finishing discussions with Freya and delegating tasks, I went back to Her Majesty’s room. To my surprise, Mom had finished composing her poem. She cheerfully handed me the sheet of paper when she saw me come in and said, “Here, here, here, Son, take a look. Mommy has finished.”
I took the sheet of paper.
‘I can’t help but admire Mom. It was just as I expected. Mom can do anything she puts her mind to.’
The soldiers have withdrawn their army and horses at the Southern mountain.
The four seas have been settled and there is nothing left to be worried about.
When will I be able to spend my days with my son,
Gazing at the snow in the north until I grow old?
‘What do I think…?’
‘You could pass this off as a love poem, don’t you think…? I don’t think Elizabeth intended for it to be one though. She just wanted to keep her son company until old age, that’s all.’
“Not bad. I can understand your thoughts, too, Your Majesty. I will ensure that you can live the life of a mother in the future.”
Elizabeth didn’t reveal a cheerful smile. Instead, she silently nodded and revealed a sad expression. She smiled helplessly and replied, “I knew I wasn’t good with composing poems… Didn’t I just completely fail to express my feelings…?”
*Level and oblique tones refers to the tonal nature of the Chinese language.