“Dear, is it really all right for you to stay behind alone? How about I stay behind, too? With me protecting you, we’ll be more assured.”
Nier rubbed her lips and looked at me with a gaze of concern. I looked at Nier, who just came out from the blanket and was lying on my chest.
‘I do feel that you’re worried about me, but you’ve got some sticky liquid on the tip of your tongue, you know…? How do you expect me to reply to you in this state…? I have just entered sage mode, so don’t ask me this sort of legitimate question…’
‘I was too careless… I never thought Nier could still do this sort of stuff when she was pregnant!’
I gently stroked Nier’s tummy and softly replied, “How can you protect me in this state? It’s safest for you to be with Mom. Your safety is more important than mine right now. I’ve got Valkyries around me. Are you still worried? Don’t forget that you personally trained them.”
“But…” Nier looked at me a little sadly then sighed after a pause. She looked at me a little upset and went on, “Truthfully… I just wanted to go with you… But it’s safest for you to stay in the city, so… so… you should stay here, Dear.”
I gave her a kiss on her lips then apologetically stroked her head and softly added, “I can’t keep you company this time, Nier. There’s nothing I can do about it, though. Once everything is over, I’ll keep you company, I promise.”
“Uhm… All right.”
Nier nodded, and then leaned on my chest feeling reassured and gradually fell asleep.
I looked at Nier’s hunting attire sitting beneath the moonlight.
‘I can’t help but feel I can’t sleep well tonight. I can’t shake off the sad look in Mom’s eyes from this morning. That rhetorical question, “I knew I wasn’t good with composing poems… Didn’t I just completely fail to express my feelings……?” confuses me, honestly.’
I rolled over, causing Nier to slip off my chest, and then I tightly hugged her. Nier moaned, and then switched to a more comfortable posture to continue sleeping while I looked at her face and thought to myself in silence.
‘I’m confused as to what her expression and words meant. I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe I just wasn’t willing to comprehend it because I didn’t want to believe it.’
‘I believe that all of the rulers of the vassal states will understand what Her Majesty means when she reads it out tonight. Wouldn’t that turn our matter into a foregone conclusion? Maybe people were already thinking it in the past, but it’ll finally be confirmed this time.’
‘That said, Her Majesty didn’t put it bluntly so I don’t think they’ll say anything explicitly. I believe that it won’t be sudden for her to abdicate the throne afterwards, then. The vassal states will have an opportunity to adjust their positions, and I’ll be able to begin making my moves to get them to all recognise me.’
‘Whatever the case, Her Majesty is setting out tomorrow. This is a hunting event Her Majesty really enjoys. Vyvyan will be going with her. Vyvyan’s attitude towards the various vassal states was amicable, and she displayed herself very gracefully. In no way was she inferior to Elizabeth. If Elizabeth is imposing then Vyvyan is majestic. However, Vyvyan never hesitates to express that she’s my mother, regardless of the time and place.’
‘For instance, when I was eating some Empress bread and had two drops of honey on my mouth, , Vyvyan appeared before me in an instant before I could wipe my mouth with a napkin, and then pinched my chin and licked the honey off my face before I could utter a word… She then told me to mind myself when eating with a smile…’
‘That’s a mother… Ah…’
‘There’s only going to be Freya, Luna and Alice in the capital once they leave. There’s not much work left in the Royal Capital, but now that I have time on my hands, I can go and investigate who the one who plotted that incident was. I won’t find any evidence if I go straight to the lords of the vassal states. I’m, therefore, going to start with the people around them to try and find some clues.’
‘There was no continuation of it after I dealt with the incident. Perhaps they didn’t continue giving me grief, since I handled it appropriately. However, I can’t relax. I don’t know if they want to do something to me or Her Majesty, so I can’t just brush the matter off.’
As I thought about for a while, I randomly fell asleep. When I woke up, Nier was already at the edge of the bed wearing on her hunting attire. Luna stood next to Nier and carefully helped her adjust the ornaments on her clothing, afraid that they’d wake me up.
Nier noticed me looking at her, so she turned her head around and somewhat fearfully said, “Ah, Dear, you’re up… Sorry, we were too loud, weren’t we?”
I sat up. I hugged Nier and next to her ear replied, “Don’t mind it. I should be getting up now anyhow. I need to see you off. Otherwise, I reckon moms will be very upset. Nier, look after yourself. Don’t ever force yourself. You’re not Lucia so don’t compete with Lucia over everything.
“I know, I know.”
Nier nodded, and then kissed my lips and said, “I’ll look after myself. I’ll be sure to look after myself, because I’m carrying our child. Dear, you must look after yourself. Don’t let anything happen to you. If something happens, run even if it’s embarrassing. You must promise me that. I might not be able to make it back to protect you… The Valkyries around you… might not obey your orders. I’ll speak to them before I leave.”
“All right. That’s a big help as is, Nier…”
I was relieved to hear that.
‘Nier is the Valkyries’ respected sword instructor, after all, so I trust that they will do her a favour… But with Alice around, I think there’s a limit to what Nier can do. That said, I don’t think Alice would do anything to me. Alice is Her Majesty’s most loyal bodyguard, and I’m Her Majesty’s son. Alice hasn’t shown me any hostility thus far; hence, I think we’ll be able to treat each other with respect.’
I got dressed and then went to pick up Lucia, who was still tired. After we had breakfast, we went to the entrance of the Royal Palace. We saw Her Majesty’s grandiose hunting team. They truly were grandiose. It looked as though Her Majesty was going out on a tour. The guards and hunting dogs surrounded the team. There also seemed to be what resembled birds flying in the air around the team.
“Your Majesty, Your Highness, I am here to see you off.”
Elizabeth nodded. Her hunting attire displayed her heroic, suave and imposing aura, while Vyvyan was dressed as per usual. It didn’t seem as though she was joining in with their hunting activity.
Vyvyan bent down at her waist to stroke my head. She winked; then with a smile said, “Son, remember that if something comes up, just use the necklace to call me back. Son, you must keep the necklace safe. It’s the only way mom can sense you.”
“I know, Mom.”
I nodded and bid my moms goodbye. I watched the grandiose team leave. I followed them all the way to the entrance of the city before stopping. Seeing my two wives and two moms leave surprisingly made me feel lonely.
“Let’s head back, Your Majesty.”
A voice came from behind. I turned my head around to see the slightly dangerous Alice riding on her horse. Alice gave me a smile, and then made way. She said, “We must get along during this period of time. Your Majesty… leave your safety to me.”