Alice looked at her Valkyries below as she shouted, “So, what are you going to do? Are you going to support Her Majesty or His Majesty? Valkyries, it is time to put your loyalty to the test. Her Majesty gave up everything for this empire, and she saved us. But, now there’s a brat who’s still wet behind the ears with elven blood in his veins no less, tricking Her Majesty. Her Majesty’s empire cannot be handed to a useless brat. This is a great empire. Our brave warriors’ blood was spilt on every inch of land of this empire. This is the warriors’ nation, the home of heroes. We cannot let a brat who hasn’t even gone to war succeed this place. Our bloody-battle history is our glorious and honourable past. We cannot let an obnoxious brat turn our glory and honour into shame! Our blood cannot be spilt in vain. If you are loyal to Her Majesty and if you still remember the blood your comrades spilt, then now is the time to display your loyalty!”
The Valkyries listened to their captain’s speech with maniacal loyalty in their eyes. Their most lofty wish was to loyally serve Her Majesty. Though they didn’t know what the Prince had done, if he threatened her rule then they were acting in Her Majesty’s interest and loyally serving!
“His Majesty has done nothing wrong!”
One Valkyrie spoke out with vehemence. The other Valkyries turned their head back around to look at her. The Valkyrie loudly said to Alice, “His Majesty and Her Majesty have a very good relationship. He is Her Majesty’s only child and the future crown prince. We cannot whimsically harm him. Further, Her Majesty ordered us to protect him. Captain, your order contradicts Her Majesty’s. I cannot follow your order!”
Alice calmly looked at the Valkyrie, who spoke to her, and questioned, “Let me ask you then, what if this Crown Prince isn’t worthy of becoming the Emperor?”
“That is Her Majesty’s business. I have no right to interfere with that. However, if Her Majesty has not retracted her order, then that means His Majesty is still qualified to be the Crown Prince. We cannot harm Her Majesty’s child. Furthermore, we have not received orders from Her Majesty! We are Valkyries. We only obey Her Majesty’s orders!”
The Valkyrie spoke in a loud voice. She then looked at her fellow Valkyries, who she saw as sisters, and encouraged, “Please calm down everyone. This is not Her Majesty’s order. Our order is to protect His Majesty. What our captain has said does not align with the rules and regulations. We must await Her Majesty’s orders before we do anything or…”
She didn’t get to finish because she lost the ability to speak. She blankly looked at Alice who was in front of her, and then her body dropped to the ground, sprawled out similarly to a wooden puppet with her neck floppy as a noodle. Alice threw her corpse aside then turned to look at the other Valkyries and exclaim, “Traitors must be punished. We are eliminating His Majesty for Her Majesty’s sake. Although I don’t have Her Majesty’s order, Her Majesty will understand once we eliminate this conniving vassal. Valkyries, did you see what happens to traitors? This is a shameless traitor. She is no longer living for Her Majesty. Her Majesty gave her everything, but she runs away when faced with a crisis. She went and gave someone else her sympathy. Shameless traitor!! I believe that there won’t be a second traitor among you. All right. We are heading out now. Kill the Prince and our mission will be complete! Sisters, the mission is very simple. Kill the Prince and everything will be over, the same way you kill others!”
The Valkyries looked at the corpse on the ground. After a moment of silence, they drew their swords at their hips one after another and loudly responded, “Roger!”
Current time at the hunting camp.
“Your Majesty, Castell seeks an audience with you.”
“Castell? Didn’t I tell you to stay at Troy City?”
The Empress ignored the voice behind her. She sighed then placed down the book in her hand. She spun around and said, “Castell, I…”
She widened her eyes as she caught sight of Castell, whose face was white as a sheet and had to lean on a pillar to stay on his feet while trembling. His right hand was firmly pressed on his abdomen. The amount of blood that was on that hand was shocking. The blade in his abdomen was pinching into his skin. If he moved it, his blood would gush out.
Castell smiled helplessly when he saw Her Majesty’s shocked reaction. He slowly slid down the pillar and sat on the ground. He softly remarked, “I finally… made it… Your Majesty… Castell… I… have something to report…”
“Don’t speak! Don’t speak!! Doctor!! Wait… Vyvyan!!! Vyvyan!!”
The Empress threw her book in her hand aside and rushed over to hug Castell. Castell leaned on her arm and desperately tried to look up at Her Majesty’s panicked look and trembling lips. He softly said, “Your Majesty… Your Majesty… let me finish… Let me finish first…”
“Don’t speak for now!!”
The Empress reacted overbearingly by covering his mouth. She looked frantic as she yelled, “Vyvyan!! Vyvyan!! Vvyyan, come out here! Come out!!”
“Your Majesty… His Majesty… His Majesty… is in danger… he is in danger… Alice… It is all…”
Castell struggled to look at Elizabeth. He coughed loudly. His eyes started to close. Elizabeth grabbed his hand and desperately shook him.
“Go… save… His… Majesty…”
Castell’s eyes gradually shut and his voice became quieter and quieter. He blankly looked at the Empress and fought for dear life as he uttered those final words…
“Don’t die… don’t die!! Don’t die! Castell! I’m begging you… please… don’t die… Don’t diiiieeee!!”
Elizabeth tightly hugged Castell in her arms as her tears landed on his face, washing off the dirt and blood on his face. Elizabeth hugged her personal attendant while kneeling on the ground. She hugged her personal attendant that had been by her side for ten years and wailed.
“Your… Majesty… do not cry… your… your… expression… does not suit… you…”
Castell struggled to open his eyes. He looked at her with his now virtually lifeless eyes. He looked as though he was smiling, yet not.
The last time the Empress cried was when her dog died. This time, she was crying for him, which meant he held the same significance as the dog to her.
That was enough. To be able to be loved by Her Majesty for ever and even die in her arms was blissful as a dream. He had fulfilled his every purpose.
Devoting his loyalty to Her Majesty and dying in her arms.
“Don’t die! Don’t die! I order you! Castell!!! Don’t die! Don’t die!!!”
Elizabeth violently shook Castell; nevertheless, Castell didn’t get angry. His hand he had kept on the dagger the entire time finally ran out of strength, and he let go of it. His ring covered in blood rolled on the ground. Elizabeth looked at the ring. That was the gift she rewarded him ten years ago.
“Sorry… I… cannot fulfil that order… but…”
The Empress covered Castell’s sobs. He looked at the ceiling with his lifeless eyes. He used his last breath to sincerely speak one last time with consolation.
“Your Majesty… Did… Did… I make your… cage… a bit more comfortable…?”
“Don’t die!! Castell! Don’t die!! I’m very happy! Very happy! You made me very happy! You did! I’m very happy to have you, so don’t die!! Don’t die!!”
“Really…? I am… glad then…”
A final faint smile appeared on the young man’s face. His hands dropped down powerlessly. His index finger gently touched the ring on the ground that had been covered in some dust.
However, he couldn’t pick it up again…
‘I really want cherry tomatoes again.’
‘The sweet cherry tomato and the sour cherry tomato… I really wanted to try them again…’
‘I’m so glad…’
‘To be able to be by the Empress’s side…’
‘To be able to make her cage a little more comfortable for her…’
‘I really, really, really want…’