“Son, my son… I’m glad you’re okay. I’m so glad you’re okay.”
Vyvyan pulled me into her tight embrace while crying as she gently stroked my wound and kissed my cheeks. Luckily, Mom made it in time, or I really would’ve died. Vyvyan used magic to heal my wound. Besides feeling weak, I was now fine. I gripped Vyvyan’s clothes tightly and sobbed on her chest as a kid would. She tightly hugged me as though she was afraid that I’d disappear in the next instant.
Nier and Lucia sat down to one side and panted for oxygen as they looked over in my direction feeling somewhat jealous.
“Mom, I have to kill her…” I raised my head up. I wiped the tears at the corner of my eyes then looked at Vyvyan and seriously said, “She killed my Luna. She killed my only personal servant. I have to kill her! I must kill her!!”
“I understand, I understand. Son… Mommy understands… Mommy wants to kill her, too, but that woman still needs to ask her some things.”
I struggled to turn my head over to look at Mommy Elizabeth looking down at Alice, who was pinned to the ground and immobilised. In the face of ultimate power, not even Alice could break free of Vyvyan’s magic. She wasn’t dead yet. She desperately tried to raise her head. Despite her bleeding from her mouth and her limbs being pinned down, she glared at me with her gaze full of hatred and urges to charge over and kill me, the same way I looked at her and felt about her.
Elizabeth crouched down to look at her with sadness in her eyes. She placed her hand gently on Alice’s head. She sighed and asked, “Why?”
“Because that brat… that shameless bastard has no right to succeed you as the ruler of your empire! You have been lied to for too long! You should be the heroic Empress on the frontlines as in the past, yet you want to give up your throne for a kid! That is not you! That is not what you wanted! You told us that you wanted an empire that would not fall, yet you want to hand the empire you gave up so much to establish to an ignorant brat?!”
“I will not allow you to insult my son!”
Vyvyan aggressively waved her hand, causing virtually all of the ice picks in Alice’s body to explode. However, due to Vyvyan casting a spell to control Alice’s time, she would remain on the verge of death until the spell ended regardless of how much damage she suffered.
‘I’m not sure if that was Vyvyan’s way of keeping her alive for Elizabeth or to torture Alice.’
“He’s my son, Alice. He’s my only son.”
Elizabeth sighed. She gently stroked Alice’s head with a helpless smile and explained, “Perhaps there’s a problem with your thinking, Alice. I was no longer the warrior fighting on the front lines a long time ago. I’m old now. My biggest wish isn’t to have a great empire. I wanted a great empire, so that I could bring my son home. Alice, it might be that you can’t understand me. Didn’t you recognise that despite being by my side for so many years? I, truthfully, don’t want to be an Empress. What I want is my family. I want my son. I love my son so much. I love him very, very dearly. My empire wasn’t for me, but for me to provide my son with a suitable and safe environment for him. Alice, my son has always been trying his best. He’s always been trying hard in order to become a qualified Emperor. You’ve changed, Alice. You just want me to rule. You’re not considering who would be better suited to be rule.”
Alice looked at the Empress with a dumbfounded look. Elizabeth’s expression showed neither blame nor anger; instead, she showed nothing but immense sorrow and hopelessness as if she wasn’t looking at a rebel, but herself. She looked at Alice and softly said, “This time, you were wrong, Alice.”
“Was I…? I was wrong, was I…?”
Alice lowered her eyes to look at the blood on the ground and quietly went on, “I just wanted… I just wanted… your smile… I just wanted… that heroic Empress… Was I wrong…? Your Majesty… you… you… have already…”
“I’ve let you down, Alice.”
Elizabeth drew her long sword at her waist. The cold blade of the Elven King sword shined. The reflections of the metal blade were similar to falling tears. Alice looked at the sword in a daze. That sword accompanied Her Majesty as she travelled the continent, be it snow, rain, sunny, cold or hot. That sword symbolised Her Majesty’s pride and dignity.
“I’m old now… Alice… that period of time has passed… I’m… no longer that fearless girl… I don’t have any ambitions anymore. I just want to live in peace with my son… I’ve disappointed you, Alice.”
“No… Your Majesty… you have never let us down, ever… What I am most proud of in this life is that I was your vassal… It is just that… I cannot understand you……”
Alice gently closed her eyes. She revealed a smile and two trails of tears ran down her cheeks, washing the blood off her cheeks.
Elizabeth rested the Elven King sword on her neck. Elizabeth looked at her personal bodyguard, her personal bodyguard that had accompanied her for over ten years, her personal bodyguard who accompanied her onto countless battlefields and went through countless dangers with her. She gently raised the long sword up in her hand. She softly added, “Alice, our time has passed. The era where we dominated and galloped on our horses to defeat our enemies has ended…”
“Perhaps that is why I cannot understand you, Your Majesty… I did not understand, Your Majesty… Sorry… I have caused you trouble.”
Alice suddenly opened her eyes to look toward Nier. Nier lingered for a moment then stood up. Nier made a small bow and asked, “Captain Alice, what are your orders?”
“Protect that brat well, Nier. After I killed his personal servant, he didn’t show any fear in spite of going through all of this. He only showed anger and a desire for vengeance. He’s hot-blooded. He’s Her Majesty’s son without a doubt. Nier, we’re all machines that can think, but why can’t I understand Her Majesty while you can understand that brat?”
Nier shook her head and while looking at her, replied, “No, Captain Alice. I have not had any new revelations nor have I had any new thoughts. I just do not act on my own accord. I make sure to ask His Majesty first. Self-presumptuous benefits are never what our master wants. Captain Alice, you acted without Her Majesty’s order. That is your mistake.”
“Was it…? I see now……”
Alice shut her eyes. Elizabeth looked to Vyvyan and Vyvyan gave her a nod. I struggled to stand up and shouted, “Mom!! Let me finish her!!”
However, Elizabeth didn’t stop. As soon as Vyvyan released her time spell, Elizabeth swung her sword down. Alice’s body jolted one last time. Her blood slowly spilt and mixed into the dried puddle of blood from earlier. Her small body appeared so pitiful.
Her smile, however, didn’t have a single hint of pain.
“Vyvyan, Nier, you two leave first.”
Elizabeth faced her back to us and lowered her Elven King sword that had blood trickling off the blade. The blade looked a lot gloomier than before. Elizabeth’s back made her appear as though she broke down and no longer had the strength to raise her sword.
“Oh right, Son…”
Just as Vyvyan was about to carry me away, Elizabeth suddenly turned around. She looked at me. Her face was covered in tears as if a spider spun a web on her face.
“Sorry for letting you get scared… Mommy… is sorry…”