There’s nobody to wake me up anymore, because the one who could wake me up is no longer here.
However, I wake up on time every morning with Nier lying next to me. Nier had my arm locked in hers as she took soft breaths. I touched my face and discovered traces of tears.
‘I dreamt of Luna again last night. She looked so cheerful. Luna’s smile was so bright. The sun in my dream was so bright, so why did I have traces of tears all over my face when I woke up? Why did I cry so painfully in my dream? Maybe it’s because we’re no longer together.’
‘This isn’t a mother and son quarrel. It wouldn’t be an issue even if it was a mother and son quarrel. I argued a fair bit with Mom when I was young, but I wasn’t arguing with Mom this time because I was wilful or didn’t understand her; I was arguing with her, because of Luna. It’s clear as day that Luna was brutally killed. Her heart got dug out for crying out loud. I can’t even imagine how much it hurt when she died. Why did Alice get to die with a smile, be put to rest in the royal family’s cemetery and enjoy the treatment of a hero? Are you telling me my child has to face her tombstone and call her a hero?’
‘I can’t take that. There’s no way in hell I can accept that.’
‘I hate her to the core. I want to grind her bone to powder, and then scatter it.’
‘I can’t kill Alice now, but I still want to completely annihilate her. I want to erase every single trace of her existence in this world. She can’t feel it anymore. I want to make it, so that nobody will remember her in the future. I want to completely erase her meaning in life. I want everybody to remember Luna. I want to them to remember the beauty that died for me.’
‘I’d die to make that a reality. I don’t intend to just sit here on my ass waiting for Mom to come and apologise. If that’s what my plan was, I wouldn’t have left. I must bring Luna back. I don’t want anyone, but me, to send her home. I’m going to personally bring her home.’
‘I’ll make sure to bring her back if it’s the last thing I do. I can’t take this shit. Luna is my personal servant, my vassal and the girl I love. I honestly can’t take this. If I just watch this all happen with a blank look on my face, then I’ll still be the powerless version of myself.’
‘I could traverse the desert, so I can march my army to the South. I need to do this even if I must pay the price with my life. Lorana was right. I am, indeed, angry that Mommy Elizabeth took away my right to mete out punishment, but I’m still going to go and do something, because I’m angry.’
I sat up and gently kissed Nier’s cheek. I lightly ran my hand on Nier’s abdomen.
‘Sorry Nier. It’s not that I don’t love you or don’t want to be next to you, but there’s something that I must go and do. I have a gamble I need to make. If I can make it back, I’ll be sure to love you sincerely.’
“Sorry Nier, there are some things I have to go and resolve…”
I got dressed slowly. I’m much slower without Luna. I was able to sit up today; but nonetheless, I’m still feeling slightly weak.
‘I’ve made up my mind. I made up my mind when I returned to Troy City. It’s just that only now am I able to act on it.’
I stood up and lightly walked over to the door. I pulled it open and took one last look at Nier before gently shutting the door.
I didn’t see the tear that ran across Nier’s face…
“Your Highness, where are you going?”
As soon as I left the room, Lucia walked up to me in the corridor. I looked at her face, but didn’t reply. I, instead, pulled her into my embrace to hug her tightly. I gently stroked her head, and then kissed her forehead. She jerked her body then responded with a gentle hug without asking me anything further. She just tightly hugged me.
“Come back soon, my husband.”
“Ah, I know. I’ll be back.”
Lucia released me after a moment and wiped the corner of her eyes while looking at me. She then touched my chest and quietly said, “You haven’t recovered completely yet, so don’t overextend yourself. Also, if you die, I’ll never forgive you. I’ll raise our child then go looking for you, and then I’ll cling to you forever.”
“I know, I know…”
I kissed Lucia’s forehead one last time, and then went down the stairs. I resisted the urge to turn around multiple times. I descended the stairs without letting myself get distracted then walked out of the palace.
My guard unit was coincidentally gathered right now and just about to break off. Philes saluted me when he saw me. They regathered when they saw me and looked at me with gazes of excitement. I looked at my soldiers then looked at Philes and nodded.
“Did something happen?”
Philes was somewhat unsettled when he noticed that I looked very serious. I didn’t answer him; instead, I turned to face the soldiers in front of me. I cleared my throat; then loudly declared, “Brothers, I don’t know if you’re tired or not, but we have our next target and need to head out now. Bring your weapons and get ready to march!”
They didn’t hesitate for a moment. They responded loudly, “Roger!!”
“Your Majesty, where exactly are we going?!”
I turned my head to look at Philes, who was next to me, and replied, “To do battle.”
Philes lingered for a moment before saying, “Do battle… that is fine… but is this not a little bit too sudden? We do not know the enemy’s numbers or their weapons… How are we supposed to fight like this…?”
“I’ll answer those questions for you.”
I turned to face the soldiers in front and loudly announced, “Gentlemen, our target this time is the Royal Palace located in Hilles City to the south. They have a few hundred who we will be up against. Their main weapon is a long sword. All of them are skilled combatants. So let’s go.”
“Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait!!”
Philes covered my mouth with his hand. He had shock written all over his face. He looked left and right nervously before exclaiming, “Your Majesty! Have you lost it?! Are you attacking Her Majesty?! This is treason! This is a serious crime! This is going overboard, don’t you think?!”
“Who said that I’m rebelling against Her Majesty? I’m Her Majesty’s son. Why would I attack my mom?”
“But you just said…”
“I’m talking about the Valkyries, get it?”
I clenched my teeth, and then looked at my soldiers with a violent look. In an aggressive voice I said, “That Valkyries killed my personal servant. They killed my one and only personal servant, and yet the culprit is enjoying the treatment of a hero in the royal family’s cemetery. I can’t accept it. I can’t accept somebody who made an attempt at my life and killed my personal servant to get off in such a carefree way. My personal servant, my Luna, is inside the royal family’s cemetery. That’s not where her resting place is. She’s my personal servant. I should be the one who puts her to rest! That Valkyrie should’ve been killed by me, but I didn’t get the chance to. I didn’t get the chance to kill her. Gentlemen, can you give me a hand? I’m not revolting, nor am I trying to harm Her Majesty. I just want to bring my Luna home. I want to grind the bones of the one who killed my Luna to dust and throw it into the winds! This is my bottom line! Nobody will get away with killing my people! Nobody! If someone tries to stop us, charge through them. If we come under attack, retaliate. We just have to slaughter our way back to the Royal Capital, storm the Royal Palace and bring my Luna back! That’s all I need!”
Philes looked at me with a blank expression in silence for a long time. Maybe what I said gave him too big of a shock, and he was still trying to process what I said.
“Of course, this isn’t an order, because what I said is a little too foolish. I know that you all worship Her Majesty, and I know that you don’t want to make enemies out of the royal family, so I’m begging you for your help this time. Of course, I’ll still, personally, go there even if you don’t help me. I’ll go there alone if I have to, in order to bring my Luna back!”
I looked at my silent soldiers and chuckled. I then turned to walk to the stables.
I wasn’t lying. Those were my honest thoughts.
‘I’ll go whether I have assistance or not. But I’m not going back there to apologise or cry. I’m going back there to storm the cemetery and rescue my Luna.’
Just as I mounted my horse and rode to the city entrance, I turned my head around to hear the sounds of horse hooves.
‘Nobody will stand up for me this time.’
‘From now on, I must stand up for myself!’