I ignored Castell when I arrived at the inner court.
‘Castell is technically a victim in this incident, but at the same time, he didn’t report it despite being aware of it. Had he told us everything he knew from the start, all of that could’ve been avoided. Hence, I don’t have any positive feelings for him. If anything, I resent him. Furthermore, he’s loyal to the Empress, not me, so I don’t need to pretend for his sake.’
I entered Mommy Elizabeth’s room and spotted her sitting on her bed, looking out the window with a slightly nervous look. She smiled then tapped her thighs, “Come here, Son. What should be done must be done. You did storm into the royal family’s cemetery for no good reason, damaged a grave and killed Valkyries. Like you, Mommy is very angry, too, so get over here and lie on Mommy’s thigh!”
‘You’re not angry, are you?! What part of you shows that you’re angry?!’
“I think I shouldn’t, Mom… I… I know I was wrong now… I shouldn’t have been so impulsive. But Mom, you were in the wrong first. Can’t I be a little wilful, too…?”
“They’re two different things. Just because others commit a mistake, that doesn’t make it a reason for you to commit a mistake, as well, Son.” Mom looked at me. She pat her thigh again while looking anxious. She continued, “Hurry up and come here, Son. Mommy could acknowledge Mommy was wrong in front of so many people, so can’t you acknowledge you were wrong in front of Mommy? And isn’t it very normal for a mother to spank her son?”
“Not when I’m at this age!”
“Who said that?! Come here, Son; otherwise, I’ll come over and forcefully pull you into my embrace!”
“Don’t, don’t, don’t. I’ll come over!”
There was no way I was going to be able to escape Mom. I had to reluctantly go over to her.
‘After all, I can’t resist against Mom now. If Mom didn’t apologise, not only would I not have been able to take Luna out, I would also be locked up here. The fact that Mom could understand me and make such a big compromise proves that Mom still loves me.’
I lay down on mom’s thigh and she softly giggled. She then quickly turned me over to pull me tightly into her arms, and then put me down on the bed. I couldn’t react in time, so she successfully put me on the bed. Mom gave me a tight back hug and rested her head on my back. She took in a deep breath and in her soft voice pleaded, “Don’t leave Mommy, Son… Please… don’t leave Mommy… When you’re not here… Mommy… Mommy feels so lonely… so… so lonely…”
I didn’t respond. I just lay there silently while she sobbed with me in her arms. She said, “Mommy can’t bear to hit you… Mommy feels really sorry for you, too… How can Mommy not be hurting when you’re hurting so much…? But Mommy… Mommy is hurting a lot, too…”
I took in a deep breath. In a soft but firm voice, I replied, “Mom, I know. It’s just that I honestly can’t accept this. If I make compromises this time and let Alice be placed next to Luna, not to mention enjoying the status of a hero, I’ll be betraying Luna when I put her to rest, as well as all those who devote their loyalty to me.”
“Uhm, Mommy didn’t consider your feelings when handling it. Mommy feels sorry for you, too.”
Mom gently stroked the back of my hand. That was where Alice stabbed me with her dagger. It bled uncontrollably until Vyvyan came. Vyvyan lost it when she saw it. If Elizabeth didn’t desperately stop her, Vyvyan would’ve dismantled her hand.
“Does it still hurt?”
“Not anymore… but my heart still aches a lot… I really miss Luna… I really do. I miss her so much.”
I tightly clenched my fist. Mom gently stroked my fist and next to my ear, whispered, “Mommy feels the same way with Alice… That’s why Mommy doesn’t want her to end up with the crime of being a traitor. Son, if your heart aches, come with Mommy.”
Mom sat up, and then moved about in her room. I was stunned to see a secret passageway appear behind the bookshelf. The stench of blood came from it, and I could feel the humidity from there. Mom looked at me and said, “Come, my son. Pick up the sword on the table. If you still feel upset about not being able to get revenge, let Mommy show you something in here for you to vent.”
I stood up and picked up the sword on the table. This is Mom’s sword. I scanned it with curiosity. It seemed to still have the warmth of Mom’s hands on it. Mom grabbed a light from the side then grabbed hold of my hand, and we descended together.
The further down we went, the more prominent the stench of blood and rotten stuff became. Mom’s light looked as though it was getting absorbed by this thick moss. It was sticky under my feet. I really don’t want to know what caused this marshiness.
I heard the sound of chains sliding. The iron door in front of us opened. I saw a bunch of people lying scattered all over on the ground, groaning and moaning underneath the sunset shade of light.
“These are all the people involved in the incident.”
Mom led me across in an indifferent manner. She grabbed one the head of one of the individuals. It was a familiar face that I saw. He was the guy who tried to seduce Nier at the dance ball. Mom said, “This is that minister’s son. I’ve declared them dead to the public, but I think that you want to kill him more than I do. Also, this is his wife, these are his friends, and these are his mistresses. His teacher’s entire family is here. His servants are over there. Mommy has brought all those related to him here. This is…”
“The King of Castor.”
I looked at the face of a kid, who was barely breathing, causing him to be unable to even cry. I remarked, “He’s just a kid.”
“But Castor’s Regent tried to kill my son! All of the members of Castor’s royal family have been killed. I spared him for you.”
“This, here, is Prince Bagrott. His wife is on the other side.”
I looked at the familiar and unfamiliar faces before me. Mom kicked away the individual in front of her and told me, “I spared none of those from the vassal states that were involved with the incident. I even rewarded Nara and Karana. I once led the entire empire’s military to war for you, so Mommy could slaughter an entire city for you this time. Castor’s shores should be congested with corpses by now. Mommy, personally, killed Alice; as a consequence, you couldn’t, personally, get revenge. You can vent your anger on these people, right? But once you’ve killed them, remember to keep their heads. We’ll send their bodies back. We’ll send their limbs out to all corners of the empire to warn everyone.”
Mom had no pity in her eyes. Her eyes were filled with fury and disdain.
‘It appears that Mom’s anger is the same. Nobody who hurt me is getting away.’
‘The true target of my anger wasn’t these people. The true target of my anger was the one who killed my Luna.’
‘But I’m mad right now and they were accomplices, so they contributed to Luna’s death.’
“Thank you, Mom.”
I drew the long sword in my hand. The Elven King sword reflected the light from the sunset.
‘This is the second time I picked up a sword. I killed Mera the first time I picked up a sword. That time, I killed her, because she, too, revolted. I’m picking up a sword again for the same reason this time, except this time, I won’t have any pity or reluctance!’