I lowered my sword. The blood above formed a river of blood, making every step I took leave behind the stench of blood.
‘I’ve learned a lot of things this time.’
‘For instance, how many people I can kill with my stamina.’
I huffed and puffed as walked up to the last man.
‘Who is this again? I can’t remember. Is he a King or a lord? I don’t remember, nor do I care. How’s he any different to the dismembered corpses behind me? He looks terrified and my sword is raised high up. There’s nothing different.’
I looked at his neck. My expression remained the same.
‘I felt that my conscience was being tortured when I killed the first person. I felt sick when I killed the second person. After I killed the third person, I had an odd feeling. When I killed the fourth and fifth person, I felt the urge to toy with them. When I killed the sixth, seventh and eighth, I laughed manically. Now for this last one. I no longer feel any emotion.’
I swung my blade emotionlessly as if I was slicing bread with a knife.
The Elven King sword is incredibly sharp. It cuts through skin, flesh and bone as smooth as butter. My target’s terrified expression didn’t change after I had lopped off one of his arms.
Just as he was about to scream, I smashed his mouth with the sword handle, breaking his teeth before I chopped his leg off.
He didn’t cry out when I chopped his leg off, because he had already passed out due to pain. That’s fine with me. I won’t have to look at his disgusting eyes again. I quickly and smoothly dismembered him thereafter, with my last swing separating his head from his body.
‘It’s all over now.’
I panted as I wiped my sweat off my forehead, only to find my hand was stained with blood.
‘How much blood am I drenched in? I can’t smell the irritating smell of blood anymore.’
‘Was it because a cool breeze blew by or was it because I had habituated to the stench of blood?’
I leaned on the Elven King sword. The blood had condensed on the originally smooth blade. Blood dripped into the puddles of blood. Everywhere I stepped, I stepped into blood.
‘How many people did I kill?’
‘I don’t know. There’s too many to count. But I’ve killed everyone here.’
I turned my head around to see Mom throw Castor’s King’s small body aside as if she was throwing a broken doll away. I straightened up my torso and continued panting. I licked the blood at the corner of my mouth, “I didn’t want to kill the kid. He’s just a kid. I don’t think he had anything to do with it.”
Elizabeth looked at me and shook her head. She replied, “His mother tried to kill my child, so I killed her child. It’s a fair exchange. If we must name a connection, he just had a mother he shouldn’t have had.”
‘How many did I kill before I became numb to it? I don’t know, but I don’t care anymore. These people all played a part in Luna’s death, so they all have to die. All of them had to die. They killed my Luna, so I had to kill them, too. That’s revenge. Revenge is addicting. How happy would I have been if I got to take Alice’s head back there?’
“Come here, my son.”
Elizabeth faced me and opened her arms. I walked over, and she came up to me to hug me tightly. She looked at my face, and then leaned in to lick the sticky blood on my face. The tip of her tongue slid over every inch of my nerves. After she licked the blood on my face, she put her tongue with blood on it into my mouth.
The taste of blood and warmth spread in my mouth. I shut my eyes and savoured the irritating, yet stimulating taste of blood. I tightly hugged Elizabeth.
‘I now understand why couples who die together have particular good relationships. It’s because the taste of blood is a couple’s best aphrodisiac.’
“Son, remember this taste. This is the taste of revenge.”
Elizabeth released me, and then licked the traces of blood at the corners of her mouth. She then looked into my eyes and softly added, “Mommy’s taste of revenge carries the fragrant taste of wine. Our vengeance carries a very strong stench of blood. You really are Mommy’s child. Mommy would be a little doubtful if we were in the past, but seeing your eyes now, Mommy no longer suspects it. You are Mommy’s child without question. Mommy once used the skull of Mommy’s enemy to drink wine. You can taste how revenge tastes this time, right?”
I looked at Elizabeth and clenched my teeth, “Unfortunately, I didn’t get to, personally, behead Alice. What I want to do most right now is kill Alice.”
Elizabeth gently stroked my cheek then responded softly, “You can’t kill Alice now, my son. If you want to become an Emperor, you need to eliminate all those who want to harm your people. Mommy used to worry that you might not have that courage. But are you still afraid of killing people?”
I didn’t reply. I just looked at the blood on the ground without uttering a word.
‘Yes, I’m no longer worried about killing people anymore. The joy of revenge is overwhelmingly amazing. The feeling of holding the Elven King sword right now didn’t feel weird. It felt as though I’ve held it for a long time already. It feels as though it’s a part of my arm. I may have been averse to killing people in the past, but I no longer mind it.’
‘Killing people is as simple as slicing bread.’
I only discovered my clothes were completely stained with blood once Elizabeth and I returned to the outside together. The blood stained the red carpet. Elizabeth looked at me, smiled and said, “Son, go and take a bath before you head out. However, don’t forget that you will be grounded for one month, so come back after you put Luna to rest.”
I nodded then looked at Elizabeth. I took in a deep breath and said, “Mom, there’s one more thing I hope that I can get your approval for.”
I looked at Elizabeth’s eye and made my request in a particularly serious tone, “Please make Nier Galadriel Rosvenor the next captain of the Valkyries.”
“Oh?” Elizabeth paused for a bit then chuckled, “You want to get involved with Mommy’s Valkyries? The Valkyries aren’t Alice’s everything. Some of the Valkyries died protecting you.”
I looked at Mom and sternly said, “Mom, I don’t intend to break up the Valkyries. I just want Nier to become the new captain of the Valkyrie squad. Mom, you’ve lost your personal bodyguard, so I shall protect you from now! If this palace is your cage, I’ll definitely break it!”
Elizabeth looked at me with astonishment. She suddenly extended her arms out and pulled me tightly into her arms. She stroked my back and sniffled next to my ear. She then softly said, “Thank you… Thank you… Son… Inard and Alice were the only ones who ever said they would protect me… This time, my son has told me he’ll protect me… Uhm, uhm, Mommy approves… Mommy will be waiting for you… Mommy will be waiting for you to break this cage…”