Lucia looked at me feeling slightly puzzled, “Your Highness, do you have time today?”
I nodded, “Lucia, come for a walk with me, just the two of us. Nier has to go for a check-up today. We haven’t gone out together in a long time, have we?”
Lucia paused for a moment then revealed a happy smile. She wrapped her arm around mine and replied, “Okay, okay, let’s go. Your Highness, let’s go out for a walk! I haven’t taken a good look around Troy City, yet. Let’s go, let’s go, Your Highness! Ah… Sorry… I might have to call you King soon…”
I pinched her face. Lucia giggled quietly then hugged my arm. We left together.
Lucia and I have been apart for a long time.
‘How long has it been since we’ve gone out to play?’
‘I remember going out every day on carefree strolls with Lucia when I just arrived here. I’d meet Mera, too. Thinking back on it, it feels as though those days of leisure never existed.’
The streets of Troy City are very similar to the Imperial Capital. Perhaps Vyvyan used her Imperial Capital as a reference when she created them. This business street made us feel as though we had returned to the elven Imperial Capital, Durgana. Lucia scanned the surrounding stores with lots of curiosity; she breathed in the sweet air as the two of us slowly walked through the street. We didn’t have any goal. We leave our next destination to where our feet bring us, just as we did in the past.
Lucia hugged my arm and softly continued, “I miss Durgana a little now…”
I turned my head to see Lucia with her face down. I touched her long ears and softly responded, “Me, too. I want to go back and see it, too. I haven’t been back in a long time. I miss the elven lands. Lucia, I have to make a trip back there very soon. Come with me when I return.”
“Will we still come back out?”
“Your Highness… I… I really… don’t want to continue this way…The incident last time, honestly, scared me. I never imagined that there would be someone who would attack you in the Royal Palace… Your Highness… let’s go home, okay…? I really don’t…. want for you to continue staying outside…”
I looked at Lucia’s gaze without saying anything.
Lucia is the one who’s most supportive of me. Lucia knows me more compared to Nier and supports me more. Lucia never even asks for my reasons regardless of what I do. Sometimes, she doesn’t even need to ask me to know what I want to do. Lucia grew up with me, so we have chemistry. She unconditionally supports me and has never stopped me.
This time, however, she was genuinely scared.
‘Perhaps seeing Luna’s corpse frightened her. Perhaps seeing the state I was in that night frightened her.’
‘Whatever the case, this was the first time Lucia begged me to not leave the elven lands.’
Truthfully, I could do that. I could go along with Mommy Vyvyan’s plan and successfully become the Elven King. If I was willing to, I could handle the politic affairs myself. If I wanted to slack off, I could dump it all on Mom. None of the elves intend to revolt. Due to my lineage and mana, they didn’t oppose me succeeding the throne. I could lead a peaceful life with Lucia in Durgana, sneaking out and strolling on the streets without a worry every day. Such a life wouldn’t carry any dangers with it. There’d be no ambitions, either. As long as I stayed with my wives and mom peacefully, my life would be safe and sound.
The elven side is forever my haven. No matter how bloody and turbulent the outside world is, it couldn’t pierce the barrier known as the forest. It couldn’t break through Vyvyan’s protection for me. Mommy Vyvyan has protected me for over ten years, leading to me being under the impression that the world outside was all flowers and roses until now.
When I return to the elven side, it’s harmonious as always.
‘But why do I refuse to return? Why? ‘
‘My heart desires to continue travelling outside, continuing on forever despite the rivers of blood and myself being covered in wounds. I’ve already given up so much. If I leave now, Luna and Mera will be very disappointed, won’t they?’
I clenched my teeth. I didn’t dare to look at Lucia. I, instead, looked ahead toward the end of the blue-stone street and softly replied, “Lucia, I might not return.”
Lucia didn’t say another word. She, instead, tightly hugged my arm. I didn’t dare to look at her, while she didn’t say another word. She just stuck to my arm. We stood in the middle of the street. We didn’t eat anything or buy anything this time. Instead, we were silent right from the start.
“It’s all right, Your Highness…”
A moment after, Lucia looked as though she wiped her eyes then looked up at me. I looked back at her and saw her tough-as-steel determination in her gaze. She smiled and continued, “It’s all right, Your Highness. I will always support you and always protect you… I just hope that you can rest for a bit during the few months that I can’t protect you. After that, I will stay by your side wherever you go. If you are in danger, I will protect you!”
I looked at Lucia’s small face. I looked at her eyes full of determination and love for me. I couldn’t resist hugging her tightly and giving her a firm kiss on her lips.
Lucia moaned softly then closed her eyes to respond to my kiss. She tightly hugged me back.
‘I think that our child in her belly is getting crushed…’
Lucia affectionately kissed me. She even exuded the unique scent she exudes on full-moon nights.
‘Is it because she’s pregnant? Why does it feel that Lucia is getting a little Nier-fied…?’
Lucia released me. She wiped my lips, and then earnestly said, “I will protect you… I promise!”
“I believe you. I believe you, Lucia; however, let me protect you in the future, as well… I don’t possess any combat specialities, but I’ll do my best to provide you and our child with a peaceful environment. I’ll make everyone bow down to me. I won’t let there be another betrayal, like that!”
Lucia looked at me. She clasped my face gently and softly responded, “I trust you. I trust… my husband… I’ll look after myself properly… In the future, I will definitely protect you… I won’t let you be in that sort of danger again, and I won’t… leave you.”
“Ah… I’m glad to hear that… I’m glad… Lucia… I love you very much… I really, really love you.”
Lucia hugged me tightly. She lightly rested her head on my chest, stroked my hand gently and tenderly said, “Me, too. Me, too, my husband… My only loved one…”
I stroked her cheek and with a smile, said, “Let’s go, Lucia. Let’s take a carefree stroll around as we did in the Imperial Capital.”
“Uhm! Let’s go, Your Highness.”