All of my luggage as well as all other matters had been prepared. My next step was to head to Socina City.
I couldn’t look Elizabeth straight in the face after the festival. Elizabeth was well aware of my distress, though, so she didn’t mention it once. To be honest, I couldn’t come to grips with the fact that I confessed to my mother. I honestly didn’t know that it was Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s mouth felt and tasted the exact same as Nier’s, and her lips were just as soft. I couldn’t tell at all.
Luckily, my wives didn’t know or pay attention to it.
‘I need something to distract myself with right now, so that I can stop thinking about it.’
‘But I must say… Mom’s lips are really soft… They’re as impressive as Nier’s and Lucia’s. No wonder why I was so passionate when we kissed.’
Freya came into my bedroom and made a small bow, “Onii-sama, you can set out tomorrow. Everything is prepared and the guards are ready, as well.”
I looked at Freya and replied, “All right, got it. Thank you, Freya. But, I didn’t see you at the festival last night. Did you not come?”
Freya looked at me in an odd way and pouted, “Ah, no… I did go. I cannot believe you dare mention that. I cannot believe you did not recognise me!”
“Ah, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. There were too many people, so I didn’t see you. But I swear, I earnestly searched for you. It’s just that I didn’t end up finding you. It absolutely wasn’t because I didn’t search!”
“Hmm… I shall trust you, then, Onii-sama.” Freya chuckled, and then continued, “The fireworks I asked the elves to create this time were not bad, were they? They were able to add shapes and colours to it as you saw.”
“Indeed, they were very nice.”
I nodded then walked up to Freya. I rubbed her small head and went on, “Freya, you and Her Majesty will be the only ones in the palace when I head to Socina this time. Her Majesty is not good at taking care of people. Therefore, I’ll need to rely on you to look after Nier and Lucia. Luna is no longer here, so there are no personal servants in the room. As such, I’ll have to bother you.”
Freya nodded. She then proudly responded, “That is fine. Leave it to me, Onii-sama! There will be no problems, for I have taken care of them for a long time already! The Princesses bellies are starting to protrude now. I will soon be able to see your child, right?! I am looking forward to it! You and the Princess are both so good looking; therefore, your child must be very cute, too.”
I laughed then firmly rubbed her head. I said, “It’s still too soon to say that. Nevertheless, after my child is born, I won’t be running around outside so much anymore. How do I put it? I feel as though I’m running out of time.”
“You need not worry, Onii-sama! My responsibility is to be responsible for your safety and your career. It is fine if you need to look after your family, as I am your sister!”
“Your failure of a brother is always bothering you.”
“That allows me to stay by your side without worry.”
Freya hugged me with a smile, and then looked up at me. With a smile she said, “Onii-sama, depend on me. Depend on me, Onii-sama. That way, I can think that you need me, and consequently let me continue to stay by your side… because… I do not have any right to, otherwise…”
“You do and will always have the right, because you are my sister, my most beloved sister.”
I cut Freya off as I pulled her into my tight embrace. She shuddered, and then hesitantly wrapped her arms around my waist. I didn’t resist her. Freya hugged me with reassurance. She smiled as she leaned into my chest and tightened her arms. She softly said, “Uhm… I know. I know…Thank you… brother… You, too, are my… most beloved brother…”
“So, what exactly happened?! Why did I receive an emergency about an attack while I was at Troy City?! It was just a pack of trolls, and yet you dared to call me back?! Didn’t I give you the authority to deal with them?! You called me back from my son’s side just because of a single attack?!”
Vyvyan aggressively hurled the cup in her hand toward the elders. She sat in her throne feeling frustrated, as she looked at the elders trembling below. The elders exchanged glances with each other. One of them then fearfully spoke up, “Your Highness… we are very sorry… it is just that the attacking force was honestly too big. Both of our armies were attacked… Based on their numbers, they were more than all of the hordes that attacked in winter combined…”
“That’s bound to happen in spring. Isn’t this an annual occurrence now?”
Vyvyan tugged her blonde hair with irritation. She bit down on her lip and exclaimed, “Just let the vanguard armies handle it. Are you telling me that you want me to personally head up North? I don’t know what the situation is when I’m in the Imperial Capital. If I hastily give commands, it will only affect our frontlines’ judgement!”
“No… that is not what I mean… Your Highness… it is just… just… the horde this time was too large. It was far larger than previous hordes. We were worried that, perhaps, the Northern tribes wanted to attack us, and hence, we called you back.”
Vyvyan lingered for a moment, and then sat up straight. She looked at the elders below while contemplating to herself in silence for a long time.
“Umm… Your Highness… We feel that it is somewhat dangerous. Based on the magnitude and frequency of their attacks, two armies alone are not enough to handle them… If this is a scouting mission before their actual attack, we will be at too much risk. Your army is still stationed at humanity’s border right now. Thus we called for you to come back and personally assume command…”
Vyvyan nodded. She stood up, “You’re right. I apologise for my irritation at the start. We should, indeed, take heed here. I shall now order the army in the South to return to the North. Additionally, I shall have all armies in battle status. This attack was a little dangerous, so I shall personally prepare to do battle at any time as w(ell)-…”
Vyvyan suddenly stopped, thereby leaving her sentence unfinished. She quickly pressed her hand onto her belly, and then took back what she said. She wore a complex expression. After a short pause, she sighed, “I shall stay inside the Imperial Capital. I have not been feeling well recently, so I cannot move about carelessly. Also, have the paths that lead here been sealed off?”
The elders responded with awkwardness, “Yes, they have. However, we can only guarantee that we elves will not be attacked. As for humanity… We are unable to help there.”
“Ah… I’m aware of that. I’ll go and see Elizabeth about that.”
Vyvyan nodded before continuing, “Remember, do not slack with regards to this. We must ensure that our armies are ready to go to battle at all times. I think that if they want more than simply just food, then they might be after our spring water. We cannot lose our elven spring no matter what! We must not lose it!”