“Mom!! I need them alive!! I need a few alive!!”
Mommy Vyvyan’s fury had begun to come down on the anthropods, but she fulfilled my wish in the end, nevertheless. She left around several thousands of anthropoids alive on the dark ground.
They were frozen stiff on the ground. They were clueless as to what to do without their commander. Their eyes were filled with utter terror. The soldiers, who came out from the city, restrained them with iron chains properly, and then threw them into the iron prisons before settling things down around the city walls’ vicinity.
“Don’t let them die. I still have a use for them.”
I pointed at them, and then reformed the ranks. My guard unit was exhausted. Their clothes were torn and tattered. They no longer looked as awe-inspiring as they did before. Many of them no longer even had a weapon. They resembled a group of refugees when they stood together. However, what made me saddest was their loss.
I lost a number of my guards again. They’re elites who’ve have gone through many battles. Every time we suffered a loss, it was an irreplaceable loss. The militia lost close to a third of their personnel. They fought on the frontlines right from the start. They created distance for my guards’ shots, therefore suffering the most significant losses, as well.
Tanya walked up to my side. Her small body was covered all over in blood. Nobody knew where her hat had flown off to. Her hair was sticky with blood. It was as if she had glue in her hair. She grabbed my cape and tugged at it. She looked up at me, and I looked back at her. I smiled and stroked her head, but all I could feel was sticky blood.
“Good job, Tanya, very good.”
Tanya seemed to want to say something. I looked at her with curiosity. I didn’t know what she wanted to say, or perhaps, hear. She looked up at me. She appeared to be a little embarrassed.
“Hmm? If it’s a reward you want, wait for us to get into the city first. You can have anything you want.”
I smiled and went to pull my hand back, but she suddenly caught my hand and placed it on her face. She shifted her eyes away in a shy manner and muttered, “Blood…”
“Blood… on face…”
I suddenly understood what she wanted to say. She wanted me to wipe the blood off her face as I did last time. Tanya shut her eyes, and I smiled. I cut off a section of my cape. It was dirty, as well, but it could wipe the blood off her face. I clasped her face and carefully wiped the blood off her face. She shut her eyes and looked as though she really enjoyed me wiping the blood off her face.
I tossed the piece of cloth, which was now covered in blood, away. She looked up, and I pinched her face, “Wash it off properly once we get back. Wash all that blood off.”
The corner of Tanya’s mouth twitched as if she wanted to smile, but it vanished in an instant as though it never existed. I turned around, but she quickly stepped up behind me. She grabbed my cloak again and softly muttered, “… Thank you.”
When I turned around again, the remaining Valkyries in Troy City came out with Elizabeth. Elizabeth rode alone at the front. She completely ignored Vyvyan, who was taking care of the injured Earth Dragon riders on the side, and leapt at me. She didn’t even dismount first. She jumped off her horse while it was still travelling fast. She staggered a few steps before hugging me tightly.
“Son, son… You’re fine. I’m so glad that you’re fine… You scared Mommy to death… You scared Mommy to death!”
Mommy Elizabeth wasn’t clean. Her fragrance and the stench of blood were mixed together, causing me to almost suffocate. However, I felt completely reassured in her tight embrace. I hugged her back tightly, and her tears rolled down uncontrollably. I finally realised that I was shaking a little.
‘Am I scared?’ Why was I fearless when I faced the anthropoids charging at me, yet am now shaking a little in Mom’s embrace?’
I was actually shaking all over. I shook from head to toe in Mom’s embrace. Elizabeth’s black hair wrapped itself around me. She sobbed, “Son… Son… Mommy was so scared…. Mommy was honestly… so worried about you… but it’s all right… It’s fine… I’m so glad that you’re still alive… I’m so glad… Son… You’ve very strong… You’re honestly very strong now!”
“Mom… Mom… I’m really… really… scared…”
I ignored all that formality, reputation stuff and leaned on Mom’s neck as I choked on my words.
Elizabeth gave me firm strokes on my back. She looked at me with reassurance and proudly said, “Don’t be scared; don’t be scared. Son, you did fantastic. We all saw you. You truly are my child! The courage and determination you showed didn’t pale in comparison to mine back then!”
We then heard somebody clear their throat between us. We looked up and over; we saw Vyvyan there with a cold smile. She pressed her hands on our shoulders and snickered, “You two, especially you, Woman, why are you getting all intimate with the son of another person in front of his mother? Are you my son’s wife or something? Also, I’m the one who saved my son. Weren’t you just watching from atop the city wall?”
“Where were you when my Son was on the frontlines? All you did was rock up when it was about to end and act as a messiah. I fought for my son on the city wall. I fought against those disgusting things up on those city walls for so long for my Son. My Son and I won this battle. Meanwhile, you hid in the backlines. You don’t deserve to enjoy the glory of this victory!”
Unaccepting of the criticism of her, Elizabeth fired back with her own rebuttal as she looked at Vyvyan, feeling irate. Vyvyan looked at her with a cold look and responded in a spooky tone, “I didn’t say anything after you stole my brother, and yet you’re going to steal my son now? I won’t let you do anything to my Troy in my presence, you shameless woman!”
Elizabeth jolted her body. She looked at me and Vyvyan with utter disbelief. Her lips trembled. In a dumbfounded tone, she stuttered, “You two… you two… could you… two…”
I didn’t dare to meet Elizabeth’s eyes. Vyvyan snickered then touched her abdomen and replied, “Although it was for Lucia’s sake, you should understand it. Our feelings for each other are much deeper than his and yours, aren’t they? Do you think my son would do this sort of thing with any random woman?”
Elizabeth was lost for words. Depression surfaced in her gaze, but there was also pain in there. Vyvyan looked at me with a smug look akin to that of a victor. She wrapped her arm around mine, “Since the battle has been settled, let’s have a rest now. Then we’ll decide what to do next with these anthropoids that have come after us. Let’s go, Son.”
I struggled to turn around. Vyvyan used her dominating power and aura that I couldn’t resist against to force me to walk into the city. I desperately turned my head to see Elizabeth, frozen in place, looking at the ground and spaced out.
I felt that… I did something wrong…