“Your Majesty, what plans do you have in regards to the discussion in the conference hall?”
“Plans?” repeated Elizabeth. The Empress narrowed her eyes to look at the blood groove of the sword in her hand. Without looking at Castell next to her, she said, “Do my ideas mean anything for the North? Does it mean anything for us? Is it in any way meaningful to the elves? It’s meaningless. Why would I waste my energy thinking about it?”
“It is not meaningless, Your Majesty. The North is now in His Majesty’s hands, while our army is also stationed in the North. The land belongs to us. Our alliance with the elves should end here, which means that we should consider what to do with the land.”
The Empress placed the long sword in her hand down then snickered. “There’s no need to even fight for it. The elves won’t want that land, because the elves can’t survive in the cold. Furthermore, the North is the elves’ cemetery. They don’t want the place. To be frank, Castell, I really never thought you’d ask me this question. That bunch doesn’t understand that elves can’t survive in the freezing cold, and they don’t know the significance of the North to the elves, but you’re a human who’s been active in the elven lands. Are you telling me you don’t know that?”
Castell couldn’t answer. He lowered his head hopelessly. Truthfully, he wasn’t bringing it up for humanity’s sake or for the right to rule the North. He just felt that Elizabeth hadn’t taken the initiative to say anything or do anything ever since returning. He was worried that his Empress’ mind was still at Troy City, thereby affecting her work. Nonetheless, he now realised that she actually wasn’t giving the North any of her attention. She had already decided on the matters before and after the war.
The elves were doomed to never acquire the lands in the North, so it was bound to be humanity’s.
“I don’t want to discuss the North, not because it’s bound to become ours. That’s just one reason. Frankly, I don’t want the land in the North at all,” explained Elizabeth. She then sheathed her sword. “My son was the one who captured the North, not me. The right to rule the North belongs to my son, not me, so regardless of what you discuss or what request you might have, it’s all pointless. It belongs to my son, not me.”
Castell froze for a moment. He then looked at Elizabeth and in a dumbfounded manner asked, “Your Majesty, that place is ours… It…”
The Empress narrowed her eyes. “My son is my son, and I am me. My son didn’t do anything for himself because of my identity or rule. Furthermore, not only is he my son, but also the Elven Prince, albeit my reluctance to admit that. There is no way that he will pass the right to rule the North to either side, either. What my son has been after has never been to be a successor, who sits on his laurels in peace, waiting to be crowned. He wants his own land and his own authority to rule.”
“But would this be considered a revolt against us? What significance does His Majesty’s land in the North mean to us? Are they our allies, our vassal state or what?”
“My son is not trying to become a vassal state. He what he wants is his own land and his own independent nation.”
Elizabeth sat down to the side and looked to the North. With a slight smile, she said, “But I don’t want to rule the North. That is a nation my son established. That’s the rule my son established with his own efforts. That’s his dream and home. How could I destroy it? I never had any plans to achieve world conquest. I simply wanted to revive my nation, and I’ve done that.”
“That means His Majesty is not your son, but the ruler of a nation. He is no longer a son in your presence, but a monarch on equal footing with you.”
Elizabeth revealed a slightly melancholic smile and responded in a lonely tone. “His time as my son was honestly too short, so short that I don’t feel anything. I never raised him. I just want to satisfy his desires. I will support what he does as long as it’s reasonable, since he’s my son.”
“So you want to borrow our strength to build a nation in our North?”
“Our strength?” repeated Elizabeth, emphasising those words. She smiled. “Castell, have you gotten something wrong? Besides sending out our military, my son’s every move was his own decision, and he personally acted upon them. He was the one who came up with a way to break through the valley, and he was the one who made his own new weapon. What do you mean he borrowed our strength?”
Castell looked at Her Majesty and responded, “Last question, then. Your Majesty, you must know that he is your only child. He has gone to the North. Now what about you? Who will rule your empire in the future? You must pass the empire to His Majesty once you age, but what would passing your empire to the monarch of another nation be considered?”
Elizabeth didn’t reply or look back at him. Instead, she stood up and walked over to her desk to examine the map on it. She had made several heavy marks on the position of the North, leaving a behind deeply etched pen marks on the map. The North was now her son’s land. She wanted to satisfy her son’s desire. She had previously contemplated Castell’s question, but she hadn’t decided what to do as of yet.
‘What should I do so that my empire and my son’s nation don’t come into conflict? What do I do? I definitely need a successor for my empire, but my son is not going to be here. His nation is in the North. It would be solved if I could still have another child. If I had another child, I wouldn’t have to deal with this problem. My husband has passed away, though. How am I going to have child on my own?’
Vyvyan appeared in Elizabeth’s mind. A very frightening idea surfaced into Elizabeth’s mind. She froze. She was frightened by her own idea just now.
‘What am I thinking?’
Elizabeth wanted to slap herself.
‘He’s just my son. My son even has a wife already. How can I do that with my son? Moreover, he’s not my husband!’
“I love you, Mom,” recalled Elizabeth.
Elizabeth touched her lips. She suddenly remembered her son tightly embracing her in her room back at Troy City. She recalled that he was very tall, and she recalled the embrace that was similar to the embrace her husband once gave her. It was as though he was her husband… Elizabeth’s hand stopped on her lips. Her gaze looked hazy as she recollected it. Suddenly, she felt that the idea she just conjured up was plausible…