We arrived at Ling Yue’s house at night. I had visited twice in the past and each time I visited, it felt empty and dead. This time, however, there were flames inside the building, brightening it up. The armour of the guards at the entrance shined thanks to the flames, and there was also noise coming from inside the building.
Ling Yue couldn’t even start a fire the first time I came to her house. I thought I was visiting a cemetery that time. The house finally became a house with life. I presume Ling Yue enjoyed a blissful life inside, as well. Although her family didn’t cohabitate with her anymore, it was still considered a habitable home.
We walked over and handed our horses over to the stableman. Ling Yue knew we were coming. I saw her excitedly and cheerfully look at us standing from her home.
I dismounted. Freya bounced up and down on her slightly numb legs. I stroked her head. We then went to the entrance together with everyone. Ling Yue ran over to me with joy, leapt up and tightly hugged me. I princess carried her with a smile. She tightly hugged me as if she was a spider, even clinging to me with her tail. I spun around a few times with her in my arms as I listened to her cheerful laughter by my ear.
I set her back down and touched her ear: “How are you, Ling Yue? Is life here all right for you?”
Ling Yue nodded while making a fanning motion with her tail as though she would toss her tail off if she could. She grabbed hold of my hand and replied with a smile: “Although my home isn’t as prosperous as it once was, it’s not bad. I don’t feel as lonely here anymore, either. I have you to thank for that, my husband.”
I nodded: “I’m glad as long as you’re not lonely. I was very worried you were lonely. I came here this time to check out the Brilliant Moon Stones mine and to see you.”
“Uhm. I know. I knew that you would come to see me.” Ling Yue gave a firm nod and then tugged me as she said, “Let’s go. Let’s go. Come in! Let’s have dinner together. Let’s talk over dinner. We can talk about it afterwards, too. I’m fine with talking until daybreak or daytime even. Come.”
She dragged me into the house. The house was the same as before, except that there were now busy maids. Ling Yue held my hand and spoke about a variety of things with a smile by my side. For instance, she told me where she discovered the things left behind by her tribe, the flowers she planted blooming again, how she was now starting a flower garden and taking care of a lawn and so forth. However, I wasn’t paying attention, as my gaze was fixed on the maids who were coming and going.
I didn’t feel a particular way about the maids nor was there anybody I paid specific attention to. It was just that their uniform was the exact same as Luna’s. Perhaps I was overthinking it, or perhaps I was a little oversensitive. All of the maids in humanity’s Royal Palace wore the same uniform, but for some reason, I felt that Luna was everywhere in Ling Yue’s house.
She seemed to be running carrying blue uniforms, but also as though she was jogging with a candle in hand. It felt as though she was wiping the handrails of the stairs with a cloth, but it also felt as though she we went up on her toes to light up the candles on the walls. I watched the maids busy themselves. They all wore different expressions that continued to change, but I felt as though one of them was Luna. I felt as though Luna was among them and smiling at me.
“Welcome home, Your Majesty!”
I suddenly stood up and pulled a maid who came running over with her head down. She shrieked and swiftly spun her head around to reveal a terrified expression to me. The head cloth she wore dropped off as a result of my sudden tug, revealing her light brown hair and human ears. She trembled in fear when she looked at me. All of us stopped to look at her.
“What’s wrong? Did she bump into you?” Ling Yue looked at the maid with a frown as though she was reproaching her for being careless.
“No… Miss… I did not…” stuttered the maid, while trembling.
I tightly gripped the maid’s arm as I looked at her face.
“Your Majesty…” Freya poked my lower back and warned me in a soft voice.
Tanya had drawn her dagger at her waist as she continued to vigilantly watch the maid. She’d probably slit the maid’s throat as soon as I gave the order. I didn’t know how my expression looked, but afterwards, Freya told me my expression resembled ice that had condensed at the bottom of a well for millenniums.
“Sorry,” I apologised.
She wasn’t Luna.
Luna wouldn’t appear again. I knew that. Luna left me a long, long time ago. I kept her maid uniform in my room after her departure. All of the belongings she left behind were inside my drawer. Her corpse was in the sea of flowers in the South. She was asleep in her hometown.
Luna had passed away just as Mera and Philes had. They were all dead. They would never appear by my side again. We were doomed to not share the same future. All I was left with were memories of the past. I always spent time sincerely recalling them from their faces to the things they did. I’d recall the time we spent together in the warm sun and their smiles. I was genuinely afraid. I was afraid that I one day wouldn’t be able to recall them. I was afraid that I wouldn’t remember how they look and what they did. We only had memories remaining. If I lost even those memories, who would see the path they walked? Who would see the things they went through with me?
I released the maid. She fearfully looked at me and took a step back with her head down before running off. I watched her light brown hair flutter in the wind. I silently picked up her head cloth from the ground. Ling Yue looked at me with a confused look. She asked, “What’s wrong? You’re a little odd today. What was with that maid just now?”
“Nothing. I just remembered someone of the past. A girl I once loved.”
Freya frowned. In a quiet voice, she said, “Your Majesty, I do not think it is appropriate for you to think of Miss Luna who has passed away right now… After all, Miss Luna has passed away… while you are meeting with Miss Ling Yue today.”
“Uhm…” I took hold of Ling Yue’s hand and smiled: “Sorry, Ling Yue. I might be a little neurotic. It is indeed not a good idea for me to think of Luna right now. Ling Yue, you know I love you…”
Ling Yue covered my mouth then smiled: “You don’t need to say anymore. It’s fine. I don’t mind. However, I hope that you can look at me when you are here.”
I stroked Ling Yue’s face: “Uhm, I understand. I understand.”
Ling Yue turned around to lead me up ahead. I turned my head around to look in the direction the maid vanished. I seemed to catch the image of somebody in black zip past…
‘Was that Luna? Was I seeing things or what? ‘
Truthfully, though, I truly wished that what I saw and heard wasn’t my own imagination. Even if it was a final look Luna left me with, I’d be able to feel a sense of bliss from remembering her.
‘But why would I randomly think of Luna?’