“Mom, you’re out of dresses to wear, right?”
Mom smiled helplessly: “I still have some, but I think that perhaps it would be better if I wore a military uniform. I don’t want to have to come back to change again.”
The fact was I didn’t prepare too many dresses for Mom, since I knew she wasn’t accustomed to wearing them normally. She only had a total of five dresses. However, her remaining ones didn’t suit the occasion.
Mommy Elizabeth took out her usual military uniform, and then giggled: “It appears that dresses don’t suit Mommy, after all. Mommy wanted to leave everybody with a good impression. At the very least, not a version of myself with such intense murderous intent, but it seems that I still messed up. Looks like I’ll be sticking to the old me.”
“It’s fine, Mom.” I shook my head, and then looked at her naked back. In a soft voice, I said, “I like you no matter how you are, Mom. It doesn’t matter how others see you. You don’t need to change yourself. Just show off the most authentic version of you. I like you, Mom, not a particular type, but you, Elizabeth Rosvenor, my mom.”
Elizabeth paused for a moment before chuckling. She pulled over her undershirt and her military coat on the bed. She said, “Son, who did you learn to sweet talk from? Did you pick it up from having so many wives? Mommy doesn’t hate it, but Mommy thinks that it’s best not to be a philanderer. A woman’s wrath is sometimes intense enough to burn an entire continent.”
“Like you in the past and Mommy Vyvyan?”
“That’s right.” Mommy Elizabeth honestly admitted it, and then smiled, “Women are very terrifying when they’re angry, especially when it’s a woman that loves you and also wields power. That’s even more frightening. You know, Son, a woman at a nation on the other side of the ocean became a regent. It sounds as though they went and exterminated a royal family that’s existed for almost a century. Therefore, a woman’s fury and jealousy are very frightening things. However, she’s not entirely to blame.
The previous King of that nation had a mistress and didn’t dare to admit to it, yet he had an illegitimate daughter and almost killed her. The throne now belongs to that illegitimate daughter of his, but that’s quite good. If he didn’t have her, somebody would’ve had to succeed the throne. Fortunately, they have four kids, which is really nice.”
I nodded: “Mom, I heard about it from Vyvyan… About your plan, that is.”
Elizabeth froze stiff in place. She was dumfounded and didn’t say anything for a long time. I didn’t speak, either. It was too awkward to just look at each other. A pink tinge, highlighted by the moonlight, surfaced on Mom’s cheeks. I gently cleared my throat: “Mom, the method isn’t impossible, but… what I mean is, if you can hide it, then I’m fine with it. Having said that, the time needed is too long. You would need to wait another eighteen years before you can leave that place.”
Elizabeth forced a smile and responded in a soft tone: “As long as I have a child to take care of, forget eighteen years, I’d be fine with twenty eight years. Don’t think anything of it, Son. It was just a very stupid idea I had. It’s not plausible. Mommy didn’t actually plan to do it, either. It won’t work. It works for Vyvyan, but not us.”
Elizabeth sat down on the bed. She looked at her military uniform and coat. Tone soft, she elaborated, “You don’t need to mind it too much, Son. Didn’t I tell you? Don’t worry about these things today. We went through a lot to be reunited, so why think about separation? Moreover, I’m Inard’s wife. While he is no longer here, I was his wife, still am and will still be in the future.”
I threw Mom’s military uniform flew up into the air; it landed gently on the ground where the moonlight shone, stirring up a sensual wave. Mom’s eyes were centimetres away from mine. I could see her eyelashes budge in the moonlight. Her eyelashes were akin to the clock handle keeping time and tracking the moon. She was both surprised and bemused. Our lips were tightly locked together.
I pushed Mommy Elizabeth firmly down onto the bed, and then gave her an earnest kiss. She looked at me sluggishly and responded clumsily. She looked at me quite surprised, and then broke free. She supported me with her hands on my chest. She looked at me with confusion and asked, “Son, what’s wrong with you?”
“Why must you mention my dad…?”
“Why must you mention my dad in my presence?!” I pressed my hands down on Mom’s arms, pinning her to the bed and loudly exclaimed, “Consider it me being wilful! Mom, I don’t want you to always be mentioning my dad in my presence. He’s dead. He left you when you needed him most! He was never by your side!”
“You can’t say that about your dad!” Exasperated, Elizabeth aggressively broke free of my grasp, and then grabbed my collar with one hand. She reproached me in an angry and serious tone, “He’s your dad! Do you think he didn’t want to be by your side? Do you think he didn’t want to be by my side? He couldn’t help it!! The elves wouldn’t accept me. I would’ve died if I went back. Vyvyan wouldn’t help me, because she’s a Galadriel, not your father’s ally!”
“Isn’t that the same position I’m in right now?!”
I looked at Mommy Elizabeth and pressed my hands down on her shoulder. I raised my voice as I shouted, “I’m now in the exact same position as he was back then! I want to bring you out from Hilles City, but I don’t have any way of doing so, either! I’m as powerless as my father was. My father left you because of his own powerlessness, married Vyvyan – his own sister – then gave birth to me and lived a normal life. What about you?! You had to struggle with the pain of almost having your entire nation annihilated! You fought on the frontlines! Why do you still love him?! He gave up on you after realising he was powerless, and instead, lived the life you wanted with his sister. I may not yet have a way, but I’m still trying. I’m thinking up all sorts of ways to allow you to leave that bird cage. Are you not willing to spare me a look?!”
Elizabeth was stunned. She looked at my expression of anger and hopelessness. She released my collar and cupped my face. She slid her fingers around on my cheeks: “Son… Could you… me…”
“Ah… That’s right. I don’t know why… nor do I know when, but it’s precisely because I’m my father’s son that I want to tell you right now that I like you. I love you. Mom! I know that Vyvyan was right. I know how important my future and the evaluation others have of me is, but compared to you, none of that is even worth mentioning. I just want for you to be by my side, too. Nier, Lucia, Vyvyan, you, I want all of you to stay by my side!”