“When did you board the ship?”
“Please don’t get the wrong idea. If I knew my son’s position, I would never board your ship. Additionally, I thought that your ship was too simple. Your body became a mana vessel a long time ago. It’s way too simple for me to follow you. While I’m at it, it’s pretty convenient to use you as a transportation point.”
Vyvyan coldly glanced at Elizabeth. Elizabeth stood on the deck, dressed in her usual battle attire with her hand on her sword by her waist. She indifferently looked at the vast sea in front of her. All of the ships headed east, specifically where her son disappeared, at top speed. Elizabeth said to Vyvyan, “I swear I’m going to blow up all of the mountains in the east. I’m going to build a dock in the east!”
Elizabeth looked behind at her crew and thundered, “Are you sailing at top speed?! Head there at top speed! My son’s situation is unknown right now. The faster the better! The faster the better! If you can reach there a day earlier, I’ll give you all a gold block!”
“Your Majesty, we have never been in this region of the ocean. We, therefore, may run into danger if we go full speed!”
“Just go full speed,” Vyvyan interjected, standing on the deck with her eyes shut and arms open. “I’ll be your eyes and help you see all of the reef and hazards. The direction of the wind has changed, as well. Just sail full speed.”
The sailor looked dumbfounded. Elizabeth aggressively stabbed her sword into the deck and brayed, “What are you all looking at?! Hurry up and do as she says night and day!”
“Yes, Your Majesty!”
Though they didn’t believe Vyvyan, nobody dared to defy Elizabeth’s command. Standing on the deck, Vyvyan’s clothes wildly danced energetically in the wind. Elizabeth walked up to her side and gazed at the vast sea before her. In a soft voice, Elizabeth queried, “Was it wise to leave Nona and Vera behind?”
“I’ve sent them to Duargana and entrusted them to Lucia’s father. It’ll be fine at Duargana,” answered Vyvyan. “I’m most worried about my son at the moment. I borrowed Lucia’s body to sense him. I sensed him nearby. He’s the one with the strongest mana in the area. There’s no mana in the area whatsoever, so I’m certain.”
“That’s good news. We’ll be able to find him once we arrive.”
“No, there’s another source of power with him, but I can’t identify what it is. It seems as if my son’s mana is attracting that power toward him. My instincts tell me it’s very dangerous. Moreover, this source of power is right at his side. Being the kind boy that he is, he definitely won’t suspect those around him.” Vyvyan clenched her teeth before carrying on: “I want to go and protect my son. Elizabeth, did you know I’ve never had a single second in my life where I’ve felt I can’t defeat somebody? That power is incredibly menacing. If I’m a demi-god, then that power would be my other half.”
Vyvyan solemnly explained, “I might need you this time, Elizabeth. He might be formidable, but he might not be able to defeat you in close-quarters combat. Our only option is to join hands if we’re to rescue my son.”
Elizabeth frigidly responded, “Say no more. It’s a given that I’ll protect my child. My confidence will never waver when it comes to protecting him. If somebody dares to hurt my son, I’ll kill them even if it costs me my life.”
Vyvyan opened her eyes: “Hehe.”
Elizabeth: “What are you laughing for?”
“I just recalled how we saved Inard back then. You wore the same expression you’re wearing now. The exact same. You wore a cold expression, but I was more anxious than you. I know you’re not lying. You’ll definitely kill them even if it costs you your life if you see them, right?”
Vyvyan didn’t give Elizabeth a chance to reply. She elaborated, “I feel Troy is becoming more and more similar to Onii-sama except that he’s not as confident. Nonetheless, he’s not any less courageous. Honestly speaking, that’s the type we like, huh?”
Vyvyan responded without qualms: “Ah, no, I’m possessive. My son has always been by my side. I don’t want to hand him over to anyone. He’s my treasure and my child. I don’t ever want to leave him; I want to be by his side. From your perspectives, the relationship between my son and I may be very strange. From my perspective, the strange one is you, no?”
Elizabeth didn’t respond. She looked back at vast sea. Only after a short moment did she reply in a soft voice: “Very similar. Truly very similar. From the side of his face, his eyes and especially the affectionate gaze he looks at Nier with. That makes my heart ache. That gaze was meant to be mine.”
“So, what do you plan to do? My son and we belong to different eras. What would you be considered if you stood next to Nier and the rest? Don’t treat Troy as Inard just because they resemble each other.”
Vyvyan closed her eyes. Elizabeth fingers shifted back and forth on her sword. Vyvyan could imagine how angry and reluctant Elizabeth’s expression looked without opening her eyes. Elizabeth couldn’t help it, though. Vyvyan was right. Elizabeth was aware she was the abnormal one compared to Vyvyan, but Elizabeth also knew it could never work out for her.
“How many layers of masks have I worn? The Empress of the empire, the God of War, Inard’s wife, Troy’s mother… What is it that I truly want, underneath all those layers? What identity do I want? The truth is that I always knew what I want and when, but I will never have what I desire. I wanted freedom when I was young. Then, I wanted Inard. Now, I want Troy.But I can’t have them,” Elizabeth told herself.
Elizabeth sighed softly. She then turned and said, “I’ll leave this place to you for now, Vyvyan. I’m going to go and rest for a bit.”
Vyvyan remarked, “You want to find someplace with nobody around to cry as Freya did? You’re not a small petite girl like her.”
Without turning to face Vyvyan, Elizabeth coldly responded, “One more word from you, and I’ll sever your limbs.”
Elizabeth tightly gripped her sword handle and walked off to the cabin, fast as if she was running away. Was she running away from her fate or was she simply racing her tears, afraid they’d fall to the ground before she did?
I vigorously sat up and panted for air. I stared at my palm as I panted for air. Tears fell pit pat onto my hand. I dreamt of Mommy Elizabeth. I dreamt of her back disappearing further and further away. I dreamt of her beautiful smile. I wanted to call out to her and embrace her, but I couldn’t even catch the corner of her cape. I wanted to shout and run, but I couldn’t budge.
“Did you have a nightmare?”
I heard a voice from my side. I turned to see Ying’s face.
“I heard you tragically crying out a name, so I came to check on you. I’m glad you’re all right,” said Ying. She stood up then asked, “Is your wife named Elizabeth?”
“No. That’s my mom.”
Ying lowered her head in silence. I suddenly realised she didn’t have parents. But just as I wanted to apologise, she turned softly asked, “You miss home?”
“If you do, rest up well so that you can return sooner.”
Ying left without waiting for my response. I blankly watched her leave. Inside my mind, however, all I saw was Mommy Elizabeth’s suave, yet lonely, back…