In short, I was really bothered the next day. I didn’t know what Elizabeth figured out. I didn’t know if she found out about something. I felt very awkward when I saw her the next day, but she didn’t say anything to me or change the way she interacted with me. I didn’t know if she sensed me there or not, but I didn’t dare to look straight at her.
Vyvyan sent me back after she was satisfied, so I was still by Lucia and Nier’s side when they woke up. Therefore, they didn’t notice anything.
Ying appeared before me for the first time. Vyvyan and Elizabeth couldn’t handle the food on the island. As a result, the two of them brought the bread on the ship over for themselves. Ying sat at the dining table in a somewhat awkward demeanour. The considerably westernised dishes were a new sight to her. I sliced two pieces of bread and handed them to her. I told her to use the butter and jam in front of her. While I was at it, I let her know there was hot tea and fruit by the side.
The Valkyries assumed maid duty, since none were present. They fulfilled the duties of a maid satisfactorily. They served breakfast up to the table, helped me with my napkin and everything else. There was a charm to watching the emotionless young girls serving us. They were very similar to how Nier originally was except she never had to look after me, since I had Luna back then. Nier was also very aggressive at the time. I remembered worrying she’d poison me.
I stole glances at Lucia and Nier. I then looked at Ying and quickly asked, “Ying, have you thought about it with Xia?”
Ying stopped moving for a moment. With a slice of bread in her hand, her eyes drifted over the people next to me. Nier and Lucia were very dissatisfied, but the two of them seemed to change their minds last night and weren’t against me bringing Ying. If I had to guess, I’d say it was because they were assured I wasn’t trying to keep Ying by my side due to having romantic feelings for her but to show sympathy, because she was my past self.
Nier used to detest my gentle version, while Lucia liked that gentle version of me more. Elizabeth and Vyvyan didn’t care who I brought back, as they considered it my personal business and not theirs. They neither liked nor hated Ying. Therefore, they had no opinion on my decision.
“We don’t have any opinion. We couldn’t be any happier if somebody was willing to take us in… However, I repeat, Xia is very dangerous. I’m not sure why she goes berserk, but if she does, then it takes a lot of power to stop her even for me. I don’t think I need to tell you about the losses suffered in the process.”
I replied, “It’s all right. Xia won’t go berserk if she doesn’t kill, right? The place I live at is very safe. There won’t be any dangers. Xia will be fine if she can continue living in peace as she is now. There’s no need to worry about anything. Ying, there’s one more thing. I hope you can become my bodyguard after coming with me. Aren’t you protecting the villagers here right now? I’d like to as you to protect me in the future.”
Surprised, Ying looked to Nier: “Miss Nier is more suited than I am. Miss Nier’s swordplay is far superior to my own. If you want to protect yourself, Miss Nier would be a better fit. If you choose me and she wants to kill you, I won’t be able to protect you.”
“Nier won’t want to kill me – unless she completely loses confidence in me.”
I glanced at Nier, who was somewhat curious about our conversation, and smiled. She couldn’t understand what we were talking about; she desperately wanted to know what we were talking about and how it pertained to her.
I had absolute trust in those by my side. They wouldn’t hurt me. Well, maybe with the exception of Lucia if she had a complete breakdown…
Ying mulled on the topic. She then questioned, “Do you want me to kill somebody, then?”
I shook my head: “Killing is the job of assassins, not yours. You’re a bodyguard, not an assassin. However, sometimes you will, indeed, need to kill, and that will be when somebody tries to kill me.”
Ying nodded: “I presume you’re some sort of lord, right? Your Nier killed very decisively, so I presumed you were very good at killing people. Judging from the way she killed brutally the villagers, who were of no threat to her, I reasoned she must’ve done so countless times in the past, which meant you must’ve given the order.”
Ying’s tone couldn’t be any calmer. I questioned myself as to whether or not she knew what she was doing. If she was being serious, then she just called a tyrant, a tyrant. If I truly was a tyrant, I would definitely feel affronted. Perhaps she just spoke her mind, because she doesn’t know how to socialise with others.
I looked to Nier and softly chuckled: “Those orders weren’t actually given by me. The truth is she was originally my mom’s guard, not mine. Those orders, mm, my mom was the one gave them.”
Ying asked, “What about you, then?’
Ying’s gaze looked as though she was confronting me for not helping the villagers when they were being attacked. Truthfully, I asked myself the same question countless times. I wanted to reach a definitive conclusion for the question, but my answer was forever just one word: powerless.
I couldn’t save them; it was too late by the time I called out. Moreover, if Mommy Elizabeth wanted to kill somebody, she’d definitely come up with a way to do so. It wasn’t something I could stop. I was no longer willing to recall the past. To me, that was all in the past.
I responded, “I saw how they brutally died that day. Having said that, did I not do anything? It’s simple. I couldn’t. I was just a powerless person there at the time. I had no right to behave brutally. I’m still powerless to do anything even now. All I can promise is that there won’t be brutal killing by my side.”
Ying eyes were somewhat odd. I didn’t know what she saw. I didn’t know what she could see in my eyes. Nevertheless, I found the answer a moment after. Ying stated, “You’re lying.”
“You’ve killed before and lots for that matter,” added Ying, as calm as if she was telling me I had jam on my face. “Your gaze tells me you’ve killed, and not just one person, but maybe a few, dozens, or hundreds. Your gaze can’t deceive anybody. I’ve seen the gaze of a killer; your gaze tells me you’ve killed.”
“So I don’t trust you. You’re the same as your mother. In reality, you’re the same. I’m not willing to stay by your side to protect you, because I might have my hands covered in blood. While I’m not a human, I still have my own form of conscience.” Ying then stood up: “I can’t be your bodyguard, sorry. I don’t want to kill for no rhyme or reason. I’m very worried. Sorry. If that can’t satisfy you, Xia and I shall leave. I don’t blame you nor do I hate anything. I just want to say that I don’t want to be your bodyguard.”
I stood up and shouted “Ying!!”
Ying stopped for a moment, but didn’t turn back around.
Lucia looked at Ying’s back. In a slightly surprised tone, she remarked, “Oh, wow. How rare. I’m surprised there’s a woman who’d reject His Highness. She’s the first one in history!”
Nier slowly and orderly placed down her knife for spreading jam. In a cold tone, she responded, “She’s not a human or elf, after all. But this is for the best. She refused him; that means it’s not our fault.”