Woman Who Grants Destinies
“Oh, so you’re the new Valkyrie. It’s a rare for Her Majesty to favour anyone. I hope you’ll earnestly work here, since you’re trusted and possess the competence. The Valkyries are Her Majesty’s bodyguards, and a squad embodying honour and dignity. I hope you won’t embarrass the squad.”
Nier was quite shocked when she saw the petite and short woman in front of her. She was a little perplexed as to how a petite woman no different to a kid was able to lead the squad. However, she judged her doubt to be rude, so she didn’t ask. Nevertheless, the woman seemingly read her mind. Perhaps, everybody who met her for the first time wondered the same thing. As such, the woman nonchalantly chuckled, “Nier, I know what you’re thinking, but you must bear in mind that even I can pierce your heart if you add the length of a sword to the equation. Therefore, don’t underestimate the sword of a child. Moreover, I’m around Her Majesty’s age.”
Nier felt guilty, since she never expected to be read. Fortunately, the woman wasn’t mad; otherwise, she’d have lost her chance as soon as she was reborn.
Nier had always been kicked back and forth. It was as though her birth was a mistake. She didn’t know if she ever had a blissful life. Her life consisted for all sorts of abandonment ever since she was born. She didn’t know what she did wrong. Her father already passed away. The last glimpse she had of her father was her father’s thin legs, which was a result of lots of legwork. Her father could never pat her on the head with his large and warm hands again. Even so, her mother still used particular stones and dyes to make herself look fancy, and then returned with the stench of wine.
Nier lied next to her late father’s cold body and would sit up to eat the stuff her mom brought back from somewhere. She felt a little more comfortable in winter.
Nier and her late father watched her mother head out every day, come back, sleep and leave again and repeat. Had her father’s corpse not attracted flies and had he not start to smell bad, perhaps her mom never would’ve realised her husband was dead.
“It’s all your fault! You’re a burden to me!” That was what Nier’s mother most often said to her. Her mother really wanted to abandon her, but she had nowhere to go; thus, she just followed her mother’s every step and couldn’t leave. She just staggered along behind her mother despite her mother shouting in her face and beating her.
Nier hated her mother. She hated her mother to the very core. She hated the fact that she was the same gender as her mother. She worried she’d turn into another copy of her mother in the future. She wondered if she’d become the type of woman who’d act flirtatiously for a man’s approval.
Nier always thought, “If that’s what it means to be a woman, then I hate all women. She’s my mother, yet she treats me this way, treating me as if I’m a dog for her entertainment. She’s never cuddled me. Her embrace doesn’t belong to me but men from the depths of obscurity even if they were fat enough to fit me inside. I hate her. I hate her. I hate this woman who gave me this tragic life. I hate this woman who beat me as though she was beating a stray dog. I hate her, and I’m scared, too. I’m afraid that I will become a woman who’s the same as her,”
The boards of the old and worn down house were decaying. She heard the cheerful laughter and moans that carried the scent of alcohol from the wooden boards. Nier despondently gazed at the sky. It was comparable to her future, a blanket of darkness, where nothing could be seen. Hence, she didn’t cry or shriek when two robbers beheaded the head of the two adults. Instead, she calmly stayed silent as she watched the two corpses spurt blood. She didn’t care about death. She hugged a corpse and slept with it for a week. Death was no longer a nightmare to the young girl; to the contrary, she viewed it as an escape. But nonetheless, she wasn’t relieved. Instead, she was reborn.
The woman in front of Nier rode a horse. She looked at her with her black eyes. The woman picked her up as if she was a dog. The strength Nier felt on her back was warm and dependable. She had never seen a woman as beautiful as the woman behind the black veil. The woman’s majestic military uniform, corners and edges made her face appear majestic.
The young girl blankly looked at her while the woman looked back at her the same way. For some reason, Nier felt reassured despite the woman before her grabbing her and treating her as if she was a dog. Blood was dripping off the sword that she hung on her other side.
“Are you willing to come with me?” asked the woman.
Nier affirmatively nodded. She didn’t know why, but she faithfully trusted the woman in spite of it being their first time meeting, and she being another woman. Nier found hope for the first time when she saw the woman. She felt as though everything would work out as long as she followed the woman. A light finally appeared in Nier’s dark sky. Nier learnt that not all women were the same as her mother. There were valiant women in the world, as well. She finally had something to work towards. She had an exemplar she wanted to evolve into.
The woman didn’t give Nier a home. Instead, she threw her into a camp. The woman didn’t provide her with delicacies. She had to fight with dozens of others for a pitiful amount of food. If she wasn’t fierce and vicious, she’d starve. She wasn’t given a Princess’ dress. She was given a large male military uniform that had been slightly modified and heavy boots that felt as though they’d snap her leg. She wasn’t given toys or flowers, but an ice-cold piece of metal.
The woman didn’t give Nier anything other than what she wanted most, and that was the power to rule her destiny, thereby changing her fate. She transformed from a weak and feeble girl to a soldier who could easily cut anybody down. She once followed another woman in order to survive despite being beaten and driven off. Eventually, she ruled her destiny.
Nier was bound to forever follow the flow if she lacked strength. She was bound to live a life dependent on others. Thankfully, she acquired the strength to protect what she wanted to protect and punish all those who stood in her way. She could kill anybody standing in her way. Her destiny was finally hers to control. What Nier didn’t know, however, was the Empress was soon able to give her an even better gift, one that she could cherish forever.
On every hungry and painful night, where Nier rolled around, she thought about the erect torso and face with distinct lines. She didn’t want to become waste as her mother was. She wanted to become a great figure as Empress Elizabeth was. She wanted to attain Empress Elizabeth’s greatness and use her own hands to acquire respect. Empress Elizabeth saved her and gave hope to be reborn. That was enough. She swore to not let the Empress down. Nier was determined to become her bodyguard, the one Empress Elizabeth was most proud of!
“I’m finally here,” Nier thought. She finally reached the Empress’s side when she reached the Valkyries’ training camp. She finally saw the ray of light for her life. This was too blissful of a feeling for her.
“I’m aware you’re formidable with a sword; however, as a Valkyrie, being good at swordplay alone is pointless. You still have a lot to learn. Needless to say, swordplay is also very important. Are you confident that you can survive until you become a Valkyrie?”
“Survive?!” Nier froze.
“That’s right; survive. This is the Valkyries we’re talking about, after all. As opposed to calling this training camp a training camp, it’d be more accurate to say that it’s an arena. Here, only the last one standing will have the right to become Her Majesty’s bodyguard. There are a total of twenty four people in this camp. Nier, kill the other twenty three, and you shall be qualified to become Her Majesty’s official personal bodyguard.”
The petite woman before Nier softly laughed, and then turned her head away. Nier was astonished. With a smile, she said, “Do your best, Nier. Those here are all elites from different places. Moreover, their feelings for Her Majesty do not pale in comparison to yours, so give it all you’ve got. You don’t have anything you need to pay attention to anyway, isn’t that right?”
No, she did. Nier touched her sword handle. She still did have somewhere she wanted to spend her efforts on. She still had a destination to reach. She still had somebody she had to protect at all costs! If others saw Her Majesty as a noble Empress and respected her, then Nier saw her as more than an Empress worthy of respect. Empress Elizabeth was the one who gave her a dream and a future. She firmly believed there was no other who loved Her Majesty more than herself. If there was, she was going to kill them.
Nier was determined to be by Her Majesty’s side. She made up her mind to be by Her Majesty’s side at all costs. Her Majesty gave her a chance to dictate her fate. Her Majesty was the only person she truly loved. She wanted to be by her side to protect her and look at her.
“Now then, do you best, Nier.” The woman struggled onto her toes to stroke Nier’s head before turning around to leave.
“Your Majesty, the Valkyries who were raised in the various locations have returned. New Valkyries will be selected tomorrow. By my estimations, I am guessing that eighteen shall survive. However, Your Majesty, I do have somebody in mind that I want to ask if you still remember.”
Elizabeth shook her head with a smile: “How could I remember everybody when there are so many Valkyries to choose from?”
“Do you know Nier? Nier? Her feelings for you appear to be without equal.”
“Nier?” Elizabeth made an attempt to recall the name. She looked up and shook her head: “No, I don’t remember now.”
“Really…? I think that, if she can emerge victorious, she will give you a very deep impression. You probably will not forget her again.”
“You think so?”
Elizabeth came to believe that later on… Nier… really… did leave an unforgettable impression on her…