Nier dismounted at the stables and handed the stableman the reins. Just when she went to leave the stables, something caught her cloak. She turned around to see the White Deer King’s eyes. It spat her cloak out of its mouth. The White Deer King irritably stomped the ground. Nier bitterly grinned. Voice soft, she said, “Are you waiting for His Majesty? Troy… might not come back again…”
The White Deer King froze. It blankly looked at Nier with a somewhat complex gaze. The White Deer King was an incredibly proud animal. A King rode it nowadays, but it still considered itself a King; it, therefore, expected Troy to treat it on equal terms. It ignored everybody but Troy, including Nier. After hearing it might not see Troy again, it looked at Nier without the proud aura in its gaze for the first time. Its complex gaze made Nier feel uncomfortable. Nier touched its face: “I’m going to go search for him. I must go search for him. I must go search for him whether or not I can find him. I must search for him even if I find his corpse or end up a corpse myself!”
The White Deer King hesitated for a moment then slowly raised its head to run its eyes over Nier. A short moment after, it snorted and leisurely went to lie down on the hay. It buried its head deep down and went silent. It was the first time the White Deer King didn’t mind the environment and went silent. In a quiet voice, Nier asked, “Do you want to come with me?”
The White Deer King raised its head after a moment of hesitation. Its eyes sparkled. Although they had the chance to meet daily, it was the first time the White Deer King actually gave her time of the day. Nier met its eyes without shifting her gaze away. The two looked slightly foolish making eye contact, but their gazes seemed to reach to the heart of the other.
A second later, the White Deer King stopped staring at Nier. It faced her and lowered his head the same way bowed to Troy. This time, it bowed its head to Nier. Nier reached her hand out and touched its horn. The White Deer King lifted its head and shook it out before lying back down. It truly was a proud deer, but Nier could tell it did have a conscience. Not to mention it was much more useful than Lucia.
Nier returned to the palace. A maid hastily approached to take Nier’s cloak and coat. Next to her ear, she whispered, “Royal Princess, Her Majesty has woken.”
Surprised, Nier excitedly commanded, “Really? Hurry and lead me there.”
The maid nodded and led Nier to Elizabeth’s room. Nier knocked, and then pushed the door open. Relieved to see Nier enter, the maid attending to Elizabeth stood up. Nier gave the maid a nod: “You can all leave. I’ll stay alone with Her Majesty for a while.”
“Yes, Royal Princess.”
The maids bowed to Nier and then left. Nier closed the door. Elizabeth silently lay on her bed as if she was deep asleep. The dim candle on the wall by the side extended Elizabeth’s shadow. She was so quiet and still that not even the shadow of her eyelashes budged. She appeared as though she was dead; she looked ghastly pale. Elizabeth’s state rendered Nier distraught. Elizabeth had never been heavily injured in her presence during her time serving as a Valkyrie on duty.
Nier surveyed the room. Her enhanced senses as a Valkyrie allowed her to notice there were missing things in the room. She deciphered that Elizabeth must’ve thrown a fit. Nier walked up to Elizabeth and sat down. Elizabeth opened her eyes and looked toward Nier.
“Your Majesty, how are you feeling?”
“I messed up, again,” Elizabeth said.
Elizabeth didn’t seem to hear Nier’s question. Nier realised how empty Elizabeth’s eyes were when she saw them. Her usual imposing black eyes were akin to a dark cave without light. In fact, not even the candle could shine through. Elizabeth continued in a soft voice, “I messed up again, Nier. I messed up, again. Ten years. It’s been ten years already, yet I haven’t improved at all. I abandoned my son ten years ago, and I abandoned him again this time… again… again… It’s been ten years. I thought I couldn’t protect my family without strength, but now I’ve discovered that I don’t deserve to have family. I let her snatch my son away when he was right by my side. I’m useless waste! My son trusted me and loved me, yet I couldn’t save him or even stop him! I don’t deserve to be a mother!!”
“No! Your Majesty, it was not your fault! You did your best. I believe His Majesty understands. It was not your fault. It was betrayal! Betrayal!! However, you need not fret, Your Majesty. I am His Majesty’s wife. I will not give up! I will not spare anybody who snatches my husband from me no matter who it is! That is not to mention the fact she wounded you! I will not forgive that bitch! Your Majesty, I will definitely find my husband. I will definitely bring your son, my husband, back!”
Elizabeth lips gently budged, and then she looked up at the ceiling. She quietly responded, “You know, Nier, I’m glad my son insisted on marrying you back then. If it was Karana, she would have given up in this situation.”
Nier raised her head with pride, “I am His Majesty’s wife. In regards to my love for His Majesty, I am very confident in myself. I deeply love His Majesty. I will be by his side no matter what, for I am his wife!”
“You won’t stand a chance against Vyvyan.”
“Whether or not I can defeat Vyvyan is a question of my abilities, but whether or not I search for my husband is a question of my obligation as my husband’s wife. How can I not be by my husband’s side when I am his wife?!”
Elizabeth looked at Nier’s resolute eyes. She softly responded, “I believe in you, Nier. You have never let me down, and I trust that you won’t let me down this time, either. Go and find my son. If it was not for my condition, I would definitely go with you. There are only a few places that Vyvyan could go. She won’t go to the Imperial Capital of the elves; hence, the only other place she could’ve gone is the Galadriel Tribe’s villa and a small house in the forest. The small house is very close to our border. You can see our village and wheat fields from there.”
Nier blankly looked at Elizabeth. Elizabeth nodded then closed her eyes in an exhausted manner. She softly added, “I can’t face my son. Twice. I’ve abandoned my son twice now when I’m his mother. Just bring my son back. I shall return to Hilles City. I’m not worthy of being a mother, so I don’t deserve to stay by his side. I don’t deserve his respect and love. I should just wither and die alone in that palace. I will never forgive myself. I lost my son… twice!”
Elizabeth let out a heavy sigh: “You can leave now, Nier. Let me be alone for a while. Let me reflect… alone for a bit…”
“Yes, Your Majesty. I understand…”