“What’s wrong? What’s wrong, Nona…?” Lucia got up and picked up Nona. Nona cried loudly in her mom’s arms. Lucia undid her clothes and hummed a soothing melody whilst gently rocking Nona. She placated her in a gentle voice, “Don’t cry, Nona, don’t cry. You’ll wake up Daisy and Vera. Don’t cry, Nona, don’t cry.”
Nona didn’t seem to care about what her mother said and continued to cry loudly. She ignored the food next to her and just wailed. She looked at the spot next to her mother and reached out as far as she could towards it. Lucia blankly looked at the spot next to her. She felt as if there was something stuck in her throat. She spaced out as she patted Nona and, in a shaky voice, pleaded, “Don’t cry… Please… Nona… Nona… Please… Don’t cry… Don’t cry again… For Mommy’s sake and for your sisters’ sake, please… Don’t cry… Don’t cry…”
Lucia almost sounded as if she was begging, but Nona didn’t care. She continued to struggle, trying to throw herself at that spot next to Lucia. Nona’s crying eventually woke Daisy and Vera. Frustrated, Nona’s sisters started crying at the same time.
“All of you, shut up!!!!” Lucia tossed Nona onto the bed and let out a deafening yell. The three girls shuddered, and then stopped crying due to the fright. Lucia tightly clutched her hair and shouted at the children, “You think I don’t miss him? You think I’ve forgotten His Highness? He’s your father and my husband!! He’s my most beloved Prince! You think you’re the only ones who miss him? You think my heart doesn’t ache?! All of you, shut up!! I would’ve gone to search for him if it wasn’t for you lot! How could I be waiting here as if I’m half dead?!!!”
Lucia’s tears poured out of her tears. The children fearfully looked at Lucia, who had almost gone crazy. They trembled and didn’t dare to make a peep. Someone shakily knocked on the door from outside.
“Get lost!!” Lucia thundered toward the door, and then picked up a knife for cutting fruit and threw it over. The knife pierced through the wood. The people outside shrieked.
Lucia’s furious roar virtually tore through the wooden door to reach outside. The maids outside scattered. The maids considered Lucia to be gentler than Nier. As a matter of fact, Nier wouldn’t even spare them a look; she didn’t even consider them human beings. Lucia, on the other hand, treated the maids very politely and gently despite being an elf and had never shown irritation in their presence. That night, however, Lucia’s rage practically tore about the entire Imperial Palace. If the maid who knocked on the door before was one inch closer to the door, the knife would probably have pierced through her eyes.
Lucia huffed and puffed. She glared at the three girls, who didn’t dare to cry any more. Despite one Daisy not being her daughter, Lucia took the initiative to pick her up, and take responsibility for her; meanwhile, Nier left to search for Troy.
Lucia looked at the girls’ terrified and panic-stricken eyes. She hesitated for a moment before slowly reaching out to pick up Nona. Nona quivered in her arms. She didn’t dare to raise her head. Lucia hugged her tightly and firmly pressed her cheek onto Nona’s.
“Sorry… Sorry… Sorry… Honey… Sorry… Mommy shouldn’t have lashed out at you. Mommy was wrong… You weren’t wrong… It’s not your fault… Mommy misses Troy very much, as well… Mommy loves him too much… Mommy loves him the most. Mommy is writhing in pain, too. Mommy dreams of him every night. Mommy chases him every night but can’t catch up to him… Mommy also wants to be by his side just as in the past… I’m sure that Queen Vyvyan wouldn’t kill His Highness, but… I want to be by his side… I want to be by my husband’s side no matter how he turns out. Sorry… girls. I shouldn’t have lashed out at you…”
Lucia gave each of them a tight hug and consoled them. She did just lash out at them, but they still hugged their mother tightly. It was as though they were the ones comforting their mother. Daisy wasn’t her child, but she seemed to know that she should depend on Lucia.
“Sorry, sorry… Sorry…” Lucia hugged the girls tightly. Her ice-cold tears obstructed her vision of their cheeks and eyes…
I opened my eyes to see Vyvyan next to me. Vyvyan looked exhausted yesterday, yet she looked as though she had replenished her blood stores in the morning. I assumed she had plenty. She wasn’t the demi-god Elven Queen for nothing; she was able to recover even after depleting a large amount of mana. Today was probably the best condition she had been in. That being said, for some reason, I felt there was something against my back while her arms were around me. There was something sharp stabbing into my back, causing me to feel uncomfortable.
“What is this thing?” I wondered.
I moved my back around. It felt as though it was some sort of metal. I tried to move my body inside the prison she built for me in order to try and turn around. For some reason, though, Mommy Vyvyan was so sound asleep for the first time.
I turned over to look at her interlocked hands. Inside of Mom’s hands was something shimmering and could reflect the first rays of sunlight. I thought it was something somewhat familiar. I grabbed it and pulled it out of Mom’s hands. Her body lingered for a moment before subconsciously stretching out to press her hands on mine. She asked, “What’s wrong, Son?”
I looked at Mom’s hands that were firmly pressed on mine. Although it was just for a split moment, I identified the thing in her hands was my chest pin; or rather, once was my chest pin. The chest pin shined in my hands.
I pondered, “I gave this to the maid. Why is it in Mommy Vyvyan’s hands?”
Vyvyan wore her usual smile. She chuckled softly: “Good morning.”
“Good morning, Mom… I want to know… This chest pin… I had given it to the maid, so why is it with you? Mom, didn’t I say not to blame her? It wasn’t her fault, and I didn’t get hurt. Plus, she bears a striking resemblance to Luna.”
Mommy Vyvyan looked at me with a slight frown: “Son, have you forgotten Luna is dead? You have no reason to miss her.”
Voice quiet, I replied, “I miss her; I let her down; I couldn’t do anything for her. I couldn’t do anything for her when she was alive and still couldn’t after she passed away. I couldn’t do anything, and I still can’t. I let her down. My guilt towards Luna will haunt me forever, even now. Mom, to be frank, I want to make a trip back. I want to return to North once. I want to see my children.”
Vyvyan solemnly responded, “You want your children to see you in your current state? Son, would you want to come here after seeing your children? Do you want your child to see a blood-sucking dark elf? If you don’t replenish enough mana at night, you will go hunting for survival. Do you think your children will be safe when you’re with Lucia? Son, you want to go back in this state?”
I spaced out. I didn’t know what to say. I had to admit she was correct. I couldn’t go back in that state. It was better for me to stay if I was going to be a hazard for my wife and children. It was the last thing I could do as a father. I had to protect my children. It was my rightful duty as a father.
“Exactly. Son, you don’t owe Luna anything, either. She was your maid. It was only right for her to protect you. She did what a maid should. You don’t need to feel guilty towards her.” Mommy Vyvyan gave me a kiss on my forehead then added, “Son, don’t think about these things when you’re with Mommy. Mommy wants to see you safe and free of qualms, the same way you want to see others safe and free of qualms. I hope you can relax when you’re with Mommy and forget your past. Please… live well with Mommy.”
“Mom… where’s the maid?”
Mommy Vyvyan titled her head. She replied, “Mommy doesn’t know. Different maids come every day, because Mommy doesn’t want to let them disturb your life. All the women around you are attracted to you for some odd reason, right? That’s why Mommy calls for different maids every time. Don’t worry, though, Son. The maids Mommy calls for are all maids with an abundance of mana. Additionally, they’re excellent elves, so don’t worry. As for this, Mommy picked it up in the corridor. It seems that the maid doesn’t really care for it.”
I was a little upset. I never thought there’d be somebody who’d throw away something I gave her. She was so sincere and unhesitant, yet she threw my chest pin away. Mommy Vyvyan patted my back with a smile: “This is what Mommy picked up, so Mommy shall keep it as a treasure. Son, get a new chest pin later on. Mommy needs to get out of bed to prepare breakfast for you. You can sleep for a while longer.”
Vyvyan stood up and got dressed. She gripped my chest pin tightly and left the room. She shut the door behind her, and then looked at the pin in her head. She thought, “I must’ve instinctively brought it back, because it has my son’s scent.”
Vyvyan gave the chest pin a rub. There was some blood on it that she couldn’t scrub off. She threw it into a flower vase by the side. A green flame rose from inside the vase, instantly burning the brilliant flower to ashes, including the chest pin inside…