“What are you saying?!” exclaimed Mommy Vyvyan.
Mommy Vyvyan threw down her fork and knife. Befuddlement appeared in her blood-red eyes, but the anger in them was more prominent. Mom was no different to a prairie that was ablaze. Her fury would burn even me, her son, to ashes. She took in a deep breath in an attempt to suppress her fury. Shaking and, in a serious tone, she exclaimed, “Son, Son, did you understand what I said? I told you that I could treat the root of your condition. Why do you still want to leave home? Don’t you want to return to the North to live as you did in the past? Wasn’t Mommy clingy and helping you heal so that you could return? If you go back now and expend all of your mana, you’ll die. No, actually, you’ll start attacking the elves nearby before you run out of mana!!”
I grabbed my head. Without caring about anything, I roared at Mom, “Isn’t that how I am right now?! Am I not attacking the elves around me right now? Mom, I don’t care about you killing, but I can’t accept you killing just to sustain my life. Isn’t this the same as me eating people? Doesn’t that mean you’ll have to kill more people? You said you’d use a magic formation to transfer mana to me. Doesn’t that mean that the elves of Duargana will be lacking mana, then?!”
“That’s not our problem! They’re our vassals and people, so they should give up what they have for their ruler! Moreover, it’ll only cost them a tiny amount of mana given that the entire city is providing you with mana. Duargana is an infinite mana source. The elves there will provide you with a constant influx of mana; subsequently, you’ll never have mana insufficiency symptoms!”
Perhaps the atmosphere between us turned dangerous, since we were yelling at each other. Vyvyan was likely to have a tendency to attack people in that situation. It was evident she was aware of that, so she didn’t continue shouting. Instead, she took in big breaths to try and calm down. She then used a mild tone to speak to me: “Son, don’t be wilful. Mommy knows you’re very kind and unwilling to hurt any innocent people, but you’re about to die. You’re on the verge of death. This is the only way Mommy can save you. This is not your problem. You’re still a normal elf. Mommy will be responsible for any investigations or punishments. You don’t need to worry about anything; you’ll be fine. Trust Mommy. Nobody’s life will be impacted.”
Mom pleaded me. Dumbfounded, I stood in place. I was genuinely very sad. Just how ridiculous was it? The person doing the saving begged the person they were saving to save them. Mom saved me. She gave me the ability to continue living, yet she was virtually on her knees, wanting me to accept the kind gesture. She begged me to accept her help. That was how Mom would forever be.
I couldn’t just accept it, though. I couldn’t go absorbing the mana of others. I destroyed my own body. It had nothing to do with Mommy Vyvyan, Mommy Elizabeth or the elves of Duargana. They had no reason to die for us. They didn’t have to pay for what I did, and they certainly shouldn’t die for me. Mom shouldn’t give up her conscience for my sake, either.
It was all my fault. Endangering those around me for my own mistake was unacceptable. I should still be able to make it in time. I believed it wasn’t too late for Mommy Vyvyan to stop. I assumed she should still be able to revert back to how she was as long as I could withstand the urge to suck blood.
I shook my head. In a gentle voice, I said, “Mom, I can’t; I can’t endanger the elves of Duargana for my own sake. This has nothing to do with them. They have no obligation to endanger themselves for me. Mom, you can’t continue living this way, either. You’re still the most outstanding and benevolent ruler to the elves. Stop now before anybody finds out, Mom. Don’t become an evil demon for my sake; don’t abandon your conscience for me. I don’t want to see you become a blood-sucking dark elf from now because of me. Mom, I should leave. After I return to the North to see my children, I’ll find myself a proper burial. Mom, I no longer have regrets thanks to you and my wives.”
As a son, I should leave my final words with my Mom in a calm and natural manner. I was initially nervous and slightly scared, but the fear gradually subsided as I went on. In the end, I was only left with tranquillity. Perhaps speaking of your own funeral wasn’t much a sad thing for those who were ready to candidly face their death.
Mom looked blankly at me and took in a deep breath. She shoved a chair away and walked over to me. She gave me a vicious slap before I realised it was coming. My head was enveloped in warmth and gentles before I could feel the pain from the slap: “Son… you’re heartless… You’re heartless… Mommy has taken so much care of you, yet you’ve never taken care of Mommy…”
I heard Mom’s hoarse voice from overhead. Mom pressed my head firmly onto her chest and hugged me tight as though she wanted to fuse me with her body. She kept me in her arms and, in a shaky voice, continued, “Son, have you considered my feelings? You’re willing to die for yourself, other people, Elizabeth and your wives…”
From Mom’s embrace, I swiftly yelled, “I’m willing to die for you, too!”
Mom patted my head harder and shouted, “Mommy doesn’t want you to die!! Mommy doesn’t want you die for Mommy! Mommy wants you to live! Mommy wants you to live no matter what and no matter how you are! Mommy doesn’t want to see you die no matter what! Mommy wants to see you alive! That’s all Mommy wants! You’re willing to die for everyone around you, and yet you’re unwilling to live for Mommy?! Mommy doesn’t want anything, but for you to live!”
“So why are you willing to die, yet are unwilling to accept Mommy?! Mommy has already tried so hard and finally found such a good way to save you. I beg you… Please… Son, live, okay? Please… I’m begging you… Please live… You’re Mommy’s only one in this life. You’re the only thing Mommy is proud of. Mommy lives for you… Son, don’t torture Mommy. Without you, Mommy doesn’t know how to go on. Mommy doesn’t even know how to face the future without you. Please… Son… Don’t leave Mommy… Don’t!”
Mom’s sobs coming from overhead were indiscernible. Her strength leaved her body. I hugged her back this time. She curled up in my embrace and cried loudly. She tightly grabbed onto my arms as though she was trying to release the aggrieved feeling and pain within. However, I felt Mom’s regret and reluctance to part with me was more prominent.
I hugged Mom tightly. Her sobs next to my heart virtually transferred through my entire body. Her sobs and tears weakened me.
I really wanted to agree to Mom’s method. If I absorbed only a tiny bit of mana, it shouldn’t affect the elves. It’d better than sucking mana directly out of Mom, right? Moreover, if I told the elves I was severely wounded and required their mana, they’d be more than willing to provide me with mana, surely…
I stopped myself and told myself, “No. No. I can’t, though. I can’t do that. I can’t have a group of innocents suffer for my sake. I messed up. I’m the Elven Prince, and the ruler of the North. Wouldn’t I become somebody living off Duargana at that rate? I would have to rely on the elves to survive, and I might hurt other elves. Additionally, that would reveal that we’re dark elves. Would the elves be able to forgive the Galadriel Tribe?
I don’t want to ruin Mommy Vyvyan and the North for my sake alone. This is my fate. I’ve died once. I can face it with a straight face this time. My death will be an unbearable feeling for Vyvyan that would torture her night and day and even lead to her destroying the entire world.”
If I lived on, what would become of Mom? Mom would become a dark elf with red eyes, and she’d never be able to return to Duargana. All the people of Duargana were about to face a mana shortage to sustain my life. There were too many questions. The elves with superior lineages might be fine but what about infants? What about ordinary elves? If they were ordinary elves similar to Lucia, would they suffer repercussions as a result of lacking mana?
I’d rather die than twist the world for my own sake. If my death ensured Mommy Vyvyan remained the venerated ruler of elves, respected, a normal elf and wasn’t treated hostilely due to her dark elf origins, then I was fine with dying.
“Sorry… Mom.” I clasped Mom’s face and gently wiped her tears. I noticed that I was shedding tears, as well. My throat felt as though it was congested. I looked at the tears coursing down her face. Voice soft, I explained, “Sorry, Mom, sorry… I can’t ruin you. I don’t want to ruin you… If you become the enemy of elves for my sake, and the elves end up hunting you, living on would be even worse for me. Mom, life by your side is very blissful, very, very blissful. You’re a perfect mom. If possible, I hope I can be your son again.”
Just as Mom went to emotionally shout, I kissed her lips, sealing them. I swallowed all of her counterarguments and despair into my own mouth. We kissed as if we’d gone mad, but it was the first time I felt kissing her would feel so bitter that I’d shed even more tears…