“I’ll go with you,” stated Nier.
I turned around to look at Nier, who was behind me. I hesitated for a moment before replying, “Nier, I’ll be fine on my own. This is my own business. I don’t know what I’ll have to go through, and I don’t know what I’ll have to face. I don’t even know what I should go do, so it’s pointless for you to follow me.”
Lucia surrendered on her own accord in the contest. She couldn’t physically match Nier, after all. Nier didn’t go too crazy, however. Instead, she wasn’t willing to go for round two. She just wanted to hug me tightly. She didn’t kick Lucia out, either, so the two woke up in each other’s embrace just as in the Imperial Palace of Duargana, except someone else replaced Mommy Vyvyan’s position.
I told Nier about my body and my uncertain future. She was very calm about it as though she had predicted the possibility a long time ago. She didn’t cry or make a scene. She merely tightened her arms around me and breathed gently. After she woke up, and I told her I was going to search for a way to live, she stood behind me and declared, “I’m still going with you!!”
Nier quickly walked up to me and grabbed hold of my hand. In an anxious, yet resolute, voice, she continued, “You’re my husband and my Prince. I’m your wife and your bodyguard. Your life is currently at risk, so it’s a given that I stay by your side to protect you. I don’t want to leave you no matter where you go or what we have to face. I want to be by your side, Your Majesty, Troy, Dear… I don’t want to experience this again. I don’t want to search for you in tears again. I’ve been living in nightmares these last few days that I’ve been without you. I don’t know what I should do. To you, I’m Nier, but to me, you’re my entire world, Dear!”
Nier held my hand, and suppressed her hoarse voice and tears with her determined voice. I hugged her. I stroked her long black hair behind her. She gently trembled in my arms. She bit down on her lip to hold back her tears. I whispered over her shoulder, “The same applies for me, Nier. You’re an irreplaceable part of my world, as well. I’m very sorry about leaving without a word these last few days, Nier. I really wanted to be by your sides. I dreamt of you all every night when I was out there. I don’t want to separate from you again, not even for a second…”
“That’s precisely why I must leave alone.” I cut Nier off and explained, “Nier, I honestly don’t know what exactly will happen. I want to live on for you all, but I don’t know what I must do, nor do I know what exactly I’ll have to face. Therefore, you can’t accompany me. What are we going to do if something happens to you? I’m supposed to be a dying man, so it’s no big deal if I fall, but not you.”
“I’m your bodyguard; I must protect you if you are in danger.”
“You’re not just my bodyguard. You’re also Daisy’s mom.”
I cupped Nier’s face in my hands. I looked at her slightly emotional and anxious face. Nier pressed her hands on mine. I felt her shaky unease and despair. Nier looked awe-inspiring and invincible when she held a sword. When she held my hand, she seemed lost as an ordinary girl.
“Daisy is pitiful, Nier. When you left to search for me, she basically had no mom or dad. She’s still a kid. She needs her parents with her right now, but neither of us was there. Lucia may be able to look after her and have the company of Vera and Nona, but it’s not the same. Nier, Daisy is still young. She needs her parents to take care of her. I fail as a father, so you must be an excellent mom. You should know that a child can’t be without her mother, right? You should be aware of how pitiful a child without parents is.”
Nier’s gaze changed. Despair surfaced in her anxious and tense eyes. I didn’t know if she regretted leaving her child behind without any hesitation to search for me. If it wasn’t for Lucia, who would’ve taken care of Daisy? Nier’s mother never bothered with her and always wanted to get rid of her. Nier hated her mother to the very core. That was also why she absolutely detested her female gender. I didn’t know if she’d feel guilty and agony as a result of what I said, for she became exactly what she despised most.
“Sorry… Your Majesty…”
I must’ve hit where it hurt most. Nier instantly lost control of her tears as they coursed down her face. Her tears were filled with panic and self-loathing for her mistake. She hated her mother most for the way that she treated her, yet she, too, abandoned her child without any hesitation and left. Daisy was in the same position she was in back then. Fortunately, Daisy still had lots of others around her that loved her.
“You shouldn’t be apologising to me, Nier. You should be apologising to Daisy. Daisy would surely be very happy to see you now. Nier, your entire world shouldn’t consist of me, alone. It should also include our cutest daughter. You don’t need to come with me. I’ll be sure to return to your side for your sake and our daughter’s sake. You just need to wait for me. Didn’t I come back this time?”
Nier gradually lowered her head and sobbed. I gently caressed her hair. I then pulled her into my arms and stopped talking. I figured it was enough to calm her down. She tightly gripped onto my clothes and buried her head on my chest, which she used to wipe her tears. She ground her teeth so hard that I could hear it. She did so, because of her agony and regret. She bit the clothing material in front of her with bitterness. I tightly hugged her and waited for her to calm down.
A moment later, Nier raised her head filled with tears. Due to her tears, her eyes didn’t look violent and bloody as usual. She held my hand tightly: “Dear… please… please make sure to return… We need you. I need you. Daisy also needs you… You’re right. Daisy needs to family – a complete family. I’ve been through that, so I don’t want her to suffer the same misery… Still, Daisy must definitely have a qualified father, as well!”
“I know. I’ll do my best. I’ll give it everything I have this time. I’ll do my best to live for your sakes, as you’re the people I love most.”
I wanted to live on for Mommy Elizabeth’s sake, too. I was too foolish in the past. I must’ve deeply hurt Mommy Vyvyan, but I didn’t have time to go back to see her. I was confident she’d forgive me once she saw I had undergone a full recovery, nevertheless’
I held Nier’s hand back. With a smile, I said, “Let’s go. Let’s go see Daisy. Daisy hasn’t seen the two of us for days. She should be happy to see us,” I said with a smile and her hand in mine. Nier wiped her tears. I reached out to touch her wet eyelashes. I looked at her beautiful pear-shaped face that had tears on it and quietly laughed: “Nier, right now, you’re different to how you were when I first met you back then. I never saw you cry when I was at Hilles City.”
NIer blushed then turned her head away. She sounded as though she was somewhat pleading me when she said, “Dear… at the time… I… admit I did pretty poorly… At the time, I felt that you’d steal Her Majesty from me, and… I also felt that you were very weak… and very powerless… I was still ignorant back then…”
With a firm hold on her hand, I responded, “It’s fine, Nier. I liked you back then, too. I really liked you back then. You don’t need to feel apologetic about it. You were you; that was also Nier, the Nier I deeply love. You were also very charming back then. The heroic and suave way you wield your sword is mesmerising. I still frequently dream of you in your white uniform, for the beauty of my dreams is right here next to me. Nier, I will never forget the scene of when you first welcomed me. That scene lit up my entire month.”
Nier turned back to look at my sincere gaze. Surprisingly, she blushed, “If you can return this time, I will definitely welcome you as I did in the past! I’ll welcome you at the Imperial City entrance. I’ll welcome you home, but this time… it’ll be back to our own home.”
“Mm, that’s right. Back to our home!”
I held Nier’s hand tighter than ever. Her hand wasn’t delicate and smooth, since she had lots of calluses and bumps from her training and prolonged sword wielding. Despite that, her hands were still very warm. We went over to Daisy’s crib and watched her sleep. Nier picked Daisy up and gave her a gentle kiss on her face. Nier looked at Daisy’s face that was almost identical to her own. Nier had guilt and anguish written all over her eyes. Perhaps she was suffering even more, since it reminded her of her own past.
Nier kissed her face again and sorrowfully murmured, “Sorry… Daisy… Sorry… Mommy was wrong… Mommy was wrong… Mommy will never leave you… My dear child… My most beloved child… You’re His Majesty’s daughter… and my most beloved child… Mommy will take care of you by your side and protect you forever… Daisy… I hope you can live a life of bliss and gentleness… I hope… you don’t live a life like mine… Your father will be back. I’m absolutely positive that he will be back!”
“You’re right. I will be back. I definitely will be back,” I told myself.