Although I wasn’t able to make any guarantees, I wouldn’t be able to leave Mommy Elizabeth if I said I wouldn’t make it. Therefore, I had no choice but to promise her that I’d definitely be back. Elizabeth didn’t keep me by force. Instead, she sent me off. Her gaze – along with my wives gazes – pricked my heart. Their eyes were filled with the pain of reluctance to part. I couldn’t stay with them, though, and I couldn’t bring them with me. Mommy Elizabeth had to stay in the Imperial Palace to look after my family. As for Mommy Vyvyan, I didn’t know how she was doing.
“Brother… You must come back. You must come back… Please…” pleaded Freya.
I gave Freya a kiss on her forehead, and then let go of her. I didn’t have much time left, so I had to leave at night. Nier and Lucia stood to one side. Lucia wiped her tears while she was looking at me. Nier was carrying Daisy. Daisy looked at me with a very terrified gaze. I couldn’t bear to leave when I saw her gaze. I had to go, though.
I pushed Freya back. Freya wept in Lucia’s embrace. I smiled at the sight of them. I held Daisy’s hands one last time. Then, I turned my attention to Mommy Elizabeth: “Mom, I’ll definitely be back. I promise. Before I return, I hope you can take good care of the North.”
Mommy Elizabeth nodded sincerely then gave my head a rub: “Mommy really wants to hug you, but if Mommy hugs you now, Mommy won’t bear to part with you. It’s all right, Son. Mommy will supervise things here in your absence. Mommy will wait for you to return, promise. You promised Mommy that you’d return, so keep your word. Don’t lie to Mommy.”
“I know. I know.”
I lowered my head and allowed Mom to caress my head. She pulled her hand back, but then I reached out and pulled her into my embrace, ignoring what she just said. Though initially stunned, she revealed a hopeless smile as she returned my gesture with a gentle hug.
Nier and Lucia didn’t comment. There’s nothing wrong with a mother and son hugging, after all. I released Mom then spun around to leave the palace. I couldn’t turn around nor did I dare to. If I turned around I’d see my wives’ piercing gazes. I’d also be able to see Daisy desperately trying to reach me. Daisy seemed aware I was going to leave. She wailed and reached for me to hold her. Daisy’s cries were akin to stabs at my heart. I really wanted to turn back and hold her, but I couldn’t. Noticing me act strange, Mommy Elizabeth sternly yelled out to me from behind, “Don’t turn around.”
I knew I couldn’t turn around no matter what. I know my determination would crumble within an instant if I do. I couldn’t stay, because I’d die if I did. I walked off firmly despite the pain and regret in my heart. I had to walk off.
“What’s Mommy Elizabeth thinking of me as she watches me now?” I wondered. I didn’t know the answer, but I believed she was encouraging me to leave. She wanted me to live.
Frankly speaking, I didn’t have anywhere to go after leaving the palace. I wanted to go to the vintage-looking street, but I wasn’t sure if the prophet was forever lazing around there. If he wasn’t there, where was I going to go to find him? I didn’t have the foggiest clue as to where he was or what his name was. If he didn’t come to me, I’d never have found him. What was I going to do if he wasn’t not there, I pondered.
For the meantime, I had no idea what to do next. The prophet was my only hope. If he wasn’t there, who was I going to search for? What other ways did I have to sustain my life? I had no idea what to do. I only had the prophet to gamble on. I had a feeling he had a solution. He knew I was going to die and came to me. Subsequently, I assumed he had a way to save me.
I stood on the street. The street was empty. So empty that I felt empty. A breeze blew past, but all I could smell was blue stones and moss. I spaced out. Despair weighed on my chest. I thought that I’d see a seated silhouette, but I didn’t even see a person, let alone a lamb’s hooves.
I staggered onto the street. The street wasn’t long. My anxious eyes could see everything on it. There was nobody in sight. The entire street was so clean that I was disgusted. I stood there in the middle. My entire body quaked. My undergarments were soaked with my sweat. My shirt stuck to my body. I despairingly looked around. A repulsive feeling in my gut surfaced, inducing a regurgitation sensation.
“Where the fuck are you?!! Get the fuck out here!! What the fuck is with the bullshit ghost antics when I’m nearly dead?! I need you right now, so get the fuck out here!!”
When people are in despair and infuriated, they resort to shouting in their mother tongue. It was the first time I broke the limit that Troy set me. Troy gave me the knowledge of two languages, which made it really tough to speak Chinese. That time, though, I faced up to the sky and cursed in Chinese. My roar echoed throughout the empty street. I wasn’t sure if what I yelled would baffle those who heard it.
My energy left my body along with my roar. I learnt how debilitating mana deficiency was. I merely shouted a few times and yet I felt weak after. I huffed and puffed. I leaned on the wall. The moss on the wall that had been there for ages sent me a chilling sensation that had been accumulated for centuries. It was so cold it felt as though it entered my bones.
“Your Majesty, you need only call out once if you need me. I have no idea what you are shouting about. However, judging from your performance, I surmised what I said has eventuated.”
It was then that a pair of lamb hooves seemingly came out from the wall and knocked. I was met with a sly pair of eyes. He chuckled: “Long-time no see, Your Majesty, or should I say, you have finally come to see me.”
I stood straight up and looked at him. I took in a deep breath and responded, “I’m about to die.”
He nodded then hooked his hand onto the moss on his face: “I know.”
“But I want to live.”
He smiled” “I know that, as well. Rather, this is the last thing that I know. I do not possess divine powers. As opposed to calling me a prophet, it would be more accurate to say that I am one who can hear God’s voice. I became half-beast and half-animal in order to acquire the skill. However, I stopped hearing the voice of God a few days ago. I presume Vyvyan must have been outraged and killed God. God never expected Vyvyan to be so powerful and decisive, being able to destroy the belief of elves for her son. It appears that your mom is an evil demon for you.”
“I don’t deny that, but I don’t want her to become a true evil demon. My Mommy Vyvyan is a gentle, benevolent and fair monarch, not a tyrant who kills according to her whims. And I most certainly can’t allow my mom to sustain my life with the mana of others. I don’t want my mom become a blood-sucking demon. She should forever be the revered Queen.
“Understood,” responded the prophet, with a nod. “I understand what you mean now, Child. Since you wish to live on and without resorting to Vyvyan’s method, you have come to seek me to ask for a method to sustain your life, correct?”
I nodded: “Correct. I don’t care how much more I have to go through as long as others don’t have to be harmed.”
“I am very sorry, My King. I am a mere messenger. I am only here delivering God’s messages. I lack the ability to think. Everything I say is what God wants to say. Alas, God is now dead. Accordingly, I have also died. I never claimed to have a way to sustain your life. Queen Vyvyan is the true authority on mana. After all, she is the elven monarch who was able to slay God.” The prophet slowly shook his head.
Despair and anguish followed the “prophet’s” words into my heart. I was speechless. He didn’t have an expression on his wrinkly face. I had no clue if he was joking or serious, but what he said overwhelmed me with despair. I inquired, “Is there no way?”
He shook his head: “I do not know; I honestly do not know. There should be a way? Maybe there is not. I do not know, Your Majesty. To the contrary, I think you should continue with your farewell journey. Your Majesty, do not forget that if you die, you will likely regret not going to the places you never went to.”
“I want to live!! I want to live!!”
Calmly, he expressed, “Before you want to live, you must learn to earnestly face death. Your Majesty, you went to Mera’s place, Luna’s place and to the people around you, but have you forgotten somebody? Have you forgotten the place your father died? Seeing as elves do not have a solution, perhaps the elves’ forbidden zone holds the answer you are looking for. Go there, Your Majesty. I do not know if you will find the answer there, but you have not been there, correct?”