“For the Alliance” is no Longer a Slogan (Part 12)
Troy City was a very appropriate location. It didn’t belong to humanity, elves or the North. It was situated between the three locations. All monarchs were equal there. Although it was a city named after me, my main force had been moved to the North long ago. All that was left here was Troy City’s militia. However, I was still worried that the symbols that I left behind as the administrator were too evident, and the two races wouldn’t want to come. It was the only city I could think of, unfortunately. I didn’t think Elizabeth and Vyvyan would mind it; it was a city they personally established, after all, not to mention that it was named after their son.
Elizabeth placed the letter down with a smile. She then tossed it to Castell. Castell read it then said, “Your Majesty, honestly, I do not want for you to go, as elves will be partaking this time, too. I do not know what the elves will do once they know about us.”
Elizabeth snickered. She then drew her long sword to look at it: “There’s no need to worry. I’ll bring Valkyries. The elves will need roughly another few hundred years of training before they can kill me. This was the King of the North’s suggestion. As the Empress of humanity, it would be an embarrassment for me to not go due to fear.”
Castell smiled helplessly and touched his head. He knew the King of the North was none other than Troy. Elizabeth couldn’t just go to the North as his mother anymore; however, since Troy used his identity as the King of the North to invite the two monarchs, the two of them had legitimate reasons to go. After all, they were all monarchs.
All monarchs are equal. Usually speaking, an invitation to discuss national affairs couldn’t be refused. As such, Vyvyan and Elizabeth had reasons to head to Troy City. Elizabeth found a reason to go to Troy City. As for Vyvyan, I expressed that I didn’t think it was something Vyvyan had to do, and so she should come without concern.
Castell was conscious of the fact he couldn’t possibly stop Elizabeth. Elizabeth was going there to discuss an alliance with the elves, yet she was excited as if she was going for a holiday. Fortunately, he and the Empress were the only two in the room. Else, people’s image of Empress Elizabeth would be shattered if they saw her wearing such a bright smile.
“So, you are heading to Troy City? I shall begin preparations. As for the Valkyries, how many do you think is appropriate?”
“One is enough.”
“How about diplomatic personnel? How about record keepers? Your staff…”
“Is there any point in bringing them?”
Elizabeth wasn’t very mindful, because she didn’t even want to bring Valkyries. She treated it as merely an opportunity to meet her son; therefore, she was excited as when she first went to the North. The things she prepared weren’t things for a negotiation. She appeared as if she was going on vacation.
Castell sighed: “Your Majesty, please forgive my bluntness, but you are going to discuss an alliance with the rulers of elves and the North, correct? If you do not take these personnel with you, what exactly are you going there for? King Troy did not invite you as your son this time. I hope you can display your dignity and sense of duty as the Empress of humanity. This conference is by no means an ordinary matter. You must be careful. You cannot make too many compromises this time. I am fully aware that you are much weaker in King Troy’s presence.”
Somewhat unhappy, Elizabeth looked at Castell and irritably waved her hand: “All right, all right, all right. You’re more annoying than my tutor back then. If I was oblivious of all that, how did I become the Empress of this nation? Further, I’m sure that my son won’t make any unreasonable requests of me. The one who will give me grief will definitely be that woman. Nevertheless, I have lots of experience dealing with that woman. Castell, don’t prepare anything for this. Leave it to me.”
Castell let out a heavy sigh. After he brought Elizabeth back to Hilles City, he thought life would resume how it was in the past, where he led a steady life with Empress Elizabeth. He thought he’d get to watch her from her side as he did in the past. He thought he’d get to watch the outstanding Empress Elizabeth resume her old lifestyle. He knew he couldn’t let her meet Troy again, as the two had already crossed the boundary. If they were in a pure mother and son relationship, then it would still be all right, but it was clear that was no longer the case. If Elizabeth continued to fall, she’d no longer be worthy of being the Empress of Hilles City.
The empire was massive. How would they hold it together without an iron fist? Seeing Elizabeth kill those two in the conference hall alleviated a lot of Castell’s concerns, but her blade would lose its sharp edge in Troy’s presence. The moment Elizabeth showed a moment of softness, the vassal states could potentially revolt. Also, Elizabeth was a woman who placed more importance on her family than her nation. If her blade stayed sheathed for too long, her blade might never see blood again. Once she was no longer a violent Elizabeth, she’d no longer be the Elizabeth he was familiar with. What would become of the empire that took so much effort to build, then?
At the end of the day, Castell was a mere personal attendant at the end of the day. Elizabeth refused to listen to even those below, so there was no chance she’d listen to a personal attendant. The reason Castell could occasionally give Elizabeth suggestions here and there that she’d listen to, was because she thought well of him. But nonetheless, that didn’t mean she listened to all of his suggestions. Elizabeth was aware that she, and only she, was the decision maker. She only had to listen to the suggestion of others; otherwise, she’d be the one to take the blame if she took every suggestion on board.
All Castell could do was watch Elizabeth head to Troy City, for he knew he couldn’t control her. It might not be for the better if Elizabeth was the sort of Empress that was easy to speak to.
Current time at the elven capital, Duargana.
“A letter from my son inviting me to go to Troy City?”
Exhausted, Vyvyan lied on her bed. She placed the letter her son, personally, wrote up to her chest. She looked at her son’s handwriting over and over. The bliss, nerves and guilt enveloped her. Her emotions were so complex that she didn’t know what to do. She let out a long sigh, and then covered her face. Softly, she said, “It hasn’t been settled yet…. How am I going to face my son…? What exactly is wrong with me…? What is wrong with me…? I’m my son’s mom. I’m my most beloved son’s mom, so why have I failed at everything recently? What exactly is the problem…? I haven’t changed. I could even kill God, so why can’t I help my son? This was not how it was in the past… This was not how it was…”
Vyvyan vigorously rubbed her face. A strong sense of humiliation and guilt dissuaded her from seeing her son, but the fact was that she wanted to see him again. It was a political matter, something incomparable when compared to her wanting to see her son. Elves didn’t covet lots or land or money. They just wanted to lead peaceful lives in the forest. Vyvyan, therefore, didn’t care for getting something out of the alliance. She merely felt very humiliated.
Vyvyan began to engage in conversation with herself: “I’m my son’s mother. I was once full of confidence for myself; I thought I could take care of my son, which is why I was full of confidence when facing Elizabeth. I proudly believed that I was my son’s mom, because of that confidence. Elizabeth can’t do anything, while I can easily fulfil all of my son’s wishes. I can cook, bath with him, and I can give him a life of bliss and happiness. There’s nothing to worry about here. But… I’m not well-versed in anything my son is now pursuing… Politics, money… I’m not well-versed in any of these things. The matter this time … If Elizabeth doesn’t agree to the alliance, I have no means of fulfilling my son’s wish…
I still must go this time. I must fulfil this wish for my son no matter what. I must realise it. I’ll feel guilty for the rest of my life, because I couldn’t save my son, so this time, I must help him realise his wish, at least this once!”
Current time at the Imperial Palace in the North.
“All the letters have been sent out. I am certain that the two will come, since they are your moms, after all!” reported Freya.
“What?! What?!!” exclaimed Dragon Mom.
I placed down my teacup. Freya came to inform me of this during afternoon tea. I wasn’t sure if her timing was on purpose. I explained to Dragon Mom, “I was just about to notify you. Do you want to come to Troy City? I can’t take you out to have fun, but I guess it’s still a vacation of sorts. I can’t help but worry about leaving you here alone. How about coming with me on a trip to Troy City?”
“Troy City? Isn’t that your name?!” Dragon Mom seemed to instantly be fascinated. She hastily nodded and then excitedly exclaimed, “I want to go! I want to go! I want to go!”
“Uhm, but it’s not going to be fun. The main purpose for this is to attend a meeting with my two moms. I think that you should be by my side as they will be, since you’re my mom, too. How about this: I’ll be sure to make some time to take you three to the hot springs!”