“Oh, Prince Troy, is something the matter?”
“I want to go outside to look around. It’s too boring in the carriage.”
“It’s just as boring outside, you know?” Alice pinched Troy’s nose with a smile.
Troy grabbed Alice’s hand. Alice’s eyes were filled with affection, which was different to how she looked at others. To be fair, though, Troy was the target of everyone’s affection in the Royal Palace. Nier was held Troy and enjoyed the bliss in her life; however, upon hearing Troy say he was bored, she was quite alarmed.
The two of them didn’t really want to let Troy out. Nier and Alice still had the nightmare they couldn’t speak of after seeing the two strangers in the palace. The woman who resembled Nier was far too formidable that it was terrifying. Alice was Elizabeth’s most trusted bodyguard, while Nier was a swordplay genius, yet they weren’t confident they could win against Nier’s copy. If she attacked the carriage, it would be dangerous if she wasn’t by Troy’s side, Nier thought.
The biggest problem was that the Empress didn’t take it to heart when they reported the incident to her. There were no countermeasures put in place for the trip, either. While there were lots of guards present, the two felt had qualms about letting Troy ride outside.
From outside, Elizabeth called, “There’s nothing bad about letting Troy out for a look. Let him ride on my horse. I want to hold my son and view the scenery with him. Come, Troy. Come see the forest and birds. You won’t get to see this sight in the palace. Come out, Troy.”
Alice hesitated. Nier and Alice were just vassals at the end of the day, though. Nier reluctantly let go. Troy gleefully pulled open the door to the carriage similarly to a bird that left its cage. Alice, astonished, wrapped her arm underneath his armpit to grab him. In a shocked tone, she exclaimed, “The carriage is still moving! This is too dangerous, Your Majesty!”
Troy ignored Alice’s panic and cheerfully reached his hand out to Elizabeth. Elizabeth affectionately smiled and grabbed Troy. Troy happily curled up in his moms’ arms and looked up at the green canopy. Small and furry animals ambled along the sun-dappled path. Animals would occasionally poke their head out of shrubs and curiously scan the grand escort. The leaves on trees danced to the cool breeze’s choreography.
Elizabeth was right. Such a sight was not available in the Royal Palace. To Troy, who grew up in humanity’ lands, this was a new experience. He was all smiles. He covered his eyes from the sunlight that would shine through the leaves every now and then. Elizabeth looked at her smiling son in her arms and blissfully tightened her arms around him.
The messenger at the forefront rode up to Elizabeth’s side and reported, “Your Majesty, our carriage has arrived. The maids have already begun to tidy up the palace. Do you have any special requests after arriving?”
“Where’s Vyvyan? Have Inard and Vyvyan arrived?”
“They should be arriving soon. They won’t be late. Troy, don’t rush. You’ll get to see your dad soon. You must miss your father after not having seen him in so long.”
Elizabeth lowered her head and pinched his nose with a smile. Troy looked at his mom feeling puzzled. He tilted his head: “Dad?”
“Of course, you silly boy. You didn’t forget your dad, did you? He’s your father. While you don’t see him much, he’s nice to you, isn’t he? He always brings all sorts of elven gifts over when he visits you. You didn’t forget, did you?’
Troy wore a puzzled expression. Elizabeth raised her head with a smile and stopped paying attention to her son. She considered it to just be a child’s whims. Inard was his father, which was a fact that would never change. Her son did inherit a human’s appearance, but the Galadriel Tribe’s blood flowed in him. It was impossible for him to forget his father. Furthermore, such a young child wouldn’t know resentment.
Current time at Rosvenor Empire’s sojourn palace.
“Hurry up and wipe the rails. Who was hired to clean this place before? The rails are scratched. If Her Majesty sees it, what would she think?! You, new maid, yes, you, come here and clean up! Since you’re an elf, show me the senses of an elf! Why do I get the impression that you’re always so clumsy?!”
“Sorry, Madam, I have just become a maid, and so I still…”
“Don’t waste time with drivel. Her Majesty will be here soon. Hurry up and tidy this up. Don’t let the scratches be visible. What was your name again…?”
“Lucia, Ma’am, Lucia.”
“Mm, Lucia, you clean this stuff up; then, go to the kitchen to help them prepare tonight’s banquet’s necessary items. Your Elven King is eating with our Empress, after all. You maids would feel reassured to see that, right?”
“We have always felt very reassured.”
The head maid nodded. She then turned to go somewhere else. Elizabeth visited the particular palace for short stays once annually. Consequently, they hired people to clean the place. Once the program for the visit was set, maids from the imperial palace arrived to set things up again to ensure that it was similar to the Royal Palace. They spent, at least, a month on it, but they were still as nervous as could be during the last moments.
Lucia sighed. She looked at the scratches on the rail and then checked left and right. The maids around her were all anxiously minding their own business. Nobody was paying attention to her. She didn’t fix the scratch. Instead, she ran up the stairs. She pressed her hand onto the staircase’s handrail and ran along it as if she was running around in a complex maze. Finally, she stopped by the door to a room that didn’t stand out.
She checked out the door then her surroundings. She furtively touched the door handle and turned it twice. Still worried, she took one last look to ensure that there was no problem with the handle. Once done, she hurried back downstairs.
There was nothing wrong with Lucia, the elven maid.