“Who exactly are the people outside?!”
Elizabeth held her long sword in hand. She descended the stairs feeling perturbed as she listened to the disturbance outside. She was aware somebody had barged into her sojourn palace and that they were a threat. Though initially confident in her guards, she was eventually had a rare moment of panic. She no longer had any guards at her disposal, while her palace sat on the water surface. That meant she was in a castle with no escape. It would likely be impossible to reach the shore if they jumped into the freezing lake to swim across. It wasn’t as large as the ocean, but it certainly wasn’t small.
“Can you use teleportation?”
Inard had just gotten dressed. The two, who had planned to get intimate, were interrupted when they heard the noise. Before she learned who the enemy was, Elizabeth’s first response was to rely on Inard’s magic to escape.
“I can’t. I tried, but for some reason, I can’t cast spells. It doesn’t matter, nevertheless. Since they’re assassins, we’ll just have to kill them together. We’ve faced more precarious situations than this.” said Inard. He drew his long sword and stood by the door. He touched his wife’s hand: “Is Troy all right?”
“I don’t know. He’s with Vyvyan.”
“He should be safe, then. I don’t believe there’s anyone who is capable of killing Vyvyan. She may not be fond of using a sword, but she has ways of protecting herself. By the looks of it, it would appear the intruders’ target isn’t Vyvyan but us. Otherwise, they would’ve gone after Vyvyan.”
Inard pressed his long ear up against the door and listened for the sounds outside. Elves could hear footsteps even when one treaded on mats, carpet and so forth. Nonetheless, there was nothing to be heard besides the sound of the dust settling. Given that it was dead silent, Inard assumed the intruders had left.
“Have they l(eft)-“
Before he could finish, Elizabeth widened her eyes. Inard realised what happened in that very instant. If the intruders weren’t after him, what were they after? There could only be one feasible target. Vyvyan or Troy.
Elizabeth yanked the door open then shouted and sprinted out. Inard quickly chased after her. He yelled, “Don’t be impulsive! Elizabeth! Don’t be impulsive! We still haven’t confirmed the outs-.”
Someone flashed out from the darkness at the corner of the stairs and thrust their blade through Elizabeth’s chest. Her blood sprayed in the shape of a butterfly spreading its wings, beautiful, yet heartbreaking, before she could make a sound. Her body froze stiff on the way to the ground. Her surprise was expressed with her scowl. Her black hair lifelessly hung down. The blood from her back stuck to her.
Inard froze. Elizabeth’s assailant was… Elizabeth.
“That’s a surprise. I never imagined I’d be so panicked during an assassination. Running around with no preparation when she knows that an assassin is around, I sure don’t like to see this sort of idiot. I’m not surprised you’re dead. An Empress who behaves unlike an Empress, you embarrass me.”
Elizabeth gradually widened her eyes. Her heart had been pierced; thus, she was already on the brink of death. Still, she was stunned to see herself. She looked at the individual, who appeared to be an older version of herself. Elizabeth had no sympathy for herself. She kicked Elizabeth’s trembling corpse aside then looked at Inard and snickered: “Long time no see, Husband. I must say that it’s quite weird to meet each other in this circumstance.”
“Correct. I’m Elizabeth, your wife, your wife whom loved you and whom you loved. We have a son named Troy Galadriel Rosvenor, correct? Additionally, I remember we used a grass ring to swear our oath of eternity. Did I get my facts right, Inard? Has it been a long time?”
“Wh-Wh-Who are you…?”
“Didn’t I just tell you? I’m Elizabeth.” Elizabeth smiled. She then turned around and pulled over a man behind her. With a smile, she explained, “See? This is our son, Troy. Look, Troy has grown into a man now. He’s an outstanding man. Did I do a good job or what? I raised him alone, you know…?”
“What tripe is this now? Did you do anything during Troy’s growth?” rhetorically asked Vyvyan, as she approached from the side. Sporting a gentle smile, she bowed to him: “Brother, I am glad to see you again. However, you may be perplexed as to what happened. I have to admit, though, I am so glad I agreed to your request at the time. Had I not agreed, I wouldn’t have the privilege of being Troy’s mother. I genuinely feel so happy that I got to witness his growth.”
“What… what… what are you all saying? Who exactly are you?! You killed Elizabeth, so Vyvyan, did you also… Did Troy…?”
Inard’s long sword couldn’t subside his fear.
“What is this? What happened? Why did I see my wife kill my wife?” silently asked Inard.
“You truly are very smart, huh, Brother! Though ‘kill’ is not the right word. How can someone kill themself? It’s just that the world you’re in is an illusion, and so are you. In turn, your fake world is threatening our real world. To prevent you from replacing us and to prevent my son from disappearing, we have to…”
Vyvyan was standing to one side with a smile with a well-mannered pose just a second ago. Next second, a dagger already appeared by Inard’s throat. Inard vigorously turned his body to avoid the dagger. Carrying the momentum through, he uncorcked a kick at his assailant behind him. Lucia leapt back and went back to hiding in the shadow after her attack missed.
“Kill you!” Vyvyan vigorously waved her hand.
A girl in white appeared behind him. Her lunge was fast as lightning. Inard swung his sword horizontally to knock aside the sword coming toward him.
“You certainly are in your prime. Let me see if you can stop me, my dear husband!!”