“So Miss Nier, have you thought about it yet? I think that neither you nor I have the patience to wait any longer.”
Clear drops of liquid rain down from Nier’s legs. Nier’s eyes were confused and empty. When she heard a voice, she powerlessly raised her head up. A moment later, anger and hatred resurfaced in her eyes like an old machine got rebooted. She looked at the merchant standing in the distance where the handrails were. Noting how he didn’t dare to come close, she sneered coldly and said, “What’s wrong? How come you dared not… mm… come in?!”
“Nobody wants to come close to a cat that likes to bite people after all.” The merchant smiled helplessly while touching his ear, that was now missing half of what was originally there. He looked at Nier, took in a deep breath and then continued, “Why do you do this to yourself? From the standpoint of the royal family, your love is just an insignificant speck of dust that’s not even worth mentioning. If you get defiled during this time, you’ll get abandoned even after you resisted for so long for his sake. Why don’t you give us a hand? We can’t give you anything, but we can still let you off with a pure body.”
“I will never betray His Majesty because this is the first time I’ve felt love.” Nier stared at him with anger. She chuckled coldly and continued, “I didn’t come here for the sake of getting together with His Majesty. I came here to do something for His Majesty. Even if I lose the right to be with His Majesty, I will still protect him by his side, so you don’t need to say more. There’s not even a slight chance that I will betray His Majesty. Don’t go thinking that I’ll just let you have your way with me. I won’t give you my body unless I’m dead!”
The merchant looked at the water stain below Nier’s body and mocked her, “Your body is being so honest yet you’re still unwilling to admit it. I must say that His Majesty is fortunate to have such a sensitive body for himself. But do you think you can hold out until His Majesty returns? Or rather, does His Majesty have the courage to come here?”
“I trust His Majesty!”
“You trust that your master will come to your rescue when you’re his bodyguard?” The merchant laughed and continued, “Are you not aware that you’re just a pawn? And you’re an abandoned child. You haven’t returned after such a long time. Your empress has already abandoned you, and yet you’re still having fantasies about them?! They will only betray you when they are faced with danger, not protect you! You actually believe that the prince will save you?!”
“He will.” Nier looked at him and said with determination, “His Majesty will definitely come and rescue me. His Majesty is not my master, and nor am I his bodyguard. I love him, so I believe in him!”
“Then just wait here until you rot! Increase the dosage significantly!”
Nier didn’t know how much longer she could hold on. She was maintaining her fury on the surface, or rather, she was just putting on a tough act.
It was just… so harsh… her whole body felt like it was burning. Her legs went numb if she budged even just a little. When she saw the prison guard, she struggled to resist the urge to call him over. She didn’t know why she was rubbing her own body herself. She never knew how to do this, but she had now learnt how to all on her own.
It’s so harsh… so harsh… it really is… so tough… it’s so tough… she couldn’t hold on… it really was too much… but… but… she loved His Majesty. She loved him. Why did his smile become clearer the more she broke? Why did everyone have the same face as His Majesty? Why didn’t she think about the empress and only His Majesty?
Why did she want to be held by His Majesty so badly? Why couldn’t she be firmer, and why did she want to cry? Why did she yearn for His Majesty to rub his body against her body? She yearned to show herself in the nude before His Majesty… Was it because of the drugs or was it her own instinct? Why… did she want to cry so much? Why was she so weak…?
A cold liquid ran down her throat and entered her stomach again. Her vision became blurry, and she fell onto the ground. Her numb legs felt cold once again.
Sunlight shone through the tiny window and onto her body. Her face-print was left on the basalt like the intense cold wind in winter. During her hazy moments, she returned to the past where she was by His Majesty’s side, where he held her hand and walked together with her outside in the cold.
But how much longer was she going to have to wait for that warm hand to return to her? “Your Majesty…”
The cold liquid didn’t just run down her legs, but also her mouth. Were they tears? Why? Why was the liquid so salty? Why was she so afraid?
“I beg you… Your Majesty… save me… save me…”
“No entry into the imperial palace is permitted without permission. Please announce the purpose of your visit.”
The imperial guards drew their long-spears and blocked the messenger’s path causing him to tug on his horse’s reins. He was holding a letter in his hand. He tried to catch his breath and loudly said, “Under the orders of Pope Tristan II, I have an urgent letter for your esteemed prince, Prince Troy Galadriel Rosvenor!”
“A letter for His Highness?”
The guard thought about it for a second and then moved his long spear and said, “Unfortunately His Highness is not in the imperial capital. If you have a letter for him, you can leave it to us to hand it to him.”
“What about Her Highness?!”
“Her Highness has left on business too.”
The messenger paused and then anxiously said, “Where is His Highness now, then? This is an urgent letter I have to deliver to him! This is his excellency’s order.”
“His Highness headed south but we’re not sure exactly where he has gone to.” The guards looked at him and continued, “We don’t have the right to ask where His Highness goes. If you want to give him a letter, go and ask for his whereabouts. But I don’t think you’ll be able to find out, so I think it’s better if you just hand us the letter.”
“Forget it. Thank you. I must personally hand this letter to His Highness.”
The messenger didn’t waste his breath. He quickly turned around and went away.
If. If. If I didn’t go to Galle Village that time and was at the palace to receive that letter, I don’t think Nier would’ve been in so much danger.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t there at the time. During that time, I was having lunch with Luna in Galle Village, trying out elven delicacies. And all of my attention was focused on trying to figure out what those merchants were plotting. I didn’t know Nier was in danger or what happened on humanity’s side.
“In other words, the continent was in its greatest moment of crisis when you were not in the imperial capital?”
The prophet poured me a cup of tea. I tried to get up, but unfortunately, I couldn’t. I smiled helplessly and slouched into my chair before answering, “That’s right. I didn’t know what happened outside, at the time. The hazy war was brought upon onto the continent because I was at Galle Village at the time.”
“Luckily it was peacefully resolved in the end. So do you regret all the things you did at Galle Village?”
I looked at the water in the cup for a long time without saying anything.
Afterwards, I felt that the prophet had fallen asleep. I said, “I do. I really regret it. And it’s the one thing I regret most. If I didn’t go to Galle Village at the time, she would’ve been fine, and she would still be my side, always keeping me company… and so… I regret it… I regret it deeply…”
I tried to put strength into my old wrinkly hands, but I couldn’t even cause a ripple in the water… However, the rage on my face caused the flame to tremble…