I watched the horses exit the stables and asked the stableman next to me, “Elizab-, Her Majesty has arrived?”
“Yes,” answered he stableman, with a nod.
Freya dismounted before I did. I scrubbed the White Deer King’s face. It looked at me somewhat angrily, and then snorted. It looked toward the group of horses and frowned. I smiled and stroked its head: “Put up with it for now. I know that you don’t want to continue staying with a group of horses when you’re a King, but just put up with it for now. White Deer King, I’ll make you a stable, I mean, a deer stable once things have settled down.”
The White Deer King snorted before turning its head away. Freya bounced around then I turned to see Tanya dismount. I deliberately walked at a slower pace to allow Tanya to follow behind me. Somewhat puzzled, Tanya looked at me and asked, “Your Majesty, why are you deliberately walking slowly?”
“Because I know that your legs are definitely uncomfortable right now.”
I scrubbed Tanya’s head. Tanya blushed. She then grabbed onto a corner of my cape. I turned around and quietly told her, “Remember, do not act this way in front of Mommy Elizabeth. Mommy Elizabeth is different to Mommy Vyvyan. Mommy Vyvyan is fine with overlooking some formalities. Mommy Elizabeth, on the other hand, places an importance on formalities and politeness. If you behave rudely in any way in her presence, she will be very mad, because it’s a type of insult to her power as royalty.”
Tanya nodded, and then gave me a smile. I rubbed her small head: “Don’t come in first. Stay at the door. Mommy Elizabeth won’t want to be disturbed by anybody when she meets me again.”
Tanya nodded: “All right.”
I turned and let a group to the entrance of my own Imperial Palace. The Imperial Palace was my most blissful home at this point. My moms and wives were about to give birth in the Imperial Palace.
“My son is coming! My son is coming in! Hurry! Hurry!!”
Elizabeth tightly gripped the flower in her hand. She played with the long, thin and curved flower with her fingers. The white and pink flower released its scent into the air. It reflected the nervous and eager look of the beauty. Her white face contained a tinge of pink as though she was shy. The ladies-in-waiting kept busy around her, helping her with her makeup and adjusting her beautiful hair.
Elizabeth nervously checked herself in the mirror. She checked to see if she had any wrinkles on her beautiful face. She checked her clothes. Honestly, she didn’t sleep well last night, for she couldn’t decide what to wear to see her son.
She didn’t know why, but she was nervous in front of her son. In the past, she felt nervous, for she had never seen her son and wanted to see him. That sort of nervousness was the type where she didn’t know what to do. Nowadays, however, she was completely different. She was now considering what sort of clothes would make him happy.
“Would my son be disappointed to see me wearing a military uniform as I did before? But I’ll be the same as Nier and Lucia in this dress. The cut of this dress comes down too low. I’ll feel too shy seeing my son in this dress… So…, so what should I wear? What sort of clothes does my son like? What sort of me does my son like? Will he be pleasantly surprised to see me, like this?” wondered Elizabeth.
“All right, all right, all of you leave. Leave. Leave me in here alone.”
They finally finished dolling her up. Elizabeth held the flower and stood up. Her long black dress touched the ground. A sea-blue sapphire hung from her neck, highlighting her white skin. Elizabeth fixed her hair in a flustered fashion. She covered her ears with her hair by her ears, but left her earlobes exposed.
She couldn’t stop pursing her lips, trying to find her best look. She was also worried that doing that would wash away her lipstick. She stroked her face and her lips. That night with the fireworks resurfaced in her mind. The truth was that she noticed herself smiling when she sometimes dreamt of that night.
She realised that she seemed to want to relive that night. She wanted a night where she’d be embraced and kissed. She wanted to become a normal woman in a man’s arm, as he treated her to his tender kiss.
She had been an Empress for too long. She had worn the mask of an Empress for too long. She hadn’t experienced that blissful and tender feeling in too long. However, she found the bliss of leaning on her husband’s chest and stargazing, as well as the shyness she felt when her husband saw her entering the bath. She found that contradictory feeling of wanting him to leave, but then also eager for him to embrace her.
That was the sentiment of being in love and the beauty of love. That was the most blissful period in her life. It didn’t last long, but it brightened up her life more than anything could. She felt that period was more blissful and breathtaking notwithstanding her being the Empress of an entire empire.
It had been a very long time, but she hadn’t searched for that feeling again. She thought she had forgotten that feeling and no longer desired it. She felt it again, though, which led to her thinking about how much she desired that feeling and how much she was willing to enjoy that sort of love.
She learnt that the feeling of love was what she desired most. The feeling of that sort of love had hit her once, and she had a desire to pursue it. She wanted to be locked in an embrace again. She wanted to be held in someone’s arms and kissed. She wanted to lean on husband or son again. The two of them were far too similar. Whether it was their faces or expressions, the warmth or the gentleness of their lips, they were too similar.
*Knock. Knock. Knock.*
“Aaahh!!” Elizabeth almost tossed the flower in her hand away. She nervously checked herself in the mirror again. She adjusted her hair and clothes, and then took in a deep breath before walking to the door.
I took in a deep breath before adjusting my collar. Honestly, I never thought I’d be so nervous to see my mom. I kind of regretted removing my cape. I felt as though I looked better with my cape.
I checked my boots.
‘They’re fine. They’re fine’.
I was on my steed the entire time, so I didn’t have much mud on them. My appearance was acceptable. I took in another deep breath.
I heard Elizabeth’s voice I was familiar with from inside. I grabbed the door handle then looked at Tanya and made a hush gesture with my finger on my lips. I then frantically suppressed my palpitating heart and pushed the door open.
I didn’t know why I felt so nervous, either. She was just my mom, but I felt that the nervous feeling wasn’t a bad thing.