SIDE STORY – REUNION (2)
It was not an unknown word for him.
Or rather, it was a word he could not know.
It was also a very unfamiliar word to him.
Jude was unable to think like usual.
He bit his lips several times, and Gaël did not press such a Jude to hurry.
He simply sipped his tea quietly and waited for Jude to calm down.
A lot of time had passed before a voice that seemed to have been barely squeezed out came out of his mouth.
Gaël looked at the Jude who struggled to open his mouth as he let out a word again.
Their mother died.
Not long after Jude was born.
She was dead.
It was not a lie.
It was the truth.
In both Legend of Heroes 2 and 3, there was not even a single word about the mother of Jude.
At Gaël calling him, Jude turned to Gaël and heavily breathed without realizing it, and Gaël continued in a calm and low voice.
“As you said, it was not long after you were born. Our father took mother, Count Chase – our father-in-law, and the newborn you on a journey to the north.”
Jude had heard about this for the first time.
So he did not say anything and just waited for the next words.
Fortunately, Gaël did not waste any time and immediately continued.
“I was young at that time. But not a very young kid. I remember crying and pestering them to take me too. Because I didn’t want to part with my sick mother.”
“An illness… it was definitely an illness…”
“Yes, our mother was suffering from an illness. Even before she gave birth to you, she was already sick.”
It was a well-known fact.
It was one of the reasons why Jude did not bother to think about or investigate about his mother.
A child born after killing his mother.
No one ever said that to Jude.
Count Bayer and Maja did not tolerate such a thing.
But Jude had thought so.
A sick mother.
A mother who died after exhausting all her physical strength to give birth to Jude.
He had said that a few times when he was young.
There was a time when he cried, saying that he killed his mother and that a weak child like him who was always sick should not have been born.
It was the day Maja first got angry.
The day when she slapped Jude in the face for the first and last time.
Don’t say such things.
Don’t have such bad thoughts.
Maja was clearly older than Jude.
But even then, they only had a difference of six to seven years.
At the time when Jude was young, Maja was also young.
She was a child and not an adult.
That was the first time he saw Maja cry like that.
He was clearly the one who got slapped, and felt hurt and sad, but did not think of that at all.
He was just so scared and afraid of the crying Maja.
‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry.’
He tightly hugged Maja and cried as he apologized.
Maja cried the same way and hugged Jude several times.
So he never talked about his mother since that day.
He did not think about his mother.
Because he had Maja.
Because Maja would be sad if he talked about his mother.
His throat was dry.
Just thinking about the Maja of that day brought tears to his eyes.
Or rather, perhaps it was because of another reason.
His mind was confused.
He could not continue to properly think.
Hearing the call, he looked up blankly.
He did not even know what expression he was making.
Seeing that messed up face, Gaël continued to speak.
“Two months passed since you left… Father, father-in-law, and… you returned. I cried and begged them to tell me what happened to mother, but they did not tell me.”
As Gaël himself had said, he was a child at that time.
His mother had suddenly disappeared.
His father would not tell him where she went or what happened.
He knew now.
No, he had guessed it to some extent.
Why his father did not say anything that day.
But what mattered now was Jude.
Gaël took a deep breath before resuming his words.
“Father did not hold a funeral for mother. But mother did not come back after many years, so people thought. That Countess Bayer was dead. That the count was so heartbroken that he did not hold a funeral for her, but she was definitely dead.”
Jude was familiar with that story.
Gaël shrugged his shoulders.
“I was like that too. I thought that too.”
But he knew now that it was wrong.
Jude looked at him with a dazed expression.
Despite being a legendary being who saved the world, invaded Hell, and killed even an overlord, Jude was like that.
Because it was about his family.
Because it was about his mother.
“Mother was not born in the Sälen Kingdom. She was born far away. Her body had weakened because the climate here did not suit her.”
“Yes, father went on a trip to bring mother back to her hometown. The reason he left with you was because he thought that it was only proper for the newborn you to be with mother.”
Why is she coming back?
Why didn’t you tell me about this story?
Why did mother not return even though 20 years had nearly passed since she left?
Gaël knew what Jude was thinking.
Because Gael had the same thoughts when he received a letter from their father.
So Gaël immediately gave the answer.
“Jude, mother was not a human.”
“She was not a human. Father said that he clearly knew what she was now. Mother was a wild god.”
“Yes, the divine beings who lived in the northern wild lands… Mother was a wild god.”
Gaël repeated his words in a slightly dazed voice as though he still did not fully comprehend it.
Jude blinked his eyes.
He spoke words by forcibly making his non-working brain to work.
“Wild god. Wild god. Non-human beings. Was she away from her sanctuary for too long? So she went back. My mother’s hometown rejected me since I was a human. Only mother was accepted. Yes, my father couldn’t have seen mother since then. That was why he never said anything. Because he thinks that it’s enough to expect that she will return someday for sure. And now she’s really back.”
As he continued muttering, his reason began to recover.
Jude deliberately maintained his current state.
He kept mumbling words.
“But what happened? Gaël and I were definitely humans. No, maybe I just didn’t know. There was no event in which Jude awakened his unique bloodline in Legend of Heroes 2, or even 3… But on second thought, Jude was already a special existence. He had extreme Yin energy. The result was Gueumjulmaek. Originally, Gueumjulmaek was rarely found in men. In fact, it was a peculiar constitution that only women were born with. But I was born with Gueumjulmaek. Even though I was a man, I had extreme Yin energy. Kamael’s case was different. My case was different from Kamael who went through a special event as a child and ended up having extreme Yin energy. I had extreme Yin energy since I was born. I see, I inherited it from my mother. My mother was a wild god with extreme Yin energy powers. As for brother Gaël-”
“Yes, perhaps mother was a wild god associated with the power of wolves.”
It was the reason why Gaël was able to overcome the pill Velkian gave him.
The reason why the power of a wolf manifested after accepting the energy of the drug.
“Jude, you probably know much better about wild gods.”
Jude slowly nodded at the words of Gaël.
In fact, Jude knew one of the secrets that not only Gaël, but even the wild gods themselves did not know.
The origin of the wild gods.
The reason why they only existed in the northern wild lands.
‘Artificial Spirit Ruler Project.’
A project prepared by the high elves of the ancient Magellan Kingdom in order to stop the demons.
That project failed.
But it was not a complete failure.
The artificial spirits created by the high elves became one with the natural spirits of the wild land, evolving into wild gods.
The Golden Dragon King, said to be the strongest, was indeed capable of exerting the same amount of power that a Spirit King had.
Jude took a slow breath.
Things like the origin of the wild gods was not what mattered now.
“Mother will be back. According to father’s letter… they’ll be back in three days at the latest.”
My mother is coming back.
My mother is coming here.
He could no longer keep thinking.
His heart was pounding.
His vision suddenly blurred.
“Would you like to welcome her together?”
At the words of Gaël, Jude nodded his head.
He could no longer talk.
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Cordelia hurriedly returned to the holy palace and brought Maja.
Jude did not ask her to do that.
Cordelia had simply thought that she should do that.
‘I’m not sure either.’
But if Jude was meeting his mother, it occurred to her that Maja should be there too.
Why did she thought that Maja should be here?
As they headed to the Bayer territory, she relayed the general situation to Maja.
Maja was not that shaken.
At least it appeared like that on the outside.
And when Maja reached the Bayer county, Cordelia understood why she had brought Maja.
Jude greeted Maja with a messy expression.
He did not cry or scream.
But Cordelia could tell.
Jude was very anxious.
Calling it as fear seemed to be correct to some extent.
What was he so afraid of?
Why was he so anxious?
Jude was the one who remembered the most of his past lives more than anyone in Pleiades.
In the life of Jude that had repeated numerous times, a mother did not exist.
It was the same with Kang Jin-ho.
His memories were few until he met Alexei.
A mother did not exist in the life of Jude that went on for hundreds of years if one added up all the memories of his past lives.
Maja held the hand of Jude.
She hugged Jude who was much bigger than her.
And she said with a smile.
“She is the mother of young master. She is a person who loves the young master very much. So please don’t worry.”
Her words were simple.
But the moment Jude heard those words, he was relieved.
He could finally wait for the return of his mother.
“Straighten your back. I’ve never raised a young master like this, have I?”
She playfully said and smiled, and Jude also smiled a bit. He embraced Maja again before straightening his back.
And a day passed.
When two days had passed again.
A carriage carrying the count and the countess arrived at the Bayer mansion.
Hearing that the carriage was near, Jude waited in front of the main door.
Then, he could not stand it and went out to the gate entrance of the mansion to wait there.
Gaël went out with Jude instead of scolding him. Because Gaël himself was very excited to see their mother, and not only because he was showing his consideration for Jude.
Cordelia and Adelia were with them.
Maja followed them, and as a result, almost all of the servants of the count were waiting at the gate entrance of the mansion.
Jude swallowed his saliva several times.
The always calm and rational him could hardly be seen.
So Cordelia firmly held the hand of Jude.
Instead of teasing him who was more nervous than when they walked towards the Hell Gate, she shared her warmth with him.
“Here it comes!”
And from the distance, they finally saw a carriage.
It was very slow.
The time when the horse-drawn carriage was driven towards the mansion felt too long.
Jude gulped several times again.
Valencia opened her mouth to calm Jude down, but did not say anything in the end.
She just embraced the soul of Jude deep inside.
And the carriage eventually arrived.
Jude stared at the carriage door with a tense expression.
Thousands of thoughts ran through his mind.
And all of it disappeared.
His mind went blank like a blank sheet of paper.
He just stared at the carriage door like a fool.
The door opened.
Count Bayer was a little surprised when he got out of the carriage, yet had an apologetic and joyful smile.
He escorted the woman who was still inside.
Blue hair that resembled that of Gaël.
A small body that seemed to be smaller than that of Cordelia.
Mysterious green eyes.
He unknowingly spoke at the appearance of his mother who did not change at all from what he recalled in his memories. Tears streamed down the cheeks of Gaël.
Gaël ran towards Yuna, his mother.
Yuna saw such a Gaël. Her eyes widened in surprise and she had a big smile. She opened her arms and hugged her grown-up child tightly.
“Mother, mother, mother!”
“Yes, Gaël. My Gaël. My baby.”
Patting Gaël on the back, Yuna also showed tears.
Adelia tried to hold back her tears, but eventually bit her lips and cried. The old servants of the count could not suppress their tears either.
“Mother, mother. Jude. Jude is here…”
Gaël forced back his tears and spoke.
He was thirty years old and had two children, and although he was one of the Ten Great Swordmasters that the kingdom was proud of, he was just a child in front of Yuna.
But he was also an older brother.
He did not forget to take care of his younger brother.
He released Yuna from his arms and pointed to Jude. He stood still and beckoned his younger brother who was at a loss on what to do.
“Jude, it’s our mother. Come here. Come here!”
At his urging, Jude hesitated and could not speak properly. He flinched as if he had been struck by lightning at the gaze of Yuna, and awkwardly stepped forward.
She definitely looked like Gaël.
She resembled Jude himself.
But he did not remember.
Moreover, Yuna remained young like the wild gods.
She appeared to be in her late teens.
A woman who could only be seen as the same age as Cordelia.
It was awkward.
He did not even know what to call it.
He could not open his mouth like Gaël and cry out ‘mother.’
Jude stood in front of Yuna.
Yuna looked up at Jude.
She reached out and gently touched the cheek of Jude, smiling.
She said with a shaking voice.
My second child.
Jude looked at Yuna.
He still could not properly remember her.
But something vaguely came to his mind.
A mother who cried and released him from her arms.
A vision of his mother as he was moved away.
Even though her face was covered in tears, she forced herself to smile in the end as they parted.
T/N: Well, this was confusing. Since Yuna was already unconscious when they parted in the mountain, this was probably a memory before she lost consciousness. Or she was conscious at that time but lost consciousness before she could say goodbye to Alex.
Jude opened his mouth.
He clumsily spoke one word.
It was not ‘mother.’
It was ‘mom.’
A word that he never spoken even once in his life as Kang Jin-ho, nor in his life as Jude that had been repeated numerous times.
But a word that he really wanted to say.
His vision blurred.
Yuna stood on her tiptoes and wiped the tears of Jude. She cried and smiled like she did on that day 20 years ago.
But it was now different from then.
It was not a moment of parting.
Rather, it was a moment of a reunion.
Yuna spread out her arms, and Jude embraced her.
He eventually burst out crying like a child.
“Mom, mom, mom.”
“Yes, my baby.”
Yuna patted Jude on the back.
They cried and smiled together.