I sat on the edge of the bed and held Ling Yue’s hand lightly. Ling Yue wrapped herself tightly with the blanket and looked at me with a lifeless gaze. I looked at her and softly apologised, “Ling Yue… It was all my fault… It was all my fault… I… I shouldn’t have done that… I… I… On full-moon nights…”
Ling Yue shut her eyes and looked away, seemingly not intending to say any more to me.
“No, no, no, listen to me, Ling Yue, you might be misunderstanding something!”
“I said, it’s fine!!!” Ling Yue suddenly turned back around and shouted at me. Dangerous fangs in her mouth revealed themselves. Her tail quickly came out from the blanket with all her fur standing up. She stood up and looked at me with her infuriated eyes. She clenched her fists and shouted, “How much more must you shame me before you’re happy?! What else do you want from me?! Every time you open your mouth it’s ‘sorry’!! I don’t want your apology! You betrayed me! You betrayed me!!’
I looked at her and loudly tried to explain myself, “I didn’t betray you! I’ll definitely do what I promised you. I’ll definitely help you get your revenge! That’s what I promised you right from the start!”
Ling Yue snickered, and then threw the blanket away, in front of me, revealing her perfect body. I was frightened. She looked at me and walked over with big strides. She shouted, “It’s because of this, isn’t it?! It’s because of this, isn’t it?! You’re feeling guilty now, aren’t you?! You actually went and did that to a girl! I guess it’s only normal for you! I have nothing to give you anymore! I’ve stooped low enough to betray my body! I’m not longer an esteemed lady of a tribe! I’m just a whore now! I’m just garbage now!!!”
Ling Yue shouted as her tears coursed down her face. She wrapped her arms around her body and slowly squatted down. She looked at the ground and cried. I stood up and picked up the blanket by the side, then draped it over her. She knocked my hand away with annoyance and continued crying with her gaze fixated on the ground.
I crouched down in front of her. I watched her shed tears and quietly asked, “Ling Yue, I don’t understand why you came to me tonight. I really don’t understand… This wouldn’t have had happened if you left… I’m not trying to find excuses for what I did; I just want to know why you came onto me back there.”
She wiped her tears. She then looked up at me with rage. She whipped her hair then looked at me again to thunder, “That woman is there. That female guard said the Queen could give you the entire North. She could help you coordinate things in the North to support your plan, and even give you a precise map. You looked so greedy when she said that. You don’t need me anymore, do you?! You don’t need me anymore!! I can’t provide you with more, so you want to abandon me. I had no choice but to do this. I have nothing else to give you besides my body! You’ve taken my body now, so you can focus on getting my revenge for me, right?!”
Ling Yue cried in front of me. She looked at me and shouted as she cried with despair. She ridiculed herself and her despair for this world.
I didn’t suspect what she said at all. She was a girl who was loyal to her marriage.
She wanted to be with her loved one into old age and give him her most cherished treasure. Thus, she was unwilling to even hold my hand right from the start. I touched her tail twice before, and I got slapped heartlessly both times. Ling Yue always kept her distance from me during our interactions the same way Karana did.
However, after that girl from yesterday came, she must’ve felt that her position was threatened. We were using each other for our own ends at the start. I promised to avenge her, while she promised to share all her knowledge with me. She was fearless, because I needed her. She knew that I needed her knowledge and information to reach the North, and therefore wasn’t worried about me abandoning her.
That changed last night, though.
The Queen and her guard could give me what Ling Yue could give me.
In fact, the Queen could give me what she couldn’t. In addition, if I needed time to appease the people, the Queen could be of use, but not her.
‘Did I look that greedy yesterday?’
The appearance of the Queen’s bodyguard caused Ling Yue to panic. She didn’t know if she could stay at my side. From her perspective, we were just using each other, but that relationship crumbled. She perceived it as me wanting to abandon her, for she couldn’t do anything without me. As a matter of fact, she could end up dying here. So accordingly, she used this self-destructive method that destroyed her dignity and future.
She destroyed her own dream and goal. She destroyed her final shred of dignity as an esteemed lady. She destroyed her dream that she had since she was young just so that I wouldn’t abandon her.
I looked at her teary eyes and hesitated for a moment. I pulled her into my embrace, but she pushed me away with one arm. She desperately backed off as she looked at me with an expression of despair and fear.
I sighed gently. I stood up and said, “Sorry… Ling Yue, I’m very sorry about this. I ruined you and even your last shred of dignity. I’m really sorry… sincerely very sorry…”
“I don’t need your apology!”
“I meant that I won’t abandon you. I told you that I’m your knight. You gave me everything you have, so I’ll never betray you. Perhaps I do want everything they promised me, but that doesn’t mean that I intend to abandon you even if you can’t give me anything. You accompanied me at my side through so much; you’ve gone through so much danger and difficulties with me, so how could I abandon you? I don’t know what you think, but I genuinely view you as my friend. I promised you that I’d avenge you; therefore, I’ll do what I promised even if there’s nothing left.”
I looked at her. I reached my hand out with a helpless smile and continued, “Ling Yue, I’m sorry for destroying everything you have. I know that you wanted to give everything you had to the one you loved, and I know that I’m not that person. We haven’t known each other for long, and you carry so much on your shoulders, yet I stole away your most precious treasure. I can’t return it to you…”
She looked at me while trembling. I kept my gaze on her and sincerely said, “I made a promise to you, Ling Yue, did you forget? Did you forget that I swore an oath to you? I said I would avenge you, so I’ll see it through to the end no matter when or what happens. I stood in front of my people, so I can fend off danger that comes your way, too. If you still want to give yourself up to your most beloved person, then maybe one day you’ll realise that I can also…”
An empty tin zipped through the air and smashed me in my face. Ling Yue looked at me and fumed, “How could I possibly like you?! Pervert! Bully! Opportunist! Creep! How could I possibly like you?! Don’t tell anybody about what happened between us! Just remain this way! Once our goals have been achieved, just pretend we never knew each other! I don’t want to see you now! Get lost!!”
“All right, all right, all right! I’ll leave, so calm down. Calm down.”
I turned around and exited the tent. I let out a heavy sigh. I looked at the sun that just came up, not knowing what to say.
“Your Majesty, she is different to the previous Princesses.”
“She’s not my Princess! I don’t intend to do what you think… but, Philes, what’s with the strangle mark on your neck?”
“No… No… Nothing… Nothing…”