We finished repairing Ling Yue’s home. Ling Yue wasn’t willing to continue staying by my side. She chose to stay at home, instead.
The war wasn’t over yet. There was nobody nearby, and the only person to leave the property alive was Ling Yue. The only one who was going to live in the three-storey property with an underground floor was Ling Yue. I looked at her and touched her ear. From the bed, I looked at the curtains above. I asked, “Won’t you feel lonely?”
Ling Yue curled up next to me and answered in a soft voice, “No. I’ve always lived here. This is my home. Why would I feel lonely?”
“But there’s nobody around you now.”
I went to sit in Ling Yue’s room yesterday in the name of not letting her get scared. For some reason, I ended up sitting on her bed. I then held her hand, but she didn’t kick me out. She even revealed her tail, so we tacitly understood each other and, hence, ended up doing it again on the full-moon night.
I didn’t know what Ling Yue was thinking. Normally, she wouldn’t give me the chance. Usually, she’d kick me away as soon as I went up to the bed. She was particularly obedient that night, though. I didn’t know the reason why, but I guessed Ling Yue didn’t care anymore. After all, we might never meet again. Perhaps she didn’t want to bicker with me when we were about to part ways.
Ling Yue faced her back to me and softly said, “It’s fine. I won’t be scared or lonely. This is my home. I grew up here. My parents, sisters and the rest of my family lived here. I won’t be scared even if I’m alone here. I’m where I should be. This place is also where the future of my tribe lies.”
I grabbed her small shoulders. Voice gentle, I said, “Come with me, Ling Yue. Don’t stay here alone. I will help you rebuild your tribe once I conquer the North, but you’re living here alone, eating alone, cleaning alone, sleeping alone on a single bed, doing the laundry on your own, reading books alone, everything is done alone… That must feel… really lonely…”
I know that lonely feeling. A girl I loved behind a black veil once led that sort of life. She lived alone in the elven capital. Nobody stayed by her side, because of her identity and she was unwilling to live the way her fellow tribesmen did. She bit on her blankets on full-moon nights alone and refused to suck blood. She suppressed her own appetite and ate the berries we liked, instead. She slept alone, wrote alone, cut her fruits up alone. Everything she did, she did alone… She was always alone. Seeing her house made me want to tear up, but she always showed me a warm smile.
“No…” answered Ling Yue. Her voice sounded shaky. She gripped her blanket tightly and continued in a soft voice. “This is our last time. I must stay here. This is my hometown. This is where my tribe has lived for generations. I can’t leave just because I feel lonely. Once things calm down, I’ll find maids and managers. This place will become lively. I might even have my future husband. I’ve already troubled you too much. You don’t need to worry about these things. You’re better off focusing on trying to calm and stabilise the North so that you can give me a safe and stable environment.”
I shifted my body to face her, “Uhm, I know; however, I keep feeling a little jealous hearing you say you want to search for a husband.”
“Does it have anything to do with you?” angrily questioned Ling Yue.
I smiled helplessly. I stroked her ear gently and replied, “Realising that I won’t get to touch these ears and this tail that feels so nice to the touch in the future makes me a little sad.”
“You have wives and kids, what else do you want, you bully, pervert, shameless bastard.”
I laughed, and then let go. I said, “But seriously, Ling Yue, if you feel lonely, if you feel you can’t take it, just call me, and I’ll definitely come back for you, I promise.”
“… Uhm,” muttered Ling Yue. She lingered for a moment, and then turned over, allowing me to see her face. As she looked at me, she reached her hand out carefully to touch my hand. “Sorry… Today… I didn’t know about your past, so I called you a tyrant. I’m sincerely very sorry about that. You must’ve really loved Luna. I really sympathise with you after finding out so much about you and Luna.”
I shook my, “It’s all in the past now. I’ve put Luna to rest, so I’m not so sad now. What I have to focus on now is how to prevent anyone else around me dying.”
“Uhm… I thought you liked to kill people… But now I know that you don’t like to kill people. It’s just that you’re too upset and sad.”
Ling Yue caressed my face. Then, she looked behind me. She softly said, “The sun has come up. It’s time for you to head out now, right? I’ll forever remember my time with you. Thank you for doing so much for me. Thank you very much.”
I rolled over to see the sun that had just started to reveal itself. The warm orange rays shone through the curtains, lighting up my front view. Behind me, Ling Yue stroked my back and sighed, “Don’t worry about me. You really don’t need to worry about me. I won’t leave. I’ll only stay here to watch over my tribe. You have your mission, and I have mine.”
I nodded and stood up. I looked outside the window to see the soldiers camped outside in the courtyard wake up to begin their day.
‘I need to leave today and head toward the palace of the North. There’s nothing left that can stop me. Nobody but myself can stop my advance now.’
I got dressed. Ling Yue sat up and focused her gaze on my back. When I did up my cloak, somebody knocked on the door.
I looked at Ling Yue with a smile and bid her goodbye, “I’m leaving now, then.”
Ling Yue nodded, “Uhm.”
She swung her tail to express her farewell. I walked up to her and stroked her head. She pushed my hand away somewhat unhappily. I chuckled. I gently shut the door behind me when I left. I looked at the decorations on the left and right as though I was trying to keep a memento.
It was my first time there, yet I strangely felt as if I was saying farewell. I didn’t know when I’d be able to come here again. Maybe I’d never be back.
I didn’t know if Ling Yue would be lonely or not, or if she would suffer in pain or not. I didn’t know the answer to any of those things. However, she insisted on staying there, so I couldn’t forcefully drag her along. My soldiers weren’t servants, so they couldn’t stay there, either. All I could do was leave a few guards with her at the property, but they all had to return at the end.
How was she going to live here alone? No idea.
What I had to do was hurry to the palace of the North. I had to bring the North under control as fast as possible and settle things down. I wanted to improve Ling Yue’s life. If I wanted her to be able to have maids and servants, then I had to settle the North down as soon as possible. I didn’t do it just for my wives and children, but also for Ling Yue.