‘They say that the Fire Torch Festival is a festival to pray for an abundant harvest. Some also say that it’s a festival for couples. I don’t know if it’ll ensure an abundant harvest, but I know that it sure is a festival that represents passion for love. I have no idea what’s the matter with me. My heartbeat just gets erratic when Veirya is next to me. I don’t know why I’m in this state. I don’t get anything from being around her.’
‘When was it that I started paying attention to Veirya?’
‘I don’t know. Was it from the moment she emerged from the water? Was it when she was taking a bath? Was it when she revealed her inner thoughts? Or was it when she drew her blade to protect me?’
‘Now that I think about it, we’ve gone through a fair number of things between us, despite me thinking the contrary.’
‘But does that mean I’ve fallen for Veirya?’
Veirya had gone to sit down at the dinner table. She didn’t plan to say anything else. I stood at the stairs and looked over. I truly felt a little awkward. I didn’t know what to say. I adjusted my mood, regaining my composure. Not even I understood what happened.
‘Why would I suddenly have the thought?’
I went upstairs and gave the door to our room a light push. Leah wasn’t sleeping. The bed was empty, and the window was open. The night breeze brought a weird smell that contained the smell of burnt wood into the room. I think there was the smell of ashes, as well. It was now midnight. Leah had transformed into her adult form. She stood at the window with the front side of her body leaning onto the window, and her arms resting on the wood. The moonlight gently shined onto her scapula that truly resembled the beautiful wings of a butterfly. The moonlight continued shining down along her back down to her hips and below, all the way down to the ground, bringing the young girl’s scent and beauty onto the ground. As a result, the moonlight itself was fragrant.
Leah looked at the flames outside with a smile. I thought it was best that I not approach her at the moment. Leah had her back facing me. Her beauty was highlighted by the moonlight. I trembled as I walked up behind her. Leah paid no heed to me as though she was unaware of what she was revealing. She turned her head sideways to look at me. She cheerfully smiled and called out to me, “Papa!”
She looked at me with puzzlement and asked, “What’s wrong, Papa?”
“No, no, no… Nothing… Nothing…”
I cut my thought off once she called me “Papa.” A shameless feeling and guilt stopped me from daring to raise my head. Leah, however, didn’t mind. She stood up and wrapped her arm around me with a smile. She’s different to Veirya. Her scent smells a little nicer and gives one a strong urge to breathe it in and find out more. Perhaps it’s in her succubus nature, causing one to have an urge to approach her and let themselves fall, and then finally, die.
‘But Leah definitely won’t do that.’
Leah tightly clung to my arm. She giggled while looking at the flames. In a soft voice, she questioned, “Papa, do you think we’ll be blessed with bliss if we dance under the light of the flames?”
I nodded gently, “Yes.”
‘That was how it went in the legend. They said that god would bless couples to be together forever if they danced under the light of the flames.’
Leah looked at the flames. Her eyes were filled with eagerness. She gently leaned onto me and looked over to the side of the flames. She softly said, “Sorry, Papa. I fell asleep… It was late by the time I woke up. We’re not over there and… we said that we wouldn’t dance.’
Leah gently turned her head to look at my face. She gently stroked my face with her hand, and then lightly leaned onto my chest. Right next to my heart, she softly murmured, “But, Papa, Leah still wants to dance… Although you said that the bliss they speak of is different to the feelings between us, Leah still wants to dance with Papa. I greedily want to possess your bliss for myself alone… Papa… Leah only haves you here… Leah wants to be with Papa forever… Leah wants to have Papa’s bliss all for Leah alone. Can I have it all, Papa?”
Leah looked at me with her red eyes. Her gaze was filled with the wish and fantasy of a young girl. She gripped my collar in a slightly nervous fashion similarly to a child asking for candy. She gently slid her hand on my palm and grabbed a light hold of it. She then smiled and looked at me, “Papa, so warm… Papa’s hands… are so big. It makes me feel reassured… Leah… Leah wants to hold Papa’s hands forever. Can Leah do that?”
I gave her a gentle nod for a response, “Uhm.”
Leah grabbed hold of my hand and finally revealed a happy smile, “Papa, we aren’t underneath the fire, so will Leah still receive bliss? Will Leah be able to be together with Papa forever?”
I firmly held her hand without speaking. I swept my feet, and Leah laughed with joy. Her long and slender legs began to dance under the moonlight. Her delicate legs gave off a charming feeling similar to pearls landing on the ground one after another. Her clear and bright skin gently moved underneath the moonlight. While her gentle and smooth steps were messy, every step was exquisite and comparable to a piece of art.
‘Leah is a succubus, all right. She’s a beautiful female in the eyes of males.’
Leah cheerfully danced randomly. I moved around correspondingly. I watched Leah generously display her beauty in front of me. She soon got tired then shifted closer to me. She pulled me over by my arm and firmly thumped her head on my chest. She then tightly gripped my chest and laughed. Leah is so pure and beautiful that even the moonlight pales in comparison.
My heartbeat sped up. Leah didn’t know what I was doing, but she continued to cling to me. I looked at Leah, my dear daughter. I didn’t know her in the past, but serenity and tenderness akin to that of the moonlight flowed in my heart.
Leah slowly shifted her hands upwards to gently clasp my face. She raised her head up. I noticed a layer of tears in her eyes…
Leah leaned in. Her lips trembled as they approached mine. I slowly shut my eyes as I waited for that soft and moist sensation to come…
A cold and gentle breeze from outside blew, brushing my hand and face. I seemed to catch a glimpse of a few strands of silver hair in front of me again. Those thin lips that were cold as the moon came closer and closer to me. They were right at my lips.
“You want… this, right…?”
I suddenly opened my eyes and pushed Leah away. She retreated a step with shock and almost tripped. I quickly grabbed hold of her. Leah looked at me feeling terrified. She trembled as she asked, “Papa… Papa… Did… did Leah do something wrong…? Papa…”
“No… No… Sorry. Sorry…”
I massaged her forehead, and then gave her a gentle hug as I calmed her down by stroking her head. The sudden change I felt gave me a bit of a headache. I hugged Leah as I sat on the bed. She took gentle breaths in my arms and didn’t say anything. I looked in that direction and spaced out.
‘Though I was still hugging Leah, my mind was thinking of Veirya’s emotionless face.’
‘No, I meant, Angelina’s face.’
‘No. That’s not it. I was flustered because Angelina and Veirya’s faces are too similar.’
‘No, that’s not it. ‘
‘What’s the matter with me…?’
‘Did I push Leah away because of Veirya or did I push her away because of Angelina? Do… Do… Do I like Veirya or Angelina?’