Though I slept holding Leah that night, I wasn’t thinking of her. I, instead, thought of Veirya.
‘Thanks to that mother and daughter pair, my mind was an utter mess. I don’t know which of these feelings of mine are directed at. It felt as though an electric current ran to my heart, causing it to race rapidly the instant Angelina’s lips touched mine. I couldn’t look her straight in the eye; however, I didn’t know who she was at the time. I thought she was Veirya. But then, Veirya, herself, kissed me and our teeth touched, yet my heart didn’t race. My heart, indeed, didn’t race as a result of touching Veirya, but she wasn’t Veirya.’
‘If my relationship with Angelina became good and if we even went as far as to be together, what would my relationship with Veirya turn out to be? What am I to do about Leah? Angelina and Veirya aren’t on the same team, but the both of them are humans who fight against demons. They’re on the same team when combatting external threats. Furthermore, am I supposed to have Veirya call me “dad?” I don’t consider it comical for Veirya to call me “dad” with her ice-cold expression. To the contrary, I find it terrifying and frustrating.’
‘Veirya might not allow me to, either… If it was a battle for me, I’d say my life was complete. However, Veirya is only behaving that way because it’s Angelina. She’s not angry about me, but Angelina.’
‘Sometimes, I can casually go between corporations and find the best way to solve problems. That isn’t just my work, but also a process that I enjoy. Now, though, I’m completely flustered when it comes to my emotional problems. The very thought of Veirya’s lifeless, yet clear blue eyes causes my heart to beat so rapidly that it feels as though it’ll pop out of my chest. As a result of that, my body temperature rose. The fire at my chest sent my nerves ablaze. I couldn’t sleep in peace, despite holding Leah, due to this random feeling. I couldn’t find a hint of peace or bliss, either.’
‘What’s this considered? I’m suffering internal turmoil after other things have settled down. Is this considered worrying about problems I conjured up in my own mind?’
The flame in the room burnt until the sun came up. The town only became quiet after the sun appeared.
‘I’m sure that this is that tavern’s best period of business. The food and drinks must be coins in their pockets now. I never actually thought that people from the nearby village and even the city would come to the town. There were even lots of merchants who came. I think the merchants’ visits must’ve been that man’s idea. I wouldn’t consider it a gain, but merely a normal event. Deals with money involved will bring profits. The merchants will also make a profit from the firewood in winter after this.’
‘However, this brought life to the town. People and intellect will always follow money. A town where money isn’t being circulated is essentially a cemetery. There’s nobody who doesn’t need money. The only ones who don’t need money are the dead.’
After a sleepless night, I got out of bed on a peaceful day – which is rare – to prepare breakfast for my daughter and Veirya. Veirya probably didn’t eat anything yesterday. Actually, she must’ve eaten a fair bit when she was with me, Angelina and the man. Otherwise, she would’ve had me go and cook for her last night. I don’t know who came up with the idea of swapping the mother and daughter, maybe they came up with it in the spur of the moment. Whatever the case is, this prank is frustrating me to no end.
Unsurprisingly, I saw Veirya when I went downstairs. She was sitting at the table as always. I don’t know if she slept last night, but I see her sitting here every day. She doesn’t drink or eat anything, speak or move. She just sits there in silence as if she was a statue. Normally, I wouldn’t care, but when I see Veirya’s face now, I can’t help but feel nervous all over. As a matter of fact, I don’t dare to look her in the eyes. I stood at the stairs and hesitated. I wasn’t sure what the best way to enter was.
Veirya noticed me standing at the entrance. She looked at me, and before I figured it out, she asked with puzzlement, “What’s wrong? Did something happen?”
“Ah… No… No.”
“Go and cook, then. I’m hungry.”
‘Veirya sure didn’t hold back. That was all she had to say. It was as if nothing happened last night. The kiss from yesterday didn’t hold any meaning to her. She only did because Angelina did it. I, honestly, feel stupid after seeing how Veirya is right now. I couldn’t sleep, because of it, while she never cared in the slightest. I would even go as far to say that her care factor would be a negative numerical value if such a thing existed. Veirya genuinely considers me a spoil of war and not a human being.’
‘Or maybe she had no idea what happened – in the sense that she doesn’t know about the things between a male and female, let alone the feelings between them. I’m sure that she’s never been in love before. Courting her must be the same as courting a stone statue. Try as you may, you won’t ever get a response. Actually, Veirya would probably give you a thrashing if you went overboard with your courtship. My odd romance should end here. Veirya won’t understand it. After all, she’s Veirya.’
I adjusted my mood and feelings.
‘I’ll need to start earning money once spring starts. I don’t have a penny at the moment, but I’ll have a place to earn money from, as I can make money off the merchants who are coming and going. Once I’ve made enough, I can take Leah to the Imperial Capital to live a life of luxury. Before that, though, I need to repair the water fountain here.’
Current time inside the city.
“The heretics conducted their festival so conceitedly. The kingdom is now ruled by God. Only our god is protecting them now! Conducting such an evil and vulgar festival is the equivalent of questioning our god’s authority!! Our chapel has come here, so we have the responsibility to purify our lands. If those heretics sincerely correct their wrongs by offering money and respect to our god, then we are brothers and sisters. However, if they refuse to realise their wrongs, then we shall purify our lands with the sword in our god’s hand!!”
“Your Excellency, Veirya is there, though. She is the exemplar of the military, and the hero that slayed the Demon King. If we stick our noses into her territory that she manages, I am afraid that we will come into conflict. I am afraid that would put us in a passive position.”
“What’s there to be afraid of? She only managed to slay the Demon King thanks to our god’s blessings. Our knight isn’t inferior to her. Those who oppose God must pay the price no matter who they are!!”
The man looked at the boastful bishop. He didn’t say another word. The bishop smiled then said, “But, Mr. Alex, have you prepared the military funds and provisions you were supposed to provide us with?”
The man looked at the bishop’s bald head and nodded gently. He said, “Yes.”
“Good, then. Send them over as soon as possible. Then, we can begin our purge of the heretics! For our faith! For our god!”
The man didn’t go along with the bishop’s act of foolery. Instead, he saluted him and left the chapel. He turned his head to look at Angelina, “The chapel won’t get anywhere…”
“Do you plan to help Veirya, I mean, Mr. Dongqing then?”
“You’re already addressing him by his name, huh? It looks like you really like him.”
“I really like pure men. It gives me the thrill of hunting.”
“Do you know how twisted that sounds when you say it with that cold look…? I don’t plan to, though. I don’t trust him very much yet. Let’s watch for now. Let’s see how he deals with the chapel. Angelina, I know that it’s inconvenient for you to show yourself when dealing with this, since their enemy is Veirya, while you’re the chapel’s knight, so I won’t go over.”
“Thank you. However, I really want to go and see that child.”
“Veirya will kill you. She really will.”
“She would’ve done so regardless.”