I don’t know how I fell asleep, but my heart skipped a beat when I woke up. Ying was missing when I woke up. I went to jump to my feet, but since Nier and Lucia were holding onto me, I ended up being pulled back down. My trip woke the two of them up. Nier swiftly drew her sword and almost slashed me. The two of them released their hold on me. I staggered to my feet then ran over to the door and pulled it open.
I heard a familiar rhythm outside. I stood at the door with a dumbstruck look. Ying was sweeping the ground at a mild pace in her white robe, hair fluttering. A few tree branches were in her hair. Besides looking pale due to blood loss, she was her usual. She acted as if she was never unconscious or suffered an injury.
“Ying!!” I loudly called out and ran over to her.
Ying turned her head to look at me as if nothing ever happened. I ran over to her and grabbed her shoulders. Anxious, I exclaimed, “Ying, don’t move around carelessly. You haven’t recovered yet. You’ll destroy yourself if you do this!”
Ying shook her head, and then brushed my hand away: “I’m very well. I can look after myself. I had a bit of a cold, but I’m fine now. Thank you for taking care of me. It appears that the two I rescued were your wives. Fate is truly miraculous, isn’t it?”
It was a rhetorical question, but Ying didn’t show any emotion. She turned around, seemingly not wanting to say any more to me. I forcefully dragged her back inside by her arm. She called out and tried to resist but stopped due to the pain.
I suddenly remembered that her chest was injured, so I released her. I noticed blood seeping onto her robe. I didn’t know what to do. I shivered as I apologised: “Ah… Sorry!”
“No, it’s fine.” Ying shook her head then removed her hand on her chest.
I lingered for a moment when I looked at the trace of blood on her robe, but then quickly grabbed her hand and said, “Sorry, sorry, sorry. Go and get your bandages changed. I’ll have my wives help you change your bandages and treat your wound.”
“Thank you.” Ying stood up, and then gently pushed my hand away when I went to help her. She walked to the room.
Nier and Lucia looked at us with a complex look from the stone steps. I didn’t know how Ying communicated with them, but Nier knew what to do when she saw the blood on Ying’s chest. The three of them went inside and shut the door.
I felt slightly unnerved. I looked at my hand and wanted to slap myself. Her wound opened again, because I forcefully dragged her. However, that was how I discovered Ying was incredibly weak due to her wound. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have been able to make her budge with that much strength. After all, she took on a wyrm. How could I pull her to the ground?
I had to have Nier and Lucia control Ying. Otherwise, she’d never recover. My main concern wasn’t Ying but, Xia, the young girl I had yet to meet. If Ying was a prisoner of the village, Xia would be the sacrifice.
I was too naive. I thought the village controlled Ying with kindness and gentleness. I never thought Ying’s shackle was a live person, and it was her sister’s eyes that they used.
I wanted to go inside there and save Xia. Nevertheless, I couldn’t just strut in there, and take her out, as that would lead to us clashing with the villagers. While the villagers weren’t combatants, Ying’s guilt and regret would pit her against us even if we saved her sister.
If Ying didn’t intend to protect the villagers, then she could’ve easily saved her sister. She’d rather watch her sister suffer in pain than save her. She resided in the shrine alone and drowned in her mistake, guilt and hatred from the past.
“Just how many painful memories are hidden beneath that expressionless face?” I wondered to myself.
She wore an expressionless look just to stop herself from recalling the past and to suppress her former self. She used her past to torment herself as a means to prevent herself from committing the same mistake. She was covered in wounds, yet was willing to stay and exchange her entire life to make up for her mistake. Ying was too kind.
Ying chained herself down to the village, where it tormented her, when it wasn’t her fault. She figuratively bled, yet she viewed herself as the culprit and repented. The fault lied with whoever erred. Kindness and gratitude weren’t reasons to take the blame for others. The children made a mistake; therefore, Ying shouldn’t be the one to atone for them.
I wanted Ying to leave the island. I want her to leave this place where the concepts of right and wrong were twisted. She should see the entire world. Not one corner of it.
I knocked on the door. I heard footsteps from inside. Nier poked her head out wearing a surprised look. I said, “Nier, come here for a second. Let’s discuss what we need to do tonight.”
Nier nodded. After a short pause, she gave a simple response: “All right.”
Truthfully, only Lucia was needed. Lucia was better at the task I had in mind compared to Nier. In saying that, I needed somebody to protect us.
Current time out on the water.
Vyvyan examined the ruins before her. There were bits of timber floating on the surface of the water. Not all of the decimated ship sunk yet. The ships looked as though they were torn apart from the bottom, but the strangest thing was that there wasn’t a single corpse.
The sailors salvaged part of a flag. The flag represented the fleet found. Elizabeth took the flag and frowned: “This is the flag of the Travest Kingdom. This is their fleet. I know their Regent. She’s a lady who refuses to allow women to participate in politics, yet a female regent runs the kingdom. To be honest, I’m a little jealous of their regent’s hair.”
“What did they come here for?”
Elizabeth shook her head: “I don’t know; nevertheless, our sailors discovered an island nearby. If something happened to my son and his crew, they’ll definitely be on the island. Let’s pick them up and leave.”
“There’s something in the sea.”
Vyvyan didn’t pay any attention to what Elizabeth was saying. Vyvyan leaned on the rails and looked at the glowing scales in the water below. Her blues eyes seemingly fused with the ocean. She frowned. Vyvyan had never been tense before. Elizabeth was aware how haughty Vyvyan was. She, therefore, reasoned that, if Vyvyan was tense, whatever was in the water was sure to be terrifying.
“That’s why I said that we need to pick up my son, his crew, and then hurry up and leave!!”
Vyvyan rolled her eyes: “You think my son, who’s so kind and sense of justice is so strong, will bear to just leave? I bet we won’t be able to leave unless we slay this thing in the water. In any case, it’s fine to go there now, so let’s go.”
“Mm.” Elizabeth nodded.
The water reflected the unease in Elizabeth’s eyes. She spun around to loudly give her orders. The fleet changed directions. They erected the white sail and awe-inspiring flag of Rosvenor Empire before they set forth toward their destination.