“All right. Now, let me hear what you want to say. It’s clear from your gaze that something happened. I noticed it long ago. I know you’re hiding something from me. The way you look at our child evidently shows that you’re very apologetic. Did you betray me?” asked Ling Yue.
Ling Yue finally returned to her human form after a long time in her fox form. She sat opposite me and looked at me with her eyes narrowed as she combed her long red tail.
Our child was wrapped up in a blanket and lying in the crib located next to Ling Yue. Ling Yue looked at me then our child. She softly giggled, and then caressed her child’s head. Our child went to sleep after having a full meal. She was still in the form of a fox, though…
“It’s all right. Don’t worry. She’ll become like me after a week. What a cute girl. I feel she’s prettier than me. She’s inherited our race’s eyes,” remarked Ling Yue.
I couldn’t see our child having any traits that resembled me. I wasn’t a fox, after all… I couldn’t see any resemblance between me and her in her current state.
Ling Yue gently caressed her child, and then gave her a forehead kiss. She then looked back at me. Her tender expression immediately vanished. She, instead, wore on a stern and reprimanding expression. Her change upset me a little… Voice soft, she questioned, “I sent a message to the Imperial Palace beforehand. Did you not receive it? Why did you only arrive when I was going through so much pain?”
I attempted to hug Ling Yue; however, she slapped me without a word beforehand. The slap virtually sent me back to the days where I could see the former ice and snow and anthropoid silhouettes… Angry, she loudly exclaimed, “I’m being serious here. What do you want? Don’t even think about touching me unless you properly explain why you were late today!! You may be here now, but that doesn’t change the fact that you were late!!”
I held my hand to my face. I explained, “Okay, okay, okay… I’ll tell you. Simply put, I wasn’t in the Imperial Palace… So, I never received the message you sent. Therefore, I didn’t know when you were scheduled to give birth… Furthermore… I was elsewhere…”
Ling Yue looked as if she was pondering whether or not I was lying to her. I didn’t feel guilty. Thus, I looked at her without behaving as if I was guilty. That was why she didn’t say anything, either. Instead, she followed up by asking, “What about Nier and the rest, then? Why are they back? Where have you been? Why didn’t you come back? Do you have another mistress out there?”
I did indeed bring back a woman – two for that matter – except, I didn’t plan to tell Ling Yue about them. I took in a deep breath before replying, “Because I’m going to die.”
“Uhm, uhm, you’re right. If you brought a woman back and have been cheating with her during this time, then you, indeed, are dead.” Ling Yue looked at me indifferently as though she didn’t think I was being serious.
I solemnly explained, “I’m serious, Ling Yue. I’m serious. We met with danger when we left this time. I used magic; consequently, my mana has been damaged. I’m no longer capable of producing mana. An elf who can’t produce mana is bound to die.”
Ling Yue was stunned. Her flippant expression vanished. Partly astounded and partly distrustful, she questioned, “Are you serious?! Aren’t you half-elven? Don’t you have humanity’s blood flowing in you? Why would you have the illness of an ordinary elf?”
“My organs and blood are elven even if I am half-elven. I have a human appearance, but my internal mechanisms are that of a very normal elf.”
I felt myself choking on my words. I gently grabbed Ling Yue’s hand. Her expression changed to a deeply sorrowful look. She held my hand back tightly. Her gaze was filled with worry and regret. In a shaky voice, she asked, “Th-That doesn’t mean you’ll die for sure, right…? There must be a way, right…? If it’s a mana problem… I’ll just help you store mana from now on… You won’t die for sure, will you…?”
“Ling Yue, can you transfer your mana to me?”
“Just suck my blood just as Lucia did. Don’t give up. Don’t stop trying. Troy, you’re not the type of person to give up so easily!” exclaimed Ling Yue looked at me. It was the first time I’d seen her so anxious. Her lips were still pale due to her having just given birth. In a shaky voice, she added, “Don’t go, Troy. There’s bound to be a solution! There definitely is. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. The North can’t be without you, and neither can I. Same goes for our child… So… don’t die!”
I smiled helplessly: “Ling Yue, you called me by my name…”
Ling Yue lost control; she leapt over and grabbed my collar. She mounted me and yelled, “I’ll call you anything, Troy, husband, my love, my dear, whatever you want; just don’t die, okay? Didn’t you promise to come visit us at set intervals?! Doesn’t this mean you lied to us?! You liar! You Liar!! You don’t have my permission to die! I absolutely won’t allow you to die! Why did you do this?! Look at your child! Look at our child! You’re telling me you’re about to die now? I was initially scared her father wouldn’t see her birth, but you’re taking the initiative to give up on accompanying her through life? You don’t like me? You don’t like our child?! Look at your child! Can you bear to leave her when she‘s so cute?!!”
I clasped Ling Yue’s face: “I don’t want to die, either, Ling Yue. I don’t want to leave you two, either. I love you. I love you as I always have, so I can’t suck your blood. I can suck the blood of others to sustain my life, but I’m not a vampire. I don’t want to be a parasite who relies on others to live. Moreover, you need someone to provide you with mana, too, don’t you? How will you provide me with mana if there’s nobody to provide you with mana?”
Ling Yue’s lips moved. She desperately wanted to say something, but she couldn’t. Her concerned tears landed on my face. I patiently wiped her tears. Although even more tears surfaced as I wiped, I still patiently wiped them each and every time. I softly murmured, “I love you all. I love each and every one of you. I love you and our child. I’m so glad that I got to witness her birth. That way, she’ll know that I’m her father instead of hearing bits and pieces from you. I held her, caressed her and kissed her. I’m not a good father, but I truly love her.”
Ling Yue softly sobbed. She grabbed my chest and responded in a shaky voice: “Don’t leave, then… If you truly love us… don’t leave us no matter what you become… Don’t leave us… My husband… My love… Don’t leave us no matter what… I won’t force you to do anything again, and I won’t hit you again… Please… please don’t go… Don’t die, no, no matter what, okay? Please… I’m begging you…”
I kissed Ling Yue’s tears. In a tender voice, I replied, “It’s all right, Ling Yue. If it’s possible, I’ll definitely come back. I’ll definitely be back as long as I can live…”
She exclaimed, “Isn’t that you saying that you can’t come back?!! Everyone else talks about what if they can’t come back. You’re the only one who says what if you can come back! I told you that I want you back safe and sound by my side!! No, I’m fine even if you’re not with me. I just want you to live. Don’t leave our daughter behind, okay? If you don’t promise me to come through today, I won’t let you leave. I’d rather transform into my wolf form and hold you in my mouth than let you die!!”
I smiled helplessly: “I’d feel helpless, then. After all, I need to return to the palace in the North, since something has happened and I must hurry back.”
Ling Yue immediately expressed, “That’s why you mustn’t die, understand? My husband, you cannot die! You absolutely mustn’t die. You must do your best to live, Troy. Do you still not comprehend your own abilities? You could help me return here, and you could restore green land to the North. What else can’t you do? My Troy, you will definitely be able to live if you want to. I’m begging you. Please don’t give up trying the way you’re quitting right now. You must find a way to live, got it? My Prince, you must live no matter if it’s for my sake or our child’s sake. Don’t die. Promise me. Promise me you’ll do your best to find a way to live on. My love, we can’t be without you. There’s no way we can be without you. My love… think hard about it. I’m begging you… Have a good think…”
Because Ling Yue’s eyes were blood-red in colour, her tears resembled blood. My determination was challenged once again.
“I’m so important to Ling Yue and to others. I must be just as important to Mommy Vyvyan. I can’t imagine how much agony she is in over letting me out like this. If I really do die, how will they all continue on?” I asked myself, spacing out when I suddenly realised I was hastily looking to die. I asked myself, “Why am I in such a hurry to die? Why have I not thought about how to survive? The solution that Mom came up with for me failed, while Ling Yue can’t enact it, either. Why can’t I find a solution?”
I recalled hearing, “You will come back to find me in the future…”
I suddenly remembered there really was somebody… I said to myself, “I need to pay him a visit…”