Daisy liked her dad; except, she didn’t like the way he was always elusive. In Daisy’s opinion, strict adherence was the law and something the world needed. For instance, a clock must be accurate by the second, and the hands had point at each number precisely. You should only eat enough to be satisfied; no more and no less. She strictly adhered to her daily schedule, doing what had be done at specific times. That was what her mom imparted to her.
When Daisy picked up a sword with her mom, her mom told her that swordplay wasn’t the equivalent of murder. Even an idiot could randomly swing a sword and kill somebody. Swordplay, on the other hand, was graceful and precise technique. It was not randomly swinging your blade but using minimum effort to strike fatal locations. She was to train technique, not slaughter.
What’s a professional swordsman? A professional swordsman is he, who appears to be engaged in combat, while actually being somebody who positions himself so that his opponent can only swing their sword three metres in front of them. That gives the attacker the false impression that the strikes are making contact, when the reality is they’re hitting thin air. The professional swordsman can precisely hit any fatal location of their choice. Hence, she really disliked her father’s elusive nature. If one likes another, should they not always be by their side?
“I have two older sisters and one younger sister, so my father has a total of four daughters. If he likes us, shouldn’t he tell us who he likes most? Dad likes being like this and blurring the lines. In fact, you could argue he likes everyone. Can that be considered love? Love is something magnificent, so why is Dad so unfettered about it? He doesn’t treat me, alone, this way. He treats Mom the same way. Dad always says he likes me. If he likes me, why did he marry Mom and not me? Why won’t Dad marry me?” Daisy would question.
“Mom said that if two people were truly in love, they should get married and be together forever. I like Dad so much. If he also likes me, why can’t we be together? If it’s because of Mom, I just have to train hard then defeat Mom in a duel, and it’ll be settled!” concluded Daisy.
“Dad has never professed his love for me, however. In fact, he has never even told me he likes me. He’ll hug me and caress my head, but he does that with others, too! It’s not love! What I want is for Dad to love me, but it’s not love if he treats everyone the same way! How can the greatness of this romance be proven if he treats me the same way he treats my sisters?” argued Daisy.
What Daisy wanted wasn’t that sort of mindless and empty promise and fondness, but for her dad to propose to her in an extravagant venue as she heard of in stories.
“I just have to defeat my Mom in a duel,” Daisy reasoned.
Daisy never stopped fantasising about that day. Her father was a gentle, kind, yet powerful, man. A man as great as him was worthy of touching her heart. Daisy also firmly believed her father would definitely see her brilliance, so she just needed to wait until her father realised her charm.
Daisy looked forward to that day, and she believed that her father would belong to her sooner or later. Therefore, she kept on training diligently even if it meant her wrist was bruised so badly that she couldn’t hold a fork and knife from training with her mom. Even if her mother accidentally broke a rib, she was not going to call it quits. Her mom couldn’t bear to see her daughter so battered and tried to convince her to stop training, but her conviction was that it was worth giving up everything for her love. Except, when would her dad understand her feelings?
Merely seeing her dad with her other sisters was enough to leave Daisy bitter. As a result, she would make all sorts of contemptible remarks and even go overboard with her remarks about her father. Deep down, though, Daisy was aware she couldn’t treat her father that way.
“I like Dad, but why can’t I be more upfront about it? It must be Dad’s fault! It’s Dad’s fault! If Dad could just focus on loving me instead of being so gentle and affectionate with my moms and sisters, then I wouldn’t do that. Therefore, it all boils down to being Dad’s fault! He didn’t even call me for afternoon tea today. I was sending him continuous hints all lunch, yet he went to have afternoon tea with Vera! God damn it!” Daisy silently fumed in her room.
“Daisy, are you asleep yet?”
An apologetic voice came from the door.
“I worried Dad, since I skipped dinner tonight. That was my goal; Dad came for me as I expected,” thought Daisy.
Daisy curled up in her blanket and didn’t reply. Instead, she responded in a muffled tone. The door wasn’t locked, so if her father truly worried about her, he could come right in…
“Daisy, if you’re hungry at night, go see Miss Xia. Xia is on duty in the kitchen tonight. If you’re hungry, go and make something to eat. Dad doesn’t know why you’re angry, but Dad is worried about you. If you’re tired, Dad won’t disturb you…”
“It was definitely your fault, Dad!!” silently raged Daisy.
Daisy was so furious she flipped her blanket over and aggressively sat up. Troy’s footsteps outside went further and further away.
“Does Dad not understand?! Why does he still not understand after all that?! I’ve made it so obvious already, so why does he still not understand?! Dad is in the wrong, isn’t he?! It’s totally Dad’s fault! I’ve already made it so blatantly obvious, yet he still doesn’t understand! How did Dad capture Mom’s heart when he’s that dense?! I love Dad so much, so why doesn’t understand why I’m hurt?! If he doesn’t know why I’m happy or sad, then how do I prove he loves me?!” Daisy thought to herself.
*Tap! Tap! Tap! Tap!*
Daisy couldn’t restrain herself any longer. She hopped off her bed and ran over to the door barefoot, and then pulled the door open. Just as she was planning to shout out to her dad, she discovered her dad standing outside, looking at her with a smile. She was stunned. She originally overflowed with anger that she wanted to vent on him, but she forgot all of it in that moment. She was lost for words.
Troy revealed a proud smile and rubbed his daughter’s head.
“Dad’s hand is truly so warm and soft. I’m filled with courage and warmth when he holds me with his hand. It’s as though the entire world is in Dad’s hands,” thought Daisy, looking at her dad’s tender smile right in front of her.
Daisy’s sisters weren’t around and neither was her mom. Miss Ying and Xia weren’t present. Lucia and Sister Luna weren’t around, either. She was alone with her dad in the corridor. She was finally alone with her father! That realisation led to her drawing a blank. She went to speak, but she didn’t know what to say.
“It’s all right. It’s all right. Dad knows. Dad knows that you wanted to have afternoon tea with Dad, but Dad only had one spot. Vera came, so Dad naturally had to take her. If you want to have afternoon tea with Dad, then…”
Daisy suddenly came to her senses. She silently celebrated, “I knew it. Dad knows me very well. He hasn’t disappointed me. He, the man I love, really does understand me very well. Dad does know me well. Since he’s mentioned it, he’ll definitely be able to take me to afternoon tea for once, right? Flat-as-a-board Vera is a nobody. She’s not qualified to fight with me for Dad. I just need to wait for Dad. He loves me. He’ll definitely come and make it up to me if I’m not happy.’
“Tell your moms and sisters, too, then, and we’ll go for afternoon together as a family…”
Daisy’s joy froze on her face. She looked at her dad with a stupefied look.
“Dad isn’t an idiot, is he…? I’m no longer angry, yet he went and said that? What am I supposed to say? I don’t want afternoon tea or whatever. I can drink afternoon tea with Mom! Who needs you?!! I wanted to drink alone with you!” Daisy concluded. She then thundered, “No! Who would want to drink afternoon tea with you, you scaly freak?!!”
Troy’s smile froze on his face. His scales were a taboo to him, because he was different to his own family. The scales granted him a body impervious to blades and allowed him to utilise mana, but it wasn’t as warm and soft as flesh. As a matter of fact, it could hurt his family. He strongly loathed hearing people criticise his body, especially his family members.
Daisy immediately realised she poked her father where it hurt. Regret and fear instantly seized her heart. Her hands and lips trembled. Her fear was so overwhelming that she almost passed out. She was genuinely very scared. She fronted and said that, but if her dad was truly angry, she, herself, would be hurt.
“Sorry… Daisy…” Troy murmured as he pulled his hand back. He smiled helplessly and apologised, “Sorry. I know that you don’t like my scales… That must be why you’ve never liked me very much… It can’t be helped, though… Dad… doesn’t want this body covered in scales, either; but, this is the price Dad has to pay to live till now…”
Daisy was emotional and wanted to say something. She regretted what she said. Scratch that; she really regretted what she said. She genuinely didn’t mean it. She didn’t hate her dad, not in the least…
“Did what I did in the past make Dad think that I hate him…? I don’t hate him, though! I like him! I like my dad!” contemplated Daisy.
Daisy threw herself at her dad and tightly hugged him. Her hug startled Troy. She took in a deep breath. While she kept her arms tightly around him, she shut her eyes as if she had given up everything and belted, “I don’t hate you, Dad! I truly don’t hate you, Dad! I like you, Dad! I sincerely… like you very much, Dad!”