As soon as I entered the house, Leah leapt over and tightly hugged me. My foot had yet to heal, so I fell straight to the ground. Leah didn’t mind it, though. She loudly cried and hit my chest with her small fists. As she wept, she shouted, “Papa, Papa, you’re finally back… Leah was so scared, Papa…. Why weren’t you by Leah’s side, Papa? Lea was so scared. Leah was really, really scared, Papa… Papa…. Papa… Don’t leave Leah… Please, Papa…”
“Leah… He’s injured. His foot.”
Veirya gently tugged on Leah, who was crying. Leah finally noticed my foot was injured. She looked down at my foot and panicked as she got to her feet: “Papa! You’re hurt!! Papa! Papa, are you all right?!”
“Papa is fine. Papa is fine. It’s just a small external wound.”
I rubbed Leah’s head with a smile. While my foot began to hurt again, I didn’t want to worry Leah any more than she already was after the shock. I used the wall for support. Veirya pulled me up. Lucia came out carrying hot water. She grumbled, “Don’t act tough. Your foot was almost bitten off. Hurry up and lie down. I only gave you some first aid. You need hurry up and lie down if you want to keep your foot.”
Leah screamed, “Papa!!”
I unhappily looked at Lucia then rubbed Leah’s head. With a smile, I said, “It’s all right; it’s all right, Leah. Papa failed to protect you. Papa is sorry. Papa is fine. It won’t hurt as long as Leah is well.”
“Papa, Leah is all right. Leah isn’t scared. Leah isn’t scared with Mama Veirya protecting Leah.”
Leah quickly went to support my waist. She showed me a smile to reassure me. I lingered for a moment then looked over my shoulder at Veirya. She gave me a small nod. Sounding quite content, she said, “Leah. Has started. To call me. Mama, too. From now on. I will definitely keep Leah safe.”
“Veirya, you shouldn’t speak too much, either. Your wound on your back needs to be treated, too. You might be able to bear the pain, but the wound will get infected if not treated adequately.”
Lucia sighed. Anna set up two beds on the ground. Troubled, she apologised, “Sir… I… I honestly did not know that you were both aware that Leah was a succubus. I thought… I thought Veirya would be angry if she found out Leah is a succubus…”
“It’s all right. It’s a fact that I didn’t inform you. Henceforward, however, you must protect Leah.”
“I won’t leave Leah again.”
Veirya removed her clothes before Lucia could tell her to stop. Lots of fragments of Veirya’s clothes were stuck to her skin, but she was indifferent about it. She pulled the clothes straight off, spraying her blood all over the place. I had no desire to check out her body in that situation. To the contrary, it wrenched my heart.
Veirya might’ve been impervious to pain, but I wasn’t. It hurt me even more to know that the pain was on Veirya’s body, for she wouldn’t mention how painful it was. She always avoided giving me trouble.
“Veirya, whatever happens, you have to look after yourself. If you always neglect yourself, you’ll lose your life sooner or later.”
Lucia picked up a bowl from the table. Inside was a strange green ointment. She looked at it then shifted her scornful look onto Anna. She passed the bowl to Leah: “Here, Leah, spread some ointment on Veirya.”
Veirya sprawled herself on the table. She turned her face to the side and said, “I won’t. Again. In the future. I have to protect. Leah. Else. Leah. Will be in danger.”
Lucia pouted: “Not just Leah, right?”
Lucia crouched down in front of me. She gently removed the fabric from my wound. I nearly grunted out of pain. She took out another bag of medicinal powder from her belt and gently poured it onto my wound. She then took a bit of fabric that was the equivalent of a bandage and put a medicinal pill in my hand. With a slightly red face, she said, “Have it, and you won’t contract rabies. It’ll also help relieve the pain. Eat it yourself this time… I’m not feeding you…”
Upon recalling what happened in the forest, my face also heated up. I felt shameful more than anything. I was so scared at the time that I couldn’t even move my tongue. I had to rely on Lucia to feed me with her tongue. I guess that was our first kiss.
Lucia carefully bandaged me and quietly thanked me: “I need to thank you. You saved me back there and chose to die, entrusting me with the flavouring. You’ve help us elves a lot. On behalf of the elves and also myself, thank you very much.”
“It’s nothing. I just made the best choice in the situation. If you died, I wouldn’t have been able to leave. If I gave the flavouring to you, though, you could continue and go sell it; otherwise, it’d be stolen. Oh, right, here.”
I gently placed the insignia in Lucia’s hand and smiled: “You used this to call for Veirya, didn’t you? You wouldn’t have given it to me, otherwise. Thank you very much, Lucia. Were it not for you, I might not have survived. I figured this must’ve been incredibly important to you, so I brought it back.”
Lucia dawdled for a moment then revealed a nostalgic smile. She tightly gripped the insignia in her head and softly chuckled: “I’m amazed you brought it back. Thank you… This is, indeed, very important. Thank you; thank you.”
I responded with nod. I gently touched Lucia’s head. She didn’t say anything. She just gently held the insignia and subtly smiled.
The insignia was a sign that they went on adventures and a symbol of their past and glory. I, therefore, presumed it to be very important.
I gently touched my foot. I watched Leah carefully apply the green ointment to Veirya’s back and asked, “Lucia, how long will my foot need to heal?”
“About one week. It’s best that you rest it for an entire month. Your foot is severely injured. If you don’t rest well, you might suffer a sequela. Additionally, I applied the best exterior wound medicine we elves use… but, frankly, the results aren’t the same for humans. It might take a week to heal, but it’s best for you to rest so that you can recover faster.”
“One week is enough. I have things to do, so I need to travel.”
I carefully touched my foot only to gasp. I didn’t have any means of running around. I wanted to get going that instant, but my injury had other plans.
“Where do you want to go? I’ll go with you. You saved my life, so I have to pay you back for the favour.”
“No need, Lucia. I need to personally do this. I have to make the one who did this pay the price for Veirya and Leah’s sake! Since he dared to hurt my daughter, I’ll make sure his daughter lives in more misery than death!!”