I asked the lady, “Indeed, I do have a decent relationship with the elves, and we are doing business together. What was it that you would like to inquire about?”
There was no point in hiding my connection. As a matter of fact, I was eager to find out what they wanted. I was confident she wanted the elves’ medicine to treat her daughter. Though I was aware the elves wouldn’t concern themselves with humans at that point in time, let alone conduct business with them, humans weren’t informed in regards to what was happening in the elven lands. I could give the two of them a little bit of hope in exchange for what I wanted.
My method was immoral; I agree, because I knew they were putting all of their hopes on the elves’ medicine. In order to obtain what I wanted, I had to promise they’d receive the medicine. In reality, I didn’t know if I’d be able to obtain the medicine or not, as I had no idea when there would be closure to Lucia’s internal strife. She couldn’t come to humanity’s lands while the internal war was raging on. Just as importantly, there was no guarantee Ascilia would last until the end of the war.
I knew I gave them false hope, toyed with withering a life and I shouldn’t do it, but if I continued clinging to stupid morals and a sense of obligation, I’d probably be stuck living in shounen Mangas for eternity. As long as I obtained what I wanted, what comes after could be dealt with afterwards.
I felt sorry for Ascilia. If possible, I’d genuinely be willing to take care of her. In saying that, if I could get what I wanted through her, I wouldn’t hesitate, either. Sympathy and work should never be mixed together.
“Umm… as you can see, my daughter’s condition… umm… umm… We do not believe an evil spirit has cursed our daughter, either. I trust my daughter. She is just sick. A doctor said only elven medicine could heal her. We have sought out those claiming to have connections with elves, but we discovered they were frauds. They were not able to bring us elven medicine… It has been a very long time. We have spent so much money, yet our efforts to treat our daughter have been in vain…”
As she recounted the past, Ascilia’s mother lost control of her tears. Her voice turned to whimpers. Ascilia didn’t feel too well; therefore, she placed her teacup down. She pursed her lips firmly together and clenched her fists. There was a fire in her gaze that she couldn’t suppress. She wasn’t angry at anyone. She wasn’t angry with the scammers. She was angry with herself. I knew what she was thinking. It was common for ill people to believe they were a burden to their family, especially those who had suffered illnesses for long periods of time. They believed they shouldn’t be alive.
I said, “It’s all right, Ascilia.”
Ascilia looked up at me with surprise in her purple eyes. From the bottom of my heart, I said, “You cannot measure your value to others with money. It’s precisely because everyone loves you that they do everything they can to protect you and try to save you. You’re not a burden. Such a pretty and sensible burden doesn’t exist. You’re just everyone’s most beloved girl.”
I gave Ascilia’s mother a nod: “I understand what you mean. You can to go through me to acquire the elves’ medicine to treat the young lady, correct? Understood. I will obtain it for you.”
“Really?!!” The mother and daughter pair exclaimed at the same time.
They had been conned countless times. They still had hope, nevertheless. They appeared to share the exact same sentiments. Ascilia’s mother loved her; she didn’t give up even if there was only a minute amount of hope left. She made sure to seize the hope even if she was destined to be disappointed.
“I will not ask for money. The reality is that elves do not care about money. They do not value money. I doubt you will be able buy it from them. So accordingly, I will not ask for your money. I will obtain the medication for the young lady. It should not be difficult for the elves. I hope you two can wait for me.”
The two exchanged glances. I could see the mother started to grow slightly suspicious, for good news came out of nowhere. Ascilia, to the contrary, teemed with excitement: “C-Can you really help me…? Y-You did not know me before… You…”
“Aren’t we acquainted now? We have that to thank,” I said as I pointed to the handkerchief on the table. I then stood up and smiled: “Sorry, but my daughter is waiting for me in the carriage. I cannot stay for too long; else, she will be angry. It is a pleasure to have met you both. When I return, I will speak to the elves. You just need to wait for my good news.”
Ascilia’s mother stood up. Grateful, she said, “Uhm! I shall wait for your good news, then… Your news is our family’s hope.”
Ascilia used the table as support to slowly stand up. The maid, who was standing to the side, quickly approached to help Ascilia, but Ascilia gently pushed the maid away: “I… want to see him to the door.”
“There is no need to. You are not well, so do not worry about it. You should j-”
“No, I have to.”
Sick Ascilia was shockingly stubborn. Therefore, I had no choice but to allow her to. Her legs belonged to her, after all. Ascilia didn’t allow anyone to support her. She took step by step, using the wall and other things as support to slowly accompany me to the door. It was short walk, yet she coughed so violently that she nearly dropped to her knees when we arrived at the door.
I used my hand to support Ascilia. She placed her hand on my shoulder and looked into my eyes with absolute seriousness. I lingered for a moment before speaking: “Goodbye, then, Miss. It was a pleasure to meet you.”
Ascilia asked, “Will you… come back tomorrow?”
I dawdled. Honestly, I only wanted to visit once. I only wanted to interact with them. My claim I found the medicine was an excuse to come back again. I didn’t want to waste my afternoons visiting every day. I didn’t have the luxury of time. But alas, I couldn’t refuse her when I saw her purple eyes.
I said that sympathy and work couldn’t go together; however, I had to ask myself if it was actually work. I reasoned, “Coming here every afternoon should… count as work, right? This is the pope’s house. I should be able to get what I want here. I might even be able to get something even more valuable.”
In the end, I nodded: “Sure.”
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