First Summer’s Ice-Cream
After seeing Queen Sisi, all jobs for the day were done. Leah clung to my arm and worriedly looked at me: “Papa, are you tired? If you are tired from walking, let’s take a break.”
Leah’s gaze was on my left foot the entire time. She still felt guilty about my left foot. She still felt it was her fault that I lost my left foot despite having told her right from the beginning that it wasn’t her fault. I didn’t care about the loss, but Leah was very sad about it.
I got off a lot luckier than other people. At the very least, my foot was still attached and no longer hurt. While I could no longer walk fast and need to rely on a cane, it was better than losing the entire leg. As it was almost noon, the sun was particularly bright and warm. The heat had yet to peak. Although the sun was bright, there was still a nice, cool breeze blowing.
I looked left and right then went up to a long bench to gently sit down. Veirya and Leah sat down next to me. Leah gently rubbed my left leg with a very stern expression. I reacted surprised . In a serious tone, she said, “Papa, I’ll give your leg a massage. Otherwise, it must be very tiring.”
In the heat of the moment, I pulled Leah into my embrace and kissed her forehead. In a soft voice, I replied, “It’s fine. It’s fine, Leah. Papa isn’t in pain. Don’t blame yourself, Leah. It’s a father’s responsibility to protect his daughter. You don’t need to blame yourself.”
Leah gripped my chest and gently hit her head on it. She softly murmured, “But, Papa, your foot…”
I stroked Leah’s head: “It doesn’t matter; Papa doesn’t care. It’s not affecting Papa. Leah, we can’t continue to be hung up over our past and losses. We need to look at how much we’ve gained. I just lost one foot, but Papa safely brought you back to Papa’s side. Therefore, from Papa’s perspective, Papa won the bet.”
Leah didn’t speak again. Instead, she tightly hugged me around my waist. Veirya tugged on my arm then look at a small cart opposite to us. Curious, she asked, “What are they selling? I noticed lots of people going there. To buy a white small ball.”
I looked over to the place Veirya referenced. The small cart was doing quite well business-wise. A fair number of people went over to it and left with a small wooden ball. Inside of the ball was a small ball that I was very familiar with. It wasn’t a toy, but a very classic snack, one that many people loved to eat. It was ice-cream.
While not even the world was the same, the ice-cream in this world was the same as the ice-cream I was familiar with. It appeared to be made from milk, and I’d venture a guess that it wasn’t cheap. Those who bought ice-cream from the cart were those dressed in extravagant clothing, and it made sense. Freezers and foods made from milk weren’t as cheap as it was in the world I came from.
I took out three gold coins and handed them to Veirya: “Veirya, go and buy some. We didn’t have any dessert at Queen Sisi’s place, so consider this your dessert.”
Veirya responded, “Uhm.”
Veirya took the gold coins. She walked over while, excitement exuding. I presumed she was very eager to try it. Leah, too, wanted to try it. After all, ice-cream was quite attracting to females. Leah would really like it. Leah didn’t had a chance to play around in the Imperial Capital after arriving ; at the very least, I wanted to let her have fun today and tomorrow. I was sure the banquet Her Majesty organised would be splendid.
I didn’t bother with Veirya again, since she knew how to make a purchase. Plus, I gave her several gold coins, so there was definitely enough. If it cost one gold coin for one ball, that’d be outlandishly expensive. I looked at over to the bustling crowd that came over. I stroked Leah’s soft head as I looked up at the blue sky, drifting white clouds and flying birds. Everything going on at once gave me an odd sense of relaxation and idleness.
Thinking back on it carefully, I really did run around all day yesterday. I was as tense as could be both physically and mentally. My mind worked around the clock the last few days. It was similar to a bowstring that had been drawn during that time but finally got to fire the arrow and accurately land a fatal blow on my target. However, I almost collapsed under the pressure. I could stop thinking at long last. The crises and schemes were over. There was just my daughter and the woman I like by my side. I was happy even if all I can do was look at the blue sky overhead.
I heard Veirya’s voice. I realised she was likely back with ice-cream. I reached out to grab a serve, only to find her hand me a massive metal bucket. The weight nearly caused my arm to flop. I thought , what in the world? Veirya placed another one aside then sat down next to me. She took out a wooden spoon from the bucket, dug up a spoonful and had a bite.
I looked at the ice-cream bucket in front of me feeling astonished. There was still half-a-bucket worth of ice-cream inside. In this era, they maintained the temperature of the ice-cream by stuffing lots of ice inside. Basically every ice-cream was wrapped in a block of ice with more crushed ice shoved in. I had never eaten ice-cream in that format. It was as if I had arrived at Häagen-Dazs, and then told their waiter to bring me a bucket of ice-cream.
“Who eats ice-cream this way?!!!!” I thought.
“Veirya, why… did you go and buy so much?”
Veirya looked at me with a casual expression: “You gave me three gold coins. He said. I could buy this much.”
“I didn’t give you three gold coins to spend it all on ice-cream!!!”
“Then, are we buying something else, as well?”
Veirya was confused. She didn’t think she was wrong… Strictly speaking, she wasn’t… I was. I didn’t make it clear to her that I didn’t give her three gold coins to spend all on ice-cream!!
I helplessly smiled as I looked at the bucket of ice-cream in front of me. The seller pushed his cart off after Veirya purchased from him. I bet he was on cloud nine. One gold coin was enough for a family to live off for half a month, so three gold coins was an enormous sum.
I finally realised how tough the path ahead would be for me. Until Veirya gained an understanding of expenditure and money, I had to ensure I earned enough money. Else, Veirya might get used to splurging on pointless things, while I couldn’t say no. Well, I decided to give it to Leah, since Veirya already bought it.
Leah curiously scanned the ice-cream inside the metal bucket. She grabbed the wooden spoon. She curiously grazed a small amount of ice-cream that resembled cheese and carefully had a bite. She then widened her eyes out of surprise. Whilst swallowing her ice-cream, she exclaimed, “Papa, Papa, this is seriously so good. It’s so cold and sweet.”
I scrubbed Leah’s head with a smile: “It’s ice-cream. It’s very tasty in summer.”
Leah responded with a firm nodded then scooped up another serve and carefully held it up to my mouth. She gave me a smile: “Papa, have some, too. Aahh.”
Seeing Leah’s smile, I shyly opened my mouth. She kindly fed me. Leah cheerfully asked, “Papa, is it nice?!”
Honestly, no. However, seeing Leah’s joyous smile was enough for me. Her smile made me happier than any ice-cream I ever had.
Veirya tugged on my clothes from behind. I lingered for a moment before turning around. Unfortunately, the moment I turned around, Veirya’s spoon caught my face, therefore splattering my face with ice-cream. She didn’t care, though. She used even more force to shove it into my mouth. I desperately swallowed the ice-cream she fed me. Veirya didn’t know how to feed people. She essentially shoved food into my mouth. Therefore, it was eat or freeze to death. Nonetheless, I was very happy. It was harsh, because I had to eat until my brain froze, but I was happy to have Veirya feed me.
Leah suddenly turned my head back. She pressed her hands down on my shoulder and kissed me without any warning. Colour me stunned. Leah paid no attention to the shocked gazes of onlookers. She kissed me, and sent the final serve of ice-cold melted ice-cream into my mouth.
“Hum, hum, Leah has surpassed Mama now, right?” Leah questioned.
Leah released me. The white string between us snapped underneath the sunlight. She licked her lips . I didn’t know what to say. Was that a challenge to Veirya or was that Leah’s feelings, I wondered.
Current time in the Imperial Palace.
A young man stood up. He looked at Queen Sisi, who was sitting on her throne. In a fearless and loud voice, he exclaimed, “Your Majesty, we object to your next plan. We have meticulously considered and looked into your request and plan. Sadly, we cannot support the war. Outright starting a war on the elves is not a rational decision. We have just ended this war. Our military currently lacks the power to fight an all-out war against the elves!”
Queen Sisi narrowed her eyes; she didn’t immediately reply. Instead, she looked to the other side. She looked at the man there and asked, “What about you all? Zero, what do you guards think?”
“Your Majesty, we alone are enough. The field military may lack the strength to do so, but we absolutely can. The elves are but a motley crew of stragglers and disbanded soldiers. There is no need to be so concerned. I believe we alone are enough. We will follow you to war and conquer the elves!”
“Impossible!” The young man loudly refuted the guard, “War is not a game. The elves, who were capable of resisting against the demons for so long, are definitely not stragglers and disbanded soldiers. If we enter their forests without complete preparation, we will be bound to face total annihilation. We do not approve of this attack, Your Majesty! Now is not the time to be waging a war!”
“Please give us a chance, Your Majesty! We will follow you to war to conquer those elves!!”
Queen Sisi giggled in a soft voice as she touched the gem on her throne. She didn’t respond. Instead, she spoke to herself: “I wonder what Little Doggy would say in this situation.”
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