Dining with Elves
After coming downstairs, Leah gave Veirya a deep bow and sincerely apologised, “Sorry, Mama Veirya.”
I also stood next to her and apologised, “Sorry, Veirya; it was my fault. I didn’t think that would happen as a result of me and Leah being apart.”
Veirya shook her head: “It’s fine. I didn’t get hurt. And. Leah wasn’t. In good shape. So. It doesn’t matter. I’m glad. You’re all right.”
Angelina, who sat to one side, didn’t look too happy, but she most likely knew her place. Frankly, we took her in; if Veirya sided with her, then, she’d have a chance to voice her opinions, but Veirya sided with me, thereby leaving her in no position to comment. I didn’t intend to do anything to Angelina. I could understand her stance; everything she did was very reasonable and didn’t impact me. Thus, it was fine. In saying that, the gaze Angelina reserved for Leah was one that I couldn’t make sense of.
Did something happen between the two while I was gone, I wondered. I doubted it. Leah didn’t change in a single day, after all. Maybe she did something to Angelina. I didn’t pry.
Veirya stood up and walked up to Leah to pull Leah into her embrace. Leah went along with it and hugged Veirya, resting her small head on Veirya’s shoulder. Veirya patted Leah’s back. Veirya was expressionless, but I could tell that she didn’t hate Leah or have any complaints. It was still impossible for Leah to assassinate Veirya; Veirya probably considered Leah’s attempt to be just her being playful. Veirya released Leah.
Anna revealed a relieved smile; she stood up and went to caress Leah’s head. She giggled: “I’m so glad Leah is okay. Leah scared me when Leah was sick. Come, Leah, your papa brought back a big chunk of ham for you. Let’s enjoy it for lunch.”
Leah’s red eyes glittered with a desire to eat. I could see that Leah still loved food. Though she was in terrible shape last night, she was now no different to how I remembered her. If I took her to the city with me, all of the problems probably could’ve been avoided. I still had no plan to tell Veirya what happened last night. Leah wouldn’t end up in that state again as long as I was always with her. Presumably, that must’ve been Leah’s full succubus transformation last night. Chances were Veirya will slay her if she saw those tentacles and her mannerisms. I think that was it for our family issues.
Anna and I went to the kitchen to prepare dinner. While Anna sliced the ham, she stated, “Sir, there is something that I am not sure if I should tell you or not.”
“Just tell me. Is it about Leah?”
Anna explained, “No, it is about the elves. Not long after you left, the elves sneaked out. They came back in the end, but they never told us where they went or what they did. I am worried. Would the elves stay with us for some sort of ulterior motive?”
“I would say that blinding yourself to achieve a goal would be too high of a price to pay. Further, do we have anything that elves need? I guess they could be here to try and gather information on humanity. Hence, I don’t think it has anything to do with us.”
“Really…?” Anna was a tad puzzled by my calm answer.
I added, “The elves won’t try to harm us, so there’s no need to worry.”
“I see… Oh right, they knew you had come returned, yet did not come out to greet you. They are too rude. They are relying on us to live, yet always stay upstairs. They are being too impudent!”
“Asking someone blind to descend the stairs and stand at the door to welcome me is pretty unrealistic. I doubt it’s due to the elves not willing to leave the room but because the Elven Queen needs a lot of time to come down. Climbing the stairs is a tedious ordeal for her. Consequently, I plan to turn the big hall outside into a living quarter for the three elves. That’ll make things more convenient for them.”
“I-I see.” Anna revealed a distressed smile then turned her focus back to slicing the ham. As she sliced it, she laughed: “Sir Lin, you truly are a very gentle man. I have never met anyone as kind as you. You are always being so considerate of others.”
“Kind?” I titled my head feeling bewildered. I then said, “I’ve never been a gentle person. I’ve always been the type to think about what I can get from someone. Nothing that I do has to do with being kind. I’ve never mindlessly been kind to anyone.”
“No, you are just too shy to admit it. The truth is that everything you do is because you are very gentle and kind. When I first came here, you had every reason to turn me away. You asked me to become a maid, yet never did anything to me or gave me a heavy workload. You are just too shy to admit your gentleness and kindness. That is why you came up with an excuse to give me an unimportant job. The same can be said of your decision to take in the elves and Leah. You truly are very kind and gentle.”
“Would there be any use in telling you that I really need you now?”
I helplessly smiled. Seriously, I wasn’t a kind individual. The only person I genuinely and selflessly protected was Leah. The reason I first helped Veirya was merely to ensure I had a home. Later on, I helped her as I loved her. I helped Queen Sisi for my own ends. I didn’t give the refugees a single bag of food. I kept Anna, for I truly needed someone to take care of things. I still hadn’t paid Anna a single penny. I took in the elves, as Lucilia forced me to keep them. None of it had any relevance to my gentleness and kindness. In essence, I only paid capital to those who could bring me profits. If that was what was considered being kind and gentle, every businessman in the world would be a philanthropist.
Anna smiled but didn’t say anything else. She focused on slicing the ham and plating it. I washed my hands and informed, “I’m leaving the rest to you. I’m heading up to check on the elves. While I’m at it, I’ll be taking this plate of ham and bread. Slice some more.”
“We have wine, too.”
“Please pour me a bottle.”
I soon came out with a tray in hand. Leah cheerfully came over and excitedly reached for a piece, but I caught her hand: “Patience, Leah. You’ll get yours in a moment. Papa is taking this up for the elves. Wait for your turn.”
“Mm… Papa, does Leah need to go with you?”
“Aren’t you always watching the elves? It’s fine; I, alone, will be fine.”
I went upstairs. Veirya sat to one side. Apparently, she had no plans to see the elves. It made no difference to her whether the elves were around or not, for she wasn’t interested in them whatsoever. Lucilila was probably the only one who she was remotely interested in.
I went to the elves’ door and knocked. Ciara opened up and grumbled, “You are my Queen’s husband, yet you did not come visit her when you came back. That is a failure as a husband. If we were in the elven lands… okay, an Elven Queen cannot get married in the first place.”
“Don’t say that, Ciara. It must’ve been because Leah was sick.”
The Elven Queen, who sat by the window, softly chuckled. She stood up and with the diplomats help, walked up to me. She reached out to try and touch my… chest? Ciara quickly grabbed her hand and placed it on my face. The Queen awkwardly laughed: “You are much taller than I imagined. Welcome back, Sir.”
“I’ve brought some ham for you.”
I placed the tray aside. The Queen continued to clasp my face and smiled: “Did things work out for you?”
“Uhm, very successful, I would say.”
“That is good. I kept praying for you from here, and it seems that my prayers were heard.” The Queen giggled. She slid her hand down my face to my arms and finally my hands. She laughed: “Did anything interesting happen on the way that you could share with me? I am looking forward to hearing your story. Please share it with me.”
“Ah… Nothing really.”
I stepped in despite saying that. However, a fork came whizzing past my eyes. Not even Ciara reacted in time. I nearly yelled out. I turned around to see Veirya, who looked over with a calm gaze. Sternly, Veirya stated, “You said. You were just delivering food. You didn’t say. You were going in.”
I sensed… danger… The Elven Queen didn’t panicked whatsoever. She calmly faced me with her usual smile: “Since Lord Veirya has said that, how about we go downstairs and join you for lunch? I do not want to pass up this sort period of time, so I hope you can take care of me as we dine, Sir.”
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