As the weather warmed up, the quality of our breakfast increased accordingly. We no longer had just yoghurt, and no longer was it simple bread, cheese and butter. We also had more fruit and fruit spreads. Plus, we had more fresh milk. We had a bucket of milk delivered to our door every morning, and we’d leave copper coins in the bucket for them to pick up in the evening. Then, someone would deliver wine and fruit to our door. Similarly, we left copper coins behind. So, while we didn’t leave the house, we had the privilege of enjoying lots of food. Being able to afford breakfast meant that you were rich in this era. Lots of people didn’t have breakfast. They’d just grab a piece of bread and head out to work.
Leah was very happy. She had lots more motivation in the morning ever since the weather warmed up in the North. Owing to the warmer weather, it felt a bit more similar to the imperial capital. The temperature was cool; it wasn’t freezing or burning hot. The atmosphere in the town was friendly and warm. Food was no longer lacking. Veirya and Leah blessed me with gentleness and familial love.
I didn’t know when Francis would come and tell us to leave, but I enjoyed the life I had at present. Leah would nudge me awake in the morning with her small hands. Then, we’d have breakfast prepared by the time we went downstairs – courtesy of Anna. Veirya and Angelina would already be waiting at the table. When we ate, Angelina would step on my foot; I’d retaliate and accidentally bump Veirya, thereby leading to her questioning what I touched her for. The Elven Queen would come downstairs. She would sit in the long corridor for a while ever since the flower seeds began to sprout. In spite of the flowers having yet to bloom, she still wished to find the smell of her homeland.
I didn’t inform the Elven Queen about humanity’s attack. Humanity’s army would require roughly five days to reach our town from the Imperial Capital. The war didn’t open up opportunities for politicians exclusively; it also opened up opportunities for businessmen. Be it big or small-time businessmen, they travelled to the North. The empty properties quickly became stores that they were charged two hundred silver coins for. The rowdy sounds of carriages definitely had to follow behind the army’s advance. Essentially, the army was moving money from their perspective.
I forbade anyone from opening brothels. They could do as they pleased in their own military camps, but I wasn’t going to allow a place where people often started quarrels or challenged morals to exist in Veirya’s town. The townsfolk shared different religious beliefs with the people who just came to begin with; therefore, there was a higher risk of conflicts. If I set up bars and brothels, it was practically a guarantee we’d have assault cases to sort out.
Angelina and Anna volunteered to maintain security in the town. Ciara also promised to join them when she had time. With the three of them patrolling the town, it would be safe, and I trusted them.
“Papa.” Leah ran up from behind while I was crouched down, examining the sprouting flowers, and hugged me around my neck in a gleeful manner.
I grabbed hold of Leah’s hand. The flowers that were sprouting out were the so-called rainbow flower. I had never seen a rainbow flower before, but Lucilia confidently proclaimed it to be the most beautiful flower. Summer had not come in yet, but I could already feel the summer air. I was worried because, normally, beautiful flowers bloom according the seasons and not vice versa. If the flower didn’t bloom in summer, we would have to wait until next year.
“Has the flower not bloomed yet?” asked Leah, blinking her eyes and scanning the flowers.
I clapped my hands and carried Leah up on my back. I laughed: “No, not yet. It’s fine, however. In two or three more months, they should’ve fully grown.”
“Rainbow flower.” The Elven Queen, who was sitting in the corridor behind us with a cup of tea in hand, smiled: “I can still remember it from when I still had my vision. When I travelled for some time eastward of our elven imperial city, I found a field of rainbow flowers in bloom on a hill. At the time, the birds in the sky and the rainbow flowers were a perfectly synchronised scene. Though I can no longer see, I can smell the fragrant smell, which allows me to feel that I am still in the elven lands.”
Leah turned around to the Elven Queen: “Sister Queen, do you really want to go home?”
“Yes.” The Elven Queen nodded with a chuckle. She then asked Leah, “Leah, your homeland is not here, either, is it? Do you miss home, Leah?”
“I don’t mind because I have Papa with me. I’m very happy as long as Papa is with me.”
Leah revealed a bright smile. That bright smile was the prettiest flower in the entire world, but the Elven Queen couldn’t see it. I couldn’t resist the urge to tightly hug Leah, and she went along with me to tightly hug me back.
The Elven Queen softly laughed and then had a drink. She replied, “I feel the same way.”
Leah’s vigilance level maxed out instantly. I, too, blushed as a result of hearing the Elven Queen’s response. I suddenly found myself unable to respond. The Queen didn’t know where we were, so she just calmly giggled.
I looked at the Elven Queen’s smile. I truly felt she was a pitiful woman to be kept in the dark about humanity’s attack on the elves. She had left the elven lands, but her heart was still with them. I suppose she would’ve been more miserable if I told her, though… How depressing would it be to realise humanity was going to attack elves, yet she was powerless to do anything? Furthermore, she might go and get herself killed if she was too worried. I, therefore, decided that it was better for her to stay oblivious. Sometimes, hiding some things isn’t necessarily wrong. It could be a way of protecting someone.
The Elven Queen stretched her hand out with a smile. I grabbed hold of her hand. She used the pillar next to her to support herself to her feet. She tried to take a step forward. I swiftly caught her to support her despite my left foot also being out of commission. She walked into the soil and relished the sensation of her foot making contact with the soft soil. She squatted down and searched for the flower. She softly murmured, “This is the rainbow flower.”
I couldn’t see what the Elven Queen thought underneath the black cloth covering her eyes. I wondered if she’d cry due to the nostalgic emotions that would’ve surged up upon finding a flower she was familiar with in a foreign country. I silently stood next to her and watched her. She lowered her head and softly asked, “You will be leaving for some time again, correct?”
“I shall wait for you here, where the rainbow flower shall bloom, then, Your Lordship. I hope you can come back when it blooms. Where you and the rainbow flower can be found is now my home.”
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