“Good morning.” Lucia only said good morning after our routine affectionate moments every morning.
We took care of morning matters comparably to an old couple. Elves had simple breakfasts. It consisted of just some fruits. Frankly, it was quite boring after some time. Fortunately, as long as one combined it with the right combination, it could provide an energy boost. We quickly finished breakfast. As Lucia ate, she chuckled: “Umm, umm… Travor, do you have anything you need to attend to today?”
I shook my head: “No. Rather, I have nothing to do here.”
“I see… Do you feel lonely, then?”
I thought Lucia had a job for me, only to get that reaction out of her. She was genuinely considerate of me. She was worried that I was bored all alone. She gripped her clothes then added, “It’s fine. It’s fine. I don’t have anything to do today, either. I’ll keep you company from now. Umm, umm, umm, there are lots of fun and fascinating things to do here in the elven lands. If you like, we can go pick mushrooms in the forest. Oh yeah, we can go hunting, as well. I’ll go hunting with you. Grilled meat is delicious. There are lots of fun things to do in the forest. We have elven chess, which I can teach you, albeit not being so good myself… Also, also, if I alone am not enough, then you can also socialise with other elves. I don’t mind as long as you come home every day…”
I shook my head with a smile: “No, no, no, I’m not that bored. I might not have anything to do, but I’m not bored. I reckon I’ll have many things to do in the future. Lucia, you don’t need to go out of your way to keep me company. You can go and do what you want.”
“Well, no, I’m not going out of my way… I’m basically done with the things I need to do. The elves don’t really need me anymore. Henceforth, we’ll be able to live together… I also need to ask, do you really not plan to bring Leah over? We don’t regard succubi as enemies. I promise to protect Leah, and I’ll earnestly fulfil the role of her mother. I won’t give her the cold shoulder even if we have our own children in the future. Plus, you wouldn’t be so bored if you brought her over, right? That’s not to mention that I like Leah, too.”
“Mm… I’ll go when it’s time. Leah will come when we get married anyway, so there’s no need to be fretting about it now. I’m worried that Veirya might do something to me; hence, I think it’s best if I don’t go back yet.”
Honestly, I was quite touched Lucia cared about Leah so much. Lucia was dedicated to perfecting our marriage. Sadly for her, all I could do in the moment was to act ignorant and brush it aside. I couldn’t bring Leah over. Leah would become a hostage in the elven lands.
“Let’s do as you suggest, then.”
Lucia docilely walked up to me. She clung to my arm and accompanied me outside. The elves would greet us with beaming smiles when they saw us in the mornings. Those of similar rankings to us would even come over to crack jokes or ask when our child would be born. Lucia would shyly lower her head and giggle but not reply. Compared to her former lively self, Lucia was so gentle. Perhaps she was only gentle around me, having said that.
“So, Travor, do you plan to go anywhere to play today? I’ll take you,” suggested Lucia, tone eager.
Maybe Lucia was anxious and eager to ensure I was taken care of as I mentioned that I had nothing to do. If I turned her down, that would upset her. Noticing the fat birds running about, I asked, “What are those birds?”
“They’re walking birds. It’s a challenge to raise animals in the forest, so we raise those birds. Those ones are young ones. You can even raise young ones as pets. If you raise them as pets, they’ll be more obedient and loyal to us when they grow up. We had one in the past… but it died when the demon race invaded…”
“I see. Should I go and get us one, then?”
The chubby birds were really adorable. When they ran around, you could hear their feet clapping against the ground. I was keen on taking one back for Leah. We didn’t adopt any cats last time, so I thought a bird would make it up to her.
“That’s easy!! We’ll go catch one now. There’s a pasture along the path of the river. We raise lots of walking birds in there. We’ll go get one; actually, let’s get two. I can raise one, while our child can raise another. Actually, we might have lots of children, so we might be able to raise lots of them. We have plenty of land at our new home, so we can raise many of them.” Lucia immediately nodded.
Lucia walked hand in hand with me toward the pasture. I lingered for a long time, even suspecting if she was trying to test me again. If my memory did me justice, Queen Sisi was supposed to be somewhere around the pasture…
I didn’t dare to go there before then for the reason that I’d be under surveillance, yet I could go there without any hassles all of a sudden. I think I had a justified reason to speculate it was another one of Lucia’s tests. According to how happy and eager she was, though, it doesn’t seem to be a test. At the end of the day, she wasn’t her brother. She wasn’t as doubtful as he was.
Lucia wasn’t a girl who deceived others. I could tell whenever she told fibs with a single glance. Someone who wasn’t skilled at lying wouldn’t be able to act so convincingly. I guessed there was no harm in going with her to check it out.
There was no way I’d be able to conduct a thorough check with Lucia accompanying me; I couldn’t get myself killed, but it was an opportunity, nevertheless. I wouldn’t know what exactly I’d find out unless I went and explored. Queen Sisi wouldn’t be hidden somewhere everyone could see. I supposed she was in a sewer, but I couldn’t confirm it.
Lucia and I headed to the pasture. Lucia understood the elves’ land better than I did. When we were out of the forest, we saw the so-called pasture. The pasture was essentially the central pasture. It was an enormous place. There were several factories from the top. From that, I assumed they raised a variety of animals there. The elves had milk to drink and meat to eat, except they were different to humanity. I clearly saw lots of walking birds running around inside their factory.
The two of us went inside. The elves reacted surprise to see Lucia. Perhaps they never expected her to come to the place. Lucia happily requested, “We want a young walking bird to raise. Do you have any young ones?”
“We do. We do. We have young walking birds here; you two may choose any you like.” An elf looked at us with awe and reverence and led us in.
Though it was large spacious inside, there was a strange smell. The smell of green grass and rotten stuff were mixed into together. Presumably, it was the smell that was present at any pasture. There were hornless cattle and small horses. The rest were small animals and the walking birds. The young and adult walking birds were segregated accordingly. Their eggs were stored in a sealed room. All sorts of coloured eggs were neatly lined up next to a fire to keep them warm while waiting for them to hatch. Some of the eggs were subtly moving.
Lucia shook her head: “No, we don’t want eggs. We want hatched ones. Do you have any?”
“Yes, yes. However, the ones that have just hatched are quite difficult to raise, so…”
“That’s fine. We’ll earnestly raise it.”
Lucia shook her head. We were then led to another small room. The room was kept warm as with the other room. With that said, there were lots of walking birds resembling small ducks that had just hatched. They wobbled about for they hadn’t learnt to maintain their balance yet. Not surprisingly, they fell every two steps. They’d crash into each other, fall and they’d struggle to ever get back up.
Lucia pulled me along by my hand, smiling. She picked up a yellow bird. The yellow colour was the exact same yellow as a duck. It didn’t understand what Lucia wanted. Lucia joyously kissed it on its forehead then told me, “Here, we’ll take this one. Choose one, Travor!”
“I’ll take this one, then.”
I chose a black and white bird. The chubby bird was truly the type I liked. I picked it up and touched its fur. It looked at my finger and fell into deep thought; I think it was wondering if my food was edible or not.
“Okay, we’ll take these two, then.”
We left the room together. Due to the room being heated, the young walking birds were weak. We needed to avoid staying inside for too long.
“Let’s go wash the birds.”
Lucia and I went outside. As I looked at the water in the pond, a realisation hit me. The pond wasn’t a pond if we were being technical, but a waterway that continued to run down, presumably down into the sewer… The sewer that it ran into was on the opposite side. There was an opening in the sewer that was about half the height of a human being. Initially, it should’ve been barred with iron rails. However, for whatever reason it wasn’t when we were there.
“Might it be that they just tossed something relatively large down there…? Wait, that means…” I realised.
I suddenly let go of the bird. The small walking bird cried out as the water washed it away. I immediately got up and dragged my leg as I crawled into it before Lucia could get up. I slid into the sewer along with the wet mud and my walking bird… I soon realised that I made a huge foolish mistake…
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