Lucia tidied the invitations in front of me. With a smile, she stated, “All right. Everything is ready now.”
The elves used an expensive parchment for invitations. The time and location were beautifully transcribed on the parchment. Elven text was aesthetically pleasing, which was why Leah was a fan of it.
Lucia informed on the identity of each guest: “This is my master. She’s a remarkable elven hunter. She could shoot the eye of an eagle in flight from extreme distances. I’ve admired her since I was young; however, ever since I graduated, I never contacted her again. I must ask her to come and give us her blessings this time, though. This is my aunt. After my parents passed away, she raised us. After my brother matured, she left us. I heard she hasn’t been in good health recently, but I’m sure she’ll come back.” Mm, this is my close friend, erm… in the past… To be honest… I’m not sure if I should invite her.”
Lucia placed the invitation down. On it was the name Ilasona. Lucia looked torn. She touched her hair and, in a soft voice, explained, “We were close friends in the past; we were always together. Now, though, we’ve walked different paths. Her family is loyal to the Queen… but my brother… Forget it. It’s our elven internal conflict. It’s not your concern, so… you don’t need to worry about it… It’s going to be my happiest moment, so I guess I should invite her.”
I might not have recognised the name… but I was sure that it was the sick elf. Their relationship was quite the tough one to classify. However, since she stayed at home, they didn’t clash.
I didn’t know if Ilasona understood what I said to her. If I wanted to leave, I definitely required her. She should’ve understood what I said and what I needed. Moreover, given her personality, I didn’t think she’d pull an unpredicted move on me.
“Mm… as for Veirya… to be frank… I’m not too sure about Veirya. I don’t know if she’ll agree to come… After all, you two used to, mm, well, I think it’s better if I can bring her over, still… After all, I still consider her a friend.”
Lucia took out Veirya’s invitation. I hadn’t seen Veirya in a week, but it felt as if it had been a long time since I last saw her. It was almost as if she was someone I met in my previous life… I was with Veirya every day before I came to the elven lands. My brain always operated for Veirya, but it had been a long time since I last used it for Veirya. My brain operated for Queen Sisi and Lucia at the time. I, in fact, didn’t think about Leah, either… It was akin to having just woken up from a dream. I wasn’t going through all the effort for Lucia’s sake but Veirya’s. I forgot the reason for our last argument. Thinking back on it, it was stupid of me to leave without a word.
“Man, I’m a grown man, yet I acted out as a kid would. I need to apologise to Veirya when I get back,” I decided to myself.
“Also, Francis… mm… I don’t think elves like dwarves… In saying that, he’s brave. We respect soldiers and warriors; therefore, we need to invite him. I just need to avoid letting him get into fights after he’s drunk.”
I clenched my jaw at the mention of Francis.
Lucia carefully packed up the invitations then giggled: “I’m so glad. We’ll be getting married in two days’ time. It really does feel the same as a dream. I wish we could get married a day sooner. After we get married, we can peacefully raise our child and walking birds.”
Before I replied, Lucia suddenly jumped to her feet. Her ears twitched similarly to antennas: “Sorry, Travor, stay home and don’t leave.”
A rowdy ruckus started outside, Lucia vigilantly peeked outside then swiftly shut the door. She pressed me onto the bed and informed, “Travor, don’t go outside. It should be safe at home. This is between us elves; don’t get involved. I need to go and check it out, though. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.”
“Okay, be careful.”
Honestly, I didn’t know what happened, but I had a faint feeling that it was the plan I had been waiting a long time for.
All of the elves focused their attention on the disturbance.
“Shall I take this opportunity to escape? I can take advantage of this disturbance to run to the pasture, throw the ladder down and bring Queen Sisi up. Then, we can race straight back to humanity’s lands. Maybe we can ride a walking bird back. This is an opportunity! A fantastic opportunity!” I reasoned.
Lucia carefully placed the invitations under our bed. After checking multiple times, she finally left.
I silently sat in place. I didn’t know the reason for the disturbance, but it was a good opportunity for me to escape. The biggest taboo when you had an opportunity was hesitation. It’s foolish to let an opportunity escape you due to hesitation. Opportunities can disappear in an instant. Act even if you don’t have a plan. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.
“Is it really a good idea to leave now, nonetheless? What will happen if I leave now? What do I want to do?” I asked myself.
I needed to leave without Lucia having any lingering feelings for me. I needed to minimise the damage to Lucia. I needed to rescue Queen Sisi in one piece. That was my ideal conclusion. If I ran off with Queen Sisi then and there, it’d mean I legged it. I just told Lucia that I wouldn’t leave her during the day, yet fled at night during the disturbance. That was a level of scum I didn’t want to cross. Lucia wouldn’t forgive me if I just walked out on her, either. She’d massacre the entire town I stayed at. If Veirya didn’t hand me over, one of them was going to kill the other. I couldn’t dissuade them. My life wasn’t a harem story. None of the women around me were easy to deal with. Actually, I probably could’ve convinced the Elven Queen. Lucia allowed me to have a mistress. That said, I didn’t think she Veirya and the Elven Queen were candidates she’d accept.
I deemed it unwise to take off then because I’d most likely only add fuel to the fire. I didn’t want to see Veirya and Lucia fight… I couldn’t accept either of them dying. Then again, if I didn’t run then, when was I going to escape? The disturbance might’ve been deliberately started to give me an escape window. In that scenario, wouldn’t I be giving up my only chance to escape?
I only had two more days. If I didn’t escape before the two days were up, I’d be stuck in the elven forest forever. If Veirya acknowledged our marriage, I’d never have the chance to return to her side again. Additionally, what could I say to return to humanity at that point? Abandon Lucia? Heck, Veirya might send me back to Lucia.
I contemplated, “Shall I escape or not? I can’t let an opportunity slip, but this opportunity may be a trap. If it’s a trap, I might die. What should I do? Should I go and take a look?”
Current time at the elves’ tall platform.
“The elves in the Queen’s faction sure know how to pick their timing.”
Lucia’s brother monitored the crowd below from a platform. The elves below raised Queen Sisi’s sign and shouted at the door of the elven elders’ abode. The guards at the door aimed their long guns at the crowd. Barging into the elders’ abode was a severe crime that justified firing guns. However, the crowd didn’t barge in.
Lucia opined, “Don’t shoot them, Brother. The elders are willing to different opinions. It’s our ancestors’ tradition. They are just doing what they should as elves; they have done no wrong.”
“I know.” Lucia’s brother pinched his chin.
Lucia was right. They couldn’t fire. The elves down below didn’t do anything wrong. They weren’t armed and didn’t barge into the elders’ abode. The elders had a duty to hear their voices. It was an ancient teaching passed down in their race. Howbeit, it didn’t mean they couldn’t take action afterwards. They could assassinate an elf or two after even if they couldn’t shoot then.
“Look, your friend appears to be their leader.” Lucia’s brother pointed to one in the light and sarcastically remarked, “You sure have a good friend.”
“We just happen to share different views.”
Lucia shook her head. She, apparently, didn’t want to discuss it. Lucia was irritated. She came to stop anything from happening, but she didn’t even bring her bow out with her, which proved that she didn’t want to fight. She wanted to go back. The crowd was just protesting, which was futile.
“I don’t think there will be an issue,” Lucia assumed.
Lucia’s brother hesitated for a moment before saying, “Lucilia, head on back first. Go back to that human. I don’t like him, but if he can bring a smile to your face, I’ll let him stay with you. I want to see your smile. Not your frown that you’re wearing right now.”
“Uhm, thank you, Brother.”
Lucia went up on her toes and gave her brother a peck before turning around to leave. Her brother chuckled as he touched the spot his sister kissed him, but didn’t comment.
Lucia grabbed the vine and went to descend. But suddenly, gunshots were audible one after another. Startled, Lucia almost slipped…
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