I Never Loved You
Leah crouched down and looked at the flower on the ground. After a short moment of hesitation, she sighed: “Papa still hasn’t come back.”
The Elven Queen, who sat behind Leah, heard Leah’s remark. She giggled: “It’ll be all right, Leah. You don’t need to worry. Knowing the elves, if he makes them disgruntled, he would already be back… except he might be less a few things… He hasn’t returned yet, though, which proves that things are going smoothly over there. Your father has left for only six days. It is tough on him.”
“That is true, but… Leah is still worried about Papa. Leah dreams of Papa every night… but when Leah wakes up, Leah is scared because Papa is not there by Leah’s side… Leah wants Papa to be by Leah’s side…”
The Elven Queen giggled: “Do you want to sleep with me at night, then?”
Leah turned around, surprised. The Elven Queen wasn’t aware that Leah was looking at her, so she kept her gentle smile and faced the direction she thought Leah was in with her smile. Honestly, the Elven Queen was the only elf besides her father – barring the fact that he wasn’t an elf – who Leah wasn’t afraid of for the elf didn’t know what would happen at night. Leah shook her head: “I am fine on my own, but thank you.”
Her dad told her not to let anyone see her at night despite the Elven Queen not being able to see. Leah, herself, didn’t want others to see her transformation, either. The Elven Queen laughed and tilted her head: “Don’t fret too much, in that case. I believe Sir Lin will soon be back. Don’t worry, Leah.”
Current time on the tall hill…
“Your swordplay Is a little too wild today,” Angelina pointed out.
Angelina pulled back her long sword on her daughter’s neck. Veirya got up from the ground and picked up her sword. She patted off the grass on her and walked to the other side again. She poised herself again and looked back at Angelina. She demanded, “Again.”
“Forget it.” Angelina didn’t raise her sword: “Let’s just wrap up here. You’re not worthy of going to the battlefield in your current state. I always told you that you must be calm when you fight, but your mind is all over the place right now. None of your attention is on your sword. Your mind is in disarray, isn’t it? It’s because he hasn’t come back, isn’t it? I’d surmise that to be the case. Don’t worry, though. He’s yours. You need to have some faith in him.”
After a long silence, Veirya lowered her sword and then peered toward the elven lands. She solemnly replied, “That is exactly why. I’m worried. He hasn’t Come back. I’m worried. But. I don’t want. To disturb him. But. I miss him. Ever since a few days ago. I’ve always been thinking of him. I have looked forward. To seeing him every day. But he’s not here. I’m now. Feeling unsettled. Angelina. In your opinion. Do you think I should. Go search for him?
“Not yet, I don’t think. If everything works out, he should be back in a week. If he still isn’t back in two or three days, then I’ll go there with you to look for him. I don’t think the elves would turn him into a prisoner. If the elves didn’t like him, they’d have dug his eyes out and had him sent back.”
“If they do that. I’ll go kill Lucia. Dig her eyes out. No. I’ll dig out the eyes. Of Every elf I see,” threatened Veirya, with a straight face in spite of the terrifying content…
Angelina chuckled. She went up to her daughter and patted the latter’s shoulder: “Don’t worry. I’ll help you if it comes down to that.
Current time in the elven lands.
“Lucia, you must choose one. Lucia, do you honestly think that elves will be better off under your brother’s leadership? Open your eyes. Look at what happened tonight. Think back to when you began to serve your brother. How many elves have you killed under his rule? Do you still not realise what elves need?!!!”
Lucia wiped her tears and bellowed, “I don’t understand… I don’t… I truly don’t… I don’t understand anything…. I don’t… I honestly don’t understand…”
I clasped Lucia’s face and thundered, “You do. You know very well!! Lucia! The truth is that you understand everything!!! Take a good look! Take a good look!! Lucia, have a good think; think back!! Were the elves happier under the Queen’s rule or the current rule? Don’t bring in any personal feelings and objectively think about it!! You sacrificed everything to bring peace for elves! Do you really want to thoughtlessly hand them over to your brother?!! Do you think the Elven Queen is necessary or not?!!”
Lucia’s eyes glimmered with tears. Her tears continued to fall pit pat on her. Her lips were deathly pale. I thought she’d pass out if she continued crying. Her entire life crumbled. Her entire view of the world was challenged. I believed she knew that. I believed she was pondering the question and had found her own answer. That was why she cried.
Lucia didn’t cry because she saw so many corpses that night or because her close friend died. It was because she discovered her brother was wrong. For the first time, she discovered the things her brother did were wrong. Previously, she believed him to be in the right and was leading the elves on to the right path, one that would be for the betterment of elves. She believed that she acted in the interest of elves. Alas, she finally realised it wasn’t true.
Lucia realised she was wrong. She harmed the elves. She exiled the Elven Queen and firmly believed that she could do better for the elves. In the end, she realised she was leading the elves to their demise. She didn’t make things better for elves; the elves were in their current predicament due to her.
I firmly gripped Lucia’s hand and didn’t let her wipe her tears. I couldn’t let her run away from the problem. I had to force her to face herself. I needed her to understand and make her own decision: “Lucia, think carefully. Tell me: between the Elven Queen and your brother, who is more suited to taking care of this place?! Think carefully!! Answer me, Lucia, answer me! Don’t think of it from your perspective as your brother’s sister but as yourself, Lucia, the hero of elves!! Who is the better candidate to lead elves?!!!”
Lucia’s foggy eyes pleaded me not force her to answer. I had to force it out of her, nevertheless. I gave her no chance to avoid the question. She was at her weakest; her despair had overwhelmed her. She had come to understand the situation, and she had an answer deep down. Her lips subtly moved. I showed no mercy. I awaited her answer.
In the end, Lucia finally enunciated two distinct words: “Elven Queen…”
“So, between elves and I, who will you choose?”
“Only one,” I vehemently demanded.
“… Elves… Sorry… Sorry… Sorry… I’m so sorry… I’m so, so sorry….” Lucia finally broke under the pressure, sliding down onto the ground from her bed, where she then knelt. She clung to my leg. She implored, “But… but… please… please… don’t leave me. Don’t… You’re the only one… left I can trust… Don’t leave me… I… I… I only have you now…”
After a short silence, I took two steps back and shook Lucia’s grip off. She crawled after me, but I took another two steps back. I avoided her and proposed, “You’re wrong, Lucia. You can’t trust me. You have the elves, understood? Lucia, elves need a new Queen. That Queen can’t be any random elf. That elf should be their hero. That Queen should be a hero who all of them can wholeheartedly serve. A Queen cannot marry. Lucia, it’s because I care about you that I think… you should… spare your efforts for the future of elves and not me. Lucia, the way you dedicate yourself for elves is incredibly amazing to me.”
Lucia looked up from her knees with a look of innocence and bafflement. I took in a deep breath and said what I had scripted out in my mind. I was sure that even Lucia would be able to understand if I told her my entire plan. I could say even prettier things and more of it, but it would just sound superficial..
Lucia changed her sitting posture. Despair loomed on her face. Quietly, she questioned, “Have you ever genuinely… loved me?”
I knew that it was time. I had already come up with the answer that would do her the least damage. I responded both calmly and resolutely: “Never.”
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