Leah curled up on the bed in silence. She had transformed into her mature form but still appeared so small and lonely on the bed. Leah was fine; she had enough to eat, drink and a big, warm and comfortable bed, yet she still looked pitifully lonely.
I removed my shirt and carefully climbed onto the bed. Leah seemed to subconsciously detect me joining her, so she rolled over and hugged me tightly, thereby enveloping me with a familiar scent and warmth. I gently wrapped my arm around Leah.
Yesterday, I hugged Lucia, who loved me, in my arms the same way. Had not so much happened, I might’ve been married to her already, and the room would be our room for consummating our marriage under the candle lights. I might’ve even saw Veirya at our wedding and the pale-faced Francis. I might’ve even kissed in front of them. But nonetheless, I had returned. I ditched Lucia behind in the elven lands. She had probably returned to that house where I no longer was. Actually, no, she should’ve been in the Elven Imperial Palace. She’d be all alone, silently waiting for the morning air and sunlight in the forest tomorrow. That was her tomorrow.
I questioned if such a life would be blissful from Lucia’s viewpoint? Her entire life was dedicated to the elves and still would be henceforward. She wanted to change her life. By the looks of things as they were, her destiny was sealed, however. Maybe it wasn’t such a bad destiny in the end.
I doubted I’d have anything to do with Lucia again in the future. She was enthroned as the Elven Queen, and an Elven Queen couldn’t marry. Hence, she’d spare me. I believed it was for the best that I didn’t tell Veirya about it. Additionally, hiding would avoid sabotaging our relationship with Lucia.
I couldn’t let anyone know that Queen Sisi bore with a copious amount of torment at the hands of the elves. The elves didn’t spread it, while humanity’s field military wouldn’t attack the elves. I guess it was the last thing I did for Queen Sisi.
“Papa…” Leah hugged me around my neck while I was thinking. She seemed to have woken up but also could’ve been dreaming. Either way, she began to murmur, “Papa is by my side… I’m so glad… Papa… Papa is here… It’s so nice to have Papa here… Papa… don’t go.”
I turned over to hug Leah and whispered in her ear, “Leah, Papa won’t leave again. Papa will be by your side in the future… at least, Papa should be…”
Leah didn’t respond. She must’ve just been sleep talking, but it was what she looked forward to in her dreams.
I had my most steady and undisturbed night of sleep for the first time after a week. When I woke up the next day, I felt horrible. I didn’t feel sick or something but merely due to not being able to breathe… Somebody strangled me around my neck. In my hazy state, I thought Lucia came to kill me, and take my eyeballs. When I opened my eyes, however, I saw the absolutely sunlight. That said, bright would be an inaccurate description for the sky.
“It doesn’t seem to be my usual waking hour. What’s going on with me?” I muttered.
I turned around to discover Veirya lying next to me in silence. Her sudden appearance startled me. Howbeit, a small hand blocked my mouth. Leah lied next to me with an incredibly weird posture. She was literally lying upside down. Veirya quietly lied next to me but had her arms tightly wrapped around me… tight enough to hurt my ribs…
The cogs in my head began to turn, although the double dose of Veirya’s scent and warmth made thinking an arduous task. I tried to get my head out of Leah’s arms. I struggled to get my head over to look at Veirya.
“Wait. She might not be Veirya. Normally, Veirya wouldn’t ever sleep in front of me. She might be Angelina. I can’t tell the two of them apart with just their face and hair…” I realised.
Veirya’s hair had grown out a little. Perhaps Angelina purposely sported a hairstyle completely identical to Veirya’s. Hence, I couldn’t tell if she was Veirya or not…
I started to think, “Now then, how do I tell the two apart? I remember that there was an extremely simple method, which was… was…”
I took in a big breath of air and held my breath. I focused all of my mental resources on my hand and eyes. As my fingers approached, my heart rate picked up. I gently touched the collar on her military uniform with the utmost caution… I then pulled it down bit by bit… bit by bit… bit by bit…
“What. Are you doing?”
I suddenly heard Veirya’s voice from overhead when I was about to see her perfect skin. However, when I went to scream loud enough to make Leah jump, Veirya pressed her hand on my mouth and asserted, “Leah. Is still asleep. So. Don’t yell.”
Veirya pressed her hand to my mouth very firmly enough to make me feel as though I’d suffocate. I nodded in a flustered fashion. Satisfied, she nodded. She pulled her hand back.
“Don’t yell. Leah is. Still sleeping.”
“Uhm… uhm…” I quickly mumbled.
Veirya then asked, “What were you doing. Just now?’
“I… I… I… I thought you were Angelina…”
“Angelina. Did this. With you?”
Veirya’s expression turned dangerously stern, and I picked up a trace of anger in her voice. She seemed as though she couldn’t tolerate it. The correct answer to her question was, “Yes…” Nevertheless, I knew that I couldn’t give that answer… I, therefore, calmed myself down as I did in the elven lands then replied, “No, no, it’s just… just… I thought you wouldn’t have done this…”
“Why. Would I not?”
“That’s not important. Why did you suddenly come to hug me?”
“I came to wake you. But saw you two so sound asleep. So I joined you.”
“Why… hug me, then?”
“I told you. I missed you. So. I wanted to. Spend more time together with you.”
My face was beet red. Meanwhile, Veirya didn’t blush whatsoever. Feeling awkward, I turned my head away. I didn’t dare to look at her for my brain would be fried if I didn’t avert my gaze…
Feeling that it was enough, Veirya sat up. She then caressed Leah’s head, but Leah irritably brushed her hand away then went to hug me with the desire to sleep more. Alas, Veirya didn’t call it quits. She continued to nudge Leah.
“Papa, Mama Veirya, what’s the matter?” Leah finally woke and asked.
“Good morning, Leah.” Veirya stood up and turned around: “Breakfast is ready. Come downstairs. To eat.”
Having sobered up, Leah coquettishly stretched her arms out to me and beamed: “Papa, help me get dressed.”
Veirya grabbed Leah’s clothes that were to the side. Although Veirya didn’t display any emotion to speak off, I could sense her eagerness. Leah juddered, regretful of what she requested in Veirya’s presence…
I immediately stood up and caressed Leah’s head. I smiled as I took pleasure in Leah’s misery and kissed her forehead: “Be a good girl, okay, Leah? Papa is heading down first.”
Veirya ignored Leah’s cries. She walked up to Leah while I shut the door as I exited. Leah had nowhere to run now. The mother and daughter had a good chance to nurture their feelings. I say it was worth celebrating.
As soon as I left the door, I bumped into Ciara, who just came out from her room. Ciara froze when she saw me. She recomposed herself with a smile and queried, “You are back, Your Lordship. We were worried the elves would make things difficult for you. Did you rescue Queen Sisi?”
Ciara revealed a stunned gaze when I nodded: “You truly are incredible. We elves never release any prisoners of war without receiving a ransom. You are amazing for being able to rescue Queen Sisi and come back in one piece despite humanity not paying the ransom! Did anything happen in the elven lands?”
“Sort of. Lucilia is the new Elven Queen.”
“What?!” After checking left and right, Ciara asked, “You are not lying to me, are you? How is that possible? Lucilia, personally, took Her Majesty’s eyes. If that is true, does that not m-”
“In short, lots of things happened.”
While I conversed with Ciara, Leah and Veirya soon stepped out once they were ready. Hence, I couldn’t say any more. I told Ciara, “I’ll explain everything that happened to your Queen tonight. I think you best not get angry, though, as I’m not exactly proud of what happened.”
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