When I came out of the room, Leah leapt into my arms, almost knocking me over due to my weakened state. Fortunately, Sisi’s quick eyes and agile reflexes saved me from behind. Leah tightly hugged me around my waist and laughed. After ensuring that I was able to stand steady, Sisi stroked Leah’s head with a smile: “Leah, you don’t need to overreact. I made a promise to you that your father would be fine.”
Leah didn’t pay any attention to Sisi. She just tightly hugged me and sobbed. My lower back felt as though it would snap under Leah’s pressure. Think about that: coming through after what I went through with Veirya, only for my daughter to strangle my life out of me… Leah rubbed her head vigorously against me, thereby wiping her tears on me.
Angelina joined me at my side. She scrubbed my head and beamed: “I’m so glad you’re all right. I can’t argue that this wasn’t my daughter’s fault. I’ll make sure to have her apologise. She’s just a kid that doesn’t understand the gravity of her actions; you would know.”
I didn’t know what to say. My emotions were jumbled up. I knew that she was Angelina and not Veirya, but her face still stung me. I had Sisi, so I shouldn’t have felt the sting from her appearance, yet it stung when I saw Veirya’s face.
Sisi glanced at me. She immediately grabbed my face and twisted it toward her. She stated, “Angelina, have you completed the task I assigned you? I think that you will be needed soon.”
“I have completed it. That said, honestly, based on the current circumstance, I do not think the plan is viable.”
“No, it is the only way. You’re the key to our plan. Without you, our plan is doomed to fail. I said it before: it is an undeniable fact that Veirya is a hero; however, her stance is subject to change.”
Sisi’s explanation received a nod from Angelina. Then, Angelina scrubbed my head and left. Sophia watched us. It didn’t appear as though what Sisi did that day caused Sophia any damage. Sophia handed me a serve of soup with a smile: “This was prepared specifically for you. We have added our unique succubi ingredients, which have the power to enhance one’s recovery speed. Further, it is Miss Leah’s, so the results will be even better.”
“Can you tell what it is, specifically?”
‘Something from a succubus with the ability to restore one’s energy… nothing good comes to mind…’
Queen Sisi froze. I immediately figured out what it was. I looked over to Leah and shakily asked, “Did you do something while I was asleep?! What did you do?!”
Shy, Leah looked away and clenched her fists: “You’re a meanie, Papa… Don’t remind Leah. Leah is very shy, too! Leah wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for Papa!”
“Uh… Dongqing… I apologise. I… I didn’t know before the fact… so… err…”
Sisi’s choice of words drew my attention off the soup and onto her: “Sisi, what did you call me?”
“Dongqing” – responded Sisi, with a proud expression, voice joyous – “I think it sounds very nice, so I shall call you that from now.”
Leah, flummoxed, stole ganders between Sisi and I before finally reacting with surprise: “Your Majesty, Papa, d-did something happen between you two?”
Sisi and I regarded each other visually. Sisi chuckled as she crouched down to hug Leah. While stroking Leah’s head, Sisi explained, “Leah, what did you think of my Imperial Palace when you visited last time? Do you have something you want or flowers you like? When you visit again this time, I’ll show you around. You can choose any room you like in the palace.”
“Your Majesty?” asked a puzzled Leah. “Papa, are we moving again? Are we moving to the Imperial Palace this time?”
I didn’t reply; instead, I gave Leah a small nod. Leah shifted her gaze from me to Sisi. Sisi expressed, “Leah, I am sincerely very sorry for what I did to you before. Leah, I hereby apologise to you. I know that I can’t erase the harm I inflicted on you with a single apology, and I don’t ask that you forget all of my deeds. I only hope that you can remember what I did and then watch me henceforth. Henceforward, I will always protect you. I have never been a mother; therefore, if I perform poorly in any way or neglect something, don’t hesitate to tell me anytime and anywhere. You just tell me without any hesitation.”
Leah gripped my clothes. Anxious, she asked, “What about Mama Veirya, Papa? Is… is Mama Veirya not coming back again? Papa, will Leah never see Mama Veirya again?”
I didn’t know how to answer Leah’s questions. I was asking myself the same question. Would I see Veirya again? How would I face Veirya in the future? I had no idea. Given that I didn’t know, how was I supposed to answer Leah?
“Okay now, Leah, Veirya is a matter of the future,” stated Sisi, thereby bringing the topic full circle. She continued, “I have to go out with your father now. While I want to let your father have a good rest, I have to get busy now. Don’t fret, though, as I will be sure to take good care of him.’
Leah wanted to say something but hesitated. Despite looking at us, she never spoke up. I scrubbed her head. She then looked at me with a serious gaze that children usually wouldn’t show: “Papa are you truly happy right now? Leah means, will you genuinely be happy together with Her Majesty? Will you be as happy as when you were with Mama Veirya?’
I nodded without a moment of hesitation: “Of course.”
Delighted with my response, Queen Sisi giggled as she grabbed hold of my hand. I gave Leah a kiss on her forehead then picked up my cane and headed outside. Sisi and I had lots to do. Sisi figured out what I meant, and she definitely had her own network in the Imperial Capital. As a result, I could most likely reduce the amount of effort I needed to invest.
Their backs appeared totally different. When they were with Veirya, Leah always felt as though her father was pursuing humanity’s hero. Now, however, it was Sisi who leaned on her father. Sisi was docile in a manner that was unlike a Queen when she was with her father. Actually, the both of them leaned on each other. Her father was by Sisi’s side, and Sisi was by her father’s side. The two of them were a match made in heaven. Surely the nation would become greater in their hands…
Her father said that he was happy with Sisi, but Leah couldn’t smell the scent on her father that she was fond of. When he was with Veirya, he always carried a happy scent. Further, he’d be more lively and willing to work hard. However, he was a lot solemn now. Was that a good or bad thing? Leah didn’t know.
We arrived outside. Sisi hadn’t had the opportunity to see the bright sun outside. She covered her eyes with her hand. She scanned the city that belonged to her. We were half-way through our plan. Sisi could return to her throne soon.
“Previously, I was thinking about whether or not I should return to the throne.” Sisi tried to loop her arm around mine. Seeing as I didn’t protest, she leaned onto me without concern. With a blissful smile, she quietly finished off, “But I understand now. I need to return to the throne. I need to return for your sake. That way, I can give you the best stuff in the entire empire. Furthermore, with you by my side, history won’t repeat itself for me.”
“I tried to convince you otherwise last time.”
“I wouldn’t have gone if you held me this way.”
We resumed our walk. Sisi wore a hat to cover her face, but I didn’t think that anyone would realise it was her. She, after all, wouldn’t ever have her arm around another man’s. I smiled helplessly: “So it’s my fault now?”
“No, it’s just that I’m grateful you came to my rescue. I’ll be wilful and stubborn every now and then. When I do act out, I’ll rely on you to put me in line.” Sisi tightened her arm around mine. She stopped to think for a moment. She rectified, “No. We’re together now. I won’t be alone again. Whether I do the right thing or err, I’ll have you. That’s enough for me.”
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