I got into the coach’s seat. We had two carriages. One was for our family, while the other was the elves’ and our necessary luggage. Veirya was too fond of the atmosphere inside the courage and preferred to ride on horseback outside. Angelina chose to ride at the back to prevent anyone from tailing us. Hence, Leah enjoyed the spacious carriage interior to herself. Leah stayed silent after getting in.
The guards didn’t make things hard for us on our way out, and there was no longer a long line at the city doors. Lots of stores in the city had resumed business, and more people were found on the streets. The clearest difference was that there were already lots of people who came to inquire about when stores were going to open up again. The military’s oppression had vanished, thereby returning life to the city at long last. Undeniably, Sisi was the most suitable candidate to rule the city. Sisi should’ve ruled as the Queen in the imperial capital, not spent her life with us. Sisi was the only one who could lead the empire to prosperity; only she could breathe life into the city. She was born to be Queen.
When I left the imperial capital, I turned around to take a look. I knew that that there was nobody there seeing me off, but I still felt as though those sad heterochromia eyes were on my back and accompanied with a sorrowful visage. Nevertheless, Sisi was most likely in the imperial capital and couldn’t be at the doors to see me.
Well, there was someone looking at me if I’m to be precise. The young man’s corpse was crucified to the city wall after he was dismembered. The crows had almost finished feasting on his corpse; even his eyes were gone already. All that was left were his empty sockets. The entire military was cleaned up. Theerefore, the entire military was within Sisi’s grasp.
“Sorry, Sisi. I won’t leave, though. I’ll be back. I promised to stay by your side, so I will keep my word,” I swore to myself.
“So, do you have any opinions regarding the price I named?” Sisi asked from her throne, legs crossed.
In front of the merchants was a sheet of paper telling them they had been sold out. The amount of shares in their possession was their privacy. How did Queen Sisi know? Anything related to money was related to a businessman’s life. They wouldn’t thoughtlessly share their private information, but Queen Sisi knew everything. The traitor? Edward.
They weren’t sure how much Edward received for the information, but young Edward had lost all credibility. Queen Sisi didn’t walk in and snatched it like a welcher on a football belt. Once a traitor, always a traitor was a principle businessmen operated on. Nobody would want to work with Edward again. With that said, if he could serve Queen Sisi henceforward, then, indeed, there’d be no need for him to consider working with others as serving Queen Sisi would be enough.
“No, no objections.”
The price Queen Sisi offered was fair. As a matter of fact, she was paying extra. The problem was the businessmen didn’t want to sell their shares. They didn’t want to kill the chicken that laid the golden egg. But nonetheless, there were armed soldiers behind them.
They didn’t know why Queen Sisi was after the rights to the mineral, but she wanted to get it at all costs. If they opposed her, the consequences would be unimaginable. The chapel opposed her, and they were burnt to the ground. Another one who opposed her was an eaten corpse on the city wall.
“So, that means that you are selling your shares. Thank you very much for trusting me. Needless to say, you need not feel that I am conspiring to do something, gentlemen,” added Sisi, with her eyes on the businessmen, thereby forcibly ending the discussion. She wasn’t asking for their opinion. From the very beginning, she had no intention of accepting rejections. However, she then stated, “I’m not doing this for money or the mineral. This isn’t how I make money. It’s how you make money as businessmen. All I need is to deceive one individual. I now have all of your shares, but you are not to leak this information. You must insist that you still possess the shares to the mine. Someone will seek you out to buy your shares. Once I’ve achieved my goal, I will give you another lump sum, understood?”
Befuddled, the businessmen exchanged glances with each other.
Sisi continued, “Obviously, you can accept money from him as per usual. You don’t need to repay it, either. If he can’t pay you, I’ll be even keener on joining in on the fun with you. In saying that, you are not permitted to kill him. As for children or women, you can do as you please with them.”
The businessmen all kept silent, but they had a hunch. They weren’t soldiers; they wouldn’t swing a blade to kill someone. They wouldn’t see scenes of blood and flesh being flung through the air. That was precisely why they were crueller than anyone else, though.
Current time en route to the North.
The journey back to the North was a long one. Veirya wasn’t a good travelling companion, but she didn’t need to say anything as I was happy just to have her by my side. Leah kept quiet in the carriage the entire time, although I didn’t know if she was asleep or what. We stopped on the side for a while to eat, but Leah took a long time to join us.
We made that milk porridge again. It was quite the delicacy while travelling long distances. We sat around the pot. The Elven Queen also sat next to me. I filled up a bowl for Leah. She hesitantly asked, “Papa, can I eat in the carriage?”
“You can… but why?’
Leah hesitantly replied, “Umm… don’t mind it, Papa… Leah has things that Leah wants to do, so… please allow Leah to eat in the carriage.”
“All right, don’t spill the food in there, though.”
I didn’t think too much of it because Leah wouldn’t do anything bad: “Come back once you’re done eating.”
Leah went back into the carriage with her empty bowl but came back out in less than a minute. I knew that Leah was a big eater, but she was surprisingly fast…
“Isn’t it troublesome to run back and forth?” I wondered. I took out our drinking water and filled a canteen for Leah: “Careful, it’s hot.”
“Thank you, Papa!”
Leah ran up to me and gave me a kiss on the cheek. Then, she ran back inside the carriage. Veirya, who sat on my other side, looked down at her own bowl, apparently thinking about something. Angelina glanced over to the carriage and muttered to herself, “What is Leah doing in the carriage?”
“What could a child do in a carriage by themselves?” I dismissed.
Angelina silently mulled over it for a while then nodded. I then noticed Veirya seriously looking at me. She didn’t fill up her own bowl again. Instead, she handed me her bowl. I stopped what I was doing and instinctively grabbed it. I filled up Veirya’s bowl and passed it back to her. Suddenly, she leaned in and kissed me on the cheek. Her kiss wasn’t as gentle as Leah’s. It was just a light peck.
Veirya then turned back continued eating in silence as though nothing happened. I, to the contrary, started seeing stars as though all of my blood had rushed to my head. My heart pumped all of my blood up to my head. I sat there in a daze, focused on just the lingering feeling on my cheek…
“Heh,” snickered Angelina. “Geez, it’s worrying how you two will end up in the future. Watching you two makes me worry that you still won’t be able to do that after marriage. You might even pass out when it’s time to do it. I don’t think this will do. Veirya is my most adorable daughter at the end of the day. So, Veirya, before you get married, I need to give him a treatment.”
“Treatment?” queried a bemused Veirya. “What treatment. Does he need?”
Angelina licked her lips and chuckled, “Simple. He’s not used to being with you yet. On a positive note, when he gets used to it, everything will be well. And so, as long as you let me be with him beforehand, then things will work out just fine. Veirya, this will get him used to it.”
The Elven Queen giggled: “Of course not. If anything, he may no longer want you afterwards.”
“Does it have anything to do with you?!” Angelina gnashed her teeth.
The Elven Queen giggled as she pressed a hand on Ciara’s shoulder. Veirya couldn’t keep up, hence entered deep thought. Me? I was still shut down.
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