“Leah. Is sick,” notified Veirya, water and mud dripping off her clothes.
Rain was still belting down outside, while the obstructed path was a struggle to traverse, yet Veirya didn’t have an umbrella. I swiftly removed her cape and threw it aside. I grabbed a big towel from the side and tossed it on her head. I opened the door and shouted, “Bring a kettle of hot tea and a bottle of wine!”
I shut the door then yanked the towel off Veirya’s head to wipe her face and dry her hair. Worried, I lectured, “You could’ve just written me a letter. There was no need for you to personally come here. You can’t let yourself catch a cold!”
Veirya gently shook her head. She grabbed my head and irritably yanked the towel off her head: “You haven’t. Been back. In a long time. Even if I’m with her. Leah. Can’t hold on any longer. You need to. GO back and see her.”
I nodded and then turned back to look at the records on the table. The records were the fruits of my recent efforts. I had lost track of time and couldn’t tell how long I had been away from home. I couldn’t even remember how many days it had been. I had ben solely focused on the shares and those businessmen. I dedicated all of my being to obtaining enough shares from them, loaning more money from banks, yes, banks, because if one didn’t have enough, I went to another. I visited every bank in the city. Everybody had learnt of the importance of coal. Sadly, I was stuck. I had to prepare to head to the imperial capital. I wanted to negotiate with the businessmen.
I had forgotten about home. I felt that the family didn’t need me. I thought that I didn’t need to worry about them since there was Angelina, Veirya and Anna, justifying me focusing solely on destroying the coal mine and hiring dwarves to see if they could find a new coal mine. For some reason, the price of the coal mine wouldn’t depreciate and the reason the businessmen remained in the city, refusing to leave. It went against what businessmen would do. Normally, a businessman would immediately go search for an alternative to substitute their loss, not waste their time here. Achilles, who needed the coal mine, also wouldn’t come here.
I thought that I was on the verge of victory. That was how the market was supposed to play out, yet I felt that I was just short. I couldn’t identify the reason, which was why I wanted to head to the imperial city, and find out who was preventing the price of the coal mine from depreciating.
I couldn’t go back to the North. Not now. News didn’t reach the town I the North. If I went back there and the price of the goal mine dropped, when would I ever reach the end, running back and forth? Furthermore, the businessmen in the city might’ve been trying to fight a war of attrition with me. Using firewood as a flammable would leave the citizens of the imperial capital without a flammable. Firewood was a necessity. Thus, they couldn’t just increase its price thoughtlessly. I wanted to see who’d win the war of attrition.
“I can’t go back right now.”
I sat down in the chair. Veirya froze. She kept silent for a long time before finally asking, “What. Did you say? Did you say. You don’t want to come back?”
“Uhm, I can’t. Not now.” I nodded. I then took off my coat and handed it to Veirya: “Take this back to Leah for now. I seriously can’t go back now. If I go back now, all of my effort up until now would’ve been for naught. I won’t know what the merchants have done during my absence. Once a business opportunity is missed, it won’t come back. I need to wait here. I need to go to the imperial capital. I can’t go back, Veirya.”
“You have. Been out. For ten days already!” yelled Veirya.
Veirya walked up to me and grabbed my shoulder with one hand. She spun me around and pressed me down on the table. My back refused to let me bend over to far, but Veirya ignored that. I couldn’t recall the last time she was so mad. She grabbed my collar and raged, “Are you. Abandoning us now? Leah. Is sick. You’re her father. Yet you’re not by her side. Leah. Has been crying for you. All this time. Yet you refuse to return?! I’m taking you back. Even if I have to chop you up!”
“Listen to me! Veirya! Veirya! Listen to me!”
Veirya ignored me. She tore her cape and forcefully turned me around to restrain my hands behind my back. Veirya was probably genuinely angry. She had no intention of showing any mercy. I felt my wrist was on the brink of breaking… She yanked me off the table and carried me as if she was carrying her luggage. The waiter came in with a pot of hot tea and a bottle of wine at that moment.
“Umm… Are you… kidnapping him?”
“I’m his. Wife,” Veirya replied, raising her left hand up.
The waiter immediately understood the situation when he saw Veirya’s ring. He gave me a hopeless smile: “Sir, I think you should take care of your family. Your wife must be lonely.”
“Have you seen this sort of lonely wife before?! Save me! Save me!”
“It is not appropriate for me to be getting involved in your family affairs. We shall put the fee for your room on your tab.”
The waiter then moved aside with a smile. I struggled around on Veirya’s shoulder. I recalled the past when Veirya and I met for the first time… She tied me up and dragged me back that time. At least, I was carried back this time… This time, I was going to see Leah, not Queen Sisi.
“Dongqing has taken the bait, and he’s sunk his teeth all the way in,” remarked Queen Sisi, as she tossed aside an invoice. “Excellent. I think we can reel the net in now. Achilles, what do you think? May patience has run out. I want to sleep with Dongqing in my arms tonight. I only got to furtively touch him at night before, but I can touch him with perfect justifications now! Oh, right, ask Maria to come back. She has to look after my child with Dongqing, after all. Achilles, what do you think we should name our child? While you’re at it, go and prepare some necessities for children. Shall I expand my imperial palace while I’m at it? What if we have lots of children? What do we do if they vie for the throne?”
Achilles helplessly smiled and answered, “Your Majesty, I think that you are forecasting too far into the future. Mr. Lin has not even arrived yet. Moreover, he might not give up just because he is bankrupt. Based on how I know him, I would not judge him to be a man who easily gives up. He might not be willing to come to your side so easily.”
Sisi crossed one leg over the other and rested her face in her hand:“I know that Dongqing isn’t one to easily give up. In saying that, his problem is that he only tries when there is hope. If I get rid of all those around him by having Leah leave him and Veirya die, he’ll lose his goal. Without a goal, he’ll lose his motivation. I know him too well. He’s actually still a fearful child. Whoever gives him a hand, he’ll take their hand. and go with them. He’ll think that he’s found the warmest nest in the entire world. That’s precisely why a child won’t act on his own accord. Once he loses everything, he’ll become that kid who curls up in the corner again.”
Perhaps she was right; perhaps she was wrong. Nobody knew for certain what sort of man Lin Dongqing was. Nevertheless, everyone was aware that Queen Sisi was an expert at deducing an individual’s character.
Laughing softly, Sisi disputed, “Do it, Achilles. Take Dongqing from that woman. If you can kill her, that would be the best outcome. He claimed that he’ll love Veirya forever. Let’s see how that holds up if she’s dead. Will he love a collection of bones? I’m not Veirya’s match if she’s alive, either. Would I lose to a collection of bones, though?”
“Veirya is the mightiest warrior on this continent, is she not…? I do not think anyone could possibly kill her. If Lin Dongqing finds out we sent assassins after her, would he not explode? I do not think it is a wise idea.”
“The current Veirya is no longer the Veirya from the battlefield. She’s no longer as vigilant as before. Well, it matters not if you don’t kill her. Regardless, you must make her break up with Dongqing. It’s on you. Before that, nevertheless, you need to make Dongqing go bankrupt. Go now.”
Achilles indicated he heard Queen Sisi loud and clear prior to departing. Queen Sisi rose to her feet from her throne. With her chin between her fingers, she frowned. She wasn’t joking; she was contemplating very important problems, which were the problems she mentioned to Achilles.
“Should I expand my imperial palace? There might not be enough space for my child, after all. Plus, I must make time for them in the future. Who can I entrust work to? In addition, I must hurry and ask Maria to teach me how to take care of children. I, at most, have one more year. That’s a very short amount of time. I must make haste. I don’t feel safe trusting anyone with my child,” Sisi mused.
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