Angelina frantically shouted, “Veirya! We said to bring him back, but we didn’t say haul him back as a criminal!”
I underestimated Veirya’s speed or, perhaps, I underestimated her courage. The road was no doubt full of mud and fallen trees. Maybe the team that dutifully obstructed the entire path and dug deep pits deserved the credit. Anyway, the path wasn’t easy to travel in a normal manner even if it was just one horse. Hence, Veirya’s cogs turned. If she couldn’t take the main road, go through the forest next to it.
Veirya was as skilled as an elf in the forest; I doubt a war steed would’ve been as dexterous as she was. She sprinted through the forest on horseback, ignoring the risk of the horse crashing into tree trunks and dying. Naturally, I was screaming from her lap. I felt I could’ve died several times in there; however, Veirya sped through on a straight path to throw me onto the ground at home half a day later. The price I had to pay as my cloak being torn. In addition, being totally wet meant that I shivered the entire time. I was on the verge of dying from the cold despite it being summer.
“Because he. Didn’t want. To come back.”
Veirya’s steam was still there, apparently. She didn’t plan to undo my hand restraints. Instead, Angelina helped untie my hands and dusted the leaves off me. She then turned her attention to Anna, who rushed over a towel and wine: “Hurry and pour him water so that he can take a bath, or he’ll get sick at this rate. I’ll help him undress.”
“I’ll do it!” declared Veirya, who seemed to understand what Angelina had in mind. “You go. Bring Leah over.”
“All right,” replied Angelina, smiling helplessly. She then went upstairs and sulked, “Usually she’s a dunce who doesn’t know anything. Why does she appear smarter all of a sudden?”
Veirya ignored Angelina. I wobbled to my feet. While shivering, I asked, “I’ve calmed down… I realise I was wrong… I think I went overboard. How is Leah…? How is she doing? Is she all right? Is she in a worse state than last time or what?”
“Just. Somewhat weak,” answered Veirya, who seemed to have cooled down a tad.
Veirya removed my clothes and then forced my mouth open with her hands. Before I could protest, she gave me a mouthful of strong wine, thereby leaving my brain stupefied and unable to think. Veirya stripped me down as though I was a doll. Ross and Anna promptly filled up the barrel with water. Anna glanced back over in our direction every now and then. Nonetheless, I couldn’t even feel embarrassment anymore.
Veirya then tossed her cape aside. She slowly undressed and flicked her hair. Flustered, Ross looked away, while Anna instructed, “Ross, go and grab water. Don’t stand here looking.”
Ross knew that if he looked at Veirya, I might just kill him on the spot… He picked up the bucket and ran out, repeating to fill up the bath barrel. Veirya watched Anna in silence, causing Anna to feel tense. When she finally couldn’t bear with it any longer, she turned around to reassure, “My Lord, rest assured… I have no interest in Sir Lin’s body… I prefer tougher men… So you need not feel concerned… I will not look.”
Veirya also stripped down naked and pulled me into her arms. The alcohol evaporated from my brain temporarily. My face was plastered to Veirya’s chest. I could see everything with my eyes. My hands and feet were hot and numb, thereby making it a struggle to move. Nonetheless, I was surprised to see… I had an erection…
I… was hugged in the same way a child would be in front of my maid and even had an erection in front of everyone… I missed having my blank mind and lack of embarrassment a moment ago. I felt so embarrassed that I wanted to end my life. I might’ve lost my standing in the family henceforth.
“Papa!” Leah came up from behind and tightly hugged me. She then sobbed on my shoulder and cried, “Papa, I miss you so much… Why didn’t you come back home in so long, Papa…? Leah… Leah thought you didn’t want Leah anymore… Leah… Leah was afraid that you went to the imperial capital for Her Majesty and abandoned us… Papa! Papa!”
I barely uttered from my numb lips, “Papa won’t…”
I held Leah’s hand. Veirya cast her gaze to Leah. I was afraid that Veirya would tell Leah what I said before… Honestly, I felt I was crazy to have said that. I picked up the job for my family. The origin of my motivation wasn’t to make money for making money’s sake, but for my family’s sake. Of course I had to go back when my Leah was in trouble.
“Was I drunk or stupid there?” I wondered.
I had calmed down a lot.
“Let’s have a break first, and then I’ll spend some time with Leah. I’m in no rush right now. Rather, I might as well pretend nothing ever happened and ignore it. The coal mine’s value will fall, and the moment I’m waiting for will come.
“Hang on. Now that I think back… something seems off… Now that I think about it carefully, something seems odd… very odd… What’s odd here? Was I fooled? I need to think properly… Where does the problem lie? I need to re-evaluate this from the top. Where exactly does the problem lie?” I deliberated.
As I contemplated to myself, Veirya suddenly picked me up and entered the water. The warm water drained out all of the cold sensation in my skin. I juddered intensely before I could relax. My brain forgot about what I was worried about just now. Leah then jumped into the water and sat on my thigh. Veirya gently wiped my body with a sponge.
Though surprised, I decided I might as well lean back and relax. My daughter was cute, and my beautiful wife scrubbed my body. Was there a need to feel any regrets when I had such a life? I couldn’t think, didn’t want to think and didn’t feel worried. Any problem could wait.
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