I shoved open the carriage doors as soon as it pulled over in front of the brothel and demanded, “Tell Leah to come out. Tell her to come out, and leave with me. Don’t bring Sophia here to waste my time. I’m taking Leah. The North is in trouble, and I’m no longer bankrupt. Hurry and let Leah return with me!”
Before I could say another world, Leah charged out comparably to a tornado, proceeding to leap straight into the carriage and plaster her small body to mine. Normally, I’d be overwhelmed with bliss. Today was not the day for it. I gently pushed Leah back and held my back with a grimace.
“Sorry, Leah, don’t hug Papa that enthusiastically yet. Papa has an injury at the moment, so. Papa will hug you when Papa is healed.”
“Papa! What happened to you, Papa?!” exclaimed Leah, grabbing onto my arm after seeing my look of agony.
I smiled helplessly and stroked Leah’s head: “Papa isn’t too bad. Papa just has a minor injury. We need to head back now, Leah. Our house is in danger. We need to head home to protect our home. Papa will protect your flower. Papa won’t allow anyone to ruin our home!”
“Leah will always trust Papa! Leah wants to be with Papa forever! Leah will never leave Papa again!” Leah asserted.
Leah sat next to me and clung to my arm. I scrubbed her head. I took out a wine flask from my pocket with my shaky hand and had a few gulps. I used drinking as a way to mask the stabbing sensation shooting up to my brain. I couldn’t let Leah see my pain. I had to hang on until we got back.
“I should be fine. My wound has been disinfected and sewn, so I should be fine, I reckon,” I inwardly repeated.
The horse took off running. The golden orb had just come up in the east again, but the darkness had yet to lift for me. I had one goal, and that was to run to the North as fast as possible. Thus, I tightly held Leah to reduce the rocking of the bumpy ride and protect her head. Ross was with the riders, so I didn’t need to worry about him.
“Papa… Leah… really missed you this time.”
At the moment, a hug was more effective than a thousand words for her. Voice slightly shaky, she softly opined, “When… when Edward came to Leah… Leah… Leah was really scared… Leah was scared that Papa didn’t want Leah anymore… Leah was scared… that Leah really would have to marry him… Leah hates that man… Leah only wants to be together with Papa. Leah doesn’t want to go anywhere else…”
I kissed Leah on the forehead: “Papa won’t leave you. Papa is your papa. As they said, Papa is a demon king. Papa can make every businessman in the imperial capital bankrupt for you, so don’t worry, Leah. Papa can always protect you no matter what happens. Always.”
“Regardless of what anyone says, Papa will always be Leah’s Papa, Leah’s best Papa. Leah will forever trust Papa! Leah is never scared if Leah is with Papa… Leah is not scared at all now… With Papa by Leah’s side, Leah will always be safe,” responded Leah. Next to my ear, she whispered, “Leah doesn’t want to marry someone else. Leah only wants to be with Papa. Leah wants to be with Papa forever no matter what. Nobody can take Leah from Papa.”
I didn’t detect any issues with the contents of what Leah said. I kept my hand on my wound and furtively shifted my hand forward. I saw dark-red blood on my hand. I carefully wiped my hand to avoid Leah noticing the blood. I could bear with the degree of rockiness at present – not that I had any alternative.
“You aren’t praised for nothing, Veirya. You’re already able to stand,” remarked Lucia, as she watched Veirya try to stand on her own. “Your wound most likely hasn’t fully healed. Therefore, you should exercise cautious. With that said, I have good news and bad news. Which one do you want to hear?”
“… Good news?”
“I’ve received the letter you’ve been looking forward to most. In other words, a letter from Lin Dongqing,” reported Lucia, waving the letter in her hand at the same time.
Veirya leapt over to snatch the letter. Unfortunately, Lucia dexterously hopped back and evaded Veirya’s surprise attack. Then, she pressed a hand on Veirya and said, “Calm down. I have a condition. The two of us must read Travor’s letter together. Now, for the bad news, for some reason, your North is still going to be auctioned. I think you best go and take a look to see what’s going on. I don’t know if Travor will come racing back to do anything.”
“… What does one need. For an auction? How much. Money do I need?”
“Mm, don’t go bothering with that, I reckon. You haven’t healed yet. If you thoughtlessly run around, your wound might open again. You want Travor to come back and scold me for not protecting you well? Ascillia, you happen to be a human, as well, so you should know about this sort of stuff. Let’s do this: you go to the North’s auction as Veirya’s representative. It’ll be fine. You have elves’ backing you financially. Needless to say, Veirya, you should be aware that I’m not just your friend but also the Elven Queen. I can’t senselessly spend our money for my personal feelings, so you’ll have to repay me.”
Ascillia bobbed her head then turned to Veirya, promising, “It will be all right, Lord Veirya. I will not fail you!”
“All right… I will. Repay the loan. I also have… three thousand gold coins. From Her Majesty. I don’t know if it’s. Helpful or not. But here.”
“Works for me.”
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